A/N: If you are just joining us, stop right here right now. This story is the second leg of the "Heirs Trilogy", and those who have not read "The Heir of the Founders" will be hopelessly lost (I wrote the damn thing and I still get lost sometimes). I HIGHLY recommend that you read that first before reading this.
For those who have read The Heir of the Founders (or who wish to dive into the deep end of the pool), welcome back. Just as a quick recap: After Sirius dies, Harry finds out that someone has been stealing from his vault at Gringotts and, more importantly, he is the Heir of the Founders of Hogwarts. He also discovers that his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has been manipulating him his whole life. Along with his newfound love (and eventual fiancé), Hermione Granger, Harry trained his mind and body to confront Voldemort and Dumbledore.
Unbeknownst to Harry, a dying Voldemort dispatched Caliban de Montesquieu, Dumbledore's son, to hunt him down. Aiding Caliban in this respect would be Draco Malfoy, a newly appointed Death Eater, and someone who just found out he was the son of Lucius Malfoy (maybe) and a muggle woman. A confrontation takes place at the Burrow, in which Harry shows off some of his new skills…but not before Caliban kills Molly Weasley.
Harry assumes his seats on the Wizengamot, only to have an attempt on his life by Malfoy. Caliban saves Malfoy from his foolishness and apparently kills him. Unbeknownst to anyone besides Caliban and Voldemort though, Draco secretly assumes the guise of Colin Creevey, who along with Neville, Luna, Ron, Hermione & Ginny trains further at Potter Manor. After the training Colin is revealed as Draco, Caliban and Harry fight, and after nearly killing Harry & Hermione, Caliban is killed by Draco himself, who goes off in search of his muggle relatives. Harry & Hermione set aside their differences with Dumbledore, merely to end the war as soon as possible.
While in the background, the mysterious Lazarus continues to pull strings from his position as head of the Unspeakables, drawing out the Heir of LeFey and, eventually, the Heir of Merlin. Who these Heirs are, and what impact they will have, has yet to be seen.
Chapter 1: Hollow Pursuits
Thomas Flanagan was a simple man. He kept the local pub in the small British village of Walden's Glen. The Dragon's Head it was called, a relatively non-descript bar and inn that was the center of local activity. It had once been a booming industrial town that surrounded it, a growing center of commerce and industry back in the sixties and seventies. But now like so many other English towns, it was slowly being retaken by the pastoral countryside and small-time farmers that had called it home before the factories had come to town.
Thomas had no special talents he could speak of, aside from instinctively knowing what his customers needed. Then again, he told himself, such things were necessary for a barkeep. His customer base, small though they might be, had needs that had to be met. In times gone by Thomas had a partner to help him with their "other" needs. Charlie had been a bit of a sleaze bucket, Thomas had to admit, but he kept the customers happy by offering them girls on the side.
His mind was taken away from its reminiscence by the sound of a twinkling bell. Idly he heard the sound of a brewing thunderstorm outside, a sound that was quickly shut out by the door slamming shut. Thomas continued cleaning the glasses at his bar as a young man slowly made his way towards him. He wore a long grey trenchoat, his boots seeming to clomp heavily against the hardwood floors. He wore a pained expression on his face as he flexed his left arm repeatedly, clenching and unclenching his fist several times. He made his way towards the bar and sat down, his head hanging at a slightly low angle, his pale gray eyes staring straight at the ground. "Evenin' sir." Thomas said with a smile on his face, "Can I get you a pint?"
The man looked up at him with a curious expression on his face, as if he was trying to decide how best to answer him. Thomas could have sworn he saw the smallest hint of a twinkle in the man's eyes, before he offered a half-hearted smile and nodded his head, tossing a fiver down on the bar out of his pocket. Something about the bill looked off to Thomas, but just as quickly as that thought entered his head, it vanished. Thomas took the bill and began filling a glass with the alcoholic beverage. "Ain't seen you 'round 'ere before," he said politely, trying to start a conversation, "Passin' through?"
"Something like that," the man said without hesitation, his mind obviously focused somewhere else. Thomas handed him the pint and some change for the bill. The man reached into his coat pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a small slip of paper. "I'm actually looking for someone," he said with something akin to hope in his voice, "And I was hoping you could help me."
"Well I'll do the best I can," Thomas said, going back to his glasses, "I only know the people 'round these parts and not much further beyond."
"It's a woman, from several years ago. Her name was Miranda Breyerson." The young man sat with piercing eyes, staring straight at Thomas, who was a bit unnerved by it. Thomas scratched at his chin, trying to put a face with the name. "She would have been associated with a man named Charles Van Houtan," the young man added. That made the connection Thomas was looking for.
"We are talkin' 'bout a lot o' years back," Thomas said, deep in thought. "I ain't been partners with Charlie since…oh almost ten years ago. Back when he got busted for narcotics or some shit." The man seemed a bit deflated, but pressed forward.
"And the woman? Do you remember her?"
"Come to think of it I remember one o' the girls being named Miri or something. That could'a been short for Miranda." He took a long look at the man, from a sunken expression to the beady gray eyes. Something about him…"Come to think of it you kinda look like her."
The man chuckled, downing the rest of his drink. "Then you know why I'm looking for her." He paused a moment, trying to think of another question, "So I take it you don't know where she went?"
"No…after that incident, I think you know all about that, she disappeared. Last I saw of her was the backside of her car as she drove off, 7 months pregnant. Charlie might know though. He always kept better track of his girls than I did."
"Where is he now?"
"Bout ten years ago he got arrested on some drug charges. Got released three years later. Last I heard he lived just outside of Kent." The young man nodded, tossing Thomas another bill for his trouble, and walked out of the pub.
Draco sighed as he remained under the overhang to the entrance of the pub. He leaned against a post, rubbing his eyes in frustration. It had been nearly three days since he had set out in search of his mother, and the only lead he was given had just turned up dry. Granted, he still had a few paths left to explore, but this was a roadblock to be certain. He looked out into the stormy sky and wondered for a moment what Potter was up to, if he had found out how to beat Voldemort.
Draco shook his head, trying to stop his mind from such wanderings. A part of him was screaming at the top of its lungs that what he was doing was just like he would have done in the past, a selfish action that disregarded the greater good. At the same time, he told himself that he had already lost everything in this war, and he needed to find something else to hold on to before he drove himself insane. Sighing, he put up the hood on his coat and started to walk back into the rain, preferring to keep alone with his thoughts rather than take the quick way to get where he was going.
"Well if it isn't the blood traitor!" came a deep voice from behind, causing Draco to stop in his tracks and close his eyes in frustration. Turning on his heel he saw two men standing behind him, two men he had at the very least considered underlings at one point in his life.
"Crabbe, Goyle," Draco said flatly, before responding, "The Dark Lord must be desperate if he marked you two."
"Stuff it Malfoy," Goyle said in anger, holding his wand up. "The Dark Lord wanted you alive…guess it's lucky for you we found you first!"
"Perhaps," Draco responded, pulling his own wand out of his pocket and staring at the two of them. "Well, shall we then?"
"AVADA KEDAVRA!" Crabbe shot the killing curse first, only to have Draco summon a loose rock from the sidewalk below in its way, causing it to shatter into a thousand pieces. Crabbe was stunned momentarily, before Draco made a slashing motion with his wand.
"SECTUMSEMPRA!" Draco wasn't aiming for any particular part of Crabbe's body, but didn't flinch when he saw the spell hit Crabbe square in the neck, instantly slicing his head halfway off his body and causing him to fall backwards in a shower of blood. Draco turned towards Goyle, who just looked down shocked at his fallen partner…before promptly running away screaming in terror. "Typical," Draco responded, not showing any outward sign of emotion to what he had just done. He glanced down at Crabbe's lifeless body and sighed. It wouldn't do for the muggles to find him like this. He aimed his wand high and shouted "MORSMORDRE!" causing the Dark Mark to appear high in the sky, illuminating the dark gray clouds, before he disappeared with a loud pop.
/ - / - / - /
Harry looked on sympathetically as his fiancé held Ginny close. The red-haired witch was currently crying her eyes out on Hermione's shoulders, her brother glancing back at her with a mixture of anger and sympathy in his eyes. Ron shook his head and looked towards Harry. "You don't know where he went?"
Harry shook his head. "He said he was going to try and find his mother. Aside from that, nothing." Ron nodded and turned back towards Ginny, who was trying to gain some modicum of composure.
"You're not cursed," Hermione assured her, leaning her head against Ginny's forehead. "And Draco didn't have a choice in the matter. He was forced into it. In the end…he made the right choice."
"I know," Ginny said standing up, a sudden out burst of anger catching Hermione off guard. "I know all that! That's not the point." She stopped, taking a deep breath, trying to calm herself down. "The point is…." She bit her bottom lip, hesitant to say anything more, but Hermione's silent pleadings and confident, reassuring smile urged her forward. "Ever since the time with the diary I've been cursed Hermione. I mean, at first no one would even talk to me. And the one person I thought I liked, that way," she motioned towards Harry, "Turned out to be exactly what everyone told me it was, a schoolgirl crush on the Boy-Who-Lived. Then when I finally find someone who loved me just as much as you and Harry love each other; when I finally find someone I love just as much as you two do…he turns out to be nothing but a fraud."
"Some of it had to be Draco," Hermione once again reiterated, "There's no doubt of that in my mind."
"All Malfoy's ever been good for is trouble," Ron said, taking a drink of his butterbeer.
"He saved my life and Hermione's," Harry said flatly, "That has to account for something." Ron sighed, nodding his head in affirmation.
"I don't know how much of it was him or not," Ginny said with some measure of finality in her voice. "I fell in love with Colin Creevey…not Draco Malfoy. Nothing anyone's said or that he's done can convince me otherwise." She fought back the tears in her eyes, wiping them as cleanly as she could. "What's our next move," she said to Harry, eager to change the subject. "You aren't going to sit back and let Dumbledore lead you blindly are you?"
"No," Harry said flatly, "No we're going to find out what he's up to. But in order to do that, we have to make it look like we're playing his little game." Harry sighed and leaned forward, wrenching his hands together as he explained his plan. "We can't fight both the Order and Voldemort at the same time. If we work with the Order to some extent, then it will help take some of the heat off of us from the Death Eaters. Aside from Caliban, Voldemort has been unusually quiet these last few days."
"You think he's planning something big?" Ron asked a mild bit of trepidation in his voice. Harry merely nodded back to him.
"Yes, I do. I think he may go after the Ministry again…or Hogwarts. Either one would be a massively symbolic victory could he take it." He paused a moment to catch his breath before continuing. "We need to figure out what's keeping him alive, and then destroy it. All the while I'll have Remus checking in to Dumbledore's past and anything else I need him to help us with. Once Voldemort is out of the way, then we'll deal with Dumbledore if necessary."
"Are you still hoping that he is going to keep his promise to stay out of our lives?" Hermione asked.
"I don't know 'Mione. He never explicitly made such a promise. I know he won't put his own petty quest above trying to defeat Voldemort. He stands to lose just as much as anyone if Voldemort wins."
"I wouldn't be so sure," Ron added, sighing deeply, "Luna doesn't trust him either, even more than you do. She says this Lazarus bloke of the Unspeakables doesn't trust him either."
"Has she told you anymore about the Unspeakables?"
"Only that they're trying to find the Heir of Merlin, which we already knew. She's been searching high and low and trying to subtley dig her father for information but, so far no such luck. Granted it's only been about a day since we got back, but you catch my drift." Harry nodded.
"It's something we need to keep an eye on. From what little I saw from Lazarus the brief moment I met him, he's obviously hiding something. He knows something that no one else does, and we need to find out what that is."
/ - / - / - /
Peter cringed as he heard the tortured screams of Florean Fortescue once more, the first of many victims found by Antonin Dolohov. Fortescue had been apprehended for his information concerning horcruxes and how to remake them, though thus far such knowledge if it existed was frustratingly not being given.
He often wondered how it was that he had once fallen in with the Death Eaters. He knew deep down that he had thrown away so much for so little. Even if he had just generally been an add-on to James, Sirius & Remus, he was still their friend. With them he was someone important. With them, he had a family, and he had sold all of that away to be a member of the Dark Lord's inner circle. What had that gotten him? Three of his closest friends from his past life were dead, he had spent thirteen years as a rat, and now he was party to mass murder and torture. Some consolation prize….
Maybe it was jealousy, the fact that without them he was a nobody. Maybe it was out of fear or coercion. Maybe a small part of him truly believed as the Dark Lord did concerning pureblood supremacy. Maybe it was simply a combination of all of the above. Whatever the reason, Peter knew that he had cast his lot long ago, and it was a grave he would have to lie in one way or another.
He stopped his internal thinking when he heard the screams stop. He turned towards the curtained opening and saw Voldemort stalk in, his face even more sallow and colorless than usual. His breathing was somewhat labored as Peter ran over to help him to a chair. For once Voldemort did not reject his help, something that unnerved Peter to no end. Quietly, Voldemort eased himself into a small chair near the fireplace, taking a deep breath as he did so. He set his wand on the table next to him and grabbed a goblet of puce liquid, drinking it fully before tossing the empty glass to the side and watching it shatter in the burning embers of the dormant fire. The fire seemed to roar to life upon his command, and Voldemort took a long hard sigh before gazing into its flames.
"I miss him, Wormtail." He quietly said, in such a hushed tone that Peter nearly missed it.
"Miss who M-Master?" Peter stammered in response to the revelation.
"Caliban. With him gone…nothing seems to make sense anymore." Voldemort almost offered a chilling smile in the dancing firelight. "He'd been with me since the beginning, the most loyal of all my servants. Now that he is gone…" he trailed off, his voice faltering slightly before his strength seemed to return with a great ferocity. "The young dragon is going to wish he was never born when I am through with him." He turned towards Peter. "How go the preparations for the ritual?"
"We are close to having the necessary materials," Peter said, his voice quivering in fear once more. "All we require now is a host."
"That will not be a problem," Voldemort said snidely, "Even if it isn't who I wanted. We will simply make do."
A/N: I hope Harry's reasoning works for why he rejoined Dumbledore. Simply put he needs to find out what Dumbledore is up to, and the only way to do that is to go along with what Dumbledore is doing for the time being. Believe me when I say it won't be a completely blind following.
Dumbledore will explain exactly what Harry's up against in the next chapter.