This is the first in a series of Vignettes involving one of the most powerful but underused magic in the HP universe: Veritaserum.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter universe and all related materials are the property of J.K. Rowling, Bloomsbury and Warner Brothers. I am in no way affiliated with JKR, Bloomsbury or Warner Brothers, and use their materials without their permission or knowledge.
The Diggory Factor
"The truth. It is a beautiful and terrible thing, and should therefore be treated with great caution."
- Albus Dumbledore - The Philosopher's Stone
"It is Veritaserum - a Truth Potion so powerful that three drops would have you spilling your innermost secrets for this entire class to hear."
- Severus Snape - The Goblet of Fire
Despite the debilitating effect of weeks of Cedric-murder nightmares, Harry was still a light sleeper. At the first hint of something unusual, he was prepared to rip the wand from under his pillow and fire off the disarming spell.
That was when he discovered he was in a full body-bind.
Panicked visions of Voldemort coming to torture him filled his suddenly alert mind. If capable of moving, he would shake in terror. As it was, all he could do was breathe rapidly and feel his heart beating wildly.
Out of the corner his eye, Harry watched helplessly as a dim figure stepped from the deepest shadows and walked calmly towards him. Any second he expected to see the telltale green flash of the killing curse, and doubted his mother's magic would help him this time.
When the figure raised its wand, Harry was mentally screaming.
A white light filled the room, chasing the shadows back to their corners and blinding Harry with its unexpected brightness.
"Hello, Harry," said a calm voice that most definitely did not belong to Voldemort.
Blinking away the glare, Harry's eyes eventually adjusted to a half-familiar face looming over him.
"So good to see you again," said a scruffy looking Amos Diggory, with a slightly manic smile.
Confused, Harry could do nothing except watch as Mr. Diggory leaned over him, wobbling unsteadily. The foul stench of alcohol on his breath would have made Harry gag, if he could have.
"I am going to release you, well, your head at least, but don't bother screaming or calling for help. I've already silenced the room, and guess who your guard is tonight? That's right, me!"
He raised his wand again, but hesitated.
"Oh, hang on. I have a little surprise for you first. That's right; nearly forgot. How about a little drink then, eh Harry?"
He took a shaky step backwards and removed a half-empty bottle from a pocket of his robes. Fumbling with the lid while trying to keep his wand up, and swaying precariously, he finally managed to open the bottle.
"Now!' he said, staggering back over to Harry. "What shall we drink to? Oh, I know. How about we drink to Cedric?
"To Cedric!" he shouted, lifting the bottle up in a salute. "The finest son a man could wish for."
Then he downed a significant gulp of the drink, spluttering slightly when he finished.
"But you are too young for this, aren't you, Harry?" he slurred. "What are you, fourteen? Fifteen? Only a few years younger than my Ced, aren't you? Well, no matter. I've got a very special drink for you right here."
Harry watched in growing anxiety as Diggory fumbled through his pockets, finally removing a small crystal vial filled with a clear liquid.
"Here we go, Harry. A special drink for a special boy - nothing but the best for the boy-who-outlived my Cedric, eh?
"Do you know what this is? It's Veritaserum, the truth drug, taken from your nasty Professor Snape just last night. How about that then? Special enough for you, is it? I thought so."
Uncorking the vial with a loud pop, Diggory roughly grabbed Harry's unresisting head and prised his mouth open.
"Now, let's find out exactly what happened to my boy, then," he mumbled, pouring a lot more than three drops into Harry's open mouth.
Harry tried to spit it out, but his body wouldn't cooperate. He tried twisting his head, and not swallowing, but in the end, the burning potion made its way in.
A hazy, unreal feeling swept over Harry. He could still think, but he had the utmost desire to answer any question asked of him. He knew there was no resisting, unlike the Imperius curse that he could throw off fairly easily.
"Now then," said Diggory, dragging the rickety chair from the desk to sit next to Harry's immobile head. "How about you tell me what happened to my boy then?"
Harry tired to start speaking, but the bind held him still. He wanted to answer, needed to answer, but the spell stopped him. With increasing desperation, Harry futilely fought against the magic.
"Oops," said Diggory. "Sorry about that."
For a moment the man looked confused. He obviously wanted to remove the curse, but didn't want to turn off the light from his wand. Eventually he managed to cast a different spell, one that caused a floating ball of white fire to appear above them, and then he partially removed the body bind, freeing Harry's head.
"Peter Pettigrew murdered Cedric with the Killing Curse," said Harry, the moment he could speak.
The relief of being able to say it washed over Harry like a cool breeze when hadn't realised he was hot. Not answering caused an almost physical pain.
"Peter Pettigrew? Isn't he the one Black murdered," asked Diggory.
"No. Pettigrew faked his own death and framed Sirius Black," said Harry.
"Pettigrew was my parents' Secret Keeper. He betrayed them. Sirius hunted him down and was about to kill him when Peter faked his death and framed Sirius."
Diggory shook his head to clear it, obviously a bit confused.
"Why did Pettigrew kill Cedric?" he asked, getting back on track.
"Voldemort ordered him to," said Harry.
Diggory sobered, the truth striking him like a slap. Whatever his reasoning for not believing Dumbledore and Harry previously, there was no denying it now.
"Why? What did my Ced do to him?" mumbled Diggory, mostly to himself.
"Because he wasn't needed," said Harry bluntly. "Voldemort called him a spare and ordered Pettigrew to kill him. He only wanted me alive."
"Why you?" sobbed Diggory bitterly. "What's so special about you? You are nothing, just an average school kid. You aren't even that great at Quidditch – my Cedric was better!"
"Voldemort wanted me alive so that, when he used my blood in the ritual to give him back a body, he would have some of the ancient Magic my mother used to protect me. He wanted to make himself immune to it, since I used it against him in first year."
"First year? You faced him in your first year? What are you talking about, what happened?"
"Voldemort possessed Professor Quirrell in order to steal the Philosopher's Stone from Hogwarts. My friends and I tried to stop him, but he ended up fighting me alone. When I touched Quirrell, my hands burnt him. I drove Voldemort's spirit out and he ran away back to Albania."
Diggory was opened mouthed.
"Sweet Merlin," he said. "Why didn't anybody know about this?"
"Professor Dumbledore kept it quiet," said Harry.
"Why? Why didn't he want everybody to know Voldemort wasn't dead?"
"He didn't want Voldemort's followers to hear about it," said Harry, surprised at his own words. "Otherwise they might have gone looking for him."
"But they did anyway," said Diggory. "And now we are completely unprepared. The Ministry isn't admitting he is back. They told me it was a tragic accident and you were somehow to blame. Merlin lad, they are spreading gossip about you, saying all this is lies made up by you to get more attention. Why didn't Dumbledore prepare us?"
"Because I am the only one that can destroy Voldemort," said Harry, again completely shocked as words he had no control over fell from his lips.
Where was this coming from? This wasn't just something Harry deep down believed, was it? Diggory was obviously thinking along the same lines.
"How do you know that?"
"I heard my parents discussing a prophesy before they died," said Harry, shocked yet again.
"A prophesy? What prophesy?"
"The prophesy made by Professor Sybil Trelawney before I was born. It says 'The one with the power to vanquish the- Dark Lord approaches… born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies … and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not … and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives … the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies.'
"It could have applied to either Neville Longbottom or me, but Voldemort thought it meant me and came after us. By 'marking' me with this scar, he selected which of us he now believes is his only true opponent."
Diggory sat back in his chair in amazement, obviously fighting to overcome the alcohol muddling his brain and understand what he was hearing. It was minutes before a frown creased his forehead and he asked another question.
"How could you remember this? You were only a baby when your parents died. Nobody remembers that far back," said Amos.
"No consciously, but the Veritaserum makes it impossible for me not to tell the truth if I know it, even if I don't realise I know it."
Diggory sat silently, apparently pondering the words of the prophesy. He even had Harry repeat it a few times to get it straight. Harry's own mind was boggling at the implications, and not just of his newly revealed, predetermined fate.
"Either must die at the hand of the other. You can't kill him if you are dead. What can it mean?" Diggory asked himself out loud.
"Voldemort must kill me before I can kill him," said Harry without hesitation.
It was a chilling idea.
"Nobody can come back from the dead, can they?" asked Diggory, sounding hopeful.
"No, but if Voldemort hits me with a killing curse, I probably won't properly die, then I will kill him."
"What do you mean you won't properly die? It was good enough to kill my Cedric. Why wouldn't it work on you?"
"I have a piece of Voldemort's soul inside of me. The killing curse will destroy it, 'killing me', but I won't stay dead because I will still have my own soul."
"A piece of his soul? What do you mean, 'A piece of his soul'?"
"He has split his soul into several pieces. The night he tried to kill me, my mother's sacrifice protected me, but when the Avada curse rebounded, it accidentally split another piece of his soul off. That piece lodged itself inside me."
"Sweet Merlin," said Diggory, absently taking another swig from his half-forgotten bottle. "And Dumbledore knows this?"
"He suspects it. I gave proof Voldemort split his soul two years ago when I destroyed a book that was draining Ginny Weasley's life force in an attempt to recreate a sixteen-year-old version of him."
"How do you know then, if Dumbledore only suspects?"
"My scar is a link to Voldemort's mind. I can read his thoughts, see what he sees, and hear what he hears."
"You can read you-know-who's mind?"
"Yes, but I didn't know it consciously until now. It happens on a subconscious level, although sometimes, when he is particularly emotional, I am aware of it, sometimes even seeing out of his eyes while I am asleep."
A cunning gleam appeared in Diggory's eyes.
"What is the bastard planning then?"
"He is going to lay low and build his power base. The Ministry is doing his job for him, pretending there is no problem. He will use this to his advantage and undermine every part of the Ministry itself, eventually taking complete control. He will establish a reign of terror designed to last millennia.
"Once he has complete control of the wizarding world, he will wipe out or enslave all Muggles and non-humans. He will take revenge for his Muggle father's perceived betrayal of his witch mother by destroying all Muggles and Muggle born, but first he wants to get a hold of the whole prophesy.
"Currently he only has a portion, given to him by Severus Snape, and even though he cannot die while parts of his soul still exist, he is afraid."
"Where are the other parts of his soul?" asked Diggory intently.
"One is in the Snake he keeps by his side, Nagini. One is inside the Locket of Salazar Slytherin, hidden in a cave he visited in his youth. One is inside the Cup of Helga Hufflepuff, in Bellatrix LaStrange's Gringotts vault. One is in the Peverell family ring buried under the old Gaunt house in Little Hangleton. One is in the Diadem of Ravenclaw, inside the Room of Requirement in Hogwarts. One is inside me, although he doesn't realise it, and the last piece is inside the body recreated by the ritual Pettigrew performed after murdering Cedric."
Diggory took a sharp intake of breath at Cedric's name, as if he had temporarily forgotten why he was here, only to have his face slapped with it when he was unprepared.
"Where is the black-hearted, half-blood bastard hiding now then?"
"He has set up a base in Malfoy Manor," said Harry, his voice croaking with dryness.
The revelations and the harsh magical truth drug were taking their toll on him, and he was starting to feel a bit dizzy. His eyes kept losing focus and were watering heavily.
"Are you okay?" asked Diggory automatically.
Even drunk, he was still a decent man.
"No," answered Harry. "I am suffering from years of malnutrition and poor medical attention, I've dozens of injuries that have never been healed properly, and the overdose of the truth drug is putting a huge strain on my already suffering system.
"I haven't had a decent night's sleep since Cedric was murdered in front of me, and I am currently completely cut off from my friends. The lack of meaningful letters and informative communication is driving me mad, the piece of Voldemort's soul in my head is getting stronger and affecting me more, making my emotions quite unstable, and puberty has been rearing its ugly head lately, messing up my already shaky psyche.
"On top of all of that, the emotional abuses I have suffered at the hands of my hateful relatives for my whole life, along with the flip-flopping whims of the magical world, have severely affected my mental health."
Diggory was almost as astounded as Harry at the list of ailments.
"Anything I can do?" asked Diggory, again more out of habit than anything else.
"You can give me the antidote to the Veritaserum, get me out of this blasted house, and go to Dumbledore with everything you have discovered tonight.
"Using the murder of your son, Dumbledore's backing, and some of the information you now have as leverage, you can oust Fudge from power and take over the Ministry yourself before Voldemort can make any great headway.
"By subjecting Voldemort's known followers to Veritaserum questioning, like Lucius Malfoy and all of the others named at the resurrection, you can destroy the old support base and remove most of his political and monetary power. With the Ministry and the people behind you, you can debunk the false Blood Purity beliefs and rally all non-humans and humans to work together to stop another war.
"This should marginalise the Dark Lord and reduce his threat to manageable levels.
"In secret, you can aid Dumbledore to find and destroy the Horcruxes, making Voldemort mortal, so that when I eventually face him again, I'll have a chance to destroy him – if I survive the killing curse he must hit me with. If I don't, you will still be able to destroy him since your actions will be a direct result of my advice – effectively 'by my hand'."
Diggory sat silently for a long time, apparently pondering Harry's words.
"That," he finally said, fumbling in his pocket to produce a different vial, "is an absolutely sterling idea."
Once again, thanks to AFC for help and suggestions, especially Zanymuggle and japanese_jew, and also Someguyfawkes who spotted that I forgot the ring!