well, i want to thank the two reviewers and say sorry for being so long. i was reeeeeeally not sure about continuing with this, but i did get a couple reviews and a lot of favorites and alerts, so i'll throw this one up and see what everyone thinks. i'd love to turn this really horrifying and dark, try and take a story in a direction i've never seen an HP fic go before. if i can make the next chapter do what's in my head, that's where it'll really begin to heat up. either way, i hope you enjoy this, even though it's not too exciting.
Harry shelved another volume in frustration, glaring venomously at the horcrux lying benignly on the shelf. Every volume on the shelf, with the exception of the Zegrembi Manuscript, was written in another language; and the only English one dealt almost entirely with some kind of fire beings. The only languages he could hazard guesses at were German and Arabic, and it would take years for him to learn enough to translate these. He slipped out of the room and clicked the painting shut. He'd need a translating spell before he could even attempt to learn anything from these powerful tomes.
Harry wandered out into the hallway, unsure of how to proceed. On the one hand, he was in an untraceable location, so his wand would be able to perform any spellwork without repercussions. However, if he needed to leave Grimmauld Place… He shuddered at the thought of his activities being discovered.
'Dumbledore would have me chained in the basement, or erase my memory,' he thought bitterly. 'All for the greater good, of course…' Being preoccupied with his musings, Harry didn't see Hermione until he had nearly plowed right into her.
"Harry! We've been looking all over for you, where have you been?" she asked loudly. "It's been over 2 hours, we were-"
"I was in the library researching something for potions," he cut in, grinning inwardly to himself. The only way to stop a Hermione-level rant was to cut her off before she could get started, and to say something about education. "I found something, but, well..," he floundered, his heart racing a little as an idea formed on the fly.
"But, it's in another language. It looks like a real good one too, pictures and everything," he rambled. "I know we can't do magic here, I'll get someone to translate it for me…" He made to walk away, praying she would take the bait. It was his only chance to get a translation spell out of someone without them demanding to know too much.
"Are you sure that's wise, Harry?" she asked skeptically. "Ostendo sum lingua would translate anything to the caster's native language, but if the book is cursed it could activate any dormant magic, not to mention it could be full of dark magic…" Harry fought hard to put on a contemplative face, his heart racing even more as he tried his best to finish out his little act.
"Maybe you're right, Hermione, it does sound a little risky. Maybe I'll just go consult my textbook again, I might have missed what I'm looking for."
"Good for you, Harry! I'm glad you're taking your studies seriously, unlike a certain Ronald Weasley…" She frowned darkly and walked off, muttering something about 'lazy' and 'insensitive.' Harry took a relieved breath, sweating a little from adrenaline as he bolted to his room and wrote the spell down on a spare piece of parchment. He grinned down at the words, quite proud of pulling off (though just barely) the first step of his plan. Perhaps he wasn't as bad at deception as he thought.
The next part of Harry's self-imparted mission was going to be far harder, however. It had been four days and Harry had thought of absolutely no way to escape from his captors for even a minute, let alone a few hours. It seemed as though he was shadowed everywhere in the house! If someone wasn't following him (usually these were attempted covert missions, but Harry was able to spot them tailing him through the house easily once he knew what to look for) then they were making up some excuse or another to be in the room with him. His only privacy seemed to come when he was in the room he shared with Ron, and it was a challenge to get the other boy to leave. Most often he wouldn't last too long once Harry started studying, and no one else usually came in.
Harry was currently seated on the windowsill in rare privacy, staring outside and feeling for all the world like a prisoner on death row, with all the tools needed for escape just inches beyond reach from his cell. He glanced back at his trunk, where the translation spell was safely stashed, sighing softly.
'So close and yet so far,' he thought to himself. 'If I could only perform a little bit of magic without the fear of getting caught… Too bad Dobby can't do wizard magic…'
Harry rushed down Diagon Alley and took the dirty side street leading down into Knockturn Alley, crouching just a little to keep his invisibility cloak from exposing his ankles. It had taken no convincing at all to get the little house elf to charm a lookalike to slip under the covers, and he had nearly cried at the honor of taking Harry to the alley. One snap of his fingers, and Dobby would come back and Harry would have his exit back to the house, so his only real concern was finding a wand shop as fast as possible. He lamented having to avoid Ollivander's. The man was a genius at wandmaking but there would be a trace on it, and that would not do at all. After some searching he saw a dirty sign hanging above a dirty shop tucked into a dirty little alcove; Harry didn't spare time to catch a name, the crossed wands was all he needed to see and so he slipped inside.
The shop owner was a large and burly man a little more than half Hagrid's size, with a shock of black hair and a thick but short beard to match. He appeared more like a lumberjack than a wand maker, but Harry wasn't going to question it if it got him what he needed. True, he wanted quality merchandise, but he needed to be fast and something would be far better than nothing.
"Who's there?!" The man drew his wand and eyed the store furtively.
Damn. Harry realized he had left the cloak on. He swallowed and pressed on, thinking to himself that it was probably a good thing. No one would know who he was this way.
"I'm a customer," he said as bravely as he could. The wand aimed quickly in his general direction. "It would be better for me to not be seen though. I need a wand."
"Take your pick," the man grunted, pointing to a stack of boxes at the end of the long table.
"A custom wand," Harry corrected, "One that's attuned to me." The shopkeeper rolled his eyes and nodded.
"Can I at least see your hand for this, or will it be better to not see them too?" he said scathingly. Harry bit back a retort and pulled back his right sleeve, his apparently floating hand taking the first offered wand and waving it. Nothing.
After about ten minutes he felt a strong pull from the one offered. The shopkeeper eyed the wand as it glowed a bright red for a moment.
"Huh, glad to finally get rid of that one," he grumbled. "Violent sun'bitch, that one. Gray ash, 12 inches, dragon heartstring. That dragon managed to burn down a whole village before they got 'im, too. Untraceable wand, 17 galleons." Harry said nothing, dropping the money on the table and tucking the wand away and silently rushing from the shop, snapping his fingers before he was halfway out the door. In and out, just like he had planned.
Once again he stood in the room, the Necronomicon laying on the table open before him. He shakily raised his new wand, the spell rolling from his lips as the wand glowed in response to his command.
"Ostendo sum lingua."
Like water, the Arabic calligraphy rippled and moved of its own accord, shifting and rearranging into English characters. Harry turned to the other documents, a nod of satisfaction his only response before he laid bare the secrets of his private library to his thirsty mind. Voldemort would never know what hit him, not this time.