Chapter Forty: Christmas and Meetings

Raiden and Draco both smiled as they got off the Hogwarts Express to see Lucius and Narcissa waiting for them. Daphne's parents were with them and both sets of parents were smiling as Daphne linked her arm with Raiden's and then lifted her left hand, showing the engagement ring.

"Congratulations" Lucius said quietly to Raiden, who merely beamed at him, forgetting his Slytherin mask for the moment. There was nowhere in the either the Slytherin code of conduct, nor the Dark Lord's handbook that mentioned not being happy at being engaged.

"Thanks" he replied, before kissing Daphne, not minding in the least that he was doing it in front of her parents. Daphne's father looked about to object before his wife elbowed him in the ribs discreetly. Draco just rolled his eyes and put his arm round Nora, who had come up to stand with him.

Nearby, Blaise was introducing Hermione to his parents, and then she introduced him to hers. Their parents looked to be happy too, although Draco and Raiden couldn't hear what they were saying. After a few minutes, Blaise and Hermione separated, but not before hugging each other. Raiden was amused to note that the hugs seemed to be more natural and were losing the awkward edge that had been there in the beginning.

"See you on New Year's guys" he called out, receiving waves of acknowledgement from Hermione and Blaise as they left. Raiden kissed Daphne one more time and made a promise to have her visit on New Year's. Raiden and Draco then followed Lucius and Narcissa to their limo, sighing as they got in the back. As soon as they'd got underway, Lucius pinned Raiden with a stern look.

"Exactly what happened with that Horcrux retrieval Harry? Severus owled us about it, and the Dark Lord wants to talk to you too."

Raiden winced and looked towards Narcissa, only to find that no help would be coming from her at the moment. Looking at Draco he saw that his brother was smirking at him, obviously enjoying watching him squirm.

"I was caught in a situation I couldn't get out of" he said. "It's true!" he snapped, on seeing the disbelieving looks directed at him. "Look, Voldemort and I both thought that Dumbledore wouldn't risk having me drink that potion but we were wrong. He thought that it would be better for me to drink the potion as he could defend us better if anything happened. I wasn't given a choice and I couldn't do anything. Alright?"

Lucius and Narcissa exchanged a glance and then leaned forward, hugging Raiden tightly. "OK. We were just worried, as was the Dark Lord. You should have seen him Harry, pacing round the living room, snarling about killing Dumbledore in the slowest manner possible when the time comes. He was really worried about you."

Raiden relaxed into the embrace of his adoptive parents. "I know. You know, given that the ritual which brought him back was a familial one, technically he's part of the family."

His parents looked startled at this and then laughed when Draco snorted and said, "Yeah, because he shares your blood, he could be your father Harry."

Raiden leant back against the seat. "Oh Merlin Dray, can you imagine that. Voldemort as my father." Looking more serious he considered the situation and then smiled. "Then again, he'd actually be a good father, if he learnt to ground me rather than cursing me when I piss him off."

The driver of the limo was completely oblivious to the laughter that was coming from his passengers, thanks to a silencing charm. Once they'd recovered from the hilarity, Lucius wiped his eyes and said, "Maybe I should suggest it to him."

More hilarity ensued until Raiden sat up and commented, "No, I like him as my Master, but I don't want to lose you two as parents. Oh, I forgot, has he told you about the Avengers' first meeting on New Year's?"

Lucius and Narcissa both nodded and the rest of the trip passed in silence, punctuated by the occasional conversation about the school year so far. Lucius was quite pleased at the fact that Hermione was slowly becoming more and more a part of the Dark Side, and didn't seem to mind. She was the one who had thought up recent modifications to Voldemort's new policies regarding Muggleborns, and had done some research on Muggleborns and Squibs. The research wasn't yet complete but had already yielded startling results which the Dark Lord planned to bring up at the meeting on New Year's Eve.

When they got home they found they had a visitor. Voldemort rose from the sofa as the family entered and strode towards Raiden, wand out. Raiden gulped but stood his ground, sensing that his master wasn't angry with him.

As soon as he reached Raiden, Voldemort did something that had the Malfoy family's jaws hitting the floor – he pulled Raiden into a hug, before letting him go and running his wand up and down in the air in front of Raiden. Raiden recognized the diagnostic scan for what it was – it was the same spell that Madam Pomfrey used in the Hospital Wing.

While Voldemort was busy reassuring himself that his apprentice was fine and unharmed, Raiden had a wicked idea. With a small smirk he quietly whispered "Cluuck, cluck cluck cluck," imitating a hen. Narcissa heard this and smacked the back of his head, drawing chuckles from Lucius and Draco. Voldemort also heard but chose to ignore it, amused at the fact that Narcissa had smacked Raiden and his apprentice had done nothing to retaliate. If it had been anyone else he would have.

"I just wanted to see you before our meeting on New Year's Raiden, both to see for myself that you were all right and also to tell you that I expect all the Avengers to show up at the Manor in their cloaks, and use their Avenger names while around the other Death Eaters" Voldemort said once he'd sat down on the sofa in the living room.

Raiden eyed Voldemort curiously. "Is there going to be a full Death Eater meeting as well as the Avenger one then?" he asked.

Voldemort nodded. "Yes, although only you will be attending the Death Eater one. The rest of the Avengers will wait in the study, while the main meeting is conducted. I also want to ask, have you noticed any changes in your magic lately?"

Raiden frowned. "I've felt it increasing a bit; it surges up and down like a tide when I do any spells now. It's odd; it rises when I'm casting spells and then recedes when I'm not. Is that normal?"

Lucius was the one to answer this. "Yes Harry it is. It's a sign that your magic is getting ready for its maturity around your seventeenth birthday. I know it's a fair way away yet but the signs sometimes start early. Actually, the earlier the signs start appearing, the more powerful the wizard."

Voldemort nodded in agreement. "Yes. My own maturity signs started appearing several months before it actually happened as well. It's nothing to be worried about."

"Although we might have to find a secure room while you undergo it" Narcissa remarked, which had Voldemort, Lucius and Raiden staring at her in bewilderment, although in Voldemort's case it was quickly hidden.

"Why is that?" Raiden asked.

Narcissa smiled. "Because your magic will fix any, shall we say, physical deficiencies, in order for the magic to work better. Your full magical potential will make your body into what it needs to be in order to contain the magic safely."

"Oh" Raiden said, vaguely worried. Seeing this the adults smiled, or rather, Narcissa smiled while Voldemort and Lucius both smirked. "Don't worry Raiden, it's nothing to be alarmed about. You'll probably be asleep while this is happening anyway. If not, then it still isn't anything to fret over. Every wizard and witch goes through it."

Raiden nodded and firmly shoved it to the back of his mind. He remembered the lessons with Dumbledore and smirked. "Oh Master?" he said with an innocent smile which didn't fool Voldemort for a second.

"Yes Raiden" Voldemort said warily. Raiden smirked at him. "I think Fawkes has taken a liking to me. He certainly wasn't pleased with Dumbledore after that incident with the fake Horcrux and he stayed with me most of the time when I was in the hospital wing. What do you think the chances are of us having a phoenix on our side?"

Voldemort looked thoughtful. "I have no idea. It is possible that if you can convince Fawkes that you're siding with me for the betterment of the wizarding world then he might stay with you, however he is Dumbledore's companion and as such, has a certain amount of loyalty to the old coot."

There was a flash of flame just above Voldemort's head and Fawkes dropped onto his shoulder.

Not as much as you might think Tom the phoenix trilled, making sure that he could be understood by the humans, all of whom were in shock. Finally Raiden recovered enough to ask, "Fawkes, what are you doing here and are you going to tell Dumbledore?"

The phoenix flew to Raiden and trilled softly, soothing the momentary distress he'd sensed. No young fledgling, I will not tell Dumbledore. As for what I'm doing here, I came to help you. I know that Tom is not truly evil, if it hadn't been for Dumbledore and Tom's upbringing I could have helped him instead of watching as he slid into Darkness.

"I thought Phoenixes were drawn to the Light though – I'm grey at best" Raiden said, utterly confused. Fawkes trilled the phoenix equivalent of a laugh. Yes but even I can see that you and Tom working together is better than my companion's idea of the ideal world. Your ideas will bring Light and Dark back into balance, which is something that Dumbledore has long forgotten. Besides, you have enough Light in you for me to be able to help. Your intentions are good, young fledgling, even if others won't see it that way, at least at first.

"So you're helping us because you think that Raiden is going to bring magic back into balance, and you're conveniently ignoring the fact that he's a Dark Lord in training because you think that his overall purpose is more important" Voldemort asked.

Fawkes sang a few notes and then flew to Voldemort once more. My fledgling might be a Dark Lord in training Tom, but through his influence, you could very well be described as a Light wizard in training.

Fawkes then vanished in a flash of flame before Voldemort could react to what was to him, a grave insult. "Light-wizard-in-training, well I never" he growled as he prepared to Apparate back to Riddle Manor, while Raiden was doing his best to stifle the laughter that was threatening to escape at the look on his master's face at the Light wizard comment.

"I'll see you all on New Year's" Voldemort growled just before he disapparated. Once he'd gone, Draco and Raiden looked at each other and then collapsed on the sofa howling with laughter.

"Did you see his face?" Raiden questioned, before holding his ribs as laughter overtook him once more. Draco wiped tears from his eyes and gasped "Fawkes better be careful, I don't think our Lord is going to forgive that."

Raiden nodded helplessly, "Light wizard indeed, no one could ever describe my master as that. Oh, Fawkes was brilliant!"

The chuckles subsided as their stomachs rumbled. Looking at each other they blushed before turning hopefully to Lucius and Narcissa. "Any chance of dinner?" they chorused.

The week between Christmas and New Year's Eve passed quickly. Presents were exchanged on Christmas, with the other Avengers getting their presents via owl. On New Year's Eve, Raiden and Lucius Apparated to Riddle Manor and waited by Voldemort's throne in the meeting hall, while the other Avengers waited somewhat nervously in Voldemort's study for the main Death Eater meeting to be concluded.

"Good evening my loyal Death Eaters" Voldemort hissed. The Death Eaters all bowed nervously, and Raiden suppressed a snort. Yes his master was somewhat unnerving to be around when he was like this but really; the level of fear in the room was unbelievable. He shifted position quietly, and surveyed the room's occupants, quietly slipping into their minds at random, seeking out any that were disloyal.

He had almost finished his mental sweep when his danger sense kicked in. One of the younger Death Eaters stepped forward, aimed his wand at Voldemort and shouted, "AVADA KEDAVRA!" The Death Eaters ducked for cover, while Voldemort stared at the green light headed his way.

It never reached him as suddenly Raiden was in front of him. His sword, the one that he'd enchanted with charms to repel any magical spells that were thrown at him, appeared in his hand. The young Dark Lord deflected the deadly curse up into the ceiling and then froze the would-be assassin in his tracks.

His voice was soft, but filled with menace as he hissed, "Come here."

The recruit, whose name Raiden couldn't remember trembled as he walked forwards. He was aware that he was walking to his death but also knew that it would probably be a long time coming. Not many among the Death Eaters were privileged to know much about the Dark Lord's apprentice, although rumors that he was far more cruel and creative than the Dark Lord in terms of punishment had filtered down to the lower ranks. When the death of Bellatrix Lestrange had become common knowledge the lower minions had shivered in fear.

"Why did you just attempt to kill our Lord?" Raiden questioned softly, his tone one of complete authority but still menacing. The recruit shivered in fear. "I was told to my Lord" he finally stammered out.

Raiden considered this and then tilted his head to one side. "What's your name?" he enquired. The recruit shivered more violently and then finally said, "Yaxley."

Raiden smirked. "Well Yaxley, did you know that attempting to kill your Lord and master would result in death?" Yaxley trembled but bowed his head. "Yes my Lord. I'm sorry, I was under a compulsion spell, I didn't.."

"Save it!" Raiden snapped, his patience gone. Ruthlessly he tore through Yaxley's mind, seeking the truth of the matter. What he found enraged him although he controlled it before he did something like blowing up the room.

Freezing the unfortunate Yaxley in place with a Petrificus charm he turned to Voldemort who had recovered from his shock and was quietly amused and also proud of the way that Raiden was handling the affair. Master, what should we do now? Yaxley has to die, I know that, but should we kill him now in front of the others as a warning, or should we do it in private?

Voldemort considered the question carefully before replying, Kill him now, but be sure to tell the rest of our followers the exact reason for his death. After all, punishment isn't much use if they don't know the exact reason for it in the first place. Was he a Ministry spy?

No Master, he was placed under a compulsion by an Unspeakable though, which one I don't know. We need to strengthen our follower's resistance to Imperius or other forms of compulsion, what would you have done if I hadn't been here?

Voldemort was a bit exasperated at Raiden's assumption that he couldn't have taken care of the matter but secretly the Dark Lord was also rather shocked at his apprentice's level of concern and caring for him. What caused him even more consternation was the fact that the feelings of care and concern were reciprocated – he had somehow come to care for Raiden a lot more than just as his master. Shaking his head he hissed, Really Raiden, I would have dealt with it, it was just that you moved so fast I didn't have time to do so. Softening his tone a bit, although it wasn't obvious to any other Death Eater except Lucius he added, I do appreciate your concern for my well being though, and, - he hesitated and then decided to take the plunge, his image as a scary Dark Lord was well and truly shot to pieces with Raiden and his group anyway – I care about you too.

Raiden was stunned, he'd never thought that his concern for his master would be reciprocated, that hug at Malfoy Manor notwithstanding. Yet here his master was, admitting that he cared about Raiden in front of all his Death Eaters. Granted, only he and Voldemort could understand Parseltongue so it wasn't as though Voldmort was ruining his image in any way in front of them but still, it was startling.

Seeing Raiden's state of shock Voldemort scowled and hissed, Get back to work and finish off the traitor, we can discuss my moment of weakness later! He was faintly disturbed by his apprentice's smirk and the quiet hiss of It's not weak to admit you love someone Master as Raiden turned to face Yaxley.

"You have done something unforgivable Yaxley, you attempted to murder the man you swore allegiance to. For that crime, the only punishment is death. The sentence will be carried out now, but death for you, will be a fairly painful experience.

The Death Eaters were then treated a show of creative cruelty that left even the most hardened of them fighting to retain their dinners. Raiden didn't use the Unforgivables, instead he used a good variety of other Dark spells, as well as Healing spells to leave his victim in a sorry state. Voldemort was rather amused to see that Raiden was using some of the same spells that he'd used on Raiden as a punishment once, when Raiden was disputing being taught by Bellatrix.

Finally Raiden got tired of Yaxley's screams and silenced him with a silencing spell. "Now traitor, it is time for you to die" he said coldly, before he summoned up all the magical energy he could and let it fly from his fingers once more. What had happened as an accident with Bellatrix, Raiden had turned into a useful weapon. When Yaxley was shaking on the floor, his nerves fried by the magical electricity and literally steaming, Raiden rolled his eyes.

"Pathetic" he hissed as he levitated Yaxley off the floor and then used what he'd come to call his "Darth Vader trick", that being silently, and wandlessly, choking his victims to death. The Death Eaters watched all this in silence, many of them shaking, a few of the younger ones turning away and vomiting throughout the procedure. When Yaxley was finally dead Raiden surveyed the silent room.

"Now you all know the price of betrayal. See that you learn this lesson well, or else it might be you suffering that torment."

He stepped back behind Voldemort after cremating the body. His Incendio charm was so strong that the body vaporized almost instantly, causing the Death Eaters to gape at his power. Voldemort raised an eyebrow and Raiden shrugged.

Power spike? he offered. Voldemort shook his head. We will discuss this later my young apprentice, it would seem that your powers are growing more quickly than I anticipated. Raiden nodded and waited quietly while Voldemort quickly finished the meeting and dismissed the Death Eaters. As they left, Voldemort nodded to Severus and the Potions Master nodded back, he would report the evening's events to Dumbledore, along with Raiden's name and how powerful the apprentice seemed to be.

Once the Death Eaters had been dismissed, Voldemort and Raiden walked to Voldemort's study where they found the Avengers resting somewhat uneasily in various chairs. Daphne hugged Raiden when she spotted him, Raiden returning the hug enthusiastically. He also greeted Hermione, Blaise and Draco, before he spotted Remus. He hugged the werewolf, and then turned to introduce him to Voldemort.

"Master, I don't think you've ever been formally introduced to my companion here. This is Remus Lupin, also known as Moony, and was a friend of my parents and also Sirius. Moony, this is my master, Lord Voldemort, although he's really not as scary as the media portray him as. Why just before in the meeting he revealed his true feelings for me!"

He gave Voldemort a rather shy smile at this, causing the Avengers to snort in laughter, and Remus to shake his head in amusement. Voldemort narrowed his eyes, well aware that Raiden was making a joke at his expense.

"Unless you want your friends to witness my creative ways of punishing you Raiden I would suggest you modify your current behavior, am I clear?" he asked mildly. His tone might have been mild but the underlying message was clear and Raiden sobered immediately. "Yes Master" he replied and sat down next to Daphne.

Voldemort sat at the head of the table and surveyed the group before him. "Well. This is the first official meeting of the Avengers. The only member we are missing is Sirius Black and we will be seeing him again at the end of the year. So, to business. Have any of you got anything you wish to discuss?"

The Avengers were silent, all of them nervous to some degree about speaking in front of Voldemort. Finally Raiden grew tired of the silence and spoke. "Athena, didn't you have some research you wanted to tell us about?" he asked. Hermione jumped and blushed but drew out some notes from her bag.

"Yes I did" she said, coughing slightly. Once her notes were organized she looked down at them and then up at the table. "I was doing some preliminary research and it seems to indicate that most so called Muggle-born witches and wizards usually have a squib or full witch or wizard in their family tree somewhere along the line. Most muggle born witches and wizards are either descended from squibs that have been cast out by their families and adopted new names in the Muggle world, or they are the result of two aforementioned squibs marrying and procreating. If we want the wizarding world to remain secret from the Muggle one then we need to create some sort of charm to protect our existence."

"What do you mean Miss Granger?" Voldemort asked, interested.

Hermione looked at him and then lowered her eyes again. "I mean a charm to place on the families of those Muggle born witches and wizards to ensure that they can never speak of magic outside their immediate family, not to cousins, aunts, uncles, no one. Also, have a sort of magical aptitude test and only allow the strong ones to come to Hogwarts. The weaker ones could have their magic bound and essentially be squibs."

"That is one alternative but wasn't there another?" Voldemort asked. Hermione nodded. "Yes sir. The other one is to do a sort of exchange. Magical children born to Muggles are swapped with squibs."

"Hmm. They would look different from their parents though, if it was a simple swap" Remus put in thoughtfully.

Draco shook his head. "Yes I agree but if some sort of potion was worked out which essentially gave each child the DNA of their adoptive parents there would be no difference. The parents would go home happy – the magical parents have a child who is magical, and the Muggles go home, Obliviated, and with a non-magical child."

Daphne interjected with, "Yes and if another potion was developed to give every magical couple the guarantee that their child or children would be magical then in time there would be no more "Muggle born" witches or wizards to swap, and no more squibs. Then the Wizarding world could completely hide from the Muggle one."

"No it couldn't" Raiden suddenly said. He'd been listening to the discussion and thought the second idea was probably the best one all round but there was still a problem. "There are several problems. First, we still have to use Platform Nine and Three Quarters, plus Diagon Alley, not to mention the Ministry visitor entrance. Also, who do you think makes the thousands of cauldrons we use for Potions and the plants, and materials for clothing? Like it or not we still have to maintain some contact with the Muggle world, for the supplies they have that we don't. We just have to rework it so there's no suggestion of magic."

"Well those supply issues can be worked out, all that's needed is to just sort out who knows what and make sure that if the workers know about magic that they can't repeat it to anyone. Maybe that charm idea could be used" Blaise offered.

Raiden nodded thoughtfully. "I suppose, seeing that this issue hasn't been a problem for years that it will continue to run itself, yes?" he queried.

Voldemort nodded. "Yes Raiden it will. The farmers, cauldron makers and so on are aware of our world but they are sworn to secrecy. Actually, the farmers aren't aware of our world at all, they just think that we're very good customers and don't think of anything else. The cauldron makers are usually squibs but again, they don't resent that fact so this worry about the minimal contact we have to have with the Muggle world is a minor one."

Raiden nodded. "Very well then. I was thinking that when we restructure the Hogwarts education system, we leave everything pretty much as is, just with a few additions and improvements. We have a Dark Arts class added to the curriculum, available to sixth and seventh years that show sufficient mastery of Defence Against the Dark Arts, we modernize Muggle Studies and make it compulsory for every wizard raised child from third year to fifth. After fifth year they can drop it if they wish but they should learn how much Muggles have managed to advance in recent years with technology. Divination will be scrapped – if a student, or students should truly have the gift then it will be arranged that a true Seer will teach them to use their gift, but it will not be offered as a proper class anymore."

"What about physical fitness?" Remus asked.

Raiden brightened. "Draco was looking into that" he replied and all attention focused on Draco, who blushed under the intense gazes.

"Right" he coughed. "I was thinking that for wizards to be able to use their full magical potential they need to keep fit. So I was thinking maybe we ought to have some more fitness related activities rather than just flying and Quidditch. Fencing is a good example, as is martial arts."

"Isn't martial arts a Muggle thing?" Blaise enquired. Draco shook his head stiffly. "Apparently not. Wizards developed it, and then the Muggles observed them practicing one day and stole the idea, gradually developing their own styles. We won't do all of their styles, just the basics. It's a very good idea to be able to fight without your wand, as well as being able to run for a reasonable distance before becoming winded."

"What about wandless magic?" Remus asked.

The Avengers shared a grin and then wandlessly levitated their chairs, with Raiden levitating Voldemort and Remus as well. "Yes Moony. Wandless magic will be another class, an elective, as we're hoping to find more students with the ability. Everyone actually has the ability but we're taught to use wands from an early age and all too soon they become a crutch for us and we become helpless without them, in terms of using magic. Accidental magic we do as children is wandless, the only difference between it and something like we're all displaying now is that accidental magic is largely unfocused and undirected whereas this is very focused and direct. The only real focused and direct use of wandless magic in use today is the Animagus spell, which is why it's so difficult to accomplish, as wizards are unfamiliar with using magic without a wand.

Remus nodded. "I can see that Raiden, would you mind coming down now? I don't quite like it up here." Raiden smirked and lowered Remus down to the ground, followed by Voldemort and then himself. The rest of the Avengers followed his lead and soon all the chairs were back where they belonged.

The rest of the meeting went well, and at the end Voldemort walked over to Hermione. "Miss Granger, may I have a word in private?" he asked. Hermione looked unsure but nodded. "OK sir" she said hesitantly. Voldemort led her over to the fire and sat down, inviting her to take a seat as well. Once she'd done so she found herself under a penetrating gaze.

"Why do you seem so nervous around me Hermione?" Voldemort queried softly. "Surely you know that I'm not about to hurt you? Raiden would never permit it and I find myself intrigued by your intelligence. I was once described as Dumbledore's most brilliant student and you are the only one that really comes close to matching my accomplishments."

Hermione looked startled. "My Lord, Raiden is about as academic as I am, we constantly compete for the top spots in classes. I know you're not going to hurt me, but I'm concerned about my parents. What if a Death Eater were to go after them?"

"That won't happen. The Death Eaters know better than to defy me and launching an attack without permission is considered defiance. Besides, after tonight, all I'll have to do is threaten to let Raiden loose on them and they'll be too terrified to step out of line."

Hermione raised a questioning eyebrow. Voldemort smiled grimly. "One of the lower level Death Eaters was overcome by a compulsion spell from an Unspeakable earlier today and tried to kill me tonight. Raiden deflected the spell he used into the ceiling and then tortured and killed him as a warning to the others that he didn't take attacks on me very kindly. After his little display even the most hardened of my followers were looking a little green around the gills."

Hermione swallowed, she didn't need the details of what had happened to the unfortunate Death Eater, her imagination, as well as her reading about the Dark Arts and her knowledge of Raiden's personality and relationship with the Dark Lord were enough to let her figure out some of what must have happened. She looked up when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

"Relax Hermione; you and the rest of the Avengers are safe here. None of my Death Eaters will touch any of you, that's why you came here dressed in the cloaks and masks, the Death Eaters will not touch anyone wearing that uniform. Now, are you alright?" Seeing her nod, Voldemort smiled and gently pulled her to her feet. "Let's go back to the others before my apprentice comes over here to ensure that I'm not molesting you or anything."

Hermione chuckled at that and smiled back. Really, everyone portrayed Voldemort as a heartless bastard, and deep down she knew that he could still be very cruel when he wanted to be. In this setting however, he seemed to be restraining that particular aspect of himself.

"I do so because it wouldn't do to have the lot of you quivering in fear like most of my Death Eaters. Plus, I figure my reputation as a Dark Lord is shot to hell with all of you anyway so I can relax a bit, I know you won't give it away" Voldemort commented as they walked over to Raiden and Draco. Hermione looked at him, startled.

"Did you read my mind my Lord?" she asked.

Voldemort shook his head. "No, your surface thoughts were practically being shouted to anyone with sufficient Legilimency skills to pick up on them." Hermione blushed and Raiden chuckled as he dropped an arm round her shoulders.

"Don't worry Mione, he's done that to me loads of times" he reassured her. He then gave her a sly grin and said in a slightly louder tone. "Dray, do you remember that conversation we had in the car on the way home from King's Cross?"

Draco thought for a minute and then his eyes gleamed, practically daring Raiden to do it. Raiden accepted the dare and turned to Voldemort, who had narrowed his eyes in suspicion.

"What is it Raiden?" Voldemort asked. Raiden gave him an innocent smile.

"Nothing. I was just thinking that that ritual that brought you back, it made us family of a sort yes?" Voldemort slowly nodded and then was shocked out of his wits when Raiden stepped forward and hugged him.

"Glad to have finally found you Dad" Raiden said impishly as he released his master, who was recovering from his shock.

Seeing the stunned faces of everyone around them, and the gleam in Raiden's eyes, Voldemort slowly ran a finger down his wand. "You have thirty seconds to start running, apprentice, before I do something drastic, like removing various body parts" he said ominously, nodding towards Raiden's wand hand. Raiden squeaked and ran, reaching the door and running through it seconds before a volley of hexes followed him. The Avengers heard him yelp as several hexes followed him down the corridor and made contact, but they were too busy laughing to do anything to help.

When Raiden finally returned he was met by gales of laughter as around his neck sat a collar with "Property of Lord Voldemort" on it and he was dressed in Gryffindor red and gold. Glaring at his master he tugged at the collar. "Get it off!" he snarled, glaring at Voldemort.

The Dark Lord raised an eyebrow. "Only if you apologise for what you did earlier" he said.

Raiden sighed but obeyed. "I humbly apologise for my earlier actions and I won't repeat them ever again" he said. Voldemort smirked and with a flick of his wand the collar vanished and the Gryffindor colors faded.

"I quite like being your Master, you impertinent brat but I'm hardly father material" was Voldemort's dry comment as Raiden said goodbye to his friends. An absent nod and reply of "Yes but it was funny" was the only reaction he got. Daphne was the last to leave, and they shared a long hug and a kiss at the fireplace.

"See you at Hogwarts" was Daphne's parting comment. Raiden merely nodded, kissed her one last time and returned to Voldemort's side, where they spent the rest of the evening finalizing plans, and starting to hammer out the rough idea of how to deal with separating the Muggle and Wizarding worlds for good.