I'm a terrible author. I know. Life has just passed me by. I do plan on continuing this fic so I hope that everyone will continue reading. I do plan on finishing this fic. I promise. But here, have a chapter.
Harry's heart pounded, his head jumbled with thoughts. He was lying in bed, trying not to wake Madam Pomfrey. He'd been up all night trying to think of a plan that wouldn't involve hurting other people. He'd gotten so close two nights ago and knew he couldn't possibly risk such a thing again. That was why Harry was planning to leave Hogwarts forever, and go in search Voldemort's horcuxes himself. It was dangerous and pretty stupid to be honest, but Harry had never been one to be very rational.
Placing a wandless, quietening and weight duplicating charm on his bed to fool Poppy that he wasn't moving, he crept up out of bed and silently tip-toed to the doorway, trying not to look towards Pansy, resting in her bed, the guilt eating him up inside. He stowed out of the Hospital Wing without any problems and started towards the dungeons. If he was leaving Hogwarts, he had to pack some essentials.
On his travels to the Slytherin dorms, he met no one, not even a Prefect, Head Boy or Girl out. Strange, Harry thought as he quickly strode towards his destination, all his senses perked up for an attack, but nothing, and no one, jumped out. He moved quietly and affectively towards the Slytherin dorms which was now just a few yards ahead of him. As he reached the stone portal he whispered the password, thankful that the house elves took care of squeaky and old doors from making sounds, and snuck in. He was hit almost automatically by a wave of magic his body registered as his own. Harry's whole body went slightly limp as in was brought back into his body, knitting back into his internal core. Feeling much more relaxed then when he came in, he strode confidently towards his dorm. He pushed open the door and went immediately towards his bed, pulling out his trunk. He waved his hand and all his clothing and possessions around his bed started to pack themselves neatly (he'd found the spell that Tonks had attempted to use back in his 5th year) whilst he went to the lavatory to collect his other belongings. Three minutes later he was just pushing shut his trunk when he felt a presence behind him. He whipped around so fast, and instinct made him grasp for his pocket, where his wand usually lay.
"Not so bad, Mr. Potter," the baritone voice of Severus Snape said, "however, you should have heard me from the moment I strode into the common room."
Harry barely lowered his guard, his Head of House catching him about to leave the castle, of course. His emerald eyes narrowed at the dark figure before him. He lifted his chin defiantly.
"You're wearing a Silencing Charm," he said, his point being made that he couldn't have possible heard him anyway.
"That I am, which means you should have reacted to the magic in the area that was not your own much faster, although," Snape paused, "you did notice me before I could hex you."
"I felt something behind me," Harry said with as much defiance and strength as he could. To be perfectly honest, the bit of wandless magic he'd used to pack, was now slightly wearing him down. He was feeling drowsy, and his body seemed to be dissolving his contact lenses.
"That was my magic. In time and with proper training, you will be able to notice me stalking up the dungeons," Snape explained, his eyes flicking slightly towards the packed suitcase and at Harry whose eyelids were now drooping.
"No, I'm leaving," Harry replied faintly, his body swaying dangerously. "I gotta find the horcruxes." His eyes widened in horror at what he said. "Oh shit. I hope you already knew about those otherwise another mad wizard will want me dead." Harry was so ridiculously drawn to stupidity from his exhaustion, he laughed at his own rather pathetic joke. "I'm just kiddin', Snapey! Dumbledore will never kill me. I needa kill Voldemort first. And Bellatrix," he said as if it just occurred to him. "That bitch killed my godfather you know! He called you Snivellius. Do you remember that?"
Dear Merlin! Snape thought as he watched Harry get stupider and more drunk-like by the second.
"Potter, sit down. You're not going anywhere. Yes, I know about the Dark Lord's horcuxes. Yes, I know Bellatrix killed your beloved dog and yes, I remember what he called me," Severus finished rather stonily.
Harry went to take another step towards Snape but his eyes were dropping and his body was heavy. "What's happening to me?" he asked groggily.
"You're body is exhausted, Potter. You've done too much and your magical core has been emptied. You need some serious rest," Snape replied, pulling Harry out of the room, charming his suitcase to follow.
Snape silently walked back to his rooms, dragging Harry with him which was proving to be very difficult as he seemed to have lost the movement of his legs. He was trying to think of a way to tell the Dark Lord about the recent events that wouldn't get him tortured. By the time Snape was retiring for the night, dumped and locking a now asleep Potter in his spare bedroom, he decided that there was no way and he'd just have to have a lot of healing potions on hand for when he returned.
Draco woke the following morning feeling quite empty. He rubbed at his eyes and immediately turned towards Harry's bed expecting to see only curtains. However the curtains were gone and the bed was bare. The blond frowned and looked around the Hospital Wing. Pansy still seemed to be resting and Draco tried not to stare at her heavily bandaged hand. He was about to call out for Madam Pomfrey when she came bustling out of her office.
"Good to see you awake, Mr. Malfoy. Are you feeling better?" the nurse asked as she waved her wand over him a few times.
Draco pondered for a moment. His stomach pain had lessened considerably and his head didn't hurt as much as it had the night before. Physically he was fine and informed Madam Pomfrey however he left out the fact that he still had the emptiness in his body and the need to go visit Harry. Draco cast another sidelong glance towards where Harry used to rest.
"He's not here," Madam Pomfrey said, not looking up from one of her charts.
"Where is he?"
"Mr. Potter will be residing with Professor Snape until further notice," Pomfrey said sharply and Draco frowned.
"Why not in the Slytherin's dorms?"
"Because Professor Snape does not want him in there. Enough questions now, Mr. Malfoy, let me examine you. Hopefully you will be released this afternoon."
Snape was striding towards Dumbledore's office when the left arm flared up. He kept walking as if nothing was wrong but quickly stowed away into a hidden alcove. He pulled up his sleeve and saw his Dark Mark singing in agony.
Voldemort needed him now.
Snape gritted his teeth and quickly strode out of the castle, using numerous shortcuts to get to the edge of the barrier as quickly as possible. As soon as he reached the Forbidden Forest the pain in his forearm became almost unbearable, but Snape showed little emotion on his face. He pulled out his wand and conjured his Death Eater robe and pulled it over him as he passed the invisible Anti-Apparation barrier that surrounded Hogwarts. He touched his to his Dark Mark and Dissapparted with a crack.
After the short, stomach pulling apparition, he appeared before an old but sturdy building. It stood three stories high with large cement stone peaks. Surrounding the building was a set of large faded gray steel doors. He walked up to them, presented his arm (which had stopped stinging when he arrived) and the gates swung open. He strode through, opening the house's door with his wand before carefully walking to where the only light and a soft sound was coming from – a small doorway with a eerie blue light emitting from it. He strode in to find several others kneeling in a large circle, in the middle, the infamous Lord Voldemort stood, his long death coloured robes hanging off him, his red eyes watching his still followers with a hard glare.
A large blue ball of light was hanging above the room, the only source of light in the room.
Lord Voldemort's head snapped up as Snape strode closer, and the Hogwarts professor strode towards him, knelt before him silently and kissed the hem of his Dark Lord's robes before going back to join the circle, the other followers having moved to accommodate him. He kept his head down, his dark hair covering his face like a curtain and awaited the start of what felt would be a very long and painful meeting.
Voldemort let out a large breathe and scanned the room and his eyes grew to slits at the size.
"Are there no others joining us tonight?" Voldemort asked harshly, striding to the outside of the circle. He took slow, even steps around his followers, his wand at the ready, his long pointed, dirty fingers circled around the wood. No Death Eaters moved. The room was filled with silence. Then Voldemort broke it, his wand lashing out harshly towards Avery from across the circle.
Avery's body contorted in agony, his breath ragged and harsh. His body fell back to the stone floor and his screams filled the room. Snape averted his eyes, keeping them locked on the floor before him. He took careful breaths, keeping his face void of emotion.
After a few more moments Voldemort released Avery of the curse and stalked towards him, all but one (Bellatrix, who was almost jumping at the chance to be near her master) of his Death Eater's spines stiffening as he walked passed them.
"Do you have any news for me, Avery?" Voldemort asked the still shaking figure on the ground. The Death Eater tried to sit up, but his body failed him, collapsing down again. "Avery..." Voldemort tried again, his voice deepening with anger and impatience.
"My Lord," Avery began speaking slowly, his lungs still burning with each inhale of the stuffy oxygen he breathed in, "the Deputy Minister of Magic has fallen to our control." He took in a large, but painful gasp of air. "Soon there will be an election and we will begin our full Ministry takeover."
Snape tried to hide his shock. This was the first he had heard of a Ministry takeover. Sure, he was a participant of the Ministry attack during the summer but he hadn't realised they were actually planning a sudden takeover so soon.
"Good, Avery, very promising," Voldemort purred and Avery smiled weakly at his Lord, kneeling properly once more.
"Lucius," Voldemort said next, turning to the blonde figure in the circle. "What news on Potter's family?"
"Very little, my Lord," the older Malfoy said, keeping his eyes averted. "They remain adamant that they do not know anything about Potter. It seems as if they don't even care about him, my Lord. When I threaten to hurt him, they don't even flinch, especially the large one. Perhaps we were wrong in our assumption that they would be useful to our cause."
The people's presence in the room became stilted at Lucius' words and Voldemort strode quickly over to where Lucius kneeled, standing over him like a shadow and leaned down, his mouth beside his ear.
"Pehaps," he hissed, "you just have not shown them the right type of treatment. If that is the case, dear Lucius, perhaps, you should be threatening each of them, rather than Potter. Perhaps, you just need to try a little," Voldemort brandished his wand, pushing it closer to Lucius' body with each word, "harder." Heavy breathing coming from Lucius. "Crucio!"
Lucius' body had been under the pain of the Cruciatus Curse more times than Avery and was slightly more accustomed to the pain that came with it, however tonight; Voldemort was particularly cruel, pushing more of his magic into the curse. Lucius was doing well though, no more than whimpers had escaped his mouth and he had merely fallen to the ground, writhing, rather than rolling around as Avery had. Snape watched with dark eyes as the blonde's hair flew everywhere, his jaw clenched and knuckles went white from the fists he was making.
Three beats later Lucius was released from the curse and he managed to crawl back to his original spot, his normally neat blonde hair skewed around his face.
"Do you have any other news for me, Lucius?" Voldemort asked, giving him one more chance to redeem himself.
"One more thing, my Lord," Lucius said, panting.
"Yes," Voldemort hissed, circling the Death Eater, his wand held securely in his hand.
"The younger muggle, he let something slip while he was being tortured," Lucius started explaining and Snape's breath caught. What had Lucius learnt? "The Potter boy, he has a different...preference than we assumed."
Voldemort stopped circling and looked down curiously at Malfoy.
"And what 'preference' might that be?"
"His, ahem, sexual preference, my Lord," Malfoy said, and Snape could see some small colour paint his normally pale cheeks.
"Are you implying that the Boy Wonder is a homosexual?" Voldemort asked, his voice rising as he finished his question.
"Yes, my Lord. His cousin found some, er, rather crude magazines in his room one day."
"Fascinating," Voldemort said and Snape thought he was going to elaborate. However, the Dark Lord merely moved onto his next follower in the circle. He moved onto MacNair and Thicknesse before standing before Snape.
"My dear, Severus," Voldemort almost whispered, his voice eerily sounding like that of a lover. Snape hid his grimace, lifting his head to greet his 'Master.'
"My lord," Snape said with faked gratitude.
"I hope that you bring us some promising news tonight."
For once, Snape was glad for his chance to speak. His news was most likely the most useful to all given tonight and Snape hoped that it would keep him from getting cursed.
"I believe so, my Lord," Snape answered and Voldemort locked eyes with him, the red gleaming with pride. Of course they would be. Snape was very important to Voldemort. "There was an incident that occurred three days prior between Potter and Draco Malfoy."
"Draco Malfoy, you say?" Voldemort said, glancing over to Lucius who was looking at Snape in alarm. Clearly he was being kept out of the dark about his son's happenings at school.
"Yes, my Lord. He and the Potter boy had a feud in the Slytherin common room when – " Voldemort interrupted him.
"Why was Potter in the Slytherin common room?"
Snape winced. He'd forgotten about mentioning that. His days had just melted together he hadn't even realised that many people outside of Hogwarts didn't know.
"Potter, my Lord, was resorted into Slytherin a couple of weeks ago." He tried relaxing his body, preparing it for the pain that would no doubt, be inflicted upon it soon enough.
Murmurs were heard throughout the room, Death Eaters whispering among themselves at the news. Most seemed surprised however Lucius merely had a puzzled look upon his face.
"'Resorted into Slytherin?'" Voldemort repeated softly.
"Yes, my Lord. The Sorting Hat ordered it itself."
"And why did this happen?"
"I believe it to be about Potter's old housemates. They weren't being the kindest to him when they all returned to Hogwarts. In fact, Ronald Weasley, his best friend since the beginning of his schooling at Hogwarts believes him to be Dark and untrustworthy. Basically his whole House had turned against him. Your plan is working perfectly, my Lord," Snape said, very surprised Voldemort hadn't lashed out against him for not informing him sooner.
"Yes, using the Imperius Curse on one of the reporters of the Daily Prophet has had a much better response than I had expected," Voldemort said, looking slightly thoughtful before turning back to Snape once more. "Is he fitting well in your House, Severus?"
"I believe so, my Lord. His skills in Potions class have been outstanding and the other problem in his other classes is his attitude. His class work has improved beyond words. His grades have even put him in front of the resident know-it-all Mudblood, Granger. He has made friends with Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini, Pansy Parkison and Theodore Nott, my Lord. They have become very close."
The crimson eyes of the Dark Lord narrowed slightly.
Snape gulped but kept his face neutral.
"Lucius' earlier words were correct. Harry had a short fling with Theodore Nott."
Theodore's father, who was kneeling beside Avery looked up sharply with surprise. Voldemort flew around, staring him down.
"I assume from your surprise, Nott, that you did not know of this, correct?"
"Yes, my Lord. This is the first I've heard of any of this. I had even no idea about my own son's preference towards boys, let alone his relationships," Nott said quickly and Voldemort scowled.
"From now on I expect you to be better knowledgeable about your son's activities, especially the ones surrounding Potter, is that clear?"
"Yes, my Lord, very clear." Nott bowed his head and Voldemort stood before him for one moment before turning around back to Snape.
"Continue, Severus. The feud with Potter and Lucius' boy – what was it about?" Voldemort asked curiously.
"I have been watching them very closely, my Lord and believe that the Potter boy and Draco have become close," he paused and forced himself to make eye contact with Voldemort, "quite close."
"Is that so?"
"Yes, my Lord. There had been a fight between the Gryffindor's and Potter. Draco came to his rescue and was badly injured." Lucius choked on his own spit. "I believe it was a major reason as to why Potter wished to be resorted.
"While Draco was in the hospital wing, Potter almost never left his side. He was very dedicated."
"And the fight that happened between the two of them?" Voldemort asked, and began pacing around the room again.
"Happened three days ago, my Lord. The results were almost deadly."
"The fight must have been rather passionate. Potter caused the entire Slytherin house to fall unconscious. Pansy Parkinson must have tried to come between them but was badly injured. She suffered 3rd degree magical burns to her hands."
"Did she touch his wand?" Voldemort asked curiously.
"No. She told me it was his shoulder."
"Well it seems Potter's magic has grown. Perhaps he will be able to hold a decent duel next time," Voldemort said with an evil grin upon his face.
"There's more," Severus said and the Dark Lord gestured for him to continue speaking.
"I believe Potter was in shock as to what he'd done to Miss Parkinson. He let out a rush of magic which caused everyone to fall unconscious. However Mr. Malfoy, who was closest suffered short term memory lost and was found the following night trying to climb into Harry's hospital bed."
"Their relationship has progressed quickly, I suppose."
"No, my Lord. It is to my belief that they are still not what you'd call an official couple. Draco spoke to me the next morning. He said he was drawn to Potter. It seems he was much more affected by Potter's magic than everyone else. My Lord, Mr. Potter's magic has grown exponentially," Snape finished trying to explain to Voldemort that Potter was not a mere child anymore, but a responsible and strong wizard.
Voldemort said nothing for a few minutes.
Snape glanced up at the ball of light above them for a moment before looking subtly around. Lucius seemed in a state of shock. Snape was pretty positive that Lucius believed that Draco would grow up to marry a respectable Pureblooded witch and father a heir to carry on the Malfoy lineage. By the looks of things between Draco and Potter, that wouldn't be happening any time soon. Snape moved his eyes further around. Bellatrix was following the Dark Lord, her dark eyes gleaming with something Snape hated to call anything but lust. He grimaced and turned to the others in the circle.
Crabbe and Goyle were, as always, looking a little confused and Snape refrained from rolling his eyes at the pair of them. Like father like son.
The others: McNair, Avery, Nott, Greyback, Scaboir, Lestrange and the remaining followers who Snape didn't know were all kneeling and had their heads bowed.
Snape's own dark eyes flickered over to where Voldemort was still walking around the circle, like an eagle circles his prey from above.
"Very well," Voldemort said after a few more tension-filled minutes. "You may go."
Severus had never obeyed his orders faster.
Worth the wait?
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