Summary: Harry Potter is just an eccentric school boy with some unusual talents. Lord Peverell-Black, on the other hand, is a magically and politically powerful man with the world at his fingertips and a war at his doorstep. [Time travel, no pairings.]
Shards of Time: The Master of Death
"In youth we learn, in age we understand." – Marie Von Ebner-Eschenback
The atrium of the Ministry of Magic looked just as Harry remembered it from his fifth year, sparkling ceiling, gleaming fountain and all. The place was even busier than he remembered, Harry thought as he watched the hundreds of wizards streaming in and out via floo and Apparition.
Harry couldn't help but frown at that fountain, with its witch, wizard, centaur, goblin, and house-elf. Having interacted with other species so much he frankly found the monument to be disgusting. Wizards thought so much of themselves, and yet so many of them were completely incompetent.
Dumbledore swiftly led Harry through the atrium. As they walked people began to stare at them and the room broke out in loud whispers. Dumbledore just smiled serenely and led his way through the masses. Despite his current feelings towards the older man, Harry couldn't help but stare in awe as he easily used his aura of wisdom and power to make people step aside. No wonder he was the only person that Voldemort ever feared.
To Harry's surprise, he and Dumbledore didn't stop in front of the security desk. Rather, Dumbledore just flashed Harry's invitation to the Wizengamot and the balding man there instantly waved them on by.
"Normally visitors have to get their wands checked but security, but members of the Wizengamot and some high ranking Ministry employees are exempt," the headmaster told his young charge. "The Ministry has had security problems with copied wand signatures in the past."
After a swift ride on the elevator, a voice announced, "Level two, Department of Magical Law Enforcement, including the Improper Use of Magic Office, Auror Headquarters, and Wizengamot Administration Services."
Harry and Dumbledore stepped out into a corridor that was lined with doors. Harry faintly remembered visiting this floor with Mr. Weasley just before his trial. Dumbledore didn't take Harry anywhere near the Auror Headquarters like Mr. Weasley had though. Instead he led the way all the way down to the end of the very long hallway where two Aurors were standing on either side of a large pair of double doors. As Harry and Dumbledore stopped a few feet from them, the younger wizard stared down at the floor in front of the Aurors, intrigued.
On the floor was a large circle, about four feet in diameter with several intricate smaller circles within it. The inner edges of the circles were lined with numerous tiny runes.
It was then that one of the Aurors spoke, pulling Harry's attention away from the curious circle. "Step forward and state you name."
Dumbledore smiled benignly down at Harry "It's standard procedure to make sure that only those who are supposed to attend the Wizengamot get in. Watch."
With that the headmaster stepped forward, into the center of the intricate circle. "Albus Dumbledore," he said firmly. Instantly, the circle, runes and all, lit up with a bright white light that seemed to shoot upwards. With a small smile the older wizards stepped back out of the circle, which then stopped glowing. He then nodded towards Harry, indicating that the boy should do the same.
Hesitating slightly, Harry stepped forward and into the center of the runic circle. This was something that he hadn't been expecting. He desperately hoped that the circle would accept just part of his name instead of all of it. This seemed to be the case as Dumbledore hadn't said his full name, but still...
Taking a deep breath, Harry intoned, "Harry Potter." To his great relief the circle immediately lit up with a white light.
As Harry stepped back of the circle, he noticed that Dumbledore had a look of...relief?...on his face. Before he could ponder on this however, his attention was drawn back to the two Aurors as they pulled open the doors they'd been guarding.
"Please proceed," the first Auror stated in an almost monotonous voice.
The moment that Harry stepped into the room beyond the doors he was assaulted by what seemed like a wall of noise and chatter. The large stone room before him was filled with nearly two hundred people, all of whom were mingling amongst each other.
Seeing Harry's surprised expression, Dumbledore smiled down at Harry like some indulgent grandfather. To be honest, that annoyed Harry, but he was required to act the part of a scared little boy, so he had to put up with it. He couldn't be the "defiant teenager" that he'd had the luxury of being before; it could get him killed.
"Only about half of these people are on the Wizengamot," Dumbledore told Harry. "The rest are ambassadors from other countries. They come to observe the meetings and report back the happenings to their respective governments. This is a way of keeping world relations very open."
Just as Dumbledore finished his explanation the two caught sight of Fudge, who was making his way towards them through the crowds. A large, plastic smile covered his face.
"Dumbledore!" the Minister of Magic said when he reached them. "How good to see you again. And this must be Harry Potter!" He reached out and began enthusiastically shaking Harry's hand. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Potter. Or should I say Lord Potter, eh? Very strange, that, but it's a pleasure to have you on the Wizengamot nonetheless. Ah, but where are my manners! I am Cornelius Fudge, the Minister of Magic. If there's anything you need—anything at all—please don't hesitate to ask."
Harry pasted a friendly smile on his face to hide the disgust that he felt for the man before him and then firmly shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you too, Minister."
Fudge beamed down at Harry before abruptly catching sight of something off in the distance. He excused himself and began to hurry off, when he suddenly stopped and turned back to Dumbledore.
"I'll...speak with you later then?" he questioned. Dumbledore seemed to understand what he meant and nodded silently while smiling.
Harry spent the next ten or so minutes being introduced to many people, all of whom seemed eager to meet him despite his age. He even ran into Umbridge once, to his utter horror.
Quite abruptly Harry heard the sound of a throat being cleared behind him. Surprised, Harry jerked around, only to come face to face with a tall, regal, and imposing man who was staring at him through a pair of piercing amber eyes. He appeared to be in his late forties, early fifties and had dark hair than was streaked with grey and a short goatee. Out of all of this, however, his most distinguishing feature was probably the ragged scar that ran down the left side of his face.
"Ah, hello Lord Adair," Dumbledore greeted with a smile. "Harry, my boy, this is Richard Adair. He's the Chief Familia in the Wizengamot. Lord Adair, this is Harry Potter."
Harry and the older wizard exchanged bows. "It's nice to meet you, sir," Harry said.
Lord Adair's lips quirked upwards into a small smile. "You as well, Lord Potter." He glanced around for a moment then, his eyes briefly resting on Dumbledore before returning to Harry. "Walk with me?" he requested. At Harry's agreement, he nodded towards Dumbledore. "Excuse us."
Dumbledore smiled them and it was only through years of experience watching him that Harry knew that it was a tight smile rather than a relaxed one. The younger boy frowned curiously, wondering if there was something between Lord Adair and Dumbledore.
Adair led Harry away from the main crowds and over to an empty corner where several chairs were clustered around. The Chief Familia gestured for Harry to sit and then did so himself, easily falling into a relaxed position.
For a moment Adair just studied Harry over his steepled fingers. His amber eyes pierced into Harry, causing him to shift uncomfortably in his seat. When Adair finally spoke, it was in a slow, rich tone.
"To be entirely honest," he began, "I'm not quite sure what to make of your appointment to the Wizengamot. You see, we accepted you only because magic itself decided that you are an adult. We of the Wizengamot have not been able to discern the reason behind this. The best explanation we've been able to find is that when you were hit by the killing curse it wiped out whatever it is that distinguishes a child's magic from an adult's magic.
"The problem, however, is that this does not explain why you were not thus named Lord Potter when you were one. Actually, you were not recognized as an adult until just a month or so before your eleventh birthday. As I said, we currently have no rationalization for this."
While Adair spoke he stared at Harry with his searching eyes. While this unnerved Harry slightly, he was also relived to see no suspicion in their depths. Good; that meant that the man most likely didn't believe that Harry knew why he was considered an adult.
At the same time, Harry was also studying Adair. The man was interesting, to say the least. There was something definitively...regal...about him. He also obviously wielded quite a bit of political power, yet Harry had never heard of him before.
Before Harry could even open his mouth to reply to Adair's statement they were suddenly joined back a third figure. Harry looked up, only to freeze in surprise as he gaze met a pair of familiar mismatched eyes.
The other person only glanced at Harry before turning to Adair, his shaggy dark hair falling partially into his face as he moved. "Lord Adair," he greeted in a silky voice.
Smirking, Adair stood up and greeted the other man with a firm handshake. "Lord Peverell-Black," he returned. "It's good to see you again. This is Lord Potter."
Harry continued to stare as "Lord Peverell-Black" turned back around to face him. He was starting to realize just why Time-Turners were restricted and why people using them could go mad. He was standing face to face with himself. From the future. It was a...bizarre...sensation, to say the least. Had he not known that he was going to use his Time-Turners later, Harry would have immediately thought the person before him to be an imposter.
A dark smirk curled at the edges of the older Harry's mouth and a knowing glint lit up his eyes. Taking the initiative, he lowered himself into a bow.
"It's a...pleasure...to meet you, Lord Potter. I am Marcus Peverell-Black."
Harry managed to sketch a quick bow at "Marcus" while reigning in his nerves. He said nothing, fearing that he'd squeak if he opened his mouth.
Marcus took a seat in one of the empty chairs without waiting for an invitation.
Adair raised on eyebrow at the action, but Marcus just met him stare for stare. Eventually, Adair let out a chuckle and looked back at Harry.
"Lord Peverell-Black is another new member o the Wizengamot," the older wizard told Harry. "He's one of the few to ever hold two seats."
Marcus smiled again. "Maybe we can help each other in learning the ways of the government, eh?"
Harry had to hold back a laugh. Part of the reason Marcus had been "created" as an alias was the Wizengamot. Help each other indeed.
Harry finally flashed one of his owns grins to Marcus. "Yeah, that'd be great."
Adair released another chuckle. "It's good to see that you two get along; you're the youngest members of the Wizengamot right now."
Marcus opened his mouth to respond and then suddenly hesitated as if expecting something. Not a moment later Harry noticed that there was another person approaching their small group. A very familiar person.
Malfoy swaggered forward with a sort of graceful confidence, his trademark cane clunking against the floor. He stopped before them with a self-assured smirk on his face.
Harry froze in surprise at the sight of the man. A death eater. One of the bastards whom he'd fought so hard against. A— ...Draco's father. Surprised by the sudden thought, Harry's expression turned into a frown.
Marcus was the first one to react to the elder Malfoy's presence. He stood fluidly from his seat and bowed just slightly to the man.
"You must be Lord Malfoy," he began. "I've...heard of you."
Malfoy raised one delicately arched eyebrow. "Good things I hope...?" Malfoy started dryly, only to trail off as he realized that he didn't recognize the man before him.
Marcus smiled widely at Malfoy's predicament. "Lord Peverell-Black," he said in reply, but other than that gave no answer to Malfoy's question.
As soon as he heard the name Malfoy's gaze sharpened considerable. He sized up the man before him like a predator, wondering just how much of a danger the young lord could be.
"My wife's a Black, you know," he started amicably, clearly trying to pull some information out about Marcus' relation to the Black family. Fortunately, Marcus immediately saw the attempt for what it was.
"I know," the time traveler said simply. Though he hid it, Malfoy looked frustrated with the response. He continued to stare at Marcus for several long seconds before finally turning his attention on Harry. Almost instantly, Malfoy caught sight of Harry's scar and allowed his mouth to curl into another small smirk.
"Lord Potter," he greeted with what could only be described as a satisfied hiss. He then stepped forward and bowed to the younger wizard. "It's a pleasure to finally get to meet you. My son has spoken often of you."
Harry started to snarl angrily, but fortunately managed to catch himself just in time. In this timeline he hadn't met Malfoy yet. To eleven year old Harry he should only be a friend's father.
Struggling to control his facial features, Harry rose from his seat and smoothly bowed to the older man. "Draco has spoken of you too, so it's nice to finally get to meet you face to face."
A loud ding echoed through the room, causing Harry to jump in surprise. Most everyone else seemed to expect it, however, and there was a sudden influx of people as everyone in the crowd began to make their way towards a pair of double doors that were on the opposite side of the room as the entrance doors.
Adair swiftly moved to his feet. "That's the bell signaling the start of the Wizengamot. Please follow me and I'll direct you to your seats."
Marcus bowed his head in Adair's direction. "Thank you for your help, Lord Adair."
While Adair waved off Marcus' thanks, Malfoy also took the time to bow. "It was a pleasure to meet you both," he told Marcus and Harry. "I hope to get to speak with you both again soon."
"Yes, indeed," Marcus replied with a small smile. Harry murmured a similar reply, though he didn't mean it at all; if he never saw Malfoy again it'd be too soon in his opinion.
The next few minutes were a blur to Harry as Adair led Marcus and him into the Wizengamot meeting room. Malfoy detached himself from their small group at one point in order to make his way to his own seat. Before long Adair had led Harry and Marcus into one of the four sections of seating that made up the room.
"This is the Familia section seating," Adair explained. To our right is the Ministry section and to our left is the Warlock section. The balcony seating across from us is for the Ambassadors."
"Do we have particular seats that we have to sit in?" Harry asked curiously.
Adair chuckled. "At one time there was. Rules have changed over the centuries though, and now it's open seating."
"Order! Order!" Fudge suddenly called out from across the room. Harry glanced down to see that the doors to the room were tightly sealed and everyone had already been seated. "I call into order the second Wizengamot meeting of the Winter Term. The day is September 15th, the year 1991."
And thus it began.
Harry calmly rested his hands behind his head as he strode through the halls of Hogwarts. Through the tall windows that lined the walls waning light could be seen. Harry guessed that it was around six in the evening, though he wasn't sure.
The Wizengamot meeting had been...interesting, if a bit boring as well. It had lasted for quite a few hours and they'd covered everything from creating new laws to assigning court dates. By the time it'd been over Harry had been exhausted. He really wasn't looking forward to reliving the meeting as Marcus Peverell-Black, but it wasn't like he had a choice. Marcus had been there after all, which meant that he would be going back in time.
Following the meeting Harry had the chance to meet with several more Wizengamot members, including Blaise's father. The Italian man had sparked his interest, especially since he'd been one of the few to not treat him like a child. Harry looked forward to speaking with the man again.
Once those introductions had been done Dumbledore had gathered him up and escorted him back to Hogwarts via the floo. Which thus lead to where Harry currently was, walking through the halls. He was on his way to the Room of Requirement as a matter of fact; he planned on heading over to Grimmauld Place. He had a few things to take care of and then he would travel back in time to that morning.
Lost in his thoughts as Harry was it seemed to take only a few seconds for his feet to carry him to the Room of Requirement. The young wizard passed back and forth in front of wall three times before swiftly slipping inside the door that appeared.
The room that Harry stepped into was one that he'd thought up only just recently as a place to escape to when he needed space. Though he used the term room lightly as a quick glance up revealed a spiral staircase leading to two more open floors, both of which were covered in bookcase. The bottom floor had taken on the appearance of a study, complete with a large wooden desk, several comfy chairs, and a roaring fireplace.
Harry smiled as he glanced around. Perfect; a calm place to relax. Unfortunately he didn't have the time right now.
After pausing only a moment in the doorway Harry strode over to where a large cabinet—one of the Vanishing Cabinets, to be precise—was situated. He'd gotten it back from the goblins only the night before and had placed it in this room so that only he could access it; it wouldn't do for anyone to wander into Grimmauld Place, after all.
Smirking lightly Harry stepped into the cabinet and then stepped out into his new home.
Harry shivered as the cool autumn bit into the skin as he walked down Diagon Alley. It was around noon, which meant that he had a few hours before the Wizengamot meeting.
Harry pulled his cloak tighter around him as he headed towards the entrance to Knockturn Alley. He was wearing his Mikael alias and while that made him stand out, it also caused people stay away from him. Well, except for the hawkers, but Harry was doubtful that anything less than Lord Voldemort himself could keep them from attempting to sell their nasty wares.
After only a few minutes of a brisk walk Harry arrived outside Rosburg Tavern. David, his informant, was standing there, waiting. The older man had his cloak drawn up around him but was standing with aura of someone who was comfortable and used to the dark alley.
"This way," David murmured without looking at him. He ducked into a side alley and began to lead Harry through narrow stone passageway.
As Harry strode along behind David he kept a firm grip on the Elder Wand. While he somewhat trusted David, he'd only met the man three times before this. That and paranoia from the war had really gotten too; you never knew who you could trust.
Finally David came to a stop in front of dingy wooden door that seemed to blend in with the stone around it. He knocked firmly on it twice and then entered without waiting for a reply. Harry slipped inside close behind the man, but made sure to keep his hand near the doorknob just in case he needed to get out quickly.
The room inside was just as dingy and dark as the door had suggested it would be. It was also bare of anything but a few rotting pieces of furniture, all of which were occupied by a handful shifty looking wizard. Had David not explained to Harry where they would be going before hand the younger wizard would have thought that he'd been tricked. As it was he barely paid the room any attention as he followed David to a staircase hidden by several dirty crates and then headed down to the basement.
The basement Harry stepped into was far larger than the upstairs room would have led one o believe. As a matter of fact the chamber occupied the space beneath several of the nearby buildings and was almost the size of the Hogwarts Great Hall—almost.
Within the chamber was what could only be described as a miniature marketplace. Booths and stores were set up everywhere and at least a hundred or two people covered the remaining space. The air was abuzz with conversation, haggling, and the loud exclamations of hawkers.
It took all of Harry's will not to let his shock show on his face. He'd known that he was to be shown an underground market—and had even had to swear a secrecy oath—but he wasn't expecting it to be quite this large or busy! From the looks of it there were people from all over the world here.
David smirked lightly as if knowing what Harry was thinking and then began to weave his way through the crowds. Again Harry followed close behind him, but even so nearly lost the man twice within the market. Eventually David pushed aside a piece of cloth covering the entrance to one of the booths and led Harry inside.
Though to booth was small, hundreds of objects were lying on display on the tables inside. The walls were made of cloth like the entrance—doubtless incase it needed to be taken down quickly—and only partially blocked out light, leaving them in a dim setting.
In one corner of the booth sat a man with thick, curly black hair and a short beard. He face was both crinkled and smooth at the same time and Harry couldn't quite place his age. The man's slid over him as they studied each other and seemed to pierce straight through each other.
"Bhaltair," David greeted somewhat nervously. "This is Mikael, the man I told you about..."
"Do you have it?" Harry asked without any preamble.
At first Bhaltair didn't reply. He stared at David and the man quickly dipped his head in a short bow before swiftly removing himself from the booth. Bhaltair's eyes then returned to Harry and he spent several more seconds studying him. Finally the older man seemed to come to some sort of conclusion and in one fluid motion he rose to his feet.
In a few quick strides Bhaltair was in front of Harry. As he walked he pulled an item from his robes and handed it to the younger wizard.
Harry turned the item over in his hands, eyeing it curiously. It was a golden bracelet made of a thick golden metal that wrapped around several times. Inscribed into the metal were numerous runes that were so tiny they were all but invisible.
"It'll suppress your magical signature without affecting your magic," Bhaltair explained. "Wearing this everything from a point-me charm to a complex location spell will be blocked; the only thing that'll be able to locate you with magic will be owls. And perhaps a couple of highly dark blood rituals."
Harry nodded thoughtfully as he continued to study the armband. A week or so ago he'd asked David to see what he could find out about magical suppressors. Not a day later the man had contacted him, saying he knew someone who might have what he needed.
For Harry, this magical suppressor was very necessary. Just days after receiving Wizengamot invitation for Lord Peverell-Black he'd realized that there was one fatal flaw in his time-travel life-style: If someone performed a location spell to figure out where Marcus Peverell-Black, it would come up as saying that he was in Hogwarts. And that really wouldn't be good. So, just as an extra precaution, he was looking for something that would suppress his magical signature so that no one would be able to find him. It might be a bit suspicious, but certainly the lesser evil compared to someone finding out the truth.
Finally Harry nodded. "This'll do," he grunted as he looked back up at Bhaltair. He opened his mouth to continue, only to pause when he caught sight of something lying on one of the tables. "You...sell wands as well?"
"Yessir. I've got quite a collection at the moment. Interested?"
"Possibly," Harry replied slowly, mulling over the idea. It'd be good to have backup wands for his different alias—being caught at Mikael with Harry Potter's wand, for example, would be a bad idea. "I...I have a few...clients...who might be interested. What do you have?"
By one O'clock Harry left Knockturn Alley with a smile on his face. He'd ended up purchasing three wands from Bhaltair—one for Mikael and two extras, just in case. From this point on, he decided, the Elder Wand would belong to Marcus Peverell-Black.
Done with his purchases, Harry headed over to Diagon Alley's Apparition point. He'd pop over to Grimmauld place to drop off the wands before heading over to the Ministry. With any luck he'd get to the waiting room with plenty of time to spare.
Harry's estimation ended up being spot on and he arrived in the Atrium of the Ministry of Magic with more than a half an hour until the meeting would begin. He easily bypassed security with a flash of his invitation and stepped onto the elevator. Surprisingly there was only one person there: Richard Adair.
"Good afternoon," Harry greeted with a polite bow.
The older wizard glanced Harry over before smiling in reply. "'Afternoon," he responded, nodding his head in Harry's direction. "Would you happen to be here for the Wizengamot meeting?"
"Yes sir. I am Lord Marcus Peverell-Black. And you?"
Adair's eyebrow shot into his hairline. He finally turned to fully face the dark haired wizard and said, "Lord Peverell-Black? It's good to finally get the chance to meet you. I am Lord Richard Adair, Chief Familia."
Harry forced his eyes to widen. "Lord Adair? You are the one who sent me the invitation, correct?"
"Indeed," Adair agreed with a slight chuckle. "I must admit that I'm a bit surprised with your... Well, your existence, to be honest. You seemed to have appeared from thin air. You wouldn't happen to know why—or how for that matter—you were named Lord Black without being the late Lord Black's heir?"
Harry allowed a dark smile to cross his face as he titled his head to the side. "I would," he said. Adair waited for him to continue, but Harry said nothing else.
As the doors to the elevator opened and the voice announced their arrival on level two, Adair threw his head back and let out a bark of a laugh. "I like you, kid," he finally said with a wide grin. "You're interesting. And I suppose that we're all allowed our secrets. Come, I'll take you to the Wizengamot room."
Harry silently shook his head in amusement as he followed the tall man down the hall. Well at least he got along with someone on the Wizengamot.
The next ten or so minutes passed by quickly for Harry. Though he'd been worried, he'd easily managed to get past the rune circle outside the waiting room by announcing himself as "Peverell-Black" instead of "Marcus Peverell-Black". Following that, Adair led him around the room, introducing him to several notable members of the Wizengamot, including Amelia Bones, the Head of the Department of Law Enforcement. Eventually they split up and Harry continued touring the room on his own.
"Lord Peverell-Black?" the familiar voice of his headmaster spoke up from behind Harry. The young wizard still for a moment, his heart pounding. This was the ultimate test: could his disguise stand up to Dumbledore. Harry took and deep breath and then turned around.
"Yes?" Harry asked while smiling politely up at Dumbledore. "Can I help you?"
"Perhaps, good sir," the wizened old man said with a chuckle. "I am Albus Dumbledore, Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, Supreme Mugwump, and Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry."
"Ah, yes, Dumbledore," Harry said while bowing in greeting. "I have heard much about you. It's an honor to get to meet you. Though I must ask: How did you know who I was?"
"A guess; I recognize most everyone here, except for you," he answered. Harry nodded, slightly relieved that that's all it was. He knew next to nothing about what Dumbledore was really capable of, after all. "And in return, would you mind if I asked you a question?"
"What school did you attend? You have a British accent, but I know that you did not attend Hogwarts."
"I was home schooled," Harry replied without missing a beat. He was thankful to have thought this through beforehand. It would be good if he also had a way to cement his alibi, but he wasn't sure how to do that quite yet. "I enjoyed the experience, though I've heard many good things about Hogwarts."
Dumbledore's smile widened. "Good, good. I'm glad. Perhaps you'll be able to stop by the school sometime; I'd be happy to give you a tour."
"Thank you, Dumbledore. I may just take you up on that offer."
"Call me Albus, please. Though our ages may differ, I do hope that we'll be able to become friends."
Harry couldn't help but laugh lightly as he shook hands with Dumbledore. "Alright, but only if you call me Marcus." Getting to know the headmaster as Marcus, he thought with an internal smirk, could help more than he'd imagined. Now all had to do was keep who knew which of his alias and in what way straight...
Following the Wizengamot meeting, Harry's life began to pass in a blur of activity. He split his life between school, his friends, and his others life, and was surprised to find himself balancing his life fairly easily. The fact that the classes were so easy helped out a lot, as he could focus his time on other, more important things.
The only problem was his friends. Harry had known that there would probably be some difficulties between them since they were all from different houses, but the rivalry between Draco and Ron was beginning to get a bit ridiculous. He could only hope that they wouldn't have a repeat of the Troll incident on Halloween.
Fortunately Harry had one thing to take his mind off of everything: broom racing. He attended the practice on September 21st and immediately found himself drawn to the sport.
When Harry had first agreed to join the team, he'd expected the races to be just like the tryout: Fly to a point and back. As it turned out however, this was only half the story. The races took place on an obstacle course that was changed for every race. The racers would have to complete this course—a course of which caused the fliers to complete several feats that took more than a small amount of agility and luck—as fast as they could while dealing with the others racers. Sabotage was not only allowed, but encouraged! It truly was a brutal game.
So of course, Harry loved it.
By the time that Saturday October 12th rolled around, Harry was pumped up and ready for the first race. The news that Harry Potter was on the racing team had already made it through the school, so a much larger turnout than usual was expected for the race. In fact, Harry wouldn't be surprised if the whole school came.
"This is great!" Bryan, the team captain, exclaimed as he and the rest of the team walked across Hogwarts grounds from Quidditch lockers, which were used by broom racers as well. "Maybe now broom racing will finally get some limelight!"
Harry chuckled while shaking his head in amusement. He could understand the sixth year's joy however; after all, throughout his entire time in the wizarding world he'd never even heard broom racing mentioned more than once or twice. Before walking in on those tryouts he hadn't even known that Hogwarts had racing teams!
As they continued to walk towards where the race would be held, Harry turned his thoughts onto what he and the rest of the team were wearing. As he'd found at the first practice, broom racers wore was something akin to leather armor. They were all decked out in leather bracers, shin guards, vests, gloves, and boots. Apparently all of these along with their brooms were spelled to be resistant to magic in order to avoid interference from the crowd.
For his part, Harry was just glad that it meant that Quirrel couldn't curse his broom again.
Before long Harry and his team arrived at where the race would take place in the middle of a massive open field. There were bleachers set up on one side of the field that were already completely packed with students. Across from that was the track itself, which instantly made Harry gulp.
The track was comprised of numerous hoops and bars hovering at various altitudes in the air that would guide the racers to where they needed to be. Harry had known from his conversations with Bryan that the race would be something like this, but he hadn't expected some of those corners to be quite so sharp. He could already see several in particular that would take fairly dangerous maneuvers to get around, never mind that there were going to be over a dozen fliers in the air at the same time.
Harry grinned. 'Wicked.' He'd thought that Quidditch was a dangerous sport, but racing was proving to be far worse. And they weren't even off the ground yet.
David Kenith was having a bad day. Actually, he was having a bad month, but he preferred not to dwell on the specific length of time lest his frustration build up too much as cause him to go on a bloody rampage.
It had all started back in September when Marcus Peverell-Black had suddenly appeared in the Ministry records as the head of both the Peverell and the Black houses. Instantly the Ministry had been in an uproar, attempting to find out who this man was and where he'd come from. Despite their best efforts however, they'd managed to come up with nothing. Nothing. They hadn't even known the man's first name until he introduced himself at the second Wizengamot meeting.
And for Unspeakables such as David, such a lapse in intelligence was unheard of.
David buried his head in his arms and groaned. As he did so several papers crinkled beneath him, but the middle-aged wizard just ignored them. He did, however, make a mental note to ask his boss for a larger desk; even though the one he had barely fit in the small room he called an office, it was already completely buried in papers. So maybe it was just a larger office that he needed. He'd only been on this case for a month and he'd already run out of room for the paperwork!
The frustration of having nothing to show for his work was really beginning to build within David. Having been an Unspeakable for over a decade he'd had difficult cases before, but nothing like this.
It was as if Marcus Peverell-Black had just popped out of thin air. He had no past housing records, no schooling records, and no medical records. He had no records of any type except for his Wizengamot and Gringotts ones! It was completely and utterly unheard of for someone to have absolutely no paper trail.
David's first assumption was, of course, that Marcus had been using an assumed name up until that point. And that, of course, led to the question of why he had.
Furthermore, David still hadn't been able to figure out how Marcus had become the Lord of House Black. When Lord Arcturus Black had died only six months ago he had named no heir in his will and so the lordship had automatically transferred to the next male heir, namely Sirius Black. This was what the records of the Black family had showed. Or at least they had until Marcus had showed up and then they had suddenly and inexplicably changed. David knew because he'd personally checked the records. Twice.
The sound of a knock on his door instantly brought David back into an upright position. The Unspeakable carefully slipped his wand from his robes while calling for the knocker to enter.
"Sir," a twenty year old witch said as she poked her head around the door, "I have that report you wanted."
"Well, come in then," David commanded. The witch quickly did so, scrambling to close the door behind her. David repressed a sigh; were all Unspeakable understudies always this nervous? He could understand them being eager—they were training to be Unspeakables, after all—but he certainly couldn't remember jumping ever time his superior spoke when he'd been their age.
The witch stood before him with her chin held high. "I spoke with the stores as you ordered, sir. Lord Peverell-Black was spotted near the Diagon Alley Apparition point several times, but not since the last Wizengamot meeting. Since September 15th he's seemed to have completely disappeared."
"And?" David barked out. "Where was he seen going into?"
"Umm," the Unspeakable understudy hesitated. "Gringotts in the only place I could confirm him entering...I'm almost sure that he never went into Knockturn Alley though! Not without a cloak at least."
David nodded thoughtfully. His other sources had said basically the same thing. Marcus hadn't been seen anywhere in or near Knockturn Alley—not that that meant he hadn't been there, just that he hadn't been open about it.
It was, of course, one of the Ministry's top concerns that Marcus was or could become a dark wizard. All Blacks had been dark wizards after all, and even though Marcus had had no prior contact with the Blacks as far as they could tell, it was best to be careful. David had been assigned to find out exactly who Marcus Peverell-Black was, and he would do so despite the complete dead ends he'd run into so far.
He'd uncover Marcus' secrets, even if it killed him.