Chapter Three

The Boy Who Death Became

"What did you find about Harry Potter, aside from the obvious?" Dumbledore asked his second-in-command, the elusive Alastor Moody. The old man took a sip from his cup of tea, and waited for the Intel to come through. It had taken a few moments for Moody to arrive, once the message was sent.

Albus did not expect the news to be pleasant. But he didn't expect this:

"Nothing, not anything we could use, I am afraid," the Auror growled. "No past. No history. Not even a muggle credit report." He touched his newly-cemented metallic eye and rubbed at its edge, his nails not marking the steel.

"Blasted rubbish, it itches, always… Albus, never cough up the galleons for one of these." It would take years before he could get used to it, but he suspected that when he did, there would be some added advantages of having such a device. Alastor was patient, when he needed to be.

"He lives with the Blacks, Albus. This isn't confirmed, but he is related to the Potters, according to Gringotts." Moody paused. He wasn't sure if this information was accurate or not. "He's powerful. That battle in Diagon Alley was simply a hint of what he is capable of, judging from the residue we collected." There was more, although this time the information made less sense. "His wand work is sloppy at best, but the energy behind it is genuine." At least, that is what he'd gathered from the witnesses.

"Hmm, I see, Alastor. You have done well." Dumbledore nodded sagely. Harry Potter was a competent wizard, perhaps a bit too competent. The Head Master had suspected as much. "I got an interesting result when I tried to look into his thoughts." Trying to use Legilimency didn't work out during the first meeting with the boy. "I couldn't advance, not without making him aware that I was looking into him. Next time, things will be trickier. He might 'look back,' if you will." Dumbledore couldn't have that, no matter what.

He suspected their second meeting might become more destructive. "There are still things I wish to find out about him, so I shall keep him around a bit longer." He rubbed his long beard thoughtfully.

He didn't want to scare off someone who might be an ally. At least, not until he fully understood what the boy's angle was. "I feel there is something we are missing, something important," Moody replied.

"Very well, continue the search. For now, I'll keep a close eye on him. "

On the shelf the Sorting Hat sneered. Its dusty smile turned feral. "Oh, what will you do now Mr. Potter? A one- eyed monster is coming your way.

Harry sat cross-legged, meditating, in the Room of Requirement. He knew what he had to do to destroy the sphere of Ravenclaw. "Diadem, I am coming for you. Wait for me." That didn't make it any easier. He shivered, sweat trailing down his face when images of Crabbe dying in the Fiendfyre appeared in his mind. Stop it, Potter. You have the advantage now.

The last time it was destroyed, Crabbe had accidently killed himself, and the rest of them barely got out of the way in time as the monstrous flames consumed everything in the Hidden Room.

"But I don't need great streams of fire," he muttered. He imagined in his mind what he wanted and suddenly a table appeared before him, along with the Sorting Hat.

The Hat sat bolt upright, or at least straight up and bounced in his direction. It looked a bit creepy if he was honest with himself. The Hat grinned.

The Potter almost batted the ancient relic away. "You knew this was going to happen, didn't you? You've forced my hand, made me move much faster than I would have intended to. Kept me away from my parents, made it look like I'm a spy!" Harry used his Mind Arts to keep his rage in check- he needed the Hat, at least for now. "I may not be a genius, but I am far from stupid. You could have told me your plan, instead of surprising me like that." Harry was seething. "I hate surprises."

Harry stomped towards the dratted piece of cloth. It sneered at the tall boy, almost manically. Harry had half a mind to tear it in two. His hands were grasping it so tightly that he was sure he would tear the fabric even without meaning to. "All right, let's get this over with." He put the hat on his head and imagined what he needed.

"It is done; I wish you luck, Potter." It laughed in his mind

The next instant, Harry turned the hat face up, looking into the hole as it filled with ancient magic. Harry reached into the hat and felt the pulse of magic, and the cold feel of metal. The smells of iron and gold filled the boy's nostrils.

"It's been a while, hasn't it?" Harry muttered. Slowly, he pulled out the Sword of Gryffindor. He placed it on the table, and was about to imagine the Diadem when the hat called out, "Fool, put on the Invisibility Cloak! You don't know what type of protection the Diadem contains! The Hallow will protect from only the Darkest of spells!"

Harry almost slapped his forehead. That was utterly stupid. He imagined his Invisibility Cloak appearing the room, and he found that it was summoned there, right next to the hat. The Room of Requirement could summon anything from within the castle. Why Dumbledore prevented the sealing of this place, Harry couldn't possibly understand.

"Just like in the movies Dudders watched," Harry laughed. The tall boy wrapped himself in the ancient cloak, Ignotus's Legacy, and placed the hat on his head. The hat became slightly smaller, trying to make itself fit. Harry lifted up the heavy sword which felt much lighter in his hands, and imagined Riddle's Horcrux, Ravenclaw's glass, appearing before him on the table. It was going to come out of the Hidden Room. Harry imagined the ball, the location, and imagined it outside of its hidden place.

"Here it is," the hat muttered. "Get ready, Potter."

As soon as the evil piece of Voldemort's soul was summoned, Harry could see an eerie eye looking at him through the glass. It was the shape of a Basilisk pupil and hissed, sending screeching noises around the room. "Who dares summon the Dark Lord?" The construct floated in the middle of the room, looking for whoever brought it there. This is new; it didn't do this the last time.

It would have found Harry, had the Invisibility Cloak not had a secondary function: hiding its user from most detection spells. The boy mused that Ignotus was truly a genius. So far, only a powerful magical eye, a cat called Mrs. Norris, and the Dementors of Azkaban had ever been able to find him while he wore it. "It hides the user from Death itself," Harry concluded. "But of course, not always."

Before the Diadem even knew what was going on, it was struck down by a giant golden sword that seemed to have appeared out of thin air. It couldn't even see the hand that held it. "No, this can't be! I am Lord-" And then it exploded, sending hundreds of tiny shards flying and embedding themselves into the walls.

Harry had ducked during the explosion and only had to worry about one or two pieces of glass which stuck into his feet. A sharp piece managed to hit the side of his pants, very close to a certain useful part, albeit one that the boy had yet to even use. He wasn't ready for a vasectomy- at least, not yet. Close one… I'll have to change out of my underpants.

"That actually went better than I expected," the hat muttered. But then, the Diadem was the only Hallow with no magical protection, a fact purely due to Riddle's sheer arrogance.

The others would not be so easy: the ring, the diary, and the locket. Nagini had not been created yet, and he himself had already died once, so those were all that remained of Voldemort's immortality.

He slowly got up and washed himself with a cleaning spell, then patched up any wounds or cuts. He pulled the Sorting Hat off of his head, then pulled off the Cloak of Invisibility, and tossed it to the floor.

"But I still need to train," he yelled, waiting until a training dummy appeared. Harry smiled and pulled out his wand. "And I'll need to master my Occlumency and Legilimency." Oddly enough, another dummy appeared; only this one was Snape-shaped, with a devilish sneer to match.

"See through my mind, will you. Let's see who the dunderhead is."

Poppy strutted around her domain, basking in the afterglow of finishing all her work. It had been an easy day, as not many students had shown up in her clinic. She hoped it would stay that way. "Until the broom lesson started," the young woman snorted.

"Still, this isn't so bad." It seemed like the start of a promising new year, since not a single accident had yet occurred.

She wasn't a tall woman by any stretch of the imagination, nor an old one. Far from it; she was only a few years younger than Minerva.

The dirty blond haired woman was actually stunning if one could get past her hard-edged exterior. Her no-nonsense professional attitude somehow turned off more suitors than it brought in, but if she could only manage to keep her mouth shut for longer than ten minutes, men would flock to her.

"I hate those little bastards so much," she muttered, mixing more white potions near the bed.

As it were, she never stopped talking, and her kind of talking often lead to nagging, which only made men avoid her. She was pretty, but one could only stand to look at the witch in her early thirties for so long while trying to keep up with a conversation about safety, rules, and regulations.

Little wonder she and Minerva got along splendidly.

The nurse was about to leave her realm when, not surprisingly, James Potter came in clutching his hip. "I need your help, Madam, please! Do you have time?" He said this in an extremely polite voice.

That was strange, because normally, James just assumed that he could just barge in here at any time of the day without worrying if it was interrupting her. The medical nursing field required more work than just healing; she was also in charge of diagnosing some of the longer-term patients, as well as making sure that everyone got the proper potions on time.

In the modern world, she was more like a family physician, a pharmacist, and a nurse all wrapped up in one, with more stress and anguish coming with the job than any of those fields combined. "James, have you grown? What happened to your face? You should have come to me sooner, oh heavens, poor boy, who did that to you?"

Harry shook his head, about to say he wasn't James. He started smiling, which made the older woman look more annoyed. "This isn't the time for one of your jokes. I don't find self-inflicted harm on your visage a funny thing, indeed, that is not humorous in the least."

She guided the boy, who she suddenly realized was almost a full head taller than her, to the bed. "You certainly changed over the summer." Were his shoulders always this wide? He seemed to have a hard time fitting through her door.

The boy opened his mouth to say something, but groaned as blood started to seep from the place he was holding. "Goodness dear, let me have a look at that!" The boy's eyes widened as she flicked her wand and his pants slipped off, dropping to the floor.

Madam Pomfry paled.

This wasn't James Potter. "Oh… dear."

James Potter could afford underpants.

"You were talking with Lucius again," Andromeda said. She caught up. "Please don't tell me you buy into that Dark Lord nonsense."

"What is it to you?" Bellatrix drawled, turning towards the door of her dorm. She opened it without a hitch and went inside. Her younger sister followed.

Andromeda stopped, her eyes narrowed. "I heard you. I don't know how long I can keep lying to Narcissa! She thinks you are still playing neutral. She doesn't know you have considered taking sides, more particularly, the other side."

The dark-haired witch turned to face the shorter girl. "You don't know the whole story, so don't make assumptions," she paused, then adding, "dear sister."

"Bellatrix-" Her older sister slammed the door on her face. "What… what's happening to us?"

Despite popular opinion, Poppy hadn't seen that many, well, one got the picture. Most boys in the school preferred to keep any problems they had, practically anything to do with their manhood, a secret. It was far too embarrassing for them to go to the school nurse, a young school nurse at that, and explain their problems.

In the worst case, she once had to change Severus Snape's robes, and the house elves did most of the work then- thank god- so, no, she was not particularly familiar with what a man's tool was supposed to look like.

Not since Healer's College.

So when she removed the boy's pants, and Harry Potter's manliness sprung up, showing her what the purple monster looked like after a very, very long time, she couldn't help but look like she was going to run.

James Potter always wore underpants. This wasn't James Potter.

"Oh dear," she cried, and accidently tripped on a pot nearby.

Harry made to grab her before she could completely fall, but tripped over himself. He fell to the floor with a resounding thud, and the white gooey potion she was mixing also fell.

Poppy gasped, and wondered if the boy had hurt himself. She made to get up, ignoring pain in the back of her head from her fall, but slipped on the white potion that spilled on the floor when Harry fell over.

"Madam, look out." Harry caught her, this time before she could fall face-first onto the floor, and almost let go when he hit the back of the bed, and made another vial of sticky white potion fall.

This time the sticky white fluid fell down on Madam Pomfry's face.

The poor woman looked dreadfully hysterical, and tried to wipe the sticky fluids from her face. "I can't see, please do something." Harry barely got the gist of what she said, but realized that the sticky white potion must be making it difficult for her to breath. Harry reached for his wand that lay on the side of his bed, but realized it was too far.

He stood up, ignoring the fact that Pomfry's face was a few decimeters from his private zone, and grasped his wand. "Got it, hold on Ma'am, I'll get us cleaned up," he said. His face began glowing in a deep blush, but he was glad that the white fluid didn't allow for Poppy Pomfry to see him naked. Well, this can't get any worse.

He regretted changing out of his underpants before he arrived. There was a lot of blood on them, due to the shards of the Diadem piercing the place where the top of his elastic boxers was. Had he known Madam Poppy would do something like this, something she never did back in his time, he would have just kept the bloody underpants.

He backed away and sat on the bed, trying to distance himself from the young woman, who was clawing at her face in frenzy, a rosy blush coating her face. Harry was about to say a spell to wash away the white goop but-

"Poppy, I am sorry to come in so late, but I am having trouble with-" A brown-haired teacher walked into the mess. The tall woman with black rimmed glasses paused when she took a look at the situation.

Minerva McGonagall froze. Not a muscle on her face moved.

In front of her was her best friend, Poppy Pomfry, a Healer who graduated three or four years after herself, kneeling on the floor.

That was not the issue.

That wouldn't be such a problem had the person she knelt under not been naked. It wouldn't have been a problem had her mouth not been open, saying words Minerva couldn't hear.

It certainly wouldn't have been such a problem had Poppy's face not been covered with white goo.

Harry was about to summon his pants back on when something caught his vision, and his eyes met Minerva's stare. Absolute horror, dread, and shame appeared on his pale features with every single second Minerva looked at them, and Harry was so shocked by all of this that he completely ignored Poppy trying to tell him to get the sticky goo off of her, it was "hardening," she said.

I am dead. I am so dead.

Harry was afraid his Transfiguration Professor would scream, alerting Filch. Just what I need.

That's what he would have done if he had walked into something like this. "This isn't what it looks like," he yelled, trying to cover himself, his other hand holding onto his wand.

Minerva's face didn't even change expression; she was still looking at them, face frozen.

Poppy grabbed onto this left thigh. "Boy, I can't see, please use Scourgify… urgh, get rid of this," she said, pointing to her eye. Harry could only moan in agony thinking what this must look like to McGonagall, now that Pomfry was touching his thigh.

He looked up at the teacher and was about to defend himself from vicious curse, when his Transfiguration Prof fainted. Harry blinked. "This is a good thing, right, I can tell her what really happened, can't I?" Keep telling yourself that Potter, nothing ever goes your way, and you know it.

It was going to be a long evening.

"Rough night, Mr. Potter?" Narcissa asked cheerfully.

The blond took a seat beside the bastard boy, and looked over his shoulder. Bellaxtrix was coming towards them to tell him off, or at least warn him to stay away from her sisters. "Did you even get any sleep? Fletcher said you weren't in the dorms. So where were you?"

Harry refused to answer. Trying not to look Pomfry in the eyes. What a way to make an impression, Potter.

He didn't have to answer her, as Bella had arrived. "Probably out causing havoc, as if this school could use more trouble-makers." Bellatrix stood to Harry's left, her long arms folded over her chest. Harry mused how underdeveloped these two sisters were, compared to Andromeda. Then shook his head- he shouldn't be having such thoughts. Thoughts like those were likely to get him kicked out of Grimmauld Place.

"What I do on my spare time is no one's business but my own," he muttered, not looking at either of the two. The blond- and black-haired maidens looked at one another quizzically then looked back at the boy.

"You're hiding something… why does that not surprise me?" Narcissa drawled. She didn't look offended; everyone should be allowed their secrets. She reached out toward his plate and stole his sandwich. Harry didn't even put in an effort to stop her.

"If you ask me, the less secrets we have, the better. I have a feeling this boy's secret is more trouble than your fascination with the dark arts, Bella," Andromeda said, coming up beside them.

The brown-haired girl took the seat on the other side of Harry and stole his eggs. Harry didn't make a move to stop her either. He wondered if this was what it was like to have sisters. He didn't have any siblings and Dudley wasn't exactly the best brother figure, not by a long shot.

"Do you mind moving, Potter?" Bella demanded. Then thought about what she said. "Not that I believe you're really a Potter, but I should call you something other than bastard." She took careful emphasis on how she pronounced bastard.

She especially stretched the -tard sound.

If she weren't two years younger, Harry would have felt offended. Instead, he got up and turned around. Bellatrix was tall for her age, but she was still only sixteen; she barely got to his chin. Harry patted her on the head, just the same way he did to Regulus. "There, there, someday you'll be able to speak like a human being." He put a bit of fake malice in his voice. "Don't give up, Miss Black, you're not the only one suffering from speech impediments." This got her seething. "Muggles all over the world suffer from this as well. Cheer up"

She slapped him. Harry didn't make an effort to block, since she had to reach up to do it, and the impact wasn't nearly as strong as Bella would have wanted it to be. "Don't. Don't ever make fun of the way I talk." She clenched her fist, glaring daggers at the taller boy, then turned around and walked out of the hall. She shoved James Potter on the way, and Sirius called her the B-word, passing her as she left the hall.

"What was that about?"

Narcissa looked uncomfortable, but spoke up nonetheless. "You went too far, Harry. Bellatrix worked very hard to talk like the rest of us. She grew up with a magical condition that made it difficult for her to communicate with other people," Narcissa explained. "It's not easy to tell someone how you feel when you speak in baby talk. Up until Second Year, she sounded like a child." Narcissa turned away. "Maybe I shouldn't be telling you this."

That explains a lot. Madness combined with loss of self-control would result in her childish ravings. It wasn't just Azkaban that lead her to talk that way… he should have guessed. Sirius, the Lestranges, and Dolohov had no problem talking like adults, and they were even somewhat legible.

Bellatrix, on the other hand…

"I seem to always get on her bad side, don't I?" Harry asked. Frankly, he could care less. So what if he hurt her feelings, it wasn't like she hadn't done anything to him. Not yet, at least. She killed Sirius, she tortured Hermione, and she murdered Dobby. Harry despised the person she would grow up to be, the monster who laughed at his corpse. Calm down, Potter. This isn't the time.

"Are you okay?" Andromeda asked. She leaned onto his shoulder and touched his forehead. Andromeda figured that he wasn't burning up but it wouldn't hurt to confirm. Maybe he had done something last night that wasn't sanitary… but then, Sirius and his friends always pulled things like that, so she brushed that out of her mind. Perhaps he should be entitled to be a little fun.

"Anyway, here is your agenda." The small yellow-haired girl handed Harry his agenda. He opened and groaned when he saw what his first class would be. "Just my luck. Transfiguration."

Minerva McGonagall despised Harry Potter. "Sit down in the back seat; we will began the lesson as soon as the rest of the class arrives." Her glasses looked especially large when her blue eyes glowered like that. "Don't make any noise, don't move, and especially don't take out your wand before I tell you to."

Harry wanted to tell her that he had already passed his OWLs, so she couldn't simply boss him around like that. He was technically a certified wizard.

But the heated blue-eyed glare the teacher gave him made him stop. "Right, I'll do just that," he said. He tip-toed to the last seat and tried to make himself scarce. The less attention he could draw to himself, the better. He doubted Poppy, or at least that is what she wanted to be called, explained to the Professor the full details of what happened. "That would just be too embarrassing," he sighed.

Eventually, the rest of his classmates entered. Harry was surprised to see Frank, Arthur, Molly, and a few others that he didn't recognize. It shouldn't have bothered him so much, but it did. Molly sat in the front seat, but then got up to join him in the back. This prompted Arthur to get up and join Molly, and since Frank found himself the only member in the front, he followed Arthur.

Arthur almost glared at Harry, but then looked sad when he saw Molly's happy expression. Molly wasn't a cheery person by nature, so seeing her happy made him happy. Seeing her happy with Harry around, however, made him a bit cold. Harry hoped they could be friends, again.

"How was your first day?" Molly muttered, looking at her hands, and not at Harry. The taller boy looked like he was trying to hide from their Professor, who seemed to be seething for some unknown reason. "Did you find your dorm? Did you meet your roommate?" Fletcher was a disgusting person, but he wasn't that bad.

Harry shook his head. "No, I didn't meet Fletcher, but I heard great things about him." Harry got a sick feeling in his stomach when he pronounced those words. He had a hunch that he was going to be meeting Dung soon. "How is this class? I heard the final year Transfiguration could be devilishly tricky."

Longbottom snorted.

Frank slumped over his desk to answer. "It's actually fairly easy, if you have the magical energy. Transfiguration isn't so much fine-tuning as it is just brute energy combined with a bit of will. You have to have a strong will, that's key. Bending things to another shape is hard on any day, but the stuff we cover this year is on a whole other level, especially with this small a class size."

"Animagi?" Harry asked.

Frank looked startled. "Merlin, no! What gave you that idea?" Longbottom's eyes narrowed.

Harry shrugged. He turned to face Arthur, who was trying to make conversation with a red-faced Molly. "Does she always make that face?" Harry said, pointing to the Professor who had begun writing on the board. "She was a lot nicer when I first came in."

Arthur looked at Minerva. "Actually, no, she is often gentle. Professor McGonagall is a bit on the quiet side, and sort of strict, but she is pleasant to talk to. Something must have happened to her. Why do you ask?" He looked at the dark-haired boy suspiciously. Harry turned away from him without answering and started copying down the notes on the board.

After the four of them were done, it was time for practice. "Today we'll be transfiguring objects into plates. Any questions? Good. What I want you to do is try and combine these desks into a conglomerate large enough to shield yourself from an array of attacks. Don't ask me why, just do it."

Minerva didn't want to let the students here know that they were someday going to be approached by the Order of Phoenix. Well, everyone except for the nasty Potter bastard. "All right, get into pairs and get started."

It didn't take long for them to get the hang of the spell. Surprisingly, it was Harry who was the first to get it to work, much to the annoyance of Frank. It seemed like the boy hadn't completely forgiven Harry's earlier run-in with Alice. Harry could guess why.

Alice was attractive in her own right, and had a nice personality. Harry suspected she would clash with him if they had spoken more than a few sentences to one another.

Why someone as silent and straightforward as Frank would want to date her, Harry had no idea. "All right, let's switch. Molly, show me your movements, I'll see what you're doing wrong." Molly Prewett, Harry liked. She was silent and docile, sort of like himself. She spoke when she was spoken to and became embarrassed easily.

Harry found it difficult to keep looking at her eyes, when her chest was so generous; far, far too generous for his liking. The pinkish girl had a pleasant face, and an old fashioned hair bob that went down to her chin, a look that suited her well.

It was always her chest that got his eyes' attention. Molly seemed to have noticed this as well, since she would cover herself and pulled up her dress shirt whenever she leaned in and it slipped down just enough to show a bit of cleavage.

Molly Prewett was an old-fashioned girl. She didn't believe in intercourse before marriage, kisses, or older men hitting on her. Growing up under the thumb of her aunt Murial made her more shy and skittish around people. She had low self-confidence and relied on her stronger friends.

Harry Potter was strong. Despite all the bad press about him, he seemed to shrug it off. She hoped she could be just as strong. She looked to him for that kind of strength, hoping some of his will would rub off on her. Ginny's to-be mother blushed just thinking about it.

Eventually, with the help of Harry, she was able to perform the spell. "Well done, Molly; everyone take 10 points for Gryffindor." Harry didn't make a comment about how unfair this was. He just tried to make his shield larger with transfiguration.

It got to the point where it covered half the room, and he was told to sit the lesson out. Still, the look Minerva gave him, a look of surprise when he didn't look put out, must have meant something.

The wavy-haired Professor decided that the class was done. "Well done. For your assignment, do pages three to fifteen. I want an essay on the strengths and weakness of this shield. Good day." She smiled as Arthur and Molly left, and looked neutral as Frank joined them.

Just as Harry was about to leave, out the door, the serious woman touched his shoulder.

She glared straight at him. The brunette was tall, and that was no understatement. Her height was slightly more than Harry's, but Harry felt so much shorter while she glowered at him with those cat-like eyes. "I am watching you, Potter."

Her glasses gave her the appearance of a strict teacher and made her seem even more vicious. "One more deviation, that's all I need and I am going straight to the Headmaster." She wasn't even this strict with James and his crew. This meant trouble. "Do you understand what I mean? Do we have an understanding, Potter?"

Harry scowled, Poppy hadn't explained anything at all, but nodded nonetheless. "I'll do what I can not to disappoint you," he said, adding, "Professor." I liked you better when you were a bitter old crone.

He stepped out of the room, almost knocking over Prewett, who was waiting for him to leave.

"What's going on here?" Harry asked. He was standing behind a crowd of people, mostly consisting of first years. They were pointing and laughing at something. The Potter wanted to see what it was but had an odd suspicion of what it could possibly be already.

"The greasy git, that's what. He tried to curse James in the hall, something about stealing some book." Harry raised both eyebrows. Bloody hell, the Half-Blood Prince. Harry made his way through the groups of first to fifth years. Not one of them seemed to be doing anything.

Snape was writhing on the floor, froth coming out of his mouth.

He didn't look particularly injured, but Harry could see the tell-tale mark of the tickling curse. Are they trying to murder him? If he couldn't breathe out of his mouth and he couldn't stop laughing, it could be very painful. "But Sirius already knows that," he muttered.

The crowd didn't try and stop him as he went to the side of Severus, and stopped the curses, both the cleaning froth and the ticking curse. James and his gang were next to Snape, but they didn't seem to expect someone to come and stop this, especially not Harry. Despite Harry being a slimy Slytherin.

"Is this your idea of a joke?" Harry asked quietly, trying not to be overheard. He looked straight at Sirius, who scuttled slightly behind James. He was using James as a shield. Smart move. "I am not laughing, Sirius."

He turned his back to the Marauders. He was wearing his Hallow underneath his clothes, but he didn't expect the four of them to be stupid enough to attack him, a seventh year, in broad daylight.

"He attacked first," Sirius tried to reason. "He had it coming. You weren't here, so you don't know." He folded his hands over his chest." Lousy git, thinks he can get away." Harry didn't like the expression on Sirius's face. It reminded him of Draco Malfoy. "Hexes us when our backs are turned! He's nothing but a coward."

Harry continued to heal Snape, and even cleaned his dirty robes. "Then what does that make you?" Harry asked. Sirius considered replying, but decided against it, this was a rhetorical question. "Don't let me catch you hurting this boy, not when I am around."

He turned around, his green eyes narrowed.

"I may owe your father much, but that doesn't mean he would be proud after hearing about this." Snape got up, and sent murderous glares at the four students who were slowly folding into the crowd of Gryffindors. They looked like they might fight back for a moment, but fearful because of the way Harry was holding himself, they decided to leave. For now, but they'll be back. "As for the rest of you, get to class. There is nothing to see here."

The Hogwarts students scattered, except for a Prefect who leaned back on the wall and sneered. It was a Slytherin Prefect. The green-clad boy went with the crowd eventually, but looked at Snape in disgust. Harry tried to reel in his emotions. Sirius, James, Remus… and Pettigrew, the Marauders. Peter, he'd have to be dealt with soon. Oh yes, very soon. Same with you, Lucius.

Harry waited for Snape to get up and stand straight. "I didn't need your help," he muttered. "I had it under control." Snivellus wiped off the slime on his robes, but noticed someone had cleaned it. He looked at Harry carefully and suspected the bastard had something to do with it. "I had them just where I wanted them."

Harry put his hand on his shoulder, Snape flinched. "I told you earlier to watch what you do." Harry considered what he wanted to say. He would have to be careful. Snape seemed tough, but was really fragile. "The more you fight them, the worst things will get." You might find yourself in the stomach of a werewolf, Snivy. Harry understood full well what it felt like to be bullied, but, unlike Snape, he himself didn't have the option to fight back.

Dudley and his gang would always get away with it. Teachers would ignore the signs, and the more he thought about what his aunt did, the angrier he became. Snape must have caught a brief glint of that rage, because he took a step in another direction. "If you will excuse me, I have a class to attend."

Harry tried to put himself in Snape's shoes. This was a man who had made school almost unbearable, and yet he was also the same man who died in the Shrieking shack, his last words so haunting and terrifying. "Look… at… me." Harry did look at him. He saw Snape, for what he was, then, and there. But that doesn't mean I forgive you. Potter never would.

He was his mother's best friend. That much counted for something. His help allowed her to become the witch that she was fully capable of becoming, and to Harry that meant he was almost like family, albeit a very, very, distant member.

"If they give you trouble, don't try and take them on your own," Harry hesitated. The words almost didn't come out. "If they try and harass you, steal your things, or try and attack you, find a way to escape. I… I'll talk tp Sirius." Snape's eyes widened; no one had ever offered such a thing before. "He'll listen to me." Harry's haunted eyes hardened. "I'll make him listen."

Severus Snape was speechless, but afraid. On one hand, this Slytherin was offering help, but on the other, at what cost? Snape didn't have any money. His family was poor. He could barely pay for his clothes, his father was a drunk. The less said about his mother, the better.

Harry seemed to have picked up on that thought because he eased the boy into the nearest hallway.

"Run along, Mr. Snape. you have class, don't you?" Snape slowly nodded, he was about to ask for his bag back, but Harry summoned it easily. "These belong to you." He noticed that the bag didn't seem to have the Half-Blood Prince, Severus's most prized possession. "Tell me what they took?"

Snape seemed to have a difficult time getting words out of his mouth. Sweat dripped down his forehead, and he was breathing hard. "My Potions book," he managed to say at last.

"Why is this book worth almost dying for?"

"It belonged to my mother."

"Ah," Harry said, sagely. "I see. I really do." Snape left after that. Harry watched him go to the end of the corridor and walk to where the Potions Class was. Give me some time, Severus Snape. There is still something I have to take care of.

After all, the second Horcrux wasn't going to destroy itself.

"Please don't hurt me," Borgin said, dropping his wand. Anyone would if they saw a particularly angry teenager crawling out of their prized cupboard. He suspected the person coming to be a Death Eater, if he was wearing green Slytherin robes. "If you want money, I can give it to you. Just don't steal anything, some of these are promised to your kind." Borgin fell on his arse as the figure stepped closer.

Taking a closer look, he noticed an array of dark curse scars and a giant thunderbolt scar on his forehead. He shivered. "I won't tell anyone I saw you, if that's what you want. Go right ahead, use my two-way cupboard." It wasn't like anyone else was using it.

Draco, you creepy arse-hole, I never thought I'd be glad to use your ideas. The two-way cupboard in the Room of Requirement allowed people to exit out of the castle, without anyone being the wiser. The only downside was that the exit was always Borgin's shop, since that was where the cupboard was, for now. I think I should purchase this someday, when I have the money.

"Tell anyone what you saw and the Dark Lord will be displeased," Harry said, imitating Lucius Malfoy's strange, feminine drawl.

He walked out of the shop and Apparated out of Knockturn Alley.

"I never thought I'd come here." Harry stood in front of the Gaunt Shack. He aimed his wand at the door and blasted the small front porch apart. He stepped over the rubble that was the entrance and pointed his wand toward the floor. In another blast, he blew up the floorboards and saw a golden box.

Harry ignored the sounds of serpents, and a strange ethereal aura filled up the area. It almost felt familiar.

"Gaunt's ring, there you are," he stepped over the broken floor boards and looked at the golden box. He pointed his wand at the ring and summoned as much anger and hatred as he could muster. He flashed through his memories of Voldemort killing his parents, his fight with Quirrel, the Basilisk, the day Cedric died, and finally, the battle on the grounds of Hogwarts.

Needless to say, the Killing Curse exploded out of his wand and hit the ring inside the box.

In an instant the box broke, and in the next instant, Harry looked at his arm and saw that it was withering. "No, no! Don't tell me that curse was active now!" He should have remembered what happened to Dumbledore's arm.

Before his arm withered away completely, Harry raised his wand up and repeated the same curse. "Avada Kedavra!"

The Horcrux screeched as it shattered, but the stone on the ring leaped out from the broken metal band and fell into his outstretched hand. "This can't end like this. I refuse to give up," he shouted. "This was my chance, why now?" he screamed. "Damn you, damn you to hell, Riddle!"

Harry felt the stone on his palm shake and looked at it as it started to turn, once, twice, three times. The Hallow is activating itself, what is it- Harry screamed as the withering curse began to infect his lungs. He howled for the pain to stop, and was shocked to see a bright beam of light appear before him. "Help me, someone," Harry pleaded. "Anyone."

In front of him appeared a young Tom Riddle: The soul in the Horcrux.

Before Harry could say another word, the spirit of teen Riddle turned into a beam of light and aimed itself into his mouth. He's trying to possess me! I won't let you!

Harry fought against the spirit that came out from the Stone of Resurrection. He maxed out his Occlumency shields but he couldn't keep them up. Harry couldn't concentrate with all the horrible pain in his arm. He bent to his knees, screaming at the floor, howling like an injured demon.

"Don't fight it, I am trying to help you. Let me help you, please. I beg you." The presence didn't feel evil, but that's how demons operated.

"Lies, you just want a body!" Harry spat, blood flowing out of his nose as he felt his lungs fill with blood and severed skin, some coming out through his nasal cavity. "I am not an idiot, Voldemort. I'll fight you with everything I have!"

He couldn't die. Not yet, not when he had found more people to protect. The Blacks, Molly, Arthur, Alice, Frank, Minerva, Poppy, and, yes, even Snape. If he failed now they might not live to see tomorrow. He wasn't alone anymore, he had people. He is just starting to know them. Most of them hated him, but some of them did not. In the end wasn't that worth fighting for?

The memories he spent with these children flashed through his mind, they spun faster and faster as the spirit tried to poses him, they gave him power, they gave him hope, and they gave him a reason to live.

Harry let out a howl of rage so load it made that day in fifth year when he tore apart Dumbledore's office seem like a tantrum. This time it was so furious that it tore off the very floor he was kneeling upon. He was stronger than this, he had survived worse than this, and this wasn't the end. This wouldn't be his last chance. His last chance was yet to come. It would be the day when he would fight off the Dark lord, once last time.

And then Harry Potter glowed.

End of Book One