So I didn't get this out by Christmas. *Looks around sheepishly*

I had such a hard time with this chapter! I guess I'm just ready to get to the good stuff. And just so your know, canon is obviously being deviated from at this point. I actually have my own Horcrux time line. I don't agree with JKR. I'll explain at the end of the chapter if you wanna know. I researched pretty thoroughly for this chapter so anything that deviates from canon was meant to be that way. Enjoy!

The Aftermath

Severus Snape was not a man who dealt easily with emotions. He had known for a few months exactly how wrong he had been about the Potter boy's home life. Since the very first Occlumency lesson, in fact. That did not mean that his personality was suddenly going to change or that he was going to go easy on the brat! Just because one had a less than adequate childhood did not mean the world would be easy or sympathetic. It just didn't happen. He, for one, was not going to coddle him. Stupid boy.

He had to admit to being exceedingly surprised when he first started to witness the child's memories and had seen the way his muggle relations had treated him. He had known Petunia since childhood, and all though he despised the harpy, he had always assumed she would spoil her nephew rotten. Oh, he knew the woman despised magic and was jealous she had none, but he knew she liked prestige and imagined herself important. He presumed she would relish being the caregiver of The-boy-who-lived. How very wrong he had been.

It was becoming increasingly obvious to him that he had been wrong on many counts when it came to the Golden Child. He sneered at the stupid moniker.

He had always seen a reincarnation of James Potter. Rash, self important, and deceiving. He had felt the hellion was completely undeserving of the vibrant eyes gifted to him by his mother. The defense of Miss Granger had started the crack in that illusion fairly quickly.

He had been, frankly, startled when the boy had knowingly ignored the edict of the Headmaster to get his friend the help she deserved. It was something Lily would have done. James Potter and his little Gryffindor sycophants would never have gone against Albus. Especially if help was all ready being given, as was the case with Miss Granger. It would have suited James just fine to follow the Headmasters rule. He probably would not have even thought twice about it.

Harry had unknowingly impressed the Slytherin Head by doing what he had done. Although, the man still thought the boy could be an exceedingly arrogant twat, he had finally shown the acerbic man what he had been waiting quite impatiently to see. That there was strength of character in him that had been missed before.

That little something made all the difference to Severus Snape. He would never show it outwardly, but he was very pleased with the green-eyed boy and resolved to try and judge the boy on his own merits and failings instead of on his long dead father's. Not that that would change much anyway.

Someone he was not pleased with, however, was one Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore. He was very displeased indeed. All his trust in the esteemed man had evaporated up in the tower office that afternoon. He doubted it would ever return. He trusted rarely and Albus had used that trust to meet his own ends. He knew the Headmaster did not do things maliciously, but that mattered very little at this point. What had been done was done and there was no taking it back.

Severus silently ruminated on all these things as he stood guard over the adolescents lying in various states of sleep and wakefulness on Harry's hospital bed. They were teenagers, no matter how good intentioned, and letting this little co-ed Hufflepuff-eque huddle continue unsupervised was ill advised in Severus' opinion.

As he stood as silent guard in the shadowed corner of the sterile infirmary room, he couldn't help but smirk satisfactorily as he recalled his conversation with the parents of the children he was currently watching.

After he had left the touching and highly uncomfortable display of emotions behind in Harry's room, he had been descended upon by the aforementioned adults. The ones who knew Harry best understood his display of emotions was highly irregular, even after having watched his god-mutt fall through the veil, and they had demanded an explanation. Even those who didn't know him, such as Augusta Longbottom and Xenophilius Lovegood, were concerned for the boy their offspring had obviously told them about.

Everyone but, curiously enough, Arthur Weasley. He stood a few feet away, arms crossed over his chest, staring at the open door where three of his children lay comforting Potter. He was still within hearing distance but it struck Severus as odd that the man's family had all but claimed the bespectacled boy as theirs, but he seemed to have little interest as to what was wrong with him. Severus filed that little oddity in his mind for further pondering before he turned swiftly toward the other adults and unabashedly ratted the Headmaster out.

In all actuality, he told them all very little. He told them first about the trip to St. Mungo's and the revelation that Harry had been abused physically and neglected horribly by his Aunt and Uncle. He had not gone into specifics. He stated only that the Healer was contacting the proper authorities and it had been bad enough to warrant Harry's removal and eventual placement elsewhere.

All had been appropriately angry and aghast that any child, especially their 'savior', had been treated thusly and had vocalized there upset for a good five minutes before Severus could get them quite again.

Molly Weasley was the most upset and had confessed to going to the Headmaster with concerns about Harry's living conditions a few times before. They had been quickly brushed aside. She told them of how she regularly sent him food during the summers because his cousin was, apparently, on a very strict diet and Harry was made to follow it as well. This hadn't set well with her, and she had approached the Headmaster. He had assured her all was well, that Harry was being appropriately cared for, and she and her husband had let it go.

Severus couldn't help but sneer even as Poppy and Madam Longbottom tried to console the weeping witch. Evidently, everyone thought the Headmaster was watching over the boy and had been swayed by pretty words. Well he wasn't going to put up with that any longer.

After Molly Weasley calmed down Severus continued the tale, albeit out of order, with Harry's cleansing from being possessed by the Dark Lord. Severus told them nothing of Horcruxes or souls, but only that the Dark Lord had severed the connection between Harry and himself. A good thing too for the Healer in charge of the cleansing had revealed that the scar linked them in such a way that in order for his nastiness to die, Harry would have had to die as well.

This caused Molly to sway dangerously before her husband steadied her. Everyone else was appropriately horrified and pale faced. It would get worse however.

"I never thought I would say anything of the sort, but I can only be thankful Harry met Voldemort last night. The boy has been through so much all ready, he deserve to live a good long time." Augusta Longbottom interjected after a considerable silence, ignoring the gasps that accompanied her saying that dreaded name. She wasn't going to be intimidated such ridiculousness!

"To right you are Augusta." Said Poppy. She turned and looked at Severus shrewdly. "I assume that is one reason why Harry has reacted like he has?"

"Partly, perhaps." Severus said emotionlessly. "I believe it is due more to fact that the Headmaster knew about the connection and it's ramifications, as we learned in his office directly before I portkeyed us both to the Infirmary."

Silence prevailed for exactly 10 seconds while everyone soaked up that statement.

"He what?" Whispered Poppy in an uncharacteristically shaky voice.

"He knew. He admitted as much just a few short moments before we arrived here Poppy." Severus let his mask sip for just a moment and tugged at the end of his long hair in agitation. "I portkeyed Potter up here before he could destroy the man's office in a fit of uncontrolled magic. Consequently, that seems to be a side effect of the connection breaking. Apparently quite a bit of his magic was going to block it."

Mr. Weasley hurriedly conjured a chair before his wife collapsed upon it, both looked devastated by the knowledge of what could have occurred and what the Headmaster had been keeping to himself.

"I think that sounds like the Headmaster exactly." Xenophilius remarked slowly and everyone looked up at him in surprise. "Dumbledore has always been quite secretive and convinced he knows the right course. He has his own 'secret' vigilante group, and to this day, he refuses to answer questions about his past and the spell he used to defeat Gridelwald.

"I know most people see me as a crazy old man with little sense, but I was a Ravenclaw, and I can reason very well if I want to. Most people don't know that Luna's Birthday is on September first and that she should be in her fifth year, not her fourth. Dumbledore came to see me a few weeks before they usually send out letters when Luna was 10 and convinced me to keep her back a year because of her gift."

"Gift?" Severus said. He was completely unaware that Miss Lovegood was anything more than an extremely strange, extremely bright Ravenclaw.

"Yes, you see, my late wife Annalise was the last of the Hightower's. A very old pureblood line they were. The females in the Hightower line were always gifted with a type of sight. I'm not speaking of prophecies or seeing the future, and my wife simply called it a gift so I am unaware of any technical name. What Luna and her mother could see was the truth of things. They see clearly how the world really is.

"All the creatures that Luna sees are real and documented in the Hightower library. She can see Aura's, connections, and lay lines. She can see the nature of magical objects, both the harmful and the benign. She can see past glamours, disillusion spells, and invisibility cloaks, although, curiously not Mr. Potters she has told me.

"My Luna is special, and that always scares people. I agreed to keep her back a year so she would, perhaps, be more ready to deal with the ridicule of her peers. Seeing the world the way she does seems to have a side effect, she and her mother both stated things very bluntly uninhibited or uncaring of the consequences. I thought I was protecting her and that he was trying to help. I believe, now, that the Headmaster had another agenda altogether."

Severus thought for a moment. "Do you believe Luna would have figured out Harry's connection to the Dark Lord if she had been around him as much as she would have if she had been in his year group?"

"I do," He said. "Luna spent a great deal of time with Mr. Potter this year, and by Christmas she seemed very worried. She told me of how she could see Harry was connected to someone very strongly and she was afraid of what it was. She said it was very dark. I believe, by this point, she has all ready figured out whom he was connected to and eventually she would have figured out the ramifications of such a thing. She counts Mr. Potter a friend, and she was very worried. I would have been surprised if she hadn't figured it out by the end of the summer."

"I suppose that makes sense." Madam Longbottom said. "Albus always has been one to keep his cards tight to his chest. If he were determined to keep everyone from knowing the nature of the Potter boy's connection to You-Know-Who, then he would not have wanted someone close to the boy who could figure it out.

"Surely though, he looked into ways of severing the connection before this." She stated this like it was obvious.

"I am unsure." Severus stated plainly, raising his hand to his lips and tracing them with one finger as he thought. "If he did, it was in secret, he didn't even have the boy looked at by any healer after the happenings of that Halloween so long ago. I'm not sure how he could have with no real diagnostic work up, but I could be wrong." He stated the last as if he was sure he was not wrong but felt the need to give the others some hope in the old man.

Severus still couldn't understand what the Headmaster had been thinking, keeping all that information to himself. It was obvious the snake-like man had to have had at least one Horcrux made before that fated day at Godric's hollow or the bit of soul, which broke off and imbedded in Harry would never have done so. Had he even looked for any or destroyed it/them? Were there any left? For someone who was basically running the Voldemort resistance, Albus Dumbledore was making some pretty contradictory decisions.

Not very soon after that, their little gathering dispersed. Xenophilius and Augusta left after quiet goodbyes to their charges and with many assurances by Molly and Poppy that they would be owling or flooing quite soon. The correspondence, Severus had surmised, would be mostly gossip about a certain Headmaster, as Poppy and Molly and left immediately to confront the man and (on Molly's end) make sure everything discussed today had been factual.

This had left only Severus and Arthur alone in the empty ward. Severus, being himself, merely peered at the man out of the corner of his eye before turning and walking back toward the room currently housing the co-ed sleepover, as he was sure a chaperone was very much needed. He stopped a few paces away however, when Arthur suddenly turned and hailed him

"Severus, I was wondering if I might have a moment of your time." The be-spectacled man asked.

"I have a moment, yes." Replied Severus in his usual drawing manner.

Arthur smiled tentatively and walked a few paces closer. "I was wondering what the Healers told you of Harry's possible living arraignments until he comes of age."

Severus fought the overwhelming urge to roll his eyes. "If you are asking if you and your family can take the boy in…" However, Severus had hardly uttered those words before he saw the patriarch of clan Weasley shaking his head.

"No, I don't think that would be the best of ideas, Severus. I was just curious. I'm a bit worried Molly will extend an invite, though. I wanted to be a bit clearer on what the Healers said would happen to Harry so I could reassure her that our help isn't needed."

Severus was very confused and very intrigued. Arthur Weasley was a man of few words. Whether that was because he was often overshadowed by one of his more boisterous children or wife, or by his own choice, was unknown. Now, however, Arthur was talking without the presents of either of these influences, and Severus was going to take advantage of that.

Severus pierced the man with his most serious look. "The way it was explained to me by the Healer only those who have previously been enrolled, inspected, and interviewed as part of the fostering program will be eligible to take in Mr. Potter. He has no next of kin to go to so that is the standard procedure in such a case as his."

Mr. Weasley blew out a breath of relief even as he flushed over his reaction.

"Am I to understand that you are less enamored with the boy then previously thought?" Severus was expecting immediate denial. He was raised his brow in shock when Arthur only ran a hand through his hair roughly and sighed gustily.

"For as long as I have known Harry he has always been a nice boy." Arthur started hesitantly. "He is always polite, well mannered, eager to help, but I was very much against Molly's insistence that he become a part of our family. I wanted him to be just like every other friend of one of our children. Molly disagreed.

"I let it go, and I have watched as year after year at least one of my children is involved in one of his adventures. The problem I have always had is he seems to attract so much danger and he rushes into it instead of telling a more appropriate person.

"Yes, he has always come out the victor, and I am deeply grateful of what he did for my Gin especially, but I just never understood why he never asked for help. I truly still feel horror when I think of my Ginevra's life in the hand of a twelve year old."

He stopped for a moment to remove his glasses and rub a hand down his face. "I knew he hated the attention he has received since he entered our community. He's uncomfortable with himself in a way I never saw in my children. Nevertheless, I must admit, I was beginning to think that underneath all that nice polite boy was someone who craved the notice of others, and was just very good at hiding it. I didn't want my children to be hurt or die because he wanted to play the hero."

He sighed tiredly and replaced his glasses. Severus just looked on quietly and let the man think. This was something that needed to be fleshed out before the boy woke up. He didn't need any more heartache and what Arthur Weasley was saying would surely cause it. The head of house Weasley did not consider the boy-who-lived a member of his family, as everyone had thought, and that would crush the child if he ever even got an inkling of those feelings. As far as Severus could tell he had only the Weasleys and the mutt, and the later was dead. Not good.

"I can see now the problem was not that the boy wanted attention." The red-haired man stated after a short silence. "It was that he had been raised to believe he could not trust adults and that his life was worth less then everyone else's.

"I understand this, truly, but as involved as my family is with this war all ready, I just can't see him as anything but a danger to my children. I know he is just an abused child who is nothing but a victim of circumstance. Under different circumstances, I believe he would be a great addition to our family, but war is upon us now and I have to think of my own family first and foremost. And no matter, how much my children and wife may wish it; Harry is not a part of that."

Severus had a hard time keeping his face impassive as he tried to find something to say.

"I suppose there isn't anything fundamentally wrong with the way you feel Arthur." He began slowly, after a moment's contemplation.

"You want to protect your family and that is admirable and understandable. I do feel it is rather cruel to be voicing this now. Your familial ties with Potter have been solidified in his, and everyone else's, mind. You should not have let that happened if you were so dissatisfied. Your entire brood seems to have made a point in telling the boy he is family. If you didn't want that, you should have done as you wanted to and only treated him as you would have any other friend of one of you children."

Arthur heaved a great sigh. "I know, but it was impossible to influence Molly to my way of thinking. She saw an orphan in need of a home and wanted to give him one. Understandable really."

"She is also convinced that Harry will, ah," He cleared is throat hastily "will marry our Ginevra."

Severus looked at the man incredulously. "You jest! They are 15, Arthur!"

"Yes, yes, I know, but Molly thinks it was fate that brought Harry to save Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets. Ginny had been taken with him from a young age but what started our as just a child's crush intensified after that year. I think the fact that the last four generations of Potter men have married red heads is not helping me convince them otherwise."

Severus shook his head. "I sincerely hope you are not saying your wife was, and is, as open with your home to the boy because she hopes that it will bring her a son-in-law. I doubt that will sit very well with Potter if he were to ever find out, and things like that do have the tendency of making themselves known at the most inopportune times."

"Molly and Ginny do love Harry, Severus. It won't matter to them if Harry never shows any interest in Gin. They, and my younger children, consider Harry family. As much as that bothers me, I don't think anything will change that. I suppose I am being a bit ridiculous, but I just can't help it. I just fear what could happen to my family."

"As do most in these troubled times." The dark man stated, glad to be able to get out of the previous conversation, even if it did lend much information. He hoped to Merlin that Arthur would never repeat this conversation to anyone else. Harry had much to deal with and this would just add a new layer of misery to the all ready down trodden child. He couldn't help but despise Arthur Weasley at that moment. Even if he did understand his reasoning.

"I hope he finds a good family then, and thank you, Severus. For listening to my worries. I know it is not something you do often, or ever." The balding man smiled his thanks.

The professor barely restrained himself from rolling his eyes and instead only lifted an elegant eyebrow. "Indeed," He said, and swept back through the doors to the room housing the boy they had just been talking of.

Severus was broken out of his musings by a soft noise coming from the bed. It seemed Miss Lovegood was awakening. He shifted minutely and took stock of the rest of occupants of the overlarge bed.

The Weasley girl was still asleep nestled against one of her brothers. Longbottom, he tried hard not to sneer, was still awake with his head lent back against the headrest absent-mindedly running his fingers through Potter's ridiculous nest of hair.

The twins were looking at each other, over Potter's head, unblinkingly. As they were wont to do. He had always thought those boys must have been magically connected since birth. He was certain they were able to share thoughts.

He shifted he eyes toward the door as he saw someone entering the ward. Poppy and a red-faced Molly seemed to have come back from their impromptu meeting with the Headmaster. They were talking seriously and he wanted to make sure they had learned nothing new.

"I expect," he began smirking when all the conscious teens started, "that you will all comport yourselves with decorum while a step out for a moment. Yes?"

"Yes sir." Came three voices. All male.

"Of course we will." Luna Lovegood stated belatedly as she wrapped a loose string from her blanket around her index finger.

Snape glared at them through narrowed eyes for a moment before exiting in his usual manor.

"Glad he's finally gone," Neville said in relief. "I know he helped Harry, but he still scares the bloody hell out of me."

Quiet sniggers erupted from all awake occupants of the room. Neville only grinned sheepishly. All quieted quickly though, and got down to business.

"So glad we had our extendable ears with us." Fred said

"To right you are brother dear," George replied. "Otherwise we would have never known"

"What happened to make our sweet Harry so upset." Fred finished.

"Oh, I'm sure he would have told us eventually," Said Luna.

"I doubt it." Neville said with a skeptical look on his face. "I mean, just think about how you would feel if you were him. I mean Dumbledore basically planned his death out. I wouldn't want to tell anyone."

"I suppose that's true," Replied Luna. "But I think he would have needed to confide in someone, even if it may have taken him the whole summer. And really, who does he trust more than his friends?" Neville just nodded his head at the flighty girl.

"So, our mysterious Ravenclaw beauty,"

"You don't mind that your secret"

"Is a secret no longer?" The twins asked with large grins on their faces.

"Oh no!" She said, dreamy eyes wide. "I wasn't really hiding it, you know. It just never seemed like precisely the right time to say anything. I guess it worked out best this way." She smiled dazedly.

"I guess it did." The twins replied in tandem. One winking roguishly.

The room was silent for a moment before Neville hesitantly spoke up. "What about your dad guys?"

The twins took on a serious air, which was quite peculiar for the usually jovial boys. "I don't rightly know." Replied George. "I had no idea dad felt that way about Harry being so close to the family."

"Too bad for him." Piped up Fred. "It's too late for him to do anything about it anyway. We've claimed him."

"Especially after everything he's done for all of us." Twin voices chorused.

"We'll have to think of a way to reassure dad, though." One twin muttered

"And away to break it to Mum and Gin that Harry, most likely, isn't going to be marrying into the family," muttered the other.

"You think they'll be okay with that?" Neville asked skeptically. "I've never met your Mum, but Ginny is scary when she doesn't get her way. She was a right nightmare when I took her to the Yule ball." Neville shuttered at the memory of how demanding the littlest Weasley had been that night.

Fred snickered quietly as George answered. "Mum should be fine as long as he still comes around for her to fatten up. Gin should be fine as well. After a while, at least."

"Yeah," chimed in Fred, "though I reckon it will take a bit of time. She's been mooning after Harry since she was 6 and Mum bought her that Harry Potter Doll."

"Aye," Said George, gazing into the middle distance as if in fond remembrance. "Such lovely times we used to have with our Harry's miniature sand filled look alike."

"You'd have thought ickle Gin-Gin would have cared for him as much as we did, as much time as she spent carting the thing around. But no!" Cried Fred as dramatically as possible while still keeping his voice low. "Came storming down the stairs the very first morning her first year, angry as could be when she found it lovingly placed on her pillow for her to cuddle with. Right brother?"

"Too right you are! And after we brought it all the way from home after she forgot to pack it! Ungrateful brat." Everyone chuckled at their dramatics and prank whilst shooting the red head pillowed on Fred's chest looks to make sure she hadn't woken.

"You should probably tell her soon." Luna piped up unexpectedly a few minutes later. "About Harry not being very interested." She said when all she received in response was confused and inquiring looks.

"Ginny bought some floral perfume on the last Hogsmeade weekend that has a mild love potion and suggestion charm in it." All male eyes were immediately on the blonde.

"What will that do exactly?" Asked Neville into the silence that had descended.

"Well, I didn't pay too much attention but, I suppose, the suggestion charm is supposed to suggest that the boy spend more time with the girl wearing it. The more time a boy spends with the girl the more time the love potion has to work. There is some sort of activation phrase connected to it. I'm not really sure how it works, but Ginny was real excited about it." She said playing absently mindedly with her hair.

"It smells very pretty and flowery, but I don't think it's a good idea for her to have it. It's supposed to be very subtle so it needs prolonged exposure to work, but I think it would be a very serious temptation for her. Especially since she was expecting to be around Harry quite a bit this summer, just like always."

"We'll talk to her." Said the twins together, once again stony faced. They wouldn't put it passed Ginny to try to ensnare Harry in such a way. Especially if she had found out their mother had used a love potion on their father to get him to notice her. Bill had told them that little tidbit not to long ago.

"Good." Neville said quietly. All of them were thinking Harry had had enough choices taken from him. Who to love should not be one of them.

The quiet continued in the ward after that. Professor Snape returned; Luna drifted in and out of sleep, and occasionally read the quibbler she had a house elf fetch for her. Fred and George continued their silent conversation, and Neville eventually moved from the head of the bed to the end by Luna and lay down to sleep, lengthwise across the bed.

Albus Dumbledore sat up in his office wondering how everything had come so horribly undone. The only positive thing that had happened was Tom's removal of his Horcrux from Harry's scar. He was still unsure of the full ramifications of such an action, but in the atrium, he was sure he saw one. Tom had looked human. More human than Albus had seen him looking in more that 20 years.

As great as that news undoubtedly was, there was now a new, graver, problem. It would not be too much of a stretch for Tom to theorize that his remaining Horcruxes were in danger. Harry had been close to him for years, and Tom might guess, correctly, that he had found the secret to Tom's immortality.

He knew, now, that he was going to have to begin his hunt a bit earlier than he had anticipated. Tomorrow he would need to go the Little Hangleton and see if he could find the Gaunt House. He was sure Tom had hidden one Horcrux, in an heirloom ring, in the little shack his mother had lived in nearly her entire life.

Yes, tomorrow he would start his search in earnest. He had hoped to wait until Harry was ready to help him in his quest, but that seemed far off yet. His whole demeanor changed to one of extreme sadness. He had wronged that boy badly, and in many ways. In time he may earn back some of the trust he had lost this day, but now he had other matters to settle. The aging Headmaster sat in his office making plans and forming contingencies, and wondered if, perhaps, he could convince Severus to accompany him on the next day's mission.

He couldn't have known that his mission the next day would be a failure, as the ring would all ready be gone.

In a brightly lit study, the Darkest of Dark Lords stood silently in front of a grand picture window and gazed down upon the grounds below. He had just dismissed both Lucius and Bellatrix. They had both hurried from the room grateful and bewildered that their Lord had not seen fit to punish them for the fiasco their simple jaunt to the ministry had dissolved into.

He was angry at almost everything that had happened last evening and early this morning. The only thing that had impressed him was that Lucius had all ready wriggled his way out of Ministry custody, courtesy of Minister Fudge and the copious amount of money Lucius had donated over the past 10 or so years.

No politician wanted their staunchest supporter and wealthiest contributor to be arrested, let alone for breaking into the Ministry as a Death Eater. Uncomfortable questions would be asked. Fudge may be an idiot, but he knew how to do damage control.

As amusing as that pathetic politician's scramble to keep his job was, Lord Voldemort had bigger things on his mind just then.

He had done copious amounts of research when he had initially run across the term Horcrux in the restricted section of the Hogwarts Library. There had been only one recorded instance of a human being used as a Horcrux so he new it was possible, but he had never, even at his most paranoid, supposed the Potter boy had been unintentionally been harboring .

Horcrux making had been invented thousands upon thousands of years ago by the Ancient Egyptians. While the practice was not what one would venture to call common, it was also not a surprising occurrence. In his opinion, the Egyptian wizards had a far more sensible approach on magic. None was off limits, even 'Dark Arts' as they became known as.

A son of one of the Pharaoh's in Egypt, he couldn't even recall his name, had made one of his wives into a Horcrux and then tried to assassinate his father so he could take over the throne and rule for as long as it pleased him.

Not a very smart plan.

He was caught before he could do the deed and he and his entire house was executed for treason, including his wife/Horcrux. The Pharaoh had been irate when he learned of the ultimate plan, and later became more than a bit paranoid of someone following his example. Eventually he ordered all Horcrux vessels in his kingdom destroyed and banned the practice of soul magic altogether.

He had obviously broken his soul into too many pieces if a shard could separate and implant itself into the nearest being. It was extremely fortuitous that he found that splinter.

His first Horcrux had been made when he had been only 16 years old, in the summer of 1943. He recalled the outing with a sneer and great distaste. He had not set out to make one the day he had gone in search of his mother's family, the Gaunts. He had taken the Slytherin ring from Morfin when he realized what a pathetic excuse for a wizard the man was and then set off to the village proper to search out his biological father.

He had gained access to the house by simply knocking and entering after the stiff woman who had answered the door. He had been led to the parlor and what followed had enraged and soured him in a way nothing in his life had until that moment. He was completely repudiated by all three surviving members of his family, but that had not been the worst.

His father had maligned his mother, called her a whore and a devil worshipper. He then proceeded to tell his son he was glad the 'harlot' was dead and she should have taken her spawn with her to hell when she died. Then to add insult to injury the elder Riddle, his grandfather, had shushed his son and offered to pay him to keep his mouth shut about his ancestry. As though he wanted anything to do with that muggle filth! Especially after such a disgusting example of why wizards and muggles should always be kept separate.

He had lost his temper spectacularly after that and had used the Avada Kedavra on all three before any of them could even think of screaming. He had made his first Horcrux just then, in the large house that should have been his home. He then magically forged a will naming him benefactor to their fortune. Transferred all their precious money to Gringotts and sold their mansion. Overall, he thought it was quite poetic.

His second Horcrux had been made three years later with the death of an elderly window named Hepzibah Smith using the Cup of Hufflepuff he procured from her. It was a pity to kill the harmless old woman, but needs must, as they say.

He had disappeared from English society after that. He had traveled the world, studied, recruited, and generally began to put his plans into action. He had not felt any ill effects from his Horcrux making and so continued.

The next he made in the mid fifties using the locket he had gained from Hepzibah Smith. The fourth had been made almost ten years later using the Diadem of Ravenclaw he had finally procured from the Albanian forest. He actually smiled as he recalled his jubilation and finally finding the revered piece of history. Well, he had as jovial as he was able to be.

Then during the 70's the war truly started

He had made elaborate plans on how he would change magical society and keep the muggles away from them. They were not peaceful plans, he knew he was a cruel bastard, but they had not been genocide either. His plan was, basically, the entire isolation of the wizarding communities in Britain from the muggle and the abolishment of the restrictions on Dark Magic use.

He realized now that somewhere along the way he had lost focus. It was as if all his plans were forgotten. Especially after the creation on Horcrux number five, his Diary.

It had started out as a civil war. He, the leader of the faction seeking isolation from the muggle community and the right to practice whatever magic they desired, and Dumbledore, the leader of the status quo.

He had soon started murdering everyone, including purebloods, who disagreed with his agenda of isolationism. He couldn't believe the damage he had done to pureblood society. Whole houses had been destroyed. Soon after, he had begun torturing his followers.

Well that wasn't entirely true. He had punished them before for failure of a task, but it had turned into much more than that.

Then that fateful night in 1981 had happened. He was going to squash all hope of resistance that night and create his final Horcrux with the prophesied child's death. Instead, he was banished, no more than a wraith. The brilliance of his plan had worked, but also failed.

Oh how he had hated his time as less than a ghost. He had been technically alive, but no one but him knew of his Horcruxes. He could see this now was a great failing. No one knew, so know one could resurrect him. By the same galleon, he couldn't risk telling anyone for fear the soul containers would be destroyed while he was in his weakened state. It was a vicious circle and he was only just now realizing it.

How could he have gone so long without realizing what had happened? That something was going desperately wrong? He had been thinking long and hard since his return from the ministry. He did not like what he saw. As he looked through his memories, it became increasingly clear that the loss of each piece of soul correlated to a further loss of his sanity.

Had his followers not noticed his change over the years? Both physical and mental? Since his resurrection he had dropped every plan that did not include gaining the prophesy or capturing and killing Harry Potter. He supposed that made a great deal of sense. He again, had made another Horcrux; out of Nagini this time. That in itself was insane. She was sentient and would die of old age if nothing else.

Well it was obvious now that something needed to be done. He had a chance to continue with his original plans. This time he would succeed. Besides the more human appearance, his mind was actually less chaotic than it had been for longer than he could remember.

All the rage that had been ever present for decades had dimmed a little as well. He was sure this was both a combination of rejoining his soul piece with the rest of the whole, and the fact that that little piece of soul had been living in Potter's pure one for so long. That had to have lingering affects. This would work to his advantage.

Now he had to decide what to do next. He did not like it, but he knew he would have to retrieve his remaining Horcruxes. He would start in the village of Little Hangleton and systematically reabsorb the remainder of his soul pieces. Well, except perhaps Nagini. It was such a small piece after all.

Hopefully Dumbledore had not found the remaining pieces. He doubted he would ever be that lucky. It was a distinct possibility that the man had figured out his plan.

After Lucius' mishandling of his diary Horcrux and the Potter boy's close proximity to the foolish old man it was too much to hope that such glaring clues had been overlooked. He would have to leave immediately. He would call Lucius and Severus to accompany him in his venture. He needed their trust most of all, as the most cunning and smartest of his inner circle members. This would go a long way to gaining some genuine trust instead of fear and brute force to aid their compliance with his orders.

Not that he wasn't still a sadistic and cruel man. He smirked ominously at this thought as he swept out of the room in search of the elder Malfoy. He was Lord Voldemort after all. Even as a child, he had been a bit evil and reveled in the pain of his enemies. And so it would be once more. Only this time, he would be the victor, as would the whole of wizarding Britain. His sanity was retuning. He must ready himself for what would come.


Yay! Next Chapter we get to the good stuff! Can I just say how humbled and appreciative I am by all the reviews! I had over 130 reviews for chapter 6. Thanks to everyone who gave their opinion on the parsletoungue thing.

All right, I changed the order and time line for the Horcruxes. Manly because I looked up the time line and it was obvious JKR just slapped that shit together! I mean really. According to her, 5 of the 6 horcruxes were made before TR turned 20. WTF? Why did he wait upwards of 35 years to make the last one then? That just doesn't make any sense at all. Come on now! Plus what happend to the whole bit about him saving the important deaths to make them. According to her he made two while still in school (myrtle and his father.) Then used a 'tramp' and some Albanian peasant for two others. I'm sorry but I just can't handle that. So I spaced the Horcrux making over a number of years. I think it makes more sense, plus it works with my story. Hopefully ya'll don't mind!

No flames yet people! It's like a miracle!