Title: Harveste Addams and the Order of the Phoenix
Crossover: Harry Potter and the Addams Family
Summary: There are three roads a growing witch or wizard can take. The first two are well-trodden. But this year, the world better get ready, because when the dark moon rises, the third path comes alive.
Warning: Addams Family Sadism and Cross-dressing, Slash and Het
Dedicated to Godzilla the Animated Series, because who wouldn't want a lovely giant lizard all to themselves?
UNYA~! I've been gone for so long! I appreciate all your reviews, it helped bring my brain back from the stupor of work. To all of Harveste's new fans, let's hope the last chapter of Order of the Phoenix lives up to the hype! Let's get confusing!
Draco had never been in a car before. He kept rolling his window down, then back up again.
"And what're these snappy things?"
"They're called seatbelts." Luna said softly, sitting by the other window with the full moon's glow reflecting off her large eyes. "They're very useful. Sixty-three percent of deaths caused by automobile accidents are because people don't wear them."
"Cut them out, do." In the rear-view mirror, Blaise caught a glimpse of Harry's expression. "I'd never hear the end of it if Pugsley found out I was driving in a car with seatbelts."
"See this rock formation here and here," Hermione was saying as she looked over the passenger side seat at the map Cedric was holding. "We're somewhere in Banffshire, and London is over here… That's four and a half hours."
"What?" Draco's eyebrows rose, one hand paused in the act of buckling his seatbelt. "Liverworth will be dead by the time we get there!"
"Wonderful." Harveste said with a little smile. "We shall be just in time to see rigor mortis set in."
Blaise sighed. This was going to be a very long trip.
Thirty minutes in, just as Blaise was about to fall asleep…
"I know! Let's play some car games!"
"You can't be serious." Blaise stifled a yawn. "That's just so wrong."
"Oh I don't know. We're just going up against the Dark Lord and his Death Eaters in a few hours. This is exactly the time for some games."
"Lighten up. It was just a suggestion."
"I can't believe my ears. You're actually telling me to lighten up? You who stood behind us with a whip as we studied and threatened us with castration? Alert the Unspeakables, the world is ending."
"Shut up, Blaise. Anyway," Draco piped up, trying to keep the peace. "This is our first time in a car, so we wouldn't know what the traditional games are."
"There's nothing traditional about it. I'll teach you." Hermione turned from Blaise with a haughty sniff and favored the smaller blond with half a smile. "Do you know 'Wally the Woff'?"
Luna, who had been gazing blankly out of the window, seemed to emerge from her daze. "Oh, I know that! But in the Wizarding world, it's called 'Hanna the Hippogriff'."
"I don't think I know that one." Draco frowned.
Hermione's face split into a grin. "This is going to be fun then."
With two and a half hours left to go until they reached London, Draco was ready to pull his hair out. Cedric, who had also been participating, had long since given up and was now lightly snoring against the window. Blaise was supremely jealous. He would be asleep right now as well, if it weren't for the fact that Draco was a very sore loser.
"I just don't get it it. I can bring a Flobberworm but not a Bundimun, a Kappa but not a Grindylow, a Niffler but not a Kneazle, and a Dabberblimp but not a Crumple-Horned Snorkack to Hanna's party." Draco's eyes narrowed in thought. "Maybe the clue's in the digestibility. Or the color. Or composition. It's potion ingredients, isn't it?"
Hermione smiled. "Just keep guessing."
"Does she like… peanut butter?"
"Peanut butter, yes, but peanuts, no."
"Well, how can Hanna like peanut butter if she doesn't like peanuts?" Draco's face was a picture in concentration. "Does she... drink tea?"
"What kind of tea?"
"I don't know… Earl Grey?"
"Then no. She does like Russian Caravan though."
"Obviously she's got inferior taste." Draco frowned as he looked at an impromptu clue list he had scribbled down. "This game doesn't make sense at all."
"You can never be right with Hanna." Harry contributed with a smile of his own. "But you can be correct."
"What the hell is that supposed to mean?"
Blaise rolled his eyes.
It was an hour and forty-five minutes to London, and Blaise had just put an end to the second round of Hanna the Hippogriff. Draco was already fuming with murderous frustration.
"It's something to do with Grael-Millon's theory of relative displacement in instances of shifting magic particles under cross-lunar manipulation, isn't it? Isn't it?"
"Try again, Draco."
He would have sulked the rest of the way if Hermione hadn't mollified him with chicken and honey-mustard sandwiches.
Blaise personally thought that if one had to eat just before a life-and-death situation, it should be something spartan, like bread and water, something fitting to the circumstances. It shouldn't be food worthy of a restaurant, like sandwiches with the crusts cut off and a sponge cake for afters.
Harry was idly steering the car through thick cloud cover while eating Scotch Bonnet peppers. Cedric had taken a small bite earlier and was now halfway through a wheel of cheese, still trying to get rid of the searing spiciness. As if that weren't enough, Harry had topped them off with steak tartare and the eyeballs Luna had given him at Yule. Blaise felt his stomach churn as the brunette took another bite.
"I can't believe you kiss me with that mouth." He said, the words slipping from him unthinkingly.
The car went quiet.
"Dear gods." Draco finally breathed, resentment forgotten, looking between him and Harveste's amused face with wide eyes. "Dear gods, I can't believe you just said that."
Cedric turned away and made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a snicker. Hermione and Luna had no such qualms. They looked at each other and burst out laughing at the same time.
Over the sounds of car-shaking hilarity, Blaise could barely hear Harry's response, but somehow he did and his cheeks nearly burst into flame.
'What sort of mouth should I kiss you with?'
Thirty minutes before they were set to land, Hermione had begun unpacking things. Lots of things.
She hadn't been joking about the weapons. They were all, in typical Hermione-fashion, well-oiled, meticulously clean, and sharp enough to cut a cow's head off without it noticing. There was more than enough to go around. She had also brought a change of clothes for each of them, complete with socks, underwear, toiletries and-
"Are these essential oils? What on earth do you think we'll use these for, massaging them into submission?"
"I thought we might need a nice soak afterwards. Don't underestimate muscle pain, Blaise."
"When do you think we're going to have time to- Do you know the meaning of 'excessively prepared', Hermione?"
"I don't know. Does it mean the same thing as 'survival against overwhelming odds'?"
Draco, ever curious, pulled a boot out from between some ceremonial axes and a coil of piano wire. "Wellingtons? What would we need wellingtons for, wading through a river of blood?"
Hermione took it from his hand and gave him a Look.
"And by that I mean I hope you brought me a pair."
"Of course I did. You're a size six, right?"
"Size six? That's a ladies' size, isn't it?" Blaise aimed a smile like a devil at the embarrassed blond. "This is not a proud moment for you."
"Shut up," Draco muttered. "It's hereditary."
"You know what they say about men with small feet– What on earth is this?" Blaise asked incredulously, looking down at what Hermione had just pushed into his arms. It was a bundle of dark red cloth, soft and warm, its comforting texture completely at odds with what was on top of it. It was a mask, bone-white and as thin as paper, with red markings on the cheeks and across the forehead. "What's this for?"
"You wear the mask over your face so they won't recognize you, and the cloak to hide your body shape." The Gryffindor girl said patiently. "It's called anonymity. And they'll take us more seriously if we look similar. It's a psychology thing."
"But Death Eaters wear black."
"I said similar, Draco, not the same. If I'd made the cloaks black and the masks silver, then we would look like copycats, and no one respects a copycat."
"Right, because their respect is what we're looking for. Honestly, Hermione."
"In any case, red hides the bloodstains much better, which is perfect for what we plan to do."
"What, exactly, is the plan?" Blaise asked.
"Ah." Harveste's pleasant chuckle filled the car. "I thought you were never going to ask."
The wait had been interminable. Blaise never wanted to ride in a car ever again, not even if it was upholstered in silk and made out of platinum with diamond windows. No way. Never. He would walk back to Hogwarts if he needed to.
"And no one is to mention Hanna the Hippogriff to me." He growled out as they finally, FINALLY landed between the buildings that hid the Ministry of Magic. "The next person to say anything about her and her damned likes or dislikes will be fucking skinned."
"Just one last gue-" Draco squeaked as Blaise suddenly loomed over him like a mountain, eyes promising retribution. "Alright, gods, save it for the bloody Death Eaters…"
Harveste smiled behind his fan and gestured them into the telephone booth. It was a very tight fit, and extremely hazardous considering the fact that each of them was literally dressed to kill.
"Welcome to the Ministry." A tinny, chipper voice said. "Please state your name and business."
"Harveste Addams, Hermione Granger, Luna Lovegood, Draco Malfoy, Blaise Zabini and Cedric Diggory." Harry said blithely. "We're just here to kill someone."
Behind him, Cedric took a deep breath and smooshed Draco's face against Blaise's back. "Oh, sorry."
"I feel like the filling in a Bigfoot sandwich." The blond muttered as he peeled himself away.
"I'm sure there are many who would like to take your place." Luna said in her maddeningly placid manner.
There was a ding and a clatter of metal. "Thank you, visitor. Please take your badge and enjoy your stay at the Ministry of Magic."
Hermione picked one of the badges out of the chute. 'Hermione Granger', it read, 'Murderer'.
"That's a hell of a souvenir." Draco said, looking underneath Blaise's arm. "Do you think we can bring it home afterwards?"
Blaise sighed in exasperation. "That's what you're thinking about at a time like this?"
"But I'm not a murderer!" Hermione was exclaiming as the box descended.
"Wait a while."
The Hall of Prophecies was hewn straight from the bedrock, the naked stones rough and cold under his touch. It reminded Lucius of the dungeons under his Manor, the only difference being that the Hall obviously did not benefit from the attentions of a cleaning crew. The Malfoy patriarch fastidiously picked his way through the dusty rows, the soft, silvery glow of active prophecies reflecting off his mask.
His companions weren't quite as conscientious, the flapping black edges of their cloaks streaked with grey as they strode on towards the one clear space in the entire Hall where the Official Recorders usually held court. When they arrived, Fenrir was already licking his claws free of blood.
Bellatrix Lestrange cackled gleefully at the sight of the mangled bodies half-hidden in the shadows, but before she could step forward, Lucius had already set them aflame with a flick of his wand.
His sister-in-law scowled sullenly. "Must you deprive me of fun at every single turn?"
"We are not here to indulge in your fantasies, Bellatrix, we are to do the Master's bidding."
"Yesss." He knew a manic grin was now splitting her hidden face, faster then a lightning strike, and he could hear the mad excitement in her voice. "To kill the Baby Potter, at long last."
"Over my dead body, you foul bitch." growled a furious voice from behind them.
Lucius watched, his face expressionless even under his mask, as Bellatrix danced between the rest of the Death Eaters, heading towards the smaller of the two cages that they had brought with them. It was so small that the prisoner inside it had to sit with his arms tightly around his knees and his head ducked almost out of sight. The fingers of one hand were bent grotesquely and he was bleeding from numerous gashes all over his body, but his eyes still glared venomously out at them.
Bellatrix giggled girlishly and began to rattle her wand against the bars of his cage. "You still show such spirit. Will you still be the same after I kill your little nephew in front of you, I wonder?"
The man let out a chortle, though it sounded strangled due to the angle of his neck. "You can try your best, scummy pathetic Death Eater that you are. I bet you won't even be able to touch him."
"Your insolence reminds me of my cousin's." She hissed, digging the hard end of her wand into one open wound. It only resulted in unsettling high-pitched laughter, the same as it had been when she had started torturing him two days ago. She jabbed him harder, suddenly furious. "I'll strip every inch of skin from his wriggling body and cut out his tongue and feed it to you. You won't be laughing then, will you? WILL YOU? And his little friends too, when I get my hands on them. I'll kill every single one right in front of your eyes, so slowly, so you can hear every beautiful scream-"
"Enough, Bellatrix." Lucius snapped. "Lord Voldemort's orders-"
"I know what the Master ordered!" She snarled, whirling around to face him, her eyes sparking in the dim silver light. "And I know you! I can hear the fear in your hammering heart, Lucius. You fear that Draco will be among the ones who arrive, do you not? You have no one to blame but yourself if we end up killing my sister's son on this night, knowing you could have prevented it if you had but ended the Potter spawn when you first found out about him."
"You know nothing of the Master's plans, Bellatrix. You have been in Azkaban for too long."
"I was FAITHFUL enough to suffer in prison, while you-"
"Were wise enough to stay free, so I could see everything come into fruition." Lucius brushed past her as she bit back an angry scream, pausing only to shoot a warning glance at one Death Eater. "Rodolphus, do attempt to keep your wife from ruining us all tonight. Fenrir, how is the other werewolf?"
The alpha said nothing, as silent as he had been when they arrived, only moving to take up his station next to the larger cage. In it paced a lean brown-furred wolf, its dark eyes watching them, its fangs bared threateningly. Its bony shoulders were deeply scarred and burned from where it had dashed repeatedly against the silver bars to get to its mate, the man in the other cage. Capturing the wolf had been a challenge, but there was no way they could have caught Liverworth Addams without him. The man had been maddened by the disappearance of his lover and it had cost three Death Eaters their lives to incapacitate him.
The werewolf blinked, and then his frame began to shudder as he forced himself into his half-state. Lucius knew it took great effort during the full moon, and especially since he had another werewolf's scent so near. Bones cracked hollowly in the cavernous Hall as they reformed themselves, the distorted muscles crawling under his skin like snakes stuffed in a sack. His form was more misshapen than usual, attempting to stand on a wolf's hind legs with a long tail to balance him, monstrous paws becoming slightly more human but still tipped with lethal claws, his face still half-masked with matted, dirty fur as his muzzle shortened enough to allow him to speak.
Lucius kept himself from shaking his head as the usually murderous eyes remained trained on the captive, the old bloodthirsty nature dampened under new-found patience and childlike interest. Fenrir had changed after his encounter with the Addams boy, just as the Dark Lord had, though there was none that would admit it openly. Even Bellatrix had noticed, and her temper had worsened as a result. Her Master's mood had changed and with it, her position in his eyes. She was no longer as favored as she had been, and all her inventive murders and tortures remained for naught. She hated Lucius for still remaining the Dark Lord's first lieutenant, and he knew this night would not end without her attempting to kill him at least once.
'Let her try. Even if the plan does not go perfectly because of her interference, I will still have the satisfaction of seeing her writhe before His wand.'
"He should be near here. Anywhere here... really close..."
"I... I don't think your Uncle is here-"
The faint sound of running filtered through the shelves, the soft, muffled sound of young voices with it. Lucius silently beckoned the others to follow him. Fenrir and a few others were left behind to guard the cages.
"Have you seen this? It's got your name on-"
Bellatrix's fanatic frenzy was near palatable as they turned a corner, still hidden by the shadows, and came upon a group of five. Three were the approximate size for school-going youngsters, but the other two towered over them. They were all wearing identical hooded red cloaks, their faces rendered unrecognizable by distance.
"Don't touch it!" One -a girl by the sound of her voice- said warningly as a pale hand reached for a dusty prophecy.
"Why not? It's something to do with me, isn't it?"
The ball was lifted off the shelf and the red cloaks gathered around it.
'Now it begins.'
"Very good, Addams." Lucius said, stepping into the light. "Now turn around, nice and slowly, and give that to me."
The one holding the prophecy stiffened but turned around obediently, and Lucius found himself looking at a bone-white mask striped with thin red streaks.
This was an unexpected development. Lucius' eyes narrowed. "To me," he repeated, keeping his voice even.
The voice was muffled and unrecognizable. "Where's Liverworth?"
Laughter rippled through the Death Eaters behind him and Bellatrix spoke as the rest of the cloaked students faced them, all wearing similar white-and-red masks. "Are you copying us, ickle babies, with your hoods and your scawy wittle masks? Are you pwaying at being Death Eaters?"
"We're not playing at anything." One of the taller ones said, his voice deep and calm. "Tell us where Liverworth is."
"Tell us where Liverworth is." Bellatrix mimicked annoyingly.
Lucius set his jaw to keep from grinding his teeth. "Give us the prophecy and no one need get hurt."
A girl laughed, the strangely haunting sound filling the air in strange ways.
"You dare laugh at us?" Bellatrix's sanity, always tenuously clinging to the surface, slipped once more. "Accio proph-"
Before the spell could be finished, she was forced to leap back, a long dagger blade biting deep into the stone before her.
"Try that again and I'll smash this." said the one with the prophecy. "Tell us what we want to know."
"The itty bitty babies think they're so tough." Bellatrix ripped off her mask and pushed her hood back, baring her teeth in a hellishly challenging grin. "Show me your faces, little babies. Don't hide your fear from me. I can hear the rush of your blood in your veins, the hammering of your little hearts."
"Fear isn't the only thing that can do that." The ball was tossed teasingly from side to side. "Come and get it, mad Bella, if you can."
Rodolphus grabbed his wife's arms and she began to thrash angrily. "You dare... You dare-"
"Enough of this." Lucius growled out over her inarticulate swearing. "Give me the prophecy, Addams!"
"Who said I was Harveste?"
Lucius made to draw his wand, but then, impossibly, a wind began to pick up, tinged with the scent of palm wine and rich dark chocolate. His breath caught in his throat at the rush of lust that suddenly spiked through him and he nearly stumbled in surprise. "What on- An incubus?"
One of the taller ones laughed, making the lust they felt build higher before it faded away. "Flattery won't get you anywhere. Do not move, please. No one wants to see old people have sex."
Rodolphus, as insane as his wife, was shaking with laughter even as he clamped his hand tight around Bellatrix's mouth to keep her from screaming the Killing Curse.
"Eww, Vali. Just... eww." The one with the ball said.
"Even now, Jormungandr? Seriously?"
"For goodness' sake, you two." sighed one of the girls. "This isn't the time."
"Where. Is. Harveste. Addams." Lucius bit out, his patience already wound tight. What the hell were these children playing at?
"Close by." The one addressed as Vali said.
"He's sent you to do his dirty work, has he?" Bellatrix spat between her husband's fingers. "He's sent you to die in his place!"
"No, he hasn't." An eerily lilting feminine voice spoke up, the mask it had issued from tilted to one side coquettishly. "He sent us to distract you."
A sudden warning howl rent the air, setting all their nerves on end, and just as it reached its peak, it was cut off as suddenly as it started. Lucius could hear some of the newer Death Eaters behind him start to shuffle in uncertainty.
"And now that we've accomplished that, we don't need this any longer, do we?" Vali continued, taking the ball away from the shorter one.
It crashed onto the floor, splintering into a thousand pieces, the prophecy lost forever.
"Cursed child!" That was the last straw for Bellatrix. She tore away from her husband and screeched, "AVADA KEDAVRA!"
Everything went downhill after that.
Harveste chuckled as he heard the screaming begin. "The fun has started. Shall we join them, Uncles?"
Lumeno looked up from where he had been licking tritely at Liverworth's wounds, his ears drooping in shame.
"It wasn't your fault for getting caught." Liverworth said, countering the werewolf's unspoken apology, barely wincing as he pulled his dislocated fingers back into position. "I should have known it was a trap. Forgive me, Harry."
"No need, Uncle. We were in need of a little outing after our O.W.L.s. Come along before we miss the fight."
Liverworth stood up, popping his knee into place as he did so. "What about him?" He asked, gesturing towards the severely beaten and bleeding form in the large silver cage.
"We shall leave him alive for now." Harveste smiled into the emotionless blue eyes that stared at him from a wolf's face. "It's no fun killing off all Tom's toys in one go. Until next time, puppy, yes?"
Fenrir watched as the trio calmly walked away. The lust of the wolf clawed against his insides and he closed his eyes as he fought it down. Scenes played behind his eyelids as he sought the reason... the reason...
He had smelt the Addams before he had appeared. It wasn't even as if the boy had been trying to hide himself, but STILL he couldn't catch him. His companions had fallen with every step of the deadly dance, Fenrir beyond caring, all fangs and claws and instinct, his eyes nailed on the tauntingly quirked lips and the night-black hair that whirled with his movements, trailing that enticing scent.
Foward... backward... across... up and over... starting from the beginning, always ahead of his attacks...
And then... the boy had whirled another way and ended up flush against his chest.
It was as if the Addams had been weaving a spell and the alpha had stepped right into the center of the web.
And Fenrir hadn't struck him down. He couldn't, and the reason still eluded him. All he could do was snarl helplessly into the amused green eyes. He had been so wholly distracted that he hadn't even realized the two prisoners were free until a knife had slid almost thoughtfully into his back.
Now, Fenrir shook his head and pushed the cage door open, ignoring the burn of silver against his paws. He hobbled out, forcing the wolf's power into healing the deepest wounds before he Apparated away to where the Dark Lord was waiting.
The red cloaks were easy to follow, tempting targets flitting about in the gloom. The Death Eaters stupid enough to assume that their visibility made them easy to kill were already scattered around the floor.
Liverworth and Lumeno had jumped into the fray without a second thought. Harveste remained leaning against one of the shelves, a cup of tea and a saucer in his hands as he watched over the goings-on with a benevolent smile. His friends looked like they were having the time of their lives.
Draco and Luna fought in a similar way, each using their smaller stature to evade their attackers, darting out from unexpected corners to strike their blows then disappearing before any retaliation could be dealt. The only difference was in their choice of weapon. Luna used her whip to snatch the wand out of her foe's hand before lashing out with her fists or feet. Draco moved with a surgeon's precision, slicing tendons and nicking veins just enough to weaken but not kill.
Cedric zoomed high above them on a broom, trailed by five Death Eaters. As Harveste watched, the Hufflepuff cast a Stunner, making one opponent fall out of the air. Then he changed direction unexpectedly, meeting one Death Eater's face with a baseball bat and another with a fist before cutting the broom's flight power and dropping downwards. The remaining two crashed into each other. Harveste hid his smile as Cedric did a celebratory loop-the-loop before swooping over someone who was creeping up on Luna, grabbing whoever it was by the collar and throwing them against a shelf.
Hermione's laughter caught his attention. He followed the sound to where she was, in front of the door, her double-bladed staff a blur in her hands and a few unconscious bodies before her.
"It's too easy for her." An amused voice said behind Harry. "For all of us, actually. You've taken the fun out of fighting anyone else."
"We must find you some worthy opponents then, darling." He smiled as Blaise took up station next to him, the scent of wine and chocolate unmistakable even underneath the thicker smell of blood. "I don't suppose anyone has actually died."
"No, although I don't see the point in keeping them alive. We could end this all so much quicker. It's harder trying not to kill them."
"All in good time."
"Harveste," Blaise sighed and the placid gaze turned towards him. "Are you sure about this?"
"Do you trust me, vali?"
"Of course I do. You think I'd follow you all the way here if I didn't?" The Slytherin muttered as he fought the ridiculous, inexplicable desire to blush yet again. "Or that I'd wear Hermione's stuffy damn mask for nothing?"
"True. I am sure she will keep you all in line for the rest of the year." The brunette said with a cryptic smile.
"What do you mean?"
Above the door Hermione was guarding, two other portals opened, signaling the entrance of the Order of the Phoenix.
"And here are the rest of the players. Do be certain to ask Hermione to explain while I'm gone."
"Hang on, gone?" Blaise blinked, confusion making his heart skip a beat. "What are you talking about? That wasn't part of the pla-"
But he was too late. Harveste had already disappeared.
Hermione had never felt this alive before. Her heart beat harshly in her chest, pushing blood that felt like molten lava through her veins. Her skin was cold though and her hands steady as she swept her weapon left and right. A flick of her wrist had her opponent's mask off, skewered on the end of one sharp blade. It was either Rodolphus or Rabastan, she had no idea which, but she didn't care. All that mattered was incapacitating him and she set about it with a vengeance.
Out of the corner of her eye, she could see Bellatrix battling with a laughing Liverworth. Her friends were elsewhere, spread out, against both Death Eaters and Aurors now, driving them all towards the Veil of Thoth, the great stone arch in the middle of the Study of Death. Harveste had given them a timeline to accomplish what had to be done, and somehow everything was happening just as he had said it would.
Something was niggling at the back of her mind though, even as she drove her enemy backwards into the gloom of a hidden corner to dispatch him. They were all to meet at the Veil, but Harveste hadn't said why. They had been told of a plan, yes, but she almost certain that it wasn't the entire plan. The gods knew that she loved and trusted her best friend, but he was always so secretive, everything he did wreathed in congenial ambiguity, working towards a goal that they still weren't privy to. Or at least, a goal they hadn't figured out yet.
She hadn't figured it out yet. Just the thought of it made her frown.
The man sensed her moment of inattentiveness and darted forward, ducking beneath her instinctive swipe and pulling the staff out of her hand as he swept her feet out from under her. Within seconds, she was on the floor, her wrists held behind her back and a wand jabbed in the hollow of her throat.
"You are quite the wildcat." The man's stale breath washed over her cheek. "The Dark Lord will appreciate such a gift."
"Bad guys always celebrate so early. It's so disappointing."
Cedric, rounding a doorway to keep the Aurors from seeing him, met Hermione coming the other way. Behind her, a man was slumped in a sitting position, a bloody red gash along his forehead.
"Do I want to know what happened to him?"
The witch shrugged, balancing on one foot as she folded the blade back into the groove of her shoe. "He found out how flexible women can be."
"Gosh. We never want to piss you off, do we?"
"Just don't call me a wildcat." Hermione smiled at him as she peered around at where the others were still fighting."It was just so condescending-"
She was just in time to see a jet of red light catch Liverworth square in the middle. Her fingers flew to her mouth as he began to fall.
Straight through the Veil.
"NO!" Hermione was half-surprised that the scream hadn't come from her. She saw Blaise tackle Draco out of the way as the blond made to rush his triumphant aunt. "YOU FUCKING BITCH! I'LL HAVE YOUR HEAD AND EAT IT!"
"Oh no no no." Hermione felt shock flood through her system and her breaths became quick and shallow as she tried to make sense of what she had seen. "It can't- The Veil- Oh poor Uncle Liverworth, we were supposed to save him- How am I ever-"
"Hermione!" Cedric grabbed her by the shoulders and shook her gently. "We don't have time to mourn for him, not here. What do we do now?"
She bit her lip in a rare bout of indecision. "We... we have to stick to Harry's plan as much as possible. Get Luna and keep the Aurors away as long as you can. We've got to be ready to leave when Harry makes his move."
"What about Lumeno?"
"I'll... I'll get him. Just be ready."
The place was a maze. Hermione fought back tears as she ran through every room looking for a tell-tale glimpse of a tail, brown fur, anything that would tell her where the Addams werewolf was. She couldn't imagine how to break the news to him that Harveste's godfather... that the only other Marauder...
"I just killed your mate, ickle doggy. Did you wuv him?"
Apparently she didn't have to. As Hermione pushed the lift grilles open, she saw the circling forms in front of the Fountain of Magical Bretheren: the snarling werewolf with saliva dripping from its bared fangs, and Bellatrix, all insane eyes and ragged hair.
Lumeno moved first, springing forward, his wild eyes intent on the woman's throat. Bellatrix danced out of the way, silver fire bursting from the tip of her wand as she did so. The werewolf twisted at the last minute, the spell catching him on the side. His skin split in two, the wound so deep the white of bone was visible. Lumeno crashed to the floor with a howl.
A muzzle materialized, forcing his jaws together, and ropes lashed tight around him.
"Pathetic. Back to Fenrir with you, halfbreed." The witch sneered spitefully. "But don't worry, I'll make sure your lover has lots of people to meet him in the Underworld. Bitty baby Potter will make a fine companion, after the Master is done with him."
"No." whispered Hermione. The sorrow and anger she was feeling suddenly swept through her, tightening her throat, but she forced herself to swallow as she stepped out to where they could see her. "No."
"What is this? Another of the filthy ickle half-blood's friends?"
Bellatrix watched in interest as the slim red-clad form stiffened. Then, slowly, the mask was removed, baring a child's face to the light. Her head was held high, her mouth set in a firm, proud line. "Yes, I am. Let Lumeno go and I won't harm you."
"You? Harm me?" Bella let out a bark of laughter. "Do you know who you are talking to, little girl?"
The child's voice was measured and even. Even Bella, blessed though she was with Anubis' power, couldn't smell the slightest hint of anxiety. The audacity of it made the wrathful void swell within her. "I do not need to know the name of someone who will die horribly in a few minutes."
"Neither do I."
'This is not happening. This is not happening!'
When Bellatrix had cast the Killing Curse, Lucius' blood had run cold. One of those red cloaks had hidden his son, he was certain of it. The thought of Draco dying by his mad sister-in-law's hand had nearly been enough to shatter his facade, but thankfully his body moved before his mouth had, hauling Bellatrix's arm up to disrupt her aim.
It was almost certainly the Zabini boy that had broken the prophecy, and Lucius was grateful that Draco's friend had seemingly developed nerves of steel, because if he had shifted in the slightest, the Avada would have hit him instead of the shelf behind him.
"Fool! We need them alive!" Lucius had growled furiously at his sister-in-law, fighting against the urge to throttle her. She could have killed his son!
And then the children had darted away, faster than any eye could follow, and the second part of the plan started.
Harveste Addam's plan.
The other Death Eaters had scattered immediately, except for him. Lucius had felt his whole body shift under his dark cloak as he walked calmly between the rows and out of sight. Not everyone could have accomplished that, coping with the changing length of leg bones and the re-fusing of vertebrae while moving, but it had been a favorite trick of his when he was in Hogwarts and it came back to him easily. A few seconds and he was unrecognizable, except for his eyes, which remained a clear grey. Not even Woden Himself could change His eyes. Eyes were the windows to the soul, and no one could change their soul.
At least, a Dark wielder of Woden's power could not. Apparently the followers of Blood magic could. Lucius felt his stoicism melt away as he watched his son, the one they had so jokingly called Jormungandr, dart back and forth like a deadly arrow, the knife in his hand gleaming like a star in the gloom. He could see no hesitation in the way Draco moved, no excess flair, no posturing. This was not the spoiled child that Narcissa had raised, the one who had thrown a tantrum on his fifth birthday because he hadn't liked the way a present was wrapped. Lucius suddenly felt like he was standing on the edge of a cliff with his son on the other side, a huge gaping abyss separating them. What had happened to Draco to turn him into such a-
A howl of horror had caught his attention and he raised his head to catch the last moments of Liverworth Addams.
Lucius had run forward as Draco vengefully made to confront his aunt, but thankfully a large form had cut his son off before he could. Lucius had always indulgently listened to the stories of the Addams' house and this year, it had become mostly 'Liverworth this' and 'Liverworth that'. It had gotten to the point where Lucius was ready to assume that his son had a crush on the man. The truth had been simpler than that and twice as disturbing.
Draco had been ecstatic at having the chance to learn under a master prankster, and now that prankster might as well have died. No one came back from the Veil.
His son had just lost a friend, and the depth of feeling behind the maddened screams betrayed his misery.
Then Miss Granger had deviated from the plan, chasing after Bellatrix in Draco's stead and Lucius had followed.
Now he stared aghast at the rubble that peppered the once pristine Ministry Atrium. The Fountain had been destroyed, had exploded somehow, with the centaur's golden statue embedded waist-deep in the far wall. The unfettered geyser gushed forth from the wreck, peppering everything with freezing needle-like droplets. It didn't seem to matter a whit to Miss Granger, whose expression was as fierce as any lioness, focused unerringly on the face of the Dark Lord's most deranged follower as they fought. She seemed to have an unending supply of weapons and a high pain tolerance. He had seen her take a concussion spell that would have blinded a lesser man, but though her eyes had been blank for a minute or two, her hands and her feet had never paused, confidence in every firm step and strike.
A snuffle brought his attention to the werewolf bound at his feet. The distressingly large laceration had been scored bone-deep into his left side when Lucius had pulled him away from the warring females. It was smaller now, thanks to the accelerated healing that was typical for his kind, but Lumeno was still losing a lot of blood. Lucius knelt down and pressed a chunk of bread to the gaping, panting jaws.
Only a few of Woden's followers knew the old chant of healing. The Dark Lord only bid him use it when even Scabior's talents weren't enough to minister to one of the wolfpack, and for good reason. Not only was it draining, it was bad for his image. A Malfoy, curing other people? He'd never live it down.
"I have not seen the Blessing of Woden in some time."
"It only works on the wolves." The Malfoy patriarch said, quietly acknowledging Harveste as he appeared, shadows reluctantly melting off the thin body. The boy was serenely sipping something that looked like blood-red tea even as he watched his friend fighting in a life-and-death situation. "Where is my son?"
"Safe, as I promised."
Lucius felt the tightness in his heart ease. Draco and Narcissa were the only reasons he had ever agreed to this.
"H-Harry..." Lumeno had managed to half-shift and now desolation made his fur-covered face look grey and haunted. "The Veil... Liverworth..."
The Addams boy blinked slowly, allowing Lucius to see the moment when his eyes shifted, the pupils slitted like a cat's, before they returned to normal. His voice was still as smooth as ever though and a hand caressed the werewolf's sweating brow gently.
"Sleep now, Uncle." The soft cool voice said, at once soothing and dangerous. "We shall see what can be done."
The air suddenly seemed to burst, as if there had been some invisible eruption, and hot gale-force winds began to lash furiously in the enclosed space, forcing Lucius to shield the healing werewolf against the abrupt assault.
"I am too old for all these accursed surprises! Do not waste your power!"
"I have never wasted anything. But it is not I." Harveste laughed, the sound like the screech of a ravening hippogriff that fit in perfectly with the howling of the forming tempest, and gestured towards the wreckage of the fountain.
Or where the wreckage had been. The searing hot gusts of air were almost certainly forming a mirage, because Lucius would swear that he was looking at a marble altar, the image shimmering and shifting but undeniably there.
Miss Granger had managed to corner Bellatrix. The straggly-haired head whipped this way and that, seeking a way out, but every where she looked, blades appeared, driving her up against the vague image.
The young witch wasn't even looking at her. Her eyes were closed and her lips were moving silently, as if she was in the middle of a trance. The milky-white altar became firmer somehow, and beyond it, Lucius could no longer see the darkness of the ruined Atrium. Instead, there were more marble arches with hints of blue sky beyond it, walls hung with rich tapestries and a statue on a throne, sitting across from... offerings?
The grey eyes widened when he realized exactly what he was looking at.
It was a god's temple.
Everything happened simultaneously. Miss Granger dropped her double-bladed staff and slashed her palm open with yet another hidden dagger, sweeping her arm out to scatter the blood drops wide-
Bella let out an unhinged beastly scream and black tendrils burst forth from her hands, undulating disturbingly, each like a slice through reality as they were sent screeching straight for-
The wind built up, making the very stones of the wall rattle and shake-
A glutinous essence began to seep out from under and around the great statue, oozing over the immaculate stone like viscous, corrosive tar-
And Miss Granger opened her eyes. They glowed like amber in the midst of a dragon's flames, and her voice reverberated mightily throughout the room.
"To you! NANE!"
The world burned white. For a moment, there was a feeling of extreme suction, akin to a Portkey but multiplied a thousand times.
Then it stopped, and Lord Voldemort arrived.
Harveste chuckled quietly as the air cleared and the wind died, and he waved for Lucius to take Lumeno and a panting Hermione back to the Study of Death. The temple was nowhere to be seen, Bellatrix's still form lying forlornly half in the shadows.
The red eyes sparked in the gloom at the sound of his voice and Harry stepped out into the space Hermione had so kindly cleared with her Low Call. He would have to commend her for the creative usage of items on hand.
"Potter. I knew you would come." The sinuous voice said, triumphantly. "Where is my prophecy?"
"It is gone." Harry watched the snake eyes narrow. "But I know what it is. Would you like me to tell you?"
"I do not barter with children. You will tell me or you will die." It was a statement, not a question.
Harveste stepped forward. A table materialized between them as he approached, complete with a set of china and folded black napkins.
For possibly the first time since the start of his despotic reign, Voldemort looked utterly disconcerted, as if he had taken a spoonful of sugary syrup instead of the expected slug puree. Harveste hid a smile as he sat down primly and gestured at the opposite chair.
"What foolishness is this?"
"I thought we might talk as civilized people. This is how the Headmaster does it." Harry said as he filled both cups politely.
"Do not compare me to that man. I am not one of your playthings, Potter. I do not have time for tea. I want my prophecy."
"There is always time for tea. And the only way you will be able to hear the prophecy now will be from my lips or not at all. I am sure the Headmaster will not accommodate you, no matter how civilized he might be."
Voldemort didn't move, choosing instead to glare at him, the expression frightening on his starkly white face. "Potter." He hissed threateningly. "What is this trickery?"
"No tricks, though I should repay you in kind." Emeralds gleamed over the edge of the cup. "All the pawns you sent after me and my friends, all your tokens... There is no need to be coy, Tom. You could have just asked me to join you."
The transparent, vertical eyelids shuttered and opened as the Dark Lord continued to track his movements. Harry imagined that the still way he held his body was as much part of his frightening persona as the Killing Curse. Even someone who had trained all their life to read people's unconscious body movements would have had a hard time predicting Voldemort's next move.
"You are meant to join me." The Dark Lord finally hissed, his thin tongue flicking out to test the air. "You are not of the Light. You revel in pain and despair as I do. Imagine what we could achieve if you were by my side."
Harry smiled. "At least ask me on a date first."
The slitted nostrils flared testily. "Your impudence will cost you."
"It already has. One of your pets has terminally inconvenienced my godfather. Bellatrix is fortunate that the goddess Nane prefers to take trophies other than lifeblood, though if we wait a little longer, she might just expire on her own."
Red eyes flickered in the direction he was smiling at. True enough, Bellatrix was still alive, blood peppering her lips, breaths becoming shallower as she struggled back into consciousness. Voldemort turned away coldly. "That is none of my concern, Potter."
"Addams." He corrected as he stirred his beverage. "Sit down, Tom, do. Unless you truly do not want to hear the prophecy?"
A disgusted look crawling across his pallid face, the Dark Lord finally pulled out the chair and settled down, swallowing the scalding tea in one draught. "I will make you pay for this indignity." He promised darkly.
"I am sure you will try." Harveste said with a smile. "Now. 'The one with the power to defeat the Dark Lord approaches, born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not. And either must die at the hand of the other, for neither can live while the other survives.'"
Voldemort's long-fingered hand had been tightening around the cup as he spoke, and at the last words, the china shattered. "And that is my prophecy, is it?" The hiss was withdrawn and quiet, the man seemingly in deep thought. "Every word of it exactly as you said?"
"You would not believe me even if I said it was, Tom. But it is the truth, yes, every word."
"Then you must die."
The table and everything on it combusted, devoured by angry black flames, but Harveste had already disappeared, trailing his laugh behind him.
"You have an adorable temper, Tom."
At Voldemort's silent command, the black flame lengthened, expanding as it licked at the oxygen-rich air, filling the room with its rattling hiss until the Dark Lord was standing in the midst of it. "Face me, child, and I will make your death quick."
"As you wish. But I am afraid you are a few years too late."
Voldemort whirled around and found himself looking into smiling poison-bright eyes.
"Prophecies can be so fickle, dear Tom. I am not the one you are looking for. I have already died."
The words whispered temptingly close over his sallow cheek, then Voldemort blinked in evident surprise when he registered just what had been said.
"Liar! You are alive!"
"So are you." Harveste raised his head as the scent of cinnamon wafted towards him. "I'm afraid I must take my leave. Do your best, dear Tom. I shall be so disappointed if you let him defeat you before we have a chance to play a little more."
Lucius, resigned to his role as a chauffeur, had floated his two charges back to where the others were hidden behind a serviceable Disillusionment Charm. The Zabini boy had assumed from his black cloak that he was an enemy, but Miss Granger, still processing her successful Low Call, grabbed the knife out of the air and shook her head.
"He's one of us, I think."
Draco took a wary sniff and his eyes widened in surprise. "Father? What are you-"
"Hush, Draco, this isn't the time. You must get out immediately."
"What? But we- Harveste-"
Miss Granger's eyes still glowed warmly from the power beating under her skin. "This is part of the plan, Mister Malfoy? What about Harveste?"
"He will meet you in Hogwarts. Do not let them see you when you leave."
The Zabini boy rolled his eyes under his mask as he hoisted the protesting younger blond onto his shoulder. They melted away in short order, thanks to a seamless blanket of Miss Granger's spells, and as soon as he was sure they were gone, Lucius had picked his way back towards the Atrium.
Where Dumbledore was fighting the Dark Lord.
Lucius threw himself behind a chunk of marble just in time. A purple spell shrieked past him.
"By Odin's Eye." He muttered, peering around and trying to spot a glimpse of the thin black form he had gotten used to seeing all throughout the year. Retirement was looking better and better. "This had better bloody work, Addams..."
A hand caressed his cheek, startling him so much he had to stifle a gasp. It was so bitingly cold, a shock of pain, and he found the large green eyes looming out of the dark.
"Of course it will work, Lucius. You are very beautiful. This will not be a hardship at all."
A sardonic smile was suddenly way too near his face, and then there were a pair of lips on his. Reflexively, he tried to jerk back, but pushing against the hand at his neck was like trying to push against a wall.
His lower lip was nipped, almost delicately, and blood began to flow.
Then, as if an ice block had burst inside his chest, a nerve-chilling freeze began to take over his body, spiking painfully into the marrow of his bones and stabbing through his organs. He gasped reflexively and a thick, warm liquid filled his mouth.
It was blood, but it tasted like… peppers and spiced tea.
The frost was already creeping over the silver-grey irises when his eyes suddenly widened in realization.
And then, much to Lucius' mortification later on, he fainted.
Voldemort had been more vindictive than usual, not a word passing his lipless mouth as he attacked, accompanying the Darkest of spells with the shape-shifting attacks of the black flames. Dumbledore had tried to goad him into making a mistake, tried to puncture his pride enough that he would reveal any hint of his current machinations, but it was for naught. If it hadn't been for Fawkes at a very crucial point, Albus himself would have been naught as well. Evidently the gods still smiled down at him.
As soon as more Aurors had arrived, Voldemort had disappeared, taking a piteously cowering Bellatrix with him. There had been something in the crimson eyes that did not bode well for her.
Now, Ministry of Magic employees crawled over the rubble as a stunned Cornelius Fudge's eyes darted hither and dither. Dumbledore had revived the statues of the Fountain to help with the search, though the house elf and the goblin remained flanking the Minister. It was an appropriate look, Albus thought sourly, that the cringing, cowardly little man be metaphorically pinned between what the Wizarding World thought of as subservient creatures.
"He was there!" Williamson bellowed from across the room. "I saw him, Mister Fudge, I swear it was You-Know-Who-"
"I know, I saw him too!" The Minister gibbered. "Great heavens above- It just doesn't seem possible- How can this be-"
Albus frowned. Even after all this time, with his precious Ministry ripped to pieces before his eyes...
"If you proceed downstairs into the Department of Mysteries, Cornelius, you will find several escaped Death Eaters-"
"Dumbledore? What are you doing here?"
"I found one! A Death Eater!" Someone else yelled. "And... By the gods, his scar- It's Harry P-"
"Don't say the name!" Dumbledore and Fudge shouted together as they hurried to where the Auror was.
The Headmaster did indeed recognize the still dark form as his student, lying unconscious though he was, and right beside him was-
"Dear gods, it's Lucius Malfoy!" The bowler hat twirled between the Minister's hands, then he focused on the Addams and Albus saw the pudgy set of his jaw as the man once again arrived at the wrong conclusion. "This is one of your students, Dumbledore, someone who you have sent to defame me somehow- Do not try to deny-"
"Cornelius, a few minutes ago you saw proof with your own eyes, proof of what I have been trying to tell you these past twelve months, and it is time that you listened to sense. Lord Voldemort has returned, it is irrefutable."
Fudge blustered and shuffled in his pajamas. "Dumbledore, you- you will need to tell me exactly- what happened- what has to happen-"
"We will discuss this after I have brought my student back to school."
"But- Now see here-"
"Do shut up, Cornelius."
Dumbledore allowed himself a second to savor the look of shock that crossed the Minister's face before he Levitated Harveste's thin body and Portkey'd to his office.
He settled the unconscious boy on a chair and went behind his desk. Thoughts were whirling in his mind now, numerous possibilities of how he could- arrangements that would be beneficial- a purpose, any purpose that would explain, that would get the young one on his side-
The Headmaster shook his head with a sigh. No. That could never happen, not now, not when he was on the side of the Light. Direct manipulation was forbidden to them. He could only do it indirectly, through friends or perceived enemies, or by his words, though that had never worked on Harveste Addams before.
Ah well. There was always a first time for everything.
The next morning, before breakfast had even started, the door to the Infirmary burst open. It was the only warning Madame Pomfrey had before a worried gaggle of students and one teacher's aide descended on her.
"Where is he?" Hermione Granger asked, anxiety twisting her face, "Is he alright?"
"He hasn't spoken since the Headmaster brought him back from the Ministry." The Healer's eyes softened at the girl's genuine concern and gestured toward a curtained corner. "I'm sure he will be happy to have a few visitors. Just try to keep the noise down please."
"I bet he's just trying to find a way to eat other people's painstakingly crafted potions." Draco was saying as they approached the hidden bed. "As if it's really Harveste-"
Hermione stifled a wail as she took in the sight of her best friend. His skin was as pale as ever, almost as snowy-white as the sheets around him. Black hair, carefully brushed over the pillow, looked limp and somehow lifeless. He was as stiff as a plank, the only movement the steady rise and fall of his chest as he breathed shallowly. He wasn't even blinking, and his eyes were so dark as to be barely green, staring blindly upwards at the ceiling.
"What the hell? How the bloody hell did this happen?"
"Oh Harveste." Luna said softly, tears welling up in her voice.
"That's not Harveste." Draco said, crossing his arms over his chest in denial. "That can't be. He's messing with us."
He made a grab for the progress chart, only to find that Hermione had already taken it. They pored over Madam Pomfrey's notes fervidly. Cedric remained quiet as he pulled up a chair next to the bed and sat down. Blaise mimicked him on the other side, offering Luna a seat as well.
"No broken bones, no internal bleeding of any sort, not even a scratch. No physical trauma of any kind, it says here." Draco glanced down at the white sheet, as if he was itching to find out first-hand, but he thought better of it. Unconsciousness or not, Harveste was still Harveste. "Maybe it's mental?"
"He was always mental."
"Shut up, Blaise." The papers rustled. "My godfather didn't write anything down. So why the hell isn't he moving?"
"First Liverworth and now this." Hermione hiccuped miserably. "I should've asked about the entire plan..."
"As if he would have told us. You know how he is." said Blaise. After his first glance at the bed, he hadn't looked again, choosing instead to focus at a point on the wall. Then Hermione crossed in front of him and he saw the expression on her face.
Draco had Obliviated and Stunned their dorm-mates before they had left, and the spells had still been in effect when they had returned, which had been a hidden blessing. Hermione had spent the rest of last night pacing restlessly, her power fluctuating from left-over adrenaline. Draco had smelt the difference immediately and had congratulated her, but Blaise had sympathized. Even though it had been a few months after his own Low Call, he could feel his magic itching at his insides, begging to be let out. He wanted to run, to howl, to rip and tear with his teeth, to hit with his fists until there was nothing left. He wanted to kill.
But he couldn't, because just killing for the hell of it would tip the scales, and if it tipped enough, someone would be sent to kill him and it would be excruciatingly painful, both physically and mentally.
That had been one of the reasons that Harveste had reminded them not to enjoy themselves too much. That, and it would drive the Dark Lord insane to know that they could have decimated his ranks further but chose not to.
"We are going to figure what happened to him, otherwise I'll never be able to face his mother. Harry's given us all the clues we need, and it's time we put them together." Hermione announced firmly. "We're going to the Library."
They had re-convened in the Room of Requirement after borrowing all they could from Madam Pince. Not even Cedric had been spared from Reading Time. Hermione had given him Myrddin to look over, claiming his fresh eyes could be the key to spotting anything they might have missed.
As always, she was right. The Hufflepuff boy was halfway through the book when he finally spoke up, his voice tinged with awe. "I can't believe it. His father was Pan. THE God Pan."
"You got that after reading it just one time?" Even Hermione looked impressed. "That took me three days!"
Blaise looked up from his forced revision. "I never saw that in there."
"Of course you didn't."
"My family follows Apollo, so we have to know about Pan." Cedric turned the page, his eyes rapidly going over the words. "I've never seen these theories before, but it makes so much sense. Merlin could tell the future and the past. He lived in the forest and had a rapport with the animals, and he could shapeshift into a stag and a boar, animals sacred to Pan. And here's the biggest clue of all. All of his lovers, all of them, are somehow related to water."
"What does that have to do with anything?" asked Draco.
"Because a forest cannot support the life in it without a source of water." Luna said softly, looking up from her own book. "As the son of Pan, Merlin mirrored the ways of the earth, though perhaps he was not aware of it. It was the magic in his blood that guided his steps and actions. He was so in tune with it that it was said he could use the Voice of the World."
"Until he realized what it could do." Hermione pointed out. "Until he killed that dragon."
"Yes. In a fit of pride and with a single word, he slew one of the most magical creatures in existence. He became so afraid of his own power that he called on the Light and became the first Light wizard. It was the branch of magic he brought to King Arthur's land, and it became popular because it used external magic, making it less personal and therefore wielders had less commitment, the ability to cast the same spells without all the training, without having to sacrifice anything. There was no longer any need to offer up the blood of the best of their cattle to ensure the prosperity of the fields, and the blood of their enemies to guarantee their victory. Light Magic had no equal in those days, nothing to balance it out and it tipped the world in the favor of its users, so their numbers grew. Then they tried to wipe out all of the families that still used the Low Call to Blood Magic."
"When you say it like that, you make Merlin sound a little like the Dark Lord." Cedric said.
"It's the victors that write history." Hermione asserted. Then, as if a light had switched on behind her eyes, she dove for her book bag. "That's it, isn't it? That's it! Cedric, you're a genius!"
"Huh? What'd I say?"
Draco rolled his eyes as Hermione began to turn her bag inside-out. "What's gotten into you?"
"Merlin was exactly like the Dark Lord!" Another book thumped onto the table, almost a foot thick and bristling with bookmarks. "Except that he was Light! A Light Lord!"
"Yes, Herm." Blaise said patiently. "That's why he was called the First Light Lord."
"Who messed up the balance of the earth itself by creating a new kind of magic! Against the very law of Nature, that all things must have a complete and equal opposite. And what happened to him?" Hermione's eyes took on an amber hue as she flipped the pages in excitement. They were covered in her spidery, thin handwriting and Draco realized that the damn thing was her personal journal. "He was killed by the First Dark Lady!"
"Morgana Le Fay. Even Muggles know that."
"No, it was Nimue. Morgaine was the one to strike the killing blow, but the Silver Lady started it all. Do you remember, she was the first to call on the Dark, and she had three daughters, all the same but all different. They all contributed to Merlin's death in their own way. He was tortured by them, broken first because of his hand in creating the imbalance."
Luna blinked. "Ninianne by showing him the love he could have had with her mother, Vivianne by sealing him in a cave for more than three hundred years and taking most of his power, and finally Morgaine, by sleeping with his charge and giving birth to the one that would end the golden age of Arthur's rule. A plan that spanned most of a century, all to restore the balance."
"Exactly! Balance! That's the key to all this!"
"Calm down, Hermione, before you start foaming at the mouth." Blaise reached for the Gryffindor's hand, and Draco's nose twitched as he picked up the comforting scent of vanilla and orange juice. His eyes narrowed suspiciously.
"But that's why Harry didn't kill Tom, not even after all this time, not even after all he's done. That's why Harry's here, in Hogwarts. That's why Addams are everywhere. To keep the balance."
"I think you're giving them a bit too much credit. I always thought it was because each of them needed a big enough hunting ground."
"Well, and that too." Hermione admitted grudgingly. "But I'm still right. That's why Dark Lords have always risen during a Light Lord's reign. It's in their nature. 'They fight not because of enmity towards each other, but because it is their nature as hunters, even though they are on the same level of the food chain.' Harry told me that."
"So, that's the secret of all Blood Magic users, those who remember the First Magic and how its supposed to work. It's their responsibility. Our responsibility."
"Thank the gods I'm off the Quidditch team then." Draco said finally. "But what does this have to do with waking Harveste up?"
"Now that we know, we have to do something to restore balance in the school. We can only access our magic in full once we do that, and with the three of us, waking him up will be a piece of cake."
"Well, what balance is there to restore? Everything's gone back to normal with Dumbledore as Headmaster in office again."
"There's one loose end we have to tie up."
Dolores Umbridge ran for her life.
The Forbidden Forest seemed to be conspiring against her. The uneven earth was made slippery by fallen leaves and treacherous tree roots seemed to specifically catch her feet every five minutes, sending her crashing into the dirt. She had no time to dust herself off though, no time to look where she was going. Her heart was beating like a cast-iron gong in her chest and her lungs felt like they were on fire, but she kept on running, had to run if she had any chance of surviving.
One minute, she was in her office, packing to return to the Ministry, her mind full of all the schemes she could put into motion. Fury had boiled through her when the Minister had called in to tell her that Dumbledore had been reinstated as Headmaster. After all her sacrifice, after all she done for Cornelius, he was still a weakling, still listening to Dumbledore's foolish promises. But she knew people, powerful people. Dolores Umbridge would have her moment in the sun, and it didn't matter how many people she had to walk over to achieve fame and glory.
She hadn't even seen who had struck the blow that had knocked her unconscious. The next time she had opened her eyes, she had been in front of a centaur clan, the filthy half-breed creatures, who had beaten their chests and spouted lies about how they owned the Forest and offered her violence! The cheek of it. They deserved to die.
All around her, hooves thundered, shrieking war cries, the zip of arrows, the clash of weapons, the inhuman roar that rent the air. Between the tree trunks, she could see the swift horse-like bodies as they battled the giant that had somehow appeared in their midst. She ran deeper into the Forest. She had to get away and report this to the Ministry. Dumbledore would never be able to keep his position after this.
A huge furry body scuttled in front of her. It was an Acromantula, its host of eyes gleaming like sullen diamonds in its nightmare of a face, its great pincers clattering and clicking fiercely.
Before she could even summon a scream, a blast of light came out of nowhere, knocking the humongous spider off its feet. Dolores didn't wait to see what happened to it. Sobbing with fear, she ran on.
The darkness of the Forest seemed to press down on her like a physical force. Dolores could almost imagine that she could hear it whispering to her, into her mind, of all the dark places she had been, of the terrors of the unknown, of all that she had done and continued to do in the name of the Light, but the Light was no longer blessing her because she had betrayed and manipulated and destroyed for her own benefit.
She would pay, the wind whispered, pay with everything she had and more.
Branches lashed across her face, and she put her arms up to protect herself, so she didn't see the sudden dip in the land. She crashed hard onto the packed soil and a searing fiery pain burst through her arm. She couldn't contain it any more and she screamed so loudly that for a moment, she drowned out all the sounds around her. She screamed and screamed and screamed, until her throat felt raw and torn.
"That's it for me."
Dolores twisted around, clutching her broken arm. She had fallen into a clearing, the ground in it torn up and scored with deep claw marks as if there had been countless battles here. A young boy stepped out from behind a tree just to her left, his white-blond hair blowing in a wind she couldn't feel. There was something strange about him, but she still recognized his face.
"D-Draco Malfoy," She started. "We have to get out- Help me!"
The boy made a moue of disgust. "You must be joking."
"After all you've done?" A female voice said from the right, and Dolores jerked her head in that direction. "You've no right to ask for our help."
This wind buffeted her to the ground, as hot as the air from the heart of a desert, and sand scraped harshly against her bare cheeks.
"Shut up." Hermione Granger glared at her. It must have been a trick of the starlight, because when their eyes connected, Dolores saw the brown irises shift and flow like liquid chocolate. "You terrorized the students, you punished people for no reason, you tried to control them. You put us all in danger by not teaching us properly. And you. Almost. RUINED. MY O.W.L.S GRADE!"
"Stop it, Hermione." A quiet voice reprimanded, and Dolores turned to face her last tormentor.
She almost started crying in relief. It was the Zabini boy. He would talk sense into his fellow students, and when she got out of this, she would be kind enough to only expel them.
"Mr. Zabini, Blaise, thank you, thank you-"
"Please don't touch me." The handsome Slytherin looked coldly at her before turning to the other two. "Draco, did you get it?"
"Yup." The blond took a flask out of his sleeve. Inside it was a pulsing reddish-purple substance, and as Dolores stared at it, she felt the answering thump of her heart. "Her fear, as fresh as it can get."
"Good." The Gryffindor smiled wolfishly. "My turn."
"W-what do you w-want- WHAT DO YOU WANT?"
The witch raised her wand. The whispering at the back of Dolores' mind suddenly built up, composed of a thousand voices, a thousand tortured screams that triggered horrifying pictures that played in front of her eyes even though she tried to shut them out. All her fears, all her dark secrets, rebounded back at her, clawing across her mind, driving blunt nails into her throat, her ears, her very bones. She felt like she was rent in two but still alive to feel it, over and over and over again and above all that, the high-pitched hissing laughter of the Dark Lord, her greatest fear of all.
Hermione watched expressionlessly as the High Inquisitor began to scream again, scratching madly at her eyes and ears to try and stop whatever she was seeing or hearing, tearing the skin so badly it began to bleed.
She deserved it.
"It didn't work." Hermione sighed, collapsing backwards into a chair. "He hasn't woken up."
They had gone back to the Infirmary to check on Harveste after their little 'outing', but Luna, who had stayed to watch over their friend, had said that there had been no change.
"Maybe we have to do another one?" Draco offered. "What about Daphne this time?"
A gust of hot wind and the strong alcoholic smell of wine made him shut up.
"We won't be able to handle another sacrifice, it's too soon. I'm going to take a shower." Blaise stood up, his temples throbbing as he tried to temper the throbbing of his blood. He couldn't give in to the urges, it was too dangerous. He would have to ask his mother how to control them, perhaps by starting meditation over the summer.
"Wait, I think he's got a fever." Luna said suddenly, the first one to see the sudden flush of color that bloomed across the pale, clammy skin. "He's warm!"
"Warm?" Blaise whirled around, his eyes suddenly narrowing. "He's never warm."
"He's...His temperature's going back to normal! Look, he just blinked!"
Hermione and Draco looked at each other. Then Draco's jaw dropped when Blaise strode back to the bed, grabbed Harveste by the shoulders, and kissed him full on the mouth.
"What do you think you're doing, you pervert? He's just bloody woken up-"
Draco ducked as Blaise was blasted across the room. Hermione quickly conjured up a giant bed cushion to muffle the sound of the crash.
"What the hell-"
"That's not Harveste." Blaise growled, picking himself up even as he leveled his wand on the now-upright form on the bed. "It's an impostor."
The green eyes opened to the sight of four wands in his face.
"Well, things have certainly changed since my days here. Is that any way to welcome a visitor?"
They kept their silence as Madam Pomfrey had cast the diagnostic tests on 'Harveste'. There had been no need to worry that he would be discovered. Whatever spell that had been cast on him to make him look like the Addams had managed to fool even Medi-Wizardry, and he had been discharged in short order.
Now, they sat in Draco's potions lab, the elder Malfoy explaining his role in the plan.
"So, you're working with Harveste?"
"The Dark Lord thinks I am spying on the Ministry for him, the Ministry thinks I am spying on the Dark Lord for them, and Addams knows that I am keeping an eye on both of them for your benefit." Lucius took a sip of his tea and made a face as he felt a frog egg pass his lips. "What on earth is this, Draco?"
"It'll make you feel better." The blond said absently. "So, you're NOT working for Voldemort?"
Lucius twitched but kept silent about his son's apparent fearlessness in mentioning the name. "I am not."
"But with you here, Voldemort-" Twitch. "-definitely knows that something's up. You won't be able to spy on him any more."
"That was the part of the plan that eluded me, I admit. Mister Addams was particularly adamant that I continue following the Dark Lord's orders with only a few changes, such as removing an Order of Dismissal for one of your teachers. I was supposed to infiltrate Hogwarts as a regular student, but as you can see, Mister Addams has used that to his benefit."
"But if you're here, Mister Malfoy," Hermione said, biting her lip. "Where's the real Harry?"
Lucius took another sip of the bitter liquid. "I assume you have not read the papers since returning here?"
"We've been... busy."
"I'm sure you were. It is your O.W.L.s year after all. Fortunately, while Miss Lovegood was at my bedside, she was kind enough to read aloud to me from the Prophet." Lucius' face -Harry's face- crinkled in distaste. Even though the mood was so serious, Hermione had to stifle a giggle. "I remember something about the captured Death Eaters being held in Azkaban, Rodolphus and Rabastan Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Gregory Goyle Sr., Cravus Crabbe... and Lucius Malfoy."
Gawain Robards had been ordered to patrol with his men in Azkaban, but that didn't mean he had to like it.
Thee place was filthy, dust almost ankle-deep in some places, the very stones saturated with the putrid smell of urine and manure. There was no hour of the day where there was silence, because casting new spells in such an ancient edifice would interfere with the protections in place. Besides, there was little to no external magic here, every ounce of energy directed to repairing the wreckage the escaping Death Eaters had caused. Azkaban was self-sustaining and very nearly sentient, just like Hogwarts was. The atmosphere was completely different though, and Gawain could feel the deep distrust in the very air.
He had never heard so much rude language in his life. Every breath from some prisoners was just used up with an unending stream of swear words. Yardley Platt was one of these prisoners, a murderous son of a bitch who deserved to be in Azkaban more than anyone else, baring Death Eaters. He had killed five of his cellmates already, the last for doing something as simple as sneezing. Gawain had had no little pleasure in introducing the serial goblin-killer to his new cellmate, one Lucius Malfoy, a newly-captured aristocrat who was said to be one of You-Know-Who's Death Eaters. Maybe he would get lucky and they would cut each other's tongues out.
"How's it going, Malfoy?"
The blond-haired man was as composed as ever, even though it had already been a week since he had been locked up. Platt's extra blanket, ragged though it was, had been spread on the dirty floor. From the way Malfoy was sitting on it, back straight as he sipped from the tin mug all prisoners were provided, it could have been a Persian carpet.
"Perfectly well, Auror Robards, thank you for asking." The polite, measured voice answered.
"Yeah, well..." The man was damn disconcerting. Even in the dim grey light that filtered from the two-by-two window set high in the wall, his silver eyes shone like newly-polished Sickles. Gawain swallowed nervously. "Some of the guards heard screaming coming from here earlier."
"Just a small misunderstanding, nothing to concern yourself about." Malfoy waved towards Platt, who was slumped over the toilet. "We sorted it out."
"Right... uh, carry on. And keep it down, you hear?"
Harry waited until the footsteps had faded away, then delicately dabbed at his mouth before walking over to the toilet. With a nudge of his foot, Platt fell to the side, his head craning farther back than should be possible, exposing a horrible jagged wound that had slit his throat nearly to the bone.
The toilet bowl was full of his blood and Harry hummed softly to himself as he used Platt's cooling fingers to stir it.
The glutinous red surface shimmered and a bubble burst on its surface as a face appeared.
"Hello Father. How is everyone?"
"Splendid! Lucius is fitting in well, barring a few accidents. Wednesday has even made him a coffin of his very own. And you're just in time to witness your mother give birth!"
End of Chapter
Ah… that was unexpected, even for me. Oh well, stories write themselves. We just go along for the ride. Although, I was a bit apprehensive writing this because I thought I might have lost my mojo after my hiatus. Is that enough suspense for everyone?
Anyway, anyone who isn't interested in slash can stop here. That will totally be happening in the next book...providing the muses are kind. For those who are interested, please feel free to check out 'When Sand Meets Snow', a GaaraxNeji story on my profile so you can see exactly what might happen if I am so inspired. But only if I get enough cookies and cake. Thank you for supporting Harveste and his friends thus far, and please look forward to the next installment.