The Path to Darkness Chapter 7
I wish I owned Harry Potter but I can't find it on eBay. Until I do the characters all belong to JK Rowling.
A/N: Co-written with Lord Kieran. :D
"Hello little Gryffindor." Greeted Salazar with a small smile.
`"What the hell! Am I dreaming or have I finally lost my mind?" Harry asked blinking his eyes in confusion.
Salazar, who was sitting in the middle of the three in the painting, just rolled his eyes. "I told you that this was a mirror and that I control the pictures at Hogwarts."
"No you didn't! You said that your pictures were under your control. You did not say all pictures at Hogwarts were under your control." Harry pointed out to him.
Salazar just looked at him. "Never mind that. Why have you come?"
"I was…well I was just wondering how Voldemort and I are alike. Other then the ability to talk to snakes and the fact that we both have dark hair." Harry muttered. He hated how defeated he sounded.
Before Salazar could reply the beautiful woman on his right spoke. "Why don't we bring you to the demon world so that we may talk? The time here is different than the time there."
That was when the equally beautiful woman on Salazar's left spoke. "If he does not have demon or any other creature blood in him the power that flows naturally around this world will kill him immediately. It would be easier for us to just go to that realm and slow down time." Harry took a step back.
"How are you going to get in the castle without the Headmaster knowing?" He asked, looking up at them in confusion.
Salazar sighed. "Hogwarts would never expose one of her founders. Rowena and I," Salazar gestured to the woman on his right, "still control the wards around Hogwarts. The castle would never reject her founders or one of their heirs. In addition, as you know the chamber is not under the same rules as the rest of the school. I built it to be a place that my family and I could come and go as we please."
"Does that mean that people can apparate in and out of the chamber?" Harry's eyebrows rose with his question. Salazar smirked.
"That is exactly what I mean. That means no matter how powerful Albus may think he is, if Marvolo wanted to bring all of his death eaters into the school all he would have to do is apparate into the chamber. Nothing and no one can block someone from being able to come into the school except for Rowena and I. And we have not blocked Marvolo. Besides, Hogwarts is just as much his home now as it was fifty years ago. Now stand away from the mirror, we're coming through."
Harry hastily stepped away from the mirror. He tried to figure out how things had gotten so out of his control. He had expected to come down to the chamber and have Salazar simply point out the basic similarities between him and Voldemort. It didn't seem like such a complex subject to him. But now there were three people about to join him in the chamber of secrets who were supposed to have died centuries ago. Was anything in his life ever normal?
Salazar stepped out first and quickly glanced around the room before his mates followed. Rowena came first, her light blue eyes also scanning the room swiftly before turning towards Harry. Her skin was lightly tanned and appeared to glow. Her long dark brown hair stood out brilliantly against her skin. Morgan followed close behind the other woman. Her hair was also long but blonde instead of brown, her eyes were silver and her skin pale in a way that reminded Harry of Draco. They each wore simple, flowing gowns-Rowena's a pale blue that matched her eyes and Morgan's a pale green.
Both women smiled at the same time and he hesitantly smiled back. Salazar was watching their interactions curiously and when Harry noticed the scrutiny, he shook himself out of the stupor he had fallen into.
"Come through here, we can talk in the other room." Salazar commanded and his mates nodded and followed him to the other room. Harry walked slowly after them feeling as though he were in a strange waking dream. Salazar sat on the couch with his mates on either side of him and Harry sat in the chair across from them.
"Well Harry, you asked how you and my Marvolo are similar; well I ask that you listen in silence as I answer." Harry nodded his agreement and Salazar began.
"The first thing you must understand is that most of what you know is a lie. You and he are not half bloods. Albus Dumbledore has the ability to sense power and the potential for power. He killed Tom's family after learning what Tom would be born as and left him at a muggle orphanage. Much in the same way you were left on a door step with those you believe to be your family. Dumbledore wanted you to feel that mudbloods and half bloods belonged to this world. I told you once that I am not human. The same can be said for my mates.
"Rowena is an ice and water demon and I am earth and fire. Tom's Mother was child of the three of us and she passed all of her power to her son. What you don't know is that Morgan is a lust demon. She feeds from sex. Due to Marvolo getting his power from his Mother, he has the power of all of us. He also gets power from his Fathers family. His Father was also a lust demon and that is one of the reasons that Marvolo will need two mates.
"You have been told that Marvolo is my descendent; now you know how close of a descendant he truly is. Marvolo's Mother was our youngest daughter. That makes him my grandson. Marvolo's Mother was weak after giving birth as are all child bearers. Albus used this to kill her. Due to the fact that she was not mated to Marvolo's Father she died and cannot be reborn. Although Marvolo's parents were not true mates they loved each other very much. When his Father found his wife dead and his child missing he went into a rage. He was able to track his child to Albus's old home. Albus was casting spells to block Marvolo's magic until he could use him. Marvolo's Father flew in but was not expecting to find ten or more wizards waiting for him.
"Being enraged and overwhelmed by the number against him, he was killed. One of the first things I want you to remember is that Marvolo grew up during a time when anything you did wrong was punished severely and you were thought to have the devil in you. The orphanage that he grew up in was run by Nuns and he had no control of his magic at that age." Harry's face paled, he could see where this was going.
"This was also during a time when the country was at war. Orphanages often suffer the most during this time because they rely on money from the government to take care of the children. More often then not the Nuns at the orphanages did not have enough food to feed the children in the first place so whenever Marvolo had a burst of accidental magic the first thing they would do was withhold food. Remember that accidental magic can start as young as two depending on how powerful a person is.
"Now I know your relatives did not always give you food and you were made to cook and clean from the time you were five years old. I also know that you were abused for anything you did wrong by your aunt and uncle. Marvolo and you are alike in that aspect. Think about this, you only lived with three people that hated you. Marvolo grew up with more than twenty children and six adults that beat and starved him. Beating and starving was not the only thing that happened." Salazar took a deep breath and started to talk again.
"From the time Marvolo was six he was sexually abused." Harry could do nothing but stare at Salazar in shock after that statement. He could see the wizard, the demon, trying to collect himself. If even after all this time the man could barely bring himself to mention it then it must have been horrendous, Harry realized grimly. Finally, Salazar drew a deep breath and continued.
"It is a strange thing to say but you are lucky that your relatives thought you too contagious to touch you in ways other than beatings. Such things that happened to my Marvolo should never happen to anyone let alone an innocent child. I ask that you not make judgments upon Marvolo for the things he has done until you can look at things through his eyes. You, of anyone, should understand the kind of scars that are left after abuse, physical or otherwise.
"I would also like you to keep in mind that Marvolo had no one to help him through. And although you have recently discovered the truth behind your friendships, you at least had that comfort for a time. False though it was. Is it better to have known such a falsehood or to never have known any kind of comfort, I cannot say. From the moment he stepped foot in the wizarding world and his heritage was made clear, he has been used. He had people that only wanted to know all about me, they wanted to be able to touch the money I left for him. He never had anyone even try to be his friend. This was only after he was found out to be my heir, before that the Slytherins rejected him for his last name alone. They believed he was a mudblood and that he was nothing. He wasn't even safe in his own house. He had to sleep with the strongest wards he could manage in his bed to keep them from trying to hurt him." Harry felt positively stricken at the idea of what the older man was saying. It sounded much worse than the wizarding world's idolization of him for something he never did. At least most of the time the attention had been positive.
"I know you were told that he found the chamber in his fifth year but that is not true. Marvolo found the chamber in his second year when he was running from a group of boys from another house. While he attended Hogwarts, he practically lived in the chamber. I trained Marvolo in the chamber to keep himself safe. I was the one he use to run to when he had no one else. This is one of the reasons he becomes enraged when anyone talks bad about me. I am the only Father he has ever had. The chamber was the only place he felt safe." Salazar's face was filled with old pain and anguish that Harry could not begin to understand.
"Every summer he would ask to stay in the school to keep from being beaten and having the other things done to him, and every year Albus would make sure he was sent back. Albus used Marvolo the same way he used you in the war against Grindelwald. The difference is that Marvolo was able to kill the monster. If you are wondering why I call Grindelwald a monster it is because no matter what you may think of Marvolo he has never raped a child. He has also never let his death eaters commit rape either." Harry almost shook his head in stunned disbelief. Ever since he had entered the wizarding world he had been told what an evil manipulative monster Voldemort was. Now, Salazar had shown him in a more human light. Both versions clashed in his mind and he found himself hard pressed to reconcile the two opposing views.
"Now, child, do you have any questions or is there anything you don't understand?" Salazar's voice was kind and Harry felt a well of gratitude spring up inside him at the man's thoughtful question. He took a moment to gather his thoughts so that he did not stumble over the words.
"You said that Tom, that Marvolo was abused in his own house, so why didn't he tell anyone?" Salazar looked at Harry through narrow eyes.
"Oh but he did tell someone, he told many people. Remember which house he called his own. Slytherin. The house of the liars and the unworthy of concern. He came to me one time after he had went to the nurse in his first year in tears because she told him that a slimy snake like him deserved it. He was just a child and they sent him away bleeding and hurt.
"He came back to school in his fifth year so beaten and bruised that he spent the first two weeks in the hospital wing. Even after that he was sent back. Some of the people who you looked up to are the same people that treated him like he was nothing.
"Your head of house was one of the people that tried to befriend him for his money and the books that are in his vaults. You can't blame him for hating every one of them; you can't blame him for wanting them dead for what they have done." Harry knew he could not argue with what Salazar told him. Now he saw what he had to do.
They talked for a time after that about simpler matters. Salazar asked Harry questions about what he had learned in school that day and how his classmates behaved around him. It was refreshing to Harry to have someone listen to him as he spoke without judging and without offering him solutions. Salazar and his wives were the perfect audience, cordial and polite.
Three hours later Harry was walking toward Gryffindor tower pondering the similarities between Tom Riddle or Marvolo as Salazar called him, and Harry himself. He hadn't known much about Tom Riddle at all, his past was never spoken about and while Harry had intellectually known the dark lord had not just sprung into existence he had never considered his past. If he had gone through half of what Tom had gone through he would have probably turned out the same. He knew that he had it bad, but it was never like what Tom had been through.
It was nearing three in the morning by the time Harry made it back to the tower and he was glad it was the weekend as it meant he could sleep a bit later. He had plans to meet Draco and the other Slytherins for the day at ten but until then he could sleep. He had never been happier than he was as he collapsed into his bed.
Back In The Chamber
Salazar, Rowena and Morgan watched the child leave the chamber in silence. The women were curious; they had felt their mate use his magic on the child during their conversations. The boy of course had not noticed. Now, the two women awaited the results of whatever the spell revealed. The entrance sealed once more and they turned to their mate.
"Not here. Let's go home, this could take some time." The women nodded and followed their mate through the picture into the demon world.
Once they arrived they walked into the sitting room and Salazar summoned an elf to bring them tea.
"What's going on Sal? What spell did you use on the boy and what did you find that upset you?" Morgan asked, clearly eager to discover what had upset their mate. Salazar sighed.
"I cast a spell to reveal hidden things; I wanted to see if the boy had anything else kept from him." He almost whispered, still trying to process everything he had learned in the past hours. They had told Harry parts of Marvolo's life and asked about his own experiences. There were many more similarities than Salazar had expected. The two women looked at him expectantly; they knew it must have been something big to upset him so.
"The child is a demon, he's Marvolo and Lucius's other mate. I also found so many different blocks on his magic that it is a shock that he can even do magic at all."
The next morning Harry met the Slytherin group in the Great Hall. He was worried for a second that he wouldn't be received well despite the warm welcome yesterday. As if sensing this Pansy looked up and smiled. "Sit with me sweetie, don't mind these guys they're not morning people."
Harry nodded smiling a little as he sat beside Pansy. She piled his plate with food and ordered him to eat. Draco grinned over at him.
"Pansy likes to mother people. You being small makes you an easy target." Harry smiled, not minding in the least. He had never had anyone to look after him before. It was definitely a nice change.
"Don't let her over feed you Harry. We wouldn't want to have a fat savior, now would we?" Blaise warned in mock seriousness, dodging a punch from Pansy.
"I'll keep that in mind." Harry replied, feeling himself relaxing even more at the amiable attitudes that prevailed at the Slytherin table.
"So is there anything in particular you want to do today?" Draco asked and Harry shook his head.
He was looking forward to hanging out with people he wanted to be around. It was strange but he thought of the Slytherins as his friends already. He guessed it was because they already knew a bit about each other; after all, they had been steady enemies for years now. They had had to do their research.
The group decided to hang out by the lake and talk for a few hours. Harry unconsciously stuck close to Pansy. It just felt safer. Even though he had been safe with them the day before he still didn't feel completely sure about the guys. After all, they had a lot of bad history between them. Well between him and Draco as Blaise and Theo were never ones to say negative things about Harry or his so called friends. In fact he couldn't even remember a time when he saw Blaise or Theo disrespecting anyone. They stuck to safe topics most of the day; Quidditch, classes and general gossip about other students. They had lunch by the lake, delivered by the elves.
"So tell me, what really happened first year." Blaise directed the question to Harry as the others began picking out their favorite dishes the elves had brought.
Harry tilted his head to the side in question. "What do you mean?"
"At the end of the year. All we heard was something about a stone of some kind that was important. And someone trying to steal it." The others paused in their consumption of lunch, their interest clearly evident.
"Well," Harry began, "it all started with the day Hagrid took me shopping in Diagon Alley." He went on to explain to them the happenings in first year with the sorcerer's stone and the race to discover what was hidden in the third floor corridor and who it was that had truly been after it. The Slytherins listened with fascination as he described the measures that had safeguarded the stone from supposed theft.
By the time he had finished recounting the adventure of first year, they decided to call it a day. The sun was setting over the lake and wind had gotten bite to it.
Harry decided to go back to his dorm to get ready for dinner so the Slytherins walked him to the staircase where Pansy hugged him goodbye. They were going to meet him in the hall in the morning so they could study together.
It felt a little strange after the Slytherins left. Harry stood for a moment feeling oddly bereft. Then he shook himself and continued to his dorm room. He passed no one on the way and was infinitely grateful. The last thing he needed was to see one of the people who had betrayed him so deeply.
With a sigh, Harry sat on the edge of his bed, closing his eyes for a moment. He knew he had to get ready to go to dinner but he couldn't bring himself to move. So much had happened to him lately and he had learned so many disturbing things that he just wanted a moment's peace. That was all. Just a moment to not think about anything, to not worry about what the next day would bring. Taking a deep breath, Harry cleared his mind.
It was still hard to believe that he had been so wrong and naïve in his thinking. He just didn't understand how he could have not seen what was so obvious to him now. He didn't understand how he had forgotten everything he had been made to learn while living with those so called members of his family. It was almost like as soon as he came into the wizarding world his self preservation, quiet and shy personality became obsolete.
A sudden sharp pain at the back of his head expelled the air from his lungs forcefully. His eyes flew open even as darkness descended on him and his last coherent thought was to wonder who had betrayed him now.
The first thing that Harry noticed when he woke up was the pain all over his body. There wasn't a way he could move to get more comfortable that didn't send mind numbing pain all over. Although he was unbound, the pain made it impossible for him to even think about getting up. The next thing he noticed was that whoever had done this had left his glasses on and he could recognize just where they had taken him. He couldn't believe they would take him to the shrieking shack like no one would look there when they realized that he was missing. Last but not least was that he was not alone in the room like he had previously thought.
"So you are finally awake traitor? I thought for sure that you would be out longer then you were, I guess that is another one of your little boy-who-lived special gifts huh?" The arrogant voice of Ronald Weasley broke through the pounding headache that Harry had just noticed. Where once the smirk would have looked entirely out of place on the red-head, now it seemed perfectly natural.
When Harry did not reply to his taunting, he began to turn red with rage. Of course, this was nothing new to Harry. Ron always got mad when no one was focused on him. "Oh now you can't answer questions stupid little boy hero?"
"Shut up Ron," another voice said, getting louder as the person moved closer. "We are not here for your little power trips."
"Don't tell me to shut up Mione, besides it is not like he is going anywhere any time soon. We have to keep him long enough for people to notice the boy hero gone. So why not tell him just how I feel about him. Why not tell him just how long I have wanted to slap him around. Besides he won't remember any of this after we give him the potions. So what is the problem?"
"The problem, as you put it, is that Headmaster Dumbledore told us to get some information from him or is your little issues more important then what the headmaster wants?" Hermione asked while giving Ron a superior look.
"Fine take all of my fun from me."
"Oh hush Ron, you are the one that beat the living crap out of him and you looked like you were having fun with that." Ginny said while coming out of another room. "Looked like you broke a couple ribs."
"Will both of you shut up so we can get down to questioning him before he passes out from the pain he must be in!" Hermione shouted. Dismissing the other two in the room as if they didn't matter she turned to Harry.
"Now Harry you are going to tell me everything you know about the headmasters plans and everything you have planned as a result of those plans."
Harry took a moment before starting to laugh. "Ha-ha. What would make you think I would tell you anything that I have plan for a bunch of backstabbing money hungry traitors like you? I will tell you nothing and you can all go to hell if you think that will change any time soon."
"Oh Harry we can do this the hard way or we can do this the easy way but no matter how we do it you will be talking." Ginny said while leaning over in Harry's face. In response Harry gave her a flat look and closed his lips as tight as he could.
"So you want it to be the hard way, I was hoping we wouldn't have to do this but you have made up your mind." With that she pulled out her wand. "Crucio!"
Harry closed his eyes and bit down on his lip to keep from screaming. As much as he wanted to cry out he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of hearing him break down. After a minute or so the pain was gone although he could still feel his body shaking from the pain.
"Now Harry tell us everything you have heard about what the headmaster has planned." Harry opened his eyes and mouth to tell her to fuck off when he thought better of it.
"You should already know everything that I know." He said while coughing up blood. "It's not like I've been shy the past few days." That last sentence was more for himself than for their benefit. Why had he been so stupid the last few days? Where was his Slytherin cunning? He had to have some of it. The hat had wanted to put him in Slytherin for a reason.
"Looks like he's going to be stubborn." Ron did nothing to hide his glee at the thought. He turned to Hermione. "Let me have a go again."
She gave a much put upon sigh and gestured for him to go ahead. With a big grin on his face, Ron brought out a long, thin piece of wood. It had the same general appearance as the rest of the Shrieking Shack so Harry could only assume he had picked it up from somewhere in the dilapidated building. There was no need for Harry to wonder what Ron planned on doing with his makeshift club. Instead, he tried to brace himself for whatever the red-head did. He was determined that they would not see him break.
With deliberate and cruel slowness, Ron raised the club over his head. He held it there for a long, indefinable moment before bringing it down on one of Harry's legs. A sharp crack resounded in the small room and Harry couldn't help a strangled yelp that escaped him. Stars swam before his eyes and his leg felt as though someone had driven sharp knives through his flesh. He tried to curl into a fetal position in an instinctive effort to protect himself but a shooting pain in his side prevented him.
"Didn't like that did you traitor?" Ron gloated bringing the club down again and again. The only sound that Harry made after the first yelp was a muffled whimper. He would not give Ron the satisfaction.
"Are you ready to talk?" Hermione persisted after Ron paused to catch his breath.
"Screw you." Harry croaked.
"Wrong answer." Ron said in a sing-song voice before bringing his heel down on Harry's wrist.
A scream tore its way out of Harry's lungs as agony blinded him to all else. He could feel himself starting to slip from reality. The room started to go black around the edges.
"We need answers from him, Ronald." Ginny huffed in annoyance.
"You give it a try then." Ron grumbled.
Harry merely grunted as a small burst of flame shot from the end of Ginny's wand and burned him. She cast the spell several more times causing minor burns on his arms and legs. After having his bones broken by the other red-head, Harry barely felt the fire at all. He managed to sneer at the three Gryffindors.
"This isn't working." Hermione muttered. "We'll have to move on to the next step."
Harry tried to focus on what was happening but his head felt as though someone had cracked it open and he couldn't concentrate on anything more than the pain that wracked his body. He barely twitched when he felt himself lifted up slightly. Someone, Hermione he thought, forced his mouth open and began pouring something down his throat. He was forced to swallow or choke on the foul tasting liquid. The last sight he had before passing out was Ginny's smug smile.
After they left Harry at Gryffindor tower, the Slytherins made their way to the dungeons to discuss tactics. They all decided the night before that they wanted to be Harry's friend; that they wanted him in their group. They had made a start today, now they needed to work out the next step.
An hour later the Slytherins had a plan. They walked into the great hall that night for dinner and they looked around for Harry. He wasn't there. Pansy stopped them from saying anything and led the way to the Slytherin table.
"He's probably in bed already he looked tired this afternoon." She told him and he nodded.
"We could ask one of the other lions if he's okay." Blaise suggested and Draco nodded. The meal was filled with a tension that they couldn't define but they all felt instinctively that something was wrong with their new friend. After the meal they cornered Neville Longbottom.
"Have you seen Harry?" Draco asked trying not to sound too worried.
Neville eyed them suspiciously. "And why should I tell you that?"
"Now look here Longbottom," Theo started forward angrily but Draco held up a hand to stop him.
"Look, Neville," Draco spoke softly, "we are his friends now. He was supposed to meet us here and he hasn't. We were wondering if anyone from your house had seen him."
"I don't understand." Neville said hesitantly. "I didn't think Harry would ever become friends with Slytherins." Then his voice became hard as steel. "And if you think I'll let you hurt him in some way you've got another thing coming."
Draco held up both hands in a placating gesture. Clearly he would have to abandon his pureblood heritage and show his emotions like a Gryffindor. If only to convince Neville of his sincerity. So he allowed the concern that he was feeling to become apparent on his face. "We just want to know if he's alright Neville. Please?"
Neville hesitated, appearing torn, before sighing in defeat. "When I left the room his bed curtains were closed. He doesn't usually close them but I think he was sleeping."
Pansy nodded, it was just like she said. Expressing his thanks to Neville, Draco and the Slytherins returned to their room. They never noticed Harry wasn't the only one absent from dinner.
The next morning Harry was missing from breakfast. The Slytherins began to panic. Draco looked over the Gryffindor table several times hoping Harry had merely forgotten about their plans. No luck, the younger boy was nowhere to be seen. He spotted Longbottom as soon as he walked in and rose to confront him. As soon as he got close Neville began to speak
"No I haven't seen him, when I woke up his curtains were open and his bed was empty. Maybe he's at the pitch or something." He suggested. Draco stared at him and nodded; he turned on his heels and walked back to the Slytherin table.
"We need to search. This feels wrong. Blaise check the Quidditch pitch, Pansy spread the word, Vince go wait in the library, Greg and I will look around inside. Meet back here in an hour." He finished and they agreed. They were really starting to get worried about their new friend.
An hour later they met once again in the hall no one had found or heard anything. They then took it to the staff. Snape was their first choice.
"Pansy you go talk to Snape, Blaise go talk to Hagrid. Let him know Harry's gone. He'll make sure they do something. Vince and Greg and I'll go look some more." Draco told each of them.
The others nodded, they split up once again and within an hour the search was in full force. The castle had been completely searched and so had the grounds. All that was left was the forest and Hagrid had asked for the centaurs' aid to search it.
The Slytherins returned to searching the castle before Draco remembered the Slytherin room. He turned quickly and his friends followed. Once he reached the room he paused.
"Sir, Harry's missing." He said as soon as he had the portraits attention. Salazar looked shocked and immediately allowed them passage.
"Draco, I don't know how to tell you this and I hope your fathers explained your family history to you…" Draco nodded and Salazar looked relieved. It made it so much easier.
"You know then your father has two mates." Once again Draco nodded.
"It would seem that Harry is their mate." At Draco's stunned look Salazar smiled.
"You must keep searching. I will alert Marvolo and Lucius to the situation." He finished and the group nodded.
It was just before noon when word reached the castle that Harry had been found. Unconscious. In the forbidden forest. The faculty were in a panic and Harry had been taken to the hospital wing. Within minutes Pansy had let Salazar know and word was sent to Riddle Manor. Within an hour of Harry being found there were ministry officials in the school demanding justice. But as night fell and went, Harry was yet to wake.
Hay everyone. I have not given up on this story. I already have the next chapter ready to go. However do understand that I am trying to get back into college and my beta is already in college. I have also been making changes that take time and am writing on other projects. Such as Angel from Dreams a story that I have adopted from a wonderful writer. I also have my own original stories that I am working on getting published. So if it takes me some time to get chapters posted then please send me a message or review and tell me to get my ass to work. I just may have forgotten how long it has been with all the different things I have going on.
I do remember saying in a A/N that I made Crab and Goil twins for the story. So the next person that sends me a review saying that they are not brothers needs to read the damn A/N because I don't want to hear it any more. It is called fan fiction and if you want to read canon then read the damn books. I do write for the enjoyment of me and my fans but I also write whatever the hell I want rather you like it or not is up to you. Sorry about the rant but this is something I needed to say.