Summary: During his search for the Dark Lord's Horcruxes, Harry finds something else, something with the potential to become either a great asset or a great threat. Ancient Spirits, Forgotten History, Shadow Magic and an all about crazy twist to his life is what this young wizard will have to deal with. Slash. Rated for Violence.
Chapter 4: Stolen Self
Alford Jaxon was not what you would call a very lucky man. He was from a small family – pureblooded of course – whose fortune had dwindled in the last generations until, when Alford himself was born, they had only enough to pretend not to be poor. He was an average wizard at best, having achieved P's mostly and an EE  at best during his years at Hogwarts.
Joining the Death Eaters was to Alford his very best – and probably very last – chance at making something of himself. If he proved himself and did something useful, he knew the Dark Lord would reward him and he would regain the respect his family had been losing for decades.
To Alford Jaxon, catching Harry Potter was his ticket to fame and fortune.
When the wards around the Riddle Mansion were triggered Alford was one of the Death Eaters immediately alerted. He apparated into the premises along with a group of his colleagues and soon enough found himself battling Britain's Number One Public Enemy and his accomplices. When their main target got separated from his friends and tried to bolt, Alford was one of those to follow.
He and Stevens – another Death Eaters Alford had known for only a couple of years – chased the Boy-Who-Lived all the way to the next floor, almost breaking their necks when climbing the rickety stairs. When the boy crashed against the door in one of the many abandoned rooms, it was Alford's luck that he was the nearest and so the one to catch the fugitive.
It wasn't good luck.
Alford tackled the boy down and the two of them crashed against the floor, breaking something in their fall. Alford used his greater mass and weight to pin his captive, making sure there was no way the teen could get away (Harry Potter's unbelievable record in evading capture and escaping it was enough to make Alford careful).
"Grab him and we'll take him to the Dark Lord" Stevens said from his place in the doorway. Alford didn't say it but he had no intentions of sharing the credit with him, there would be no we when the Boy-Who-Lived was finally delivered to the Dark Lord.
"We're gonna be rewarded for this" Alford's words betrayed his greed, but he could simply not help himself from imagining the way his life would change, how he would be regarded as the Dark Lord's best, how said Dark Lord would repay his loyalty and his skill. Life was good.
"Get off me!" The boy was shouting and struggling, trying futilely to throw Alford off.
The Death Eater was just about to request that Stevens stun his prey when said prey went all still and limp. For a moment, Alford thought that the foolish boy had finally given up and realized the utter helplessness of his situation. In his mind, Alford was crowing with triumph.
It didn't last long.
After a couple of second of complete immobility, the boy suddenly stiffened, his muscles all tensed as though ready to once again bolt. Alford wasn't overly worried, there was no way a skinny, week little half-blood like Harry Potter could possibly outmatch him. That is until the boy spoke.
"If I were you, I'd get the hell away from me. If you want to live that is, I'm not particularly concerned if you don't." The voice was still Harry Potter's, the same Alford had heard just a minute ago, full of bravado as he demanded to be freed. It was different too, all ice and rage and razor-edged knives.
Alford was a Death Eater, he had killed people, tortured others and even been in the presence of the most dangerous Dark Lord in history. But nothing unnerved him as much as the sudden change in Harry Potter. He shuddered. If it wasn't because all his dreams of a brighter future depended on this capture, Alford would more than happily have apparated as far away from this place as possible.
"Shut up or you get a Killing Curse to the face!" Stevens, who was far enough away not to feel the sudden drop in temperature that seemed to come from the boy himself, was not at all affected by the boy's sudden change of demeanor.
A chuckle came from their 'victim'. "Oh, like you would dare. He wants to kills us himself, you do that and you might as well hang yourself, it'd be less painful too."
Alford had had enough of being intimidated by a seventeen-year old. He gathered all the courage he had – not a lot, but when bolstered by greed and rage it amounted to something a bit more worthwhile – and dragged himself and the boy up. He could see the kid's wand lying on the other side of the room, so he didn't bother to magically restrain him; it would be unnecessary and it might suggest that he was scared of the boy, which he wasn't.
He should have been.
The boy turned his head to gaze at his captors and both of said captors were rendered speechless at the sight. Harry Potter's usually bright emerald-green eyes had turned a cold silver-grey that would have put frozen steel to shame. The absolutely devilish smirk on his face only helped to accentuate the image of a terrifying predator.
Alford shuddered again, much more violently than last time, and he could practically feel Stevens tremble and gulp.
"So…" The teen said, sounding about as concerned as a man currently vacationing on a private sunny beach somewhere. "How will it be? Are you going to be good little scardy minions and scurry away now, or are we going to have to play rough?" He paused there, throwing his head back and laughing delightedly. "Oh, please give me a reason. It's been so very long since I last had playthings."
Alford was a greedy, vicious murdered who had until now believed he had sold his soul and services to the devil.
Turns out he hadn't meet the devil yet.
He was free. After so very many, many years – millennia! – in the cold and the dark, he was once again walking the world, alive and all. Oh, he was feeling good enough to laugh!
And, to top things off, he had a couple of brainless morons to play with. He couldn't possibly have planned this better himself. He could feel his face splitting into that smirk that had sent men cowering back in the old days. Oh, he was going to have so much fun.
"J-just stun him or something! Quickly before the others get here and try to take him themselves!" Stupid moron #1 – also known as the idiot who had pinned him to the ground – said, clearly nervous but trying to put on a brave face. That was alright with him, he loved watching all that fake courage crumble to dust and be replaced by senseless fear. It was amusing.
"Very well then, its Game Time so let's play." As soon as he said the words he felt the familiar and almost comforting rush of cold dark power flooding him. He could sense – and see, if he paid attention – the dark shapes of nameless shadows gathering around them, enveloping them all.
It took only a couple of seconds for there to be only endless darkness in the room. The Shadows swallowed them all, though they were waiting to see who would be devoured.
"What's he doing?! Make him stop!" Stupid moron #2 was yelling in fright, clutching his wand as though it were the only thing keeping him alive. He almost snorted in amusement.
"He hasn't got his wand! I don't know how he's doing it!" Moron #1 was looking around in a panic, occasionally trembling too. "Stop it! Stop it now or I'll kill ya!" The Death Eater – and wasn't that a funny name? – started shaking him, trying to force him to comply with his stupid demands.
The world suddenly seemed to blink, everything fell into complete darkness and the two idiots screamed as they suddenly found that they couldn't see so much as their own noses. It was over almost instantaneously, the odd, source-less grey light that the Shadows provided flooded the room, making it still dark but at least visible.
Morons #1 and #2 found themselves in a completely different position, facing each other as they each held the end of a black rope, at the center of which a dark-haired, green-eyed little doll was tied by its arms. They both blinked, completely taken aback by the sudden and unexpected change. He could see one of them about to leap back and away from the rope, so he interrupted.
"I wouldn't let go of that if I were you, it is after all your last chance." He sounded unconcerned, amused and completely at ease in the sea of darkness.
"C-chance f-f-for what?" Moron #1's voice was hopeful – and very much scared, but that was a given. He seemed to have caught on to the fact that he didn't have the power in this place, he couldn't make demands and the best he could hope for was a hint of mercy from their prey-turned-predator.
"To win." He paused there for dramatic effect, letting the words sink in before he continued. "Not just your freedom and lives, but your prize as well. You see that doll there? That represent that which you came here to get. It's a very simple game, tug-o-war I believe you call it. There is a red line in the middle, you have to pull and whichever one of you pulls the entire doll behind your end of the line wins. Whoever wins gets to bring Harry Potter to the Dark Lord, riches and recognition and all that rot. He also gets to leave this place, unhindered in any and all ways."
He saw the moment the realization came to both of them, as they turned and met gazes before glancing at the doll hanging innocently between them. Almost at the exact same time, the two men started to pull using all their weight and strength to try and win. The doll went this-side-and-that for a couple of minutes as both men tugged at it. He could see sweat running down their foreheads, their clenched teeth and the quivering of their muscles as they literally fought for their lives.
And then it happened.
Time seemed to slow down, almost stop, as a surprisingly loud ripping noise filled the room. Both Death Eaters' eyes widened in shock and horrified surprise as they saw the doll slowly but surely be torn apart. The sudden release of tension in the rope sent them both down on their arses.
He chuckled, a sound both dark and smooth that echoed around them ominously. "Ooops. Seems like neither of you can get the entire doll now. I guess that means you lose." His smirk was all white teeth gleaming in the darkness.
The looks of horror on their faces were almost identical, wide eyes full of panic, slack jaws and trembling facial muscles. Oh, yeah, they knew – they could feel – what was coming. The Shadows started to stir excitedly, inching closer and closer to the terrified men who had been offered to them.
"Sorry gents, but losers stay."
The Shadows leapt.
Battling Death Eaters was, if certainly not easy, then at least familiar for Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. After Harry broke away from their little formation – and Hermione was going to make him regret doing such a stupid, foolish, reckless thing later – the Death Eaters' number dwindled from five to three as two of them went after their friend.
It made their chances of getting out of this alive a bit better, as proven when a very well-aimed blasting curse brought down part of the ceiling and almost crushed their attackers. It distracted them enough for the two teens to hit them with stunners. Almost as soon as their enemies were brought down, the two leapt away from the disaster zone and towards the stairs, determined to make it to their friend's aid.
The stair groaned ominously as the two of them hurried to climb them, but they paid no mind and kept going. Once in the upper floor, it took them a couple of minutes to find the right room – the broken down door being a pretty big clue about which room Harry and his pursuers had gone into.
It took them almost as long to come to terms with the sight that greeted them inside said room.
Harry was standing there, alone, his back to the door and apparently dusting himself off and completely unconcerned. His pursuers were nowhere to be seen, but there was evidence – footprints in the very dusty floor and broken pieces of wood scattered all over – that there had been a scuffle.
"Harry…?" Hermione tentatively approached him, her hand extended towards his shoulder.
Then he turned around and she couldn't help but gasp. 'His eyes…'
He smirked and now both Hermione and Ron gasped. "Sorry, Harry isn't available at the moment, would you like to leave a message?"
Author's Notes: Hello everyone! I'm back again! :D
Took me long enough, I know, but my muse had completely and utterly deserted me . She's still struggling to come back but I have high hopes for her ^_^
 For the grading system at Hogwarts [highest to lowest]: O – Outstanding. EE – Exceeds Expectations. A – Acceptable. P – Poor. T – Troll.