Ugh the timeline in this is fucked. I think I've done it all backwards… Ugh. I'll make it work.
Also, people, seriously, how dead does Harry need to be before you realize he wouldn't be showing up at Hogwarts? As far as everyone is concerned, Cepheus IS Harry! No one knows he is meant to have a scar except Dumbledore (who is the one lying to everyone) and the Aurors who were Obliviated! It was mentioned in their report, but mistakes happen and scars fade over time. No one knows Cepheus exists either (except his parents, and Dumbledore). He is Harry. Even Voldemort thinks he is Harry, so it doesn't matter that he wasn't the one to destroy Voldemort's body; he still thinks he was.
Professor Moody watched him a lot, Harry noticed. It was a little strange, unnerving, but the man offered him extra lessons and never touched him, so Harry couldn't really fault him for being a creepy pedophile. He could look, the boy thought chuckling to himself, as long as he never touched.
Moody pulled the thought from Harry's mind, their eyes meeting accidentally just at the right moment, and he threw his head back and laughed. The rest of the Slytherins and Gryffindors in the classroom froze, glancing warily around in an attempt to spot what had amused their insane professor. Harry sat silently, surrounded by second years, but alone at the same time because there was an empty desk on either side of him. Moody waved his wand, quieting and drawing the attention of the class back onto himself.
"Where was I?" He asked, his voice raspy but soft. His tongue flicked out, wetting one corner of his mouth before he swallowed. Harry narrowed his green eyes at the action: it was very familiar, yet he couldn't quite recall where he had seen it before. Who else acted that way? Who else had such a tell? "Ah yes, the Unforgivables! You, there, tell me about them!"
"T-T-the Cru-uci-Cruci-" One Gryffindor stuttered.
"The Cruciatus, the Imperious and the Killing Curse. Incantations: Crucio, Imperio and of course Avada Kedavra. You know what each of them does, I assume," Harry said. He spoke softly, and kept his head bowed but Moody met his eyes again, a brief glimpse of green through a dark fringe of hair. Harry was overwhelmed by the image of a baby, so small and pale, held between the arms of two men, and he shook his head. He glanced away from Moody, wondering silently who the man had been thinking about? Who was that baby, because Alastor Moody had never had any children, had he?
Professor Moody, who wasn't really Professor Moody at all, clenched his hands by his sides. His cheeks were flushed red and his lips were pressed into a thin line, and his one real eye avoided Harry for the first time since the start of the school year, while the magical, fake eye continued to swirl violently in its socket.
That was his boy. Bartemius was sure of it, completely sure.
The magical eye could read his aurar, and it was darker then the son of two Light people should have been. He had heard rumours, of Harry Potter, so many rumours; of him being raised by Muggles, of being loved and protected, of being hidden away to be kept safe, too ill and fragile to attend Hogwarts on time. Yet this boy didn't look ill. He was small, for a supposedly fourteen year old, but he was the perfect size for a boy of twelve. His eyes weren't like Lily Potter's, no matter what that half-Giant kept muttering to him over breakfast. His hair wasn't like James'. Even Severus had noted once that his hair was more like Regulus Black's than it was James Potter's. The child had Sirius' brother's hair, and Barty's mother's eye colour; his aurar was so dark, so delicious, and when Barty flicked out his tongue again he imagined it would taste like Lord Voldemort, delectable. Dangerous.
It was, he supposed, a matter of nature versus nurture. Yet, Bartemius wasn't sure which one had won out.
Was Harry- Cepheus dark enough to risk exposing himself to? Or would Harry Potter turn him over to the Aurors?
Barty had seen him at the Quidditch World Cup. The boy had been lying on the ground, unconscious but uninjured otherwise. His eyes had fluttered open just as the Dark Mark had shot into the sky, and instead of running or screaming or attacking the Death Eater, Cepheus had simply glanced up at the sky and smiled. It was then that Bartemius realized he had stolen his son's wand, and he had handed it over silently with narrowed eyes as Harry gracefully accepted it back with a smile.
"Is he back?" Harry had asked then. His eyes had been hooded, his fringe falling over his scar-less forehead and Barty tried to glimpse beneath the fringe, to spot the rumoured scar that marked the Saviour, but he couldn't see it.
Barty had glanced around, seeing no one in sight. His tongue had flicked out, mimicked by Harry's tongue wetting the corner of his own mouth, and he shrugged with a grin, "you'll see, Potter." He ran then, not looking back to see Harry's reaction nor noticing Barty Crouch Sr. approaching the young boy cautiously.
"Crouch," Harry greeted softly, still staring after the man's son. Was this his grandfather, he wondered?
The clearing of Professor Moody's throat snapped Harry back to attention. Most of the seats were empty now, his classmates filing out of the Defence classroom door. Harry glanced around at the two remaining students, both children of convicted Death Eaters, both of whom Harry knew to be taking extra lessons from Moody. Harry took a few as well, but mostly they stuck to defensive magic and the odd bit of circumstantial theory. Severus generally taught Harry the darker material, late at night and secluded in the Forbidden Forest where no one would catch them breaking the law.
"Potter," Moody called over to him, just as the other two boys stood up. "I'm offering these two extra classes, and I'm extending that offer to you."
"What are we learning?" Harry asked, looking curious and unafraid, despite the glares his fellow Slytherin second years were sending him. He brushed off the looks, ignored the harsh thoughts and words they usually directed his way and stood up straighter. Like Severus, like the young Lord Voldemort, he would prevail; he would be tough and resilient and never bend. He would do great things.
Barty knew he was taking a big risk. He wasn't sure how Harry would react, but he needed to know. He couldn't wait any longer to know if there was a chance he could claim his son back, or whether the world had really stolen his child away from him for good. "The Unforgivables."
The other three waited silently, tense and anxious, but Harry only smiled. It wasn't a pleasant smile by any stretch of the imagination; in fact, his lips curled back to bear his top row of teeth and he looked more like a starving animal than a happy child. Harry glanced at each of his year mates slowly, taking one in completely and then the other and he grinned once more at his mother. "Will there be demonstrations?" He asked coyly, nodding his head at the two trembling twelve year olds at his side.
Barty grinned back, his tongue flicking out to wet his lips.
He had forgotten. Barty couldn't believe he had forgotten! The whole reason he was at Hogwarts in the first place was to rig the Tri-Wizard Tournament, and now that Dumbledore was about to pick the names of the champions it was too late to do anything. He had forgotten his task, forgotten his duties to his Lord, all because he had found his son. He had followed the earlier instructions: he had placed 'Harry Potter' into the cup, long before the other schools had arrived at Hogwarts, but then he had forgotten. It was too late to warn his son, too late to deter Dumbledore, too late to beg his Lord for mercy on his child's behalf. His son would be thrown to the proverbial wolves and would either be tortured and killed by Lord Voldemort or would survive and never forgive his mother.
Sirius Black who was hiding within Hogwarts as Harry's pet Labrador would never forgive him either. The same Sirius who had fathered his child, and held him and kissed him through the labour and the long, desolate nights in Azkaban; Sirius, who he had left behind; Sirius, who had wanted to find but couldn't because he owed his Lord his life first and foremost. Sirius, Barty thought sadly, who had found him in Harry's dorm room and kissed him softly, whispering "I'm glad you're alright" against his mouth before kissing him again, as Harry watched with a blush.
He met Harry's gaze. The boy was staring up at him from the front of the Slytherin table, surrounded by the Durmstrang students because they were the only ones who didn't know to be afraid of him or had learnt to avoid him. Barty turned his face away, trying not to let tears come to his eyes.
The Goblet of Fire churned once, sparks and flames shooting up from the top of it. A piece of paper fluttered down along with the ashes. Dumbledore reached out to catch it and he smiled as he said, "and the Durmstrang Champion is… Viktor Krum!" Fleur Delacor, of Beauxbaton, was next, followed by Cedric Diggory from Hufflepuff in Hogwarts. And then the Goblet sparked to life once more, and a horrible silence overtook the Great Hall.
Barty couldn't bear to watch. He bit down on his lip, waiting with his hands clenched together in his lap, for the words that would kill any sort of relationship he might have had with his family.
"Cepheus Black?" Dumbledore read out, looking stunned. Of course he knew who Cepheus was. There was only one child that had been fathered by either male Black during this generation, and Cepheus must have been the name Sirius had given him while still in Azkaban. But Cepheus wasn't at Hogwarts. Dumbledore's eyes landed on Harry Potter, waiting to see what the boy would do, to learn how much the boy knew of his true self. But Harry didn't move. He glanced around the hall with the same curious and baffled expression as everyone else, and Dumbledore gave a relieved sigh as he tucked the piece of paper into his robe pocket.
Bartemius looked around wide eyed. He had definitely written 'Harry Potter' on the piece of parchment. So why did Cepheus' name come out, he wondered. But of course, he realized, remembering what Sirius had told him, remembering what he had yet to pass on to his Lord. Harry Potter was dead. There was no Harry Potter to call upon, but the boy who falsely bore that name. As a magical item of such power, the Goblet had the ability to know a person's true name. That was why someone under the age of seventeen (as per this year's rules) couldn't enter under someone else's name. Cepheus had been called out, because that was Harry's true name, and Dumbledore couldn't act upon that without unraveling the web of lies he had been weaving for years.
"It must have been a mistake," Dumbledore whispered to Crouch Sr. and Ludo Bagman. Both were waiting behind him, one looking nervous and the other annoyed. "Must have been left over from the last tournament. There hasn't been a Cepheus Black for centuries!"
And there hadn't been, Sirius conceded, hidden beneath the dining table in his Grim form. Well, he amended, not unless you counted the child who had been kept hidden. He glanced through Harry's legs and towards his lover at the Head Table. The man would have some explaining to do, Sirius thought, moving back so he could lick at the ankles of his very tense and angry son.
Boy, would Barty have some explaining to do.
Harry paused outside of the entrance to the maze. The maze was essentially several exceptionally large bushes, grown purposely throughout the Quidditch pitch solely to be used in the third task of the Tournament. The take wasn't until the following day, and Harry knew that no one would be around investigating it in the meantime. There were who knew what kind of creatures and plants trapped within the maze, and even if the Headmasters had let slip to their Champions what the last task was, no one would be stupid enough to risk any sort of practise without several adults on standby.
Barty and Sirius waited behind Harry.
Apparently he was just stupid enough to risk the contents of the maze. He didn't have to. He wasn't a part of the tournament, and he wouldn't win any gold or any trophies for what he was doing. But he and his father had listened calmly to Barty after his true name had been called from the Goblet, and Harry had had months to think it over. This was what Barty had planned all along. For a fourteen year old Harry Potter to be a part of this tournament, fighting alongside seventeen and eighteen year olds for the chance of fame and glory, where the winner would take the gold, the trophy, the praise, and would be used as a sacrifice in a ritual to return Lord Voldemort to a body. That winner had always been intended to be Harry. Only Harry's blood would have worked in the ritual.
"Remember," Barty repeated, running a hand lovingly down his son's cheek. "Act unwilling. If he thinks you are willing then the ritual won't work. Don't let it slip you are not Potter, until after the ritual if need be. Be reasonable, defer to our Lord, and he will be reasonable in return."
"Be safe," Sirius whispered. He had begged to go along, but Harry hadn't wanted him in danger and Barty couldn't guarantee that Voldemort would allow two enemies to leave alive. One was already asking too much.
But there was something about Cepheus. Something unusual but familiar, and Barty had a hunch that the Dark Lord would notice it too. Silently, he hoped it would be enough for the man to spare his son.
Harry nodded once, hugged each of his parents lightly, and turned to enter the maze.
"I'll be with you," Barty promised. He held out Moody's wand, and a path opened in the bushes. Harry could walk almost the whole way through to the centre of the maze as long as his mother kept the spell activated. There were spells in place to stop that sort of cheating from happening, but it only applied to students. The Professors were easily able to overcome those charms and protections on the off chance that a Champion needed urgent attention and Barty utilized that loophole now in order to give his son a fighting chance against Lord Voldemort. Harry would hold out better it he wasn't exhausted and injured.
The bushes were thick and whole closer to the trophy though. The spell wasn't able to reach that far. As a Sphinx stepped out from behind one of the bushes, Harry sighed. He really hated riddles.
Wormtail carried the homunculus carefully, cradled in his arms as if it were a real baby. The alarms around Riddle Manor had gone off, and though he had been content to search alone Lord Voldemort had insisting on being the one to deal with the intruder. The man was trapped in a clay body, given life through Alchemy, and looked no older than a one year old child, and yet he could still perform magic and use his wand and generally instill terror in Peter Pettigrew. Bartemius Crouch Jr. had never really seemed afraid of the man. When he had arrived at the Manor under a year ago he had seemed awed and amazed, continuously reaching out to touch his Lord but stopping himself at the last moment. Whereas, from the moment Peter had found Voldemort wandering as a spirit in Albania, he had yet to stop trembling.
"My Lord?" He whispered.
Voldemort turned in his arms, head facing outwards to glance at the lone figure that waited in the graveyard.
There was a large cauldron beside one of the graves, and the soil of that grave had been displaced, but the boy glanced calmly around as if he knew exactly where he was. But then he turned and caught sight of the man coming towards him.
"You!" Harry yelled. He hadn't been warned about Pettigrew. Perhaps his mother thought his acting would be better if he didn't actually have to act. Hatred burned in his eyes and his chest was tight and heavy as breath came faster to him. Harry held out his wand, pointing it between Peter's eyes, but the man had already cast a spell at him. Harry found himself flying backwards, knocking into a gravestone with enough force to make him dizzy. Ropes appeared, snaking around his arms and legs, and shackling him to the stone. His wand had fallen to the ground upon impact, and Harry shook his head to clear it, even as his thoughts rushed wildly through his brain.
"How dare you!" Harry hissed again, eyes narrowed as he struggled with his ropes. "What do you think you're doing? Stop it! Let me go!"
Wormtail ignored him. He made his way to the cauldron, and unwrapped Voldemort from the blanket before tossing him inside. A clank of something hard meeting pewter broke the sudden silence and Voldemort let out an angry hiss of pain. Peter gulped, and hurried to start the ritual before he could be punished. It passed, in a blur of feigned terror and protest, although the terror was actually quite real but Harry would never tell anyone that. He struggled more than he should have; enjoying the one good head-butt he managed to land to Pettigrew's chin. Voldemort watched him from the cauldron, his eyes barely able to peek over the top as his fingers clung to the sides. Harry met his eyes and, just as Peter added the last ingredient, just as the potion began to take effect, he smirked.
Voldemort waited, naked but unaffected by the cold as the cauldron melted around his legs until it was little more than liquid on the ground. He glanced around, running his hands over his face which was thin and pale with hollowed cheeks; his torso which started off broad and tapered in at the waist, long and lean and defined; he patted at his thighs, muscled and trembling from excitement. Harry couldn't tear his eyes away from the man's groin, even though Voldemort himself failed to examine that area. His face flushed, as the Dark Lord looked over at him, knowing exactly where Harry was staring.
"Mine isn't that big," Harry whispered and then immediately looked mortified.
"You are fourteen. Of course it isn't." Voldemort commented matter-of-factly, as he glanced over his shoulder at Peter. The man appeared with a cloak and Voldemort's wand, handing one over after the other and moving back silently.
"I'm twelve actually." Harry pointed out. He was still tied to the gravestone, but he had stopped his useless struggles. He was still afraid, of course he was, but he tried harder to hide it, and he would have succeeded if only for the fact that Voldemort had glanced straight into his eyes.
The Dark Lord pulled back with narrowed red eyes. He was bald, and his nose was strangely flattened with slits for nostrils, like a snake; it wasn't much to look at, but Harry could feel the power and the magic rolling off of the elder man, and it called to his own like a siren. The closer Voldemort came to him, the more Harry arched towards him, mouth slack and eyes hooded.
"Closer. More." Harry hissed, inadvertently slipping into Parseltongue.
Voldemort froze. He had one hand half raised to grip Harry's chin, and the other held his wand firmly, but at Harry's words he stopped. He lowered his free hand again, tilting his head to one side in thought. "You are not Harry Potter."
"What makes you think that?" Harry asked. His chest was heaving, but not from fear. Instead it was from the rush of desire that he couldn't begin to understand, from the taste of Voldemort's magic and the buzz of it across his skin. But his fear was most certainly gone now.
"I can smell it on you." The Dark Lord flicked his tongue out, and Harry was a little disappointed to note that it wasn't forked, like he had been expecting. "Dark magic, and so much of it on one so young. Twelve, you say? You are certain that you are only twelve? Too young, too young to be Potter," he whispered, the words trailing off into silence as Lord Voldemort turned away.
"Untie him," he ordered the lone Death Eater.
Harry waited until he was freed from his bonds and until Peter had slunk back into the shadows before he acted. Voldemort tensed as Harry moved, but the boy merely sunk to one knee, bowing his head low before the Dark Lord. "Permit me to introduce myself, my Lord."
Voldemort raised a hairless eyebrow. It was more of a line on his forehead that arched just above the eye as his face took on a surprised expression. One of pleasure crossed it soon after as the boy continued to bow in silence, waiting for permission to speak.
"Yes. Tell Lord Voldemort exactly who you are young one." He drew out the 's' and almost chuckled at the full body shudder that Pettigrew failed to suppress. Potter didn't look afraid though: his pupils had blown wide and his lips parted to let his tongue pass, wetting the edges of his mouth and disappearing back inside. Voldemort, for one moment, found himself regretting that this boy wasn't fourteen. Fourteen was acceptable; twelve was undeniably too young.
"My name is Cepheus Bartemius Black. You know my mother, of course; he was returned to your services earlier this year." Voldemort's eye narrowed again. He understood to whom Harry was referring, and he glanced the boy over, trying to spot any similarities. "And my father, well, obviously he was a Black if that is my surname. Sirius Black, to be specific. They met, in the most unlikeliest of places, in Azkaban."
"In Azkaban?" That was not something he had been expecting. Perhaps to have been told that Sirius had secretly joined his side, or that Barty had been momentarily weak and sided with the enemy as the conception occurred, but no, because that would still make Cepheus too young. "You were born in Azkaban?"
"I was there less than ten minutes before the guards took me to St Mungos. I was premature. By the time I was stable enough to survive unaided by magic, Dumbledore took it upon himself to place me with Harry Potter's Muggle family, so desperate was he for his saviour to live on."
"Muggles?" The man hissed. "The son of one of Lord Voldemort's Death Eaters, of one of my favourites, the most loyal, was sent to live with Muggles?"
Harry laughed softly, voice childish and unbroken. "That was my mother's reaction as well. But they weren't so bad. They knew I wasn't actually related to them, I was just some kid being played and manipulated like they were. I've always wondered though; if I really were the son of perfect Lily and James would they have hated me on principle? I suppose it doesn't matter. You are back now, aren't you? And mother will be by your side as he wishes to be, and I will be beside him, with him and not the Muggles. I think," He glanced at Voldemort who was watching his silently, "I might actually miss them, so do try not to kill them, ok?" Harry grinned then, and Voldemort found his other eyebrow rising, shocked at the cheek of the boy before him.
"So unafraid, so confident," he murmured, finally reaching out to cup Harry's cheek. Electricity shot through his hand, and Voldemort pulled back as if burnt. He glanced from his hand to Harry's face and frowned.
"Actually, I'm terrified. I'm relying on the fact that you generally seemed to have cared about my mother, you know, so that you won't kill me. You aren't going to kill me, are you?" Harry's eyes were suddenly wide, and he took a step back and Voldemort could finally see the scared little boy beneath the façade. Harry didn't even look twelve, so how anyone could mistake him for a teenager was beyond the Dark Lord.
"No." He reached for Harry's chin again; thumb stroking along one cheek and down to his top lip. "You will amuse me for many years to come, I'm certain, Cepheus." Harry was about to chide him for using his name without permission, and then suddenly remembered who this was, this man before him, who could destroy him so easily with just a word. But Voldemort seemed to have known what Harry had been thinking, because he threw his head back and laughed, loudly, before pressing a soft kiss to Harry's unblemished forehead. "See, once more you've amused me."
"Laughter makes you live longer, or something," Harry offered up shyly, taken back by the unexpected kiss. His parents kissed his cheek all the time, and aunt Petunia had done it often enough too, but coming from this man it seemed different. It made Harry feel special and it made his cheeks burn with pleasure, and he tilted his face up hoping for another.
"Then I suppose you must make me laugh forever, Cepheus."
"Yes, my Lord," the boy whispered, his head still tilted back, eyes on Voldemort's mouth as they curved up into a smirk.
The thumb was back on Harry's lip again, and as Harry stuck his tongue out to wet the corner of his mouth, he brushed against Voldemort's digit, and they both froze. They watched each other in silence, ignoring Wormtail who was staring at them in horror and confusion, before Voldemort finally pulled himself away from the child. He couldn't quite decide if the boy was dangerous or not: anyone who had that sort of affect over him, that much of a pull on his magic, was a danger, and yet, he seemed so true and trusting, and he was Barty's son. The same Barty who loved him like a father, so would that not make Cepheus his grandson? Why then, did Lord Voldemort want to steal another kiss, this time from his lips?
"Too young," Voldemort murmured to himself. He summoned the Portkey towards himself. The trophy flew forward, landing on the ground beside Harry's feet. "Back to Hogwarts with you, young one. Your… mother will hear from me soon regarding his next set of instructions. Tell him that… I am pleased. You have both done well."
He turned his back on Harry, ignoring the pull of the child's magic, the way it tried to twine with his own. He drew his magic back into himself, listening in the silence to the sounds of Wormtail panting and Harry's clothes rustling as he bent down for the Portkey. Then he was gone.
Lord Voldemort turned around, wand outstretched and a smile on his lip-less mouth. "Wormtail, your arm." The cowering Death Eater held out the arm he had severed the hand from during the ritual, and Voldemort sneered at it, disgusted at the sight. "Your other arm, Wormtail." With a whimper of pain and disappointment, the Wizard complied.
Voldemort's wand touched the Dark Mark on Peter's arm, and pain lanced through his limb. Across Britain, several others fell to their knees as pain shot through them, strong and angry, calling them back together, united once more under the Dark Mark. Each of them knew what they had suspected since the start of the year to be true, utterly and completely true. The Dark Lord was back.
The Portkey dropped Harry back into the maze roughly. Obviously, at the time the Portkey was spelled, Voldemort hadn't cared about the condition of Harry's corpse's return. Fortunately for him, as he was only twelve and not ready to die, that meeting had turned out rather well.
Harry placed the trophy back onto its pedestal. It glowed blue momentarily, and the child shielded his eyes until the light faded. He smiled to himself; his mother was smart, Harry thought, the spell had dissipated once the Portkey had done its job. No one would be able to use that trophy to find the Dark Lord, not after Harry had already used it.
The Sphinx was watching him, Harry realized when he turned around. For a moment he wondered if he had to answer another riddle, but then the creature simply moved out of his way and lay down upon the ground. "What were you doing, human?" It asked curiously as Harry walked passed.
"I wanted to see what would happen," Harry answered, being partially honest, but not completely so just in case the creature decided to tell on him. He could easily pass this off as Professor Moody giving him extra lessons, and him ending up lost in the maze; if he cried or acted stupid, he was bound to get away with it. He was their Saviour after all, why else would he have been in the maze? He was hardly there to help Lord Voldemort, now was he?
Harry made his way quickly back the way he came, surprised to notice that Barty had kept he holes in the bushes open for his return. The man must have been very confident that Lord Voldemort would return his son to have used up so much magic unnecessarily.
"Harry," the man in question whispered as the child appeared at the entrance to the maze. "Cepheus, my Cepheus." Sirius stood beside him, one arm around Barty's narrower waist. They both smiled at him.
Harry glanced once over his shoulder, wondering what Voldemort was doing now that Harry had gone back to school, and then he looked back at his parents, his family, his home. And he smiled.
Thank you all for reading, and especially to those who reviewed. Feel free to ask questions, but if anyone asks if Harry (who is dead) will be in the sequel, just know I'll ignore you.
There will be a sequel (LV/Cepheus!Harry) but I don't know when because I can't remember what my plot for it was, sigh. It is titled Fate Favours the Bold, and I don't know how long it will be.