Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and I make absolutely no money from this
Warnings: This story contains or will contain offensive language, some violence, mind-rape, character death and adult themes.
Pairings: Characters will go through several relationships in the story. As of chapter 15 the only one in progress is Draco/Daphne. It will be Draco/Ginny in the end in one way or another. Neville/Hermione is highly likely. There will be absolutely no slash.
Harry Potter and the Puppet of Time
The ancient wizard checked the rune clusters one last time before taking a deep breath. Everything was ready for the first stage. Finally, after three decades of preparation he could set his plan in motion. He took his place at the edge of the rune-covered ritual chamber with the stone altar in the center. A small table directly by his side allowed him easy access to the few objects he would need to accomplish his goals.
With an intense look of concentration he gathered all his power and spoke the words that activated some of the runes, starting the ritual.
A lens of blue light formed above the stone altar, showing the exact same room on the other side without the lens. The wizard made some gestures, and the lens focused on the wizard himself. Another set of gestures later the image was in fast reverse, showing the wizard setting up the ritual chamber. The wizard closed his eyes. It would be quite some time until it reached the timeframe he wanted, and the other things would be too painful to watch. Instead he used the time to mentally go over all his preparations once again. Even the tiniest mistake would be catastrophic.
He was an above average wizard in almost all regards, yes, but he was neither exceptionally powerful nor could he be considered a genius. The one outstanding magical talent he possessed hadn't been recognized until he was well above sixty, and even then only by chance. He was exceptionally talented in the field of divination. Not the crap that fraud Trelawney taught during his time at Hogwarts, no, he couldn't look into the future even if his life depended on it. Not even using the correct methods Trelawney had never known. What he could do was look into the present and with some limitations into the past. By now he was good enough that he could use a muddy puddle by the wayside to scry on any random person or object on the planet even through the most powerful of wards.
It was only through this talent that he had been able to get as far as he had. After many years of poking through the rubble of ruined cities and digging up graves in deserts and jungles he had assembled the knowledge and materials to set up this ritual in his hideout high in the Andes Mountains. Even more years of careful examination of the past had yielded the necessary course of action. It was a desperate gamble, but he had nothing to lose by this point. Only a few scattered magicals remained in the world, and their numbers were falling fast. There were still a lot of non-magicals left, but they were either under the yoke of their 'light' masters or served as food to their 'dark' counterparts. In the opinion of the wizard it wasn't a world worth living in.
Which was why he had set out to change the past that had led to this world.
When he opened his eyes he saw that the lens showed him seeing off his son. The boy had been promising at first, but in the end he had been a disappointment and only found an early grave in his quest for power when the next Dark Lord rose. It had been the end of the wizard's family line. The wizard watched in disgust as the actions of his younger self during his Hogwarts years came into view. He really had been a pathetic little shit. That made what he planned to do much easier to stomach. But that had to wait; he had to begin his changes with another target. When the lens showed the right time frame he stopped the movement along the temporal axis, took a lock of black hair into his spidery fingers and murmured an incantation.
The view changed and now showed a young kid with black hair and green eyes. A beautiful red-haired woman with similar green eyes was currently tucking the child into bed. A man sporting messy black hair was watching the scene from the door with a smile on his lips.
'Potter, it always comes down to Potter.'
It was galling that he would have to rely on Potter of all people, but the boy was simply the most powerful wizard on the planet he had any chance of recruiting. Or he could have been had he been allowed to reach his potential. Thanks to the plans of a meddlesome old man he had fallen far short of what he could have been. Potter hadn't even reached forty; he had been stabbed to death when he tried to break up a drunken brawl while working as an auror. The wizard watched with some amount of sympathy the woman singing the boy to sleep. After the night Potter would be orphaned and at the mercy of his aunt and uncle. The pair of them could be used as prime examples to show the barbarism of muggles, but in the end they were only pawns in Dumbledore's schemes. He really wished he could spare Potter from those years.
Unfortunately, he couldn't. He would only be able to change very few things, and he didn't have the power to go directly against Dumbledore or the half-blood bastard Riddle. When he saw Lily Potter leave the room and close the door behind her he took a small crystal and his wand from the table and prepared himself. He had only a very limited amount of time to do what he had to. After the first few syllables of a very complex incantation had left his lips all formerly inactive runes flared to life, along with exactly one hundred fist-sized crystals surrounding the room. They would serve to power the second stage of the ritual; a feat he would never have achieved on his own. Each crystal held the life essence of one human being that the wizard had murdered, but that didn't disturb him in the slightest. He had long discarded the remnants of the pitiful things that had served as his morals. Five Dark Lords each far more powerful and terrible than Voldemort who had tried to achieve world domination (two of which even had achieved that goal, albeit temporarily), three world wars and finally the coming of them had seen to it. The humans today were better off dead anyway.
When the power reached the lens it changed; the image becoming clearer and more real. Now it wasn't only a window but a genuine portal into the past. Although almost nothing could pass through it, some specifically adapted spells could. The wizard immediately began casting some very elaborate spells on the sleeping boy. They were all protective in nature, but they would lie dormant and undetectable until they were specifically activated. Hopefully they would alleviate the damage Riddle, Dumbledore and the boy's relatives would do to him and allow a speedy recovery later.
After he finished casting the necessary paradox-resistant spells the wizard shifted the portal some years into the relative future and back to his original focus, another sleeping boy. He really wished that he could simply send his own consciousness back, but the portal didn't work that way. Neither could he simply copy his complete personality over the one of his younger self. The wizard knew that by now he was hopelessly evil and not a little insane, both traits which would be more a hindrance to his plans.
Fortunately he could work around that. The wizard began by mind-raping his younger self into a more useful state. It was delicate work, but it would lead to a fundamentally different personality. Considering how he had behaved until he had reached his twenties he was doing his younger self a favor. It wasn't an especially happy life he had lived, partially through his own fault. When he was finished he held his wand to his head and began fishing memories out of his head and directing them through the portal into the head of his younger self. Suddenly he felt an attack on the wards of his hideout.
'Ah, they have noticed what I'm doing. No matter, in a few minutes nothing will matter anymore.'
The wards of his hideout wouldn't hold long – nothing could against beings of their power once they noticed you – but he had layered almost five hundred of the most powerful wards he could create one over another. That would give him around four minutes before they broke through.
After the last silvery strands passed the portal and entered the head of his younger self and he finished the last spells he allowed himself to relax and wipe the sweat from his bald head. He had done all he could. Hopefully this world would cease to exist due to his meddling in the past before they could get to him. He took a deep gulp from a goblet full of poison to prepare for the… unpleasant possibility that he was wrong about how the time travel worked. With a wave of his hand he closed the portal and activated the self-destruct of the rune clusters. Absentmindedly he noticed that ninety blood crystals had been exhausted, meaning he could have done without the effort of killing ten more people and harvesting their life force. On the other hand, it was better to have some reserves and don't need them than the other way around.
Smiling contently, one hundred and forty year-old Draco Malfoy sat down in a ready chair. Potter was protected as best as he could manage, his younger self would hopefully become something better than an arrogant, cowardly and stupid little git, and his grandfather Abraxas would take care of some other things if he survived the dragon pox thanks to his meddling. Without Lucius free to do as he pleased things would hopefully go better than they had in his real past.
Shortly before the last of the wards fell the old man succumbed to the poison, never noticing that the ten unused blood crystals had dumped their power into the not completely closed portal before it flickered out of existence.
Six year-old Draco Malfoy was having a nightmare. He was trapped in a torture chamber and someone was sticking blazing hot irons into his head. The pain was simply unbearable, but he couldn't even scream. Suddenly the pain ended, and Draco woke up. Only he wasn't lying in his bed anymore.
He was sitting in the manor's parlor, but he wasn't alone. In the armchair of his grandfather an incredibly old-looking man was sitting, watching him with a scary smile and expression that send shivers down Draco's spine.
"Hello Draco, I'm sure you are wondering what is happening. To cut things short, I'm you. Or rather the you from more than a hundred years in the future. As you can see, time wasn't especially kind to us. After decades of trying I found a way to send part of my memories back in time. Currently they are mostly locked away. I recommend that you learn occlumency as quickly as possible; the instructions are included in my memories. Depending on your progress more memories will unlock. In the meantime your mind will be protected by a spell, but it will fade in a few months."
The man sighed deeply. "As you can guess our future wasn't especially nice for me to try and change it. I left you instructions for what you have to do in the near future and a lot of contingency plans as well as knowledge, but it will be up to you to decide on actions. First thing next morning you will talk with your grandfather and tell him you had a vision. Get him to read your mind. I have prepared something that will convince him to take certain actions. Play along. Oh, and don't listen to anything our father says." He fixed Draco with a glare. "You have only this one chance. Don't screw this up, young man."
Everything went black.
When Draco woke up again his heart was pounding and he was drenched in sweat. Fortunately this time he was lying in his bed. He had a monstrous headache which caused him to whimper and bury his head in the pillow. The pain decreased after a few minutes and disappeared finally completely. Relaxing a bit, Draco tried to determine if he had only dreamt that conversation. His thoughts felt different; it was as if he was thinking clearer and faster. The first thing he found was a detailed instruction for learning occlumency that he definitely hadn't known yesterday. Another thing was the memory of a vision foretelling the end of the Malfoy line along with a demand to speak with his grandfather and a lot of speech in a language he couldn't understand. Other than that there were only very general ideas accessible. The only thing that made sense was the information that his future son had died without issue and he himself had been the last Malfoy. Draco had already been drilled in the importance of continuing the family line, meaning that fact alone would have been a valid reason to return to the past. Unfortunately he had the distinct impression that the true reason was far worse. He fell asleep again before he could ponder anymore ideas.
When he woke next dim light was seeping through the windows. After he checked his memories again (yes, the instructions were still there) he sighed and got up from his bed. His parents would be still sleeping, but his grandfather tended to get up early. Draco took a quick shower in the bathroom before he returned to his room to get dressed. When he entered the room he strode purposefully to his wardrobe, but suddenly he stumbled over something that cried out. He almost fell, but managed to catch himself in time. Turning around, he saw one of their house elves wringing his hands. Apparently he had been cleaning under his bed and Draco had stumbled over his protruding legs.
"Dobby is sorry, almost caused little master to fall. Dobby will iron his hands for his mistake."
Draco was about to yell at him when a new thought entered his mind. 'It is stupid to mistreat servants that know many of your secrets.' Blinking, he tried to make sense of this line of thought. No explicit memories were forthcoming, but he found some abstract information about loyalty and appropriate treatment of servants. Deciding to trust his new thoughts, he forcefully calmed himself down.
"Forget about it; it wasn't your fault. I should have been looking were I was going."
The elf froze and gaped at him open mouthed.
An additional idea entered his mind. "Dobby, I order you to never punish yourself unless you receive a direct order to do so. Tell the other elves the same." Draco knew he had only limited authority over the elves, but that should work. He wasn't sure why he did it; it just seemed to be a good idea.
Apparently it was enough to break the elf out of his shock. "Little master must be joking. Never before little master has treated any of us nicely."
Draco narrowed his eyes. "Do you question my orders?"
That caused him to shut up. From his facial expression he couldn't make sense out of Draco's instruction and was fighting quite an inner conflict. Questioning his orders would normally require him to punish himself, but that in turn would violate his new orders.
"You may go." Draco waved him away.
The little guy seemed terribly confused when he popped away. Draco shook his head while he got dressed. House elves were strange. At the breakfast table the elf serving him shot him strange looks when he thought Draco wasn't looking. Apparently Dobby had already relayed his orders.
"Is my grandfather already awake?" he questioned the elf.
"Old master has requested his morning tea and newspaper a few minutes ago."
Draco nodded an acknowledgement, which seemed to confuse the elf. Had he really been that cruel to the servants before so that minimal signs of polite treatment caused them that much confusion? When he made his way to the rooms of his grandfather in a different wing of the mansion he realized that his vocabulary had massively increased. If he compared his memories from a few days before with now his thoughts were drastically more mature. Shaking off these thoughts, he gathered his courage before knocking on the doors to his grandfather's suite.
"Grandfather, it's me, Draco. May I come in?"
Abraxas Malfoy sipped his tea while going through the social section of the Daily Prophet. He rarely went out into society anymore; his age was catching up with him. He was only going on ninety, but he hadn't been as careful with his body in his youth as he should have been and was now paying the price. That didn't mean he couldn't keep up with the news; he still had many connections and could offer advice. If only his son would listen to him.
'Where have I gone wrong with the boy?'
The rift had begun long ago, during Lucius' time at Hogwarts. Somehow his son had ended up in circles that would later become the Death Eaters and swore allegiance to the newest Dark Lord. At the time Abraxas had seen nothing wrong with Voldemort's agenda. Abraxas was a firm believer in the superiority of purebloods himself, but he didn't shout out his opinion to the world at large. That only got in the way of his political work. An insult like mudblood would never come across his lips, and if a muggleborn had useful skills Abraxas made use of them if he could. There was no sense in ignoring useful tools and connections, after all. In that regard he was a lot like his old friend Horace Slughorn.
After a lot of thought he had decided to quietly fund Voldemort's organization. Many old families had lost a lot of power after Dumbledore pushed his agenda after the Grindelwald war, and he had seen it as an opportunity to tip the balance back to a more palatable state of affairs. Voldemort was very charismatic, and a political movement from an independent source would be very helpful. Unfortunately, Voldemort had turned out to be a murderous psychopath and his son had proven an idiot. He had let himself be branded like cattle and kissed the feet of this self-styled lord without a family name. It was one thing to support such a man in the pursuit of one's political agenda, serving him like a slave was quite another. Malfoys weren't minions or thugs; they were allies that worked quietly behind the scenes or sometimes in the spotlight of the political or business arena.
His son would have none of it; he was too arrogant to see the situation for what it was. He gallivanted around in this silly mask and spent his time like a brutish thug torturing muggles and wizards alike. Abraxas would have liked nothing better than to disinherit the fool, but because he lacked another heir he had been forced to grit his teeth and pretend everything was fine. Over time the entire Voldemort situation had spiraled out of control into a civil war that was doing more damage to the purebloods than to anyone else.
He had brokered a good marriage with a sensible woman from the respectable Black family for his son, but it had taken a long-lasting love potion until the two finally produced an heir. Unfortunately, as a side-effect it had caused Narcissa to go along with much of what Lucius did. Really, choosing one of his Death Eater pals as godfather for his grandson was bad enough, but had it to be the half-blood son of a muggle? Granted, the young man was an excellent potions master, but you didn't take such people into the family, you employed them.
Things in Britain had become steadily worse, and Abraxas had begun to entertain thoughts of simply fleeing the country together with his grandson. Then Voldemort got himself killed somehow, and his entire organization fell apart with a curious speed. There were many highly suspicious things going on, like the entire Boy-who-lived circus, but Abraxas had been too busy at the time to investigate much. It was all he could do to keep his son out of prison, and that had cost them a lot of money and quite a few favors other people owed him. Naturally, the ungrateful idiot thought it was his own brilliance of pleading the Imperius that had saved him. Lucius had some talent as a manipulator, but most of his achievements were the result of the family money, connections Abraxas had made or simple incompetence or fear on the side of the people his son bribed or intimidated. Abraxas had even heard Lucius had openly threatened someone with being hexed to get his way. That was a cardinal sin in Abraxas' book, you only resorted to intimidation in the direst of circumstances and even then you only implied. If you had to kill someone that someone should never see it coming. A Malfoy couldn't sink much lower.
Unfortunately it seemed that his grandson tried to undercut this low level even further. He was still young, but Abraxas simply couldn't stand his constant whining and sense of entitlement. It didn't help that his parents spoiled him rotten on the one hand and heaped exaggerated expectations onto him on the other hand. All in all he promised to develop into an even poorer copy of his already poor example of a son. Abraxas simply didn't have the vitality or energy left to do something about it. He was even considering relinquishing even more power to his son; someone had to fulfill these duties and he was becoming too frail to do so.
A knock on the door interrupted his musings.
"Grandfather, it's me, Draco. May I come in?"
Abraxas was surprised. Normally his grandson slept much longer, and he didn't deliberately visit him normally. He laid the newspaper back on the table and straightened himself.
"Come in, Draco."
When the door opened and Draco entered the room Abraxas wrinkled his brow. Something was different about his grandson. He pondered the issue while they exchanged greetings until it hit him. It was how Draco carried himself. Lately he had developed an air of arrogance and entitlement, but it was missing this morning. Instead Draco seemed confused and somewhat shaken.
"Grandfather, last night I had a strange dream. It seemed so real. There was this old man who looked familiar and he told me a lot of stuff of how I should change my life. Then he said I should talk to you about lega-, no, legilimency and continued talking in a language I couldn't understand."
Abraxas was meanwhile choking on his tea. He had expected some attempt at wheedling out presents from him, but not that his grandson had a vision. The Malfoys possessed a touch of seer blood with a necromantic slant, but it manifested rarely and in a strange way. He himself had seen two visions in his life. The first one had led him onto a quite profitable journey across the Middle East after his Hogwarts years while the second had prevented him from joining Grindelwald before he began his war. In both cases it had been a deceased family member who gave him the advice. In the journals of his father he had found a similar occurrence, and his deceased older brother had told him of such a dream before. Only he hadn't heeded the advice, and promptly lost his life in a Quidditch accident. From what Abraxas had pieced together a Malfoy only saw such a vision at a turning point of his life, enabling him to avoid disaster. For his grandson to see such a thing at such a young age was completely unprecedented. Even stranger was the request about legilimency. Abraxas was very well versed in the mind arts, and he could manage to read a recent memory without problems.
Finally he managed to get the liquid out of his throat. "What did the language sounded like?"
Draco scrunched his face in concentration and produced some sounds which could be interpreted as horribly mispronounced ancient Greek. Abraxas spoke it fluently, but he would have to watch the memory himself to understand what was said. On such occasions he fervently wished he still possessed his pensieve, but his foolish son had given it to Voldemort who had it squirreled away somewhere they couldn't find. New ones were extraordinarily hard to come by; it took most enchanters and rune masters five years of hard work to create a truly good pensieve. Unfortunately that meant that the prices were astronomic, and the current liquid assets of the Malfoy fortune were too scarce to afford such a thing.
"Draco, I will have to watch your memory myself to understand what happened. I will use a spell to do so. Try to relax and don't panic. It would be good if you concentrate on the memory. Ready?"
The boy gave him a nervous nod. Abraxas readied his wand and began casting. "Legilimens!"
A few minutes later a very shaken Abraxas extracted himself from his grandson's mind and sent the boy back to his room with a few kind words. It had been a genuine vision. The man had been Abraxas own father; he looked exactly like he had immediately before his death, had spoken in the same manner and knew things no other person could have learned. It was no wonder Draco hadn't recognized him, his portrait showed a much younger version of him. After giving Draco a bit of general and very sensible advice, the most prominent of which was to stop listening to his father, he had switched to ancient Greek, a language Draco couldn't understand. Considering the content of the message Abraxas thought it very wise, it wouldn't do to burden a six year old with this knowledge. He wondered briefly why he hadn't received the message himself, but perhaps there were unknown limitations.
The message told of the almost inevitable ruin of house Malfoy and his own death only two months in the future. There was a way to avoid it, but it would be difficult. Shoving it to the back of his mind, Abraxas made to leave his quarters. There was a way to prove the truth of the vision, and it would be a necessary step to the proposed plan anyway. Half an hour later Abraxas stared at the book in his hands. It was the personal notebook of his long-deceased great-aunt who had been a famous potions mistress. At the end of her life she had grown quite paranoid and had hidden her notebook where nobody could find it for decades. And now the vision of his grandson had told him the exact hiding place. Skimming through the pages he found that most things while interesting were rather useless from a practical standpoint. Finally he found what he was searching for. The Brew of the Healthy End would give him around seven years of life with immunity against every known illness while simultaneously curing all afflictions of old age. The only downside was that it would inevitably kill him after the seven years were over and it required a small moonsilver cauldron to brew that would be destroyed in the process. It would be impossible to replace it because it required alchemy to create, and the few alchemists who were left in the world didn't sell their products. One was in storage from a Malfoy ancestor who had dabbled in alchemy, but to his knowledge it was the only one left in all of Britain and possibly Europe.
There was only one question remaining, and that was if he wanted to follow the proposed plan. Only living seven more years was no problem for him, he doubted he would make it that long without the potion. At least he would be healthy once again. Neither was teaching Draco a problem. The boy had been very shaken, and it would be easy to form him into a worthy heir if Abraxas was strong enough to invest the necessary effort. No, it was the other part of the plan that gave him doubts, especially because he couldn't see the reason for it himself and would have to rely on the word of the vision. He himself had some contacts into the muggle world, but introducing his grandson at this age seemed premature.
After an hour of contemplation Abraxas came to a decision. Each Malfoy who had followed these visions had prospered while those who disregarded them had come to a premature end. Abraxas nodded to himself, he would follow the plan. Time to break out his old potions lab, he had things to brew and research.
The potion had been extraordinarily difficult to brew, but it had been worth it. Abraxas felt the pain in his joints that had been his constant companion in the last years fade. He didn't feel exactly young, but now he had regained the drive and energy that had been missing for so long. Now he had to get his grandson out from under his son's thumb. Which was the reason he was now talking to Draco in his study; he had to reinforce Draco's friendly feelings for him.
"You did very well in coming to me with that vision, Draco. Now, what would you like as a present?"
Draco scrunched his face in obvious thought for more than a minute. The answer that finally came was totally unexpected. "I would like a little brother or sister."
Not letting his shock show, Abraxas patted his grandson's head. "I'll see what I can do."
When he was alone Abraxas leaned back in his chair and thought about his grandson's request. He had expected a broom or a pony or something like it, but not a sibling. On the other hand, Draco had only very limited contact with other children and was probably lonely. That didn't make his wish any easier to fulfill. Abraxas himself would have appreciated more grandchildren. In his youth each Old Family had adhered to the model of at least an heir and a spare. His own wife had died in a portkey accident before they could produce any more offspring, and he had never remarried. He was pretty sure Narcissa wanted a daughter, but that was impossible. Even with magic Draco's birth had been difficult, and he knew it would be impossible for her to have any more children.
That left blood adoption, but it was illegal and children who nobody would miss were hard to come by. Especially pure-blooded children; Abraxas would never even consider to include anyone else in the Malfoy family. It would have been extraordinarily useful if the family had more young members, the Old Families were already dwindling to nothing. Immediately after the war things had been easier, but by now everything was settled. He would make it known to the appropriate contacts that he was looking, but in all likelihood he would not be able to fulfill his grandson's wish.
"Honey, do you know where I have left the manuscript for the article about the crumple-horned snorkacks?" the voice of Xeno Lovegood rang out.
"Most likely on your desk, dear." Selene Lovegood answered absentmindedly. She was currently working on a device that would revolutionize time travel done via time turners by analyzing the time stream beforehand, and it required her full concentration. Little Luna was currently napping on a chair at the other end of the room, meaning there were few distractions. Still, there was something wrong with the custom spells that powered the device. There wasn't any time travel going on in the vicinity of her house as far as she knew, but the spells stubbornly showed some anomaly. If she was reading things right there seemed to be a tunnel-like construct that was trashing wildly through the time stream.
Selene adjusted one of the spells slightly to get a better look, but before she could do more her husband engulfed her from behind to give her a goodbye kiss. None of them ever realized what was happening when the device made contact with the time travel spell of the elder Draco and an enormous amount of magical power was released in a completely uncontrolled fashion. Xeno and Selene Lovegood were instantly disintegrated, along with the majority of the surrounding building. The magical interference of the discharge was strong enough to burn out part of the magical detection grid and delay responses by the ministry while everyone scrambled to find out what had happened.
The man who most often called himself Arthur Smith (at least when he was doing business in Magical Britain) was the first person to arrive at the scene of the catastrophe. He had been on a delivery run using his (illegal) invisible magical carpet to transport some goods of a rare, expensive and highly illegal nature when he saw the house disintegrate in the distance and chose to investigate.
The adults Arthur knew lived here were beyond help judging from the fact that only a very few parts of their bodies still remained. The child was miraculously unharmed, even if she was unconscious. It was strange; some parts of the building were completely intact while many more were simply turned to dust. He wondered what he could scavenge before he had to skive off when he remembered a request one of his business partners had issued.
Arthur didn't know for what purpose old Abraxas wanted a young pureblood child – the possibilities ranged from illegal to sickening – and he didn't care. All he needed to know was that Abraxas Malfoy was trustworthy in his deals and paid good money, even if the man was paranoid with his use of unbreakable vows and memory charms to keep everything secret. Not that it really mattered to Arthur, money was money and he didn't plan on telling anyone how it came to be in his possession.
Deciding quickly, he used one very obscure spell to create a dead copy of the body, stunned the unconscious girl for good measure, disillusioned her and made off to his hidden carpet.
Abraxas sighed while reading the Daily Prophet at the breakfast table. The previous step of his plan had been a full success. His precious cargo was safely stored and sedated with some Draught of the Living Death, and now the newspaper confirmed that nobody even suspected a thing. The clink of falling silverware indicated that the next step of the plan was well underway.
When he looked up he saw that all three remaining family members were staring straight ahead with an empty expression thanks to the potion he had mixed with their tea. It disabled their conscious will much like a mix between an Imperius-curse, veritaserum and a subsequent obliviation, but it worked only for a short time and it was far more difficult to brew it instead of simply using the spells. On the positive side it didn't leave any traces. He had given the house elves strict orders not to be disturbed, and he wouldn't need long for what he had to do.
"Narcissa, what would you give for a daughter?"
"Everything, Lord Malfoy." she answered in a monotone voice.
Abraxas fished a crystal phial out of his pocket. "If you are willing fill this phial with your blood. Take care to keep your injury minimal." He watched dispassionately as his daughter-in-law did just that and cast a healing spell on her wound as well as a cleaning spell on the knife she had used. If the next one wasn't as willing matters would get complicated.
"Lucius, are you willing to give a few drops of blood for a daughter? She would be a very valuable commodity to garner political support."
Abraxas watched with some amount of trepidation the indecision play over the face of his son. If he wasn't willing to shed a few drops of blood he would have to use his own, and that could easily lead to awkward questions later. Fortunately the idea of a gaining a political bargaining chip seemed enough, and Lucius filled a second phial with his blood. Abraxas pocketed the phials, vanished the tainted tea, removed all traces of what happened and continued reading the newspaper. The magical rules of free will were so easy to circumvent if you were unscrupulous enough. A few minutes later the sounds of breakfast resumed as if nothing had happened. When Abraxas folded the Daily Prophet today's headlines became briefly visible.
Spell accident causes explosion in Ottery St. Catchpole
Family of three dies in the catastrophe
The old man eyed the sleeping girl with something akin to regret. He really didn't like what he had to do, but he had come too far to back out. Before he began with the main task Abraxas began casting diagnostic spells. It wouldn't do to make a mistake at this point. While the lights of the spells danced around and through the small girl Abraxas began reminiscing. In the course of his long life he had amassed a wealth of knowledge that came in incredibly useful now. Part of his mind went over his life: Hogwarts years, the fight with his father, his stint with the obliviators to earn money, his travel to the Middle East followed by ten years of thievery, assassination and grave robbery, his return to England with his acquired riches, the reconciliation with his family, the death of his older brother, his career in politics and trade, marriage, the Grindelwald war, the birth of his son, Voldemort, and now this.
He had accumulated a long list of crimes in his life, and now he was about to add personality destruction to the list. A glance to the side showed the ancestral Malfoy pensieve brimming with false memories, with eight smaller vials and one tiny one standing beside it. It had taken Abraxas two months to assemble a coherent whole after he had retrieved his pensieve from the location the vision had showed him. A chime signaled that his diagnostic spells were finished with their work.
Abraxas frowned when he interpreted the results. "Hmm, your bloodline is fey-touched. I wonder if it isn't more of a curse; their gifts never make the humans happy who receive them. No matter, the ritual will sever all previous bonds." He gently removed some errant hairs from the girl's face before he gripped his wand. "Goodbye, Luna Lovegood. Obliviate!"
Three days later Abraxas took his fifth pepper-up potion. The work had been arduous, but by now nothing was left of the personality and memories of the girl before him. Only an empty shell remained, with her consciousness as clear as fresh spring water. Until the next stage of the plan, that was. It had been difficult, but all memories were now permanently erased. In contrast to the quick-and-dirty normal obliviation which simply locked specific memories away he had permanently erased everything. It took far longer and was more difficult to do without damaging the victim permanently, but his experience as an obliviator had provided him with the necessary techniques to pull it off.
'Time for the next step.'
Abraxas took the tiny vial and unstopped it. With the tip of his want he touched the opening before he waved it around. A trail of silvery memories followed his wand around for a moment before settling into the head of the girl.
"Legilimens!" He carefully checked his work. Everything appeared to have settled in nicely. It was only temporary, but it would enable the girl to talk and recognize basic concepts. Abraxas cast a loneliness charm on her before he her woke up. A few moments after the drops of the counter-potion had hit the girls lips she opened her eyes. Silvery-grey eyes stared into nothingness.
"Do you understand me?"
Waving his wand around, he activated the ritual circle surrounding them.
"Do you revoke your old family by blood and name of your own free will?" Abraxas cast a mild fear and revulsion spell on the girl while asking that question.
The girl shivered. "Yes."
He conjured a picture of Narcissa before the girl's eyes. "Do you accept her as your mother of your own free will?"
Abraxas made the image disappear and instead conjured the image of his son. "Do you accept him as your father of your own free will?"
After the image of Lucius disappeared he carefully dribbled a few drops of Lucius' blood on the girl's right hand and some of Narcissa's on her left. The following incantation took almost a minute.
"As is my right as head of the house of Malfoy I hereby sever all previous bonds of allegiance and blood. Consent was asked and given. I name Narcissa of house Malfoy your mother. I name Lucius of house Malfoy your father. I name you Aquila of house Malfoy, and like an eagle you shall soar. By blood and name you shall be one of us forever. So mote it be!" he finished.
Suddenly the drops of blood seemed to come to life as they bubbled and formed worm-like shapes. The girl began to scream when they burrowed beneath her skin. It seemed like an eternity, but finally she stopped screaming and the ritual circle powered down. There had been quite a few changes to the girl's body, primarily to the facial structure. Abraxas doubted even her original parents would recognize her. Her hair was now the typical Malfoy platinum blond, but the most startling change had been the eyes. Before the ritual they had been a silvery grey. That had changed to the duller grey of the Malfoy's, but there were many spots of pure silver and Narcissa's aquamarine. It looked like someone had scattered slivers of gems across the girl's irises. He thought it quite fetching.
Abraxas caressed his new granddaughter's cheek before he gave her a new dose of the Draught of Living Death.
"Welcome to the family, Aquila Malfoy."
Finishing with the clean-up, Abraxas let out a sigh of relief. Finally everything was finished. Over the course of one month he had carefully integrated the specifically created false memories into the girl's mind. He had done likewise for Lucius, Narcissa and Draco. He had even gone to the trouble of memory-charming the house elves. For all of them it would appear as if Aquila had always been a part of their life. Abraxas even had given himself these fake memories. Not that anyone would ever be able to recognize those as fake. It was truly a masterpiece of mind magic. Too bad that no one would ever know of it. Even Abraxas himself would soon forget that it had ever happened.
He had been tempted to screw a bit with his son's memories, but in the end he had decided against it. The scale of change necessary to make him a worthy heir simply wouldn't work with an adult. The only thing he would achieve was giving St. Mungo's a new resident for the permanent spell damage ward.
Abraxas looked around with satisfaction. There was no trace of the ritual taking place left; the presence of his pensieve and his great-aunt's notebook as well as the potion he had made for himself had been explained in the memories he had crafted for himself. Sometime in the future he would have to show Draco this hidden underground hideout on the Malfoy lands. It contained his secret potion lab, an all-purpose ritual chamber and most importantly the heart stone of the Malfoy family. Only the most powerful of the Old Families possessed one of those, and it enabled quite a lot of family-based magic that was simply impossible without one. He would never trust Lucius with that knowledge.
Explaining the sudden appearance of Aquila to the outside world was easy. Many of the Old Families still followed the custom of only announcing the existence of their children to the world at large after they displayed their first case of accidental magic. It was much easier to quietly disappear them in case they were squibs if nobody knew about them in the first place. This was especially true of a younger daughter when an heir with proven magical ability already existed. Abraxas pitied poor Augusta, her son had been a good wizard, but it appeared her grandson hadn't inherited his abilities. Granted, there still was time, but it was rare for a magical child not to show some accidental magic by the time they were six.
A side-effect of the adoption ritual had been to magically lock Aquila's birthday to the day of adoption, meaning that she would celebrate her new birthday on April the 30th, two days earlier than Luna Lovegood's birthday. It was a lucky coincidence; any earlier date could have raised some questions how Narcissa could have become pregnant again so shortly after giving birth to Draco.
The old wizard surveyed everything for a last time and consulted the list he had made. Everything seemed to be in order. He had stored copies of all his new memories inside the pensieve and had isolated the memories he had to erase via occlumency, and was now ready for the last step. No one would ever know or be able to discern that until a short time ago Aquila Malfoy hadn't existed. He pointed his wand at his head.
Draco had hardly time to blink before he was tackled by a blond missile and landed on his bottom.
"Happy birthday big brother!" the person responsible for his current state chirped.
"Aquila, that is not how a lady behaves." their mother admonished.
The girl rolled her eyes before responding. "Yes, mother."
Draco had to suppress a chuckle. At seven years of age his little sister could act like a perfect lady… if she wanted to. There was practically nothing that could get her to do something she didn't want, and her willpower was growing by the day. Most times she acted in the manner expected from her, but Draco knew that could change on a whim. She had a large independent streak, and it was further encouraged by their grand aunt Cassiopeia Black who had taken to visit them often after the announcement of Aquila's existence and who doted on the girl. Not that she was the only Black who had begun visiting regularly.
"Now, now, Narcissa; let the little lady have her fun. It's not every day that one's brother turns eight." Pollux Black said while Arcturus Black and Abraxas were chuckling in the background.
It had been around one and a half years since the visit by his older self, and many things had changed. His grandfather had taken over much of his education, leaving his father fuming but unable to do anything about it. Draco had learned much from him, and after learning the opening stages of occlumency even more from his newly acquired memories of the future. Aside from a lot of abstract knowledge he had only seen some concrete childhood memories from the other Draco until now, but his other childhood had been far unhappier. For one, he didn't have a sister. How that change had come to pass he hadn't the slightest idea, but he didn't know what his older self had planned to change in the first place. Or what unintended changes had happened, for that matter.
In the other timeline his grandfather had died over a year ago and he had practically no contact with the Blacks. It wasn't surprising considering that his father didn't get along well with the other people in the room. He had fancied himself already Lord Malfoy, but Abraxas' recovery had foiled his plans. It had only taken a single letter by his grandfather to get the Blacks to visit regularly, and Draco liked them all. Once upon a time the Blacks had been a very large family, but there weren't that many people with Black blood left who could continue the family.
Aside from the three old people in the room there were only uncle Sirius and aunt Bellatrix in Azkaban, and it was very unlikely that any of them would be able to have children if they ever got out. A prolonged exposure to dementors had that unfortunate side effect. His mother's sister Andromeda had been disinherited and thrown out of the Black family for marrying a muggleborn, thereby removing her and her daughter Nymphadora from the equation. That left only Harry Potter due to his grandmother being Dorea Potter nee Black, sister to Draco's own great-grandfather Pollux Black, but no one knew where the Boy-who-lived was. That meant it was Draco who was groomed for taking over the Black Lordship.
"Get up you two, it's time for presents!"
Most of the presents were books much to Draco's delight. He knew it would be up to him to make a better future than his older counterpart had experienced. Knowledge was power, and he would need as much of both as he could get his hands on. Other than the books he received a broom from Pollux and his own winged pony from his grandfather. The Malfoys were breeding horses, both of the normal and the magical variety, and he wanted to have his own for years.
Much later that evening, Draco and Aquila feigned sleep on the couch in the neighboring room to overhear the adults' conversation after Lucius and Narcissa had retired early.
"How goes your effort of getting Sirius out of prison?" Abraxas asked.
"Not good. All the documentation is being kept secret and inaccessible, even with enormous bribes. Crouch threw him into Azkaban with his special powers; there wasn't an actual trial. We are being blocked at every turn; it seems someone is trying his utmost to keep my grandson in Azkaban. We aren't even allowed to visit him." a very tired sounding Arcturus said.
"I still can't believe the boy secretly joined the Dark Lord, he had such an aversion against the Dark Arts." the sharp voice of Cassiopeia interjected.
Pollux responded to that. "By now I honestly think he didn't. You know how he was imprisoned for killing that Pettigrew boy and ratting out the Potters? There is simply no way he betrayed James Potter. The man was more a brother to him than Regulus ever was, and Charlus Potter was a better father than Orion. It didn't help that my daughter Walburga was half-mad. She has blasted dozens of members from the family tree as if she had the right to decide who is thrown out of the family and who isn't. That's solely Arcturus' right and duty. I recently visited Grimmauld Place; it has become a dump under the reign of that crazy house-elf of hers. Her insane portrait gives orders and the elf listens and does everything it says. The poor thing will have to be put down."
"I recently found out that Sirius was never even questioned or his wand checked. When they found him he was laughing madly and saying he killed them all over and over again." Arcturus continued his report.
Draco could hear Cassiopeia humming thoughtfully. "That does sound more like the aftereffect of prolonged Imperius-exposure. People have been known to go mad when they were forced to do things that went against their very nature."
After a short pause that was probably filled by nodding and a coughing fit Arcturus resumed his speech. "A few days ago I found another very interesting fact. Sirius named Harry Potter his godson and heir should he produce no children of his own. Even more interesting is the smear campaign the ministry is conducting. I don't know how one can get the idea that he was the Dark Lord's right hand and most dangerous follower from him blowing up a street and betraying the Potters. It seems someone is doing his utmost to keep him in prison and blacken his name even further." The old man chuckled lightly at the joke about his family name.
"Sirius is Harry's godfather? How very interesting. My investigation about his whereabouts has turned up nothing, but last month I found out that Alice Longbottom was named as his godmother. The goblins are unusually tight-lipped and the ministry likewise, but apparently the Potters' wills were sealed and never enacted. I know from me dealings with Charlus that there is an automatically set up standard will for every Lord of House Potter. Even if James never submitted one; the standard will has to be there." Abraxas said.
Once again Cassiopeia spoke up. "Now, that is something I call a lead. The attack on the Longbottoms never made any sense. Why should they have known anything about the Dark Lord's status? But as his godmother Alice would have had an undeniable right to know about his location and be responsible for his care. It may very well be that Bella and her merry group of maniacs were played."
"It seems more and more that Harry Potter is the linchpin of everything. Every person who had a legal right for his guardianship has been removed in one way or the other. Then there are all the tales and books about the Boy-who-lived that are popping up all over the place. It's very suspicious that they all describe his appearance in the same manner. As far as I have been able to find out the royalties flow through several layers until they end up in the pockets of one person, but I haven't been able to identify who it is. The entire story about the night when it happened makes little sense. Still, there is only one person who can exert such widespread influence and not get caught." Pollux added.
"Dumbledore." Cassiopeia spat out. Draco didn't know why, but his grand aunt hated the famous Leader of the Light with a passion.
A heavy sigh filled the room. "Then there is nothing we can do about it. House Black's power is waning, and money can only do so much with Minister Bagnold and a large part of the ministry either in Dumbledore's pocket or following him willingly. We will only be able to act when young Harry returns to our world, but I don't think I will see that day. Each morning it gets more difficult for me to get up. I don't think I have the three years left until Harry turns eleven." the incredibly tired voice of Arcturus said.
Pollux was the next to speak. "I fear it is the same for me. I already have to take a lot of potions for my body to keep working. If I'm lucky I will be around two more years, no more."
"My mind is prone to wander. I might live long enough, but I won't be capable of helping anyone. How about your son Lucius, Abraxas?" Cassiopeai asked with obvious distate.
Abraxas' voice was pained. "My son is a death eater and an idiot. We can never trust him with anything sensitive. Given the chance he will bring ruin to House Malfoy. If I could I would disinherit or remove him completely, but that would cause too many additional problems. The love potion wasn't one of my brighter ideas; it makes Narcissa completely ineffectual at curbing my son's idiotic tendencies. No, my hopes solely rest on Draco and Aquila. Soon there will be no one else left. I might be able to give them some guidance in their early Hogwarts years, but no longer."
Cassiopeia's voice was softer this time. "They are both so young."
"They are, but who else is there? We can't trust Andromeda, Narcissa or Lucius, and even if it wasn't a family matter more and more of my old friends and acquaintances are succeeded by their children. Too many of them followed the Dark Lord fanatically and will follow him again should he rise anew or another comes along. We should never have supported that maniac." Abraxas said.
Arcturus harrumphed. "This is hindsight. At the time he seemed a reasonable option to support, and that erroneous decision has cost us all dearly. Dumbledore was and is destroying our world, and we had to at least try and stop him."
"If only Grindelwald had succeeded…" Cassiopeia said wistfully.
"But he hasn't, and his fall gave further rise to Dumbledore. We've had this discussion often enough, Cassy. Another matter, I noticed you take Draco and Aquila to the muggle world on occasion. Why is that?" Pollux asked.
Draco could imagine his grandfather's shrug. "I have my reasons. Our house makes a surprisingly large amount of money by dealing with muggles, and Lucius is completely incapable of managing that. It will still be some time until our coffers have recovered from the Voldemort war, but we are getting there. I'm trying to teach Draco all he needs to know for taking over. It's only a part of my attempts at taking precautionary measures in the case I meet a premature end."
"And they have horse races in the muggle world." Cassiopeia added.
Abraxas laughed. "You know me too well. If you don't like Quidditch there's no real other sport left in the Wizarding World. Draco has taken a liking to football as has Aquila, and as long as they remember they are superior to the muggles I see no problem with it. Ignorance can be far more dangerous. They will have to deal with an ever increasing number of muggleborns. There are too few of us left to remain solely in our society. Another matter, how do you plan to resolve the question of the Black Lordship?"
Arcturus coughed a while before answering. "It seems Sirius has taken the matter out of our hands. I don't think he was aware of what he was doing, but the specific way he used to accept Harry as his godson made him the recognized heir after Sirius. Without disinheriting Harry I can't override that decision, and I don't want to do that. I named Draco secondary heir and regent should he acquire his lordship beforehand, but that is all I can do. What about the Potter fortune?"
"I recently bribed the right goblin to gain access to the records. The manor was destroyed as well as most businesses they held an interest in. I think James spent too much in the fight against Voldemort, it's a pity Charlus didn't live long enough to teach him everything he needed to know. The boy bought completely into Dumbledore's propaganda. It seems his wife Lily kept him from spending everything. In my estimate they are still moderately wealthy, but nothing more. Currently only the trust vault should be accessible until Harry takes up the Lordship." Pollux explained.
"I still think the girl had the brains in the relationship. James did well in marrying her despite her being a muggleborn. By all reports Lily was exceptionally powerful and a true charms and runes mistress. She probably set up something that took out the Dark Lord. There is no blood, only power." Cassiopeia interjected.
All the males chuckled. "We all know you think the Dark Lord Cesare was right and should have won, but he was decisively defeated by the coalition of the Old Families. How often do you want to bring that up, oh sister of mine?" Pollux asked.
After that the discussion veered into rather uninteresting territory. Draco still feigned sleep but was thinking hard. That was a lot of responsibility that would land on his shoulders. He would have to try harder to get more knowledge. Only then Draco noticed that Aquila had fallen asleep in his arms. She looked awfully cute. It was really great to have a little sister, even if she could be very annoying.
'Today is the day. Finally.'
In the past few years Draco had deciphered more and more of the memories his future self had sent him, and by now he had a pretty good idea how the alternate timeline had turned out in the next twenty years or so and vaguer notions of what happened after that. It had been disgusting to watch what a pathetic little shit he had become without his grandfather's guidance. The self-critical commentary his old version had inserted had been funny, though. His occlumency wasn't especially strong, but he had concentrated more on deception instead of blocking. He probably would never be able to block either Dumbledore or Voldemort if one of them decided to use a brute force approach, but he could make it look like as if there wasn't anything incriminating to find.
Soon everything would rest on his shoulders alone. His great-grandfather Pollux had passed away last year and Arcturus earlier this year. Cassiopeia was still alive but not doing well. Abraxas had told him about the special potion he had used to extend his life two weeks ago, and that he would only be around for another two years. All of them had used every last minute they could spare to teach him and Aquila as much as they could. Not spells, no, their magic hadn't grown enough for that, but everything they needed to know in their role as scions of one of the Old Families. Abraxas had taken them into the Muggle World regularly and by now they could fit in without problems if they had to, much to the displeasure of his father. Not that anything the idiot said was important. Draco fervently hoped that if he ever said something like 'when my father hears of this…' somebody would shoot him.
Come to think of it, Aquila would probably do it. The girl loved finding the rarest of creatures… and hunting them down. By now his sister had an impressive collection of trophies in the room set aside for that. Aunt Cassie had been delighted, even if Aquila showed no interest in muggle hunting. ("There are too many of them and they don't make for very impressive trophies, auntie.")
Today was the day Harry Potter would arrive in Diagon Alley. At least, he hoped it would be the same day. The evidence available to him pointed towards the existence of a butterfly effect, but hopefully the main events would be unaffected. Currently Draco was standing in Madame Malkin's being fitted for a robe, which was a very boring endeavor.
Draco had thought long and hard how he should best approach Potter and he had come to the conclusion that he needed to go for carefully disguised manipulation. His future self had been quite clear that they needed a stable, independent Harry Potter who could think for himself and was comfortable with his power, but if he wasn't careful it could easily lead to a Dark Lord Potter. Which would be almost as bad as the crippled wizard Dumbledore's plans had produced. He couldn't become too close a friend to Potter because it would cause Dumbledore to take a special interest in him, and that was a thing to be avoided at all costs.
Dumbledore was perhaps the most dangerous man Draco could encounter at this time. Not because of his personal magical power and knowledge (which was enormous), his political influence (which was even greater) or his ability to manipulate events to his favor (which was nearly unparalleled). No, the most dangerous thing about Dumbledore was his unshakable, honest conviction that he was doing the right thing. He wasn't creating his schemes for personal gain. For the greater good had been Grindelwald's motto, but it was Dumbledore who followed it to the extreme. Who else would knowingly leave a small child at an abusive home and carefully manipulate his entire upbringing to create a martyr who would willingly sacrifice himself for the greater good of the Wizarding World? That Harry got to walk away after his death had been more a case of lucky coincidence and absolute idiocy on Voldemort's part.
Draco was sure Dumbledore felt honest remorse about what he was doing, but it wouldn't cause him to deviate from his path in the slightest. The entire plan was completely idiotic in the first place. It had been conceived after the ministry and Dumbledore were losing the war against Voldemort despite the man being an incompetent at strategy. Dumbledore clung to one rather absurd interpretation of the words of a vague prophecy like there existed nothing else. Heck, there wasn't even any indication that it referred to Voldemort. At this very moment there existed probably around a dozen Dark Lords or so trying to take over one country or another, and Voldemort was a rather small fish in comparison to some of them. Draco knew from his memories that nobody ever really tried to defeat Voldemort. Instead they all hoped somebody would come and take care of the problem for them. It was disgusting. Unfortunately, there were hints in the memories that there was far worse to come in the future, and he would need a Harry Potter in prime condition to have any hope of surviving.
The chime of the shop's door caused him to look up. There he was, a smallish boy with spectacles and messy black hair who was looking around curiously. It didn't take long for Madam Malkin to place him on the pedestal besides him to fit him for his robes.
'God, he's wearing things that would fit a beached whale. Probably to hide how painfully thin he is. Aquila would kill me if I don't do something about that.'
His little sister had developed an interest in Harry Potter, but as far as he could tell she didn't harbor any fantasies about marrying him. It was more a type of scientific curiosity of who was the real boy behind the myth. Probably even some amount of care about his well-being. He was a cousin and future lord of House Potter and House Black, after all. Things would be easier if Hagrid wasn't here. Well, no sense in complaining. Time to take the first step.
"Hullo, my name is Draco Malfoy. Are you going to Hogwarts too?"
Author's notes: The idea for this story has been in my head for quite some time, and after encountering slight writer's block in regards for my Naruto fic I decided to write it down and upload it here. It is more of an experiment and updates will probably be few and far between.
Please review and tell me what you think.