A/N: Welcome, one and all. If you're here new, I suggest you turn around, go back to my profile page, and read Harry Potter and the Summoner's Stone first. This won't make a bit of sense without reading it first. (Review it too!)
For everyone else, welcome. Buckle up, it's gonna be a wild ride.
Deep within the dungeons of Hogwarts lay the quarters of the current Slytherin Head of House. Guarded by the statue of a particularly venomous snake, the Head of House quarters were spacious and well furnished.
Under most circumstances, that is. The normally immaculate set of rooms were trashed, furniture strewn around and shattered as if a bomb had gone off. Several chairs had been reduced to kindling, a bookshelf had been tipped and broken in two. Some of the books that bad been on the shelf were torn to shreds, while others lay haphazardly around.
A fireplace crackled merrily as a small creature knelt nearby, black eyes reflecting the light of the fire. Had the creature been standing, it would have barely topped three feet, not much taller than a house elf. A wand, a third its height, rested underneath a strange, three fingered hand. On its back was an odd spiked shell that heaved as the creature trembled with expended rage.
Severus Snape had temporarily regained control of his own anger, having spent it not just magically, but physically as well. The body that that atrocious spawn had shoved him in was actually stronger than his own, though he would never admit to any advantages of it. Neither Albus nor Minerva had been able to reverse the Transfiguration. The little shite had refused to reverse it, saying he couldn't.
That sent a spike of fear through him for a moment, that two magically powerful adults couldn't undo what had happened. And they wouldn't force the stupid child to undo it either. The thought sent another surge of anger through him, and his wand creaked under his grip.
All the students had returned to the school today, and he couldn't even take his frustration out on them. He refused to teach looking like this! He would not be seen accepting what he had done to him.
"Merlin, Severus." An unfamiliar voice chuckled behind him. The imp jumped and spun, seeing a heavy-set man standing half in the darkness, barely lit by the flames of the fire. "What kind of animagus form is that?"
"Who... You!" Snape hissed out incredulously, his wand held forward. "How?"
The man lifted the sleeve of his tattered robes, showing off his upper arm. On it, Voldemort's Dark Mark was fully formed, black as if it had just been applied that day. Snape took a step back. "You? Then..." Snape broke down into quiet laughter.
"The Master bid me to send you a message. It's the only reason I came back here. Hiding from unseen eyes is hard, I'm leaving after this. The Dark Lord would like his Potions Master back, Severus. And he could fix your little issue there."
The man chuckled as Snape snarled at the dig. "Get out of here." Snape coldly said, he wand trained on the other Death Eater.
"I plan on it. But I can't say how long he will wait on you." With a crook toothed smile, the man stepped fully back into the shadows. But Snape watched and saw his body melt away, a small creature scurrying through the destruction.
Lucius Malfoy walked through the empty halls of Hogwarts, cane held lightly in hand and smirk lightly on his lips. While Draco may not have been the best at keeping him up to date with what was happening, Dumbledore did have to keep the Board of Governors up to date at least somewhat.
Between the two sources, he had a feeling he knew why he was here. Something had happened with the diary to the point that the old fool couldn't hide it anymore, and he needed the Board to at least be in agreement with a fix. He'd enjoy wringing a few concessions from him, and then sitting back to watch the fun.
The old stone gargoyle moved aside as he came close, the spiraling staircase automatically starting its climb. Lucius frowned at that a bit, as never under any circumstance had Dumbledore set his guardian to automatically recognize someone. He marshaled his Occulmancy to regain his balance.
Walking the stairs himself, Lucius found the door to Dumbledore's office open and the man himself sitting at his desk. A very young Fawkes sat on his perch, and Lucius was secretly glad, as the bird's songs always caused him discomfort, the result of his following Dark magics.
The old wizard looked tired and weak, and Lucius couldn't help by wonder to himself if Dumbledore had actually fought against something. And if he could possibly beat him now. But he put the thought aside. Too many knew where he was, and if Dumbledore ended up dead, even he could not buy his way out of that mess.
So instead, he ignored it. "Why did you call me here, Albus, and not the entire Board? I assume that you need me to bring something before the other Governors?"
The wizened magician gave him the oddest look. "Over the holidays, there have been three deaths. Our Defense professor, and two students."
Inwardly, Lucius was pleased. The little bint must be succumbing faster than he thought she would. Outwardly, he put on a face of horror. "What? I can understand the Defense curse taking a professor, but two students as well? Have you contact their parents? There is going to be an inquiry over this, Albus!"
"I am in the middle of doing so, Lucius." Dumbledore sighed, and horrifying suspicion tried to creep up on Lucius. He ruthlessly crushed it. His boy would not have meddled with the blood traitor. "I regret to inform you that I do not have a body to give you, but your son Draco was a victim in the rebirth of Voldemort."
Lucius' knees gave out and he felt as if a dozen Stunners had hit at once. He didn't notice Dumbledore's wand move, conjuring a chair for him to fall back into. The floor would have been fine. "You lie."
The old man gave him a look of sorrow. "Something held your son back, however, and Hogwarts has claimed him as its own."
Both hope to see his son again and pain that the boy was forever bound as a ghost slammed into him. "What?" Lucius croaked out.
"Draco." Albus called out, and a moment later the ghost in question appeared, sliding out of the floor. He settled, his feet scuffing against the floor inaudibly. Lucius absently noted that he still wore his Hogwarts robes.
"Father." Was all the boy could say, his voice quiet and breaking.
Lucius stumbled back to his feet, before trying to wrap his arms around his son, only to phase right through him. "No, Draco... How?"
"She...she had one of your notebooks..." Draco stumbled through the words, his own voice caught up in tears. "I took it back from her..."
"No." Lucius whispered, his mind screaming at him. He'd done it. "No, no, no..." The death of his son could be traced directly to him. And the Dark Lord.
"Notebook? This is the first I've heard of a notebook." Albus' voice said.
Lucius looked up to see the weary Headmaster. Forcing himself to his feet once more, he motioned for his son to be quiet. It might be his fault, something he would pay for, for the rest of his life, but by Merlin and Morgana it would be his own private hell. "It doesn't matter now. Albus, release my son from Hogwarts. Release him to me."
"The wards that tie the ghosts to Hogwarts are vast and intricately woven into the matrix of all the wards on the school. To adjust them to allow your son out would require the investment of a good deal of time and effort. And your son has no need to be released, Lucius." Albus shook his head.
Lucius knew what the wizard was really saying. Lucius had expected to come in here and wring concessions out of him, and now he was going to have to give something up.
The Dark Mark which had returned in full strength to his arm burned him now, the magic he'd freely accepted to tie him to the Dark Lord reminding him of other oaths he had taken. Lucius was Dark, and proud of it. But before allegiance to a Lord, there was allegiance to family.
"The Dark Lord was reborn through my son's body." Lucius said, obliquely acknowledging the fact that he knew more than Dumbledore had said. The older wizard said nothing, just nodded, accepting the statement. "Therefore, all I have left of my son is his spirit. Give me that, Albus, and I will openly stand against the monster that stole my son from me."
Perenelle frowned at her husband, who had made to stand up from the chair she had brought him to. He grinned at her, and her frown lessened. "Do not try my patience too much, husband."
Nicholas continued smiling at her. "But dear, I spent an entire two days in Hogwarts hospital beds, and now I've spent a day in a bed here or this chair. I need to move."
"Then don't die on me!" She snapped back at him, standing imperiously over him for a moment, before sitting on the arm of the chair and wrapping her arms around him. She let a few tears spill out, the dam breaking for a moment. "Immortal is not invulnerable, husband. You know there are more than a few phoenixes carrying the soul of their summoner, because they have no body to return to."
She felt his arms go around her. "I'm sorry, my princess." His voice was muffled into her hair.
A soft crooning song filled the room as Iris began to sing. The two immortal magic users were quiet for a long while, just being soothed by the phoenixsong.
"I don't mind if you move around." Perenelle said finally. "Promise me though, Nicholas, that you will not be so impulsive and rash."
Nicholas pulled his head back, looking into the eyes of his wife. She so very rarely called him by name, only when she was extremely worried over him. "I'll act with all the care I can. I don't want to lose you."
"You wouldn't, you know." She replied. "I would follow you as Iris."
Nicholas had nothing to say to that, and just kissed his wife softly, before pulling her back into his arms. After a moment, he smiled against the nape of her neck. "Albus was asking me to pick up their Defense class, since the curse has already claimed a victim for the year."
Sharp nails pinched into his skin in response.
A/N: And the stage is set. Chapter 1 is already part way written, and I hope to have it out within the next week. Let me know how this one was. Yes, I know short. It's a prelude, dammit. *grin*