Previously...Traveling by Floo still left Harry woozy and when he landed flat on his bottom to the Dark Manor, the first thing his grey eyes locked with was red.
Harry felt a chill run down his spine as he fearfully watched his father pace back and forth, eying him like a hungry predator eyed its prey. Harry wanted to scream and grab the hem of his father's dark robes and beg for forgiveness but the gleam of fury in his crimson red eyes seemingly paralyzed almost all of his muscles, preventing him from making any sound or movement like his body had been frozen to stone.
"I give you a home, I've taught you how to build your skills, molded you into an even better wizard, and offered you training from my own wealth of wisdom, experience, and power and this is the respect you repay me?" the Dark Lord questioned icily still pacing back and forth with his arms crossed behind him.
Harry allowed a hot tear to run down his pale face as his father continued to scold and lecture him.
"I expect nothing less than loyalty and respect at all time, even from my heir," Voldemort went on. "Disobedience shall not be tolerated here and it's time you'd know your place.
"Perhaps you've gotten a bit too comfortable you have forgotten what is expected of you as my heir," his father spat out. "Or perhaps I've gone a bit too easy on you."
"No matter," Voldemort said, his grave tone abruptly brightening as his face wrinkled into a sinister smile. "This shall be settled tonight."
"Ple-" Before Harry could pour his apologies out, an orb of bright blue light formed from the tip of Voldemort's wand and blinded his vision until the brightness dimmed into the dark.
The warm, plush sheets of the four posted bed that Harry became accustomed to did not invite him that night; instead the rough gray walls substituted the absence for the night. The cold breeze in the dungeons chilled him to his core; not even the brightly lit fire in the fire pit brought him any warmth as he knew of the many Aurors and incompetent Death Eaters who were eaten alive by the same fire. It was one of the many torturing tools used to dispose of the prisoners in these dungeons. And Harry knew very well the rarity it was for a prisoner to escape the dungeon alive.
While struggling to regain consciousness, Harry realized his clothes were damp and drenched in sweat and the light provided by the fire pit revealed his chained arms and legs that attached him to the walls. He attempted to use his Shadow Mage powers to 'slip' through the chains and free himself but to know use as his magical energy was at an all-time low. Harry accepted that he'd be here for the night as punishment for his disobedience and so to prepare for the long night that was ahead of him, he rested his eyes as a last resort but a sharp pain in his brain disrupted his sleep and for his extreme discomfort, the pain only intensed until his brain felt like it was splitting in two. His blood felt like it was (literally) burning underneath his skin. His high pitched screams filled the entire dungeon as his internal torture progressed and by the time Harry felt like crawling over and dying than suffering through the pain, he felt a splash of water come into contact with his skin which he was grateful for as his skin's burning sensation and overall pain decreased.
Harry leaned his weak body against the wall and battled to restore his shortness of breath. Though his brain was still boggy, he swore he saw a black shaggy dog in the corner of his eye. He stuck a feeble arm out in the dog's direction and received a low growl in response.
"Dirty mutt," Harry muttered groggily.
"And what are you going to do about it?" Harry taunted.
In response, the 'dog' morphed into an equally shaggy bony man with unkept black hair, worn robes, and appeared not to have bathed or shaved in weeks. Harry compared him to a less refined version of Orion Black. But it was his eyes that struck Harry more than anything else. They were his own grey eyes. And the moment they locked eyes, Harry knew exactly who those grey eyes belonged to.
"Black. Sirius Black." Harry said coolly.
Harry knew all about the disowned Black; how he became the first and only member of the House of Black to sort into a house other than Slytherin – and Gryffindor of all places – befriend James Potter, fell madly in love with a girl of inferior blood, and ultimately shunned his family to fight for the light and gave a new meaning to blood traitor.
"That's me," Sirius replied while eyeing Harry skeptically. "And who are you kid?"
"Roman," Harry told him. "Roman Lestrange."
Roman Lestrange was another alias created by Harry to conceal his identity. To strangers, he was Roman Lestrange, son of Bellatrix and Rodolphus Lestrange. It wouldn't be wise to have word spill of the Dark Lord's heir until formal introductions were absolutely necessary.
"Bella's?" Harry nodded in confirmation. "I didn't know Bella had a kid…Doesn't seem like the maternal type at all." Sirius stroked his beard still eying him suspiciously.
"As if you would know," Harry bit back defensively.
"I guess I wouldn't know," Sirius chuckled. "So what are you in here for kid?"
"None of your business!"
Sirius raised an eyebrow. "Defensive little guy aren't you? Definitely the offspring of Bella and Rodolphus." He cracked up at his own joke.
Harry waited until Black quit laughing to ask another question. "So why'd you help me out?"
"You've been screaming and knocking yourself out for like 5 hours man," Sirius shrugged. "We have to get some sleep too."
Sirius moved aside to reveal 3 other sleeping captured Aurors, two of which Harry identified as Emmeline Vance and Elphias Doge. Harry looked back up at Sirius and smirked.
"You could've saved yourself so much trouble if you hadn't abandoned your family."
Sirius' playful mood was replaced by a sharp and stern expression.
"I didn't abandon my family; I was taken away from them. My family is at home waiting for me."
"No!" Harry said frustrated. "I mean your true family – the Blacks."
"True family?" Sirius crackled in laughter. "Deranged fanatics who get a self-esteem boost over a goddamn family tree and their pure blood lineage crap, the lot of them. They like to stick their noses down on those with less 'pure' bloodlines and disassociate themselves from those of us who are rational and think for ourselves!" he spat bitterly.
"And what makes you think you're so much better?" Harry argued feeling his anger elevate while listening to Sirius rant about his family. "What makes them wrong?"
"What makes them right?" Sirius bellowed. "What makes the path you're going worth fighting for?"
Blemish of pink crept on Harry's cheeks indicating that he was startled by Sirius' abrupt change in tone but he refused to step down.
"You know nothing about me Black," he told him quietly. "You haven't got a clue where I'm going."
Sirius eyed him through his hooded grey orbs with a mixture of skepticism and intrigue before speaking again.
"I supposed I spoke too quickly,"
The two sat in silence for a while, the only sound coming from the crackling of the fire in the fire pit that illuminated their faces in the darkness of the dungeons. Harry knew he shouldn't probe the disgruntled man any more than he had but there was one last thing he was dying to know.
"Do you –" Harry started uncertainly. "Do you miss them – at all? I mean, do you ever still wish you had a place in the House of Black?"
Sirius' expression darkened and his face contorted into one of deep thought. Harry almost thought he didn't hear his question until he heard Black clear his throat and tell his story.
"To be honest, I did," he admitted. "When I was younger, I always knew I was different – and so did everyone else. Back then, my relationship with my family wasn't as estranged as it is now but I was always the outside who wanted to fit in.
"Being sorted into Gryffindor sealed the deal and eradicated any chance of my being 'converted'. I knew I would never be the perfect son my parents expected of me like Orion or Regulus, but at that moment I realized I didn't want to be.
"Becoming a Gryffindor was sort of my way of unconsciously rebelling against the House of Black and becoming my own person and embracing that. I was sort of adopted into a new family who accepted me for who I was when my so called real family alienated me for it.
"One of the sayings the House of Black sates is 'blood is thicker than all'" Sirius gave a wry smile, "How can that be true when they'll disown you simply for having a different ideology?"
Harry stared down at his slippers in attempt to avoid Sirius' eyes and organize his own conflicting thoughts. He didn't think any less of the House of Black, the family his mother was born into, but even as Sirius went on bitterly denouncing his former family, Harry did agree with his last statement to a degree.
"Probably not the answer you were looking for," Sirius shrugged without a trace of regret. "But I fight for what's right and if the House of Black doesn't accept that then so be it."
And with one last yawn he morphed back into his aniamagus form of the large shaggy black dog he had made his debut in, putting up the final barrier between himself and 'Roman Lestrange'.
Harry knew Black was still the enemy and when the time came, he'd have to face him in combat and battle, but even he noticed the uncanny resemblances between their stories; abandoned by their natural families and adopted by others who accepted them as they were. Like Black, Harry was firmly loyal to his cause and there was no question which side he was on. It was too late to turn back now. And if that meant destroying the Potters and the Light, then so be it...
The distance sounds of footsteps and jingling keys stirred Harry's foggy brain and awoke him from his rest. Cracking his left eye open a margin, Harry caught a view of his Aunt Bella, clothes in her usual darkly layered gown with his mass of tangled matted black hair sitting on her head, muttering foul language under her breath and assaulted one of the prisoners with her black militant boots, which earned a miserable groan from her victim.
When Harry heard the sound of her boots coming nearer to himself, he shut his left eye and pretended to be fast asleep by the time she was facing him. But to his surprise, there were no whips or beatings received; instead Aunt Bella unlocked the chains that clutched to his arms and legs but made no further attempt to save his fall when he plopped on his bottom.
"You dropped me!" he accused.
"You dropped yourself," Bellatrix smirked at her nephew while twirling a piece of her hair with her wand. She then took her wand and ran it across Harry's forehead back and forth.
"Your magical energy is extremely low…almost squib low," she murmured. When she caught Harry's horrified face she added, "Temporarily".
With a flick of her wand, she conjured a vial containing an icy cold grayish substance.
"What's that?" Harry asked, hesitantly cautious of drinking anything that came from Aunt Bella when he was in trouble.
"Drink it!" she demanded impatiently. "It helps restore your magical energy. If you won't drink it, I'll make you," she threatened with the vial in question positioning itself at his throat.
Harry grabbed the vial and devoured the substance before suffering any further consequences. Besides the bitter aftertaste, he felt a tingling sensation in his face and fingers, which Aunt Bella assured him was normal given his condition. After she left, Harry sat on the gray floors scribbling pictures in the dust.
October 14, 1988
Auror Office, Ministry of Magic
The Auror Office had been busier than ever. Mad Eye Moody, Head of the Auror Office, ordered all Aurors on duty, including members of the Order for their upcoming mission of penetrating the Dark Manor, residence of the Dark Lord.
James Potter sat stone faced as the crazed Moody barked out more directions. His mind was numb thinking of the possible outcomes; his fear of finding his best mate dead at the hands of the Dark Lord and more innocent heroes fall victims of the Dark side.
"Potter, yeh listening?" Moody shouted.
"Sorry, can you repeat that?" James asked.
"You'll be leading Team B to the dungeons; your mission is to find and retrieve as many of Aurors taken prisoner. I'll lead Team A and we'll fight off as many Death Eater scum and try to capture some if we're lucky. We'll give you enough time to rescue the prisoners and use Portkey transportation to Blackwell's cottage. We'll follow you afterward.
"Field A is coming with me; Potter, you take Lupin, Kingsley and Brown and remember – defend, but do not engage in combat. Your main task is to rescue the prisoners, not engage in unnecessary battle that could cause more injury and headaches for us. Understood?" Moody's mechanical eye swerved manically to observe his small army. "Well let's go men!"
Since the small army of Aurors would transport themselves to the Dark Manor by Portkey, Team B's Portkey came in the shape of a book since they were a force of four while it would take 5 Portkeys of various objects to get Moody's 20+ army of Field A to their destination.
"For Padfoot!" James pledged. The others joined in and rested their palms on the Portkey and with a 'pop' they were off to the Dungeons.
October 14, 1988
Gardens, The Dark Manor
James was first to land face first in the magnificent green gardens. He spit out a chunk of dirt mixed in with grass and tended to his throbbing head when Remus Lupin, Kingsley Shacklebolt and Anthony Brown followed behind him in that order landing in their own random positions.
"Are you guys alright?" James used his authority to check on his fellow Aurors.
"Why yes James, I'm great right now," Anthony commented sarcastically. "I just landed head first going nearly 100 MPH and I'm doing just swell!" The pudgy brown haired man gave James a dirty look before storming off while clutching his head.
James responded with an equally dirty stare; Brown had been a thorn at his side since he moved into his cubical at the Aurors Office. The pugnacious man would never miss a chance to make things harder for him and beat him while he was down. James convinced himself Brown's unfounded animosity toward him had all to do with his nonstop promotions at the Auror Office and fame within the Wizarding community. What else could it be?
"We're fine James." Remus assured his pal with a comforting slap on the back, Kingsley nodding in approval.
Feeling a bit more confident, James took it upon his authority as leader to pick up the pace and lead Team B to the Dungeons. The group made their way out of the gardens and near the grand medieval styled Manor that hid behind garden. The bright red security beam that circumnavigated the entire Manor stopped the foursome in their tracks.
"Look at this," Anthony threw up his arms in frustration. "We'll never make it through!"
In contrast, Kingsley stepped up to volunteer maintenance to the security beam; after a few moments of scribbling an unrecognizable code on the security portal, to all of their astonishment, the red beam turned to green and verified their entrance.
"I wouldn't be so negative next time, Brown." Kingsley told him patting the shoulder of the awed Auror.
"Outstanding…" Remus marveled at Kingsley's work. "How'd you do it?"
"We captured Avery last month," Kingsley confirmed. "It was tooth and nail trying to get information out of him but we eventually got a few leads including the updated codes to the Dark Manor."
"Wonder what got him to budge," Remus wondered aloud.
"Truth serum is a very useful tool," Kingsley said with a wink.
"Let's wrap it up men; we have a mission to complete!" James called as he sauntered off ahead of the rest of his team. When the rest of the Aurors caught up, they sneaked along the edges of the Manor until they found the barred window of the underground Dungeon. Using an advanced Severing charm, James sliced the metal bars to make an entrance.
"Remus, you stay up here with Brown," he ordered while conjuring a rope. "Hang onto to this rope – we'll need it once Kingsley and I finish rounding up everybody."
James followed Kingsley sliding down the rope and into the dungeon.
"Lumos." On cue, both James and Kingsley conjured lighting assistance to their wands as the Dungeon was pitch black in terms of darkness, making it extremely difficult to navigate.
"Sirius!?" James yelled. "Emmeline? Elphias? Dedalus? Can you hear me?"
James' heart skipped a beat when he heard a distant murmur. "It's me! James! You're going to be fine, tell me where you are?"
James dashed quickly throughout the Dungeon, Kingsley at his heels, to find any sign of a fire. When he caught sight of orange flames that wrapped around the corner of the Dungeon hall ahead, he raced over to find what was around that corner. He breathed a sigh of relief upon seeing the illuminated faces of Sirius' aniamagus form, Emmeline Vance and Elphias Dodge.
"James, Kingsley!" Emmeline and Elphias gathered the little strength they did have to graciously greet the two Aurors.
James caught the eye of his best friend who stood frail and thin but within seconds they embraced each other like long lost brothers.
"I thought we would never make it out," Sirius cried in his shoulder. "A piece of me died man, I nearly accepted I would die here."
While James offered Sirius his full support, he eyed the figure of a boy who crept in the shadows. He had never seen the boy before but when their eyes met, James felt a wave of nostalgia come over him. He knew those eyes; he had seen them before, but where? And even more startling was the rage and hate the boy's grey eyes held. He watched as the boy crept closer and rested his hand on the Emergency button.
"No!" James shouted. "Don't do that, you don't want to do that!"
"I don't?" the boy smirked.
"Why would you do that?" James reasoned. "What do you want? I can help you, you can escape from here!"
"Why would I do that?" the boy asked incredulously. "And more importantly, why would I use your help Potter?"
Sirius wiped the tears from his eyes and put a hand on James shoulder to prevent him from replying. "That's the offspring of Bella and Rodolphus, the kid is already messed up as it is. No need arguing with him, it's a waste of time. Let's get out of here."
"Good luck with that!" The boy in question squeezed the alarm, setting off a blaring siren which undoubtedly alerted every single Death Eater guard in the Manor.
"RUN!" Sirius bellowed.
James gave the brat a harsh glare before taking off. While rescuing the remaining prisoners was successful, Moody's team would probably have a lot more to worry about with the Death Eater forces alerted. And to add on to the problems, the fire from the fire pit had begun to increase. The orange flames began to play catch up, devouring much of the Dungeons content to get a taste of flesh. The smoke blurred much of the scenery but they couldn't stop because the firestorm trailed after them persistently.
When they found their exit, James and Kingsley aided Sirius, Emmeline and Elphias up the rope and to safety.
"Get out of here!" James shouted. "Use the Portkey!"
Remus tossed one of the Portkeys to the prisoner victims and with the help of Brown, assisted in pulling James and Kingsley from out of the Dungeon, which lay in ruins after being rippled by the firestorm. After pulling James and Kingsley from safety, Team B clutched onto their Portkey and escaped right in time before the Dungeon exploded in bits.
October 14, 1988
Marvolo's Quarters, Wing F-9, The Dark Manor
Little did those Aurors know, Harry escaped the firestorm as well using his Shadow Mage capabilities. For lack of wand, he used elemental magic to conjure the firestorm and even though it probably did more damage to the Dungeon than Potter and the rest of the Aurors, it made their job a lot more complicated and cleared the way for him to get his wand and participate in the battle.
When he burst into his personal bedroom, he headed straight for his dresser where he left his elm wand, knives and daggers. Before he left, he found a silver mask similar to the one Death Eaters adorned to conceal his identity. It wasn't there before but he had a clue that it was left there for a reason. So he placed the mask on his face and marveled at the fact that it was a perfect fit.
Prepared for battle, he ran toward the main wing of the Manor where the Death Eater vs Auror battle was taken place. He slid down the staircase to arrive to the main event quicker; he watched on in amusement as the full 60+ Death Eater defense force took on the small 20 something Auror army. He spotted Aunt Bella snaring two Auror members at a time, the Lestrange brothers took on 5 Aurors at a time in a heated battle and were still able to hold their own and the Carrows using fire tactics to push back a significant portion of the Auror force. In general, the Death Eaters made the Aurors look like rookies but it was Harry's turn to make his debut.
He eyed the glass chandelier directly above the army of Aurors with curiosity.
"Confringo!" The chandelier exploded into thousands of pieces of glass which crippled the Auror squad to a further extent as the glass wounded much of their force in varying degrees.
The team of Aurors stared at Harry with a mixture of shock and horror. How could this boy cause such a blow to their defense?
Harry smirked underneath his masked and seized the opportunity to cause more damage to the sinking ship that was the Field A Auror squad. He showed off his proficient skills in the Dark Arts shooting off a volley of Dark curses at the Aurors and used his Shadow Mage skills to cover all parts of the field and defend himself from getting hit.
He fought alongside Demitrius Sterling, a loyal follower of his father who had fought in the First Wizarding War on the side of the Dark and Lord of the Sterling family. He held his own against 3 Aurors but took a hit to his right arm which weakened him greatly.
"PLASMA!" Harry retaliated by shooting off a skin melting curse at the Auror's face causing the man scream gravely as his good looks melted away and the face that was left was skull like and deformed.
Three other Aurors who witnessed the account shot disarming spells at Harry which went to no use when they went right through him as Harry was quick to transition into his Shadowy form blending in with the still air. He reappeared to his physical form in time to check out the stunned faces of the Aurors.
To create a spectacular finale, he conjured a gigantic cylinder shaped roll of medal in the middle of the battle which was decorated in sharp edged knives. He rallied the Death Eaters to put their efforts in moving the cylinder to push the Aurors back and off the property. Certain Death Eaters like Aunt Bella proved to be difficult as they wished to continue toying with a few fragile Aurors but participated in the effort in the end. While there were few unfortunate Aurors who were shredded to pieces by the unstopping metal cylinder, most of the Aurors were grateful to make their way to the Portkey and escape to avoid any more damage than they had faced that night.
October 14, 1988
Black Residence, Blackwell Cottages
Albus Dumbledore called a mandatory Order meeting following the events of the Auror mission at the Dark Manor. Out of the 23 Field A Aurors, 14 were in attendance as the rest were in St Mungos struggling for their lives or dead. Sirius Black had donated his dining room for the event and the long table stretched out to fit the nearly 30 chattering Wizards in attendance.
"Silence!" Albus raised his palm and magnified his voice to silence the chattering and bring order to the Order. "Moody, tell me in your own words what happened tonight."
"Well, we were shooting for a secret attack on the Manor," Moody explained while adding a pointed glare at James. "But some alarm of sorts alerted their forces."
"I told you Moody that had nothing to do with me nor was it my responsibility," James gritted out through clenched teeth. "Some – some kid pulled down the trigger!"
Severus, who sat at the end of the table near Albus, internally cheered as he watched Potter being questioned and the pressure it put on him. 'About time someone did it.' It appeared the man had been so used to being complimented and praised that even the smallest of criticisms that rarely came his way got under his skin.
"Was this the same kid that was at the battle?" Mudungus Fletcher asked.
"Couldn't be," James sighed. "It's impossible he made it out of the firestorm in time."
"I wouldn't put that behind him Potter," Daniel McDougal commented. "The kid has an impressive talent."
This sparked more debate within the Order but once again, Albus put up his palm to restore silence and order in the meeting.
"I'm afraid that I haven't been informed about this child." Albus said.
"He single handedly took out most of Field A," Moody told him "Couldn't believe my eyes, I've never seen a kid with so much power, let alone adults!"
"Are you sure this is a child we're talking about?" Minerva McGonagall chimed in her thoughts.
"I met him," Sirius volunteered. "His name is Roman Lestrange – Bella and Rodolphus' kid. Looked no more than 13, should be in Hogwarts."
"A Lestrange?" Moody emphasized. "No surprise there."
"'Should be in Hogwarts?'" Lily said horrified. "No Death Eater child should ever be able to step foot into Hogwarts for the safety of our children and especially Mason."
Severus inwardly flinched at Lily's tone; this was just another sign of the woman he loved changing for the worst in his eyes.
"Death Eater seeds will be sprinkled all over Slytherin house in the next few years," Sirius announced solemnly. "Malfoy, Rosiers, Carrows, Mulciber, Sterling, Lestranges – even Orion's children will be starting in a year or two."
"And you can bet that if this Lestrange kid is getting trained in the Dark Arts, the rest of the Death Eater spawn are as well," Sturgis Podmore reasoned. "Trust Lucius and Orion would find a way to have their children to participate in such activities."
His sentiments were awarded nods of approval and applause.
"Yes, I think it's in order to keep an eye open for certain students in future school years," Albus agreed. He then turned his attention elsewhere. "Severus?"
"Have you seen this child around before?"
"This is my first time hearing of him." This was a lie. Severus had heard of the rumors of a child being taking under the tutelage of the Dark Lord but he had seen no proof of this to believe it.
"Sure he hasn't." James caught on muttering sarcastically.
Severus replied with his signature sneer but had no time to engage in smart talk when Albus encouraged the two against it.
"Severus, try to find out as much as you can about the boy," Albus told him. "Try to come into contact with him, talk to him; this could prove to be important in future missions."
Severus had increasingly lost faith and support in the Order but still maintained loyalty to the wise elderly Wizard in front of him. Though he could care less for the Aurors and the Order, a part of him still didn't want to disappoint Dumbledore.
(A/N): Here is the long awaited Chapter 9. This was a monster to write but I'm happy to be back and have another chapter up for you since it's been about 5 months since updating. Please tell me what you think about this chapter and what you expect or predict to happen next time in later series. Also, I'm going to be doing something new this week: I want you to tell me which chapter you would like to read next! Of your choices, The-Boy-Who-Went-Missing: Dumbledore explores the past of Harry Potter/Marvolo Mortimer or Unforgivable: Harry gets updates from Draco from Hogwarts and learns the Unforgivable (Killing, Imperious and Cruciatus) curses from Lord Voldemort. Make sure to participate: YOUR input is much appreciated and needed in my writing process! :)
CH: 10 - ?