A/N:Greetings fanficcers! ( Is that even a word? ) This is my first Harry Potter fanfiction, and, as the summary indicates, it involves time-travel. For the most part it agrees with Rowling's canon up through the larger portion of Book 6, but after that it's pretty AU ( the canon characters still have the same appearances, personalities, histories, etc, they are just subjected to different challenges and different circumstances. ) It is also in the very, let me stress, —very— tiniest sense of the word, a crossover with "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" in that characters/events in that universe will be occasionally referenced, but will not actually appear in the story ( with the exception of Willow, who has only a very minor role and will be seen mostly in flashbacks ). So if you don't know anything about and/or don't care for that fandom, don't worry, because it probably won't pop up often enough to annoy you.
Don't let the prologue here scare you off; it's purposely written to be confusing. Things are not explained. You're going to be saying "Huh?" a lot. In fact, if you're not confused by the time you finish reading it, it will mean you are a psychic who was somehow able to access my mind, and with skills like those, what'rya reading this for? You could be off making serious money and helping the masses! ;)
The rest of the story will be written in an entirely different style—it's only the prologue ( split into 3 Parts to make for easier reading ) that's on drugs. Things WILL be explained. Eventually.
Lord Voldemort/Tom Riddle may seem out-of-character initially, but it's definitely intentional. You'll see why later on. (smiles)
NOTE TO SHIPPERS: This fic ships Harry/Hermione. I'm not really going to focus on it — I am not much of a shipper and prefer romance to take a back seat to the plots in my stories, but I figured I had better mention it just in case, as some people strongly prefer these two characters in particular to be in certain pairings.
Also, if you see any really STRANGE pairings, don't rule out magical intervention, m'kay?
Final Note: Some of you may recognize this story. I took the original version down and am revamping and reposting it before I pick up where I left off with updates. Most of the changes are minor and have been added for continuity reasons. Also, I have pics of some of the characters, which I plan on linking to my author's bio as soon as I get the chance.
Disclaimer: I own only my OCs, and the plot which I have invented. If you've seen it before, it isn't mine.
Prologue: Part I
They were everywhere. Standing atop fallen monuments, making quick strikes from behind ceremonial altars and crumbling pillars, doing battle upon open floor with the Deathbusters. Their silvery robes and alabaster skull-masks glinted in the dim firelight of the centuries-old torches. Wands whipped and jerked about with lethal rapid precision as their owners fired curses through the air and attempted to block hexes aimed at them.
The ancient snake god's temple was the scene of a battle between the forces of evil.
Or, more specifically, between the forces of Lord Voldemort and Draco Malfoy.
There was a certain twisted irony, Cain knew, in the two groups doing battle. Both stood for the torture, murder, and exploitation of muggles. Both favored pureblood dominance. Both actively attempted to crush the Ministry and install in its place their own, harsher rule over the wizarding community. Really, in all truth, the Deathbusters were no more than a cheap knockoff of the Death Eaters. Their cloaks were a lighter shade of silver and their black masks more closely resembled a deformed jackal's head than the dragon they were supposed to, but on the whole the fashion was very similar. The Deathbusters even had their own all-binding tattoo — theirs came in form of a proud dragon exhaling fire and was located on the right wrist.
Draco was not as powerful as Lord Voldemort — not by a considerable sight — but he was still a force to be reckoned with and no sane Death Eater wanted to be within ten kilometers of him. Under normal conditions his presence alone was enough to clear a field.
But these were not normal conditions, and Cain found himself in a state of increasing anxiety. It was not for his own safety that he feared, but for that of his "uncle" Rodolphus Lestrange. Rodolphus and the others would be able to hold their own against the Deathbusters, but if Draco decided come out from wherever he happened to be at the moment and help his lackies…well, that would be a different story. Then the Death Eaters would be in some serious trouble if Voldemort didn't show up, and given his current preoccupation with getting the fangs of Quetzalcoatl, Cain couldn't count on that happening.
I shouldn't even have to be worrying about this, the fourteen-year-old thought with a degree of chagrin as he ran across the temple floor, weaving his way between pillars, clutter, and the occasional curse or motionless body, Rodolphus used to be Draco's uncle, and its not like he personally has ever done anything to him. He doesn't mess with the Malfoy family, and he hasn't killed any of Draco's favorites. At least, I don't think he has.
A pillar fell, nearly catching Cain under it. No sooner had he cleared the structure than a burst of purple magic whizzed by his face, missing his nose by centimeters.
"You idiot! You almost hit the Dark Lord's son!" he heard a Death Eater somewhere off to his right hiss.
This was followed almost instantly by an utterly horrified "Oh! Sorry Cain!"
But Cain was too busy to be bothered, and anyway, when they were wearing masks like this he couldn't tell one Death Eater from another any better than Draco could.
Which was why finding Rodolphus was proving to be such a challenge. There were simply too many masked witches and wizards running around, too many passageways and rooms, and too many places to hide. There was no sign of Draco yet, but as he was the world's fastest apparater that could change in an instant.
After making sure there were no more potential weapons hanging over his head, Cain paused for a beat near a major threshold that opened into one of the dilapidated temple's many corridors. This afforded him a slightly better view of the main chamber than anywhere else, but only slightly. He was dismayed — but not surprised — to see that the place was just as much a madhouse as it had been five minutes ago when he'd first entered to check it out.
A noisy cacophony of uttered spells, exploding stone, and insults filled the air. Flashes of nearly every color raced between the walls, sometimes hitting a target, sometimes hitting each other. People butted and shoved each other aside to their convenience.
Then a flash of reddish hair in the corner of the room grabbed Cain's attention. Focusing his magically-enhanced eyes in on the person, he was able to identify him the second he had a clear enough view between all the swishing robes and brightly-colored spells.
Ronald Weasley? What's he doing here?
The older man was engaged in a battle with a pair of Death Eaters who, from the looks of it, had just barely finished schooling. Their attacks were uncoordinated and lacked any form of subtlety. Ron, being a seasoned fighter, was pulverizing them.
He'd never be stupid enough to attack alone, which means…bloody Hell, the Aurors are here!
Less than ten seconds later and Cain's hunch was confirmed when a flood of Aurors poured in through the chamber's second major opening, led by Harry and Drake.
One of the Aurors — a horribly scarred man with graying hair who looked to be in his forties — was immediately singled out and cornered by a trio of zealous Death Eaters. They were so focused on him that they didn't notice the fancy-clad Drake Malfoy until he blasted them with a silent red spell that knocked them sprawling into a band of Deathbusters who, coincidentally enough, were right in the middle of their own feud. Both sides went down in a tangle of limbs and wands. One angry Deathbuster shouted a non-magical type of curse when an ornamental onyx snake head fell from a statue and crushed his arm.
There could be no more delays. Cain had to find Rodolphus now before the legendary Potter did. Giving his wand a quick flick, he was just about to risk trying a locator spell when a Death Eater at the opposite end of the room briefly removed his mask, revealing his identity.
Cain recognized the long, bright red hair and different-colored eyes instantly. (( Rodolphus! )) he shouted, using telepathy to aim the message specifically at his friend and guarantee he, and only he, would hear, (( The Aurors are here! Stay sharp, I'm coming to give you cover! ))
He knew his uncle figure wouldn't be able to reply, and he didn't wait for an answer. Conjuring the best Protego shield he could muster at the tip of his wand, he darted towards the Death Eater in question, his eyes glowing a fierce red.
Both Deathbusters and Death Eaters immediately ceased their fire and drew away from him, just as he knew they would, giving him a mostly-clear path to his target. Now at a full run, he covered the distance between him and Rodolphus in a matter of seconds, and hit the Deathbuster who'd been fighting his friend with a knockback jinx strong enough to send him flying sideways into a group of his comrades and Aurors several feet away. Some nearby Death Eaters and Deathbusters turned and directed their energies elsewhere, no longer interested in either helping or harming Rodolphus.
"Little Bit!" Rodolphus exclaimed now that he was well within earshot, "I sure am glad to see you! Where's your father?" His words were tired and hurried, and though the gleaming white skull mask he wore concealed his expression, it was easy to picture him with an anxious frown.
"I don't know," Cain admitted, feeling a little sick as he remembered that he wasn't supposed to be here, "I haven't seen him. He's probably in one of the underground chambers looking for those fangs."
Rodolphus let out an audible sigh. Then he leveled his wand at an unsuspecting Auror. "Avada Kedavra!"
It was the Auror's lucky day. He'd had no clue that a killing curse was even coming at him from that direction, being as engrossed as he was in a fight with two other Death Eaters, but he happened to lunge over to one side at exactly the right time and the curse hit an altar instead.
Cain shot his friend an incredulous look. "What are you doing?" he hissed, "You have to get out of here! Harry will kill you!"
"So will your father if I leave before he gives the order. We have instructions to stay no matter what — even if Harry and Draco both arrive."
"That's insane." Cain jerked his head towards the entryway the Aurors had come through and noticed that some, including Harry and Drake, were getting a little too close for comfort. Rodolphus was a vicious and highly experienced fighter, but he had a snowball's chance in an inferno against those two, especially Harry.
Rodolphus may have been a little on the insane side thanks to his stays in Azkaban, but he wasn't stupid. He, too, knew he was outdone. "Maybe. But I don't have a choice." he said sadly.
"Then I order you to leave." Cain tried, sounding very authoritative despite his young age.
Rodolphus merely shook his head. "Aw, Little Bit. You're not a Death Eater yet. And even if you were, you could never counter an order from your father."
"Maybe not," Cain conceded, once again sparing a lightning-quick glance around the room to make sure they were still semi-safe, "but you know I'd pull for you. Mum would too. She's very fond of you."
"Yes, but somehow I don't think —"
"Quirito astrum conscindo!"
The fast-spoken words, driven by an all-too-familiar voice, prompted Cain to whirl in a flash, readying his wand instinctively.
Almost right in a front of him, a Death Eater dropped to his knees and began to scream wildly as a black mist flecked with flickering white star-like pinpoints of light engulfed his body. His screams turned to demonic shrieks when the mist suddenly began to whip rapidly around him: a cruel, miniature tornado that completely obscured him from view. The shimmering white stars seemed to throb in and out of the center of the magical storm, burning through fabric to leave star-shaped scars where they touched flesh.
Star Scream! Cain knew there was only one warlock who did that, and when his eyes ticked to the far left he found the perpetrator standing with his back against a wall, a smug look on his face.
"Draco!" Harry yelled, beating everyone else to the draw. The famous Auror uttered a spell that wasn't audible above the fray. Moments later a faint blue dome of magic appeared over his head and exploded outward, knocking every person within five meters of him on his or her backside. Now that he had a clear line of fire, he snapped his wand at Draco, frowning sternly but with no real hatred behind his glare.
Draco didn't look as if he were at all intimidated. "Potter. Why am I not surprised to see you here? And with my muggle-loving turncoat son, too." Rather than being snippy or sarcastic the way it usually was, his tone was conversational — almost friendly.
On the ground, the victim of Star Scream stopped moving and fell silent. The deathly mist vanished.
"Back off Draco — " Harry started wearily, as though this were an all-too-common exchange.
"Or you'll do, what, exactly?" Draco disappeared and reappeared several feet away, closer to Harry's side, so fast that the air he displaced didn't even have time to finish filling the void before he was talking again. "Throw me in Azkaban?" He laughed, as if it were the punch-line to the world's funniest joke.
Harry readjusted instantly, whipping his wand to Draco's new location and keeping it pointed steadily at his chest. "As much as I'd love to give you a good beating in front of your Deathbusters, we've both got bigger prob — " he stopped short, launching his left hand up to summon a bluish barrier to stop the flying red spell that was on a collision course with his face.
In spite of his bias towards Potters, Cain was impressed. It was amazing the way Harry could multitask like that. Even when his attention appeared to be purely focused on something else, he still managed to keep an eye out for danger.
Harry probably would have finished his conversation with Draco, but Draco was no longer within his range, having vanished in the split-second it took him to defend himself.
Draco was now roughly in the middle of the room, throwing fireballs. Harry and Drake struggled to get a clear shot at him through all the moving bodies.
The tide of battle was changing; the Death Eaters had done an admirable…make that remarkable…job of keeping their nerve when Harry, Drake, and the other Aurors had arrived, but Draco was too much. They began to panic. Most turned tail and took flight down the nearest available passage at the first opportunity. A few surrendered to Aurors right on the spot. Still others risked disapparating out of the temple, their fear of their master's punishments temporarily eclipsed by their fear of Draco's Star Scream.
Draco let loose with a fiendish laugh, his grey-blue eyes sparkling with glee. "That's right. Run like the dogs you are!" He made a loose fist with the hand that wasn't currently employed in the business of holding his wand and shook it the way an expert dice-thrower would shake dice. Only, when he opened his hand, it wasn't dice but a river of blue-violet lightning that shot out, catching a pair of fleeing Death Eaters and knocking them flat on their faces against the hard floor. Despite their trembling bodies and obvious pain, the two tried to get up — only to be struck back down by a barrage of magic bolts thrown by some Deathbusters closing in like a flock of vultures.
Cain felt a hand on his shoulder and was at once aware of Rodolphus, now the last free living Death Eater in the room.
(( Disapparate. )) he demanded without looking back, (( Now. No-one will blame you for running from this. )) He didn't take his eyes off the scene unfolding before him, but seconds later he heard a swift rush of air and knew his friend had escaped.
Great. Now I have to escape before Father finds out I'm here. Damn. I should've had Rodolphus take me with him.
The truth was, while Cain was beyond his year-level and already possessed extremely powerful magic, he could not yet apparate: an annoying fact which popped up from time to time to make like difficult. He'd gotten to the temple by broom, using a cloaking charm to escape muggle detection. But he'd had to leave that outside, and the odds were ten to one someone had taken it by now. Not as a means of escape, of course — disapparating was for more effective for that — but because it was a brand new Firebolt 2050 Limited Edition, and everyone wanted one of those.
Cain groaned inwardly. He was going to have to get a new broom.
With the Death Eaters out of the way, the Deathbusters attacked the Aurors more fiercely than ever. No doubt they felt a surge of confidence with the arrival of their leader. Mayhem resumed. From somewhere in the fray Draco piped up with "Hey! Why don't we just give 'em to Snape! Then we can have some real fun!"
There was no reason for Cain to get any further involved in any of it. Let Harry and Draco work out their differences the way they always did — he needed to get back to Hogwarts before anyone discovered he was missing. And, thanks to his degree of fame ( or was that infame? ) that was going to be difficult.
He was just about to double back and make a beeline for the passage he knew led to the outside world when the image of Ron, standing board-rigid several meters away, caught his eye. From the looks of it he was the victim of Petrificus Totalus, or something akin to it. A stream of blood flowed down his left cheek like a massive red tear. Only one Auror was close enough to help him, and she was getting her butt handed to her by a trio of Deathbusters.
So far Ron was lucky — his enemies hadn't noticed his condition. But that wouldn't last long in this madhouse.
For one confusing second, Cain couldn't make up his mind whether or not to help the stricken Weasley. Just because he was able to put on an particularly convincing charade of being 'good' for the outside world to see didn't mean that he actually held those values, or even aspired to them. He was merely pretending, the way his father had so many, many years ago, so that he could get the education he wanted and then do as he pleased with it. He thoroughly intended to become a Death Eater once he was finished with school. And just what kind of Death Eater went around saving ministry officials, the best friend of the loathsome Harry Potter, no less?
It would be better to let Ron fend for himself…
One of the Deathbusters noticed Ron's predicament.
Harry and Drake were too busy fighting Draco to notice. They were shouting things at each other — barbed insults, probably — but Cain barely heard their voices and their words didn't register.
He really shouldn't intervene…if all went to plan Ron was destined to become his enemy someday anyway…
No. his conscience argued, To Hell with that. Ron's always treated me right. I have to help him! Besides, like Uncle Rodolphus said, I'm not a Death Eater yet.
His decision made, Cain sprang into action. Swiftly re-summoning the Protego shield that only partially covered him, he launched himself towards Ron with neither charm nor grace, rudely shoving and butting any Deathbuster that couldn't get out of his way fast enough.
It was crude, but it worked. The Aurors had no reason to hinder him, and the Deathbusters had two very big reasons not to retaliate regardless of how they felt about being treated in such a manner. Just as before, the Protego shield was a precaution, a safeguard against stray spells.
The Deathbuster pointed his wand at Ron. "Avada Ke —"
"Stupefy!" Cain hadn't quite reached them yet, but the dark witches and wizards who had been in the way had made way, giving him a clean shot. A sizzling cinnabar jet leapt from the tip of his wand and struck Ron's would-be murderer in the side. The man dropped like a ton of bricks, out like a light.
Having taken out the trash, Cain turned his wand on Ron. "Finite Incantatem." Ron stumbled backwards a bit as the effect of the spell on him was lifted. "Tergeo." The blood on his face vanished.
Ron awarded Cain a small, crooked grin. "Thanks."
Cain drew near to him, trying all the time to quell the worm of guilt he felt gnawing away at his insides over having to debate, even for a moment, whether to help. "Yeah, well…don't mention it." he stuttered, feeling as about as heroic as the infamous Peter Pettigrew who made an appearance, almost always in a negative light, in some of the Death Eaters' tales. He scanned the room nervously before adding, "We'd better get out of here before my father shows up, or we'll both be in trouble. He hates it when I barge into Death Eater business without his permission."
"Go on then," Ron readied his wand and prepared to re-enter battle, taking advantage of the fact that none of his enemies wanted to risk throwing a spell Cain's direction, "and good luck. I'd love to leave this utter insanity if I could, but if your father gets those fangs we've all had it." He started after a band of Deathbusters heading down a narrow sandy corridor off to the left.
Cain caught him by the arm. "What do you mean?" he asked, startled. He'd had no idea the fangs were that important.
Ron halted in his stride and turned around, careful to keep the teenager in front of, rather than behind, him. His mouth hung open in a tiny 'o' of surprise. "You mean you don't know?"
Cain shook his head.
"The fangs of Ket…Quech…" frustration set in, "…whatever-his-name-is, are mystical objects imbued with the power of a god. They can be used like a Time-Turner, only you can go thousands of years into the past and stay as long as you want. Voldemort's going to go back to ancient Egypt and steal the Book of Curse before Anubis and Isis destroy it."
"The Book of Curse?" Cain repeated, frowning a little, "I've never heard of it before."
"That's because it was a collection of all the nastiest, most wicked spells, curses, and hexes created by the dark gods, and for the most part only gods knew about it. These curses could afflict thousands of people at once: disease, famine, plague. Instructions on how to make and control monster storms and beasts like the chimera and hydra. According to some sources, it even held the secret to destroying mankind — a single curse capable of killing everyone on the planet. That's why it was destroyed; even the gods were afraid of the damage it could do. Bottom line is, we found out about it, your father found out about it — Draco too — and now everyone's after the fangs either to go back in time and get it or stop others from doing that." It was practically a speech for Ron, and Cain imagined he was feeling rather winded, but if he was he ignored it. The last word had barely left his lips before he was speaking again, this time in a slower, mentally-kicking-himself tone, "And…I shouldn't have told you that much. Bloody Hell. I'm getting like Hagrid in my old age."
"Don't worry, Ron." Cain assured him, "I'm not going to use that information in some twisted, evil way. I just want to get back to Hogwarts before the whole school knows I'm gone and I get suspended from Quidditch." He winced. "Again." Then, switching to telepathy, he added, (( And just between us, I hope you guys stop 'em. My family are deadly enough as it is…they don't need a Book of Curse. ))
A small smile made its way to Ron's lips. Nevertheless, a tired, weary look lingered in his eyes. His body was that of a twenty-something-year-old man, but his eyes betrayed him. They always seemed duller somehow. Wiser. He was actually somewhere around seventy, and though he didn't look it there were times, like now, when he seemed to feel it.
"Well Merlin's beard," he declared in a voice that was part marvel part chuckle, "I never thought I'd hear a Slytherin with both Malfoy and Riddle blood say something like that. Heh. World keeps getting stranger every day." His smile broadened. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but good luck in your next game. I hope Slytherin wins. And…don't quote me on that one, kay? Harry and Hermione might start thinking I'm under Imperious."
"Your secret's safe with me." Cain promised, inwardly laughing at the mental image of Ron, decked out in full Slytherin garb, attending the next Hogwarts Quidditch match and holding up a pro-Slytherin sign while the Potters looked on in shock.
Ron nodded in appreciation before taking off down the passage he'd been headed for.
Cain wondered if he'd ever see him again.
Was it wrong to hope so?
Sure, they weren't buddies or anything, and Ron was on the wrong side, but there was something about the old ministry official that he liked. He hated to admit that he was a little worried about him rushing off into enemy territory without Harry or Drake immediately available to back him up in case things got ugly. Ron wasn't an Auror, and although he could fight rather well when the need arose, it wasn't his forté.
I hope he doesn't run into Father. he thought as he made for the temple's exit, somehow managing to ignore the chaos exploding around him.
(( Cain! Watch out! )) Harry's warning came too late.
Cain felt a hand on his shoulder. Then he simply wasn't there.
12 Minutes Earlier
"LOH-KEE!" Lord Voldemort's voice shook the air.
Several of his followers retreated a few paces, hugging the walls with their backs. The dry, sandy chamber they were in could hardly be called large, and they didn't want to be either too handy or too noticeable should their master's volatile nature inspire him to look for an easy scapegoat in the event things didn't go to plan, which they often didn't.
Only one Death Eater remained unshaken. She kept close to Voldemort's side, so close they were almost touching. Her skeptical eyes were fixed not on him, but on the two ivory-white snake fangs he held, each wickedly curved and nearly as long as his arm. She appeared troubled by them.
Voldemort knew the god could hear him. Somehow, through ways he still didn't fully understand, even minor gods seemed to be able to tell when they were being summoned, even when the technique was as simple as calling their names.
So he wasn't at all surprised when, moments later, a swirling vortex of a thousand tiny lightning bolts materialized out of thin air a short distance in front of him, vanishing almost as quickly as it had come to reveal Loki, Norse God of Mischief.
Voldemort stared for a moment, mildly surprised. This was the first time he'd seen Loki in a human form, and his appearance was not at all what he'd expected. Instead of being a thick-chested, short, and huskily-built Viking, the god standing before him was slender, of average height, and well-proportioned. Wild white-blonde hair framed an amazingly smooth, pointed face highlighted by intelligent Caribbean-blue eyes. In a way he reminded Voldemort of his late minion Lucius Malfoy, only younger, livelier, and with shorter and messier hair. A black leather trenchcoat complete with a number of silver buckles and decorative designs set him apart from everyone else in the room.
"I asked you to distract Odin," Loki said, picking an annoyed tone, "You nearly destroyed Asgard!"
"That distracted him." Voldemort responded coolly, looking the god right in the eye and smiling in a condescending way, "I have held up my end of the bargain. Time for you to honor yours." He held the giant fangs, one in each hand, out in front of him. "Tell me how to use these."
A strange expression overcame Loki's face just then; he looked both startled and confused at the same time. Maybe even a little scared. But it faded quickly. "Very well," he said, seemingly unconcerned, "Though it's a waste of time if you ask me. No one's seen this god for centuries. These fangs'll send you maybe a week back in time — if they work at all."
He was playing at something, Voldemort could tell.
Legilmency didn't work on gods, both because their magic automatically defended them against mental attacks and they were natural-born occlumens. For Voldemort, the occlumency part wasn't such a big deal; years of practice, combined with more power than any wizard or witch had ever had in written history, enabled him to crack the minds of even the most stubborn occlumens with little difficulty. But the magical shielding was another matter.
Gods were biologically superior to wizards, and their magic worked differently. Not only did they have no use for wands and little for incantations, their magic seemed more "aware" of them, and, to some degree, it acted behind the scenes to protect them even without being commanded to do so.
This phenomenon had been given a name, phalanxtutelance, and a definition of ' The tendency of magic to act in ways which protect its host.' by the Ministry of Magic upon its discovery back in the misleadingly-named 'War With the Gods' several years ago. Individuals who possessed this quality were said to be phalanxtutelant, or simply phalantic, and so far only gods, phoenixes, and a small handful of other magical creatures fit the bill. Gods recovered from magical attacks even when they were unconscious, albeit at a much slower rate than if they consciously directed their powers towards healing. Their phalanxtutelance also extended to the mental realm, providing them partial and, in some cases, complete protection against magic that affected the mind.
Despite his best efforts to invent a curse to counteract phalanxtutelance, Voldemort was thus far unsuccessful, and Loki's mind remained hidden from him, a fact which annoyed him greatly since this was a notorious trickster. On the surface it appeared that Loki didn't want him to go through with his mission, but what if that was merely what Loki wanted him to think? What if Loki knew something he didn't?
It was a battle of wits, and Voldemort was determined to come out on top. He would have either that book or a new unkillable 'pet' on which to test his latest spells and curses. "I'm willing to try it." he said flatly, "Now tell me. And no tricks."
(( Tom, I don't like this. )) the Death Eater that was almost touching Voldemort told him privately, (( He's the God of Mischief. He's practically guaranteed to try to trick you. ))
"I'll do better than tell you. I'll show you." Loki curved his pale fingers back slightly but quickly, and the fangs vanished from Voldemort's hands and reappeared in his.
Voldemort tensed. (( Don't worry Wicca, )) he assured his female companion, who was in fact his wife, (( if he tries anything I'll chain him to the basement wall and we'll have a new toy. Hell, I might do that anyway. ))
"We'll need some room." Loki announced, scanning the crowded chamber, "Let's see…"
(( Chains? Couldn't he just apparate out, or turn them into flowers or something? ))
(( Not if I enchant them. )) Voldemort took his eyes off Loki long enough to flash her a playfully sadistic toothless grin. Wicca smiled faintly in return, but he could tell her heart wasn't into it.
While Voldemort knew beyond all doubt that his wife's love for him was genuine and real, her love for torture and murder was not. Although there were a few exceptions, Wicca generally didn't like to see people get hurt too badly; she frequently tried to persuade him to be lenient on captured enemies and, less often, Death Eaters who had made a mistake.
Unless he was in a good mood, Voldemort usually ignored her. She never held it against him for long, and the fun they had together more than made up for her flaws.
"…this will do." Loki pointed a fang at a corner full of Death Eaters. Before they had time to move or even twitch the dark witches and wizards were at once grabbed by an invisible force and flung aside like garbage in two directions.
"Hey!" one guy grunted in anger after his back collided painfully with a statue that had way too many points, "I think you broke my back!"
"So what if I did, mage?" Loki spat, "My allegiance is to your master, not you!"
"For your sake it had better be." Voldemort warned. He was watching Loki like a hawk now, eyes glowing a dangerous, primal red.
Loki didn't reply. Keeping his attention firmly on his task, he opened his hands and floated the Fangs of Quetzalcoatl into position about midway between the floor and the ceiling and a couple of meters diagonal from the crease of the corner. "Keep them about three yards apart, and make sure the curved ends point down and towards each other." he instructed, doing just that.
"Tell me, how is it that a Norse god knows how to manipulate Aztec artifacts?" Wicca inquired, eyeing him in a light of distrust.
"Lady, as I was telling your master earlier, I go back a few eons. I've seen these things in use. We gods aren't all antisocial, you know. Quetzalcoatl and I were on friendly terms. Sometimes he'd use these to send himself or other gods — even mortals — into the past or future for whatever reason. It's very complex magic that requires a solid 'vessel' to act as a catalyst. And…like a battery, it needs recharged before each use." He looked to Voldemort expectantly, leaving the fangs hovering in midair.
"So, what are you waiting for?" Voldemort gestured towards the fangs. "Recharge them."
Loki was hesitant. "With all due respect, Lord Voldemort, your power is greater than mine. You could recharge it faster."
"How much faster?" Voldemort cocked an eyebrow at the blonde-haired trickster.
"At your level? Probably five minutes. It would take me close to twenty."
"Then it should take the two of us less than four." Voldemort observed, drawing his wand. "You start first and I'll follow your example. How will we know when it's done?"
"The portal will turn blue with white swirls." Loki straightened both hands and pointed them at one of the fangs, "I'll get this one. You get the other." As he was saying this, thick tendrils of blazing blue magic shot from his hands and streamed into the left fang. The fang started to light up with the absorbed energy.
Voldemort aimed his wand at the other fang and wordlessly directed his own flow of magic into it.
Both fangs began to glow: first a dull yellow, then orange, red, blue, and finally white-hot. Once they turned white-hot they began spinning in a counter-clockwise circle. Slow at first, and then faster and faster, until they lost their individual shapes and blurred together into one continuous band of the purest white light.
God and warlock kept their magic trained on the same spots.
A rich, green color emerged on the inside rim of the circle and flooded inward. A band of red followed close behind, swirling its way to the middle. Next was violet…
"My Lord! My Lord!" A Death Eater blew in through the doorless threshold, half a dozen buddies hot on his heels.
His concentration broken, Voldemort's stream of magical energy ceased. He whirled on the interrupters. "This had better be earth-shattering." he growled, scarlet eyes flashing with anger.
The lead Death Eater took a step back. "S-sorry My Lord, but Draco and the Deathbusters are here…so are Potter, Drake, the Aurors, and…" he swallowed nervously, trembling like a leaf in a summer breeze, "…your son."
"What in Slytherin's name is Cain doing here?" It wasn't so much a question as a hiss.
Several feet away, Loki continued to feed the portal, his concentration legendary.
"Shall I get him?" Wicca offered, temporarily taking the heat off the harbinger of bad news.
Voldemort considered. "No," he answered after a moment, "he's in no real danger, and it'll be good for him to experience a fight." He turned his attention back to the Death Eaters filling the chamber's entrance. "And if you imbeciles don't get back out there and keep them busy, I'll make the Deathbusters and Aurors look like your dearest friends."
That was all the incentive most of the Death Eaters needed to hastily retrace their steps. Only two lingered.
"But…what about Potter and Malfoy?" one of these asked, "They'll annihilate us!"
"Get them to fight each other." Voldemort said icily, "They're enemies, that shouldn't be hard!"
The pair turned and bolted, apparently deciding that, if they were going to be taking chances, they'd be better of taking them in battle.
When Voldemort next laid eyes on the portal, it was a soothing, crystalline-blue flecked with wispy strands of white.
Loki cut off his supply of magic. "It is ready."
The Dark Lord nodded his approval. "Alright. Now how does it work?"
"You walk through it." Loki said simply, giving him a look that indicated he thought that a very stupid question.
Voldemort glared at him. It was hard to resist the urge to give this disrespectful upstart a taste of the Cruciatus curse right then and there. "Yes, but how do you determine the time and place? I don't want to end up in Portugal during the Doxy Plague."
"The portal operates on mental commands." Loki explained, "Simply focus on the date and place you'll appear approximately where you want to be at the correct time. It helps to be specific, but as long as you have a good idea you should be on target."
It looked pretty enough on the outside, but something was missing. Something important.
"How do I get back?" Voldemort inquired, watching the god very closely.
Loki smiled slyly. "Ah, you're a sharp one! I like that. Such a refreshing change."
Voldemort pointed his wand at him.
"Hey! No need to get testy — I was only saying that most people don't stop and think. It was a compliment!" Loki threw up his hands in surrender, his calm façade melting away, "When you want back, all you have to do is say one word: kipshem."
"Kipshim?" Voldemort repeated, lowering his wand and wrinkling his nose in consternation, "What does that even mean?"
"No. KipshEM." Loki corrected, "And I haven't the slightest. It's a word Quetzalcoatl made up." He brought his hands back down to his sides, still nervous but quickly regaining a more dignified composure.
"We'll test the portal first then—"
"An excellent idea," Loki interjected, "just pick a person you trust and we'll send him in first."
Voldemort frowned. "How much do I have to trust this person?"
"Enough to have faith that he or she wont go back in time and kill one of your parents before you have a chance to even exist." Loki answered indifferently.
Voldemort shook his head, frowning deeper. "No. It can't be that easy—"
"To find people you trust?" Loki was visibly surprised.
"No," Voldemort snapped, fixing the underhanded deity with a molten glare, "to stop me from ever being born. If it were that easy you or some other god would have done it by now."
"We might have," Loki confessed, "if we'd known that these fangs still existed. Old Quet must have had stronger magic than we thought. He told us they were destroyed, and we believed it when gods and men alike failed to turn them up after centuries of searching. That's part of the reason I was so quick to agree to our bargain — I did not believe you would find them. I still don't know how you learned of them in the first place."
Just the hint of a smile blossomed at the corner of Voldemort's mouth. "That's my little secret."
"Oh." Loki's bitterness was thinly veiled, "Just like the identity of whatever resurrected you and gave you all those powers."
"Exactly." Voldemort's almost-a-smile slipped. "Now, about that test…"
"I'll go." Wicca volunteered.
Her husband gave her a stern look. "No."
"Why? You know I wouldn't betray you." She reached out with a finger and flicked a few stray strands of black hair away from his eyes.
"I know, but you are staying here with me." Voldemort's tone was firm. Powerful. He was not risking Wicca in this venture.
"I know just the thing," Loki clapped his hands together, causing a few Death Eaters to jump, "I'll be right back." And before anyone could stop him, he disappeared in a whirlpool of electrical currents.
Voldemort's frown returned with a vengeance. "I didn't give him permission to go anywhere." He stared into the crackling portal and got the same sinking feeling he'd experienced decades ago when he first realized that the lowly Harry Potter might actually be a threat to him after all.
His instincts proved correct when, seconds later, Loki reappeared in front of the portal with Cain. In the blink of an eye he threw him in. The portal swallowed its prize and fizzled out of existence, leaving behind only the fangs, which ceased to glow and dropped to the floor.
"There," Loki stated, as if he'd done Voldemort a favor, "You can be certain that your own son has it in his best interest not to kill you."
Wicca paled, gazing at the space her son had occupied in wide-eyed horror. "You didn't tell him how to get back!"
The deity opened his mouth for a second, then, at a loss for words, he closed it. Genuine horror began to manifest itself across his face as he considered the ramifications of his monumental mistake. Then, at last, he managed a single, monosyllabic word: "Oops."
A/N: All reviews are welcome, including constructive criticism. While I don't write stories just for them, they certainly do help feed my creative muse, get me thinking, and give me extra incentive to push on when I hit a tough spot! Please do feel free to say whatever you want. ~ Flames will be used to roast Umbridge and Pettigrew.