Here we are, folks. Here's the last chapter of Enveloped in the Darkness. It's been my pleasure to write this for you all and I've enjoyed the interactions and questions and everything that came with it. I apologize for how long this took to write - really tough chapter that had to be done correctly.
There will be a sequel for you all. I'm going to take a break to recharge my batteries, but I'll keep you informed both on my Twitter account ( BrigadeEitD) and on my profile page on this site.
There's nothing left but to read the chapter, I think. As always, I hope you enjoy.
Chapter 25: The Dark Lord
"Tell me, Potter; how stupid are you?" Snape sniped scathingly. His held his wand aloft lazily and confidently. Even in Harry's panicked state, he remembered the last time he tried to pick a fight with Snape. It did not work out well. "How on Earth was this supposed to be a smart plan? You thought you'd sneak a peek inside, hmm? The Headmaster expressly forbade access to this corridor for the duration of the school year, but that's not good enough for Harry Potter, is it? The Boy-Who-Lived is above such petty restrictions."
Snape stepped forward smoothly, murder written upon his face. "Do you know who you remind me of, Potter? Your father. I was in school with that arrogant snot and he was worth even less than you, strutting around like a Hippogriff on show, pride leaking from every orifice. And here you are, trampling on rules as if they do not apply to you."
Professor Snape's caustic nature did not seem to sit well with Professor McGonagall, even considering the situation. She stepped up behind him, her wand still firmly in her right hand.
"Severus," Professor McGonagall placed a hand on the wizard's shoulder. "That is quite enough. Mr. Potter is a first year student. He will be punished. But your words are taking this too far."
"And which words would those be?" Professor Snape drawled, his black eyes watching Harry with contempt. "The boy is as dark as they come, Minerva; remember, I would know. As for his father…well, I take solace in the fact that the man is now rotting in hell."
Harry swallowed harshly. His heart was drumming inside his chest and that little, nagging twitch in his eyelid flared up. Wand or not, he would not sit on his laurels and take this. He was Harry goddamn Potter, after all. Harry breathed in deeply. If he had to hurt them both, he would. Harry tensed and the magic within him gathered. And just as it flared to life…
Harry forgot to breathe. He watched, shell-shocked, as Professor Snape spun on the Sickle and hexed Professor McGonagall. The Transfiguration professor landed with a dull thud, her hat protecting her skull somewhat from the marble floor.
"Idiot boy!" Professor Snape spat, waving his wand to and fro. "Don't just stand there – get that door open!"
Scrambling, Harry hastened to comply. He worked at the lock, putting his shoulder into it until it opened with a muffled click. Harry then jumped to the side suddenly as Snape swept past him, shoving Harry's wand into the boy's chest before striding into the room without another word.
Professor McGonagall's unconscious body floated into the room behind him.
"Come in here, Potter! Quickly!"
Harry blinked. Had…had all of that really just happened? He walked forward into the darkness as music washed over him.
The room was awfully dark, but it looked exactly as Harry remembered it from his first excursion down the trap door. The one difference, however, was that the hulking Cerberus was slumped over upon the floor and snoring as Professor Snape stood above it, his wand shining brightly.
A conjured piano was off to the side playing a moody, haunting tune.
"Very well done, Potter," Snape muttered sarcastically. "Your actions out there were inspiringly pathetic. You were awfully lucky that I was there to intervene."
"Lucky?" Harry protested, looking down at McGonagall with disdain. "I was doing fine until you showed up. Why the hell did you disarm me?"
Professor Snape looked at him with incredulous anger.
"Because, Potter," Snape seethed at last. "Apparently in that dim, adolescent mind of yours, you convinced yourself that using the Cruciatus Curse in a school was a wise solution to fix your mistakes."
"It would have gotten her out of the way," Said Harry angrily. "I need to get the Philosopher's Stone and as long as she can't stop me – "
"It would have been disastrous!" Professor Snape growled. "There's absolutely no guarantee that it would work and simply using the spell would make your place at Hogwarts here forfeit!"
Harry paced, kicking the leg of the piano. "So what?" He replied brazenly. "I need to steal the Philosopher's Stone. I need to get it tonight. Besides, I have a plan, so as long as McGonagall is out of the picture – "
"Oh, forgive me," Sneered Snape. "How brash of me to assume you did not have a plan. Never mind your attempt to use the most desperate of spells – "
Harry scoffed. "It would have worked just fine. She doesn't stand a chance against me – "
Harry was cut off as Snape grabbed his chin roughly. Harry struggled to turn his head away from the man.
"Potter, you look at me when I am speaking to you," Professor Snape drawled, his nails digging into the sensitive flesh underneath Harry's jaw. "Do you think that I'd honestly be impressed by your plan? The awkward fumblings of a little boy do not impress me, Potter. You have been tasked by our Lord and when the Dark Lord says something, you do it. You put everything you have into the task. The Cruciatus Curse is the spell of a woefully underprepared wizard. You ought to be ashamed, but that arrogance you carry prevents you from seeing things clearly. Wake up, Potter! Get the job done!"
Harry had had enough. He shoved Snape's arms away from him.
"Your Lord," He gritted out.
"No," Snape shook his head, stepping forward once more. "Our Lord. Once he returns, he is everyone's Lord. Consider yourself lucky that Our Lord favors you."
"Any favor I have with him is my own doing," Harry disagreed. "There's no luck involved."
"That damn pride of yours," Snape sneered. "I wasn't lying earlier, you know. Your father had it too. And look where he is – pushing up daisies and rotting six feet under."
"Fuck you," Harry spat.
Snape smirked and his eyes frosted over. "Now, let me show you what a real wizard does, Potter. This is called being prepared – pay attention now. Obliviate!"
Snape's spell shot through McGonagall's torso, lifting the middle-aged woman off the floor slightly.
"The Cruciatus Curse leaves traces, Potter, but this one doesn't. Imperio! Ennervate!"
Professor McGonagall sat up slowly. Harry watched in silence as she turned to Professor Snape and stared blankly.
"You had a tough night shift," Professor Snape muttered. "One of the cauldrons in the dungeons had not been properly cleaned by the students and it had a delayed reaction once put upon the shelf in the potions lab. You worked with me to clean the classroom before going back to your chambers well past midnight. Go have yourself a stiff couple of drinks and go to sleep."
Professor Snape turned a raised eyebrow to Harry as McGonagall left without a word. Snape pressed his forefinger to his temple. "Preparation, Potter. Critical and thorough thinking. I not only got you out of trouble, but I gave both myself and Professor McGonagall alibis. We worked together tonight and no one will ever be the wiser. I'll go down to my lab and cause a reaction in one of the cauldrons."
Snape looked down his cooked nose at Harry before smirking. "Welcome to the big leagues, Potter. Get the job done."
Professor Snape turned to leave, but swept back around with a smirk on his face. "By the way, Potter," He chuckled, raising his hand in an "Aha!" motion. "You're going to want the smallest bottle. The rest may prove to be a bit…lethal."
And Snape was gone.
Harry's fuming anger morphed into annoyance the second that Snape left the room – funny how that worked. As much as Harry wanted to deny it, Snape was good. He was very good at what he did and Voldemort had told him as much on several occasions. Tonight was simply the night that Harry perceived that for himself. Bitterly, Harry kicked the leg of the still-playing piano, flinching as the music wavered for a moment.
The Cerberus slumbered on.
Okay, so Snape knew what he was doing – so what? Harry knew for a fact that he was just as capable as Snape. The Potions Professor wanted him to join the "big leagues," huh? Well, what bigger league was there than having Voldemort residing in your skull and stealing a legendary magical artifact that could practically grant immortality? And all of that with no one being the wiser, no less!
Still…Harry's hair still stood on end. Goosebumps prickled his flesh. That scare out in the hallway had been close - much too close. Of course, Harry could (and would) blame Snape for causing him so many problems, but knowing how to use Memory Charms in the future would prove to be incredibly useful; he'd have to look into it once he got the chance.
It would have to wait, however. Harry flicked his wrist carelessly and the trap door on the floor swung open. Down that trap door lay his prize. Harry had been thwarted in his last attempt…but he'd learned a few new moves since then.
The Dark wizard did not reply, but Harry hadn't expected him to. Instead, he breathed in deeply and felt the now familiar pressure of magic pressing into and around him. It was just as Voldemort had described last Christmas. It was something he had worked on extensively since that time. Harry opened his eyes and his feet left the marble floor.
Damn right he could fly.
His wand lit up the opening that the trap door had revealed. Stories down, Harry could see the slithering tendrils of Devil's Snare. But now that he could fly, it did not matter.
Harry grinned. The hard part was over. Nothing could stop him now.
Getting through to the chess set was easier than it had been the first time. Voldemort had instructed him to use magic this time (and that was all he had said) and it made everything so much quicker. Instead of playing the chessboard, he simply blew the pieces to smithereens.
That left Harry at the door that led to the mystery man once more. He had had a plan for this encounter, but now Harry was unsure.
It was the bloody man's fault, in all honesty. Why did he have to speak so vaguely? "The pursuit of good?" That could mean anything! It was entirely subjective, and how was he to prove his…goodness…to a man he did not even know?
There was nothing for it. Harry made a noise of irritation before opening the door.
The room lit up in a flash just as it had the first time Harry entered the room. Fire sprung forth and Harry looked up to the man on his throne.
That sword looked much more menacing than it had the first time.
"Greetings, Harry," The man on the throne beamed. "Welcome back, lad. How was your test?"
"Good, thanks," Harry approached the man slowly, climbing up the steps near the throne. "I, er – that is to say…I'm back."
Red eyebrows rose up and green eyes twinkled with mischief. "I see. And what can I help you with today, Harry?"
Harry inspected the man warily. Harry knew the man was large, but he was even bigger standing up than Harry had thought. The man held his sliver sword limply in his left hand, but nevertheless it was intimidating. Seriously, whose forearms were that big? A thin shirt covered the man's substantial torso and it looked as though the shirt was made from a rough material. The wizard had shucked his robe off when he stood from his throne.
Harry steeled himself. "You told me the last time that I was here that only those in the pursuit of good would advance past you," Harry started lowly. "Well…I'd like to move past this room. Is there some way I can…do that?"
"Ah," The red-headed man looked down his nose at him. "So that's what brings you back to my throne, is it, Harry? I can see it in your eyes – you know what lies beyond my room. You are so close, after all. But what I said to you then stands now. Only those who are pursuing good shall pass."
"Okay," Harry drawled slightly. "But what do I need to do?"
Harry's eyes widened as the sword rose slowly, pointing at his throat. Cold, green eyes met him.
"I think you know," The bearded man said softly.
Harry stepped back and down a step before withdrawing his own wand. A cool gaze met him and with a twirl of the red-head's powerful wrist, the stairs lowered to even out with the rest of the floor. The throne vanished as well.
For once, Harry truly felt like a child. The man lowered himself into a powerful stance, sword and wand crossed in front of him.
"Are you ready?"
Inaudibly, Harry sighed. "As I'll ever be."
The man struck with the speed of lightning and Harry was sent reeling backwards toward the fire encircling them. Wordlessly, Harry deflected another spell before tossing a weak one of his own. Anything to get this man off his trail.
The bearded man simply slashed through the spell with his sword, continuing to move forward.
Harry's shield of fire rose up, smoldering the air around it. However, rather than providing Harry with the respite to regroup, the shield was no match for the mystery wizard. The red-haired man stepped through the shield as if it were water.
The man barked laughingly, cutting through the ropes with ease. "Come now, Harry, you must have more than that! You made it to me, after all!"
Harry dove to the side as a golden spell shot towards him. His shoulder didn't like hitting the floor, but he kept moving; the man was upon him again.
The sword slashed forth and Harry side-stepped it, throwing a fleeting curse at the man's feet. To Harry's amazement, the man dodged it, rolling backwards before coming to a stop on one knee, wand and sword outstretched.
"Not nearly good enough," The beard twitched in amusement. "Stop holding back on me, Harry. I can take it, I promise you."
Harry wiped the sweat from his temple with the back of his hand. "Fine. You may not like what I've got in my arsenal, though."
The man cocked his head to the side. "And why would that be?"
"…It's pretty Dark," Harry admitted.
The sword lowered for a moment. "Dark by whose standard? Magic is not a color, Harry. It just is. Now…give me your best shot!"
The man leapt towards him but Harry was ready this time. He wasn't trying to prove he was good, anymore; he was trying to win.
"There we go!" The mystery man was almost cheering and he threw up a quick shield. "Now that's some magic!"
Harry shook his head in amazement. The spell he had used could be considered lethal. Blood freezing over was not exactly a normal bodily function. But the man charged into action once more.
Either a strong gust of wind or pure magic – Harry could not tell – buffeted him and he rolled backwards. The sword whistled through the air and Harry threw himself out of its way.
Harry's plan was not to hit the man with the spells – well, he'd certainly take it if they did hit him – but when he threw out such dangerous curses, it made the man slow his own offense. Such curses were too risky to try to dodge or cut through with pure magic. As long as the man was slowed, Harry could fight him to a standstill.
Maybe that would impress him.
Harry threw the spell Sykes' had used in his own duel at the ground near the man's feet and the red head jumped aside.
"Arma Diruptia! Expulso!"
Harry threw out another, forcing the man back the other way before sending an Expulso Curse at the first one. A hasty shield saved the man from any severe damage, but the man was off balance.
Harry struck, his right leg lashing out to buckle the man's knee.
The man reached for his knee, dropping his sword. Harry had his chance at last.
The red spell consumed the man and Harry's anger morphed into vindictive satisfaction. Instead of screams, however, Harry heard growls coming from the downed man.
Who was no longer downed.
"Nice one," The man gritted through the pain. The sword rose back into his hand. "My turn, is it?"
The air grew thin and Harry's body felt anchored to the floor. His head swam and his vision blurred. Despite all of this, he felt the magic coming at him; it was a struggle, but Harry forced his body to move to the side.
He was panicking. He could not win like this. 'Calm down, Potter,' He told himself sharply, jumping back once more. It took a moment, but he infused body with magic, just as he had before floating down the trap door. His vision cleared at last and his breath came in gasps as the man struck with his sword.
Harry was too slow and the sword sliced through the sinew of his right thigh. Harry gasped as he fell to the ground, working to block out the pain. Looking around quickly, the air was thick with foreign magic. A red, smoky haze filled the room and the flames surrounding them had risen up to lick teasingly at the ceiling. Harry rolled over as the sword was brought down once more, but a spell pinned him to the floor.
The sword was at his throat before he could even register the movement.
"Do you yield?" The man grunted out. It seemed Harry was not the only one suffering at the moment. Harry did not want to submit, but the sword at his throat made him see sense. Gasping, he nodded.
The magic was gone in an instant and Harry took a deep steadying breath as the sword was lowered.
"Well done, Harry," The man offered his arm. "Very well done. Best duel I've had in years."
His right leg started shaking violently the moment Harry put weight on it. "I guess I've lost, then. It was fun though, I have to admit."
A bright grin made its way to the man's face despite his pain and lack of breath. "Lose? The purpose of this duel was to prove yourself to me, was it not?"
"I don't like losing," Harry admitted. "It's always about winning and losing, when it comes down to it."
The man laid a heavy arm on Harry's shoulder. He wished the man wouldn't.
"Understandable," The man chuckled breathlessly. "But this duel was meant to evaluate you more than anything. You are incredibly powerful for an eleven year-old."
Harry cocked his head to the side, leaning on his right leg.
"I said that only those in the pursuit of good would pass by me," The man continued. "And you have proven yourself to me."
"You win," He smiled, arms wide. "You may call me Godric, if you wish."
"I win? But how does that – wait, you're Gryffindor?!" Harry's eyes bulged.
Godric flicked his wand and two thrones appeared, each facing the other. He gestured to the one nearest Harry before taking a seat in his own with a sigh. "I am. Your Headmaster used a neat piece of magic to rouse me from a portrait. You understand how wizarding portraits can echo the personalities of actual witches and wizards, yes? I have a portrait in the castle that the current Headmaster used to revive me. It is temporary, but this echo of me also contains my magic and physical body. Not bad, hmm?"
"I'm not even going to try to work that out," Harry muttered, spurring a laugh from Gryffindor. "Aren't you…do you even know what you are guarding?"
"The Philosopher's Stone, yes," Godric nodded. "Headmaster Dumbledore was very thorough in informing me of my task."
"And what was that?"
Godric's mischievous grin was back. "To only allow the 'good' beyond this point. In you, Harry, I see a lot of good. Perhaps the Headmaster would disagree if he witnessed our duel tonight, but there you have it."
"So what is 'good' to you?" Harry asked, puzzled.
"Simply what you are, Harry," Godric beamed. "You are who Salazar, Rowena, and Helga built this school for – we built this castle to teach the wizarding children about their gifts. Seeing someone as devoted to your craft as you are, Harry, brings me great joy. You Headmaster's opinion of good and my opinion of good differ greatly. Headmaster Dumbledore wants only those he's chosen to know about the Stone. I, on the other hand, have no such convictions. If you want the Philosopher's Stone for your own sake, Harry, by all means take it."
Harry sat there in amazement and a smile made its way to his face. "I never thought you'd endorse someone who used Dark magic, sir."
"Bah," Godric waved his hand flippantly. "Dark, Light, it does not matter. Magic is magic. The person casts the spells, you know. Not the other way around."
"So how do you feel about Muggleborns?"
"Theirs is a most tedious situation," Gryffindor started slowly. "But when it comes down to it, they are our brothers and sisters in magic. We need to help them, but not at the risk of exposing our kind."
"Right?" Harry grinned. "No one gets it, nowadays."
Godric nodded gravely. "The Ministry is much too lax. Such a thing would never have been tolerated in my time. I do look forward to watching you rattle the owl's roost, so to speak."
Harry shook his head. That would be fun. "You're going to have to teach me that one spell you used at the end, sir. And the Cruciatus! How did you keep going through that?"
With a hearty chuckle, Godric tugged on his beard. "Trade secrets, my young friend. Tell you what – if you can find my portrait within this castle, I'll teach you everything you'd like to know."
"Awesome," Harry clapped his hands. And to think he had been nervous about all of this. "Well, I think I ought to move on, then. Got a Stone to steal."
"Of course," Godric winked. "I do hope you learned something from our duel."
"I did, actually," Harry grimaced as he stretched his injured leg. "You're a really good teacher."
"I know," Godric Gryffindor smirked.
Harry cast a Numbing Charm on his injured leg the moment he left Gryffindor's room – he was not going to show that kind of weakness in front of Godric Gryffindor himself, thank you. By the way…he had just dueled Godric fucking Gryffindor. How cool was that? Harry had to tip his proverbial cap to Dumbledore. Going from Quirrell's measly troll to Godric Gryffindor…that was a hell of an upgrade in defense.
Well…it was in theory, Harry laughed quietly to himself. Unfortunately for Dumbledore, Gryffindor was much less concerned with guarding the Philosopher's Stone. The ancient wizard had only cared about keeping it away from the wrong people, it seemed. Well, the man had wanted a fight as well. And despite Harry's leg oozing blood at the moment…he had enjoyed the fight as well.
But now he found himself in another dimly lit room – seriously, why were all of these rooms so dark? A table sat in the middle of the room with small bottles lined up in a row. Harry took a step forward and black flames shot up in front of the door leading onwards. Harry looked behind him and purple flames were there, blocking the way back. Wearily, Harry sighed; he was getting sick and tired of all the damn fire.
Wait. Snape had said to use the smallest bottle, had he not? Harry walked forward, snatching the scrap of parchment off the table. It was…a riddle. A logic puzzle. Harry caught himself snickering. Yep, that was certainly a Snape thing to do. This was without a doubt Snape's room.
Third, as you see clearly, all are different size,
Neither dwarf nor giant hold death in their insides.
Harry picked up the smallest bottle from the middle of the line, bringing it up to eye level. Well…it would not kill him, right? Did he trust Snape's word?
Harry drank, shivering as the potion slithered its way to his gullet.
'Here goes nothing,' He thought. He walked forward and the black flames enveloped him. Harry could see nothing through the darkness, but it was oddly comforting. To see nothing, to feel nothing. His outstretched hand at last met the door and Harry opened it without further thought.
He was in the final chamber. No flames, no Godric Gryffindors. No noise.
Just a mirror.
Puzzled, Harry walked up to it. The mirror was large and ornate with a golden frame. Curiously, Harry inspected the frame until he saw an inscription up top:
Erised stra ehru oyt ube cafru oyt on woshi.
It meant nothing to him, so Harry looked at the mirror itself. His eyes widened and he could not contain a gasp.
It was him, like any normal reflection, but it was not him as he was today. He was older. Much older. He was an adult.
And he was strong.
The reflection of him smirked widely and green eyes flared red. Harry's reflection's was sporting a grizzled beard. The two runes infused on his wrists stood out prominently, almost shining with power. But there were more runes beside them. Harry had no idea what those runes stood for, but his heart hammered wildly. His reflection wore a loose robe and had no shirt on underneath. Harry could just make out a dark shadow on his reflection's left breast.
He was tall and strong. He was everything he had ever wanted to be. The robe suddenly rippled on his reflection and the Harry in the mirror's hair moved on its own volition, as if a gust of wind had just hit it. There was no wind – it was magic.
The reflection laughed with a cocky grin on his face and he gestured to himself. The magic died down and green eyes met their counterpart's. The reflection reached into his inner robe pocket and produced a stone.
The Philosopher's Stone.
'Potter, what are you doing? Potter?'
Harry was snapped out of his daze.
'This mirror…it's amazing.'
'What do you see?'
'I see…me. But it isn't me, exactly. I mean, it will be me, I hope, but…'
'Use your words, Potter. Where is the stone?'
'In my hand.'
Harry meant it was in his reflection's hand, of course. But the reflection winked before depositing the stone back into his robe pocket. Harry felt a sharp corner digging into his skin at that very moment. Hastily, Harry reached inside his own robe, fumbling to grasp the offending item.
It was the Philosopher's Stone.
"I've got it!"
Harry's words of triumph echoed throughout the chamber and Voldemort laughed inside his head.
'At last, my time has come. Very well done, Harry; let's find a place more secluded, shall we?'
Harry threw a glance back to the mirror. The reflection of him was laughing and made a shooing motion.
Fine, then. Harry knew just the place to go to.
Underneath his father's Invisibility Cloak, Harry stepped through the tree line into the Forbidden Forest once more. Harry could think of no better place to finish this than in the clearing he had used for his rituals.
Voldemort was in a much better mood. He still was not speaking much, but Voldemort's anger could hang like a dark cloud even if he spoke no words. There atmosphere inside Harry's own head was much less oppressive now, to say the least.
'Here we are.'
The clearing was darker than Harry had remembered it (there was no moon tonight), but it was just as he had left it: clean, pristine, and sitting there innocently, wiped clear of both of their past sins.
Voldemort and Harry had researched the Philosopher's Stone heavily before actually attempting to steal it. The interesting thing with alchemical artifacts was that they acted autonomously. So in reality, "creating" the Elixir of Life was really quite easy.
'Are you prepared?'
Harry nodded, looking down at the little amber stone in his left hand. It was warm to the touch and almost pulsating with energy. He was ready to drink the Elixir of Life…but was he ready for the things that Voldemort's resurrection would cause?
He was not sure.
'Conjure a goblet, Harry.'
'I know,' Harry muttered. 'It's not exactly complicated.'
Ultimately, he did as he was told. Harry placed the stone inside the black goblet.
The clear water shone inside the goblet and the Philosopher's Stone grew a golden color. Harry could hear the liquid hiss and froth as it appeared to dissolve the stone. Harry panicked for a moment. What if they needed the Philosopher's Stone later?
A sweet, flowery scent reached his nostrils and the frothing inside the goblet ceased. Peering inside the liquid, Harry could not see the stone.
'Well…here we go.'
Harry tipped the goblet back and gulped the liquid down. It tasted like warm honey, a pleasant surprise for Harry. The liquid spread through him rapidly, reaching his fingers and toes and doubling back, growing warmer and warmer until it began to grow painful.
The stone met his lips, proving that was still in one piece, but Harry doubled over too soon for that fact to register. Harry heard a growling curse inside his head, and then silence.
His body was much too hot. Sweat was evaporating before it could even be produced. Steam was purging itself from his body. Harry fell to his knees as his muscles cramped. A strangled cry tore itself from his lips.
And it was gone. Harry heard only his own weak, rapid gasps and the sounds of birds in the canopy of the forest.
"Get up, Harry, and hand me your wand."
Blearily, Harry rolled to his left. His body ached, but he lifted his eyes to see a naked man.
The man looked entirely different from Quirrell, but the red eyes were unmistakable. Voldemort was not looking at him; instead, he was examining his new body with an expression that bordered on delight. Pale skin, never touched by the sun, stretched out smoothly. Voldemort touched the side of his jawline before moving down to his ribs. A joyful chuckle bubbled forth.
Harry struggled to push himself into a sitting position and he held out his wand. Voldemort looked…way different that Harry had imagined. He looked human, for one. Young as well. Hairless – that was a bit creepy, but perhaps it was just the newness of his body. Lean muscles rippled outwards underneath smooth skin. The man looked agile and powerful.
Deadly, too, Harry realized when the man's eyes locked onto his.
"You are lucky, Harry, that I am in such an excellent mood," Voldemort spoke quietly, taking the wand from Harry to conjure himself a wand. The man grinned vindictively as he cast magic for the first time in a decade. "I would have half a mind to punish my followers for such a foolish oversight. Nevertheless, I am pleased."
"Yeah, well," Harry scowled. How dare Voldemort not even offer him a hand up? "I'm not one of your followers, am I?"
Red eyes narrowed dangerously and Harry took an inadvertent step back. "Ah, yes. Our agreement has been fulfilled, has it not? Is this really how you wish to leave it, Harry? Do you sincerely want to walk away from me? You already have one foot in the water. Why would you deny yourself everything you have ever wanted?"
Harry looked down at the ground. He could admit something to himself now that he probably could not have admitted at Christmas. He was Dark…or at least he was in the eyes of the Ministry. More importantly, his friends were Dark as well. The Malfoys were Dark.
The Ministry needed change and Voldemort was right. Following him was an excellent avenue towards accomplishing many of the things he wanted to accomplish in his life.
Harry met Voldemort's curious gaze once more. "I want something in return, Voldemort. I…I don't want to – "
"…Go back to your orphanage, yes?" Voldemort supplied shrewdly.
Harry grimaced. "Spot on. If you're willing to give me a place to stay and…you know, hopefully keep training me…"
"Speak to Lucius," Voldemort's eyes gleamed in satisfaction. "Tell him His Lord commands him to open his manor to you. I cannot make any promises to you in terms of training you, but I will keep in touch."
Harry nodded solemnly. "I guess that's that, then. I hope you realize the commitment I'm making here. You'd better live up to your reputation, Mister Dark Lord."
"My reputation is based off the things the public knows about me," Voldemort laughed darkly. "Believe me, I surpass my reputation."
"What are you going to do now?"
Voldemort inspected Harry's wand still in his grasp for a moment. "I will go to Azkaban and fix your mistake. Perhaps I'll kidnap a Healer or two to make sure my faithful followers receive the care that they need. We'll lay low. I have several ideas that I would like to act on, but the public will not know of my return for some time. And Harry?"
"Yes?" Harry asked. Voldemort grinned sharply, striding up to Harry within seconds.
"Now that you have pledged yourself to me," Voldemort trailed off quietly, adjusting Harry's robes with his deft fingers. "I want to hear you say it."
"I don't know wha-"
"Yes you do."
Harry sighed. This was not exactly easy for him. "Fine. My Lord. Happy?"
Voldemort laughed uproariously and roughly ruffled Harry's head. "Ecstatic, Harry. Ecstatic."
PRISONERS BREAK FREE
Mass Breakout of Death Eaters at Azkaban
By Patrick Fairview
A mass breakout of prisoners occurred early Sunday morning at Azkaban in the North Sea. The fugitives all had one thing in common – their connection to the former terrorist group known as the Death Eaters.
"Awful news," Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge said in a statement to the press Sunday morning. "The Ministry is still in the process of investigating the breakout. Unfortunately, we have nothing to present to the public at this time. However, we urge each witch and wizard to keep on the lookout for suspicious persons and behavior. We will be increasing our direct Floo connections to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement over the next few days as well as increasing our on-duty Auror staff."
The breakout was first reported at 2:41 am Sunday morning by the jailer staff on guard. By the time the Aurors had arrived, the breakout was finished and the suspects were nowhere to be seen. The Auror office could not be reached for comment, but reports of explosions and broken walls have reached The Daily Prophet.
According to Minister Fudge, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement is currently in the process of interrogating the Dementors who were present during the breakout.
The list of Death Eaters who escaped from Azkaban includes the likes of Bellatrix Lestrange, Antonin Dolohov, Augustus Rookwood, and Sirius Black. Each were convicted of multiple murders and sentenced to life sentences in Azkaban.
Stay tuned to an emergency Evening Prophet for more news on the breakout.
And there you have it. The end of Enveloped in the Darkness. Did it live up to your expectations?
A lot of you guessed that the mysterious figure in guarding the Philosopher's Stone was Godric Gryffindor. Well done, guys. Great guess. Can't sneak anything by you, can I?
Sirius Black escaped! That's gonna be something, won't it?
The sequel's plot has already been outlined...in my head. Much like this one, I know what's ultimately going to happen, I just have to get there.
That's all I've got for now. I'll talk to you soon.