Title: Of Unexpected Deliveries and Doorsteps
Notes: I'M BACK! So this will have multiple POV changes but it will take place within the span of two days so even if the point of view changes it will take place within the same time span. Things are moving forward and soon Harry will make his political debut, Salazar will speak and our dearest despot will rise again.
Alrighty On With The Fic! ; )
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. I will make no money from the posting of this story.
Together the two unlikely companions enjoyed a splendid afternoon together as they bounced things to do once the crimson eyed man got his body back. So far they'd agreed on flying; well the Dark Lord would fly without any physical objects other than magic and Quirrell would attempt it but if he failed he would use a very fast broom.
Second on the list was going to the wine country in France to enjoy a couple of expensive bottles of wine while gorging on the delicious food found there. If it there was one thing he'd missed during his last decade of being a wraith it was the joys of eating good food and partaking in fine alcohol.
Soon, soon the Dark Lord would be whole and more powerful than ever before and this time he would not throw it all away on the whims of immortality.
Albus was very annoyed, maybe even slightly angry, with the way things were going for him. He'd just left a Board of Governors meeting where he was fined five hundred galleons for his actions involving the Sorcerer's Stone incident as he'd taken to calling it in his own head. Five hundred bloody galleons! Where was he to come up with that?!
True he could use his own vaults but he would rather not if he could avoid it. Just another way Harry Potter's adoption by Severus had bit him in the arse! If the boy was still with his muggle relations he could use the boy's numerous vaults to fund his causes and in this case his fine. He'd abstained from touching young Harry's vaults until he came to Hogwarts; he felt it would be too much like stealing to use the child's money when he wasn't under Dumbledore's careful watch at Hogwarts and now he would never get the chance to.
To make matters worse Lucius bloody Malfoy was strutting around like one of his peacocks he was so damn proud of when the meeting was called to a close. Never before had anyone, not even Tom Roddle, had anyone ever challenged him and won outright. And the aged man had a feeling many more bumps in the road were coming for him in the future.
However, Dumbledore was still unsure how far the ramifications of this cock up would cost him. Even Lady Augusta Longbottom, a longtime ardent supporter of his, voted to punish him with the blasted fine. The aged witch was practically thunderous when she was informed that not only was Albus knowingly hiding a well sought after magical, and dangerous, artefact at Hogwarts but that the Dark Lord was so close to her grandson, Neville; a boy who had suffered just as much as Harry Potter had at the hands of the Dark Lord and his his more rabid Death Eaters.
There was still so much he wanted to accomplish and he needed the support, and contributions, of his faithful followers to make them happen. And now that Voldemort was at large and gaining his strength while no doubt attempting to secure a new body it was imperative that he shore up his camp. He could not do that if his ship was constantly springing leaks and rupturing with holes.
Alas, there was nothing to be done for it at this point. When the fine was levied Dumbledore did his best to look apologetic and contrite. He'd even went too far as to admit to his folly; though he did not quite see it as such. Keeping the Stone was a solid idea in the beginning; a good way to test Harry. He needed to see where the boy was in terms of his magical and intellectual abilities.
But that never came to be. In the end his plan went belly up and floundered even before it got under way. Truly, he should have scrapped it when Harry never made a move to search at the Mirror of Erised before Yule break but he was trying to hold on to any hope that his scheme would bear fruit.
Sighing, the old man leaned back in his chair and tried to find a way to bring this situation back under his control. The Basilisk was still out of his reach as much as it chagrined and annoyed him to admit it. The glaring fact remained that the massive, ancient snake would not be disposed of anytime soon. Dumbledore just could not understand why Harry was being so unwilling to let him take care of the great deadly beast.
Obviously, the snake was a danger to the school, even if Harry could speak to it. What if another incident happened and another student was killed by the creature? Merlin knew Albus could not abide another Moaning Myrtle floating around the castle! However, his wants would not come true this time and that was a bitter pill to swallow for a man that was used to getting his way.
The subject of the Basilisk brought up several unpleasant things; Tom Riddle, Hagrid and of course the lengths Dumbledore went to turn the terrible situation to his advantage. He did feel bad that an innocent Hagrid was ultimately expelled and his wand snapped but at the time he had no proof that it was not the massive arachnis, Aragog; as the half-giant called the thing.
Dumbledore knew almost at once that Myrtle was not killed by the deadly Acromantula but few would believe him if he suggested it was not the giant spider. Albus had to proof but he knew he could have found some if he so desired but back then he decided not to.
In the end most of the populace of Hogwarts just wanted the incident to go away and thus Albus turned a blind eye to Hagrid's unjust expulsion. But as in all things pear shaped he'd worked the situation to shine in his favor. He secured Hagrid a position as Assistant Gamekeeper and in turn secured himself an extremely loyal employee, not to mention a fanatical Order member to boot.
True, he should have rallied for a more thorough investigation but he did not. In the end he wanted the school to remain open as much as it appeared Tom Riddle did; at least those were the thoughts he comforted himself with, and so Albus let it be. Dippet was dead now and any repercussions that came from the handling of the incident would be laid right at Dumbledore's feet since he was Deputy Headmaster at the time.
Surely, someone, namely Lucius Malfoy, would jump on the chance to expose anything that made Dumbledore look bad in the eyes of the public and his numerous supporters. No, it was best to let dead Hippocampi lie where they fell. But it did gall him that an eleven year old Harry Potter-Snape had him stuck between a rock and a hard place.
Another failure was Doge; the man was no closer to gaining the Potter-Snape's trust or even his attention for that matter. If anything the boy seemed to avoid Elphias zealously. Then again the boy was smart and probably deduced why Doge was there at Hogwarts.
Albus was well and truly at a loss at this point and the more that he saw of Harry the more he became nervous about the boy. Harry was not what he expected him to be that was for certain and what was once a sure thing was now about as uncertain as it could be. It wasn't just the boy's stubborn stance on the Basilisk that made the Headmaster a bit nervous.
Harry was supposed to have come to Hogwarts timid and malleable to Dumbledore's whim. However, that was not to be. What he got instead was an intelligent, strong-willed and savvy boy raised by two of the most cunning man known to him. Lucius and Severus would not have raised a naive moron and that more than anything tossed a damn wrench in his clever schemes.
The young Snape was also a Parselmouth; a disturbingly Dark ability and one that made Dumbledore quite uneasy. Harry reminded him too much of another young man who came to Hogwarts, was sorted into Slytherin and could talk to serpents. That boy was Tom Marvolo Riddle or as he preferred to be known as Lord Voldemort. The only thing that comforted Albus was the fact that Harry was obviously loved and knew love, something young Tom never was exposed to.
Maybe it would have been better if he'd taken the Riddle boy under his wing as opposed to watching him with suspicion and distrust. But it was too late now as he often realized. He had made his choices, whether they were wrong or right they could not be undone.
Pushing his more sentimental thoughts away he began to plot and ponder the situation at hand. He needed to recover the wayward child and to do that he needed a viable option for who the boy should to go to. Lupin would do if not for the Werewolf issue. No one, no matter how open-minded, would give custody of their savior to a man suffering from Lycanthropy.
Sirius Black was a possibility but to do that he would open himself up to criticism and ridicule. He knew that the former Black heir was indeed innocent but at the time allowing the Grim animagus to obtain custody of Harry Potter was out of the question. Sirius Black was a free spirit, one that did not like to be controlled and he would have no doubt raised Harry to be the same.
However, the Headmaster had easily manipulated Sirius throughout his years at Hogwarts and the subsequent ones after. At least then the benevolent Light Lord would have had an in with the Potter boy; Albus would have spun his grandfatherly web around little Harry, earning his blind trust and unwavering support. This trust and support would have easily led to Dumbledore guiding the last Potter in the direction he desired.
Alas, it did not happen that way and now he dearly wished he would have stuck the Potter heir with his godfather. But hindsight was always twenty-twenty as the muggles say. Now he would have to reshuffle his plans. Dumbledore would inquire, subtlety of course, about Sirius Black; quietly sparking the call of outrage that the man had not received a trial. Surely, the people would not stand by and allow this great miscarriage of justice to continue.
Albus knew he would be called to the mat in regards to why he as the Head of the Wizengamot at the time, and to this day, did not call for a trial to be held for Sirius Black. He of course would spin a sad tale of woe and bashfully admit that Sirius was swept up in the madness that was the Dark Lord's fall. Everyone knew how disjointed and crazed the Ministry was after You-Know-Who's downfall.
Some would be angry with him and call for his resignation but most would let him slide as per usual, thinking he was even more genuine for admitting his mistakes, affirming that even the great Albus Dumbledore could take a mistaken turn. In the end his request to look into Sirius' lack of trial would be granted and if during the course of his inquiry it turned out Sirius was also innocent of the horrid crime of slaughtering muggles and Oettigrew it would be easy to spring the ex-Marauder from Azkaban.
Once the man was released and stabilized from his long stay in prison Albus would petition the courts to revoke or at least suspend Snape's adoption of the Potter heir while they reviewed Sirius' application for guardianship of Harry. Also, they could tear apart Snape's adoption application in the process, attempting to shine any form of wrongdoing onto the paperwork filed with the Ministry; it was a longshot to be sure.
Dumbledore knew Severus' adoption of the boy was solid and legal but the public would be easily stirred to action by a few choice words from him. The masses of sheep would be screaming for someone to take their precious savior from the evil clutches of Severus Snape; a long believed Dark supporter and alleged Death Eater. Even now several articles were published in regards to how Severus got custody of the Boy-Who-Lived in the first place.
However, these articles were not given the credence now but they would if Sirius was there as a valid choice for Harry's guardian. If the public knew that someone was there, someone Light inclined, to take care of Harry they would no doubt demand that the Potter boy by be given to his godfather. Dumbledore knew Harry would no doubt be resistant to this scheme but in the end the boy was a child and no child knew what was best for them.
Besides Harry would get over it in time. Once the boy spent time with his godfather he would realize that he was better off with Sirius as opposed to Severus Snape.
If it came down to it Dumbledore would stir the cauldron further and grudgingly tell the public about Voldemort regaining his strength. The magical world would be upset and terrified and in that state they would be even more likely to push for another guardian for young Harry Potter.
This was his last resort of course. He didn't want the magical world at large to now about Tom's imminent resurrection. He wanted them in a frenzy not blind terror. However, if it looked like Harry's guardianship would not go to Sirius the aged Headmaster would have no choice but to spill the beans about Voldemort's coming return to power.
The aged Headmaster knew it would not be this easy but at this point he was running out of plans on how to get Harry back on his side. Sitting up straighter the old man grasped his quill and began to write a letter to Madam Bones to secure a visit with Sirius Black.
Fawkes trilled disapprovingly at him, knowing his old friend was once again needlessly meddling in other people's lives. Dumbledore knew the Phoenix believed that Albus would do better to just speak to the Snape-Malfoy family and explain his actions but he didn't see the need to. What he did, everything he did, was for the Greater Good of their world.
Voldemort was out there right now, biding his time before he struck and Dumbledore needed to get his Hinkypunks in a row before the Dark Lord made his move.
~*~*~*POV Change ~*~*~*
The Dark Lord was angry; angry at the world, angry at his disloyal followers, angry at it all! How dare they desert him all those years ago! Malfoy and Snape would pay dearly for their treachery! They'd taken in the Potter brat; the brat that killed their Lord and Master! This could not and would not be allowed.
A whimper of pain flittered through his murderous haze. With disdain he cast his awareness outward and noticed a set of slender smooth hands coming up to grasp where his face erupted from the back of other man's head. "Please, my Lord, please calm yourself. I...I can't take much more."
It wasn't the words as much as the tone and the foreign emotions of pain and hurt rippling across his fractured mind that made Voldemort pause in his diatribe of hate and anger. For some reason the murderous fog began to clear when he realized he was hurting his vessel and his somewhat friend. As much as it discomforted him he did not want to hurt Quirrell; it was very disturbing indeed to him.
Here he was a man who never, not once, regretted hurting someone but he couldn't stomach the fact that he was causing Quirinus pain. Sighing, he tried to calm himself and instructed Quirrell via their mind link to fetch him his tonic. Apparently, he needed more and more to keep him stable the longer he inhabited the other man's body.
The Solstice needed to get here soon; he was unsure how long he could keep himself stable. The Dark Lord needed to reabsorb the Locket soon to begin the process of restoring his sanity. The Diary would have been better to use since it housed a larger piece of his soul but he could not fetch it quite yet. When he did obtain the book he would take it back into himself again, repairing another tear to his dark soul.
Hopefully, the reassembling of his mutilated soul would be enough to steady his mind and temper.
When Quirrell dosed them with the Stone elixir Voldemort immediately felt the calming effect sooth his shattered mind. Sighing again he mentally gave Qiurrell the equivalent of dare he say it a hug. Him hugging someone even mentally was somewhat nauseating but he could admit it was nice to feel the ex-professor's warm gratitude being directed back at him.
Who knew he was capable of such feelings? Maybe it was just limited to Quirinus? He had no desire to comfort Malfoy or Snape so it must be due to the fact that Quirrell had gone out of his way to aid him, to help him when no one else would. Yes, the Dark Lord knew how to reward his faithful and Quirrell would be rewarded above them all when he regained his body back; if the other man survived the ritual that was.
However, even with the great risks posed to his host the Dark Lord was sure the other man would live. For the first time in a long time he had communed with Mother Magic; his saving grace and the wielder of his greatest downfalls but for all the things magic had given and taken from him Voldemort still loved it, cherished it and couldn't imagine being without it. He'd lost that appreciation to his overinflated ego and narcissism but that was changing.
Maybe that was why he strayed so easily toward the path of ruin, meandering down the path to madness unchecked whereas before when he was younger his magic would never do anything to harm him. Was his descent into madness a result of his arrogance in regards to Mother Magic herself? It sounded farfetched but he, Tom Marvolo Riddle, was always one of Magic's favored.
He was truly gifted with incredible intellect and power and he'd thrown it all away, spit in the face of his gifts and twisted them until they, and himself, were corrupted and mangled in their mire of craziness and hate. Sighing, he calmed himself and brought his thoughts back to several nights ago when he reconnected with the magic around, and in him.
On February First during sundown the Dark Lord celebrated Imbolc. Imbolc was symbolic to many magical cultures; it reflected the ending of the old and the bringing in of the new, a fresh start if you will. Also, Imbolc was believed to symbolize healing; something he was dreadfully in need of. As the sun was lowering into the sky Voldemort lit a majestic bonfire; made with the braches of several trees that possessed large doses of natural magic.
He choose to use wood used in wand making as a sign of him ending his former path and beginning a new one; no longer would he raise his wand to damage the world he loved. From now on he would only draw his wand in defense of himself, his cause and his people. Tom Marvolo Riddle would rise again from the ashes of his former self and become greater and more fearsome than ever before.
He'd liberally sprinkled Frankincense, Sage and Mirth as he circled the fire, chanting in Latin his thanks to Mother Magic; graciously thanking her for allowing him this second chance to write his wrongdoings. When the night peeked and slowly began to wane Voldemort sprinkled seeds of Begonias, Pink Carnations and Stargazer Lilies on the ground.
Each flower chosen meant something to him; Begonias for deep thoughts, Pink Carnations for gratitude and Stargazers for ambition. He sprinkled them as a token to Mother Magic, trying to convey his deep commitment to his new promise and his revamped political cause. She smiled on him once again in the waning hours of the night, filling him with love and care; so much that Voldemort thought that this was what a mother's love must feel like.
And the Light fools wanted to take this away from magical people and call it Dark. How could anyone who ever felt Mother Magic's touch ever see it as wicked or evil? It was sad and heartbreaking that if Dumbledore and his ilk had their way no magical being would ever feel this glorious sensation. He could not allow that, would not allow it. The soon to be reborn Dark Lord would fight until his dying breath to preserve their traditions. He would fight for Magic and her wonderous blessings.
Even now he still felt the warm ambient magic swirling in his wraith like form; even Quirrell was feeling the warmth via his link with the Dark Lord. It was Magic's blessings to him and his new goals. He truly never realized how much he'd missed this feeling until now and he knew it was through this graciously bestowed forgiveness that he was able to snap out of his murderous rage so quickly.
The Elixir helped him but before he would not have the presence of mind to call for the tonic during his meltdown. Whenever he'd had an explosive episode before Quirinus had to practically crawl to the potions lab, fighting the Dark Lord for control of his body, and chug the liquid quickly before Voldemort wretched control back from the man. Between Mother Magic and the Elixir he was almost one hundred percent confident they would both survive the ritual.
The ritual was another issue all together. Some of the things he would need were not easily found or possessed. The shavings of a foaling Unicorn's horn, willingly given of course, were not something one just happened upon. No, he had to seek out a herd and assimilate himself into their presence over time; time he did not have.
They'd located a heard deep in the Forbidden Forest, outside of Hogwarts' wards and already he and Quirrell begin introducing themselves to the herd of about twenty steeds. The stallion was weary and aggressive towards them but soon began to accept Quirrell's being there as long as he stayed a ways away from them. After Magic's blessing the stallion was more willing to let them close; it was almost like the large horned equine could sense Magic's will and was acquiescing grudgingly to it.
Unicorns while animals were highly intun to magic, both Light and Dark and tended to shy away from anything overly malignant. And Voldemort was everything that could be considered malignant and caustic but the blessings bestowed on him seemed to cleanse him a little, lightening his once overly oppressive aura of death and decay.
It was almost laughable that Dumbledore didn't pick up on the darkness that seeped off of Quirrell's body. The venerable Light moron should have picked up on the taint in his host's magic but alas the old fool did not. It made the Dark Lord wonder what the man was getting himself up to. Generally, not all wizards and witches could sense magical auras but the powerful ones like Dumbledore could.
It was no shock that Severus didn't; the man hadn't interacted with Quirrell before so he wouldn't pick up on the change to the man's aura but the Headmaster had interacted with his host and never once let on that he noticed the change. Or maybe he had and the old coot waiting for him to make a move for the Stone? Who knew when it came to the haphazardly dressed, twinkly eyed psychopath...he shuddered trying to think like the man.
It simply was not possible to do; well not for anyone sane or less sane then he was at the moment. He knew he would have to deal with the old man at some point but that would come later, much later. He still had too much to confront and no time to deal with Dumbledore's frustrating ways and double speak.
With a relieved breath the Dark Lord ambled around the gardens, his break with reality completely behind him as he inhaled the chilled air and looked at the pretty sight of the snow on the manicured hedges. Things may not be prefect yet but at least they had a comfy safe place to call home. He really did love House Elves and all the amenities they provided for them; why had he not properly appreciated the little creatures before now?
Just another thing he'd lost sight of in his madness; the value of Magical Creatures, not matter their size or shape. All of them were valuable in their own way and gave something to the wizarding world they shared. He would make sure they received the rights they rightfully deserved; the rights the Light had stripped from them over the years.
Yes, in time things would be set to rights; one small step at a time.
Harry bounced into his dad's rooms for lunch with his family on Sunday. He was very excited about his new quest to find Salazar's domain and speak with his fellow Parselmouth. He'd send Ebony out on a scouting mission as soon as she finished mothering the massive Basilisk in the Chamber. Merlin knew she'd been down there since yesterday morning and no doubt Astaroth needed some quiet time to himself after being harangued by a pushy Ebony.
He loved her, he really did, but he seriously thought Ebony needed a hobby; other than tormenting the men in her life. He wondered if snakes could read. Maybe he should take her to the Forbidden Forest and let her slither around out there for a bit? With a sigh the raven plopped down on the sofa in his dad's sitting room and was quickly joined by a pouting Draco.
The blonde was sulking piteously and Harry wondered what Blaise could have possibly done now? Weren't they studying in the library? How much trouble could the Zabini heir have gotten himself into there? Huffing Harry turned his emerald eyed onto his older sibling; "What's the matter now?"
The haughty blonde sniffed and turned away; "Nothing, nothing at all. If Blaise wants to speak to the little trollops than he full well can!" Harry wanted to roll his eyes but refrained knowing it would only irritate his brother more. Collecting himself he slung an arm around Draco's shoulder and hugged him tight; "I love you, Draco. I really, truly do but you're acting like a prat. Just tell Blaise you like him and get it over with."
"By Salazar the boy is so confused as to what he's doing wrong all the time so please just get on with it and tell him so we can all go back to normal." Draco leaned into Harry's side and spoke in a soft voice; "But what if he doesn't feel the same? What if he laughs or pushes me away? I can't lose my friend, my best friend besides you."
Harry just continued to hug his sibling; weren't they too young to be dealing with this relationship shite already? However, before he could answer his fathers entered the room, both sporting swollen lips and slightly messy hair. Harry crushed down any thoughts of what they were doing and smiled at them happily. Draco tried to smile as well but it came out as a sad grimace.
Lucius huffed and made his way toward his heir and say down next to Draco; "Son, just tell the boy. Only an idiot would turn down a Malfoy." Harry and Severus both rolled their eyes in exasperation; trust papa Luc to see it that way. Draco looked like he was about to argue but Severus' deep voice cut him off at the quick; "Draco, I've watched Zabini when he's with you and the boy only has eyes for you."
"For Merlin's sake the boy plays to all your whims most of the time, doing anything to make you happy...well when he's not winding you up for fun; which is quite amusing to tell the truth. However, if you continue to act like a brat towards him you will lose him as a not only a friend but a potential lover. He's only being polite to the girls who approach him and I think you know that but your Malfoy possessiveness is just like your father's and tends to cloud the mind when it flares up."
Lucius was chuckling; "Draco, I can be the first to tell you that our possessive tendencies tend to a bit on the dramatic side..." At this point Severus and Harry snorted in amusement; a bit on the dramatic side? Harry couldn't help but think that was the understatement of the year. Lucius, however, plowed on; "and they can push away the ones we want to keep close. Severus hexed me bloody when I tried to tell him he couldn't spend time studying with Regulus Black when we were in school."
"While we may want to wrap our lovers in Acromantula silk and place them in a tower we cannot do so. By acting like you are towards Blaise you are unknowingly pushing him further away. Tell him and see where it goes but if what Severus says is true you have nothing to worry about. Besides not all of us meet our other halves when they're eleven. I was fifteen when I met Severus so even if it doesn't pan out with Zabini there will be other Kelpies in the pond for you my son."
Draco nibbled his lip, a nervous habit he'd mostly kicked and nodded after a few minutes; "I'll tell him tonight and if he is agreeable I'll ask if he wants to begin courting me. I want to do this right; I don't want to push Blaise away from me and if I can only have him as a friend well then I can deal with it but I would rather have him in my life as a friend than nothing at all."
Harry smiled at his brother along with his parents. Lucius pressed a kiss to Draco's head and moved away, situating himself regally on the sofa and sent a smile towards Severus; who was seated in the armchair near the fire. Harry watched his dads interact and hoped one day he could have that too but for right now he was happy with his life as it was.
Sharp emerald eyes watched as papa Luc's smile became smug before he turned to his sons; "I have good news. The Board has found Dumbledore guilty in regards to his negligence in keeping the Stone here at Hogwarts." Harry and Draco beamed at the older blonde who basked in the attention. Draco was the first to speak; "What was the punishment given?"
"I'm guessing he didn't get the sack since he was at dinner last night and breakfast this morning." Lucius nodded; "Indeed they didn't but a hefty fine was levied against the old man and the gossip tree will be possibly shaking when the news gets out about this. Any dirt thrown on the man's reputation is good for us."
Harry nodded and presented his idea about reaching out to the numerous muggle raised children sooner to his family. His dads and sibling looked both surprised and proud of him and Harry felt himself blush but didn't stop talking until he got it all out. He spoke about the idea of finding muggle born children sooner and introducing them to the magical world earlier; he even talked about having a fostering system with a magical family, something he only recently began thinking about.
For a few months the muggle raised child would live with a purely magical household and see what that was like. During this time the child would learn the traditions and celebrations that were held in their world. It would not be mandatory but encouraged for the muggle raised child to take part in.
Plus, by interacting with the muggle raised child they could keep an eye on them for any form of abuse and remove the kid before they became permanently damaged in some way.
By the time he was done papa Luc looked thoughtful while Severus was looking at Harry with such pride and love in his eyes. He was broken out of his staring contest with his dad when Draco nudged him; "Well Harry it seems you'll make a fine politician one day." Harry smiled at his sibling before looking at his thoughtful papa Luc; "I would lend my name in support of these ideas; I believe in them papa Luc."
"The situation between muggle raised and magical raised people is getting worse and worse as the years go by. I want to make a change and I fear that by the time I come of age it will be beyond repair. I want to bring back the Old Ways and repeal the horrible laws that stop us from honoring the Sabbaths and performing the Rituals that bring us renewed magical strength and virility. I was horrified when I read some of the laws passed in the last ten years."
"It cannot continue papa, it just can't." Severus quickly rose and pulled Harry into his arms, shushing him quietly. Harry hadn't meant to get so upset but it hurt him to see his world, a world he loved so deeply, being ruined from the inside out and what was worst no one, with the exception of a few, seemed to care that their beautiful world was slowly dying.
Harry just sunk into his dad's larger frame and let himself be comforted. He didn't jump when Draco and papa Luc joined them. Together the little family stood, holding each other. Finally, papa Luc spoke; "We'll make it better, Harry. I know if we work together we can do this." Harry looked into his papa's grey eyes and spoke with passion; "I know we can, papa, and we will work with whoever can help us reach our goals, even the Dark Lord himself if we must."
His parents froze and his dad spoke answered in a choked voice; "Harry, are you sure about that. The man murdered your parents." Harry pressed his lips together and nodded before murmuring; "He's regaining his mind again dad. Soon he'll be back to how he once was and he can help us fix things. I'll work with the Devil himself if it can help put our world back to the way it should be." His parents merely inclined their heads in agreement and understanding.
A little pop broke them out of their thoughts as Tilly the House Elf announced that lunch was ready in the dining room. All four men were a bit relieved that the heavy moment was over and moved to sit down so they could eat the delicious looking beef stew that was on the table.
Harry began to eat and debated on telling his family about his quest to find Slytherin's rooms but decided against it for now. When he found them he would let them know and let them to meet the Snake House's Founder but for right now he was enjoying having his own little adventure. He may be advanced for an eleven year old but he was still an eleven year old boy and enjoyed a bit of fun every now and again.
The rest of the afternoon was spent with his family; his dads helped them with their Occlumency and no one's mind was assaulted in the name of practice; thank Merlin for that. Although, Severus did slip into his and Draco's mind to check that their Occlumency barriers were being built correctly and that no faults could be found in the foundations of them.
Harry knew his dad was proud of them when he finally left his and Draco's mind and had nothing to remark upon. It was an accomplishment he was very happy about; this was something he had done on his own with minimal help from anyone and he quite liked the feeling.
However, all too soon he and his sibling had to leave the parents and go back into the castle. His dads loved them but Harry knew they didn't get to see each other a lot and anytime they could spend together was precious besides they would be back for dinner in a few hours.
Draco immediately left mumbling something about Blaise and Harry immediately knew his brother was going to get his act together before he split his proverbial guts to the Zabini heir. Harry smiled and wished Draco luck with whatever he was going to do.
Once Draco was out of sight the young raven began to wander the dungeons, trying to hone in on the location of Salazar's elusive rooms. At least he would be kept busy until he had to go back to his dad's rooms for dinner. He knew Theo would be wondering where he was but his friend wouldn't question where Harry had gone off to. That was why he loved Theo; the other boy knew when to press and when to leave it be.
With sharp eyes Harry began to prowl the stone hallways in search of his prize.
He done it! He had finally found the rooms of Salazar Bloody Slytherin! It had only taken him since February and it was now the end of March but looking around now he knew it was all worth it; all the searching and research had paid off as Harry stared in awe at the rooms around him.
His bright green eyes drank in the sight of a massive portrait above the fireplace; the man looked to be about forty with pale skin, sharp sky blue eyes and shining dark hair. Shuffling his feet a bit the Potter heir bowed in respect and spoke in the language of the serpents; "Greetings, Lord Slytherin. It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
The painted man looked even more intrigued than before and studied Harry's bowed form; "Rise child and tell me who you are. Are you one of my blood?" Emerald eyes came up as he shifted out of his bow; "No sir I am not one of you blood but I am linked to one your heirs through a cursed scar. It's how I came to speak Parseltongue."
Salazar nodded in acceptance and just watched Harry in curiosity;
"How is it that you found my rooms, little speaker?" Emerald eyes gleamed in accomplishment; "I spoke to Astaroth and he sent me on the right path to find you, sir." The Slytherin looked surprised; "You've spoken to Asta?! How's he doing? I dearly miss him but there are no portraits down in the Chamber; most unfortunate, actually."
Harry nodded; he understood how the man must feel, knowing his loved Familiar was at Hogwarts but he could not speak to him. That gave him an idea; "Sir, would it be possible to move your portrait down to the Chamber so we can all speak? I'm sure my Ebony would love to talk to another."
The esteemed Founder of Harry's House looked thoughtful for a moment and spoke, this time in English; "I believe that would be possible. All you have to do is request for Lady Hogwarts to remove my portrait from the wall and I can be shrunk down and placed in your pocket. I'll answer all your questions soon little snake; don't worry."
Emerald eyes widened; "Ask Lady Hogwarts, sir?" The older man chuckled; "Yes, young snake; ask Lady Hogwarts. She's sentient at this point, having so much magic fed into her walls and wards over the years. It was something we only believed would happen over time and as the castle grew older. But it seems my fellow Founders and I were correct when we supposed that this castle would one day be alive in a way."
Harry nodded and asked the castle he adored to allow Salazar's portrait to be removed from the wall. A few moments later a warm touch of magic swept into the room, caressing Harry's body before sweeping over Slytherin's large portrait. With a muted pop the man's frame was off the wall and leaning against the it.
Smiling the young raven thanked Hogwarts for her help and received a feeling of amusement and love. With a grin Harry removed his wand and waved it toward Salazar's portrait, muttering a simple Shrinking Charm and felt accomplished when the frame began to get smaller and smaller until it was the right size to fit in his pocket.
Stopping the spell so the frame wouldn't become any tinier Harry moved forward and lifted his prize. Satisfied that he'd done everything right the eleven year old left Salazar's rooms, content that he would have his answers soon and began the trek to the Chamber's entrance but unfortunately he had to detour form his destination when he heard Moaning Myrtle in the bathroom.
Cursing his luck Harry about faced and shuffled disappointedly toward his Common Room. He'd try to get into the Chamber later tonight or early tomorrow; for right now he would speak to Salazar when he got into his four-poster bed. He had so many questions to ask the Founder and he also wondered if the painted man had any cue about his heir's deeds in this time.
However, Harry would never get to ask his questions, or make his way to the Chamber, that night. As soon as he entered the Common Room a shock of pure agony shot through his body originating from the scar on his forehead. Harry screamed in pain as he made to scratch at the bleeding, inflamed cicatrix, trying to make it stop.
He was mindless as he writhed on the ground, not noticing the fearful expression on Draco's hovering face as Blaise pulled him into a hug or the pain the flittered across his dad's pale face when he stormed into the Common Room followed by an upset Theo and saw his beloved son in such agony; all Harry knew was he was in horrible pain and he needed it to stop now.
It finally did when he felt a strong Sleeping Spell hit him, allowing him to slip into darkness and blessed relief.
Well I think we can all figure out why Harry's scar flared up. Yup, next chapter is Ritual time! Sorry it has taken so long to update but my life is insane right now; Christmas, work, and my grandma dying have really zapped me of any creativity or even the time to write.
As Always All Mistakes Are My Own!