Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Harry Potter universe but my own OC's
A/N: Hey everyone! Sorry for not posting anything any sooner. It's been one heck of a month and I've had almost no time to do any writing. Anyways, I hope you guys enjoy the update! Happy Readings and please review and let me know what you guys think.
"So why am I here exactly?" Harry questioned the next morning with a slight yawn as he walked into Dumbledore's office. He had been up until five in the morning hunting down and destroying all of Voldemort's Horcruxes and had succeeded with all but one. One Horcrux, a necklace created by Salazar Slytherin had apparently been discovered and stolen without Voldemort's knowledge and now Harry was having difficulty locating it.
"Your recent behavior has been… reprehensible at best Harry," Dumbledore said disapprovingly as he watched from behind his desk as Harry casually walked around his office, poking and prodding at some of his devices. "I wish to know why you have been so unruly lately."
"Have I violated any school rules?" Harry questioned, completely ignoring Dumbledore's implied question. He picked up a double-ended teapot in mild curiosity and turned it this way and that in examination.
"No," Dumbledore said, causing Harry to smirk as he replaced the teapot and moved on to something else.
"Have I broken Ministry law?" Harry asked again, his smirk growing at the answer he knew was coming.
"No," Dumbledore said. The man went to continue speaking but Harry beat him to it.
"Then I hardly see how my behavior has been reprehensible," Harry said as continued his perusal of the various bits and bobs in Dumbledore's office. "Honestly, everyone in the castle with the exception of yourself and maybe Professor Snape views me as an upstanding student and you're only pissy because I haven't been kowtowing to your every whim like some slave."
"Now Harry I am not, as you put it, pissy and certainly not because of that," Dumbledore said, getting rather irritated at how Harry continually refused to look at him. "I am merely concerned why you have been sneaking around behind my back and lying to me."
"What on earth makes you think I've been lying and sneaking?" Harry questioned, looking the perfect combination of confused and innocent as he glanced over his shoulder at the old man.
"Shall we start with the location of your relatives?" Dumbledore asked almost in a purr, like a cat that had caught a mouse in mousetrap.
"What about them?" Harry questioned nonchalantly as he picked up a small silver bauble and held it up to the light in examination. His unconcerned attitude and they way he did not flinch at the mention of his relatives took some of the pleasure out of Dumbledore's stride but he continued nonetheless.
"You told me they were going to Iceland," Dumbledore said with a mild glare.
"Your point?" Harry asked. He was getting a little tired of the banter but he continued with his perusal of the dozens of silver objects and devices scattered throughout Dumbledore's office. "They moved to Iceland and I stayed behind. Big deal. Frankly I figured you would be happy I stayed in Britain, somewhere you can easily locate me so you can try to manipulate me."
"First of all," Dumbledore said, his ire showing at the blunt accusation. "I have never and would never do such a thing and I am hurt that you would think so little of me."
"Now who's lying?" Harry questioned in soft sarcasm but loud enough to be heard.
"Second of all," Dumbledore practically growled as he ignored Harry's second barb. "I checked with the muggle and magical government in Iceland. Neither have any record of your relatives entering the country or establishing a residence there."
"Maybe they lied," Harry said with an unconcerned shrug of his shoulders. "Maybe they got tired of dealing with something they considered an unnatural freak of a burden to their family and cooked up the ruse of moving in order to get rid of me."
"You and I both know that isn't true." Dumbledore reprimanded.
"Really? Cause it sounds like something they would do." Harry practically growled back as he put down his latest examination with a little more force than usual. "After all, they stuffed me in a cupboard under their stairs for ten years before I started going to Hogwarts and they grew too terrified of being caught by the officials and getting busted on their child abuse."
"Stop lying Harry!" Dumbledore snapped angrily. Harry froze at that just as he was about to pick up another object. Dumbledore, thinking he had finally gained Harry's attention and not noticing the tension to Harry's shoulders, continued speaking, coincidentally covering the feral snarl that rolled out of Harry's mouth. "I checked with the local airports that your relatives would have gone to and found three tickets leaving London to–"
Dumbledore was forced to stop speaking and duck underneath his desk as a table suddenly went flying across the room and crashed into his throne like chair, a chair that had sat more than a hundred Headmasters of Hogwarts. The desk was followed by a blasting curse, which shattered the ancient chair. Another spell flew from Harry's wand and the desk Dumbledore usually sat behind but was now cowering beneath was set ablaze. Harry sent off another blasting curse that blew a hole in the top of the desk. Harry stalked forward, reached through the desk, gripped Dumbledore by his obscenely long grey hair, and lifted.
"If you ever," Harry growled as he pulled the cowed man through the wreckage of the ancient desk and hauled him over to a window, where he promptly dangled the man in the open air, over three hundred feet above the solid ground below. "Call me a liar again, especially about the abuse I was subjugated to at the hands of those bastards, then I will not hesitate to send you flying out of this window."
"Harry–!" Dumbledore started in a panic but was cut off once again as Harry let the man slip slightly.
"DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" He roared angrily and with a slightly manic gleam to his eyes.
"Yes, YES!" Dumbledore shouted as he scrambled to hold onto Harry's hand. Harry snarled as he hauled the aged wizard back inside and threw him across the room where he crashed against a wall, unfortunately very much alive. With a wave of his wand the damage done to the Headmaster's office was repaired, the fire was doused and the desk and chair were returned to their original state.
"You do not deserve the position you have found yourself in old man," Harry said as he started to calm down, though his demeanor was no less imposing to Dumbledore, who attempted to regain some form of dignity by not looking like a crumbled heap. "I would be careful if I were you. You might find yourself very far from where you are now and with less respect shown to an ant."
"I should have you expelled," Dumbledore panted out, his voice a mixture of fear, wonder, and anger.
"But you won't since then you wouldn't be able to keep an eye on me," Harry said, unfazed by the empty threat. "Now," he continued as he set about straightening his clothing, it having been messed up when he dangled the old man from the window. "As it is the weekend, I will be leaving the school grounds to attend to a business matter."
"You will be back on these grounds by dinner," Dumbledore said as he managed to regain his footing. He stared after Harry's retreating back as he continued. "To serve detention with Professor Snape for assaulting a staff member." Harry had paused halfway to the door but quickly continued and slammed the door behind him. He would let Dumbledore have this small win, he did assault the man after all, and really, it mattered little to him. Snape would be too apprehensive about giving Harry any of his more grueling detentions given what he knew about Harry's position so it would not be like a real detention.
Once Harry had gotten a fair distance from the Headmaster's office, he vanished. He used his enhanced speed to run all the way down to the end of the boundary line so he could Apparate back to his house in St. Ives. Upon appearing in the entryway, Harry was greeted by a house elf, who took his coat and asked if he would like a cup of blood to drink since he hadn't had his morning meal yet. Harry sent the elf off with an affirmative after asking where Sirius and Remus were.
"Harry?!" Sirius questioned in shock when Harry entered the dining hall and sat down "What are you doing here?"
"Taking a break and looking for you," Harry said as he took a sip from the glass that had appeared next to him. He sighed slightly as most of the tension drained from his shoulders. He had not realized before then that he had been getting hungrier than normal due to the stress from everything he had been doing over the past few days. "You have a fairly reasonable recollection of all the pureblood lines yes?"
"I don't know every line but most of the major ones since they've all interconnected with the House of Black at one time or another," Sirius said in confusion, still a little nonplused at Harry's arrival and subsequent questions. "Why?"
"Would you happen to know anyone with the initials…" Harry said as he dug a piece of paper out of his pocket and read the words again before passing the note off to Sirius. "R.A.B?"
"Didn't your brother have those initials?" Remus questioned curiously.
"Yes," Sirius said as he slowly lowered the note and looked up with a slightly pale look on his face. "And he was a Death Eater. And this is his handwriting. Where did you get this? And what is this secret he's talking about?"
"Horcruxes," Harry answered as he mulled this new bit of information over. Given that he had ravaged Voldemort's mind for every pertinent piece of information, Harry recalled Regulus Black. "They're Dark objects that house pieces of a wizard's soul and keep the person pinned to the realm of life, essentially making the person immortal. The process of making them is hideous and revolting and Voldemort ended up making six of them, five of which I've already destroyed. The only one left, the only one that is keeping Voldemort alive, is that necklace and it's gone missing thanks to your brother."
"Regulus has been missing and presumed dead for almost fifteen years now." Remus spoke up when Sirius seemed too stunned to speak.
"Hmmm, that is a bit of a problem," Harry said as he accepted the paper from the elf that had popped into the room with it. "Oh good they took forever to find them." He added absently when he noticed the headline on the front page. A picture of the Dark Mark Harry had cast covered most of the page followed by an article about how the Aurors had discovered a paralyzed Pettigrew and the murdered form of what they presumed to be the man's attempt at resurrecting the Dark Lord.
"I'm guessing you had something to do with this?" Remus questioned after perusing the front page when Harry had handed him the paper. He passed the paper off to Sirius to read.
"Yes, that's why I'm trying to find all of these Horcruxes," Harry said as he pulled out the fake locket and fiddled with it in thought. "So, your brother was a Death Eater who apparently defected and attempted to weaken the Dark Lord. The question, however, is how did he get the necklace out of that cave by himself?" Everyone was quiet as they either ate, thought, or read the Prophet's article. "Did your family have an elf Sirius?"
"Hmmm?" Sirius questioned, looking up from the article in the paper that he was reading, trying to wrap his mind around just who Harry had become. It wasn't that he had a major problem with it since Harry wasn't going around killing people but it was difficult given that he had spent the past two or three decades fighting all things dark. "Yeah, Kreature. Wretched little thing he was. He's probably still wandering around the house with no one for company but severed elf heads, my mother's painting, and various other creatures."
"Would you mind if I went and had a chat with him?" Harry inquired as he stuffed away the fake locket. "He might have been there to help your brother retrieve the locket."
"Have at it but I wouldn't expect to get much out of him." Sirius said with an unconcerned shrug. "The house is on Grimmauld Place. Number twelve." Sirius barely had a chance to finish his sentence before Harry Apparated from the room after downing the rest of his drink. He and Remus looked to each other in mild surprise and a small amount of annoyance before they simply shook their heads and went about finishing their meals.
As for Harry, he reappeared near the heart of London on Grimauld Place. He quickly crossed the empty street and stepped up the path to the abandoned town house that reeked of Dark magic. He passed unhindered through the weak wards around the house and into the hallway. The darkened hall of Grimauld Place was covered in dust, grime, and magic. The aura of Dark magic would be detected from a mile away on the outside but on the inside it was almost unbearable, even for a dark creature like Harry. As it was, Harry managed to ignore the stink and focus on other things, such as the low and inconsistent rustling that could be heard throughout the entire house.
"A stranger in the House of Black," a gruff and withered voice sounded from the far end of the hall, drawing Harry's eyes to see a decrepit house elf that looked at least two hundred years old. "So long it has been since someone has walked these halls. How my mistress would wail at having such filth walking her halls."
"I would watch your tongue elf," Harry snipped with a small growl. "I'm not in the best of moods and you may end up losing your life should you push me."
"I know your face," Kreature said in his dusty voice. "You're the boy who stopped the Dark Lord."
"And you're the elf who conspired with Regulus Black to bring down that very same Dark Lord," Harry said, reigning in his temper a little bit. It would not do to slaughter the impertinent elf before he got his answers. Besides, it was not the elf's fault that it had gone mad.
"How do you know that?" Kreature said, sounding terrified and in pain at the same time.
"I found this somewhere it did not belong," Harry said as he held up the fake Horcrux locket. Kreature froze at the sight of the locket and he started looking decidedly nervous. "If Kreature is good I might let you have it back. If you help me Kreature, I can make it so you're no longer wandering around an empty house with nothing better to do than push dust around."
Kreature moaned, almost as if he were in pain. "What is it you wish to know?"
"You went to the cave with your master Regulus," Harry said, not making it a question as he moved closer towards the elf. "I'm guessing he drank the potion and you fled with the locket with the order to destroy it. What I need to know is where that locket is and if you managed to succeed in destroying it."
"Kreature tried everything," Kreature said almost desperately as he eyed the locket like a starved man would eye a four course gourmet meal. "But nothing would work. No matter what Kreature did or how badly he damaged it, the locket would always repair itself. All these long years I have hidden it, kept it safe since I couldn't destroy it."
"Bring me the locket Kreature," Harry said as he hung the locket around the elf's withered head. "Bring it to me and I'll fulfill your master's last wish." Kreature hesitated briefly in thought, likely looking at the situation from all angles, but the necklace dangling around his neck proved too much and he quickly popped out of the room and then popped back with the requested object.
Harry picked up the locket from the elf's spindly little hands. He dangled it from his fingers for a few moments in examination. Quicker than Kreature could register, Harry smashed the locket between his hands, lacing his skin with a dark spell only he knew. The soul piece screeched, even as Harry ground the locket to dust between his palms. A small cloud of Dark magic was released into the air but it quickly dissipated and Harry allowed the dust to fall to the ground.
"Now," Harry said as he turned his gaze back to Kreature, who was staring down at the locket around his neck in fascination, as if it held the secrets of life. "Do you wish to remain in this house or do you wish to work for me, where you'll be treated respectfully and will have plenty of work to do?"
"Kreature's family has served the House of Black for generations," Kreature said somewhat nervously. "I cannot simply choose to change families, even if I've no one left to serve."
"And if I were to consult with the current Lord Black and he agreed to allow the transfer?" Harry asked with a quirked eyebrow. "From what I understand he wouldn't have a problem with the transfer." Kreature was silent for several moments as he thought the offer over. Then, very hesitantly, Kreature gave the most imperceptible of nods. "Then report to my head elf Mipsy. She will provide you with work. Just inform her that you are not to work in the same house as Sirius Black."
Harry sighed once the elf had vanished. He took a few moments to himself before he disappeared with a small wisp of dust. He returned briefly to his house in St. Ives to discuss the transfer of Kreature with Sirius and make everything final before he vanished again and returned to Hogwarts. It was only just past lunch, his activities having taken up the entire morning, so Harry strolled leisurely through the gates and up towards the castle. He did not care that he was walking towards a supposed detention. Snape would be too apprehensive of him to attempt to assert any sort of authority over him.
"So," Harry said as he walked into Snape's office after being granted entrance. "I take it you have spoken with Dumbledore."
"Yes," Snape drawled as he gestured for Harry to have a seat in a chair in front of his desk. "Though he refused to explain to me why he was having you serve detention with me."
"He wasn't particularly thrilled with the fact that I threw a table at him and dangled him from the window by his withered hair." Harry said with some amusement as he recalled the incident. "He practically begged for it though when he called me a liar when I told him how those wretched muggles treated me."
"You," Snape said haltingly as he attempted to restrain his own amusement. It was clear that there was no love lost between the Potions Master and the Headmaster. "You dangled him from a window? By his hair?"
Harry nodded and said, "Frankly I'm surprised that his hair didn't just fall out given its age."
"I'm more surprised over the fact that he didn't expel you on the spot," Snape said as the reality of what Harry had said slowly sank in. He truly did not care about what happened to Dumbledore given the things the old man had put him through over the years, but he was surprised that at the Headmaster's lack of action against such a blatant attack.
"He wants me where he can try and manipulate me," Harry said with an unconcerned shrug as he picked at one of his fingernails. "He thinks to use me as some sort of weapon in the war against Voldemort and then against the rest of the wizarding world, or something like that. Too bad for him, Voldemort is dead and gone and won't be coming back ever again."
"Care to elaborate?" Snape questioned with a raised eyebrow.
"Did you read the paper today?" Harry questioned as he looked back up at Snape. At the man's nod he continued. "Well that was me. I do not know what the paper actually reported but Pettigrew and Voldemort were hiding out in that old manor. After some… digging," he said this bit with a particularly nasty smirk. "I set that up to get the authorities' attention. While they were busy tending to my little present I set about finding and destroying objects called Horcruxes, of which there were six."
"Six?" Snape questioned in complete disbelief. Being a dabbler of the Dark Arts, he knew what a Horcrux was but he had never before heard of someone creating six of the horrid things. Hell, not even he had considered even considering making such a disturbing object.
"Six," Harry confirmed with a nod. "They're all gone though. Destroyed them all during the night."
"So the war is finally over?" Snape questioned, having trouble comprehending the fact that the war that had marked most of his and all of Harry's life was finally finished.
"Yup," Harry said matter-of-factly, as if what he had done was nothing more than walking from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade. "Now we just have to endure the stupidity of one moronic Headmaster."
Dumbledore sat in his office trying desperately not to think of what had happened earlier that day. He adamantly refused to believe that he had been shaken as badly as he had been. The sheer ferocity behind Harry's actions had been bone chilling to say the least. It had also made him realize that perhaps he had made a mistake in placing the Boy-who-lived with his muggle relatives. Especially when he considered how it had all ended up.
He had done such similar things many times in the past or, rather, something similar. During his work with Grindelwald, he had come to view how valuable muggleborns could be when it came to ruling the wizarding world. They were quickly coming to outnumber the purebloods, even back then and while Grindelwald wanted them purely for slave labor, much in the way Voldemort wanted them; Dumbledore had come to think that if they could keep the muggleborns under control then he would have the world in his pocket. This led to the fall out between the two and why Dumbledore had been forced to take action against his long time friend.
With Grindelwald out of the way, Dumbledore had been free to shape the world, or at least his little corner of it, to his liking. Over the years he had become very good at leaving muggleborns in abusive situations and appearing as their savior or being the kind hearted grandfatherly figure that helped introduce the new witches and wizards into a world they knew nothing about. Both scenarios had worked wonders and he had slowly come into a very favorable position that allowed him to expand his work.
To date, he had more muggleborn connections around the globe and in the ministry than most of the pureblood families. Only the Malfoy family could out match his network and Dumbledore was hoping that due to their connection with the Dark Lord, their connections would dwindle and the powerful family would be put out of business or at the very least restrict their power greatly from what it was. So far, that had yet to happen but he still held out hope.
Then there was Harry. When Dumbledore had first heard of the prophecy surrounding the boy he had, at first, not understood a single lick of it. Divination was, is, and always would be one of his most hated subjects. However, the more he had mulled it over the more he had come to, partly, understand its meaning. He had, at the time, not known to which boy the prophecy referred as it could have easily meant Neville Longbottom as well as Harry Potter. Thus was why he had set both families up to see which family Tom would go for, telling the Potters of the prophecy and having them use Peter as secret keeper instead of Sirius and keeping the Longbottoms ignorant and out in the open.
When Harry had been marked, Dumbledore had gone into immediate action. He manipulated Remus into believing that Harry would not be safe with him and it was easier done than said to get Sirius out of the way since everyone had believed him to be the Potter's secret keeper. With the infant in his control, Dumbledore had known just what to do with him. Since the boy could not be considered a muggleborn, that he could act the dotting grandfather with, Dumbledore had opted to go with the abused and savior scenario and since the Dursley's were actually related to Harry, it made everything perfect.
Harry's first year at Hogwarts had gone as planned almost to a T and it had only served to ingratiate the boy to him even more and to impress upon the boy a hero complex so deep that no one could up root it. His second year had been rather unexpected but had played into Dumbledore's plans rather well, which is why he had allowed it to happen. The same was true for Harry's third year.
This year on the other hand was not going very well. Something had happened during the boy's summer that Dumbledore simply could not figure out and it had served to change the boy in ways Dumbledore had not expected. Somehow, Dumbledore wasn't sure how, Harry had managed to convince the Dursley's to sign away their rights as Harry's legal guardians and simultaneously giving the boy full access to the Potter estate, which was as large as the Malfoy's. Then Harry had quite effectively ensured Sirius' freedom and reinstatement to the public eye.
Then there was this morning, the very thing that Dumbledore had no wish to contemplate. He was certain that whatever had caused Harry's change over the summer had resulted in his change of attitude towards the esteemed Headmaster he had witnessed during the meeting at the bank and then again throughout the school year. However, Dumbledore had not thought that the boy would ever attack him, ever. Not to mention hang him from a window over a thousand feet in the air, by nothing more than his withered and grey hair.
Albus sighed heavily and took a small sip of the glass of whiskey he had been nursing for the past hour or so. For once in his long life, he was at a complete loss of what to do. He could only hope that the detention with his least favorite teacher would straighten things out but he was not holding his breath. He would just have to try to draw up some plans to get the boy to behave.
Harry leaned casually up against the wall of the great hall and watched those gathered with a calculating eye. Tonight was the Yule Ball, a traditional part of the Triwizard Tournament, and though he had not come with a date, he had still attended simply for the desire to socialize. Being a vampire, it was a biological urge to socialize since they had a tendency to get severely depressed if they were isolated. This depression, depending on the vampire, could lead to death, usually self-inflicted. That was the reason why the vampire race had been in such a decline. When it had been popular to hunt them down, the remaining vampires went into hiding but when they could not openly socialize the way they used to, the clans had fallen farther and farther into a depressive and destructive spiral. Soon, it had gotten to the point where only vampires like Harry, whose immortality was absolute, had survived. Unfortunately, that had not been enough. Those alone who had outlasted the ages had found a way to end their immortality. Thus was why they had left the record, for one who might carry their gene so they would know, so they could change.
"I'm surprised," a bored drawl sounded as Draco walked up and leaned up against the wall next to Harry. "I would have thought that a social bug such as you would have danced with at least half the school by now. Particularly since half the school is enamored with you. I really must compliment you on that. Not one ounce of magic used and yet you have almost everyone fawning over you."
"Do I detect a hint of jealousy in your voice?" Harry inquired with obvious amusement.
"Only regards into how they fawn over you," Draco admitted with a shrug. He paused briefly as he looked out over the gathering, picking out certain people and monitoring their progress across the room. "Due to my families slightly less than favorable reputation I get a rather different sort of attention from everyone."
"I can understand that," Harry said with an agreeing nod as he too monitored certain people within the dancing and mingling crowd. He smirked in great amusement as he watched a thoroughly flushed Hermione dance with Viktor Krum. His smirk grew nasty when he saw Weasley sitting in a corner sulking due to his lack of a date and jealousy over both Krum and Hermione. "I have been meaning to ask you about that. Do you know at all why your father has crafted such a reputation?"
"Because he's a cruel bastard," Draco asked, keeping a tight control over his voice and his emotions. "His father, Abraxas arranged a marriage between him and my mother but he never knew of the simply cruel ambition that drove his son. Once I was conceived, Lucius had Abraxas killed so he could take over as Lord Malfoy. Before then, the Malfoy family had a much different reputation. When he finally had control, Lucius tied himself to the Dark Lord and begun his reign."
"Like minds, like hearts," Harry said in understanding. "Your father wants power and he thought to gain it by working for Voldemort, who wanted the same thing."
"Exactly," Draco said with a smirk as he turned to look at Harry directly. "I am pleased to know though that you saved many a Slytherin from being forced into service." His smirk grew into mild chuckles at the simple way Harry raised his eyebrow in surprised question. "Severus told me. Everyone in Slytherin felt the stirrings, particularly those with… certain parents. Those old enough to know the implications started panicking, well panicking for Slytherins anyways." He amended when Harry snorted in disbelief. As if a Slytherin could be anything but calm. "Several of us had heard the stories of the Dark Lord, most of us did our own research into the topic and none liked what they had found. When the whispers began to spread, we all gathered to try and think of ways to avoid such a fate."
"Well I am happy to be of service." Harry said, making a half-mocking bow to the other boy. Truly, he was happy to have helped so many to avoid such an unpleasant fate. His goal in making the bow was simply to elicit a laugh from the other boy, which of course he succeeded in doing. "Perhaps they will be willing to aid me in toppling the Headmaster."
"I didn't think he was of any concern to you?" Draco said with mild surprise.
"He isn't," Harry said with a slightly put upon sigh as he allowed his gaze to travel over to the aged and withered man who was currently going through a slow waltz with McGonagall of all people. He did not particularly care who the man danced with he just found it somewhat surprising. "He's just been rather irksome lately, trying all sorts of ludicrous things to get me back under his control. It's getting rather irritating and is interfering with my plans."
"Hmmm," Draco hummed as he mulled things over. He had no idea what plans Harry was referring to; almost no one knew what the powerful teen lord was up to, not even Hermione. However, he did not particularly care given that he knew that Harry was not out to become a Dark Lord. "I doubt there's a Slytherin currently attending Hogwarts that wouldn't love to see that old, arrogant bastard kicked out of the castle. Unfortunately, given that particular house's previous opinion of you, I doubt many would willingly help you."
"And yet," Harry said as he gestured for Draco to follow him before he led the way out of the hall to take a small stroll around the grounds. It was a beautiful winter night and Harry always enjoyed being outside. "Not a single member of your house, save for yourself, has dared to approach me this year."
"Snakes live close to the ground Harry," Draco chuckled with amusement thick in his voice. "Next to the insects, they are the first to hear whispers. Everyone in Slytherin, even the younger years, knows that a power shift is taking place in Hogwarts and they all know you are at the center. The other houses will only catch on once you've really started making waves. As for me," Draco gave a small shrug of his shoulders even as he chuckled slightly. "I think you can figure out my change of attitude, especially since you gave me a heart attack on Halloween."
Harry burst into giggles at the memory of just how the blond had reacted when Harry had caught him in the library. "I'll give you that. Do you think they would help you more than they would me?"
"Probably," Draco said after a moment's thought and sidestepping a rock as he and Harry moved out into the gardens near the greenhouses. "Most of the fourth year Slytherins are all of similar mind as myself, with a few exceptions that are diehard supporters of the Dark Lord, those that had it ingrained into them from birth the superiority of the Dark Lord. The other years are a little harder to judge since I did not grow up with them but there are those in my year with siblings in other years. Those would be the best keys to the older and younger years in Slytherin."
"Good, good," Harry said nodding as he thought that over. "If you can take care of the snakes, I'm certain I can take care of the other houses."
"How're you going to get him out of office though?" Draco questioned curiously, as he looked over at Harry, who had paused momentarily to stroke the petal of a lily and smell its delicate smell, a look of sorrow on his face. "Most of Britain and half of Europe looks up to him like a god or some such." He continued, tactfully allowing Harry his privacy.
"Trust me," Harry said with a nasty smile. "It can take years to build a good reputation but only one second to have it blow up in your face."
Draco smirked just as nastily as Harry did as he recalled all the times the public had run Harry through hell simply because of a rumor. He could not wait to see what the vampire had in store for Dumbledore.
"Honestly Weasley," Harry said with obvious exasperation in his voice. He was sitting in the Great Hall calmly pretending to eat breakfast while simultaneously enjoying the fact that everything was going to plan. It was currently January and the first day of term and he had a perfect, captive audience. "You're quite possibly the densest creature on the planet and with Trolls out there that's saying something."
Weasley, the hot head that he was, had been ranting for the past three minutes over how Hermione was fraternizing with the enemy by going out with Krum and how the famous Seeker was probably only going out with her to get to Harry. Why the redhead thought that was beyond any of them. Harry thought it might have something to do with the potion that Harry had been covertly feeding him over the past week specifically for this moment. It was a potion that he had personally designed, with a little assistance from an unsuspecting, or rather unquestioning Potions Master. The potion was designed to lower a person's inhibitions when it came to their darker side.
"Excuse me!" Weasley demanded, his face turning a darker shade of red than his hair.
"Seriously, if you had bothered to think at all over this situation you might just see things differently," Harry said in a slightly condescending tone that everyone nearby could easily pick up on. It helped that Weasley's outburst had caused most of the hall to look over at them to see what was happening. Everyone in the school had already learned of the almost complete break between Harry and Ron so they were all expecting some good fireworks. "For starters, you might have realized that the entire point of this tournament is to improve international relations. For an entrée, if you excuse the pun," he continued, making Weasley grow redder while the other students snickered at Harry's subtle play of words. "You would've noticed that Viktor doesn't need to go through Hermione to get to me, as you so crudely put it, because he and I are already friends. He actually came to me before asking Hermione out because he wasn't sure if she and I were dating since most of the time he saw her was with me studying in the library."
"Why didn't he just ask me?" Hermione questioned in confusion. She did not really have a problem she was just confused and curious.
"Because he's actually rather shy," Harry said quietly so only Hermione, who was sitting right next to him, could hear. He was not about to spread around something private about a friend when he hated it when that was done to him. "And marginally old fashioned. Besides, he also wanted tips on how to approach you since you're almost always buried in some book."
"Hey!" Hermione cried indignantly at the same time Weasley, finally pushed beyond his limits, stood up and shouted, "Incendio!"
Harry had been expecting such a curse, though admittedly not that particular one and he had seen the spell coming. He could have dodged the spell, easily, or he could have countered it but that would have ruined his plans. Instead, Harry allowed the spell to make contact, pushing himself backwards and onto the floor. His entire body erupted in flames while half the hall erupted in screams of outrage, shock, and fear. Even though he did not feel any pain, Harry writhed, flailed and let out a blood-chilling scream of pain. He also made sure to keep his regenerative abilities at bay so he would appear as if he were actually burning. Hermione, who had been in on Harry's plan, paused just long enough before she fired off a stunner at Weasley.
"What is going on?" McGonagall screeched as she came swooping down from the Head Table, doing a remarkable imitation of Snape. Hermione had been seconds away from turning and dousing Harry but McGonagall beat her to it with a stream of water from the tip of her wand.
"My idiot hot head of a brother attacked Harry Professor," Ginny said angrily as she kept her wand trained on her unconscious brother.
"Didn't think our brain dead brother," Fred said with a scowl as he picked up Weasley's wand and stuffed it in his pocket.
"Would do something so monumentally stupid," George finished with an identical scowl as his twin.
"Goes to show where his friendship gets you." Dean practically snarled as Madam Pomfrey, who had been mere heartbeats behind McGonagall levitated Harry and quickly took the quietly whimpering boy from the hall and to the Hospital Wing. Hermione quickly followed, leaving McGonagall to deal with Weasley, already knowing the poor punishment that Weasley would receive.
Hermione caught up with Madam Pomfrey just as she rushed through the doors of the Hospital Wing. The nurse quickly put Harry on the nearest bed and started casting spells and summoning burn ointment from her cupboards. Hermione was not truly worried given what she knew about Harry's situation but between the severe looking burns on his body and the flash Occlumency training he had given her at The Louvre, Hermione did a very good job at acting panicked and concerned.
She paced back and forth, quietly so she did not disturb Pomfrey and her ministrations. After so long, Dumbledore, McGonagall, and Snape entered the wing and waited patiently for the nurse to finish. Snape, having some training in the medical arts due to the last war and having been on the receiving end of this very nurse's work, came forward and started assisting the witch. He did not know about Harry's plans or that Harry was not really injured but he was only adding to the authenticity of Harry's plans. When the three adults had entered the room, Hermione had felt a Legilimency probe from the Headmaster when she made eye contact with the man. Thankfully, she had broken contact before he could notice her shields and she barely managed to suppress a sneer of derision at his actions.
"He's stable," Pomfrey finally said as she straightened up and wiped her brow. "And the burns are reacting will to the paste, surprisingly well actually. They should be fully healed in a few days."
"That is wonderful news," Dumbledore said with relief in his voice. Hermione noticed something else as well but she had trouble placing exactly what she was hearing. "Your skills truly are remarkable Madam Pomfrey."
"What is being done about Weasley?" Hermione questioned, playing her part well as she went to stand next to Harry's bed. Concern showed easily on her face but there was also anger and a righteous look that said she would not stop until she had justice.
"He will be serving detention with me for the rest of the month," Snape said with a somewhat sour look on his face. It was quite clear that he did not like the meager punishment given to the Weasley.
"That's it!" Hermione said in outrage, though she had expected such a punishment.
"Over a hundred points have also been deducted," Dumbledore said in an attempt to placate the irate witch.
"I don't care about points!" Hermione very nearly growled as she glared death at the aged man before her. "The minimum punishment for cursing another student with such a dangerous and deadly curse is suspension for a minimum of three months."
"Now Miss Granger," Dumbledore said with a slightly reproving look, as he looked her directly in the eye. This time, Hermione did not bother to hide the fact that she knew Occlumency and took great satisfaction in seeing the slight widening of Dumbledore's eyes when he encountered them. He recovered quickly though and continued speaking. "I'm certain that Mr. Weasley regrets his actions. There is no reason to ruin his future over one little incident."
"One little…" Hermione said in disbelief. Expected or not, it was still difficult to listen to a man try and down play an attack on one student from another. A prank was one thing but this was an attack. Sure, it was not premeditated but that was not the point.
"I think it would be best if everyone left," Pomfrey interjected, seeing that the teen witch was two steps away from ripping the Headmaster a new eye socket. Frankly, she wanted to do the same thing but she had long since learned not to argue with Dumbledore when he had made up his mind on something. She would give the man a piece of her mind, even in this, but she knew there was nothing she could to do to change the man's mind. "Mr. Potter needs his rest and he's not about to get it with you all in here arguing."
"Quite right," McGonagall said as she grabbed Dumbledore's arm and started leading the man from the Hospital Wing. She was of similar mind as Poppy and just like the matron; she could not do much to change the man's mind. She may be the Deputy Headmistress, a position that held a great deal of power in Hogwarts, but Dumbledore could still over rule her.
Hermione conjured a chair, sat down, and looked at Madam Pomfrey, daring her to force her out of the ward. She was therefore surprised when Pomfrey merely smirked at her before turning to Harry and tapping him twice on the forehead. As if that had been some prearranged signal, Harry's eyes snapped open. He took a small rattling breath, emitting a small cloud of smoke, before he allowed his skin to start healing. It was like watching a movie on fast forward or something similar. Harry's skin went from dried, cracked, and black to flawless in a matter of minutes.
"Why didn't you tell me you were going to involve her?" Hermione questioned in mild annoyance once Harry had fully healed and he was sitting up, easily figuring out that Harry had involved Madam Pomfrey in his plans.
"Because it would have hampered your acting," Harry said easily with a shrug, not about to repent for his actions. "I'm sorry Hermione but even with Occlumency at your disposal, you're still a bad liar."
"I thought she did very well actually," Pomfrey said, coming to the pouting girl's defense.
"Be that as it may," Snape interjected before the others could continue speaking. "Perhaps you would care to inform me as to what is going on?"
"Sorry Professor," Harry said with a small smile that did nothing to quell the slightly ticked glare he was receiving from the Potions Master. "I figured you would have preferred plausible deniability rather than having to outright lie in case anyone started asking questions." When Snape's glare did not relent, Harry continued. "We," he gestured at Hermione, Pomfrey, and himself. "And I'm sure you do as well, believe that Dumbledore is no longer fit to run this school, particularly if he's going to use it as his own personal training ground. So, we devised a plan to make sure he was removed from office."
"If you can make enough of a ruckus with the parents when they find out about the Boy-Who-Lived being attacked and the person responsible being so meekly punished…" Snape said his voice trailing off as he easily caught on to the plan that was currently in play by the powerful teen lord. "I am surprised though. Your condition and situation with Weasley notwithstanding, I did not think you would destroy someone's future just to obtain your goals."
"That's the brilliance of it though," Harry said with a pleased, yet entirely nasty smirk on his face. "I didn't. I may have brewed the potion and pinned all the blame on that hotheaded menace but I knew, we all knew, how Dumbledore would punish Weasley, a displeasing punishment that would not really put a black mark on the boy's record. Since I was truly the cause this wasn't going to be a problem but it would fit perfectly with our plans."
"And since Weasley needs to get a hold on that temper of his and is famous for losing it, he was the perfect patsy." Snape said with an understanding nod and a small chuckle of appreciation. "Very Slytherin Harry, very Slytherin."
"Well they do tend to have the best plans," Harry said with a snicker and then added, "And the hat did want to put me there after all." He could not help the laugh that burst from his lips at the shocked and indignant sputtering that Snape suddenly degraded into, along with Hermione who had not known that little tidbit.
"When you have stopped laughing," Madam Pomfrey said with twitching lips as she watched Harry laugh at his two sputtering cohorts. "Remember to glamour yourself. I'm going to keep you here until the end of the week to keep up the façade."
"Th-thank you Madam Pomfrey," Harry said as he regained control of his laughter.