Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to the incomparable J. K. Rowling. No money is being made from this.
Hey all. So, I bet most of you thought I wouldn't update again. I'm sorry about that. To be honest, the thought crossed my mind. I think I owe you an explanation as to why I didn't update for so long. The truth is that I got tired of getting every other week or so messages saying: hey, I found your story posted on this or that site.
Don't get me wrong, I have no problem with people picking up concepts/ideas and using them. Hell, even whole scenes that they might find inspiring and want to do something with it. And if they credit me for it, even better. That's what writing is all about, at least for me.
However, it's horrible investing years of your life into a story, getting attached to characters that become yours through long hours of hard work, and then someone comes around and just claims it as theirs. Just copies the whole thing and posts it somewhere else as their work. It's... honestly, it's heartbreaking. That's why I stopped updating the multi chapters. I felt cheated. I felt horrible. I felt as if the time I invested in these stories was worthless.
I was ready to call it quits and just focus on my original stories.
However, even after all this time, I still kept getting reviewers and follows and people asking me to update, and I realized I was being so incredibly unfair to all of you. You've been with me for years now and I don't want to let you down.
Thank you for all your support. It's because of you that I came back to write these multi chapters and it's because of you that I will finish them. You are amazing and your support means the world to me. Thank you for sticking with me for so long. All of you are the reason why I write.
On a side note, I have a P.A.T.R.E.O.N. page with my original stories. If it's something you are interested in, you can find me at www. (word that FFN doesn't let me use P.A.T.R.E.O.N.) dot com/ aglopes
So, apparently, most people weren't able to see the chapter. I tried to add it again as new chapters 9 and 10, but those didn't show either. I ended up deleting all of them and adding a new chapter 8.
To clear things up, there weren't three updates, only one. I have no idea why it was glitching like this. Hope it works now and thanks to everyone who let me know it wasn't working.
Chapter 8 – Shattered Illusions
Harry remained frozen in place as he watched his demons tear through the Death Eaters as if they were nothing. Part of him wanted to order them to stop, and yet his mouth wouldn't open.
He blinked, and it was over.
He blinked, and they were standing beside him, not a speck of blood on them.
He jerked, glancing back towards Sirius who is still holding the little girl in his arms.
"We need to get to the Aurors; see if they can find her mother."
"Right." He nodded, letting Caym lead him towards a cluster of red-robed wizards that had appeared on the far end of the Alley.
The Aurors—everyone, actually—were looking at the bleeding and dying Death Eaters wide-eyed and terrified. None of them understood what had happened, and Harry couldn't help but feel relief that no one even suspected the demons at his back. Logically, he knew that no one could take them away from him; however, he was also aware of how deep the fear of demons was, and he was sure they would try to do their best to separate them. Hadn't Dumbledore already tried?
"Little Master?" Abandon leaned down. "Everything alright?"
Was everything alright? He had known what Abandon and Caym were. However, one thing was knowing something, and another was seeing that something with his very own eyes. Was what his demons had done any different from Pettigrew killing Cedric on Voldemort's orders? How could he shun one and accept the other?
He smiled at Abandon. "Yes," he whispered, just before they reached the Aurors, "everything's fine."
Did it make him a hypocrite? Maybe. Still, feeling the warm bodies of his demons at his back—knowing he was safer than he had ever been—he couldn't bring himself to care.
Voldemort sat back on his throne, sipping his wine goblet as he waited for his followers. The raid the previous day may have been hasty; however, considering that his return hadn't remained as secret as he had wished, he might as well remind the Wizarding World of his power.
His hand tightened around his wand as his Death Eaters started popping in.
Watching the proud Malfoy crawling towards him to kiss his robes calmed him somewhat until his eyes rowed over his diminished ranks.
Lucius kept his head bowed, nose touching the filthy floor. "My Lord," Voldemort relished the waver in his tone, "have… have you seen this morning's Prophet?"
He let the screams fill his head, drowning out the rushing of his blood—Potter's blood, a little voice in the back of his mind whispered. He let off the curse and gave Lucius a few seconds to get back on his knees. "I said: explain!"
"Yes, my Lord. I'm sorry, my Lord."
He smiled, baring his teeth, and watched as the Death Eaters shuddered. Good. They should know whom to fear.
"As you ordered, your loyal followers raided the Alley. According to reports, everything was going just as you ordered. We have no information as to how, but your loyal followers were killed before the Aurors arrived. There were no reports of any surviving." Lucius stopped, and Voldemort leaned forward on his throne. He twirled his wand, waiting. "Potter was there." He could see Lucius shaking, steeling himself. "What follows is mere speculation, my Lord; however, it is possible that his demons may have killed your followers, my Lord."
Lucius dipped even lower, his forehead touching the floor, but even that wasn't enough to calm him, Potter. It was always Potter!
"Crucio!" He sprang from his throne, throwing his goblet against the far wall. "Did I not tell you not to touch Potter!" His Death Eaters cowered in front of him and yet his rage would not abate. How dare they disobey him? How dare they go against him? "Crucio!" Another fell to his wand, their screams echoing in the vast dining room of his filthy father's once home. He kept the curse on for longer and longer until there was nothing but whimpers coming from the Death Eater at his feet.
He turned, pacing behind his throne, glancing at the bowing Death Eaters in the middle of the room. They were shivering, huddling as close together as they dared, hoping he wouldn't curse them next.
He slowed, gently tracing his fingertips over the back of his throne.
He was in control. They feared him above all else—as it should be.
Potter and his pet demons were nothing.
He walked around and took a seat. "Rise." His voice didn't rise above a murmur, but it still carried through the room. "Potter is mine." He narrowed his eyes as he saw Lucius hunch in on himself. "Crucio." Lucius fell and he stopped the curse. "Anything to say, Lucius?"
Lucius' arms shook as he pushed himself off the floor, and his lips pulled into a smile. It was always so pleasing seeing Lucius brought down to his knees.
"No, my Lord, nothing."
He leaned back, looking over his Death Eaters once more. "Dismissed," he said after seeing them squirm for a little while longer.
When he found himself once more alone in his father's former home, he summed a book he had found buried under hundreds of pounds of rotten wood and crumbling mortar.
Potter and his pet demons were nothing.
Albus sighed, leaning back on his chair as Poppy left his office. Severus had been in a medically induced coma for almost twenty-four hours. Poppy had been surprised he had been able to make his way back to Headquarters before his body gave up on him.
Still, the full scope of what had happened had only become clear after Kingsley reported back. Of course, no one but those in the known were aware what exactly had killed those Death Eaters. Albus shook his head. Such a loss of life, such a waste. Fifteen people dead because those demons couldn't control themselves.
He looked at Alastor, raising an eyebrow. "Still think it's a good idea to leave those demons unchecked?"
Alastor snorted. "If you think you can control them, go right ahead." Alastor stood and walked towards the window overlooking the grounds. "How old are these wards?" he asked. "The strongest in the Isles aside from Gringotts. They didn't even twinge when those demons walked in." He turned around to face him. "As far as you know, they were there when the wards were raised. Maybe even helped raise them."
Albus shook his head. "The Potters have no connection to the founders."
Alastor nodded. "True. However, as far as we knew, they weren't over three thousand years old either." Alastor went back to his seat. "We have to assume that everything we knew about the Potters wasn't true—or at least not the whole truth."
Albus leaned forward, resting his elbows on the desk. "I still have trouble believing that the Potters kept such a secret from me."
"Come now, Albus, you know how families are about their secrets." He raised an eyebrow. "You keep a fair share as well."
Albus had to look away from those knowing eyes. Alastor never failed to bring those things up. Truthfully, Albus was sure that Alastor blamed him for those years he had spent with Gellert. For the things he had done but mostly for the things he hadn't done. It wouldn't surprise Albus if that were the case; he blamed himself as well.
"Which is why I need to keep them away from Harry." He looked back towards Alastor, standing up and walking towards Fawkes perch—petting the soft plumage had always soothed him. "Harry's a good person. Innocent and brave. I cannot let those demons taint him in such a way."
Alastor sighed, shaking his head. "As I said, if you know how to do it, go ahead. But I'm telling you, Albus, those demons will destroy you if you fail. I hope, old friend, that you're ready for it."
Albus hummed and continued to pet Fawkes. He didn't have a choice, did he? He wasn't willing to risk Harry, even if it meant facing the rulers of Hell.
Lucius staggered back to his office. He slumped onto the nearest soft surface.
He opened his eyes and took a shuddering breath.
"I'm fine," he said, clenching his hands to stop them from trembling. This was meant to be over. She wasn't supposed to patch him back together when he came back from those meetings, not again.
"Liar." She walked into the room, and he leaned into the caress to his hair. "How bad?"
He turned his head, kissing her palm. "Really, I'm fine. Just… it has been a while. I'm not used to it anymore."
She pulled on his hair gently. "Liar."
His lips twitched. "Always too smart for me." He put an arm around her waist and pulled her down to sit on his lap. "There are some things I haven't told you." She leaned on his chest and he kissed her forehead. "Narcissa… Our King is back." Her body went rigid against him and his arms tightened around her. "The Marcius Bloodline lives," he whispered against her ear. Spoken out loud made it harder to believe, somehow. As if the words were not meant to be spoken. They had hoped for so long that speaking the words out loud seemed like they had finally given in to their desperation and delusions had taken hold of their minds. Even after having sat down with his King, saying it out loud still felt like a dream. He raised a hand to run through her hair. "He lives."
In his awe induced daze, he hardly noticed as Narcissa tore herself away from his grip.
His breath froze as a wand was jabbed into his throat and he looked up into the cold gaze of his wife.
"I love you with every part of my soul, Lucius." He knew that. He had never doubted her love for him. "However, I will not allow you to drag our son into this madness. That thing is not our King! I will not have our son succumb to this life. I won't allow it! I will kill you first, even if part of me dies with you."
Lucius had never loved her more.
Slowly, he went to his knees in front of her, never even reaching for his wand. "Cissa, the Dark Lord is not our King. I swear to you, Draco won't be forced to serve that madman. Our oath was renewed; I swore my services and Bloodline to our King."
The wand slipped from his neck. Narcissa's knees shook and he caught her as her legs gave up on her.
"What?" she whispered, trembling in his arms.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner," he said. "We were sworn to secrecy when we found out, and it was only recently that we were told that we could tell our immediate family." Lucius cupped her cheeks between his hands. "Everything's going to change. We're free from the Dark Lord. It's only a matter of time."
Narcissa slumped against him and he held her as her tears soaked his shirt.
Harry looked up from his lunch, noticing everyone looking at him.
"Sorry, what did you say?"
Sirius smiled as he reached for his drink. "I asked, when do you want to meet with the Ten and their families? You saw the papers this morning. The attack on Diagon Alley was front page for most publications; I doubt Voldemort will take the death of his followers lightly."
Abandon leaned over Harry. "If he has a shred of intelligence, he will do nothing," he said.
Caym leaned on his other side, baring his teeth in what he would call a smile. "We warned him. We told him not to harm our Master."
"Technically, Harry wasn't the target," Ron said, pointing his fork at the demon.
Harry was glad to see that Ron didn't fear them as much as he used to. For a moment, Harry thought that the brutal actions of his demons the previous day would shatter their slow gained trust in them.
"Semantics," Abandon replied. "No harm will come to our Master. Simple as that."
"They deserved it," Sirius replied, pointedly ignoring Remus' disproving look. "So, about meeting the others?"
Harry glanced at Abandon who nodded at him. "Abandon and Caym delivered a letter to them for us to meet tonight. All ten plus their families."
Hermione snorted. "Meaning Malfoy and the other little Slytherins. That will be fun."
Ron shook his head. "I told you, they'll behave. Having our King back is more important than any school grudge that Malfoy might have."
"And if he does step out of line, Abandon and I will be more than pleased to show him his place."
"Caym," Harry muttered.
"Master?" Caym replied all sparkling eyes and teasing grin, and Harry didn't even try to stop his own grin from surging.
"I don't want them to fear me. You know that." Harry sighed, leaning back on his chair. "I'm not Voldemort. I don't need them to kneel at my feet and agree with everything I say out of fear. If we are going to do this—create a new society, something we can be proud of, then I need them to trust me, to argue with me, to advise me. We need to be equals." A rueful smile spread on his lips. "Or as close to equals as we can get considering the Oath."
Remus nodded, putting his utensils down. "Harry may be our King, but he is still young, and those families are the ones that stood beside Harry's ancestors when the Empire was at its strongest. Besides, the Oath wouldn't let them betray Harry in any way."
Abandon huffed, standing back and crossing his arms. "Fine. Ruin all our fun."
Sirius gave his bark-like laugh. "Don't worry, I'm sure Voldemort and many of his Death Eaters will give you a reason to have fun."
Harry grinned, going back to his lunch as his family and his demons bickered with each other. This was everything he had ever wanted, and he would do everything in his power to keep it.
Harry had opted to hold the meeting in the family room. It was cozier than the formal dining room or the study. Hopefully, it would set the tone to what he wanted the relationship between all of them to be.
He knew it wasn't as simple as that. He knew some hurts ran deep; however, for this to work they had to make an effort. All of them. There was a lot of prejudice to overcome on both sides, a lot of hurt, a lot of anger.
It was something he had to work on as well.
Hermione took his hand and gave it a squeeze. "It'll be fine," she said. "We'll be with you, you know that, right?" She smiled at him, giving his hand another squeeze. "Sirius, Remus, Ron, and I, we'll always side with you."
"Thanks. It's just… it's a lot, you know? This isn't what I thought my life would be."
Hermione laughed and ruffled his hair. He batted her hand away, glaring mulishly. "Don't make it worse."
She grinned. "I don't think anything could make that birds' nest worse. Anyhow, I don't think any of us thought this was how our life would turn out. Even after magic was thrown in the mix."
Ron snorted, and Harry raised an eyebrow at him.
Ron raised his hands in surrender. "Don't look at me like that. It's just… considering Harry's track record, we should have suspected something like this."
"Hey!" Harry threw a cushion at him, which Ron dodged with a laugh.
"Master." Caym walked into the room. "Abandon opened the Floo, they should be arriving any moment now."
"Thanks." Harry took a deep breath. Ron stood up and took a seat beside him, calming him down considerably.
"I can't believe I'm really doing this." He bowed his head and closed his eyes. He needed a moment. Just one moment. Why did this feel more decisive than accepting their Oaths? Why did this feel like the point of no return?
"Master, they have arrived," Abandon said.
Harry looked up and saw the first family appear. His heart nearly jumped out of his chest when he saw Neville walk in beside his great-uncle and grandmother. For a moment he had forgotten that it wouldn't only be his childhood bullies that would be with their families. His friends would also be present. Would they treat him any differently?
"Harry," Neville said as soon as he saw them sitting in one of the couches, and Harry got to his feet.
"Neville." He reached over to shake his hand, and Neville smiled at him, no trace of discomfort to be seen. "How are you?"
Neville grinned at him. "Better than you I think. I could hardly believe it when my uncle told me. I can only imagine how surprised you must be."
Harry snorted. "You can say that again. Come," he pulled Neville over to the couch, "take a seat, we're waiting for the others."
Neville greeted Ron and Hermione and the three of them started whispering together. Harry let them be, glancing back at Neville's family as they took a seat on the opposite couch.
Truly, no going back now.
It didn't take long for everyone to be present, and Harry had to stop himself from fidgeting. It looked like a lot more people than he was expecting. Over thirty people just from these ten families. In a way, it made it easier to understand just how he had over twenty million people bound to his Bloodline.
"Welcome," he said when they were all seated. He tried to avoid looking at his schoolmates, but it seemed to be a futile effort—without his permission, his gaze would flicker to them. Most of them seemed to be in a state of controlled shock. Not that Harry blamed them. He didn't think he would have reacted any better.
Before he could say anything else, Malfoy—Draco—threw himself on his knees in front of him. "Sire, I apologize for any insult I caused. I beg of you, please don't blame my family for my shortcomings."
Harry heard Hermione's sharp intake of breath and felt Ron's right grip on his knee, but he couldn't look away from Draco's cowering form. This was what he wanted to avoid at all cost.
"Please," he stood up, grabbing Draco's shoulders and pulling him up, "don't do that."
Draco got to his feet but kept his eyes lowered.
"Look at me."
Draco raised his head, and Harry felt sick at the raw fear he saw in his eyes.
"We were kids," Harry said. "Stupid kids. I'm not going to judge your family, punish them for something we did as stupid kids that didn't know any better." He gently maneuvered Draco back to his parents and made him sit down.
He looked around his family room, full of people that were utterly different but deep down ached for the same thing. They were all here together because they wanted a better life for their families. After all, they believed in Magic and in the good that could be achieved when they worked together. Ultimately, Harry believed in it, too. Which was why he had ended up giving in to their pleas. If he could do good, if he could help, how could he even entertain the thought of not doing it? Even if it meant doing things he had no desire or inclination to.
He smiled at them. "All of us are guilty of the same thing. Prejudice. Intolerance. Sometimes, it's not even a conscious thought. We do it because we see others do it. It becomes the norm." He shook his head, smile slipping from his lips. "I'm not making excuses for our behavior. There is no excuse for it. We did horrible things to each other. We're all guilty."
The older people present looked away from him. In most of them, the shame was clear as day.
That wasn't what he wanted either. They needed to move forward. They needed to overcome the past. They had to do better if they wanted to achieve anything in their future. Harry didn't delude himself into thinking that it would be easy. He could foresee many arguments in their future, but they had to try.
"We are better than that," he told them. "We can be better than that. If are to have any chance of succeeding, then we need to at least try. I may be your King, but I will need your help to make something of this Empire. I don't want to repeat the mistakes made these last few decades. I can only do that with your help. And I can only accept your help if you are honest in your belief of establishing a society where everyone is equal."
Harry looked around, eyes lingering on his schoolmates—no matter how much help the older generation would be, he knew that the future lay in the hands of the younger ones.
"Please, help me make this a possibility. I believe with everything I am that together we can make this Empire grander than anything our forefathers dreamed of."
Again, Ron and Hermione surprised him when they knelt in front of him, the others quickly following.
"Sire," Hermione murmured, "it will be our privilege."
As murmured agreements came from all around, Harry pretended not to notice the smug expressions his demons were sporting.
"To our future!"
"To our future!" the others echoed.
A.N.: I know this is shorter than I usually write and I had another scene planned for it; however, after having a rough draft of it, I thought it would end on too big of a cliffhanger. So I ended it here and shifted the end scene to the middle of the next chapter. Works much better, I think.
I hope you enjoyed it :)
The next chapter should be out sometime in the middle of next month. Since I'm unemployed at the moment, I have a lot more time to write, so I should be able to post one new chapter every month. Though, I have to be honest with you and say that I will give priority to my original stories and any commissioned work that I may have on P.A.T.R.E.O.N. since they do have deadlines.
Also, for those reading my other multi chapters, I will be updating Morning Star sometime tomorrow, and The Rise of Dark Lord this coming week. Just a couple of scenes left to write for it.
I hope you're all safe and keep safe.