Disclaimer: I do not own the Harry Potter universe.
Beta: Ethiliam – thanks for your initial reaction. 'What the –?' indeed.
Dark Lord Syndicate
In a dark and dank underground chamber, lit only by flickering torches, a clandestine meeting was being held by five of the most vicious men unknown to humankind. These few men could obliterate entire nations in mere days. They were not to be trifled with. Their time was of the utmost importance. They did not waste a single second and even if they did, they would not waste it on frivolities. They were attentive and focused men who did not mess around.
The Leader – capital L – sank into his comfortable armchair, tears streaming down his aged face. "– and then, he stands there, looking all superior and smug, already gloating about his imminent victory, 'You shall never defeat me, Potter! Prophecy be damned!' And then he casts the Killing Curse and ... and ... it backfires straight into his own ugly mug!" The Leader gasped for breath as he failed to contain his laughter. "The look of incomprehension and horror before his own curse blasted him ..."
"Wait a second," a blue-robed white-bearded wizard with a staff asked. "He was eradicated by a mere babe?"
"Yes, Herpo, by a defenceless ickle babe."
Herpo the Foul started laughing at the degree of incompetence required to lose such a one-sided fight. Two other members shook off their shock and joined in the laughter.
Their fifth and final member didn't twitch his lips. He looked intrigued. "We should allow him to join the Syndicate posthumously. His widespread reputation causes fear and helplessness; why, his very name terrifies people. They call him He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named."
The other four occupants stared at the speaker with visible disbelief and disgust.
Herpo snorted. "Ah, you conniving devil." Using his sleeve, he wiped away the snot. "Want someone in the Syndicate that surpassed your ineptitude, eh?"
The Leader looked disgruntled. "A weak attempt, Godelot. Author of Magick Moste Evil you might be, but your death was utterly pathetic."
"Indeed," the youngest person in the room said. "Mind-boggling incompetence. You were aware of your son's loathing of everything Dark, were you not? Obviously, the boy would seize the opportunity to steal the fabled Elder Wand."
"Yes, yes, I've heard it all before." Godelot crunched his nose. "Not like I can change it, Uric."
The young wizard jumped up, drawing his wand, curse ready on his lips. "Do not compare me to that Oddball! At least I perished in a ferocious duel instead of wasting away from starvation after being locked in a darkened cellar filled with nothing but the lingering smell of your own excrements!"
"Stand down, Emeric!" Leader ordered.
Emeric the Evil lowered his wand and sat down. Mutinously, he kept his wand out, ready to kill the fool.
Godelot cleared his throat. "How did you come to know the details of Voldemort's demise?"
Leader loosened his collar and grasped a golden chain, lifting it up. An intricate hourglass sparkled in the flickering lights.
"Once I heard the rumour, I went back in time. I followed Voldemort through that trivial Fidelius – perfect hiding charm, hah – and watched the entire event; couldn't change it, of course." Leader chuckled. "Ah, the look on his face."
A scream tore through the chamber, silencing the amused wizards. The scream changed to crying, only to shift back to screaming. The perplexed members looked around the chamber. Leader sighed, shaking his head at the insistent sound.
"What is that infernal noise?" Emeric asked.
Leader rose from his armchair and walked towards a darkened corner. He picked up the tiny perpetrator and introduced him to the members. "Meet Harry Potter."
The fourth member spoke up. "You brought the babe here? What in Morgana's saggy tits were you thinking?"
"To find out how a child vanquished a Dark Lord," Leader said magnanimously. As he noticed the nervous look Godelot gave the child, he continued, "Oh, are you afraid? Go on, Harry. Blast him! I'll give you a cookie if you do."
Owle Bullock pointed at the now whimpering child. "That! That right there is why I never had children. This isn't the Syndicate of Babysitting. Get rid of the vermin!"
The members started arguing fiercely, each suggesting different and more elaborate ways to annihilate Harry. Their bickering came to a swift end when they collapsed to their knees, quivering from the magical saturation expelled by Leader.
"Do not forget who's in charge, you're all mine to command!"
Leader lowered the sniffling Harry on a nearby couch. He vanished Harry's clothing to ensure the enchanted fabric would not interfere with his investigation before he started incanting spell after spell in his attempt to find out how this baby destroyed a Dark Lord.
"No special powers," he mumbled. "No lingering magic. He's not even exhausted from rebounding an unstoppable curse. Hmm ... the scar has a separate – what is this? Herpo! Scan the boy's scar!"
The wizard, using his staff as a cane, steadily made his way towards the couch. He cast several ancient spells before he cast one of his own detection spells. "Foolish Dark Lord. Thieving bastard used my invention."
"Get rid of it."
"... you want me to what?" Herpo asked in befuddlement.
Leader sighed. "I know you're from Ancient Greece, but you understand English, right? Get rid of the dratted Horcrux!"
Herpo shrugged his shoulders and raised his staff. "Fine. Avada Ked –"
Leader flicked his wand, flinging Herpo into a nearby wall. "Not the child, you fool!" he roared. "The Horcrux!"
"What is wrong with you?" Herpo demanded, straightening himself. "I am a Dark Lord. I don't help people, least of all babes! Kill him and be done w –"
Leader hit him with an Asphyxiation Curse and Herpo started chocking. "You invented those foul things, so you can undo them. Do not forget, I am immortal, without mutilating my soul. A feat you never succeeded in."
Herpo fell to the ground, sucking in air as the curse was removed. His staff out of reach, he limped towards the couch to retrieve it. Unwilling to test Leader further, he incanted a long spell in his mother tongue. A darkish substance started trickling out of the vanishing scar. The piece of soul eventually hovered above the now silent child.
"Where do you want this?" Herpo asked.
Leader walked towards a bookshelf and grabbed a sheet of parchment. "This should –"
"Simply destroy the accursed thing," Emeric said before casting a spell.
The vile piece of soul exploded, blasting the members of the Syndicate back. A few lucky ones struck nearby walls while others flew unimpeded until they dropped to the floor. An ethereal shield had formed in front of Harry, protecting him from harm as a myriad of colours illuminated the room. As the dark taint evaporated, so did the shield.
"Halfwit! You don't destroy a soul-piece like that!" Leader rose from the floor and strode towards the silent Harry. Leader wondered if the child had survived when Harry started cooing and bubbling, showing his appreciation for the magical show. Leader harrumphed before hovering over Harry, casting several spells to assure himself the boy was all right. "You should be grateful. That Horcrux would have become worrisome in a few yea –"
Harry chose that particular moment to show his undiluted gratitude. A thin stream of yellow liquid veered upwards, striking Leader directly in one of his eyes.
"Aaaahh! It burns! It burns!" Leader clumsily dodged the remaining attack by stepping backwards. His feet knocked against the coffee table and he fell over said object, slamming into the cold, hard floor.
Godelot started laughing, a privilege he had granted himself; after all, these bastards made fun of him all the time. "Looks like wonder-baby nearly offed another big bad Dar – Aaahh!"
Leader had snapped his wand out and, still appreciating the view of the humid ceiling as he lay on the ground, obliterated Godelot for his impudence. Another flick of Leader's wand and the sticky liquid vanished from his person. Leader got up again. "What to do with you? Voldemort not enough, eh? Defying me too ... maybe ... maybe I should – yes ... that will do. Voldemort's temporary defeat may not mock the noble and aspiring 'Dark Lord'-title. You shall become my apprentice. Together, we shall crush the fool, and afterwards we shall grind the Light into dust. The world will be ours for the taking! Bwahahahaha!"
The sound of heels clicking against solid wood became increasingly prominent. The remaining members paled.
"Leader, did you lock th –"
Everyone shivered as a woman's enraged whisper seeped through the cracks of the door, echoing throughout the chamber. "Nicky ..."
"It was pleasant while it lasted," Herpo lamented.
The door splintered and a woman strode through the doorway. After spotting Leader, she glared at the man. "The entire manor rocked on its foundations! What did you do?! You know not to experiment down here!" She skimmed the room and her angered expression vanished. In its place, a look of absolute fury appeared.
"Now, darling –"
"Nicky ... what did I tell you about resurrecting these incompetent twits?!"
The three remaining members objected vehemently. "I'm not incompetent!" "Look who's talking." "What's a twit?"
Leader, also named Nicky, whimpered. "Not to?"
"Exactly," she whispered. "So why then are they standing there?"
The friendly support Nicky assumed he would receive from his fellow members did not come. As such, he blurted out the first acceptable and solid explanation he could think of. "Poker! I needed a few people to play poker."
"Then go to Vegas like everyone else!"
"But, Penny ... darling –"
"Don't you darling me. You don't resurrect Dark Lords for a silly card-game. These imbeciles died long before poker was invented!"
Short-tempered Emeric flipped his wand out. "Imbecile, am I? I'll show y –"
No one saw Penny draw her wand or cast a spell, yet she had done so and all three regular members fell to the ground as if their strings had been cut. A quick flash of superheated fire consumed their bodies. She turned her attention back at the quivering Nicky. "If you ever resurrect anyone again ... argh, why do I even put up with you?"
"Six hundred years of hot and steamy sex," Nicky said with a dreamy smile. He slapped his hand over his mouth when he realised he hadn't quite kept that thought to himself.
Penny lifted her wand, debating on whether the sex was worth putting up with the insolent man. Before she could decide either way, a familiar cry burst from the couch. Penny snapped her head towards the source. An eye-blink later, she stood next to the couch with the child tucked in her arms. She swept a finger along the child's cheek, greatly enjoying the cooing that followed. "Look, Nicky, he's adorable!"
"Yes," Nicky said with heavy resentment, wiping his face as he remembered the ruthless and unanticipated attack. "Utterly adorable."
Penny halted her ministrations. She looked at Nicky, face as if carved from granite. "Why do you have a baby in our basement that, not five minutes ago, contained several resurrected Dark Lords? The answer had better not include the words sacrifice or ritual."
"No, nothing like that!" Nicky protested. "Voldemort tried to kill the child, but the Killing Curse backfired. I generously took him here to investigate him for – you know – any possible tainted remnants."
"A Horcrux had lodged itself on Harry's forehead."
For the third time that evening, Harry was subjected to a wide range of medical spells. Not that he was complaining, or, well, even could complain for that matter. He just enjoyed the beams of lights flickering in and out around him.
"There's nothing here."
"Herpo removed it." Figuring out how to survive this, he quickly added, "That's why I resurrected them! They had sufficient knowledge on the topic and were delighted to help out!"
"Hmm." Penny pursed her lips. "Voldemort ... bastard always was thorough. He's still alive then?"
"Dead. No magical family left, either."
"Hmm." She smiled as Harry clapped his hands, hoping for more lights. "That settles it, we're adopting him. And when he's old enough, we'll train him to crush that pesky Dark Lord. Maybe he can even replace that old crackpot."
"We'll train him?"
Penny narrowed her eyes. "Yes. I left Dumbledore's training to you and look how that turned out."
"Did you forget who the real alchemist is, Nicky? I know it's been over six hundred years, but you only became famous because a few weak-minded long-ago-buried wizards refused to give the title to 'an uppity young woman who could never wield magic properly, let alone create a Philosopher's Stone'."
"Yes, darling." He sighed.
Penny nodded and, carrying Harry with her, left the basement.
Nicky remained in the basement, wiping away the sweat that had formed on his forehead. At least his plans could still succeed, as long as he could train Harry in secret. His wife was right; he had made a mistake with Dumbledore. The man wielded many positions of power, yet refused to wield said power. Nicky vowed he would do better with Harry.
He picked up his notes, another elaborate plot for world domination, and put them on the bookshelf. He scanned the stacked shelf, filled with heaps of parchment containing more such plans. Most parchment would crumble at the merest touch, ink barely legible; the earliest parchment dated back six hundred years.
"Ah well," he said. "I'll get there eventually."