The evening went by without a hitch. Together the Malfoys, Voldie who resided at the manor for the moment and Harry had dinner before Harry went to the library. He loved it from the first step on he took into it. The library in Malfoy Manor…no it was Hræfn Manor now was amazing. It was about as large as the one of Hogwarts though this one went over three floors instead of a single floor. Dark wooden shelves stood everywhere while around a fireplace in the front were several chairs and tables positioned. The room was lit through large lead glass windows showing battling wizards in the ceiling as well as quite a few chandeliers.
Harry strode through the library in order to find out what kind of books were in there. Only half way through the ground floor he was sure that should Dumbledore ever get to know about this he would have either a stroke or a heart attack, possibly both. Harry came across books about dark magic, rituals, blood magic…you can name it and it certainly was in this library. Luckily, the books were sorted after topics otherwise he would have to search for hours.
He picked two books about dark magic before continuing his stroll. A few shelves later he found a book about the pureblood society and their etiquette which he promptly also picked up. To those books he later also added two more about potions. He loved this subject and next to DADA, it was his best despite his feigned stupidity in class. Snape though knew what he was capable of and rated his potions and essays fairly which mostly were O’s what no one knew however.
Walking up a flight of stairs, he looked through the shelves on the first floor. Quickly a book about the financial system of magical Britain found its way onto the ever growing pile of books followed by two books about wards. Annoyed that he had to carry them he called Dobby so that the elf would deposit them on one of the tables in the entrance area.
This also added something to his to-do list for tomorrow. He would have to see whether one of the elves could sew, order them to buy some cloth and sew themselves an uniform. Harry had no idea what Lucius thought, but it simply wasn’t a good idea letting them run around in rags. They represented you and your house after all.
Returning to his errand in the library, he came across and instantly ignored the area of History books. In the charms and spells area, he chose a book containing useful spells for the daily life. Deciding that nine books would do for now he returned to the table where now his chosen books were waiting for him.
Picking up one of the dark magic books, he ordered Dobby to bring him some tea before he leaned back and started reading. So engrossed in the reading material he barely registered that Voldie entered the library, sat down after ordering his own tea and observed him.
About fifteen minutes later Voldemort suddenly spoke up. “What happened?”
Harry threw him a glance over his book before replying. “A lot happened you should be more concrete.”
“I felt the wards of this building shifting.”
“Oh that…so Lucius didn’t tell you?”
“Tell me what?”
Talking about the devil Lucius strode into the library to do who knows what but probably getting a book and stopped dead in his track when he saw them sitting there. “M-my Lord,” this wasn’t good. What had Harry told the Dark Lord? Did he knew about what happened? Squirming because of his unknowing state, he decided to go on as if nothing had happened. “Is there something I can do for you, my Lord?”
“Not now, but remember your mission in the Ministry. I don’t tolerate failure. Now leave us alone,” Voldemort dismissed him.
Once Lucius was out through the door and a silencing spell thrown up Harry started to laugh hard. Voldemort though looked quite confused.
“What’s so funny?”
“Didn’t you see how Lucius squirmed around?” Harry brought out between the laugher.
“I did, but the question is why.”
“Do you know about goblin laws? Especially the `Right of Conquest´?” Harry still snickered.
Voldemort looked at him strangely before his face brightened up. “Oh you didn’t…you stripped the Malfoys of everything? That everyone thinks I’m evil…” now he also had to snicker.
Everyone thought that Lucius Malfoy was Voldemort’s right hand but that wasn’t true. Sure, his father Abraxas Malfoy who went to school with him was his right hand until his unfortunate death in 1975 but Lucius never took his place. The man was simply an arrogant idiot not having any of the finesse his father had. Therefore, he didn’t care about what Harry did as long as Harry didn’t overdo it.
“I have an idea…is there a way to share memories except Legilimency?” Harry cocked his head questioningly.
“The only other possibility would be a pensieve though I have no idea whether Malfoy has one or not.”
Harry called a house-elf and asked it. The elf, Mixy, explained that there is one in Lucius study. So both stood up and went there not before Harry ordered Mixy to place the books in his room.
A few minutes later, they walked into the study without knocking startling Lucius with it who promptly bathed himself in Firewhiskey resulting in smelling like the worst tavern. Harry snickered upon that, he very well knew thanks to the wards that Lucius was there but that didn’t hinder him from just walking in.
“M-my L-lord, what do I owe the honour of your visit?” Malfoy stuttered nearly worse than Quirrell.
“We need your pensieve,” Voldemort simply stated wrinkling his nose over the smell.
Lucius nodded curtly before standing up, opening a door of the cupboard and taking out the requested object before quickly leaving the room. Once out of hearing range of his…the boy’s study he started to curse him quite loudly before walking to the main bedroom in order to get a shower.
“So, how does this work?” Harry asked.
“You hold your wand-tip to your temple think about the memory you want to share and then pull. It might take a try or two and could feel a bit strange,” Voldemort entered his lector mode.
“What about the underage magic restriction?”
“Do you really think that this manor isn’t warded against detection of it?” he rose an eyebrow.
“No, I thought as much when I received Lucius’ letter but I needed confirmation that’s all,” with that out of the way, he did as Voldemort told him to. With the second try, he finally managed to place the memory of the visit at Gringotts in the pensieve. “Is it possible to add a second memory or would they mingle with each other?”
Voldemort got curious. What was this second memory? “No, you can just add it. The magic contained in the pensieve will stop it from interacting with each other. Once we then enter the pensieve the memories will play one after the other the first one added first.”
Harry smiled wickedly before adding the memories of his little speech at the great hall and his conversation with Dumbledore at the infirmary. Both should be interesting for Voldemort.
“Finished? Good, now we both touch the surface of the liquid and will get pulled into it to view the memories.”
They did and promptly found themselves in the small office at Gringotts.
“That’s strange. Normally account manager of old families have large offices not so small ones,” Voldemort muttered sitting down on a low shelve to the side from which he could perfectly observe everything.
Harry who sat down next to him looked amused. “This might be because he wasn’t my account manager at that time. I requested to see the goblin I remembered bringing me to my vault before the first year because I knew that he would be unprejudiced and the possibility of him working together with Dumbledore was slim to non-existent. My former account manager though obviously was working with the man.”
“Thanks,” a warm feeling spread in his stomach. He had to admit that it felt quite good being praised. While being with the Dursleys he only was beaten no matter whether he did something good or not. Sure while at Hogwarts he was praised for things he did in class but even that was rare because a certain know-it-all needed to place herself in the limelight for being the best in class, teacher’s pet was all he would say to that. Then there was the “praise” he got at the end of the year…well everyone got to know what he thought about that. The times he received real honest praise he could count on one hand.
“I have to admit that your reasoning about the goblins is very well thought through,” Voldemort ripped him from his musings.
Lost in his thoughts he hadn’t paid attention and wondered now what the man sitting next to him referred to until he saw that his explanation to Lucius just played. “Well it’s true and I honestly wonder how they put up with how wizarding kind treats them.”
“That is the reason why I always wanted to improve the rights of the so called creatures other than your beloved Dumbledore,” the Dark Lord replied upon which Harry snorted.
“Yes…beloved…” Harry sneered a minute later after the goblin listed the withdrawals Dumbledore executed.
“Why doesn’t an adoption or a shifting of the guardianship work?” Voldemort was curious.
“Who could possibly adopt me or become my guardian without taking advantage of the situation or piquing the suspicion of Dumbledore? Dumbledore is already taking advantage, every light family…I don’t have to tell you why they are inapt and the dark families? Lucius would instantly take advantage not to mention arise a massive amount of suspicion. Snape while perhaps not taking advantage would also be ill suited since Dumbledore thinks him his spy and I don’t want to add more to this already heavy burden. Who else then is left? Another dark family? To suspicious. You? I don’t have to tell you that this would not only blow your cover but also would end up in an outright war…” Harry huffed. Yes, he put a lot of thought into this and there simply was no other way than premature emancipation.
They silently watched how the memory in front of them played. Voldemort though thought about this little dilemma while listening.
“You know that you could have pressed charges against this Razortooth for what he did or better didn’t do?” Voldemort snickered.
“And rising even more suspicion than with the change? No thank you. I can be glad if Dumbledore doesn’t find out about all this before I can push the emancipation through,” Harry shook his head.
“You seem to know a lot about brooms but what about other companies? Perhaps you should think about subscribing to the `Financial Weekly´. This is a paper brought out by the goblins and only sold to selected people but I don’t doubt that Griphook would give you a subscription if you ask him especially after he shared his knowledge about the Firebolt with you.”
Harry nodded and mentally added this to his ever-growing to-do list. He slumped back with a sigh.
“What’s wrong?” Voldemort inquired.
“…I just remembered that thanks to Dumbledore my whole summer holidays are shot to hell…” he closed his eyes. “Not only do I have to prove that I’m capable of caring for myself so that I can press for my emancipation next year, I also have to manage the Malfoy fortune and worst of all I have to learn everything that a normal pureblood child learns from his sixth to his seventeenth birthday within one year. Despite that, there are my own projects. At the moment I’m a bit overstrained that’s all,” another sigh left his lips. “I’m sorry this has been a long day and I’m tired.”
“Perhaps you heaved a bit much on your shoulders with all this? You know it sometimes isn’t a shame asking for help you’re only eleven after all,” Voldemort said with true concern in his voice.
Harry looked shocked and questioningly at him. Had he heard right? Voldie was concerned about him? That couldn’t be right. “Why do you care? What is it to you whether I manage all this or not?”
“It might surprise you but I’m not the monster your dear Dumbledore likes to think of me. I care for my people though I don’t tolerate failure. Despite that, you gave me the greatest gift someone could possibly make, a body and a life worth living not this half-life I had before. I want to help you. You have a brilliant mind and the ability to think with cold hard logic all the while thinking outside the norm not to mention that the ideas you already showed are one of a kind. Why do you think I put up with everything regarding you? Sure you’re protected from direct harm from me but do you really think I wouldn’t find a way around this should I truly want to?” he rose an eyebrow questioningly.
Harry flushed a bright red. “No,” he said sheepishly looking down on his hands. He never thought about it this way. In his arrogance, he had thought that he was safe… “But then why did you come after me when I was one year old?”
Voldemort smiled one of the very few genuine smiles. “That is something I might tell you some other day,” that was when he noticed what Harry in the memory said. “You’re the heir of Slytherin?” he suddenly said impressed before grinning viciously.
“Yes…” Harry replied cautiously upon this change of demeanour.
“This might actually solve your problems.”
“Please don’t start something about being family and adoption…except you want to start a war…though…I have an idea,” his face brightened up. “You’re right this might really solve my problems.”
“I know I’m good,” he said smugly upon which he earned a disbelieving glare. “But perhaps you want to enlighten me what idea you have?”
“Why do you actually hide?”
“Really? You were the one talking about blowing my cover would start a war,” was this really the entire idea? He highly doubted it.
“Ha…ha…no, what I mean is should you with how you look right now provided you glamour your eyes walk down Diagon Alley at noon…would anyone there recognize you as Lord Voldie?” he looked the man straight into the eyes.
“As long as Dumbledore isn’t there at that time I highly doubt it. You should get to know that before my downfall I looked…different. It seems that the stone did more than give me a body but also restored my looks. One question, why do you insist on calling me Voldie? It’s quite embarrassing…”
“Well, at first it was to tease you but then I learned that the ring you gave me starts to burn every time someone says your name in my vicinity so now it is more to bypass it. It took all my willpower to remain impassive when Dumbledore continued saying it,” Harry growled looking at him accusingly.
Voldemort rose a hand at that moment and Harry saw that the memory of Gringotts was finished and now the scene shifted to the great hall where he sat somewhere at the Gryffindor table. Dumbledore held his speech about how recent events have to be taken into account. Hearing this even for the second time and knowing what was to come Harry wanted to vomit…again.
They together listened to his speech while Harry paid a closer attention to the teachers something he couldn’t do the first time around. Dumbledore’s look was even more hilarious than he remembered. He was pale, shocked and all around looked like he wanted to vanish on the spot. What Harry never would have thought is that so many teacher actually agreed with him. Sure, the students who weren’t Gryffindors but the teachers? Not in a thousand years, not so many anyway.
“I thought you wanted to lay a low profile in order to not rise any suspicions?” Voldemort amusedly said.
“You’re right that is my main goal but I thought I should display some of the `wearing the heart on the sleeve´ philosophy the Gryffs value so much. Was it too much?”
He hummed upon that. “This I think depends on the viewing angle. On the one hand it is quite the Slytherin thing to do, showing that the `Golden Boy´ the great saviour not only cares about himself but also about others despising unfair treatment no matter the personal consequences. Then on the other hand, you might get into trouble with your no suspicion policy towards Dumbledore because you didn’t support him in his desire to make Gryffindor the winner of the house cup. The problem is that you can’t have both the acceptance and respect of the masses and at the same time not rising Dumbledore’s suspicion. You have to decide what has the higher value to you but perhaps the decision will be an easy one once you told me the idea you had earlier though this will have to wait until we are finished here. This seems to be interesting.”
The scenery again shifted now to the infirmary where Harry lay on the bed when Dumbledore strode in. Hearing his description of reading a book Voldemort snickered but looked at Harry worriedly a second later when he heard the boy taking a sharp breath. That remembered him of the spell, which let the ring burn when his name was said. Obviously, it also worked with memories.
“I will remove that spell once we’re out of here,” he simply stated before his eyes went wide in disbelieve. “The old fool really thinks that love protected you from me? Either his age slowly but surely is taking its toll or he is simply an idiot.”
“Probably both,” Harry deadpanned.
They listened to how the scene unfolded before them. Voldemort grew more worried with every second and was pale as a sheet when Dumbledore finally admitted that he knew his deepest secret, the secret to his immortality. What shocked him to the core however was learning that he unintentionally made Harry one of his Horcruxes.
“I wonder why he allowed you to keep this knowledge,” he mused.
Harry just pointed at the scene before him where Snape entered the infirmary to show Dumbledore his bare forearm upon which Dumbledore practically ran from the scene. A few seconds later then they both were back at the study.
“To me it looks like that he thought about erasing my memory before Snape came in just in time to interrupt him. Snape’s presence then made it impossible for him and when he saw the bare forearm which stood contrary to all his believes his thoughts got into such a disarray that he simply forgot about it but that I can only guess,” Harry shrugged.
“Who knows what goes on in the old man’s head? That he even spilled that much is a wonder in itself. Normally according to Snape, he is as closed up with his secrets as one cane be. However, this is something we can think about tomorrow. You look tired so I would ask you to tell me about the idea you had before you go to bed,” Voldemort insisted.
Stifling a yawn, he had to agree. This had been a very long and exhausting day so he was quite glad about the prospect of his bed. “What my idea was is that perhaps you should create yourself a believable background story like for example that you’re from America or some other land far away and just recently got the message that you are entitled to claim the Slytherin Lordship. I mean you are Lord Slytherin so no one can contradict it and since no one knows that you’re in fact Voldemort…” he inhaled sharply upon the pain the ring induced.
“Ah, I forgot. Please hold out your hand.”
Harry did as asked and Voldemort did as promise and removed the spell.
“Voldemort…” he said to test it out before nodding curtly. “Thank you. Where were I? Ah yes, since no one knows you’re Voldemort…you could walk right into the Ministry without anyone harassing you.”
“Only Dumbledore and he would move heaven and earth to convince everyone about who I am,” Voldemort shook his head.
Harry on the other hand grinned. “Who cares? All the better for us I think since he would make a fool out of himself. What was your original eye colour?”
“An ice blue.”
“Let them appear brown or better yet green. Hair length?”
“As short as at the moment.”
“Let them grow out. You see some minor changes and Dumbledore can claim you being Voldemort all he wants…no one would believe him. All you need is a believable story about who you are,” he stifled another yawn.
“Sounds reasonable but you go to bed now before you fall asleep here. I will think this through and we can talk further about it tomorrow,” with that Harry was dismissed to which he didn’t even complain.
Walking to his bedroom he quickly washed himself before changing into some oversized t-shirt from Dudley and slipping into bed. Once his head hit the pillow he was out like a light, which was a contribution to how exhausted he was. Normally he lay awake for at least an hour before falling asleep hence why he had so much time to read together with waking up at five in the morning.
Voldemort on the other hand didn’t even think about going to sleep. He had many things to think about, things he learned today. Harry surprised him within the last hours in more ways he could name or count. The boy was adamant to stand on his own feet uncontrolled by anyone and he had to admit that Harry was on his best way to achieve that but at what price? He didn’t doubt that Harry would manage to get emancipated once he reached the age of thirteen but he also saw what toll this entire ordeal took from the boy. When he first met him, the boy was someone who didn’t take a shit from anyone not even him, Voldemort, who wasn’t known for his patience and friendliness. He was snarky and always had a biting retort on his lips but he was himself with the only thing to worry about being Dumbledore. Today on the other hand…he hadn’t even said anything when being sent to bed and that was only one day out of many to follow. No this wouldn’t do. All this pressure of learning what others had eleven years for within one year, managing to get emancipated and on top of that also managing the Malfoy accounts…it would slowly but surely kill the boy.
“Dumbledore truly did the boy a great disservice with how he handled everything,” Voldemort growled into the empty room. “One might think that the old fool learned from his past mistakes.”
Though, the boy had asked a good question. Why did he care? Perhaps because he saw himself in the boy? Or, because he respected his wish to not being controlled by the old fool? Maybe also to protect this young brilliant mind? He didn’t know about that and to be honest it didn’t matter. What mattered though was that the boy was family something he wanted for a long time before that damned prophecy changed everything. Sure, at one time, he wanted to eradicate the entire family but that was his branch of the Slytherin line who had failed him big times. Harry on the other hand was an entirely different story and he would be damned should he allow the boy to ruin himself. Could he risk requesting the guardianship over Harry or even adopt him? He didn’t want to alienate the boy. Deciding that he would have to talk with Harry about that matter, he made a mental note.
Then there was the fact that the idea Harry had was a very good one. With how he looked like only a very few people would recognise him and most of them wouldn’t make the connection to him. It was true what he told him, before he got defeated he looked more like an abomination. His doings to ensure his immortality had one big downside…if you go too far your doings change you physically. Now though? It was as Harry said he could walk straight into the Ministry and no one would be the wiser.
That remembered him. Dumbledore knew about his Horcruxes even knew that Harry was one…he would have to check upon them and retrieve them from their hiding places before the old fool could beat him to it. Making up his decision he quickly left the manor to retrieve at least two of the Horcruxes he could access easily.
Two hours later, he sat back in the study a ring and the Slytherin pendant laying before him. Unfortunately, the pendant was a fake placed by his once loyal follower Regulus Black. However, where the original one was now he didn’t know.
The ring on the other hand he quickly placed on a silver chain he conjured up and placed it around his neck under his robes. That was one of his five Horcruxes save. Six he remembered. He would have to check whether he could remove the Horcrux from Harry before it hurt the boy. Never before had he heard about a living Horcrux and he could only hope that there was a solution to this problem.
The book should theoretically be in Lucius care while the cup was in Bellatrix’ vault so the only two he couldn’t reach or knew where it was, were the pendant and the diadem. Perhaps Snape could retrieve the diadem? He would have to think about it but for now it was save and that was all that mattered. What he definitely would do tomorrow was asking Lucius about the book to make sure it was where it belonged.
This brought him back to the idea Harry had. He needed to do some research and with that, he decided to make a visit to America to see whether it would work out. Luckily, the Malfoys owned a ranch in Texas to where he headed immediately. He wasn’t back before three in the night and was glad to finally being able to get some sleep.
Hogwarts – Headmaster’s office – 11.30 p.m.
Dumbledore paced restlessly in his office. Something was wrong with Harry so much was clear by now. Not only did he receive two separate letters this evening that the boy broke up his friendship with the youngest Weasley boy and Ms. Granger but now he also hadn’t shown up at Privet Drive.
Ms. Figg the squib he ordered to look after the boy said that it looked like the entire building was abandoned though she couldn’t tell him since when. Unfortunately, he hadn’t been able to acquire a house in the same street where the Dursleys lived when he brought Harry there. The next house on sale had been in Wisteria Walk two streets away from Privet Drive. Therefore, she couldn’t watch out on them all day as he wished.
So where was the boy? Why vanishing right now? The boy didn’t know anyone within the magical community of that he took care with the Weasley and Granger alienating everyone who tried to approach Potter. Though he would have to think up a new way to ensure the continued distance between the magical world and the Potter boy should the two not manage to become his friends again.
A request with Gringotts showed that the boy didn’t touch his trust vault and since he had no access to the main vault like he himself much to his displeasure, Potter had no money. So where was he?
Then an idea occurred to him. Why not simply sending an owl and ask him? Perhaps he only was on a vacation with the Dursleys. Yes, that must be it. Content that this matter would be sorted out soon he sat down at his desk and quickly wrote a letter to Potter.
This reminded him of his little outburst at the infirmary. Oh, how he regretted this. That day had been an especially long one. First, he had to rush to the Ministry because of some emergency only to get to know that everything was fine. This showed him that the letter had been a fake to get him out of Hogwarts. Not wanting to waste any more time since he already had been away from Hogwarts for about three hours he rushed back. There he got to know that Potter had been found in the third corridor next to the stone and a dead Quirrell. Having to stay awake the entire night, the second night without sleep, he then tried to question the boy only to have to put up with his antics. In the end his patience had run out hence why he snapped at the boy and revealed what he shouldn’t have. Was that perhaps the reason the boy suddenly vanished? That he got to know about Voldemort’s Horcrux and being one? Nevertheless, where would he go to and why would his relatives vanish too? No, he had to be on a vacation with them plain and simple because he didn’t want to think about the consequences should it be otherwise.
Now the only thing left to worry about was how the dark mark could have vanished. He knew that Voldemort had created at least one Horcrux to ensure his immortality but then how could he have died? Could Potter really have defeated him without destroying the Horcrux first? If that is what happened it didn’t fit into his plans even the slightest little bit. Damn that Potter brat that he couldn’t do what he was supposed to do.
With his anger showing in his steps, he stood up once he finished the letter and went up to the Owlery to send it.
The next morning Harry woke up well rested. He laid a few more minutes on his bed quite content with how the world was at that moment but unfortunately, he had to get up at some point, his bladder made itself known. With a sigh, he stood up and went into the bathroom to do his morning routine. Standing under the shower, he recapitulated what happened the day prior.
He winced when he remembered that he had complained about his workload over the summer to no one other that Voldemort…. This was an evidence of how tired he really had been yesterday. That and for how long he actually slept. If he remembered correctly, the clock showed 10.13 a.m. when he gave her a passing glance on his way to the bathroom. He leaned against the shower wall going through his wet hair with his hand. Had Voldemort been right? Did he heave too much upon himself, wanted too much in a too short amount of time?
Then there was the issue with the guardianship. Would he really want Voldemort to become his guardian? Should he allow him to become his guardian would he abuse the power he would hold over him? On the other hand, Harry very well knew that should Voldemort really want it he would get the guardianship he was Lord Slytherin after all and with his idea, he would be it officially. Why would they refuse if the Lord Slytherin wants to claim guardianship over his heir?
Harry felt himself cornered and he didn’t like it even one little bit. He had three options. One, he went on as he wanted and possibly ruined himself health wise especially if he had to fend of Voldemort too. Two, he let Dumbledore dominate his life which wasn’t an option at all in his opinion, or three, Voldemort became his guardian. He sighed; even if he didn’t like it but Voldemort was his best option, nonetheless he would talk to the man first. Perhaps he could keep most of his freedom and have a way out of this situation though he highly doubted it; life wasn’t fair that he learned very early.
Having a plan he finished his shower, got dressed in his school uniform hoping that the tailor hadn’t been here already. Quickly writing a letter to Griphook asking whether it was possible warding the manor so that Dumbledore couldn’t find him here as well as asking about this newspaper Voldemort mentioned and placing it in his delivery box, he left his room towards the dining hall. The second he entered the room an elf appeared.
“Master Potter, can Dipsy bring you breakfast?” the elf said while bowing lowly.
“Yes, coffee and some orange juice with it,” he ordered. His ex-friends had assumed that he loved pumpkin juice but frankly spoken it tasted awful. The problem was that it was the only thing served at Hogwarts so he put up with it.
He sat down and a minute later, a large breakfast appeared before him. Digging in he had to say that the elves here knew how to cook it was delicious. Half way in the elf came back placing a stack of letters next to him before vanishing again. Harry looked at them and groaned. Carefully and using his fork he pushed the letters away from him.
“Good morning Harry, do you fear that these letters bite?” Voldemort greeted while coming in.
Harry looked at him and was surprised. Voldemort seemed to have taken his advice and had long hair now as well as green eyes much like his own. Overall, he had to admit that the man looked handsome. He observed how the man walked over and sat down opposite of him. The second he sat a mug of coffee appeared before him. “My wannabe friends who probably want to regain my friendship and Dumbledore…either he got to know about the Dursleys and my ex-friends and wants to know what happened or he got to know about Gringotts and I’m screwed. Either way it’s nothing I want to deal with right now. Despite that I don’t put it beneath him to tamper with the letter,” he replied before continuing with his breakfast.
Voldemort nodded before running a few scans over the letters. “I see however, I can appease you with the letters being tampered with…they’re not. You also forgot something yesterday,” he placed three vials with silvery liquid in them before Harry. “Your memories. Something else, the tailor came this morning Lucius though told her to come back at eleven since you were still sleeping,” he took a sip from his coffee. Harry picked up the neatly with intricate writing labelled vials. “I also considered your idea yesterday and did some research. I have to say…it is doable. In America, they have quite a few extremely secluded magical communities I think called cults. If I claim coming from one they shouldn’t be able to tell otherwise because those communities normally don’t interact with the outside world. What do you think?” he asked not wanting to exclude the boy from this since it was his idea after all.
“Sounds good. An untraceable past together with a believable story and your change of looks…it should work out,” Harry nodded.
“I’m glad that you approve,” taking another sip from his coffee he continued much tenser than before. What he wanted to address now was a sensitive topic. “Harry, while I’m at the Ministry today to go through with claiming the Lordship of Slytherin…I’d also like to claim guardianship over you,” he observed how Harry stopped eating and leaning back drinking some of his juice.
They sat there in silence for about five minutes observing each other when Voldemort spoke up again. “Harry, I don’t want to do this to mulct you of your freedom. I know that you want to do everything on your own like you always had to…I promise you that I wouldn’t do anything against your will. One of the very few things I ask from you nonetheless is to accept my help. Let me manage the Malfoy accounts and properties. You can keep the control over your new and your trust vault to do with them what you fancy. The other upside of this is that you have much more time to learn everything you need. That brings me to the other thing I would ask from you. I’d like you begin to learn Occlumency this summer otherwise I fear that Dumbledore will be able to manipulate you. Despite that should you still want to get emancipated next year I wouldn’t stop you,” he looked at Harry expectantly.
The boy in question was stunned. This was exactly what he hoped for, the possibility to decide for himself while not having the pressure of having to learn everything in a year. However, could he trust this? Voldemort was a Slytherin in more than one way and he doubted that the man hadn’t some ulterior motive. It was as he thought about during the shower…this or ruining himself.
He closed his eyes and sighed. “I thought about all this to and I also came to the conclusion that this would be the best course of action as much as I despise it. Sure, I could push through my emancipation but only provided that I survive until then and didn’t die of exhaustion. Yet, I also can’t let Dumbledore go on as he did. I agree with it under two conditions,” Voldemort rose an eyebrow. “First, only guardianship and not an adoption. Second, you leave everyone I consider a friend alone even if they are your followers and with leaving alone I mean no hurting, no maiming, no permanent incapacitation and no killing. Oh, and I want you to teach me…that were three conditions.”
“I assume you’re talking about Snape?”
Harry nodded. “Plus possibly two others but those aren’t your followers and it isn’t sure as of yet.”
“And here I thought you didn’t do friends,” Voldemort snickered.
“Well I place people in three categories. First, pawns who are basically gun fodder, second, useful pawns who proved themselves worthy of my attention. Then the third, the very rare ones I like so much that I would go some length to protect or help them but I have to call them somehow, don’t I? So why not the term friends. Though you know how many fall into this category as of now.”
“In which category do I fall? Hopefully not a pawn,” he simply was curious.
“Being honest? I don’t know…surely not a pawn no but other than that only time can tell,” Harry shrugged helplessly and it was true. Voldemort wasn’t a pawn so much was clear but was he worth being called a friend? As he said only time will tell.
“Why not an adoption?” he questioned the other condition.
“Something I can’t explain either. I just…have the feeling that this wouldn’t end up well. From time to time, I simply have the feeling that something bad will happen as I had long before you let the troll loose on Halloween. Please just accept it…” normally he wouldn’t beg for something but he really had a bad feeling should he be adopted by Voldemort.
“Okay, I agree with your conditions though I would like you to introduce me to everyone you want to add to that list of friends, not that I accidentally hurt them,” Voldemort smiled the teaching part not even being a noteworthy condition for him he would do it anyway should Harry wish so. “I think you should get back to your room the tailor arrives in five minutes.”
Harry stood up and went to leave the room when Voldemort added. “Have fun.”
“The day when getting measured for new clothes is fun is the same day Dumbledore wins ultimately,” Harry snorted before finally leaving.
A smile stole itself on Voldemort’s face. Oh yes, Harry already was back to his old self after a night of good sleep. It truly was a good thing to offer this though it wasn’t an entirely unselfish offer. Ensuring that the boy was well and healthy would prove worth it if only for him to see Dumbledore’s face when finally recognition hit him that his “Golden Boy” never was his to begin with.
Despite that, he perhaps may finally gain what he longed for so long: a family. Irony that he might gain it with the boy who was foretold to be his downfall. Sure, most people thought that he was a heartless monster and sure, he went against anyone who opposed him with vicious determination but that didn’t mean that he hadn’t feelings he was only a man after all.
He stood up and left the mansion to the Ministry and as predicted no one gave him a second glance. Even the registering of wands went without a hitch since he now used another wand than before his downfall because it was lost somewhere or possibly destroyed. This time he didn’t go to Ollivander however but Gregorovitch and he had to admit that this wand was much more powerful than his other one or it had to do with his reincarnation but without his old wand, he wouldn’t be able to tell.
Overall, it took him only half an hour to complete the official claiming of the Lordship and another half an hour to claim guardianship over Harry. He had to snicker lowly imagining the look on Dumbledore’s face when the old coot got to know what happened.
After a quick detour to Gringotts in order to inform Griphook personally that Dumbledore had no hold over Harry anymore he arrived at the manor back in time to see Harry coming from his room finished with the measuring and selection of cloth for his new wardrobe.
“I can gladly inform you that Dumbledore no longer has a hold on you and I already informed Gringotts about it,” he said with a smug smile.
Hearing that Harry turned on his heels not saying anything and went back into his room only to reappear with an extremely large stack of parchment.
“Ah yes? Good. You said something about you managing the Malfoy accounts and properties. Here your homework,” with a devilish grin he dumped the entire stack in Voldemort’s arms. “All bank statements to the money vaults as well as a listing of the storing vaults and everything regarding the properties. Have fun. Oh and this afternoon a warding specialist from Gringotts will come around to make the manor unplottable,” with a last smile and a patting on Voldemort’s shoulder he walked down the corridor humming `Hell in a Handbasket´ from Voltaire leaving a stunned Dark Lord behind. This was his payback for “having fun” with getting measured. Walking towards the study, he needed to use the floo because he finally wanted to play some with his present.