Chapter 9: Back to Black
Outside the library, Harry cursed quite loudly, swaying slightly. It was only his iron will and being used to getting the back either cut or ripped open that he still stood. Just at that moment, the door opposite of him opened and Snape came out seeing him. He quickly walked over only in time to catch the boy before he could fall to the floor.
“Harry, what happened?” he asked concerned when he suddenly saw blood tainting his hand. “You’re bleeding. Where are you hurt?”
“My back, Lucius threw a cutting curse at me when I tried to leave the library earlier,” Harry replied grimacing in pain.
“Come, let me help you getting back to your room,” Harry again started to sway as soon as he got off the wall he was leaning at. “Here drink that,” Snape pulled a pain reliever out of his pocket and gave it to Harry.
Harry gulped down the potion and instantly was relieved that the pain abated. “Thank you.”
Snape quickly cast a Patronus in order to inform the Dark Lord of what happened afore helping Harry to his bedroom, luckily they didn’t have to go far. Before they rounded the first corner, Snape got a glimpse of Lucius leaving the library and rushing down the corridor but he had more pressing matters at hand than stopping the man.
Not even two minutes later they reached the bedroom where Harry laid down on his bed face down after undressing so that the potions master could have a look at the wound. Right at that moment Voldemort walked into the room followed by a concerned Narcissa who happened to be in hearing range when the Patronus delivered the message.
“Oh Harry, what happened? Are you alright?” Narcissa walked around the bed so fast that she nearly ran before sitting down on the edge next to Harry.
“My back has been cut open so yeah I’m perfectly fine,” Harry sneered but Narcissa didn’t even flinch long since used to Harry’s ways. Most of the time she was even amused about his snideness.
Voldemort also walked over to the foot of the bed but stopped in his track and started to growl when he saw the old scars. “You’re relatives?” he barely managed to get out through clenched teethes, he was seething.
“Who else? Dumbledore?” he shook his head.
“I’ll call for Healer Greengrass; you need a full medical scan. It seems that Dumbledore failed in other regards to,” he said while walking over to the fireplace to floo call Lord Greengrass. The man didn’t know who he really was but they got to know each other quite well since the first Wizengamot meeting he attended. Voldemort was this time more into making friends than recruiting followers.
About five minutes later the Healer arrived. “What happened?” he asked in a professional tone walking over to the bed and instantly inspected the wound.
“Mr. Potter got hit by a dark cutting curse. I was able to lift the accompanied curse and just started to clean the wound,” Snape replied equally professional. “I also gave him a grade three pain reliever earlier.”
“Master Snape I assume? Good work, I’ll take over from here,” with that he started to chant over the wound to clean it further before knitting the skin back together. “Mr. Potter, the area of the wound will be a bit tender for the next days and you should take a bath ones a day adding this potion to the water so that there will be no scar. Those other scars are they results of curses too?”
Harry turned his head towards him. “No, they were made by mundane methods,” he replied.
Healer Greengrass rose an eyebrow. “Why haven’t they been already healed then?”
“I fear that his former guardian is to blame for this dereliction. This is also the reason why I would ask you to perform a full scan on him. It certainly does no good not to know what damage has been done and left untreated,” Voldemort spoke up.
“You can turn around then I’ll perform the scan. It will take a few minutes,” he addressed Harry who did as told.
This was when the twins came in together with Draco chatting excitedly. The three came a long way since the first lunch together in this manor. Once Draco got to know that the twins weren’t what they seemed to be he got along with them quite well even if he didn’t join their little lessons, Draco was more the observant type than the participant. Oh and what he observed, seeing what the three did to Arabella Figg because she failed Harry had been an eye-opener and he never wanted to get on Harry’s wrong side. Harry on the other hand didn’t mind having him around.
All three stopped dead in their track when they saw that everyone was gathered around Harry’s bed with worried faces including someone they didn’t know. Said man was chanting over Harry now.
“What happened?” “What is wrong?” “Is Harry hurt?” the twins blurted out walking over to see what’s wrong while Draco walked over to his mother who also looked deeply worried.
“Lucius attacked me when I wanted to leave the library, threw a cutting curse at me,” Harry explained while sitting up since the healer was done. “I’m sorry Draco but your father went too far today. Was this everything Healer Greengrass?” Harry inquired to the man who just told the Dark Lord about the results of the scan.
“Yes, that was everything…luckily all bones healed properly and the scars will vanish too when you take the bath for the recent injury. I just told your guardian which potions you should take for your malnourishment. Do so and in two weeks you will be in best health. Should anything else happen please don’t be afraid to contact me,” the man replied with a smile. “You have my floo address and make sure that he takes his potions, Lord Slytherin,” he added towards the Dark Lord.
“I will, thank you for coming over,” with that, Healer Greengrass left the manor via floo.
Once the Healer was gone, Draco snorted. “Please, as if you’re truly sorry. You’re the epitome of a sociopath and to be honest I wondered when something like that would happen. My father is only arrogance, money and impression, whoever he can’t bribe he tries to intimidate but it seems he found someone neither works with, his fault if he can’t see it,” his mother looked at him shocked. “Oh really, did you think me blind or naïve? What has my father ever done for me? Sure, he bought me everything I wanted but that is a very bad substitute for love. For him I only was the heir he could show around. No, actually I would be angrier should you do nothing about him. He hurt my friend,” he growled.
Harry was stunned. Draco placed him over his father? Going so far that he didn’t mind what he would do to Lucius, even wanting him to do something? It seemed that his little group of friends gained a new member. For someone who didn’t do friends he gained quite a lot of them lately.
He chuckled lowly. Oh yes, Lucius would get his punishment. No, he wouldn’t die yet but the punishment would be severe. That was when he felt a shifting in the wards.
“He is back,” he said with a malicious glee in his eyes and a smirk that told nothing good. “Fred, George…would you please be so kind and lead him to the sitting room? I trapped him with the wards for the moment but make sure he can’t do anything.”
“His wand is in his cane so be careful,” Draco added as an afterthought.
The twins nodded before leaving the room and doing as Harry asked.
“So what about my dear husband? What are you going to do with him?” Narcissa questioned.
“Oh, I have just the right punishment in mind for him but I probably need your help,” he addressed his guardian the Dark Lord.
Said man rose an eyebrow questioningly. “Why? What do you have in mind?”
Harry started to explain what he thought and everyone had to admit that it was a very…interesting punishment.
About two hours later, a loud pop sounded through the atrium of the Ministry of Magic and a man slumped on the floor before he pulled himself together. The man barely made it to the counter where two Aurors stood guard who instantly ran around the counter to help him.
“Help…I need help…Mrs. Bones…I need to talk to her…it is important,” he scarcely brought out.
“Lord Malfoy?” one of the Aurors said shocked before regaining his composure. “You need a healer. What happened?”
Malfoy looked bad, his robe torn, several cuts and bruises all over his body, which was twitching as if jolts went through it and his hair were covered in blood hence why the guards didn’t recognise him at first.
“I don’t need a healer…I need to talk to Mrs. Bones. The Dark Lord…he is back!”
That effectively silenced the entire atrium since Lucius shouted the last part in panic.
“I beg your pardon?” one of the Aurors asked.
“The Dark Lord he is back. He, it was him…the man who tortured me,” he desperately tried to convince them. “You have to believe me.”
“Okay, okay, please come with me we will discuss this in a more private atmosphere,” the man replied pushing aside that the man needed a healer.
The two Aurors led Malfoy to a side elevator, which was used only by Aurors when they had to escort someone to either the Aurors office or the courtrooms. Two minutes later, they sat in Amelia Bones’ office.
“Ms. Bones, Lord Malfoy here told us something that concerns us greatly,” one of the Aurors said.
“Ms Bones you have to believe me, the Dark Lord is back!” Lucius exclaimed for the second time this day.
Hearing this revelation Amelia Bones, head of the DMLE suddenly sat straight in her chair looking at the tortured man in front of her warily.
“I beg your pardon? Did you say that the Dark Lord is back?”
“Yes, yes he was the one who tortured me, he and Albus Dumbledore,” his voice nearly broke saying that. “Dumbledore was also the one who brought him back. I don’t know the details but it seemed that they used the Philosopher’s stone.”
Bones now looked shocked. Albus Dumbledore supposedly not only tortured a man but also helped the worst Dark Lord of all times coming back to life?
“Are you sure Mr. Malfoy? These are pretty harsh accusations which shouldn’t be made lightly and should they prove to be false…” Bones inquired. She somehow couldn’t believe that those accusations were true, there had to be something behind that. On the other hand, she knew that the Philosopher’s stone had been in Hogwarts the entire last year so it wasn’t that improbable that Dumbledore used it to bring the Dark Lord back. She also knew that Dumbledore wasn’t like the grandfather he wanted everyone to believe he was. As head of the DMLE, she knew every law and bill that passed the Wizengamot as well as the voting so she didn’t put it beneath Dumbledore to use any means necessary to achieve what he wants. The question however is, what are his goals?
“I am sure, you have to believe me. See? The Dark Mark…it became pitch black again a few weeks ago. They tortured me again and again only because I asked Dumbledore to give me back what he took,” Malfoy nearly whined.
That spiked Bones’ curiosity. “Would you mind to explain what he took?”
“Money first and foremost and…so much more.”
“Do you know where the Dark Lord is currently hiding?” Ms. Bones inquired.
Malfoy sighed. “At Dumbledore’s mansion,” was all he could say to that.
Bones hummed upon that. “Would you allow me to check you upon spells?”
Lucius nodded and Bones performed a few diagnostic spells in order to see what happened to the man and to find out whether he spoke the truth or if he was under the influence of a spell or potion. It would also serve as evidence. Once she was finished a scroll shot out of her wand, which she caught and read. There were a lot of spells she found, Cruciatus Cruse, Tormentor Curse, cutting curses…pretty dark stuff but nothing that would influence the perception of the victim.
“Mr. Malfoy I will investigate this instantly but I would ask you to go to St. Mungo’s and see a healer. From what I can gather you have been tortured quite badly…” she started but was interrupted.
“No, please you have to protect me. When they find out that I talked to you…or find me at all…I’ll be dead. They will kill me. I beg you, please you have to protect me,” he looked at the woman pleadingly.
“Okay, okay, you can stay in one of our cells if you’re so desperate” Bones groaned. She had no personnel to play babysitter for Malfoy but there was no other possibility. He was rich and influential and when she wanted to stay head of the DMLE, she would have to keep up with him. “Josh, would you please escort Mr. Malfoy and see to it that a healer looks after him. I don’t want to find him suddenly dead because of some aftereffect of the curses.”
In the study of Hræfn manor, seven people sat around a glass ball listening to the conversation between Lucius Malfoy and Amelia Bones. All of them were highly amused about what they heard.
“I have to admit that your punishment is very unique,” the Dark Lord said after stopping the eavesdropping charm. “I would never have thought about using a compulsion charm this way.”
After torturing him quite thoroughly they laced him with compulsion charms so that he every time when he wanted to say Harry Potter instead said Albus Dumbledore while thinking that he said what he originally wanted. The same was done with Lord Slytherin though in that case he would say Cornelius Fudge. The names of the others he simply couldn’t say at all as well as the name of the manor.
It was a very good thing that a spell spoken in Parseltongue could neither be detected nor cancelled by a spell spoken in English, only another spell spoken in Parseltongue could do that. Harry found that tidbit out by accident when casting a charm in Parseltongue without registering it and then trying to reverse it in English. Took him two weeks to find out the reason of why he couldn’t.
“To bad that we won’t see Dumbledore’s face when Bones walks into his office accusing him of torturing Lucius” Draco smirked and his mother snickered lowly. “Though remember me to never anger you.”
“Oh yes, I’m just imagining to old coots face and Draco as long as you don’t do anything stupid like insulting someone I respect or attack me without reason I see no motivation for being angry with you,” Harry smiled fondly at Draco.
“Aw, so we are not allowed” “to prank him anymore?” the twins threw in mock hurt.
The Dark Lord observed with interest how the little bantering between Harry, Draco and the twins went on. To him it looked like the little group of friends found another member. It seems that ever since Harry got rid of his pretender friends and shows his true self he was happier, more himself.
“I wonder how it will be once they return to Hogwarts,” Voldemort chuckled lowly.
Snape who heard that groaned. “Merlin have mercy with us, we are all doomed,” he moaned.
“Perhaps you should then simply lean back and enjoy the show. I doubt that I will survive Gryffindor for long without cursing someone, especially my ex-friends,” now Harry growled before grinning viciously. “Or a potions mishap or two.”
The potions master pinched the bridge of his nose. “I knew it…”
“Hey, I only wanted to know why it was a particularly bad idea to add the porcupine quills without taking the cauldron from the fire first, or what happens if adding the mistletoe berries without crushing them, now I know. Is it my fault that the potion reacts so violently?” he piped happily.
“You brought five of your classmates into the hospital wing with it and that’s only those two incidents,” Snape sneered but Harry only shrugged. Oh yes, Draco was completely right with his assessment that the boy was the epitome of a sociopath and he didn’t want to think about what will happen once he was back at school, especially together with the twins. Perhaps Harry was right and he should stop worrying about it, enjoy the show and somehow take care that the boy didn’t hurt or worse kill himself in the process, he couldn’t do anything against it after all.
“That reminds me Draco, Fred, George…want to join a little trip to Germany?” the addressed boys looked at him questioningly. “I want a new and specifically unregistered wand so I thought about visiting Gregorovitch and I thought that perhaps you might want new ones to,” he explained with a devious grin.
“Clever, that way you can cast any curse without leaving any traces on your official wand or having to erase any evidence,” Narcissa nodded in approval. “I gladly accompany you.”
While Draco smiled and nodded eagerly the twins looked at each other hearing that before turning back to Harry. “Uhm Harry, we don’t have the money for new wands…” they admitted. “Actually we will be troubled enough to pay for our school supplies this year.” “We received a letter from our mother” “that since we seemingly deem our family not worthy enough” “to stay with them over the summer” “they won’t pay for our school supplies.”
Harry blinked a few times in surprise. He knew that their mother obviously didn’t care for her sons very well but that was a new low even for her. “Rubbish! I care for the people who live under my roof and I have enough money to also buy you a nice new wardrobe when we are already at it.”
The face of the twins lightened up hearing that. They had feared that they wouldn’t be able to buy the necessary things not to mention the new wardrobe they needed since they grew quite a bit and the old one was much to short now. “Thank you,” “we will pay you back” “once we have enough money.”
“Forget about it, I neither need nor want your money and you’re already paying me back,” Harry made a dismissive gesture with his hand. “Being able to call you my friends and I mean true friends not some idiots who want to ride on my coattail is payback enough,” it was as he told Voldemort, for those he deemed worthy to be called friends he would go some length and compared to the rest of their family he knew the twins would do everything to repay him even if not with money. He knew how rare real friends were, those who give a damn about who you are fame wise or how much money you have and wanted to be friends with you because of who you were personally, the twins were one of those. Over the holidays, he tried to convince them to go out and have some fun on his bill but they outright refused not even looking sad that they had to, eventually he dropped it. Harry wondered why they suddenly accepted his offer but it was probably because they had no other choice, they needed the supplies.
Giving prove to his thoughts the twins jumped up and embraced Harry in a hug. Draco in the meantime snickered over Harry’s surprised and indignant look, which earned him a glare that didn’t seem to impress him in the slightest.
“May I ask you a question, my Lord” Narcissa spoke up amusedly observing the children while Voldemort motioned her to go on. “Don’t you fear what happens since my dear soon to be ex-husband told them that you are back and even showed the mark?” she chuckled lowly upon the thought that she would be rid of him soon and swore to herself to never anger Severus. The man could be outright scary if he put his mind to it and not the `I’m the bat of the Hogwarts dungeons´ kind of scary. No, the `I know 100 ways to kill you without leaving any trace´ kind of scary. Once they had been through with Lucius and before they let him free for a little hunt so that he could get away Severus spelled an untraceable, slow working and extremely painful poison into the other man’s system. It had no antidote and was lethal within two hours so Lucius probably will be dead within the next hour, an hour full of pain.
Voldemort chuckled. “No, I cut the connection to the marks of everyone the day after my rebirth causing them to vanish. Everyone I marked will undoubtedly think that I died ultimately and that is fine with me. I actually recast the mark on Lucius before we let him loose so he is the only one bearing the mark and will possibly be the last. So no, I don’t fear him shouting around that I’m back since he can give no evidence and once Bones confronted Dumbledore the entire thing will fade into nothingness. Sure, Dumbledore suspects I’m back but he can’t confirm it because then he would have to admit that Lucius is right and therefor open the door for investigations against himself. That is the best part of this plan, Dumbledore has to deny everything.”
A few hours later, someone unknown knocked at the front door. Harry went to greet his guests followed by Voldemort who wouldn’t leave him alone with any guests. They were surprised to see Ms. Bones together with someone they assumed was another Auror.
“Welcome, how may I help you?” Harry asked politely.
Ms. Bones and the Auror on the other hand looked at each other confusedly. “Lord Slytherin, Mr. Potter, my name is Amelia Bones head of the DMLE though I have to admit that I’m a bit confused right now. Isn’t this Malfoy manor?” She shook first Voldemort’s and then Harry’s hand.
“Oh, I’m sorry for this confusion. This manor happens to be in my possession for a few weeks now and runs under the name of Hræfn manor now. Let’s say it was Lucius way of paying me back for insulting someone I’m quite fond of,” Harry explained. “Though I would appreciate it wouldn’t you tell Professor Dumbledore about it.”
“Since Mr. Dumbledore is no longer your guardian he has no right to inquire any information form us regarding you that hasn’t anything to do with school. However, I am here because of a pressing matter I have to discuss with Ms. Malfoy and her son. You wouldn’t happen to know where I might find them?” she asked.
“Oh wait a minute, Dobby!” the house-elf appeared with a small plop. “Tell Draco to come to the sitting room,” Dobby nodded and left. “If you would follow me please I’ll show you the way.”
He then led the two to the sitting room where Narcissa read and Draco waited for them.
“Please make yourself comfortable. Do you wish anything to drink?” he asked politely but Bones and the Auror declined. “Then I’ll leave you to it. It was nice to meet you,” with that, he and Voldemort left the room.
Bones had to admit that Harry Potter was a very well behaved young boy and didn’t doubt that he would grow to be a charming young man that would be a factor to be reckoned with. Her niece told her about the speech he hold on the leaving feast and she had to admit that he was good. Once the door closed, she turned back to Ms. Malfoy and her son to deliver the bad news. Lucius Malfoy died earlier that day under excruciating pain due to an up to now unknown reason.
Narcissa started to cry hearing that while Draco tried to comfort his mother also looking shaken by this news. After they offered their condolences Bones and the Auror left still having to investigate Dumbledore’s assistance in Lord Malfoy’s torture as well as bringing the Dark Lord back. Unfortunately, Lucius could not give more information to the case.
As soon as they were alone again, Narcissa mysteriously recovered from hearing that her husband died and Draco smirked.
“Serves him right,” Draco muttered.
A short time later Harry and the Dark Lord returned having waited a room over.
“So what do you want to do now that you are free again?” Harry asked his cousin Narcissa. “I’d gladly give you the Malfoy fortune back.”
Narcissa smirked. “Thank you, but no thank you. Keep it; I do not want any money from that man. Despite that, I have enough money of my own from before the marriage still running under Narcissa Black hence why neither he nor you were able to take it. The only thing I would ask from you is whether you could let me take out a few of the heirlooms that belong to me and give me the townhouse in London. It will be enough for Draco and me to live in comfortably. I also thought about changing my name back to Black.”
Harry nodded. “I will inform Griphook to give it back to you as well as returning you trust vault, Draco.”
Draco on the other hand shrugged. “With the naming I don’t mind either way. Actually, I never truly liked the name Malfoy. I mean really? Mal foi? Bad Faith? Not a name one wants to have, is it?”
“Not to mention that the name of Malfoy soon will be disgraced with what Lucius spouted in his last hours to live, not to mention did to an honoured member of society,” Narcissa snickered. “Despite that the House of Black is a Noble and Most Ancient House while the Malfoy hose is only a Noble one.”
Hogwarts – Headmaster’s office – 17.30 p.m.
Dumbledore sat in his office working on the newest edict he wanted to get through the Wizengamot when he felt the gargoyle that guarded the entrance shift to let in whoever stood on the other side. Confused to who would want something from him he looked at one of the endless devices that stood in his office only to see that it was Amelia Bones and someone to him unknown. Even more confused as to what the head of the DMLE would wand he asked them to enter.
“Welcome Ms. Bones, what gives me the honour of your visit? Please sit down can I get you anything? Tee? Coffee?” he greeted them with a smile and twinkle in his eyes.
Bones and the Auror declined. “Albus Dumbledore, we came here because disturbing news reached us. We were informed recently that the Dark Lord came back only a few weeks ago with the help of the Philosopher’s stone. Afterwards he seemingly hid at an up to now unknown location until he tortured someone so badly that said person died shortly after reaching us and telling us about it.”
Dumbledore suddenly sat straighter. He knew it, knew that the new Lord Slytherin was the Dark Lord. There was no mistake that it had to be him. Dumbledore just wanted to tell them that they had to do something, having a close eye on the man and that he would gladly help when Bones continued.
“We were also told that you Albus Dumbledore helped him not only with getting resurrected but also with the torturing of an honoured member of the wizarding community. What can you tell us to that?” Bones observed him closely.
Dumbledore’s face fell in an instant the annoying and ever present twinkling vanishing leaving the man dumbstruck when he heard the accusations. Oh, Tom was good he had to give him that. He didn’t doubt one second that Voldemort arranged it that way so that he could do nothing else than denying everything. How could he tell her that the Dark lord was back without giving her the impression that he was the one helping him?
“I beg your pardon?” Dumbledore managed to get out.
“You heard what I said so what do you have to say?”
Now Dumbledore grew slightly angry. “I never participated in torturing anyone nor did I help Voldemort coming back, what a ludicrous thought. The Stone was safely stored within Hogwarts’ walls and I can assure you that it was never touched.”
Bones rose an eyebrow not believing one word of the second part of Dumbledore’s statement. She knew, also thanks to her niece, that Harry had been able not only to overcome the obstacles to protect the stone but also retrieve it from the place it was stored at. Right now, she had two options, first she could continue questioning the man in front of her and listening to how he denied everything, or she could drop it for now and watch him more closely from now on. She decided on the second option not wanting to waste any time in trying to get anything out of that old man.
“I’m sorry I didn’t want to imply that you had anything to do with it but as you very well know we have to follow any hint we get as absurd it may be. We have also a few other leads to follow so thanks for giving your statement,” he slightly bowed her head. “I will leave you to your work then.”
“Very well, thank you for your visit,” Dumbledore replied his grandfatherly smile and twinkling back.
Bones and the Auror turned to leave the office though Bones didn’t miss the incredulous look Phineas Nigellus Black gave her. Seeing it she smirked in reply, she might have been a badger while attending Hogwarts but that didn’t mean that she didn’t know how to play the games of the snakes.
Later that day in the evening when Harry got changed and just wanted to go to bed Dobby suddenly appeared in his bedroom causing him to nearly curse the elf for startling him.
“Dobby is very sorry, Master Harry, but Dobby has bad news for him” the elf bowed lowly.
“What is it Dobby that it can’t wait until tomorrow?” Harry asked stifling a yawn.
Dobby shifted uncomfortably until Harry had enough and gave him a stern glare. “Dobby saw that bad Lucius went into study before leaving mansion. Entire time bad Lucius whispered that he shows Master Harry not to mess with him,” the elf finally told him.
Hearing that Harry sat straighter. It seemed that Lucius took something out of the study before leaving with it to do who knows what. Though what did he take? “Could you see what Lucius did in the study or perhaps took?” he asked Dobby.
“No. Dobby only knows that bad Lucius said bad things will happen at school of Master Harry after returning to manor. You being careful, yes?” Dobby let his head hang because he had to disappoint his master.
Harry laughed hearing the worried elf. “You know what happened to the last one who threatened me? Don’t worry I’m not that easily killed and you did good informing me, now go” he dismissed the elf. He rarely complimented them for once because he didn’t really care but also didn’t want them to go overbearing because of a compliment. Though he also knew that he would have to compliment them when they did something especially good to keep them happy.
Dobby was over the moon that his master was pleased with him and vanished. Harry however sighed before standing up, throwing over a gown and walked out of his rooms, he needed to talk to Voldemort. A few minutes later, he walked into the study where the Dark Lord sat working on some documents.
“How can I help you?” the man asked looking curiously at the clock wondering what Harry would want this late.
“Dobby just visited me telling me that while I was indisposed because of Lucius, said man went into this study only to come back out not much later and leave the mansion. He also told me that Lucius muttered something about showing me up and that bad things would happen at Hogwarts. Unfortunately Dobby was not able to tell me what he did here in the study” Harry growled.
Voldemort leaned back in his chair, entangling his fingers while tapping his thumbs against his mouth deeply in thoughts. Lucius couldn’t have taken one of his Horcruxes because he had them under heavy warding and he would have been alerted should someone try to disable them. That was when he remembered something. “Did you change anything in this study after taking over everything?” he finally asked.
“No, not really because I didn’t think…that…Lu…oh DAMNED” he quickly rushed over to a secret compartment in the bookshelf and opened it only to find it empty. “That fucking bastard’s son of a bitch. I swear I will find a way to revive him only to torture and kill him all over again” Voldemort looked at him sternly because of the swearing but Harry didn’t even see that. “He took that strange book that was in here.”
That let the Dark Lord sit up in anticipation. “What for a strange book?”
“Well, there was an old and small black book in here. It was completely empty but I could feel some strange magic radiating from it so I left it be not wanting to accidentally trigger a curse or something the like” Harry explained.
Voldemort paled hearing that. “Did that book perhaps have an inscription on the back reading Tom Marvolo Riddle in gold letters?” he prayed that it wasn’t the case but something told him that it was.
“Yes, yes, that’s the book. Do you know what it is?” Harry now was curious and a bit worried because he never saw the Dark Lord this pale before.
The Dark Lord on the other hand grew even paler. “It is one of my Horcruxes,” he only managed to get out. At the beginning of the holidays, he only asked Lucius whether the book still was in his possession and safe but he didn’t place it under his own wards thinking that it would be safe either way. Now however he could curse himself for not doing it.
“Horcrux? That was what Dumbledore was talking about…until now I didn’t care but what are they?” actually that matter was completely banished from his mind over the last few weeks.
Voldemort looked at him in contemplation. “This might take some time are you sure you want to talk about it this evening?”
Harry hummed, he needed answers and he doubted that he would be able to sleep until he had them. “Dobby, bring me a mug of coffee,” he ordered.
“Make it two,” Voldemort added and Dobby nodded before vanishing again. A minute later, they both had their mug in hand. “Horcruxes…” he started after a moment closely observing Harry’s reaction. “A Horcrux is the name for a splinter of your soul stored in an object. When committing murder and performing a certain ritual shortly afterwards you are able to split your soul and then store the second part in an object. This entire thing has the reason that if you should die you can’t die completely as long as you have another piece of your soul stored, you’re anchored to this world through it.”
“And you performed this ritual…” it wasn’t a question but a statement.
“Yes, several times actually. The downside however as I learned the hard way is that you not only shatter your soul but also your sanity…your magic and your looks also deteriorate massively,” he sighed.
“Your magic to? I mean the thing with the sanity is evident but I couldn’t observe any change in your magic though it might also be because I don’t know you for very long,” Harry mused. “But what does that mean for me? I mean if I can believe Dumbledore I’m one of those Horcruxes…”
Voldemort looked at Harry before taking out his wand and placing it on the desk in plain sight. When done he summoned a book with just a flick of his hand. “You should get to know that I wasn’t able to do such a thing like wandless magic as I just performed before my downfall anymore. So much was lost to me because of these rituals…but that is unimportant right now. You asked what that means for you…well, I’m sorry but I have absolutely no idea. There has never been a living Horcrux before and I searched the last weeks for a way to extract the soul piece from you without hurting or worse killing you, I found absolutely nothing,” the Dark Lord sighed and went through his hair. “The next thing is that when I asked Healer Greengrass whether there is anything wrong with your scar on your forehead or you in general he said that he couldn’t find anything.”
“So what? Did it simply vanish?” Harry asked confusedly.
“Unlikely” Voldemort replied apprehensively. “All the other Horcruxes still exist even if cut off from me. What I fear is that the Horcrux in you merged with your own soul. If it is okay with you I’d like to perform a small ritual to find out whether the Horcrux still is there or not.”
Harry nodded. “But what if it really merged with my own soul?” fear now tainted his voice. It wasn’t the fear of Voldemort or what the ritual might do but the fear of how it might change him when the soul piece merged with him.
The Dark Lord sat there in utter silence. For the first time in his entire life, he didn’t know what to do or say. This was so far over even his head that he doubted that anyone would ever find a solution. The thing is, how often were Horcruxes created in history? Not to mention a living one and then the person the Horcrux belongs to gets resurrected with a Philosopher’s stone? Never ever once since the dawn of time and he highly doubted that it will happen ever again. On top of this, it would be his sixth Horcrux and putting into account how insane he already was with five…he didn’t want to think about how it could change Harry.
“Do you feel any different?” he finally asked.
“What do you mean? More insane? As if I want to curse anyone in reach without reason?” Harry snorted. “Luckily not. Perhaps how easily dark spells or spells in general come to me might be an indicator but I can’t tell with certainty since I never cast one before this summer. Despite that I feel normal though wouldn’t that everyone say from themselves who is insane?”
“It might also be the reason for why you are a natural Occlumens. I’m just thinking, what if you being a Horcrux from very early on changed you already so that you don’t feel any change now?” Voldemort once tried to teach Harry Occlumency only to find out that he was a natural who had shields strong enough to keep even him or Severus out. After that, he only continued teaching the twins the art of shielding one’s mind. They also already had shields around their mind but those were only rudimentary, though ever since they started practising the twins improved quite a lot.
“Maybe…what about the book?” Harry looked at his guardian expectantly.
“Another thing I have no idea about, it could be literally everywhere. On the other hand…didn’t Lucius say something about how bad things are about to happen at Hogwarts? Perhaps it will show up there once school starts back up again,” Voldemort mused.
“Then I think I will keep my eyes open for anything out of the place. What about the ritual you wanted to perform?” he suddenly changed topic; he was being tired and wanted to get this over with.
“If you want to we can do it right now. It will take only a few minutes,” Harry nodded consensual. “Good, then please follow me.”
They both went out of the study and to a room next to it that the Dark Lord obviously emptied out some time ago, not that Harry overly cared he didn’t need the room anyway. Voldemort quickly explained Harry what to do and to expect before he performed the ritual. The result confirmed what he feared but prayed hadn’t happened, the Horcrux in Harry merged with the boy. What he couldn’t determine was whether it happened only recently or if it was a process that started the moment Harry became a Horcrux, though Dumbledore’s comment would hint to the first possibility. It also could have been a combination of both, leaking traits from the Horcrux into Harry while being separate and only once the Horcrux got cut off the main piece merge fully. Voldemort tended to assume that the last way was how things went because that described the boy’s evolvement of personality best.
“Well, I don’t know whether this is good or bad but I will ask Severus to have an eye on you during school to see whether there are any changes in your behaviour,” the Dark Lord mused.
Harry even if reluctantly had to admit that the man was right. He himself could hardly determine whether there were drastic changes in his demeanour or not. On the other hand, this could also be aggravated by the fact that he wouldn’t put up his Gryffindor persona again once going back to Hogwarts.
“Oh great, a babysitter. He shouldn’t put too much time into it. I mean for once I would act differently to last year since I won’t go back to be the Golden Boy of Dumbledore and despite that there is nothing that could be done even if I changed…” he sighed. “Though I might get quite curse happy if I have to endure those brainless Gryffindors all day.”
Voldemort chuckled lowly. “Have you ever thought about getting resorted?” he suggested.
“Resorted? I didn’t even know that this is possible,” Harry replied surprised.
“It is. Actually, it was induced by Salazar and Rowena when one of Rowena’s students was bullied by his house mates so badly that he ended up in the infirmary heavily injured. The Hogwarts statute says since then that a student can request a resorting in case that he either feels that he doesn’t belong to the house anymore or has to fear bodily harm from his house mates should he or she stay in that house.”
“For me it would be both then,” Harry thought about it when a malicious glittering entered his eyes. “I just had the perfect idea to go through with it,” he said with a smirk.
“Want to tell me what you plan on doing?” Voldemort rose an eyebrow but Harry only laughed vindictively.
“Sorry, but that will stay my secret but I’ll show you the memories.”
The next morning after breakfast Harry, Draco and the twins accompanied by Narcissa visited Gregorovitch in Germany to get new wands. Harry got a Pine wood wand with Thestral Hair and Horned Serpent Horn as the core while Draco got an Elm one with Dragon Heartstring. The twins both gained a Spruce one with Rougarou Hair. When they asked what a Rougarou is Gregorovitch explained that it was a creature with a dog head and human body housed in the swamps of Louisiana. The core material is said to have an affinity to the Dark Arts.
Harry happily payed for the twins’ and his wand as well as wand holsters for all three of them, which could hold two wands. One of the wands would be visible to everyone while the other compartment was enchanted to hide the contained wand from even the strongest detection spells, for the right amount of money you could buy nearly everything.
Two days later since their letters from Hogwarts arrived earlier the four of them went to Diagon Alley to buy the needed things this time together with Narcissa and the Dark Lord. Luckily, they hadn’t to put up with Gilderoy Lockhart who hold an autographing session at Flourish & Blots three days earlier. That however didn’t save them from having to buy the man’s complete collection of Autobiographies. After that, they went to Twilfitt and Tattings who sold better robes than Madam Makin. All of them grew quite a bit over the last year and the summer and therefore needed a complete new wardrobe including Hogwarts robes. Harry paid for everything the twins needed as he already did at the bookshop. Fred and George blew a small fit because Harry only bought the newest and best but Harry wouldn’t hear any of it. When he stated, that it wouldn’t matter anyway, since it was money he took out of the Malfoy accounts, they fell silent thinking of it as a payback from Lucius even if post-mortem for all the damage he had done. In the end they not only had a new wardrobe and an entire new equipment for school but Harry could also convince them to accept him buying them new and far safer trunks as he got one himself. Every one of them got a seven-compartment trunk with an integrated potions lab, an entire library as well as a sitting and a storing room all secured by passwords and the strongest protection wards one could buy for money. The twins weren’t entirely content accepting everything but also didn’t try to object knowing that it would be in vain.
After that, the last days of the holidays flew by. Narcissa went on as she said and attained her old name Black again. Lucius however was branded as a liar and a disgrace after several articles and statements of Narcissa and her son that they both had no idea what he was doing distancing themselves from the man. Them going back to the name of Black was the final proof for everyone that they had nothing to do with what Lucius Malfoy did, the name Malfoy from now on stood for failure and dishonour. Dumbledore also tried to get information out of them since he thought that Lucius Malfoy was the one to set Bones on him but he only got to hear the same as everyone, they knew nothing.
During those last few days, the Dark Lord also gave them a few last lessons and so they all were as good prepared as possible and ready to face the new school year.