Chapter 3: Preparations

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Two hours later Salazar arrived at Little Whinging. By then he was mostly cooled down enough to realise that he totally forgot to look up the address of those…individuals. He would never admit it but he hadn’t been in such a rage for over a century. Normally he was a cold and calculated tactician but now he was blinded by rage and that had him acting like…well like Gryffindor.

“Great” he scoffed. “The first time in millennia I really care for someone and I make three grave mistakes in a row.”

First, he let Dumbledore vanish with the boy without having the option of following or even a way to trace him, second, it took him over four years to find Harry again only because he was too blind to see the obvious and now this. He sighed and thought for a minute. The information he needed was within his memories he knew it. When he had researched Harry’s ancestors all those years ago, he had also came across the address of his aunt and uncle. All he had to do was to concentrate and remember the relevant information. So, he closed his eyes and searched through his memories for the information pertaining to their address.

“Number 4 Privet Drive. Got you!” he said pleased with himself a few seconds later.

After casting a point me charm with his wand, he drove off the parking lot he had been in the last few minutes.

It took him a few more minutes to reach his destination. He cancelled the Point me charm and cast a disillusionment charm so that the neighbours wouldn’t be suspicious as to why he was observing the household of Number four. After he finished casting everything, he made himself comfortable and waited, never losing sight of the house at any moment. It was 7 a.m. currently so this would be a long day.

It was a very boring duty to do but it had to be done. At exactly half past eight two male persons left the house. One was about six years old with a satchel on his left shoulder and to be honest, he was fat. Not like those kids who haven’t lost their baby fat yet but more like one who didn’t hear the word NO often enough when it came to chocolate or fast food. He resembled the man next to him so much that he looked like a younger version of the adult. The man wore a grey suit, a tie and held a briefcase in his right hand. Both went up to the car in the driveway, got in and drove away.

“Mr. Dursley and his son I presume from the resemblance,” he muttered to himself.

After about four hours, a horse-like woman left the house. Salazar frowned because he knew that person, Mrs. Petunia Dursley née Evans, sister of Lily Potter née Evans and quite unfortunately…no, he didn’t even want to think about that.

“It really is a shame I cannot outright kill this entire branch of the family…” he mused.

While he wasn’t the type of person who killed innocents because he could, or because of some twisted reasoning about blood purity like Voldemort proclaimed or the so called “Greater Good” Dumbledore constantly spouted on about yet whom also had no problem with killing people when necessary and when they didn’t fit in with his plans. However, Salazar needed a very good reason to kill such as preventing damage that would clearly be done to other innocent people or if the person was too dangerous to be kept alive, such was the case with Lord Voldemort for example. Nevertheless, he would only kill someone as a last resort.

After Petunia left, he had to wait yet another half an hour before she came back from picking up her son from school and shopping together with him. They entered the house together and again nothing happened, well nothing that he could observe from his point of view.

It was sometime after 3 p.m. when he found who he came for. One of the fat boy’s friends had come over to visit, what happened next had Salazar watching in horror at how those two boys had chased a third out of the house and no one had cared or even reprimanded them. It was almost as if this was a regular occurrence. Salazar recognised the third boy on the spot; it was Harry Potter, the boy he had been searching for over four years. From what he could see little Harry was in a very bad shape. He was far too small for his age and far too thin as well, wearing old clothes which were worn out to the point of falling apart with multiple holes and which were much too big for the boy. Upon further observation, Salazar noticed that the boy was extremely filthy as if he hadn’t bathed properly for weeks.

Salazar grew even more furious as he watched the two bigger boys chasing Harry through the garden and beat him up until he could only lie there with his knees pulled up to his chest after they caught him. After one last kick, the other two went in the house again laughing as if what they had done was some grand accomplishment worthy of praise.

He had to get Harry out of there and quickly, but he couldn’t storm over there grab the boy and drive home. This had to be planned carefully.

“Trixy” he called out and a few seconds later the small house-elf sat next to him eagerly awaiting orders.

“Could you please stay here and observe the boy, the small one with the black messy hair. Make sure you don’t lose him; I don’t want to have to search for him all over again. I need to plan my next move to safely get him out of there carefully. Oh, and please whatever you see happening to him under no circumstances are you to intervene unless his life is in grave danger. It will be hard from what I could observe so far but we can’t risk Dumbledore getting wind of what we are planning and then hiding the boy even better. I don’t know what wards and spells Dumbledore might have put on the house so that’s another reason to be cautious while inside the house. Perhaps there are some to report even house-elves so look for such before you enter. In about five hours I’ll send Blinky around to replace you so that you can watch Harry in five-hour shifts and still be well rested. Ok?” Salazar told the house-elf.

“Trixy will do everything in her might to help master in getting Harry back” she squealed with glee.

“Thank you.”

After the house-elf vanished with a small pop Salazar cancelled the disillusionment charm, started his car, turned around and drove of back to London. He had a lot of planning to do.

Fortunately, the streets were empty so one and a half hours later Salazar was back in his study a piece of parchment and a quill lying in front of him. James entered the room and placed a cup of tea next to it before sitting down opposite Salazar. Salazar had proceeded to tell James everything he observed at the house right after he came home.

“What do you plan to do now that you have found the boy, Sir?” James asked.

“First I need to know which wards and charms have been placed on the house just in case they report any wizards entering the house to Dumbledore, but I plan to have Blinky examine it when it is his turn to watch Harry” Salazar replied.

“But what about wards registering house-elves?”

“I told Trixy to look for such and since she didn’t come back I assume there are none or she could disable them without being noticed. The next thing will be to get Harry out of there. I will have to wait until he is alone before I can approach him; otherwise, his ‘family’ might intervene. The greatest problem will be that there are most definitely tracking charms on him so that Dumbledore can monitor his every movement.”

“Hmmm, this could get tricky assuming that you won’t have the necessary time and privacy to remove those before someone in the neighbourhood gets suspicious and calls the police. We should also consider that there might be magic tracking spells on either the house or the boy himself so that Dumbledore gets alerted when someone tries to disable them…” James mused. “What about a suppression bracelet? It would take the boy only seconds to get it on and it would suppress any magic on or coming from the boy until he is within the wards of this house.”

“That was exactly my thought too but it would have to be a very powerful one putting into account how powerful Dumbledore is. I’ll also have to upgrade the wards of the house so that they hide the boy’s magic and the spells on him efficiently before we can safely remove them. Therefore, I want you to contact Mr. Reichard in Stuttgart – Germany as soon as possible. He is one of the best regarding counter curses/spells and warding against such things and should be able to craft a bracelet strong enough for our purpose.”

Salazar picked up the quill and wrote a short letter to said Mr. Reichard before folding and putting it into an envelope and giving it to James.

“This letter contains all the necessary information for Mr. Reichard. It shouldn’t be a problem to convince him to help us.”

James took the letter and put it into the inner pocket of his jacket.

“Is there anything else for now, sir?”

“No just deliver that letter as fast as you can. Considering the time it is now in Germany you should have no problem finding him in his shop.”

After nodding shortly, James immediately left the study to go to the living room in order to floo over to Germany. With great foresight, Salazar had connected his fireplace not only to the Floo Network of the country but also to the International Floo Network.

Salazar stood up and went over to the fireplace where a small fire was burning.

“Blinky” Salazar called out for the house-elf.

Only half a second later, the house-elf appeared in the study.

“What can Blinky do for you?” the elf asked.

“Trixy is at the moment at Privet Drive No. 4 in Little Whinging observing Harry Potter. I want you to go there and replace her in an hour. Like Trixy, you have to be really careful and you don’t intervene no matter what happens to Mr. Potter except if his life is in grave danger. I also want you to collect evidence about what is happening in that house with Harry, anything and everything that will help me to get him out of there legally and away from Dumbledore’s influence with the approval of the ministry should the necessity arise. You are also supposed to check the house for any and every ward placed on it but don’t disable them as that may alert Dumbledore. I ask you to be extremely careful, as anything that gives away what we are planning to do to anyone could be disastrous.”

“Blinky will do everything to satisfy his master” Blinky squealed with a bow.

“I know. Thank you. Oh, and please tell Trixy that she is to come to me as soon as possible after returning in order to report what she witnessed. Now go and take your preparations.”

Salazar stood there staring into the fire while thinking about what he would have to do once Harry was in his care.

First, he would have to call for a healer for a full medical examination on Harry. For what he witnessed while observing the house and seeing Harry for the first time since he was a baby Harry was not in good shape. He was far too small and definitely not well-fed if he was that skinny at his age. That surely would have change once he was here though. He had also been beaten by that fat pig. Those injuries also would have to be treated.

Second Salazar would have to invite Mr. Reichard over to lift every curse and spell that might have been placed on the boy. That shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish either since he explained the whole case within the letter he just wrote to him where he also stated, that it might be inevitable for him to come around so he could do his work properly.

Finally, he would have to talk to Gringotts and the Ministry in order to legalize his care for Harry. He knew a sure way to accomplish that but he needed evidence against Dumbledore’s inability to care for the boy properly, which would be collected by Blinky before he could even attempt to do anything on that front.

So, for now, everything he could do was already in motion.

He didn’t know for how long he was standing there staring into the fire and thinking about his next actions when he heard someone knocking at the door.

“Come in” he called out.

James entered the study.

“Sir I’m back from Germany. Mr. Reichard has confirmed that he will craft the requested bracelet but he also stated that he would need either a few hairs or some blood from Mr. Potter in order to achieve maximum protection. With that said, it would take two days for him to finish his work once he has either the hairs or blood. He also stated that it wouldn’t be cheap” James reported.

“Hair or blood? Well, that is not uncommon but it is a bit awkward to come by, especially the blood.”

“He explained that while blood would be preferred hair would also work well enough to shield the boy from even the strongest known tracking charms.”

“Hmm… Alright, I will order Blinky to retrieve some hair during his shift. Blinky!”

“Yes, master? Blinky was just about to leave to Mr. Potter” Blinky said after appearing with a small pop.

“And I didn’t want to keep you from doing your duty but I have another request for you. Please retrieve a few hairs from Mr. Potter without getting noticed. Hopefully, you can do this upon your arrival there so that Trixy can bring them back with her but being unnoticed is the first priority, understood?” Salazar requested.

“Yes, Sir. Blinky will talk to Trixy to see what can be done.”

With that, the house-elf disappeared.

“Mr. Reichard also told me that he will come over tomorrow in order to upgrade our wards to protect Mr. Potter.”

“Very well, everything that needed to be set in motion has been, and if nothing goes horribly wrong Harry will be with us before the end of the week. The only problem I can foresee at the moment is how to convince him to come with me” Salazar mused.

James chuckled. “You are a professional at sweet-talking, you should have no problem convincing him. I’d bet a thousand galleons that with enough time you could convince a fish not to swim in the water because it isn’t meant for him.”

“This is high praise coming from you, and I’d really like to try that with the fish if only to kill some time in the future” Salazar replied also chuckling.

With a low pop, Trixy appeared in the study.

“Trixy is back from her observation. Trixy has also managed with the help of Blinky to obtain some hair from young Mr. Potter,” the house-elf reported.

“Perfect. James, would you please?”

“As you wish, Sir.”

With that, James took the hair of Mr. Potter and went once again to floo to Germany.

“Anything other important to report Trixy?” Salazar asked.

“Well, Trixy could observe how Harry was beaten several times. Not only from the fat boy called Dudley but also from his aunt and uncle. Harry was supposed to do all the chores and when he couldn’t finish them in time he got beaten. He also got beaten for not cooking properly and for not being fast enough bringing the beer to his uncle. Harry went to sleep shortly before Trixy came back to report, Sir” Trixy dutifully reported to her master.

“Shortly before you returned? It’s well past 11 p.m. and a boy his age should be in bed before 9 p.m.” Salazar growled. “But that will change soon. Can you report anything about the wards around the house?”

“There are only some standard observation and tracking charms on the house which report whenever young Mr. Potter leaves the house and when he returns. There are also some repelling wards Trixy didn’t recognise but nothing else.”

“Okay. You can now get back to your other duties. Replace Blinky in another five hours so that you and Blinky are still on a five-hour observation cycle.”

“Yes Sir, Trixy will do as you wish” and with another pop, the house-elf vanished just before James returned from delivering the hair.

“Sir, Mr. Reichard is preparing everything now. He will arrive tomorrow morning at 9 o’clock and the bracelet will be ready the day after tomorrow in the evening.”

“Alright, I suggest we go to bed soon because tomorrow will be a long day. Upgrading the wards will be a hard and tiresome task.”

“Very well then sir, I’ll do some last preparations and then retire to my chambers” James replied before leaving the room.

Salazar, on the other hand, knew that he wouldn’t sleep much that night, however he still left his study and went upstairs to the first floor where his private room was. He got changed but as predicted he wasn’t able to sleep so he went over to the bookshelf and took out one of his favourite Sherlock Holmes novels “A Study in Scarlet” and sat in one of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. After reading for a bit, he fell asleep there in front of the slowly dying fire with the book in his lap.

It was the next morning at 8 o’clock when James found him sleeping in the armchair. The book had fallen down and Salazar sat there in a position, which didn’t look very comfortable.

“Sir, you have to get up. It is 8 o’clock and your guest will arrive in an hour.”

With a growl, Salazar woke up looking around. His neck was aching and he felt quite stiff.

“Oh, damned I fell asleep in the chair again” he moaned while getting up and going over to the bathroom.

James chuckled because this hasn’t been the first time he found his master sleeping in said chair.

Salazar in the meantime reached the bathroom and after a short look into the mirror, he saw that he looked like he felt…horrible. He would have to take a shower first. So, he went to work and after a shower and the usual business a man had to do in the morning he got dressed and went downstairs to the kitchen. There he was greeted by Blinky with a piping hot cup of coffee, some sausages and scrambled eggs for breakfast. After Salazar, had finished eating he went to his study in order to wait for his visitor.

Five minutes later a man entered the study. The man was about a head taller than Salazar was, slender and had short dark brown hair with the beginnings of a bald patch and grey eyes. He wore a black robe with green and blue ornaments at the sleeves and around the collar.

“Salazar, how long has it been since we last met? Has to have been about 10 years at least. I was quite pleased to hear from you and I will gladly help you to get Mr. Potter out of Dumbledore’s reach,” the man said while reaching out to shake Salazar’s hand.

“Tom Reichard it’s nice to see that you’re doing well. I’m sorry that we couldn’t meet earlier but I have been busy with the Potters. First observing the family and later after their death searching for Harry” Salazar replied.

“So, it is true then what I heard?”

“Yes, it is. This is the main reason I have to get him out of there and away from Dumbledore. I’ll never allow him to tamper with Harry’s life again,” he growled. “But we have a lot of work to do. As I told you in the letter I need you to help me improve the wards of this house and add some new ones with the same specifics as the bracelet. I need to be sure that Dumbledore won’t be able to find him here no matter what.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem since I took some of the hair your butler brought me with me so that I can make the wards specialized for Mr. Potter. Mr. Finnigan would you prepare some things for me please?” he asked the butler whom had just entered with a tray which contained a teapot with earl grey tea, two teacups and saucers, along with cream and sugar.

“What do you need Mr. Reichard?” James replied while placing the tea sets in front of Mr. Reichard and Salazar before pouring some tea in.

“I brought a cauldron with me, please fill it with water and heat it up to exact 90 degrees Celsius. I also need a separate room where I can work undisturbed,” he ordered.

“I will see that the house-elf prepares the cauldron. For the room, I suggest you use our ritual chamber which we have established in the cellar.”

“A ritual chamber? That is even better. Please inform me when the preparations are complete.”

With that James left the room to fulfil the orders given.

While waiting for James, Salazar and Reichard drank the served tea and made some small talk exchanging what had happened since the last time they met until they came to the recent events.

“So, what do you want to do once the boy is with you?” Reichard asked.

“Well, first I’ll have him checked by a healer. Hopefully by Ms. Pye from St. Mungo’s because from what I could observe he is not in good health. Malnourished, abused, frequently being beaten by his cousin and he has to do every single chore in that house. After that, I would ask you to look the boy over in order to lift any curse or spell that might have been placed on him. If you wish you can also be present when the healer examines him and work together with her.”

“Sylvia Pye? I know her quite well since I work with her on a regular basis when she comes across unknown spells and curses so that shouldn’t be a problem. I’d prefer to work together with her so that she can monitor the boy while I lift the spells and curses because depending on what curses are on him it can be difficult and not entirely risk free to remove them so it would be good to have her around.”

“You know her? That’s even better. Alright, I’ll contact you when it’s time but first I will need the bracelet and after that, I’ll have to wait until the boy is alone long enough for me to approach him and take him with me.”

At that exact moment, James entered the study.

“Sir, everything has been prepared, you may begin.”

“Alright then, show me the way to the ritual chamber” Reichard replied.

So, the three led by James left the study and went to a locked and heavily warded door under the staircase to the first floor. Salazar opened the door with his magic before they went down into the cellar. Reaching the bottom of the stairs they entered a huge round room with torches along the walls and a pit for the rituals in the centre.

“Nice ritual chamber, it’s been a long time since I’ve seen one this large” Reichard mused.

“Well for some of the rituals I perform you need the space.” Salazar replied

“I wonder why you haven’t tried to find young Mr. Potter via a ritual.”

Salazar huffed: “I have, with the strongest detection ritual I know but it didn’t work and I was barely been able to avoid it falling back onto me. After that, I didn’t try again because of the risk.”

“Then there are really strong repelling wards at work when even you couldn’t penetrate them but considering who your opponent is it should be no wonder. Okay so let’s get to work.”

So, the both men went to work preparing the chamber while James went back to his other duties. It took the two men over six hours but in the end the existing security wards not only were much stronger than before but also were layered in a way that was last used over two thousand years ago, so it was very unlikely anyone else would know the pattern and therefore made the wards much harder to break.

They also added dampening wards, which would diminish any spell used within to nearly an untraceable whisper on the outside. Someone could now cast the most powerful spells within the wards and nobody would be able to trace it from the outside when said person didn’t know where to look and what to look for. Even then, they would have to look very hard to catch the faintest whisper.

On top of that, they added the anti-tracing wards specified to Harry and some general ones in case the tracking spells were on an item the boy might carry with him.

“Yes, the wards will now effectively suppress any magical signature from escaping towards the outside. I’m not sure whether I would detect anything through them either and that’s even though I know the layout and how they work. But I warn you Do Not abuse this power or otherwise I will be obliged to come after you” Reichard warned his friend half joking half serious.

“Do I look like an idiot to you?” Salazar laughed. “No, I’m neither Dumbledore nor Riddle. This is only for protection purposes and perhaps to teach Harry something without the Ministry getting on my case for underage magic.”

“Well you know the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but I believe you because I know how powerful you are, and that you have never abused that power so far.”

Salazar grinned while peeking onto his watch. It was 6 o’clock in the evening.

“Okay now that all the work is done what do you think of a good meal?” he suggested.

Hearing his stomach rumbling he laughed and replied: “Sounds good to me.”

So, both men went upstairs and after Salazar sealed the door to the cellar again they went to the dining room where a few minutes later James served them their meal. While eating dinner they both had a polite conversation and made a bit small talk again, it was around half past seven when Reichard stood up to leave back home to Germany.

“Your bracelet should be ready tomorrow around this time so either you or Mr. Finnigan may come fetch it. The price will be 1200 galleons but that’s only because you are a friend,” Reichard told him with a smile.

“That will be no problem. I’ll send James along with the money and as for checking on Harry I’ll contact you as soon as I got him out of there.”

“Perfect, I’ll be in my workshop for the next two weeks so it shouldn’t be a problem to contact me, but I must be going now since I have to check on a potion for the bracelet. See you soon.”

“Yes, see you soon.”

With that Reichard took some floo powder and went back to Germany. Salazar on the other hand turned around and went to his study. After arriving there, he went to a cabinet and took out a crystal bottle with amber coloured liquid in it. It was a 150 years old Irish whiskey he normally only drank when he celebrated something but it has been a long day and he needed a drink. With the glass in his hand, he went to the window behind his desk and looked out. It was a rainy day and a few people on the street below passed by in a hurry. He observed them for a time, while indulging in his thoughts. Half the preparations were done and now he only had to wait until the bracelet was finished then he could go and get Harry.

He stared out of the window for a few more minutes before he remembered that he should write a letter to Ms. Pye in advance so that she could prepare herself and no more time would be lost. So, he turned around, sat at the desk, took out quill and parchment and began to write a letter to Sylvia Pye. Sylvia was currently a healer at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries he trusted her enough to describe exactly what he needed her expertise for. He also added anything he knew about the state of health that Harry was in so that she would know a bit in advance. Besides that, he mentioned she would have to work with Tom Reichard in order to lift possible curses and spells on Harry, but if what Reichard told him was true then that shouldn’t be a problem. It was even better that those two knew each other and had worked together before. This would ensure that they would work together smoothly and keeping in mind what the task would be this was a massive bonus.

After he finished Salazar called for James who entered shortly after.

“Yes Sir, you called?”

“Would you please send an owl with this letter to Ms. Pye? She is a healer at St. Mungo’s and I’d like her to check on Harry when he is here.”

“As you wish”

James took the letter and went to send the house owl. Salazar meanwhile went up to his bedroom in order to get some sleep. In the end, he again ended up in his armchair reading and later falling asleep right where he sat.

The next day Salazar woke up as stiff as the day before.

“Damned, I really shouldn’t read in the evening…every time is the same result” he moaned.

James who had just woken him up chuckled.

“Yes, yes, I know that you find that funny” he growled sleepily.

“It is good that you see the mistake you perform every time. Now try to change your behaviour to avoid making the same mistake again, Sir” James grinned.

After having a long bath, Salazar went into his study in order to fill out some paperwork. He had to oversee some businesses after all, and he couldn’t neglect them simply because he was in the midst of preparations for getting Harry out.

All in all the day passed by without any major difficulties. The only thing Salazar had to do was to go to Gringotts in order to retrieve the gold for Reichard. But that too went without complications, and so James travelled to Germany in the evening to pick up the bracelet.

Now Salazar sat at his desk the bracelet lying in front of him in a small wooden box with a velvet inlet. He could feel the magic radiating from it. It was a masterpiece and worth every galleon, he had to pay. He even admitted that it was cheap in relation to the work that had to have been put in such a masterpiece.

“Trixy” he called out.

“Yes, master called for Trixy?” the elf replied.

“Please prepare the second bedroom opposite mine for Harry. I doubt it will take long to get him out of there.”

“As master wishes.” and with that the elf vanished.

The only thing he had to do now was watch Harry until he was alone long enough so he could get him out of there. Hopefully, that wouldn’t take too long but today he doubted he could do anything because it was already late. So, he went to bed and this time he made sure that he didn’t end up in his armchair again.

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