Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 06

06

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“Once that you’ve decided on a killing, first you make a stone of your heart. And if you find that your hands are still willing, then you can turn a murder into art.” — The Police, Murder by Numbers


Harry thought long and hard about his next response. That sort of thing would truthfully be better done in person, but he was still wary to some degree that Voldemort would try to pull a fast one on him, especially after having revealed his possession of the Horcruxes, despite the evidence that killing him was impossible or next to. And speaking of that—‘Derek, what’s to stop someone from managing to do something like knocking me unconscious and then dumping me off the side of a cliff?’

‘Oh, you’d probably die,’ came the airy response. ‘But you wouldn’t stay dead. I would come for you personally and pick you up, dust you off, and correct any issues. Can’t have my master heading off to the afterlife on me, now can I?’

‘I see. How comforting. So at this point I can either ask you point blank if Voldemort is planning anything funny, or I could simply set up conditions in my book such that if he or Quirrell do try to off me again that Quirrell would trip and bash his head in or break his neck.’

‘You could, yes.’

Harry let his gaze go unfocused, no longer really seeing the view out the window, then nodded. ‘I think I’ll just do it that way. It’ll be more exciting not knowing for sure. Thank you.’

‘You’re welcome,’ Derek replied, then faded from his mind.

“Okay,” he muttered to himself. “Time to set up a meeting. The question is for when.”

A week later saw Harry meeting his Defense professor in his office after dinner. Quirrell threw up a few privacy wards and took a seat—facing backwards—and unwrapped and removed the turban from his head. Harry arched a brow at the spectre of Voldemort on the back of the man’s head and blithely pulled a stick of rock candy from his pocket and unwrapped the end. “Well hello there,” he said, then shoved the candy in his mouth.

Voldemort just stared at him for a minute, then commented, “How irreverent you are.”

“Yes, well, I try,” Harry said a bit distortedly, then removed the candy. “So let’s hash things out, shall we? Hypothetically speaking, for the moment.”

Voldemort made a sound like a mildly frustrated sigh. “Where are my Horcruxes?

Those? I keep them with me at all times. They literally cannot be stolen from me.” The rock candy went back into his mouth for a moment—a lovely banana flavour, actually. “Their safety is indisputable. So unless you plan to assimilate some of them I don’t see the point in worrying.

Interestingly enough a part of me believes you,” Voldemort admitted. “The other part wants nothing more than to wring your scrawny little neck.

Harry laughed merrily. “I’ll show you something, then. Now, understand, I am not giving you this. I just want you to understand something first.” He produced the Elder Wand from within himself and set it on the desk. “Again, not giving it to you. Have Quirrell attempt to take it, or take control and try yourself.

Voldemort eyed him for a moment, then his eyes went blank and his expression slack. Quirrell stood and turned around, reaching down to grasp the wand in one hand. Quirrell’s face showed a twinge of surprise when it disappeared the moment it was touched. The body then resumed its previous position and Voldemort’s face became animated again.

Harry smirked and produced the wand again. The rock candy went back into his mouth as he detached the chest from the end, the wand disappeared, and he expanded the chest to remove Ravenclaw’s diadem and show it off.

Quirrell’s body leaned backward as Voldemort’s expression went all funny, a peculiar mixture of confusion, frustration, and anger.

Harry replaced the diadem, shrunk the trunk, and reattached it to his wand before letting that return to his body. After removing the candy from his mouth he said, “While you probably can’t tell exactly what I did there, you can rest assured that your Horcruxes are decidedly safe. Dumbledore won’t be getting his hands on them. I’d say Dumbledore and his band of idiots, but we both know that man doesn’t much care to share knowledge or power.

The fidelius, then,” Voldemort guessed. “And attached, I suppose, in some way to a wand which cannot be separated from you.

Well, the old man always did praise your intelligence,” Harry replied. “So back to hashing things out. I do recall mentioning that I had a lead I needed to chase down. So suppose that, in theory, I found a place. Further suppose that we transplanted all of the Darks—those that aren’t raving psychos, anyway—and interested Neutrals. Possibly even muggle-borns snatched from the muggle world, those too young to have been contacted. And I don’t limit this to Britain. On top of that suppose that we transfer magical creatures.

And your question is? What sort of government we could agree on?

More or less. Even Dark wizards use Light magic on a regular basis, so it isn’t as though any of that would be lost. I’ve been doing a lot of research into why certain magics were banned. It’s funny, in a way, since a lot of Dark magic is deemed perfectly acceptable under certain circumstances, most of which seems frightfully arbitrary. Some people in the government, if they had their way, would ban all magic which could do harm, never mind that it would also encompass plenty of Light magic, and would leave this country open to invasion. But of course, British is best, don’t you know, and no one would dare. . . .” He rolled his eyes.

Define magical creatures.

Mm, anything useful or harmless. For example, acromantula are man-eaters, but their silk is of exceptional quality. On the flip side, puffskeins are utterly useless so far as I know, except as pets. Still, no matter how useful something is there’s always someone out there who wants them exterminated, often someone Light. Far too many of those people have little or no tolerance for anything that even hints of being less than Light.

And werewolves?

Harry snorted. “Ah, no. Most likely not. Not unless they are extremely useful for some kind of potion, and not unless I find something extraordinary. And really, they’re probably always going to be out there, so it’s not as though they need to be saved or anything. And if they aren’t useful why encourage it? It’s a communicable disease. I’m still rather iffy on the idea of vampires, even, but at least they can sexually reproduce themselves so they are a species unto themselves, even if they can turn others. Don’t get me wrong—I don’t have anything against either in particular, I’m just not sure if there would be a point with werewolves.

Voldemort gave a thoughtful, albeit awkward, nod. “It sounds to me as though you expect this theoretical population to not have issues with muggle-borns and half-bloods. That the ability to express magic would be of far more importance. Naturally, this would preclude the inclusion of any number of pure-bloods.

Yes, but consider that if we took only magical folk—absolutely no associated muggle family members—eventually everyone would be a pure-blood. It would not impact distinctions based on wealth since it’s not as though I would ever advocate leveling. Even if I were obscenely wealthy and liked to be a bit of a philanthropist I would never share it out in that manner, not for a population that cannot seem to make up its mind on how they feel about me. Granted, those sorts of people, the ones who expect little old me to jump straight into a duel to the death with you and save them all from having to be anything but lazy, would never be invited anyway. And those who despise me and want me dead are unlikely to be able to fit in.

Are you saying you aren’t wealthy?” Voldemort asked almost curiously.

Harry snorted again. “My father did the usual tests after I was born and once he realized I was not a proper little heterosexual limited me to a relatively small trust fund. All the Potter funds went elsewhere, such as to the Order. Let’s forget about the fact that they were being hunted and he might not have the chance to father one or more other sons. My mother left what she had to me, since she didn’t share James’s views. And assuming things go as expected my godfather will leave me his fortune. He was never properly disinherited, and even if he had been he still has the money his Uncle Alphard left him. That assumes he kicks it anytime soon, naturally.

At that Voldemort got a vaguely peculiar look on his face. “Since you seem to have me at such a disadvantage, and since you’ve dropped so many hints, I may as well ask outright. Did you utilize some method of time travel to live your life over again, and if so, why?

Harry stretched out the time until his verbal response by enjoying his candy for a bit. “I used a ritual,” he finally said, “one that I researched for over a year, starting after all of your Horcruxes were destroyed and you were killed for good.

Voldemort scowled.

You’ll never guess how you died, either,” Harry said a bit tauntingly. “I already knew that Dumbledore was something of a problem, but not how much, by the end of my fifth year. During my sixth year he took forever to explain certain things about you, such as your past and personality, and what he thought you were using for Horcruxes. And that year started off with him having already found the ring. It was killing him, the curses you had put on it, but I didn’t know that at the time. I should also point out that the diary had already been destroyed.

Dumbledore died at the end of the year, after going to the cave to get the locket—a fake, I know, but it did give us clues as to where the real one was—and I was more or less on my own at that point aside from the help of two friends. I’ll skip most of what should have been my seventh year because that was more or less the camping trip from hell while trying to locate and destroy the remaining Horcruxes. To shoot to the more relevant parts, it was right before Snape expired—your snake Nagini bit him because you no longer had any use for him—that he gave me a bunch of memories.

In those I learned exactly what kind of a twisted relationship Snape had with my mother, and how she was not exactly the saintly personality I had been led to believe in, and most importantly, I learned that Dumbledore expected me to pay you a visit so you could kill me. The Horcrux in my scar, don’t you know. I still don’t really know if he expected me to somehow live through that. It was a serious mental mule kick in the head for me. And before you ask, yes, I let you nail me with a killing curse. I survived, obviously, and shortly after that your final Horcrux was destroyed and you were killed.

I think by then I was already mental from the accumulation of everything thus far, including more than one use of an Unforgivable, though just exactly what effect those had is up for debate. When I was able to visit Gringotts and see about my inheritance I learned exactly what kind of a bastard my father was. My godfather was just as bad, actually, but his stint in Azkaban made him forget the details and he changed his will after his escape to leave me everything.

Voldemort shook Quirrell’s head slightly. “That is not enough.

No, it wouldn’t be and it wasn’t. I returned to where I was living and spoke with my then girlfriend. Yes, I know, why would I have one if I was gay. I told her about my father’s will, and she seemed okay with it, if not upset on my behalf. It was later that I overheard her speaking with her mother about how she couldn’t marry a poor man. Her mother advised she stop administering the love potions.” Harry half-smiled, rather bitterly. “It was after that, when the potions started to wear off, that I finally felt like I could—I don’t know—try thinking for myself. I moved out and started doing some research, especially after my best female friend was less than sympathetic and my best male friend brushed the whole thing off. Maybe he was secretly gleeful that the Great Harry Potter wasn’t getting everything all of a sudden, such as the money he always assumed I had.

I did go back to Hogwarts to attend my final year, which was rather awkward given that my near-fiancée and friends were barely speaking to me unless it was about games, nagging about revision. . . . And nothing had really changed. Even though a number of the Slytherin students had fought on the Light side in that final battle, Gryffindors still acted horribly toward Slytherins and they were horrible in return. Hufflepuffs were still considered duffers and Ravenclaws mostly ignored everyone. The teachers were still apathetic toward all of it, muggle-borns were still scornful of tradition and culture. . . .

I kept up my research, thankful that I had access to the Black library, and started paying attention to politics. A friend of mine, I suppose you could say, had ascended to the role of minister, and I started a correspondence with him. There were still laws being presented for vote which would even more severely restrict werewolves, as an example. Some only went so far as to require registration while others were pushing hard for all of them to be rounded up and killed to get rid of the problem once and for all.

Now I argued, how is that any different from a wizard? One evil wizard willing to act out doesn’t mean we’re all evil and should be imprisoned or killed. So someone like Greyback shouldn’t decide the fate of all werewolves. But the minister didn’t realistically have a lot of power, not with the Wizengamot stacked the way it was. The government was still flush with hereditary fiefs only interested in pushing their personal agendas. Unless he was willing to start bribing people to do the right thing there wasn’t much he could manage.

Something tells me you’d be for term limits,” Voldemort commented.

Probably. Something to prevent families to obtain and hold too much power. Sure, the muggle government has a House of Lords, but they also have a House of Commons. What it boils down to is that nothing really changed. Oh, sure, you were dead, but not all of your followers were properly dealt with, and the conditions which would lead to yet another dark lord were all still there. I died for these people and they wanted to parade me around at parties and balls and political soirées. I wasn’t a person, I was a thing.

You say you want our own country, for real. I want one that marches with my ideology. And if I’m famous it’s because of something I actually did, not because it was forced on me by morons like Dumbledore.” Harry stuffed the rock candy back into his mouth and sucked before cracking off the end and crunching through it.

You decided you didn’t like the way things turned out and found a way to try again, this time courting the other side.

Harry shrugged. “I wouldn’t exactly say I ever courted the Light. I was more or less forced into it and frankly wasn’t mature enough at the time to really think things through, especially not after having lived with my abusive relatives for so damn long. I was strongly discouraged from asking questions or doing well in school. I did not rise above that until too late. I latched on to the first person who appeared to give a damn and didn’t let go even in the face of evidence that he was using me. I just couldn’t accept that at the time, not until after it was all over and the results were staring me in the face.

After I, er, returned, shall we say, I tried my best to ignore what a colossal wanker my uncle was. The thing is, I noticed that the people in town actually did believe I was some kind of deviant little shit seconds away from corrupting all their children and really ought to be shipped off by the police, all because my aunt and uncle spread stories. I realized I just didn’t care if they died, and thought perhaps this time around they deserved it, so I arranged for their deaths in order to power and strengthen the wards I emplaced. My uncle had a terrible accident, my former best friend kicked it on his first Hogwarts Express ride, and Snape will shortly join them in death. There are a few people I should like to get revenge on.

Even though some of them have done nothing yet now to warrant it.

True,” he admitted.

The obvious question here is how you did it,” Voldemort pointed out. “Even I would be hard pressed to manage what you’ve done, at that age, even with all my current knowledge.”

Harry just smiled.

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Harry was sitting beneath a tree not terribly far from the lake, ostensibly enjoying the last of the semi-decent weather before winter set in with a vengeance. It was beside the point that he was wearing a jumper and had a warming charm going. Anyone asking was told he appreciated the “brisk” air. Well before the time dinner rolled around he would be safely ensconced on his bed or in the common room, deciding to give the Halloween feast another miss for consistency’s sake.

Every so often he would glance up briefly, generally while answering a question from Kevin or Neville but not always, and eventually his patience was rewarded on seeing both Snape and Hagrid approaching the area, carrying a case and bucket respectively. Harry knew that Snape was on his way back from an ingredient gathering trip in the forest, though he was not usually so obvious about it. What was interesting about the situation was that Quirrell was quietly and invisibly lurking close by, presumably to see what Harry had in mind for his Potions Master’s death.

It was known to Harry that Hagrid visited the giant squid on a regular basis, partly just to give the poor thing some company that was not merfolk, and partly because he had to. As it was Hagrid tripped just as he was approaching Snape with the result of the contents of the bucket he was carrying splashing all over the man, much to Snape’s disgust.

Harry watched avidly as Snape erupted in anger, excoriating Hagrid loudly, and then as the giant squid poked its head up above the surface of the lake, its tentacles thrashing around wildly. A fisted hand went up to press against his mouth as the squid reached out and wrapped a tentacle around his professor. Neville squeaked while Kevin dropped his quill, splattering ink all over the place. The next thing Harry knew he was biting down hard as Snape was rudely sodomized right in front of them, while Hagrid flailed around in a panic.

Neville hunched over and lost the contents of his stomach as Kevin said weakly, “Did Snape just get. . . ?”

“Oh, dear lord,” Harry whispered. This was way better than he had anticipated. Snape was being subjected to tentacle rape and it was all he could do not to laugh so hard he cried. Specifying that a melding of the contents of the bucket and the god-awful mess saturating Snape’s hair would turn into the equivalent of squid catnip plus Viagra made the professor irresistible and highly desirable as a partner, despite not even being of the same species. It was only a minute or so later, blood flying everywhere, that the squid dragged Snape under the water and disappeared with him, presumably to actually mate with the man.

Quirrell finally made an appearance, walking quickly toward the scene. He paused at Harry’s little group to say, “Mr Longbottom, if you would please run to the infirmary and inform Madam Pomfrey that there is a problem?” Without waiting for a response he added, “Mr Entwhistle, please run to the Great Hall and see if the headmistress is already present there, or perhaps Flitwick, so they can be informed. If neither are present try to find McGonagall or Flitwick in office.”

Harry was impressed that he said all of it straight-faced and without stuttering once. What a fantastic Saturday. Best Halloween ever! He started slowly gathering up everyone’s things after they took off at a dead run at the professor’s behest, all the while eyeing the lake. Quirrell had continued on to try to get Hagrid to stop panicking and instead do something useful, though he was having little success.

Dumbledore showed up with McGonagall just as Harry was making his way toward the castle, not wanting to linger once the cavalry arrived, and even by then there was not much to see. Snape was still the captive of the squid and the blood in the water had spread enough or sunk so as to not be immediately obvious.

He kept to his intention to skip the feast, instead secured behind his bed curtains creating a message for Voldemort. But he was not alone for very long as someone wandered in and violently shook the curtains to get his attention. Though mildly confused, Harry undid his spell work and poked his head out.

“They’re not having the feast like normal,” Kevin said a bit dully. “Food’s in the common room if you want any. Thought you might want to know.” And then he left, quietly closing the door to the dorm behind him.

‘I wonder,’ Harry thought, ‘if anyone will bother with counseling this time around? Somehow . . . I don’t think so.’

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‘If only it were break already,’ Harry thought with a sigh. He very much wanted to track down that secret. Just imagine how different things could be in a place with no muggles, no worshipers in the Cult of Dumbledore, no holidays based on muggle religion, no so many things he could do without at this point. He would return ‘home’ and then promptly go exploring. It was not as though Petunia would give a flying fig if he was there or not, and going back was only for appearances’ sake.

The furor over Snape’s death had died down rather quickly after the initial outpouring. Certainly there were many, many students who were thrilled that they no longer had to suffer the man’s ‘teaching’, but that happy realization had not really sunk in, pushed aside as it was by the manner of his death, until after Slughorn had been enticed back to the role.

True, it meant that Harry would have to suffer the man’s efforts to ‘collect’ him, but he could deal with that easily enough. If nothing else it just underlined how badly he wanted to get away for a while, no matter how satisfying Snape’s death had been. Voldemort had pointed out that he could only arrange for so many ‘accidents’ in a given year before someone like Dumbledore became suspicious, so eyeing up Ginny or Trelawney was out of the question. Someone away from the school—perhaps. So all he had to look forward to for a while was his investigations.

November dragged on interminably, the only highlights being the occasional conversation with either Voldemort or Luna. He found her to be quite amusing, actually, once she had warmed up to him, no longer fearing that he would mock her for the things she liked to talk about. A part of him wished he could actually find some of these creatures she spoke of, just to prove her right.

He spent several hours sitting with her on Friday afternoons, absentmindedly talking while doing his homework. They would continue on to dinner, and then afterward he would meet with Voldemort, though those meetings sometimes only lasted ten minutes. It was late November when Luna brought up the subject of Ginny. He had been engrossed in what he was writing—mostly from memory, actually, from his first life—and only really caught the name. “Hold up, what?” he asked, looking at her directly.

“I said that you should probably be a bit wary of Ginny Weasley,” she replied patiently.

“She has a crush on me,” he said with a sigh.

“Oh yes, very much so. It’s probably a good thing that she is in another house.”

He nodded; that had been on his mind during his decision process for which house to choose, though a rather minor aspect in comparison to other factors. “And you came by this how?”

Luna gave him a look that was just shy of knowing before she replied, “I live not far from her. We’ve been friends of a sort for years.”

A mild suspicion wended through his head, but he nodded. He knew from the first time around that Luna was very loyal to people she considered friends, but that “of a sort” business said a lot. He also remembered quite clearly just how Ginny had treated any female—Luna included—once she had secured Harry’s ‘love’ with potions. No female was safe, excepting her mother, from Ginny’s paranoid belief that one of them would change him somehow, lead him away, steal him. . . . One would think that the potions alone would have been enough, but no. Just another thing he had not been able to notice until he was discarded and able to see clearly.

He thought back to just how truly horrid Ginny had been about Fleur, for example, a woman who had absolutely no intention of ever even glancing at Harry that way. Ginny was most likely jealous of Fleur’s veela-enhanced beauty and ‘charm’. And if Ginny was willing to use potions to obtain the affections of the unwilling, then what was to stop anyone else, even someone like Fleur who had no need of them, from doing the same to the object of Ginny’s affections? Romilda Vane had tried.

In some ways he felt so ashamed of himself for that first life. So much of his time was either attempting to avoid trouble, suffering trouble he had not avoided, running into things blindly, and having the wool pulled over his eyes. He had been so damn stupid, so self-centered, so needy, so desperate, herded from situation to situation by adults with their own personal agendas. And even his friends of the time were caught up in it, encouraged just as much as he had been to blossom that savior Dumbledore had wanted. Eventually he sighed and said, “I appreciate the warning. If you hear anything . . . specific, would you be willing to mention it to me?”

“Yes.” She almost looked like she was about to say something more for a few seconds, but instead she smiled and returned to the essay she was working on.

Harry was stuck in one of those moments of wanting to know, knowing he could should he choose to without her consent or knowledge, and realizing that Luna was one of the few people who simply did not deserve such treatment.

Later on in Quirrell’s office after dinner he stared at the wall for a bit before saying, “I’ve been thinking about vampires, wondering what the effects would be on bringing them along, hypothetically, since most of them live on a diet of human blood so far as I know. Doesn’t make much sense to do so if they’ll be killing our population. Do you think they’d go for blood banks, or would that ruin the whole thrill of the hunt thing?

Voldemort looked at him funny, like he was not sure he was hearing correctly. “Don’t you think that is a bit premature? Yes, you have this ‘lead’ you spoke of, but until you have something solid. . . .

Harry rolled his eyes in frustration. “Yeah, yeah. I’m just bored as hell being in this damn school. It honestly never crossed my mind.

A little too focused on revenge?” Voldemort said snidely.

Harry snorted at him. “Such wit. So tell me, is it true that you like to torture your followers for the hell of it? Just because you’re in a slightly pissy mood? Because really, I can’t say I’d mind seeing Bellatrix writhing around in agony. Or maybe Lucius.

I am going to assume that both of them did something to upset you?

Well. . . . She did, at the time, but it has more to do with her talking down to me. Lucius, though, he’s just poncy. I suppose if he had managed to get the school shut down—not something he could possibly do the same way this time—I would have been extremely upset since it would have meant living full time with those horrid muggles. This time around I wouldn’t care since I have that situation under control.

And not Peter?

He shrugged. “I don’t know to be honest. He’s such a sniveling bastard that I can’t imagine torturing him would bring any real satisfaction. I do blame him for what happened to my parents—more than I do you, amusingly enough—but he’s just so pathetic. Or is that an act?” He gave his erstwhile enemy a piercing look.

No, he really is that pathetic. I had barely threatened him and he caved to my will.

Any mental defenses to speak of?” Harry asked suspiciously.

Quirrell’s body shrugged as Voldemort replied, “Not really, which means Dumbledore was far too trusting—or he wanted the prophecy to be set in motion and therefore didn’t look too hard at his people.

He scowled. “Don’t get me started on him again. Because really, even whining that I’m bored is more productive than me ranting on about the countless things he’s screwed up. I’d rather think about vampires and ways to have Trelawney die in a freakishly bizarre accident. So far all I’ve come up with seems a bit trite.

I’m sure something will come to you in the fullness of time. Just exactly how long do you plan to play at being a student, anyway?

What, so you know how long before it’s no longer even mildly interesting here and decide it’s better to get your body back? I don’t know. Probably once I have somewhere to move to. The soonest I can even begin to know is during break, but I shan’t hold my breath in expectation that I should be so lucky so quickly.

Don’t you mean us?

Harry eyed Voldemort. “You’re telling me you really are willing to leave Britain behind? I know you said you wanted our own country, but someone might take that to mean this country, just run by you.

You find something good enough and I would certainly give the idea honest consideration. Yes, it would be nice to make Britain a proper place to live, but then most people hold some degree of fondness for their home country. But it would never be our country unless all the muggles were gone!

They do kill each other off at alarming rates,” Harry pointed out. “Even so, billions is a long way to go. Not really worth the effort.

Voldemort growled at him. “Do you think I don’t know that? Wouldn’t it be wonderful for a plague to hit and wipe out millions. But then”—he sneered—“that would be killing innocents, right?

Harry blinked and shrugged lightly. “A natural plague isn’t our business, though. Look, none of this really means anything until a place is found, and I plan to check out that lead during break.” He glanced at the clock and sighed. “I’ll see you later,” he said before getting up and slouching out of the office.