Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 20

20

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“Let the madness in the music get to you. Life ain’t so bad at all if you live it off the wall.” — Michael Jackson, Off the Wall


Xenophilius and Luna were pleased to lay claim to one of the estates Barty had marked out, but for the time being they were staying in one of the townhouses. Mr Lovegood had already provided a vague description to the goblins of what sort of rooms he would like, but had asked that they design something “whimsical”. Harry had to wonder what would come of that considering that “whimsical” was the last thing he would ever accuse a goblin of being. The two were also excitedly making plans to attract certain creatures to their estate, though Xeno had spent a fair amount of time outlining to Harry what would be necessary for not only the Quibbler but also printing books.

Harry had every intention of just “stealing” many of the existing ones and using them as templates for Lovegood. Proceeds would go toward materials, salaries, an additional cut for Xeno, and the rest straight into the treasury. That is, unless, one of the actual authors were to come with them, in which case it would remain their intellectual property. If he thought he could do it himself he would write new books for many of the subjects. And on that thought he turned to his partner and asked if he had any intention of writing some.

“. . . Perhaps,” Voldemort said slowly. “As it is, we’ve already provided the staff with an outline for each year and chosen the books from what’s available already. As to your friend’s suggestion about an oversight committee, I am not against it, but I should point out that even if the parents are abusive and we take the children. . . . Things have changed from when I was a child. Muggles take far more notice now of births. The average wizard would be unable to erase all signs that these children ever existed.”

He sighed. He knew that very well. Computers, digital cameras, CCTV, governments keeping records in multiple formats—none of that was conducive to snatches. “Yes, but it might be possible to create fake bodies that appear to have died due to the abuse. We get the children and the abusers may well end up in prison. I know the muggles do autopsies, though, so they’d have to be very good fakes. That right there would bypass almost every obstacle, and so long as we were alerted I could shift in long enough to effect a switch. I’m willing to consider setting up an oversight committee, but until we have people living here who can actually care for any children we take, there’s no point in getting too worked up about it.”

“All right. Then let’s talk about removing my other followers from Azkaban. They’ve been there more than long enough.”

“Sure. I’ve never been to Azkaban, have you?”

Voldemort favored him with an exasperated look. “Of course I have. I did occasionally have to break followers of mine out during the last war.”

Harry rolled his eyes. “So sorry,” he drawled. “I understood the first time around that nobody had ever been broken out until Sirius did it, though they didn’t realize for some time that Barty Snr had gotten his son out well before that. Please give me a memory? If I know where to go, I can shift us there. And once we know who we’re rescuing we can arrange for doppelgangers. Or just steal them, whatever. Depends on whether or not we want people to know something is up. I know from before that Fudge used to do inspections.”

Voldemort looped a memory free and offered it up, so Harry grabbed it with his wand and assimilated the silvery strand. “Hn. Okay. When do you want to go?”

“Tonight.”

He nodded. “Fine.”

“Let’s provide bodies. We can polyjuice people and kill them, leave them in their place. I’m sure they’ll find it very peculiar that so many Death Eaters all died at the same time, but that can’t be helped.”

“So similar to what I did when I stole Bella and the others.”

Voldemort arched a brow inquiringly.

“I did a permanent transfiguration on some criminals and wiped most of their minds. They just sit there and whimper. I assume the aurors assume the dementors finally broke those prisoners.”

“That would be fine, too,” Voldemort said with a shrug. “It’s not like anyone is going to check if they’re magical or not. They’re only interested in when they die so they know when to haul the bodies out and toss them into the sea.”

Harry wrinkled his nose, then produced his wand and cast the patronus charm. He stepped back in surprise when it was not Prongs, but rather a serpent—a basilisk, in fact. “Okay, I wasn’t expecting that change, but it makes sense. Message to Luna Lovegood: We’re heading back for a while to take care of some business. If you need anything get in touch with Barty.” He nodded and the serpent slithered off through the air.

“Your previous patronus?”

He frowned and shook his head. “It was my father’s animagus form: a stag. Needless to say I’m glad it’s changed. Shall we?”

A few minutes later they were at № 12, lounging in the library. They would leave at midnight to check the condition of the imprisoned Death Eaters. They could always steal murderers from a muggle prison to use as doppelgangers if he had trouble finding enough options wandering the streets of London.

‘Harry, while you were off-planet Dumbledore and James went after and obtained the Ravenclaw Horcrux,’ Derek said.

He blinked. “Well I suppose that makes a certain kind of sense. Magic is fantastic and all, but considering where we were. . . . Thank you, Derek.” He looked at Voldemort and relayed the message, adding, “I’ll just have to pop in soonish and check to see if we can get along with taunting the ever-loving fuck out of them with a bit of the old ultra violence. But I think we need to speak with the goblins again. I think we should talk about breaking the treaty, because once I make off with the Potter money, they’d be left to blame. Getting everything to happen at once will take serious planning. Kidnapping my mother and sisters, killing James, absconding with all that money, the goblins in Britain.”

“Agreed. Since we have time before we can head to Azkaban, let us go now.”

Narok had to know it had been coming ever since Harry had jokingly talked of robbing the bank blind—or more accurately, the ministry. As it was he sighed and tried hard to suppress the smirk threatening the corner of his mouth. “The timing would be very tight.”

“Yes,” Voldemort agreed. “But we have access to a time turner, among other things.”

One of Narok’s brows shuffled up in mild confusion, then lowered. “I’m sure you realize that our volume of traffic is much lower in the evening and overnight. So long as we can agree on a date the Host can arrange for all goblins to be on Ophiuchus prior, with only the absolute essential staff here for the event. With you arranging for a break in the treaty at the right time we can far more easily evict any customers present and close the bank in response. In the meantime we can come up with something suitable in terms of a press release. Still, I must wonder, how will this affect those you have yet to recruit?”

Harry and Voldemort exchanged a look.

“Okay,” Harry said. “The money I plan to take—that which prompted us to come visit regarding the treaty—would technically, at that point in time, be under the control of an adult. Said adult could conceivably have come in here personally to empty out the account, even though it would be me doing so. You play along on that point and there wouldn’t technically be anything the ministry could do. We could save the treaty issue for later.”

Narok nodded. “And this mysterious adult?”

He shrugged carelessly. “Lily Potter. James Potter is going to suffer a freakishly bizarre accident sometime in the future, you see, and since she can’t stand my twin and wants nothing more than to get away from her husband and keep her daughters protected—well, I plan to help her.”

“Kidnap her, you mean,” Narok said dryly.

Harry smiled. “Why yes; and make sure she and my sisters have money. As it stands, James has blocked her from accessing the Potter vault, so she has to go crawling to him if she wants money to buy anything. I refuse to let it stay that way, or let my idiot twin take control of all that wealth.”

Narok nodded again. “When it does come up we’ll be prepared. Just let us know before you force the treaty to be broken.”

“Naturally,” Harry said agreeably, then stood. A few minutes later he and Voldemort were back at the house. “So much for that,” he commented. “But just as well he pointed out that wrinkle.”

“You realize you practically shouted at him—and Ragnok, by extension—that you arranged accidents for two goblins that day,” Voldemort pointed out, the corner of his mouth quirking up.

“Er, no, I hadn’t,” he admitted with a vague pout. “What’s done is done. That little tidbit of news should only serve to reinforce our earlier message of not fucking with us.”

Voldemort got a peculiar look on his face and Harry was almost tempted to peek. He was distracted from such contemplation when his partner said, a sudden faint malicious smile gracing his lips, “We could use Barty Crouch Snr as one of the doppelgangers.”

“Oh. Okay. It’s not like we necessarily need him anymore, and it would be a deliciously nasty thing to do to him.” He smiled, showing entirely too many teeth, and began chuckling softly at the idea. “We could also get rid of Rowle and Macnair.”

Some hours later he shifted them to Azkaban, then ceded ‘control’ to Voldemort as he knew his way around. He knew there were at least twelve Death Eaters his partner wanted to rescue; there were others the man was not so certain of, but all would be checked. Voldemort led them quietly to each cell of importance, pausing long enough for Harry to be able to check them—it was faster that way, after all—and eventually indicated that they were done. Harry took Voldemort’s wrist and shifted them back to the house, then immediately grabbed some parchment and his fountain pen so he could jot down his findings.

“Fourteen?” Voldemort asked.

“Yes. The others were either completely messed up or unsuitable,” he replied, sliding the list over. On it were the following names: Antonin Dolohov; Sydelle Galvan; Rava Jansky; Frasher Kozyra; Rabastan Lestrange; Rodolphus Lestrange; Euphrates Melkanson; Nigel Mulciber; Bryana Pyke; Augustus Rookwood; John Travers; Yuhidu Wallander; Keiran Yaxley; and Faina Yoss.

“All right. So, ten males and four females. Shall we go trolling through London to find the bodies we need, then?”

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He was, he admitted, quite admiring of just how easily Harry shifted them to the seedy underbelly of London after taking care of Barty Snr, Rowle, and Macnair, and of how easily his partner could find candidates just by staring at them. He took care of stunning the targets and portkeying them to the meeting room they normally used for interviews. When the last was sent they returned and began getting them ready, Harry by altering their features, and him by obliviating large portions of their memories. Harry then shifted him to Azkaban, to the first cell, then left long enough to bring in the first substitute. Spells ensured that clothing was swapped (and, indeed, levels of hygiene, or lack thereof) and after moving to the next cell, his partner would start over again, this time shifting the rescued and stunned Death Eater back with him.

The ministry would probably never realize what they had done.

Back at the meeting room Harry produced a linking book and Voldemort went on ahead. He called a house-elf to fetch Barty for him and waited a bit impatiently. Part of him just wanted all of this to be over with, so they could get on with watching what happened to the Light, but even so, the journey was interesting, not to mention the company of his partner. Barty slid into the room a minute later and bowed.

“Be right here on standby. We’re sending through your fellows from Azkaban,” he ordered, idly wondering what would happen if he were to charm the floor so that it still looked polished, yet would prevent sliding—would people like Barty in their haste to answer his call then faceplant?

“Yes, my lord,” Barty said promptly. “Are they awake, or. . . ?”

“Unconscious. We will follow the last one. Just be here to keep an eye on them.” He turned and made for the linking room. Ten minutes later he was back, eyeing the untidy prone gathering. Barty had thoughtfully moved each one out of the way as they arrived. Harry arrived all of thirty seconds behind him and chortled for some reason, then skipped over to Barty and handed him a small package.

He summoned another elf and asked about the readiness of the room he had requested, then told it to gather up nine other elves to help transport his minions. After it popped away he levitated one of the bodies at random, absently noticing that Barty was having raptures over whatever was in the package, and headed off.

When they grouped up again he saw that Barty was munching on a Jaffa cake as he directed his Death Eater onto a bed; he rolled his eyes, but truly, he could not fault Harry for his kindness, or even fondness for the blond—just so long as that was all it was. As soon as all of them were laid out he woke them up and waited.

Rookwood was the first to become marginally coherent and seemed almost unerringly to seek him out in the room. The man tried to get up so he could bow, but Voldemort waved him down. “Welcome back, Augustus. You are safe.”

Harry walked over and peered at the man closely, then said slowly, “You seem to be all right. Think you can keep anything down? Maybe some soup?”

Like Barty had been, Rookwood seemed confused and looked to his lord. Voldemort nodded faintly, and Augustus looked back at Harry and said hoarsely, “Yes.”

Harry nodded and summoned Cael. “Bring enough chicken broth for all of them, maybe some crackers, and water.”

“Right away, master,” Cael said and vanished.

Harry helped Augustus sit up, saying, “We can get you all properly cleaned up soon enough. For now let’s just get a little something in you.”

Rookwood still seemed confused, but possibly simply because he had no idea who this man was who was being so solicitous. Voldemort repeated his words to each of his people as they became aware enough to comprehend, and Harry made sure they had food. Selwynn was called in to do a rudimentary assessment of their health and write up a list of potential potions required, though as Lucius had managed to steer more than a few people to them for the hospital it was only an interim measure.

Harry pulled Barty off to the side and said, “Okay, the usual deal. You’re riding herd, but obviously Selwynn will be helping, and the elves. Get someone here from the hospital if necessary. If you can coax blueprints out of any of them, great. I expect they’ll all be a bit loopy for a while—stop snickering, damn it. I didn’t mean my kind of loopy. Keep that up and I won’t bring you more cakes.”

Barty ducked his head, shoulders still shaking, and nodded. “Of course, Harry.”

“You’re lucky I like you, Barty,” Harry said with some amount of exasperation.

“I know, truly I do. Considering how effectively you cursed Jugson I should hate to ever get on your bad side.”

Harry nodded. “Let us know through the usual channels if one of us is needed.”

‘Let’s go,’ he sent. Harry nodded again and moved to join him. Together they walked to their common area and took seats. It was only then he said, “So we can move forward with Dumbledore, and then Potter.”

“Yes. Lord knows I’d like to get our tasks in the UK over and done with. I love my home country, but at the same time I despise it. A bunch of whiny, entitled, back-stabbing idiots run the place.”

“Mm. Well, I’m for bed. I’ll see you in the morning.”

At breakfast Harry gave him a peculiar look and said, “How about we do a practice duel?”

A what? “For what purpose?”

“For when we go surprise the pixies out of Potter and Dumbledore,” Harry explained cheerfully. “It can’t hurt for you and I to have an all-out duel—I’m sure Derek will step in if one of us actually gets hurt—and then we’ll both be at least somewhat familiar with each other’s styles. Even better, we could have it in front of your minions. All any of them have ever really seen me do is crucio someone and they have no idea why the hell I’m your partner.”

He could feel the corners of his mouth droop down as he considered the idea. It was true none of them had a clue, and also true that he had no idea just how skilled Harry was. Realistically they were going to have to decide just what kind of spells they would use against the old man and Potter, so as not to actually kill them. Maybe they could stun Potter in some way so he could only watch helplessly, in delicious agony at being unable to assist the man he so admired. “All right,” he said. “It’s a good idea. We can get everyone assembled to watch, and pound it into their heads that we’re unkillable. Never a bad idea. But afterward I suggest we sit down and talk about how we’ll handle the real duel.”

Harry nodded, a smirk forming, then returned his attention to his breakfast.

Voldemort rolled his eyes at his partner’s continuing obscene obsession with bacon and focused on his own food. An utterly absurd thought entered his head, causing him to wonder what would happen if he were to wear bacon-scented cologne. Would Harry jump him? His gaze flickered over to rest on his partner’s face for a split second. He had very much enjoyed what little they had done together, but that was the thing—it had been very little. He was unused to this uncertainty when it came to base needs, perhaps because Harry was no simple warm body. He was shaken from his contemplation when Harry spoke again.

“I can’t decide if I should be pretending you’re Dumbledore or Remus.”

His brow slid up in mild confusion. “I thought Remus was just spineless.”

“Oh, he is, but that’s not what frosts my cookies. See, back then, my cousin—I forget the exact relationship—Tonks was completely in love with the man for some reason. Obviously she was also a sufferer of the Black insanity. Anyway, she eventually got him into a relationship, despite his customary whining, poor me routine, and eventually they married. She got pregnant. It was around then that Remus came to me at the house and asked to come with us on our Horcrux hunt. He was still rabbiting on about not being worthy or whatever, or maybe he was just so spineless that he crumbled under her assault. Doesn’t matter. He was trying to abandon his pregnant wife to go on a potentially lethal journey. And then later, the both of the idiots participated in the big blowout battle at the end and died, leaving behind my godson Teddy as an orphan. He wouldn’t even stay behind to protect his child, or demand that Tonks did, so that he would have one parent at least. I was so disgusted.”

There were some really pathetic people on Dumbledore’s side it seemed. “How about you imagine me as Remus or Potter and I imagine you as Dumbledore.”

Harry glanced up momentarily and then nodded. “Okay. Derek confirms he’ll keep us from any permanent consequences should we nail each other. The same for the confrontation. We’re good to go.”

An hour later they were standing about twenty feet apart in a very large room they had yet to designate for anything. Up above them, in the gallery which encircled the room, were the Death Eaters. Some of those rescued from Azkaban had to be helped there and even propped up so they could watch easily enough, and all of them looked fairly excited. They were high enough up that the chances of any of them being hit was next to none, and there was no particular reason for either of them to aim so high to begin with.

Harry grinned at him and produced a mist-filled sphere, tapped it with his wand, and threw it upward. It hung there, well out of reach, and started blaring muggle music. “Shall we, dear boy?”

For a moment he felt a spike of white-hot anger at the use of Dumbledore’s favorite appellation, but he relaxed almost immediately and smiled back. Harry had said all-out, and he knew a killing curse would be ineffective, so he started things off with an organ rotting curse. Harry laughed as he skipped out of the way and retaliated with what he suspected was a blood boiling curse. Naturally, he moved before it hit.

They battled it out for an hour, frequently using short-jump apparation to try to get the upper hand, though Harry had a tendency to dance his way around to the music. He was honestly impressed, almost awed, by how incredibly well Harry dueled and the sheer abundance of spells he knew from having become Death’s Master. It was . . . sexy. Half way through Harry started laughing; it seemed he was enjoying himself immensely. In return, he found it hard to prevent a smile from coming to his face due to his own enjoyment. Oh, magic, in all its glory, to be used so fluidly, like a joyous extension of his soul—it was exhilarating. Merlin help him, it was fun.

‘As much fun as I’m having,’ Harry sent, ‘I think that’s enough for now, yes?’

He nodded and aimed his wand at the floor, while Harry retrieved his orb and shut off the music. “We should do that more often,” he said with a grin. Then he looked up into the gallery and waved his hand dismissively as he called, “Show’s over!” He walked over to Harry and slung an arm around his shoulders, gently guiding him away. He almost stopped in surprise when the sound of applause came to him, but continued on nevertheless. “I guess they’re impressed.”

“I guess so,” Harry replied. “So, we have to plan this out, to make it look like we’re trying to kill, yet somehow not quite managing it. I know Dumbledore is an excellent dueler if last time is anything to go by.”

“And I think we ought to keep Potter out of it. I think it would be both hilarious and cruel to make it so he can only watch.”

Harry chortled and nodded. “Definitely. I suppose we can sort of wing it at first, go kind of slow, to see just how good he really is, then speed things up a bit if necessary. There can be a whole lot of near misses, but some of the less important stuff can get through. Though I wonder. . . . If I mostly stay out of it, ostensibly keeping guard on Potter to make sure he can’t interfere, I wonder if Dumbledore would take a pot shot at me.”

“Well, we can always find out,” he said with a shrug. “If he does it will show something else ugly about his nature.”

“Oh. Oh my,” Harry said, angling his head to aim a nasty smile his way. “I have an idea.”

By the time they were done eating lunch they had more or less fleshed out their plans for the encounter. Harry adopted a look of concentration while chasing down the last few chips on his plate, then said, “I think Elphias Doge. He’s part of the original Order, Dumbledore’s age, trusts the idiot, and we could arrange with a compulsion for him to not only stumble over us but send a panicked message to the old man to come deal with the situation.”

That evening after dinner Voldemort did the unthinkable and spelled himself to smell like bacon, but subtly. It wasn’t long before Harry started inhaling rather more obviously than usual, his nostrils flaring, and eventually migrated to sit beside him, a curious smile on his face. “May I ask, my dearest friend, why you have decided to wear such an unusual, er, cologne?”

“Is it?” he asked innocently.

“I do believe you’re trying to tempt me,” Harry asserted.

“Am I?” he replied, leaning closer.

Harry leaned in as well, that funny smile still on his face. “I wonder if you taste as good as you smell.”

“Perhaps you should find out,” he suggested, his brows flirting upward, then reached up to wrap a hand around the back of Harry’s neck and pull him closer. Their lips met and parted, tongues met and slid across each other.

Harry pulled back a bit and looked him dead in the eye. “I think I’d like to learn the rest of it.”

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‘Okay,’ he sent. ‘Potter and Dumbledore are having a little meeting about you and they’ve barely started. You put on your Voldemort face and I’ll go toss a compulsion at Doge. I’ll join you in just a minute.’

‘I’ll be waiting.’

Harry activated his listening charm and shifted away to where his tracking charm told him Doge was. After a quick spell on the man he shifted away to join Voldemort, wearing his Yuki form. The two of them began battling it out, managing to look deadly serious in their fake attempts to kill each other. Doge showed up minutes later, squeaked, and apparated out.

‘Hold,’ he sent, his wand tip dropping to aim at the ground. He heard a patronus arrive for Dumbledore with a panicked message, telling the old man and Potter exactly where Voldemort was dueling with an unknown man of obviously Asian descent.

“We’ve got to go!” James insisted.

“I agree. Let us depart,” Dumbledore replied.

Yuki raised his wand and nodded to Voldemort, then started in again. Several minutes later of trying hard and managing to keep his enjoyment hidden, Potter and Dumbledore appeared. They immediately assumed that Yuki was against Voldemort and came to his aid, and were subsequently very surprised when Yuki slid to one side and dropped James with a series of spells, then dragged him over to be propped against a tree.

Voldemort, in all his snake-faced glory, turned to face Dumbledore, his eyes glowing a sullen red. “Is there some particular reason you decided to interrupt our exercise duel?” he asked, then sent a what Yuki knew was an overpowered stinging hex at the man in chastisement.

Dumbledore actually looked surprised for a moment, but quickly rallied and began sending spells at the Dark Lord, spells, he noted, of a non-lethal variety. He almost rolled his eyes. The whole point was for the old man, having dealt with all the Horcruxes and being in a position to render the Dark Lord’s reign over, to try and to realize that Voldemort could not be killed. Moron. He stood a bit off to the side, away from Potter, just in case the old man should go ahead and take that potshot at him, and let his eyes glow the sickly green of the killing curse.

He was pleased to note that his partner was doing an excellent job of making it appear that Dumbledore was doing well in just barely avoiding being hit by any of the presumably lethal curses being sent at him. Oh, Voldemort had managed to do quite a bit of damage to the old man’s ridiculously colourful robes, but that said much about the man’s skill and finesse. Dumbledore finally began to get serious, sending more than his usual pathetic incarceration-type spells, and the glow in Voldemort’s eyes increased, the only sign of his amusement.

“Having fun down there?” Yuki asked Potter quietly, a faint smirk showing. “You must really suck if I could take you down that fast.”

Potter was distracted from the duel and got a look of indignation on his face. The gag Yuki had spelled onto him prevented him from speaking, but not from making muffled noises to go along with his expression.

“Oh, I agree,” Yuki said cheerfully. “The old man there should have spent more time teaching you rather than basking in your unconditional reverence. You’d think a man of his advanced age would know better, but I guess it takes all kinds. Delusional leaders, delusional minions. Honestly.”

Several minutes later it happened. Dumbledore got frustrated enough to cast a fire whip and lash Voldemort with it. His partner simply laughed, unscathed, and broke Dumbledore’s left arm in retaliation. “Is that the best you can do, old man?” Voldemort taunted, then threw a killing curse at him. More taunts followed, becoming more and more derogatory.

Ice; nothing. Wind; nothing. Earth; nothing. Dumbledore finally stepped over his self-imposed line and aimed a killing curse at the Dark Lord. The old man’s jaw dropped when it had absolutely zero effect other than to make Voldemort laugh again. “What?” he said. “Did you think destroying my Horcruxes meant anything at all? I felt my soul stitch itself back together as you did so. And I found another, better way to immortality, old man!”

Dumbledore had, for a split second, a look of despair in his eyes. He then apparated to James, grabbed him, and apparated them away.