Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 21

21

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“Can’t be too careful with your company. I can feel the devil walking next to me.” — Murray Head, One Night in Bangkok


“What the hell!?” James said.

“I don’t know,” Dumbledore said wearily, shaking his head. “I have no idea how he could have protected himself against even the killing curse.”

“How the hell are we supposed to defeat him? He even admitted we got his Horcruxes.”

‘They’re stumped,’ he sent, then settled in to listen to quite a bit of useless dithering around. Potter looked almost betrayed by his mentor’s lack of knowledge, or progress on this conundrum. Eventually he got bored and shifted back to Voldemort, who had returned his features to normal. “Useless, both of them.”

“But we like them useless.”

He smiled. “True. You were very impressive, by the way. I know just how much skill it takes to judge things so finely.” He squeezed Voldemort’s wrist briefly, warmly. “Now we get to set up an even more fun thing!”

“How long do you want to wait?”

“Oh, not too long. Maybe a week. There are some things I need to take care of first. Want to come with?”

Voldemort nodded so Harry shifted them to the linking room and linked through to K’veer. After that they went to the new bank and were immediately ushered off to the office of Ragnar, Narok’s brother.

“What can I do for you, gentlemen?”

“I need three accounts set up,” Harry said. “A main vault for my mother, then trust vaults for my two sisters. I will take care of getting the money there, but I need them ready for that and need to see the insides. I’ll take possession of the keys in the interim so I have them ready to give to her.”

Ragnar looked the slightest bit uncomfortable at that, but nodded. “That will be easy enough to set up. I can have things ready for you by tomorrow. Perhaps 10 o’clock we could meet again?”

Harry smiled. “Sounds fine. Thank you.” From there he hunted down Barty to get a listing of town homes in the city, and chose one based on the requirements he had in mind. “All right. Mark that one off as occupied, then. We’ll go take care of the warding and see about furnishings. Thanks, Barty.” Shortly thereafter they were standing in front of a town home not all that far from the shopping district. Inside was a fairly typical layout, with four bedrooms (each with its own en suite bath), a kitchen, parlor, dining room, library or study, and a guest loo, as well as a tiny front garden and a much larger one at the back. It should certainly be more than enough for his mother and siblings. He and Voldemort split up and began carving the necessary anchoring runes, then converged on the keystone to set up the parameters and create the linkage. When he did deliver his family to the house he would complete the keying; for the time being it was only himself and Voldemort allowed access.

“I wonder what kind of furniture I should get her?” he muttered.

Voldemort took a few steps back and shuddered theatrically. “I am absolutely not the right person to help with that.”

“Christ.” Harry rolled his eyes. “I’m thinking of what size beds, stuff like that. I suppose I can just get the same for all the bedrooms, with neutral bedding. Same with the rest of the house. She can always change the colours herself.”

Voldemort nodded. “Sounds reasonable.”

“I’m going to think about it some more, go look at some shops in London,” he said, eyeing the stone walls.

“Ah, then I think I shall turn my attention to other things,” Voldemort replied. “If I go there for some reason I will leave a message with the elves to that effect.”

“Okay. I’ll be back whenever.” He shifted to the linking room and returned to Earth, to London, to track down some furniture shops. He eventually decided on the frames he wanted and accoutrements, basic gear for the kitchen, furniture for the other rooms, and so forth, and had a clerk give him a total for the lot. “All right. I’ll be back shortly. You have all of this in stock, correct?”

“Yes, sir,” the clerk assured him.

“Right. Back in a bit.” He swiftly left, first to get the money he would need (a Gringotts teller was helpful in converting the funds), and then to purchase a toy delivery van. In back of the store he cast a few wards and expanded the toy to full size and opened the back. Inside he found the same clerk and pointed out where his vehicle was so other workers could begin loading and stopped at the till to pay, forking over a hefty amount. After that he supervised the loading, making sure everything he had purchased was included, then thanked them. The moment they were gone he reduced the van back to toy size, placed it in his pocket, and moved along to other shops.

Eventually he returned to Serpens and the house, not bothering to enlarge the toy. He simply used his wand to remove items from the van one at a time, which caused them to poof up to normal size once fully in the room, and set them in place. Rugs were scattered around and the walls, after spells to protect the runic carvings, were all plastered except for a strip at about head height. The plaster was “painted” cream. All of the wood was stained a dark brown that worked well with the walls and bedding. Once everything was set he stopped in at the school to visit with Flitwick, who greeted him cheerfully.

“How are things going?” he asked.

“Very well, Mr Potter. I would like to speak with you about matters of discipline.”

His brow rose. “Like points and detentions?”

“Of that nature, yes. We will not have houses here, so points in the accustomed sense are useless.”

“I would think,” he said slowly, running options through his mind, “that points should be assessed individually, and if the balance at the end of each week for a student is negative that would earn them a detention. More normal detentions would also apply, such as for starting a fight, horrible disrespect toward a member of staff, and so forth. As for the actual detentions, I think I’d prefer something useful. Because really, writing lines doesn’t do anything except bore people to death. Making a student work in the greenhouses, or as floor demo model in class, something along those lines.”

“Floor demo model?”

He nodded. “Say in offensive magic. Rebellious student is the target for others practicing hexes and isn’t allowed to cast back. After all, in numerous cases, it helps children to understand exactly what happens when a spell is successfully cast. Being nailed with a trip jinx repeatedly for an hour has got to be a bit humiliating and far more of a deterrent than writing ‘I will not be a twat’ five hundred times.”

Flitwick chortled and nodded. “I see what you mean. Keep any punishments divorced directly from their grades?”

“Oh yes, absolutely. Well, if you catch someone cheating that’s one thing, but otherwise the one should not affect the other. Someone who—” He looked off to the side, remembering Draco. “Someone who tossed extra ingredients into another child’s potion might still properly do their own and be graded accordingly, but could be punished by ingredient harvesting, making potions under supervision for the infirmary, or being the test subject for generally harmless potions a class is making.” Then he added, “Of course, it would be best if the person or persons teaching Potions teaches the students how to protect their workstations.”

Flitwick nodded again, but said, “Some parents might object to their children being used that way, or for the pain they might feel.”

“So?” Harry shrugged a careless shoulder at his erstwhile professor. “Every child out there with a wand is dangerous. If they don’t understand what a spell does, well, it could be potentially catastrophic. Being nailed with a stinging hex—something even a parent might do as discipline—gets some of the point across, as opposed to being hit with a blasting curse. Even so, having the professor transfigure up some rabbits and using them as the targets? Okay, so some kids get traumatized when little Fluffy splatters over a wide area.”

“But they’ll know just how serious the matter is,” Flitwick said agreeably.

“If there are any really bad eggs and you just can’t quite decide how to handle the situation, let me know. I don’t ever want any student to get the idea that daddy can buy their way out of trouble, or that their wealth in general means anything. You go to school to learn and better yourself, not to kick other people off the edge into the bog so you look better in comparison. And, let’s face it, Voldemort and I are pretty fucking scary. Most people would back down when faced with one of us.”

Flitwick quirked an inquiring brow, making Harry realize the man had never witnessed him duel.

“Ah, right. Next time Voldemort and I have a duel I’ll invite you to watch. It’s ridiculously fun, and it would give you an idea of just what I’m capable of. Not to scare you, of course. We’ve only ever had two, and one of those was in front of the Death Eaters we brought here. They actually applauded,” he said with a grin.

“And the other?”

“Oh, well, that was for the benefit of Dumbledore and his little friend. I’d like your word on something,” he said seriously.

“You have it.”

“My mother and father are not dead.” He paused when Flitwick gasped in shock, then continued, “I also have a twin and two sisters. Dumbledore’s little friend is James Potter, though he goes by a different name now. We staged a duel for those two. But—I’d rather not talk about him right now. Just the thought of him makes me rage inside. My mother, on the other hand, you should expect to be seeing fairly soon. I plan to kidnap her, my sisters, and bring them here.”

“I remember Lily very well,” Flitwick said pensively. “And how could I not, with you sitting before me looking so similar. I would be pleased to see her again, and to try to help her adjust to her changed circumstances.”

“I appreciate that. I get the feeling you’ll be one of the few people she’d consider trusting. I’m not sure how many people we have here that she’d know, but even if she does, none of them were ever authority figures in her life as you were. Even if she doesn’t realize it consciously, her subconscious will have its say in how she reacts to you.”

“Yes, you’re most likely right.”

“Oh,” he said, remembering something. “I’ll still invite you to a live duel, but I know I made sure there was a pensieve here for the headmaster’s use in case one was needed for seeing the events of a student conflict. I can give you a memory of the one we had at K’veer to watch when you have an hour to spare.” He dug around in his pocket and produce a vial, then thought back and looped a memory copy into it, and sealed it, handing it over.

“K’veer?” Flitwick asked, tucking the vial into the pocket of his waistcoat.

“My and Voldemort’s house. And, technically, a living and meeting place for Death Eaters, though the living part is only temporary. Quite possibly temporary on the meeting part, as well. It’s that really large, sort of bizarre building in the distance rising up multiple storeys. People without a Dark Mark are gently encouraged to go elsewhere. Personally, the only one I don’t much mind being there is Barty, but we sort of have to house them somewhere for the time being, especially the ones we broke out of Azkaban. I don’t really like my home being Death Eater central, but needs must and all.”

Flitwick sighed, his expression grave. “I expect there are things we all dislike and endure. I don’t suppose I’ll ever know exactly how you two accomplished all this?”

Harry grinned at him and shook his head. “Newp. The knowledge is just too dangerous. We are not the only ones who know how, but—those others are not native to Earth. We decided fairly early on that only we two amongst our peoples would know. Besides, we have what we need now. There is no reason to do more. Well, maybe a prison, but we’ll worry about that when it comes up. Anyway, just wanted to check in. Shoot me a message if you need anything.”

He allowed Flitwick to escort him out of the office and returned to K’veer. The next morning he met with Ragnar and was shown the three vaults, very quietly leaving an invisible dead leaf stuck to the wall in each. The vaults were so new and so clean that he wanted to be sure he could shift in, and he wasn’t about to scrape skin cells off his arm in full view of the goblin. When they reached the ground floor he said, “Thank you, Ragnar. I will take care of things from here, though I expect you’ll be getting a visit at some point from her.”

That taken care of he met up with Voldemort again. The look on his face must have said something.

“So. . . .”

“So. . . .”

Voldemort rolled his eyes. “Fine.”

He grinned. “Okay. This one is going to be weird.”

“Most of them are,” Voldemort pointed out. “So, it seems to me that we can be there to witness it, then turn back, steal the money, then do the kidnapping.”

“Yes. I just need to get the trunks ready to hold the money. One each for the girls for a trust fund, with at least as much money as Dylan got, and after I take my cut, the rest goes into the main vault for my mother’s use. The house is done, though decidedly bland. And I spoke with Flitwick, so he knows she’ll be around soon and can try to ease her mind. Maybe even help her to decide what to do with herself.” He shrugged.

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Harry and Voldemort lounged at a table outside Fortescue’s, casually working their way through their ice cream concoctions. Harry had brought along some Cadbury Flake bars to crumble over them as an additional treat, and Voldemort had made vaguely happy noises over the inclusion.

Down the street a little way could be seen one Ludo Bagman, wearing his Wimbourne Wasps uniform (which fit badly), white gloves, makeup on his face, a dashing beret, and an accordion strapped to his back. Voldemort had huffed a laugh on seeing the man. ‘A mime?’

Harry nodded. ‘He, er, got the idea from that last trip of his to Paris.’

A short distance away, in the other direction, but still with a clear line of sight to Bagman, were the Weasley twins. They were eyeing the man intently, anticipatory smiles hovering at their mouths.

Harry had another bite of his treat, humming happily at the combination of ice cream, banana, chocolate, salted nuts, and real whipped cream, then perked up, causing his partner to also come to attention. James Potter, in his usual disguise, was just then heading their way from the direction of Gringotts. Bagman was beginning to act strangely, his gaze darting around in a way that would have done Moody proud, and eventually alighted on Potter.

As Potter drew closer, without any warning, Ludo reached back and shoved his hand into the accordion, proving it was nothing more than a bizarre backpack, and pulled out an enormous olive loaf. He then cackled wildly, began shouting something about the Rotfang Conspiracy, and whacked Potter so hard across the face that James twirled like a clumsy ballerina and hit the pavement. Bagman darted closer and started wailing on the man repeatedly, bludgeoning his chest with brutal force.

Harry could actually hear his father’s ribs splintering and mentally congratulated Ludo on keeping up with his strength training, even if it had done nothing for that jiggly gut. And, incidentally, watching the man’s belly wobble and bounce around while clothed in black and bright yellow stripes was making him feel a little ill; he pushed back his treat in consequence. A quick look down the street revealed that the Weasley twins were open-mouthed in their shock.

The aurors finally arrived, but by then Potter was most assuredly dead; his glamour had failed, for one thing. Shacklebolt took one look at the wildly cackling Bagman and directed his team to subdue the man, but when he got a look at the victim his skin went a bit grey.

‘All right,’ Voldemort sent. ‘This is hilarious, but yes, I would really like the rationale.’

Harry glanced over to see that his friend had one hand over his mouth and his shoulders were shaking, then returned his gaze to the crime scene. ‘Well. As for Ludo, he’s in trouble with the goblins because of his gambling. He was taking bets at the World Cup and the Weasley twins were some of those takers, but he screwed them over when they won, along with a lot of other people, I imagine. So, that gave them a reason to use him as a test subject for one of the pranks they’ve been developing, which resulted in what you just saw—with my help.’

Kingsley had sent off a patronus, probably to Dumbledore, and indeed, the man arrived in no time flat.

‘As for the death itself, I read this comic quite a ways back that factored in. It involved a main character being stalked by a mime and in the end the character snapped and actually beat the mime with an olive loaf. It came to mind because in a way James has been a mime, you know? Concealing his identity behind a glamour, never speaking up as James Potter, being deceptive, and so forth. With a little twisting it suited well enough for my purposes.’

Voldemort’s shoulders finally stilled and he sat up straight again. Dumbledore looked very upset, especially when Skeeter and Bozo showed up to cause trouble. Even so, many, many people got a good look at the victim’s face, had witnessed the glamour’s collapse, so there was no way Dumbledore could cover this up.

A still cackling Bagman was hauled away by two of the aurors, yelling, “I’ll eat the evidence! You’ll never prove a thing!”

Kingsley and the remaining team member moved to get the corpse ready for transport, Dumbledore watching on with a mournful expression. Another auror team showed up, and Kingsley directed them to start questioning witnesses, so Harry and Voldemort quickly abandoned their table and moved farther down the alley. Just before they left entirely he saw Skeeter urging her photographer to get the film to the paper.

Once back at the Black house Harry produced the time turner and spun them back several hours. They collected the trunks for the theft and he shifted them into the Potter vault. A fair amount of time was spent on that alone, for the Potter wealth was not insignificant, and then he shifted them to Dylan’s trust vault. A few spells revealed that his twin had much more of a head start than he had ever been given, and Harry aimed to fix that. More money was pinched before they shifted to a protected linking room, where the trunks were brought through to the linking room at K’veer.

Back on Earth they waited patiently enough for the time to be right, then Harry extended the power of the cloak over himself and Voldemort, then shifted them to his parents’ home. As soon as James had apparated out they swung into action, knocking Lily and the girls into unconsciousness, along with the family house elf. Dylan was located and knocked out, and left to later wake up or be found in the back garden. Voldemort kept an eye on the females and elf while Harry swept through the house, looking to take anything that might hold significance for them, such as clothing, jewelry, books, and mementos. After all that was safely stored away he came back to rifle through his mother’s mind, then made a second sweep to gather up the things he had missed.

‘Okay,’ he sent. ‘Think I got everything. We can portkey them now.’

‘All right.’ Voldemort grabbed a few odd items and spelled them, then laid them on each body and activated them.

The two shifted to follow, then Harry brought out a linking book and opened it to the image and held it while Voldemort forced each of the females and the elf to link through, then followed them. Harry returned the book to safety and linked through using a different book, then shifted to meet his partner. Lily and the girls were each levitated onto their new beds, the elf to the parlor sofa; Voldemort left at that point.

Harry heaved a sigh, staring at his mother, who even unconscious looked tired and harassed. He walked away and fiddled with the warding, then headed downstairs, where he sat at the kitchen table and started writing a letter to her. Attached to it, once he was done, was each of the three vault keys. He left the trunk with household items on the floor nearby and shifted to the bank. Each trust vault got a healthy amount of coin and, after he separated out his share, the remainder went into the main vault.

Finally, he shifted to the school and went to see Flitwick, who welcomed him with a smile and an offer of tea, which he gratefully accepted. “So, they’re here now,” he said after having a sip.

“How long before they wake?”

He shrugged. “I’m not entirely sure. A few hours, perhaps. The spell on my mother was weaker so the girls wouldn’t wake up and be scared out of their minds, especially with their mother out cold still. I left her a long letter, vault keys, and a trunk with a lot of stuff from their house. She’ll know about you, so expect a visit soon or some kind of message.” In point of fact he had left behind a listener, so he would know when she woke and what approximate state of mind she was in. He still couldn’t decide if she would flip out at her baby boy’s current “occupation” and choice of partners, but hopefully she would at least be relieved to be free of James.

“Should I send a message to you when she does show up?” Flitwick asked curiously.

“Ah, probably not. I’d like to stay out of things at first and we’re still really busy most of the time, finding people, interviewing them, ferrying them here, etcetera. If she does want to get in contact with me you can send a message to that effect and I’ll make the time, but I would prefer she be the one to initiate things. She hasn’t seen me since I was barely over a year old. She doesn’t know me. She won’t have a real clue who I am or why I do anything.” He shrugged again.

Flitwick nodded, then smiled. “I loved the duel. It was an amazing display of skill and you were both clearly enjoying yourselves.”

He grinned. “Oh, I had a blast! Though, with the music it’s easy to slip into a habit of acting to the beat. Definitely have to keep doing that. Maybe I’ll ask the Host to construct an arena of sorts for dueling contests. It was fine inside K’veer, but doing it outside opens up a lot of additional possibilities for tactics.”

“Oh yes, indeed,” Flitwick agreed. “It’s educational and far more interesting than formal dueling.”

Harry rolled his eyes and faked a yawn. “Snooze fest,” he said. “Okay, time to go. Let me know what happens, please.”

Flitwick hopped up and escorted him out, and Harry returned to K’veer, though outside. He spent some time looking around at first, then began summoning rocks to himself and transfiguring them into curving, transparent walls, twenty feet high. Those he sank into the ground five feet deep off to the left of the manor, out of the way of normal foot traffic. The interior would be the slightest bit blurry from the outside, mainly due to the thickness of the walls, but anyone watching should be safe.

He would have to make good on his suggestion and ask Ragnar about a proper structure, but for the moment this would do. People weren’t getting into it unless they flew in because he had not bothered to leave any kind of door. He stared at it for a minute, then nodded. It would do for the time being.

Later that day he received a quick patronus message from Flitwick stating that Lily had indeed sought him out, but no particular details had been given, which was fine. At breakfast the next morning he mentioned the enclosure to Voldemort and asked if he would be up for another duel.

“Of course,” Voldemort replied. “We have some people scheduled for this morning, so how about after lunch?”

Messages were sent to Barty and Flitwick about it, and they got on with their work for the day, eventually returning to Ophiuchus for lunch. Afterward they went outside, the Death Eaters living in the manor following them and arraying themselves outside the walls. Harry shifted the two of them inside, double checked with Derek about their safety, and then pulled the music sphere from his pocket. He activated it, tossed it into the air, and stood ready.

Voldemort opened with something nasty (no doubt) and Harry responded by aiming an overpowered percussion spell at a point midway between them, causing the earth to ripple and heave. Voldemort grinned as he evaded the wave headed his way and sent a spell that essentially mowed the grass beneath Harry’s feet, sending up a blizzard of grassy debris.

Part way through the duel he noticed Flitwick watching, a broad grin on the little man’s face, and waved cheekily at him before evading a conjured panther. It was only a short time after that, as he short-jump apparated to a new position, that he saw his mother standing there, mouth gaping open in shock.

‘Huh. My mother is here,’ he informed his partner, sending and managing to nail Voldemort with a bone breaking curse, which was hastily repaired.

‘No fair distracting me,’ Voldemort replied with another flick of his wand.

Harry had to leap to one side like a coked-up squirrel to avoid rock spikes which erupted from beneath him. In retaliation he began warbling along with the current song, perfectly aware that he was slightly tone deaf and anyone listening would be unappreciative of his efforts.

Voldemort’s reply was to send a brace of killing curses his way; he laughingly avoided them and kept right on singing. Half an hour later his partner sent, ‘Hold.’

They both immediately aimed their wands down. Harry extended his left hand up and called the orb to him so he could shut it off and tuck it away. Then he walked up to his partner, grasped his extended wrist, and shifted them outside the enclosure.

After a moment of silence wild applause broke out. Harry bowed floridly, throwing his arms out to the side, then yelled, “Thank you, thank you! We’ll be here all century,” in his best Elvis impression.

Flitwick scurried up, a grin on his face. “Wonderful!” he enthused. “Even better than the last one!”

“Thanks!” he said, reaching up to brush his hair back from his forehead. “Did you like my singing?”

Flitwick rolled his eyes playfully. “You should be on the stage. Maybe in that club you joked about making.”

“Oh, hey, I could make it into a karaoke bar. Then everyone with less than stellar voices could sing along badly and torture their friends,” he replied.

Voldemort just shook his head. “So long as I never get dragged there. It’s bad enough having to listen to you. How are things going, professor?”

“Oh, they’re fine so far. Everyone seems to be shaping up well and they all seem fine at taking direction. They’ve been coming to me with their questions and don’t seem to be reluctant to. I expect that owing to you two probably not being able to bring many students in for this upcoming year classes will be a lot more fluid and more time can be devoted to individual needs, but it will still be excellent experience for them without being overwhelming.”

Harry nodded, exchanging a look with Voldemort. ‘Maybe we should just pull the Death Eater families, the Lovegoods. . . .’

Voldemort nodded back. ‘We already have the families of the workers, so we may as well.’

“Sounds good,” he said to Flitwick.

“Harry?” came an uncertain voice from behind him.

He turned to see his mother standing there. “Hey.”

“And on that note,” Voldemort said, “I have things to do.”

Harry turned back and nodded. “All right. See you when I do.” Voldemort nodded and apparated away, so Harry turned back to his mother.