Grazhir :: Crossover :: FeS2 :: 22

22

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“Listen closely to the sound of your loneliness, like a heartbeat, drives you mad.” — Fleetwood Mac, Dreams


Harry sidestepped a little and turned, placing himself into a rough triangle with Flitwick and his mother. “You look no worse for wear,” he said to Lily. “House all right?”

She blinked at him. “Yes, it’s fine. So, you’re my son.”

He nodded. “Your eldest son.”

“Why do you look so old?”

He smiled coyly. “Ah, I don’t know you nearly well enough to answer that. Let’s take a walk.”

The crowd was dispersing slowly, many of them chattering away excitedly and making wild gestures.

“Let me know when the next one is,” Flitwick requested.

“Of course! Maybe in your spare time—after I get an arena constructed—you can toss together some kind of annual dueling competition. I know you were quite the stud when you were younger.”

Flitwick giggled merrily and left with a backward wave, so Harry focused on his mother again. “A walk?”

“All right,” she said softly.

He offered his arm to her, waited until she took it, then led her away. “Elf watching the girls?”

“Yes. I’m not sure what I would have done if Briar hadn’t been brought along.”

He nodded, not minding that this was likely to be a circuitous conversation. “What do you think of Serpens so far? It’s a little underpopulated at the moment, but that will change. Oh, hang on.” He reached into his pocket for his other music sphere and brought it out long enough to activate it and adjust the volume. “I always thought life should have a soundtrack.”

“Instrumental music?” she asked. “After what you were playing earlier?”

“Sure. I don’t really think it’d work for dueling, but I do enjoy it nonetheless. Good vocal music, though, can make you smile despite yourself.”

“So far the city is nice, though I don’t recognize the style. It’s interesting, though.”

“It’s alien,” he said bluntly, “but only two people have any clue where it came from, and I’m one of them. Not to sound too much like dear old Dumbledore, but no one else needs to know the details. Flitwick cracked up when I told him his kin seem to be more than a little aroused by the architecture.”

She twitched and shook her head. “That was some duel.”

He hummed in agreement. “It’s a lot of fun. Being able to go all out against a worthy opponent is a joyous thing. The rush is incredible. Last time we did it inside, but I thought outside would be nicer. More options, you know. It just took more thought on my part to come up with a way for people to watch and not be in any danger.”

“I see,” she replied. “And what do you do with your days?”

“Go over the recommendations for people to move here, interviews with them, helping them to move. Once we’re done with the UK we’ll move on to another country. The more people we get here the more who are saved when the inevitable happens.”

She turned her head toward him for a moment, part way, then said, “What do you consider to be the inevitable?”

“Somewhere, at some point, someone is going to screw up so badly the muggles will know by the hundreds or thousands or millions, depending on how it comes out. Already there are camera systems out there on the streets that most wizards aren’t aware of, or even a lot of muggles. People have digital cameras, video cameras—not everyone, but I know it’ll happen, just like televisions exploded into households. Something is going to happen and we can’t stop it. Someone will use accidental magic to defend themselves, or some criminal will be spotted while baiting muggles.”

He shrugged. “The ministry won’t be able to obliviate everyone. And when that day comes, what happens? The muggles welcome us with open arms and say let’s be friends? Or do their scientists all flail around in ecstasy and work that much harder to find us, to see how it works, to see if they can replicate it. Before that day comes—well, we’re working very hard on this exodus, to become a self-sustaining population here on a world where the muggles can’t reach us.”

“And where you don’t have to deal with people like Dumbledore?” she asked.

“Of a certainty,” he replied. “Dumbledore is a bleeding-heart apologist. He’s so busy not calling other people into account for their actions nor teaching them the meaning of responsibility that he’s letting who knows how many people fall by the wayside who are essentially innocent. The people we’re choosing are Neutral or Dark, ones who are tolerant of other races and blood status. I would rather have a Dark-oriented neighbor who understands just how dangerous Light magic can be than a Light-minded fool who refuses to see beyond the surface of the propaganda they’ve been spoon fed. When people take the word of a reporter like Rita Skeeter as gospel I cannot help but call them all sheeple.”

“Somehow you knew we were alive.”

“Somehow,” he echoed. “And once I did I made it my business to find out more. I stepped in after certain things came to light. You may or may not consider my actions in that regard to be high-handed, but I saw no point in leaving you there to continue suffering.”

“Even though you don’t know me?”

“You’re still my mother. You didn’t agree with what they planned. You fought for me. My sisters are innocent in—”

He broke off as a serpent patronus slithered up and hissed, “Here’s an opportunity for you to retreat if your current conversation is becoming uncomfortable.” It faded a moment later, and he assumed Voldemort did it that way so as to leave Lily clueless to the actual message.

“Hm. Well, that’s interesting.”

“You speak Parseltongue?” She still had not looked at him directly since they began their walk. Perhaps he looked too much like James, eyes and hair aside, for her to be comfortable with.

“Yes. A little gift Voldemort left behind that night. ‘And the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal’,” he quoted. “ ‘But he will have power the Dark Lord knows not.’ ”

Lily made a funny noise in her throat. “I’ll say. I’m going to guess and think that you had everything to do with him being more or less sane at this point.”

He nodded. “Well, he’s not sane, exactly. I mean, if your definition of sane includes things like ‘does not kill when pissed off’, then he’s still insane, though he hasn’t killed anyone recently.”

“And you?” she asked. “Sane people don’t laugh when someone sends so many killing curses their way.”

“Not even close to being sane, but that doesn’t mean I’m not a functioning member of society. For instance, there was only one student at Hogwarts who had any idea I’m not a quiet little Ravenclaw, and she’s one of the people building a home here. You’d like her, I think. One of the teachers now at Corvus knew, and Flitwick has known I’m not exactly right in the head since a bit after my disappearance. But as Flitwick has pointed out, I’m the friendly one.” He slowed down, drifting to a stop, saying, “This is far enough, I suppose.”

Lily tensed up like a frightened rabbit about to bolt. “For?”

He gently reclaimed his arm and produced his wand. “I don’t know about you, but I’ve just been dueling the past hour and I’d like a bit of a rest.” He transfigured a rock into a table as he called for Saen.

Lily twitched as Saen popped in.

“Be a sweetheart and fetch some butterbeers and nibbles for us? Oh, and I baked some biscuits this morning, so include some of those.”

“Yes, master,” Saen said, and popped away.

By the time he had transfigured two comfortable chairs and a wide sun shade Saen was back with a tray. “Thanks, Saen,” he said with a smile, taking a seat, and reaching out for a butterbeer. The little elf nodded and departed, and Harry grabbed one of the biscuits to nosh on after a deep pull at his drink. “Yeah, that’s better.” He glanced up to see Lily was still standing. “Take a seat?”

She did so, taking a butterbeer for herself, though she cradled it in her hands rather than drinking from it. “Is James dead, then? There have been a lot of bizarre deaths in the past few years.”

“Him? Oh yes. Very, very dead. And hey, shock! His glamour failed right there in Diagon Alley. Everybody knows that James Potter didn’t really die that night. Wasn’t a thing Dumbledore could do about it, not with so many people present, not with Rita Skeeter and her photographer there to take pictures and assault the witnesses with questions. You, my dear mother, are a widow. You are free to do whatever it is that interests you, be it continue as a stay-at-home mother, become a teacher, start your own business. . . .”

He grabbed another biscuit and ate it, followed by a lemon tart, brushing the crumbs away where they fell on his shirt. He drained his butterbeer, gazing out over the landscape and enjoying the fresh, clean air. A light breeze had picked up, making conditions that much more comfortable. Lily quietly sipped at her drink, and she chose only sweets he had already chosen from. He considered being offended on behalf of his house-elf, but knew she was simply being cautious.

When she did finally speak it was to say, “You bake?”

He huffed a laugh. “I had no choice, growing up, but to learn how to cook. Besides, the house-elves never get them quite right for some reason.”

Lily sighed. “Petunia was a nightmare, I’m guessing.”

“Yes. And Uncle Vernon. They taught their son the same. But once I learned a few things Vernon suffered a freakishly bizarre accident at work. Petunia and Dudley left me alone after that and I was no longer their little slave. I was eight, I think. But yes, I cook, I bake, I like to bring nibbles to my friends.”

“Do you have many friends?”

“Hm. Some. Voldemort, Barty, Luna. I’m friendly with Flitwick, Kevin, and Neville. I’ve been considering kidnapping him and his parents. Augusta has been trying to make Neville into a Frank clone for years now and even after it was proven that Neville isn’t a squib they’ve continued to be abusive. Him going into Hufflepuff didn’t help, I expect. It upsets me. Neville is a good kid and he’s been coming out of his shell since he started school. Luna won’t be there any longer to keep an eye on him. If I did I’m reasonably sure I could heal Frank and Alice, and they could stay with the Lovegoods for the moment. Don’t really know how they’d react to the knowledge that they’ve been whacked in the head for years and have a son who’s almost grown, or that family has been entirely too cruel to their boy.”

Lily opened her mouth to speak, but closed it when a loud crack heralded an arrival. Luna was standing there, looking around vaguely, a faint smile on her lips.

Harry promptly made her a chair. “Hey. Why am I not surprised you already know how to apparate?”

Her gaze wandered in his direction as she replied, “Daddy made sure I could in case I needed a quick escape during one of our zoological trips. So this is your mother.” Her gaze wandered that way, not quite looking at Lily, and she took the open seat. “You’re very pretty,” she commented. “I quite see where Harry got his looks. Speaking of which,” she said, her gaze turning back to him, “the old man does, in fact, plan to toss Dylan into the school as you.”

Harry frowned and shook his head slightly. “Why? What could he possibly get out of that?”

Luna tilted her head. “To look like he’s in control. He managed to find the mysteriously missing Boy-Who-Lived. He’s taken a nasty blow with what you did to James, and what the two of you did during that duel. His confidence is severely shaken and he needs something to make it look as though he’s still in control.”

“Even though, if things were different, it would make Dylan a target for murder?”

Luna shrugged. “He doesn’t care about Dylan. James is dead and he’ll soon enough find out all the money is missing. The Potter family is of no use to him now. If anything, he’ll consider targeting Stubby Boardman.”

Harry laughed merrily. “Yeah, because Sirius has suffered enough brain damage in Azkaban to think teaming up with Albus is a good idea.”

“Now that he thinks he’s killed you he can—”

“Wait, what?” Lily interrupted.

“Dumbledore thinks he killed me. I arranged for an ‘accident’,” Harry said to her, complete with air quotes.

Luna nodded. “He sees no problem with bringing Dylan in because of that. It’s not like you’ll pop up to cause problems. Also, I think you should go ahead with kidnapping Neville and his parents. Frank and Alice could be excellent aurors again, after a little therapy and being brought up to speed. I would leave the rest of the family alone, though. Better to leave it in doubt, despite what they’ve done. Neville isn’t as pragmatic as you or I. And,” she said, pausing for several moments, “I think, after some thought, Kevin, too.”

“But—oh, it’s like that, is it? I know he’s muggle-born.”

Luna nodded sadly. “Much like Neville has refused to speak of what he goes through, Kevin has kept it all behind a wall. He and Neville could stay with me for the time being—daddy won’t mind—and you could set up a trust vault for Kevin so he has something to fall back on.”

“And the family?” he asked, eyes narrowed.

“It’s an uncle, actually, but his parents just look the other way. They can’t explain why Kevin is different, but that’s no excuse for not defending him. The uncle is wealthy, you see.”

He rolled his eyes and reached out for another butterbeer. “And how does Kevin feel about this?”

She shrugged. “It’s not like I asked directly. He loves his parents, but the resentment is building hard and fast. If something doesn’t change, soon, well—what I’ve seen isn’t good. For all that you and Voldemort took care of any number of the more fanatical blood purists there are still people lurking around with that mindset. Kevin could very easily become a victim to one.”

“Okay. I’ll get vaults set up, get Barty to reserve a townhouse for Kevin for when he’s older, see about blueprints for a manor for the Longbottoms and start that process. . . . We’re going to set up an oversight committee, but not just yet. Until we have something in place to handle any children coming in or people to adopt them I’m not sure of the point.”

“That’s fine. I just wanted to make sure it was lurking in that brain of yours somewhere. Daddy has been in raptures since we got here,” Luna said with a wider than normal smile. “It was really very kind of your friend”—she glanced skyward—“to help with that part.”

Harry grinned. “Voldemort got a bit pissy over that set of inclusions, but that was before he actually met you.”

Luna gave him a knowing smile; she obviously knew the real reason. “I will let him know when I see him next that we’ll be moving straight away rather than waiting. I’m sure you’ll get a more ‘normal’ set of journalists at some point, but for now he can put out something to keep people updated.”

“All right. I can send over some house-elves with him to pack up and transport everything. I have to get those presses anyway, set up the supply line, blah blah blah.” He slumped in his chair and took a long pull at his butterbeer.

“Now, Harry, you should have known being a dark lord was hard work,” Luna remarked. “But a good support staff is priceless. Delegate some of it.”

“I suppose I could intimidate Lucius again, but he’s already doing quite a bit. We don’t have a lot of people on that side to delegate to.”

Luna sighed. “True.”

They sat there thoughtfully—though what Lily was thinking was debatable—enjoying the day. Something popped up in Harry’s peripheral vision, causing him to sit up properly. Barty trundled up, smiling; once he got close enough he said, “Fantastic duel! Wish I could be even half as skilled.”

“If I’d known you’d be showing up I’d have made sure to have Jaffa cakes waiting,” Harry replied, transfiguring another chair in invitation and expanding the sun shade.

Barty shrugged and sat down. “You’re very good to me, my lord, but I don’t really expect you to carry them everywhere you go.”

Harry smirked. “You holding up okay?”

“Yes. I never thought I’d end up an administrator, though. I’m surprisingly good at it, I think, which is interesting. It’s also a bit hilarious that I stand above men so much older than I am.”

“Yeah, well, I know I can trust you. I’m not so sure about the rest, and Voldemort doesn’t really trust anybody terribly much.”

“Except you.”

“We’d be piss-poor partners if we couldn’t trust each other.”

“How did that happen?” Lily asked quietly.

“Oh, right,” he said. “Barty, my mother, Lily. Lily, Barty Crouch. And as to how that happened, ah, let’s just say that after trying to kill me a dozen or so more times when I was eleven, Voldemort finally decided to listen to what I had to say. We talked, hashed things out, and formed a partnership eventually. There were plenty of snide comments, sarcastic wit, and the usual taunting before we got to that point. But hey, I’m such a lovable fellow.”

Barty laughed. “You’re a psychotic, mass-murdering whackjob.”

“Your point? Doesn’t mean I’m not lovable.” He shifted to his Yuki form and aimed a sultry look at Barty, who shuddered and held his hands up in surrender.

“Don’t do that. You make me question my sexuality.”

Harry smirked again and shifted back. “Oh, you poor foolish man. Once you come to the dark side there’s no going back,” he purred, flirting his brows up briefly.

Barty shuddered again. “I do not want to know about your sex life.”

“Oh, I’m sure you’ll find a nice girl at some point, crank out some babies, learn the joys of crying at all hours and spitting up and puppy dog eyes,” he teased.

Barty looked thoughtful at that, and a little scared. “Is it really that bad?” he asked Lily.

She actually smiled. “Oh yes. It’s not for the faint of heart.”

“I guess I’ll find out eventually,” Barty said with a shrug. “So why are we all sitting out here in the middle of nowhere?”

Harry snorted. “Hardly the middle of nowhere, and it’s a beautiful day. Why not sit outside and enjoy the sun and the breeze?”

Barty looked up at the sun shade. He shook his head and looked at Harry again. “I could use some lower level administrators,” he said, scratching the side of his nose, “if you can find some. Secretarial sorts.”

He pulled a normal notebook from his pocket along with his fountain pen and started making notes so he wouldn’t forget anything. “All right. I’ll get Lucius looking for people we can interview. I can’t remember offhand if he’s winnowed through the British ministry complement yet. Can always go after disaffected half-bloods and muggle-born since I expect half or more of the people at the ministry got their positions through nepotism anyway. Yay for the Old Boy Network.”

Luna snickered madly. “Harry, please do remember you’ve been shoving your partner’s Death Eaters into government positions?”

He sighed and palmed his face. “Okay, yes. You’re absolutely right. But those people know I will torture them until they beg for mummy if they fuck up. I can’t do that with, you know, normal people. So it’s best to get qualified people hired on to fill all the gaps, people who might only need a sharp verbal reprimand if they do something particularly stupid. I don’t want to have to babysit these people. I do want regular reports that Voldemort and I can go over. If we have to we’ll get involved and I expect nobody will like it if we do.” While he was thinking of it he also wrote down a note about Greyback. Nothing special was needed there, just a quick death. He barely knew the man aside from his tendencies to prey on children so he had no particular reason to set up anything elaborate.

Voldemort’s patronus showed up again. “I’m bored. Come amuse me.

Harry arched a brow and smiled in amusement, then tucked his notebook and pen away. “All right, kids, I need to get going. Something’s come up. I’ve got your issues noted and will take care of those as soon as I can. Luna, be prepared for guests. Barty, I’ll get with Lucius. Lily. . . .” He shrugged, stood up, and shifted away. He found Voldemort in their shared area and aimed an inquiring look his way. “Bored, huh? Do you have any suggestions as to how I can help you with this state?”

His partner was sitting there, arms resting on the arms of his chair, one leg crossed over the other, giving him a hungry look. “I am mildly upset, it turns out, that you left so quickly after our duel.”

His gaze shifted off to the side, wonderingly, then looked back in amusement. “Are you saying that our duels turn you on?”

“Yes.” Voldemort said it flatly, almost as if he was afraid of censure for admitting it.

Harry nodded and stepped closer. “I must say, I get a serious charge out of them myself, though I don’t know that I’d want to do that every time as a bizarre form of foreplay. Because really, often enough just looking at you is enough to make me think of the two of us in bed.”

Voldemort uncrossed his legs and pushed, standing up. “Really.”

He smiled and nodded again. “Of course. I seem to recall telling you before that you were a handsome devil—and are again. Well, come on, then. Let’s go get clean so we can get dirty again.”

Some time later he wrote out a simple death for Fenrir; no sense wasting brain power for that beast.

Voldemort gave him a disgruntled look. “Do you really have to do that now?”

Harry finished writing and put the pen aside, letting the book return to him. “I wanted to get it out of the way. Greyback is probably already dead.” He rolled onto his side and propped his head up on his hand, reaching out with his free hand to trace a line down Voldemort’s chest. “I can’t really think of many more people to kill anyway, though there are a few more people to kidnap.”

Voldemort’s gaze skimmed his own body briefly, watching Harry’s hand, then said, “And these are?”

“Hm, Luna suggested I kidnap Frank, Alice, and Neville Longbottom, as well as Kevin Entwhistle. The two adults will probably have a serious problem with the Lestranges, but I’m sure something can be worked out,” he said, using his index finger to glide around the edges of his partner’s abdominal muscles, watching as Voldemort’s penis began to slowly thicken and lengthen.

“And Barty.”

“Mm, true. Perhaps I should ask Luna about her rationale on that one.” His fingers dipped lower and skimmed down his partner’s nearest thigh and back up. “You’ve got an amazingly fine ass, you know?”

“Is that a hint?”

He met Voldemort’s eyes and shook his head slightly. “Not especially. Don’t know if I want to go there, actually. Would you like me to?”

His partner rolled his head toward Harry. “No.”

“That’s fine.” He smiled suddenly. “Besides, you end up doing more of the work.”

Voldemort rolled his eyes, but surprisingly enough said, “You do more of the work overall, so I suppose that’s only fair.”

He dragged his fingers lightly back up Voldemort’s chest, scratching gently, then swept them back down to palm his partner’s cock and give it a few teasing pulls. “Well, experiencing you ‘work’ is a glorious thing. I very much enjoy your masterful handling of those situations.”

“And I am enjoying your current handling of things,” Voldemort replied.

“Oh?” Harry used his fingers a bit more strongly, then scooted down the bed and leaned over to take Voldemort’s cock in his mouth.

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The kidnappings were a simple enough endeavor. He simply shifted into St Mungo’s in the dead of night, verified that no staff were in the room, and shifted the two out. Cael was set to watch them while he went to kidnap Neville and one of the family elves. Once those were handled he checked with Derek on Kevin and nabbed him, too. Trunks had been made up to hold a varying selection of goods, and those were linked through along with the “victims” and brought to Luna’s current residence. The adults could stay in one room and Neville and Kevin could share the other extra.

He consulted with Derek after ensuring that all four of them would stay asleep until a reasonable hour and proceeded to “fix” Frank and Alice. They would still be disoriented for some time and need to build up muscle mass, but what he had done should see their mental and physical states mostly normal.

Luna wandered out of her room right about the time he was done and preparing to leave, so she walked with him downstairs and into the sitting room. “About how long?” she asked.

“They shouldn’t be waking up until nine, I’d estimate,” he replied with an offhand shrug. “Plenty of time for you to get some more rest and be ready to contain the potential screaming hysterics.”

“Sure, leave me the hard job,” she teased, tapping him playfully on the arm. “Has Barty set up a house for them yet?”

He shook his head. “They’re going to need a week or so to get used to being up and about. But after that it should be fine. I wasn’t able to get blueprints for their manor, but I’m sure they can figure something out and live in a townhouse in the meantime. I think the one next door might be open. Guess I could have Barty reserve it.

“And speaking of Barty, just how exactly does that work out in your head? The only one of that bunch who we killed was Bellatrix, and the other three are part of the damn government. I rather expect Frank and Alice to kick up a major fuss once certain truths become known to them.”

Luna just smiled. “It will work out. And the sooner you get people over here the better. There are other things you need to be doing.”

Harry was extremely tempted to do some digging to see what she meant. Instead he heaved a sigh, kissed her on the cheek, and shifted out. A note was left on Barty’s desk about the housing request before he returned to Earth and looted the Longbottom fortune and Neville’s trust. He could drop those off after putting in a request for vaults to be assigned, plus one for Kevin. And while he was there, talk to Ragnar about a dueling arena.

Things went surprisingly well over the next few weeks, even with the addition of the Longbottoms. Luna was handling things with aplomb in her airy, sometimes nonsensical way, and had managed to convince Alice and Frank that staging an attack on K’veer, or indeed, any of the Death Eaters, was the greatest of folly. That she diverted them with far too many stories about their son might have had something to do with that. Their focus of anger went from that of more than a decade ago to Neville’s treatment over the years instead. Luna was a clever little thing, he knew.

His mother had left him alone in that time. His monitors told him she was simply trying to settle into a new life, make some kind of sense of what had happened, what her eldest child had turned out to be, and where she could fit into this new life, with this new freedom. That Dark Lord Voldemort was a part of it all? A trifle at that point.

Nearly every day he and Voldemort were bringing in more people, slowly stripping the best from Britain. Dumbledore might be wondering what was going on, but the thoughts and theories of the old man could wait. Given the multitude of disappearances back during the first rise of Voldemort, Dumbledore might be given to the belief that the same thing was happening, just without the additional complication of the flashy attacks by Death Eaters.

By the time the new year rolled around perhaps they could move on to a new country. He was slouched in a chair in the reading nook in his room going over various ideas when Derek smoked in, causing him to look up in surprise.

“Master,” Derek said. “I thought you might be interested to know that in your original dimension another dark lord has already arisen.”

Harry rolled his eyes so hard he almost gave himself a headache. “So in a mere fifteen years?”

“Ah, not exactly. As you know the ritual you concocted did not send you the way you’d intended, but even so, it was not back. It was . . . diagonal.”

His brows went up. “Okay. Are you saying that even a straight jump between dimensions is likely to result in a different year of landing?”

“Yes. To answer your question, it has been thirty years since your departure.”

He sighed. “Even that is fairly bad. One thing for that Voldemort to come back in such a short time; he was just taking up where he left off. That’s sad. And I expect if I had stayed I’d have been expected to take care of the problem. Anyone I know?”

Derek paused, shifting in place minutely. “Colin Creevey.”

Harry threw back his head and laughed, then laughed some more. It was that or cry.