Disclaimer: I don’t own anything here except for the original characters.
The halls and classrooms of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry lay empty on the last night of June 1995. The student body had left that morning for the summer while most of the staff was in bed, fast asleep.
However, in the Headmaster’s office, the elderly wizard who held that position was not asleep but wide awake. Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore had been pondering the events of the previous year, especially those in connection with the just-concluded Triwizard Tournament, all of which occurred around Harry Potter.
First, Harry had been chosen as the Hogwarts champion when only those of age were the only ones eligible for participation. Then in the first task, the dragon assigned to guard Harry’s sister had chased the two Potters over the Forbidden Forest when it was not supposed to be able to leave the arena the event had taken place in. In the second task, the Giant Squid in the Black Lake had almost attacked Harry. Then, the tournament had ended with Harry being kidnapped by Barty Crouch Jr. who was Polyjuiced to look like his father, Bartemius Crouch, who had been in charge of the event. The younger Crouch had taken Harry to a graveyard where the evil wizard, Voldemort, was waiting. He wanted to get a prophecy out of Harry’s mind before killing the boy.
Fortunately, they had managed to find out where Harry had been taken with the help of Ginny Weasley, Harry’s girlfriend. Harry and Ginny had formed a Soul Bond which allowed them to see what the other saw and to talk to each other in their minds from even hundreds of miles away. Knowing where Harry was, Dumbledore, James and several other people had gone to rescue him. Unfortunately, in the course of the rescue, the DADA professor and ex-Auror, Mad-Eye Moody had been killed by Voldemort.
The good thing that came out of that tragedy was that several Aurors had seen Voldemort. With so many witnesses, it could not be denied that Voldemort was back.
Now that it was clear that Voldemort would resume his previous activities and agenda, Dumbledore could shift his focus to preparing the one person who could defeat Voldemort once and for all – Harry Potter.
Dumbledore got up from his chair and walked to a black cabinet set against the far wall. He opened the cabinet door and removed a shallow stone basin etched with symbols and runes on its edges from a shelf in the cabinet. It was a pensieve, a magical device used to view memories.
Placing it on his desk, he took a vial out of his robes and poured in into the pensieve. He stirred the liquid with his wand. After a few moments, the ghostly figure of a woman rose up then started speaking in a weird detached tone:
The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches…Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies…and The Dark Lord will mark him as his equal but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not…and either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives…the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord will be born as the seventh month dies…
Dumbledore sighed. This was the prophecy Voldemort had tried to take from Harry’s mind that night in the graveyard because he had only been told of the first two lines before he had attacked Harry and his family almost fourteen years ago. That had led to the fulfillment of the third line – marking Harry as Voldemort’s equal.
With Voldemort again rising, it may soon be time for its complete fulfillment. Unfortunately, the prophecy did not say who would win and Harry was not ready to face the most evil Wizard of their time. He barely managed to hold off Voldemort in the graveyard.
However, there was hope. Dumbledore waved his wand and the fluid returned to the vial. He drew another vial from a different pocket and poured its contents into the bowl. Swirling it again with his wand, he waited.
This time, the ghostly figure that emerged above the bowl was that of a thirteen year old girl. The girl spoke in a strange voice:
They gather now, they who would stand by the Chosen One, His six companions, bonded by love deep and true The Soul Mate, his other half, his strength The Seer, his sister in blood, his guide The Wise Lady, his sister in all but blood, his font of knowledge The Strategist, his best friend, his right hand The Green Lord, his equal in power, his general The White Ram, saved from Evil by him, his left hand Training they need together, to defeat the Dark Lord Let not one be lost or all will be for naught And the Dark Lord will defeat the Chosen one
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair, pondering the words as the ghostly figure descended back into the bowl. It was another prophecy. The girl who had given it was Rose Potter, younger sister of Harry Potter.
Dumbledore was sure that the Chosen One mentioned was Harry and the Dark Lord was Voldemort. He was also sure that the six companions were among Harry’s close circle of friends. He was glad since Harry would need the support of people he trusted and cared for if he was going to defeat Voldemort.
Dumbledore sighed as he pondered the unfairness of giving such as immense task to someone so young. He resolved to help the boy and his friends as much as he could so that they would succeed. He turned his attention to the parchment on his desk where he was detailing his plans to help train the boy.
Dumbledore hoped there was enough time for all his plans before Harry had to face Voldemort again. He had no idea what Voldemort was planning at the moment but hoped it would not have a grave effect on Harry. Sighing again, Dumbledore picked up a quill and resumed writing on the parchment.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles from Hogwarts, in a large three-story mansion, the boy on whom Dumbledore’s plans were focused was busy with his own plans. Harry was in the library of Potter Manor, going over the books on the shelves. After the duel with Voldemort in the graveyard, he wanted to learn other spells aside from those his Auror father and surrogate uncles had already taught him.
In spite of the number of offensive spells taught to them, Aurors were more of a police force, focusing more on spells that captured lawbreakers, with little damage done to the person they hit. The Death Eaters in the graveyard had been quick to revive any of their number who was stunned. Harry needed spells that incapacitated quickly with little chance of being revived just as quickly.
“That one, Harry,” Ginny’s voice sounded in his mind. She was using the link through their soul bond to see the books and help him decide which ones could have useful spells. “That book called ‘Offensive spells of Light Magic’. I think it’ll have some useful spells.”
“All right, Gin,” he replied to her in his mind.
As he pulled out the book Ginny had pointed out, Harry’s thoughts returned to what had happened earlier that evening when his parents had met him and his sister at King’s Cross Station upon the arrival of the Hogwarts Express.
His parents had picked Harry and his sister up at the station. They quickly said their goodbyes to their friends; Harry giving a final kiss to Ginny. After exiting the station, they had entered an alleyway once they were sure no one was watching them.
“Here,” James said, handing them a teacup, “This is a Portkey back to the Manor.”
Taking hold of it, Harry and Rose felt the uneasy pull on their navels that they associated with Portkey travel. They dropped down in a heap on their home’s living room floor. As they got up, they heard the soft pop of Apparition as their parents appeared beside them.
Harry turned to his father. “All right, Dad, now can you tell me what you found out when you and Sirius interrogated Barty Crouch Jr?”
“Yeah,” Rose said, “I also want to know what that slime-ball said.”
“Rose!” Lily scolded, “I do not want to hear words like that coming out of your mouth, young lady.”
“Sorry, Mum,” Rose said, looking down at the floor.
“All right,” Lily said, “Just don’t do it again. Now, sit down, both of you and your father will tell what Barty Junior told them. I’ve heard it all before so I’ll just make sure our dinner is ready.”
Rose and Harry sat down side by side on one of the couches near the fireplace. Harry opened his mental link with Ginny, knowing his soul mate would want to hear this straight from his dad. James sat across from them while Lily went into the kitchen.
“Well, first of all,” James began, “We gave him three drops of Veritaserum. Then, he proceeded to tell us how he was able to escape from Azkaban. It seems his mother couldn’t stand having her only son live out the rest of his life in that hellhole. Of course, knowing what a dreadful place it is, that’s understandable. It turns out that Mrs. Crouch was very ill, practically dying. So, she came up with a plan to ‘rescue’ her son. She managed to convince her husband to arrange a visit to their son. They came to the prison with Mrs. Crouch bundled up in a cloak then they used Polyjuice to allow mother and son to change places. Father and son walked out of the prison, leaving Mrs. Crouch with enough Polyjuice to continue the deception. About a month later, the Crouch in Azkaban died. With what we know now, I assume that it was Mrs. Crouch, finally succumbing to her illness. Whoever it was, the Dementors buried him under the name of Barty Crouch Jr.”
“Didn’t she return to her original appearance?” Harry asked, verbally stating a mental thought from Ginny. “I mean by then, the Polyjuice would have worn off.”
“Well, that’s the thing with Polyjuice,” James said. “While you’re alive, you have to continually drink it to remain in the Polyjuiced state. But dying freezes the Polyjuice in the blood and the person remains looking like the one he’s spelled to appear as. So, the Dementors thought it was Barty Jr. they buried. Meanwhile, Barty Sr. had Jr. hidden in the house under the Invisibility Cloak all the time with a house-elf to watch him. Supposedly, Sr. had Jr. under the Imperius Curse to prevent him running off to join Voldemort. Barty Sr. had a funeral for his wife a month after their son supposedly passed away in Azkaban. At the time, we all assumed she just pined away after her son’s ‘death’. After that, the father kept the son in the house over the years and no one suspected anything.”
“So how did Jr. manage to join Voldemort?” Rose asked.
“Actually Voldemort found him,” James said. “About a year and a half ago, he turned up on the doorstep of the Crouch’s home with Lucius Malfoy. They quickly Stunned Senior and freed Junior. They locked up Senior and used Polyjuice to let Junior take his place in the Ministry, spying for Voldemort.”
“Was he the other man I saw with Lucius Malfoy the night old snake-face was resurrected?” Harry asked.
“Yes, Harry,” James said, “Barty Jr. actually seemed proud of the fact that he helped return that monster’s body. He and Lucius were the ones who kidnapped Amelia Bones for the ritual.”
“What about that ritual, Dad?” Rose asked.
“Ah, the ritual,” James said, “Well, we asked Junior if he knew how Voldemort stayed alive after being hit with the Killing Curse. He said that he wasn’t sure but it was tied up with the ritual they did. It’s called the ‘Soul restoration ritual’. Apparently, Voldemort had undergone many transformations over the years and one of them gave him the power to separate his soul and body, allowing his soul to remain in spirit form.”
“Then how can I kill him if he can stay alive like that?” Harry asked.
James sighed. “I really don’t know, son. Maybe Albus will have an idea. We’ll probably need to research that.”
Harry nodded, “I guess so. What else did you find out from Junior?”
“Well, he told us how he got the Goblet of Fire to choose you as the Hogwarts Champion. You see, before the Tournament, the Goblet was kept in a secure room in the Ministry. As the organizer of the Tournament, he had access to it. The night before the Goblet was brought to Hogwarts, he managed to perform a Dark Ritual which caused the parchments with the names of the other Hogwarts Champions to be destroyed except for the one with your name, which he placed just before choosing of the champions.”
“Wow,” Rose said, “They really planned that one. Did they really try to kill Harry off in the tasks?”
“Oh, yes,” James said, bitterly. “That was their initial plan. Junior made sure Harry got the Hungarian Horntail with a little charming of the models. It was a good thing Malfoy warned us about the Giant Squid. Junior couldn’t get near him since Albus had Hagrid and Moody watching him. So he tried with the Grindylows but they almost attacked him as well. However, before the third task, Voldemort told Junior that he wanted Harry captured instead. So, Junior made the Triwizard Cup a Portkey with the incantation of the Dark Mark as the activation word, knowing only a Death Eater like himself would use it. That’s about all we found out. He couldn’t tell us where Voldemort is hiding now. We did get a number of names of Death Eaters out of him. We raided their known residences but they had all fled by then.”
“What about Lucius Malfoy?” Harry inquired.
James shook his head, “We know he’s fully involved with Voldemort, but we can’t find a trace of him. We’re watching Malfoy Manor but only Narcissa and Draco have been spotted entering or leaving the place. Since we don’t have proof those two are involved with Voldemort, we can’t even bring them in for questioning.”
Harry sighed, “So what do we do now?”
“We’ll step up your training and that of your friends,” James said. “We can’t afford to be complacent anymore. I believe Albus has some plans which he’ll reveal later this week. For now, you go on with your usual routine, especially the dueling practice.”
End of flashback
Harry sighed and opened the book Ginny had chosen. His father was right. The first thing he needed to do was work on his spell work and dueling skills. He’d worry about how to kill Voldemort when he could stand toe-to-toe with the evil monster in a duel and last more than five minutes.
“You’ll get there, Harry,” Ginny said. “We all will. It’s just a matter of time.”
“I know, Ginny,” Harry said to her. “I just hope it doesn’t take too long. I’ve heard stories about the first war. A lot of people, good people, died. I hope we can prevent that.”
“I hope so too, love,” Ginny replied. “I don’t want to lose any of our family or friends.”
“Me neither, Gin,” Harry said. “Let’s not think about that for now. However, there is still one thing that bothers me about the events during the Triwizard Tournament. The only thing Barty Junior did in the first task was make sure I faced the Hungarian Horntail. He didn’t do anything to the dragon itself. We still don’t know why it continued to chase me and Rose even after we were out of the stadium. Remember? Even Charlie couldn’t explain it. I thought it was due to some spell placed on it. But Barty Junior didn’t admit anything under Veritaserum, so he didn’t cause it.”
“I know, Harry. I’m puzzled, too. We’ll just have to leave it for now. Maybe we’ll find out someday. But that’s not important now. For now, you need to get back to that book.”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied to her mentally, with a hint of amusement in his tone.
“Prat,” Ginny said to him.
Harry chuckled before turning his attention back to the book. As he scanned the book’s table of contents for useful spells, he wondered what Voldemort was doing right now. Whatever it was, Harry knew it wouldn’t be good for the Wizarding world.
Far away, the answer to Harry’s question could be found in another three-story mansion, this one set in the midst of well groomed lawns with no flowers of any sort. In a richly furnished room on the mansion’s second floor, the blonde owner of the mansion knelt in front of one of the posh armchairs in the room, his head bowed down in respect and fear of the occupant of the chair. That man, if you could call him that, was pale and bald with a flat nose and slits for nostrils.
Lord Voldemort leaned back in the armchair and narrowed his red eyes as he regarded the kneeling man.
“Very interesting, Lucius,” he said in a high-pitched voice. After a few seconds of silence during which Lucius Malfoy felt the sweat trickling down his back, he said, “Very well, you may proceed with your plan. I will be interested in what you will discover. This will partly make up with what your younger son did. I do hope you will deal appropriately with that blood traitor.”
“Y-yes, my Lord,” Lucius said. “Do not worry about my so-called offspring. Tiberius will learn what happens to traitors, I promise you.”
“Good,” Voldemort said. “Now, let’s move on to other business.” He turned to another figure on her knees behind Lucius. “Bellatrix, what news from the werewolves?”
The woman bowed her head as she spoke, “We have good news, my Lord. Fenrir Grayback has sent his agreement to your terms. He and his pack will join our ranks. I’m sure he can persuade other packs to join us.”
“Very good,” Voldemort said. “What about the giants?”
“Their great Gurg is considering our offer,” Bellatrix said. “He is looking favorably on it after the gifts we sent him.”
“That is good,” Voldemort said, smiling coldly. “I knew a few Muggles to kill and eat would soften their hearts toward us. Why don’t you find them some more, Bellatrix? Make sure there are children among them. They will be soft and juicy to the giants.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Bellatrix said, smiling, a mad glint in her eyes. “I’m sure I can find a few brats to give to the giants.”
“Very good,” Voldemort said. “What of Gringott’s? Have the goblins given any reply to my offer?”
“N-no, my Lord,” Bellatrix said, “They have not since we sent your message a month ago.”
Voldemort frowned. “That is not good. We need them on our side. Without the financial backing of the goblins, the Ministry will fall quickly. I will have to compose a more direct offer. But it will have to wait.” He turned his attention back to Lucius, “Lucius, how are the efforts going with obtaining that object in the Department of Mysteries?”
“W-we have not been able to recover it, my Lord,” Lucius said.
Voldemort frowned again, “You have had a full week now, Lucius. Surely, your influence and wealth have not lost its power.”
“It’s not that, my Lord,” Lucius said. “We know where it is. However, we cannot obtain it. No one whose services I have obtained could touch it.”
“WHAT!” Voldemort screamed, standing up suddenly.
Lucius bent his head down immediately; sweat breaking out anew on his forehead. “H-however, we may have found a way, my Lord.”
Voldemort sat back down and leaned forward, “Oh, really? Tell me, Lucius and perhaps I will spare you the penalty I give for failure.”
Lucius spoke rapidly, hoping to be spared the pain.
When he had finished talking, Voldemort leaned back and smiled. “Of course. It’s so simple. I’m surprised you didn’t think of it before. Very well, we shall do the task in four days’ time. You and Bellatrix will accompany me on this…errand.”
“Yes, my Lord,” Lucius said, rising to his feet and backing out of the room. Just before he reached the door, Voldemort interrupted him.
“Oh, and Lucius,” Voldemort said, “I think you still need a little reminder of the price of failure. Crucio!”
The screams of Lucius Malfoy echoed through the manor, sounding like music to Voldemort’s ears.