Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Biology :: 06 :: Wicked Intentions

06 • Wicked Intentions

Azkaban Year Three

“Adders who with cloven tongues do hiss into madness.” — William Shakespeare.

September brought about an interesting series of events. The night was crisp, and smelled of the delicious scents of encroaching fall. At the moment Salazar was rather bored, clinging to the robes of a certain Mr Peasegood in spider form. It seemed to be the easiest method of shadowing the man, trying to find direct evidence of any wrongdoing.

He’d already lost the man several times over the past week because of apparitions, but that evening he was walking along quiet back streets in London. After a not unpleasant stroll they arrived at an unremarkable door situated in an alley indistinguishable from many others in the city, except perhaps by the degree of dirt and debris present.

After a quick glance around and a barely voiced spell, Peasegood slipped through the now open door and closed and re-locked it behind him. Inside was a marked contrast to the area in which the building was located, being fairly well decorated and maintained.

But, Salazar wasn’t there to critique the decor. He continued to cling as Peasegood moved deeper inside and into what looked like a small sitting room. Already seated there were Theodore Nott and his father, both looking slightly impatient.

“It’s about time you got here,” complained Alexander. “We’ve been waiting over an hour.”

Peasegood flapped his hand and sat down. “Problems at the office. Nothing important, but nothing I could just walk out on either. I’m here now, so let’s get to it. What do you know about the Monihans?”

Theodore examined his nails as his father answered, looking for all the world as though he’d rather be at a young Death Eaters’ cotillion hanging out for a pure-blood bride. “They’re no different than the others. Rich and opinionated. They think Fudge is a fool.”

“And?” he countered irritably. “Habits? Defenses?”

Salazar slowly crept down to the floor and scuttled to the wall, then began to make his careful way to the open door that led into the hall from which they’d entered.

“No more difficult than the others. You could set your clock by the father’s routine, and for all the spell work and warding that’s been done on the family mansion, it would be simple to get in.”

He paused and sent a knowing look at Peasegood. “Fudge getting impatient again?”

“You know damned well he is. Don’t you ever read what I send you? I keep him happy by arresting his opponents and he looks the other way on a number of things.”

Salazar had by now made it through the door frame and far enough into the hall that he could regain his human form. By now he was quite pleased and thinking, “Self, I think Mr Peasegood has been a very naughty fellow.”

“Self, I think you are quite correct.”

The unexpected response, for he had not heard his inner voice in some time, nearly made him chuckle. Working with excruciating care Salazar spelled the door frame, then changed back to spider form and skittered up the wall diagonally to rest above his trap. From his vantage he could hear them talking quite clearly.

“So in what . . . two weeks?” came Alexander’s voice.

“Yes. That should give me time to get everything into place so my team can bring them in, and you to plant the evidence we need for this set. People are getting much too vocal about the arrests. I want back up this time.”

Salazar could hear the sounds of movement; he assumed they were standing in preparation of departure.

“Fine. I’ll owl you when things are ready.”

One by one the three men walked through the door, and one by one the three men keeled over inelegantly as the sleep spell took effect ten seconds later.

Salazar scuttled part way across the ceiling then slid down a line to the floor, changing back into human form with a smug smile. After preparing each one his normal way, he removed the spell from the door frame.

A note was placed with each body and from there it was a moment’s work to float all three through a warp gate to the Ministry. After setting off the alarm, Salazar warped to Sanctuary.

As luck would have it, he arrived just in time for dinner. He breezed into the dining room with a charming smile and seated himself across from Blaise.

“You’ve been up to something,” observed Remus with a wry smile.

“Who me? I have no idea what you’re talking about, dear fellow.” He shook out his napkin and laid it across his lap. “I just think it’s a lovely night to be alive, don’t you?”

“Mmmhmm. Any other words of wisdom?” Remus asked.

“Adders who with cloven tongues do hiss into madness.” Salazar paused, smiled faintly, then said, “I think perhaps the morning paper will be interesting. There are altogether too many naughty people roaming the countryside.”

“Surely you aren’t planning to capture all of them,” objected Blaise as dinner appeared on the table.

“Only as many as I need to,” Salazar replied with a salacious wink. “I captured you, didn’t I?” He thought the rosy colour that flushed Blaise’s cheeks suddenly was quite endearing.

*

Remus arrived right on schedule according to Harry’s makeshift calendar and was practically bursting to fill him in on everything that had been happening since his last visit. Though Harry already knew about the Notts and Peasegood, he affected to look both surprised and pleased at the redundant information. However, when Remus started in on what he didn’t yet know, his expressions were genuine indeed.

“Harry!”

“Hello, Moony. You’re awfully excited,” he replied with a smile.

“A lot has happened in the past few months. For the boring part, Alexander and Theodore Nott were sentenced to Azkaban. However, it was who was brought in with them that caused quite the ruckus.”

“Who?” he asked simply.

“Arnold Peasegood, head of the OWS,” Remus said triumphantly.

“Peasegood’s a Death Eater?” he asked incredulously. “Then . . . what about Fudge?” Harry’s lips curved into an unmistakably malicious smile.

“Read this first. They allowed me to bring in a copy because they didn’t see any harm in it.” Remus thrust a page at Harry, ripped from The Daily Prophet.

Salazar Traps Triad

Three Death Eaters were dropped off last night by the canny Salazar. Brought in were Alexander Nott, his son Theodore Nott, and the most surprising of all, Arnold Peasegood.

Peasegood, head of the Office of Wizardland Security and appointed by none other than the Minister himself, was sporting a note which read, “As much the pawn of [You-Know-Who] as Fudge is? How about that reputation now?”

Ministry sources say that both Notts have already been interrogated under veritaserum and sentenced to Azkaban for life. Peasegood was apparently questioned for several hours on his connection to You-Know-Who as well as his actions while head of the OWS.

Madam Bones released the following statement to the press early this morning:

“Mr Peasegood indeed bears the dark mark and has been verified as a Death Eater along with the two men brought in with him. Due to the gravity of the situation and the gross misconduct accomplished while in office, the Department of Magical Law Enforcement has every intention of pulling the files on each of the men the OWS has incarcerated. Each man will be re-interrogated as necessary so that their innocence or guilt may be ascertained once and for all.”

She went on to say that “Mr Peasegood’s division members are also being brought in for questioning to alleviate any question as to their primary loyalty and whether or not they should be charged with any crimes.”

Minister Fudge was unavailable for comment.

A small sidebar story reiterated Fudge’s earlier comments when he defended his choice of Peasegood as the head of the new division. It went on to then question his suitability as Minister of Magic given his glaringly bad choices of late, and perhaps even in the past decade.

Harry grinned and asked, “So how’d it fall out?”

“Apparently Salazar’s note caused quite a commotion. The Ministry started getting a massive amount of howlers, and not a few letters straight to Madam Bones about Fudge. Later reports showed that Fudge has been a pawn for years, working on his pride and greed to keep him in line. I guess Peasegood was pretty well informed and had been a sleeper in the Ministry for years just waiting for a good time to be of use.”

“And?” he prompted.

“They called for his impeachment, and it stuck. Amelia is now the interim Minister and she started things off with a bang. Fudge himself was questioned under veritaserum and it was quite clear what his motivations were. He’s been chucked out. Every last Ministry employee has been interrogated in fact. Anyone found with ties to Voldemort has been either fired or imprisoned, depending on what they’ve done.”

“What about the people the OWS arrested?”

“Released. Nobody could find any files on them. They were arrested because they spoke out against Fudge and thrown into Azkaban. Reparations were made to all four families as well.”

“That’s amazing news. Anything else happen because of all this?”

Remus’s face lit up with mischief. “Two things, though only one you might expect. There’s a new dessert at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade called Fudge Peachmint. It’s fudge-swirled mint ice cream topped with peaches. They keep selling out of the stuff, and I’ve noticed more than one person giggling madly while they eat.”

“Would the other have anything to do with the twins?” asked Harry shrewdly.

“Absolutely. Can you imagine them not finding a way to make money of this? They’ve been selling a new trick sweet. Ordinary looking enough, as you’d expect. Fudge-dipped peaches. They place chocolate shackles on the victim when eaten. Last I heard they were arguing over whether to call them Fudge Fetters or Peach Pinions and handing out free samples in the meantime.”

Harry laughed in delight, thinking it was too bad they’d never be able to get a picture of Fudge himself in a set for advertising purposes. Then again, maybe they had.

“That reminds me. Snape. I finally managed to pin him down.”

“Oh?” Harry’s brows rose.

“He never really did answer my original questions about Albus or his usefulness, but I did find out something interesting. Horrifying actually.”

Harry tilted his head to the side and waited.

“You know he’s got the dark mark, Harry. But what you don’t know is that Albus marked him as well. He’s going to die either way, just as soon as one of those two does, and I don’t see any way of saving him.” Remus sighed and shook his head sadly. “I know he’s a cruel bastard, but no one deserves that.”

“I . . . I’m not sure what to say to that.”

“He hasn’t been getting information. It’s not that he’s telling Albus privately, he just isn’t getting much of anything from his sources. So it doesn’t matter. He’s a dead man walking and he knows it. Probably the only thing keeping him from cutting his own throat is his honor and belief in what’s necessary.”

“Well, we’ll just have to hope for the best. Miracles can happen. I’m still alive, aren’t I?”

Remus favored him with an odd look but stayed silent.

Harry pushed his hair back, grimacing at the feel of the greasy, matted mass. “Oh, three more people were initiated. . . .”

*

Certain sensations made themselves known to Harry one fine evening. At least he assumed it was fine, not having had the chance to look through the stone walls of his cell lately. Given the strength of the sensations, Harry thought it wise to peek in on Voldemort’s doings.

And so it was that he was treated to a quite pleased not-entirely-human wizard who was discussing his plans with his inner circle.

“The time is now,” Voldemort said. “Our highest pawn has been nullified and can no longer be manipulated by his own greed and pride into working for me. We will move now before the Ministry is able to completely recoup from this disruption.”

He pointed a spindly finger at Bellatrix and went on to say, “You and the others will coordinate teams with which to assault Azkaban and free your imprisoned comrades, after which we will find our dear friend Harry Potter. I am quite sure that by now he is either willing to join us because of the betrayal of his own side, or is mad enough to no longer be a threat to my plans.”

Harry thought it was rather funny all told. Muggle scientists said humans only use about ten percent of their brains. Maybe magical folk used more, but will and intent are also a funny thing. Aside from being able to erect a mental wall to hide behind so as to keep Voldemort unaware of his intrusions, Harry had spent quite a bit of time working on a way to present a false perception of himself to ward off any Legilimens.

So it was that when he heard noises echoing off the walls from the distance, he was ready to meet what was coming. It was, appropriately enough, Halloween. By the time footsteps resounded near his cell, he was curled up on his bed softly singing nursery rhymes as though he hadn’t a care, or a brain, to his name.

A spindly finger pointed at the cell door, causing one of the masked Death Eaters to immediately force it open. Striding into the cell the minion hauled Harry off his bed and dragged him over to be dumped in a heap at Voldemort’s feet.

Harry continued to sing to himself regardless, acting as though nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

He stopped suddenly to ask, “Have you come to play?” in a childish voice as he stared ingenuously at the masked and black-robed gathering, then went back to his songs.

The nearest Death Eater pulled back a leg to kick Harry, but stopped when Voldemort motioned sharply.

“Dear, dear, Harry,” Voldemort said with mock sadness, “it pains me to see you in this condition. You’re hardly a worthy opponent now, are you? I had this grand speech to give you, an offer of a binding choice. But now. . . .”

He made a sweeping gesture with one hand, then shrugged. “Pitiful child. Well, I shall give you a choice anyway, as I can afford this one time to be magnanimous. You will either join me or you will die, Harry. It’s up to you.”

Harry looked at him with wide, serious eyes for a moment then started speaking in a high-pitched, singsong voice. “They kept telling me love would save me, did save me. They did. He holds my life in his hands. So I must love him. Right?”

He was rewarded by seeing Voldemort’s eyes narrow in what could have been anger, and giggled like a love struck young girl.

An offended Death Eater cursed and nudged Harry in the back with his foot roughly. “Kiss the robes of your new master, Potter!” he commanded in a harsh voice.

Harry rocked with the impact, affecting to appear much more frail than he was, then looked up at Voldemort with an injured expression before swiveling his head to look over his shoulder.

“Robes?” he asked in that same odd voice. “Loves don’t kiss loves on robes. Loves kiss loves on the mouth. A proper kiss.” He turned back to Voldemort and said, “A proper kiss, right?”

Voldemort stared at him with those curious red eyes, and Harry could feel the pressure on his mind. He did nothing to stop the intrusion, trusting in his mental preparations. Voldemort stared until at last his changed face twisted slightly, his reptilian nostrils flared, and he began to laugh the way Harry had often heard in his visions.

After a full minute of this, Harry screeched with childish indignation. “Harry not good enough for a proper kiss!?” he demanded, then punched Voldemort in the leg with a fist and screamed.

You can only use it once,” said the voice, “so you better make it count.

I know,” he thought.

Voldemort stopped laughing immediately. He crouched down and placed his hands under Harry’s arms and rose until they both were standing. Harry smiled vacuously at him in response.

“You’ll make a fine trophy once you’re cleaned up, Harry, even if you are completely mad. A kiss then to seal the bargain of your fate,” said Voldemort, just before he inclined his head and covered Harry’s lips with his own.

Harry could hear the stifled gasps of the Death Eaters present, but ignored them. He accepted Voldemort’s probing tongue by parting his lips, letting the snake get the barest of tastes before invoking his own special twist in the bargain.

It was then that he had to act just as much as he had been, sliding his mouth away from Voldemort’s and along his cheek to his neck, planting lingering kisses as Voldemort’s head tilted forward as though to rest on Harry’s shoulder. Harry let out another childish giggle and turned his head slightly toward the Death Eaters. “See? A proper kiss. Harry’s kiss,” he said sweetly.

The assembled Death Eaters, wary at the lack of movement from their leader, began to shift their weight and brandish wands at Harry menacingly, making him wonder if Voldemort had ever before shown any interest in other men.

Harry licked his lips and started to turn back when he paused and widened his eyes considerably. After a moment he giggled once more and pointed at something behind the threatening group, then turned back to Voldemort’s neck and placed another tender kiss.

Watching out of the corner of his eye he could see several of them whip around. When they cursed the rest turned and got ready to defend their lord from the aurors who were even now pounding down the corridor at them.

Seeing that their attention was rightly elsewhere, Harry took the opportunity to duck off around the corner, pulling Voldemort with him. As soon as they were out of sight of the impending conflict, he warped them both out of Azkaban.

Knowing that he was safe for the time being, Harry let Voldemort’s body slip to the floor, making no attempt to cushion the fall. For himself, he sank down to rest a moment before searching his victim thoroughly. Aside from the brother wand, he found nothing of interest.

He had an overwhelming urge to bathe, to brush his teeth, and repeat the actions until he might conceivably feel clean again. As it was there were other things he needed to accomplish before he released Voldemort to the authorities, so he tucked the wand behind his ear and placed a hand on each of the snake’s temples.

Voldemort’s eyes were still open, though he blinked occasionally. Harry stared deeply into his eyes and reached, pressing forward into the other’s mind and taking control.

*

What seemed like an hour later had Harry collapsed on the floor and staring at the ceiling. When he’d finally had enough of counting the myriad cracks he rose unsteadily and shuffled off to the bathroom for a long, hot soak in the tub. Now was not the time to use a spell in his opinion. When his skin became wrinkly and pruned he finally hauled himself out and dried off, using a spell to remove the snarls and tangles from his hair, and then padded off to the bedroom for a few hours of sleep before his next task.

After he woke, a quick check showed Voldemort to be exactly where he’d left him, so Harry morphed into the guise of Salazar and dressed himself with a spare set of clothing he’d left there for this exact purpose. It never hurt to be prepared, and he could have recovered them had his plan been unsuccessful.

Then he waited. When the hands on the grandfather clock swung round to 8.30 am, he stood and latched on to a floating Voldemort’s arm. He warped them to the usual spot in the Ministry, set off the alarms, then settled on the ceiling.

He waited through the arrival of the aurors, through their frenzied calls for backup, and until Dumbledore finally appeared, having been called in to witness the events. The only thing they found on Voldemort’s body was a note. When they finally cleared the room, he warped back to the hidden estate.