Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: One Winged Angel :: 07 :: Information

07 • Information

Tom was up bright and early, idly going over plans in his mind during breakfast of how he should deal with Peter. Harry didn’t want torture to be involved, so it had to be something relatively simple, such as a quick killing curse. Perhaps poison, though not one that would cause actual pain. Given how much time Peter spent stuffing his face simply for the sake of eating, it was an option to add a little something extra that would give him a painless death.

On the other hand, something of that nature wouldn’t be much of a test for Harry’s skills at Occlumency. Tom shrugged and had another piece of bacon. The killing curse it would be, then. With that out of the way he finished his meal and got ready to visit Privet Drive.

As before, he lurked across the street for a while before deciding to act, waiting to see if the Order member on duty would realize he was there. When nothing untoward occurred after twenty minutes he sent out a series of mental commands to Harry’s cousin, reinforcing what he had already ordered. He spared a moment to grimace, remembering what the boy looked like, and prepared to move on to Harry’s aunt.

Therefore, he was surprised to hear a tentative voice in his mind.

:Tom?:

He made the logical assumption that it must be Harry, especially given what had happened previously. So he focused his thoughts—perhaps he had been thinking a little too strongly about the cousin—and attempted to reply.

:Hello, Harry.:

:Are you . . . reinforcing things? Where are you?:

:Yes, I’m across the street and have just dealt with your cousin. I’ll handle your aunt shortly, then go deal with your uncle.:

:All right. This is . . . kinda nice, actually.:

:Oh?:

:Dobby isn’t much of a conversationalist for all his devotion and enthusiasm.:

Tom chuckled quietly. :I imagine not. Perhaps we should test the distance limitations of this . . . ability.:

:You’ll try when you get back, uh, home?:

:I will. If it doesn’t work, it will be tomorrow night when you hear from me next.:

:Right. You’ll be dealing with Peter this evening.:

Tom thought it was interesting that while he could sense Harry’s emotions, there was no leakage of any kind from the rest of his mind. :Yes. Of course, if we can reach that far, I’ll be able to inform you once it’s over.:

:You think it might be dependent on the strength of our bond?:

Tom smiled to himself. Harry was definitely an intelligent young man. :I expect so. Though, even if we were fully in accord with each other, I doubt we could reach halfway across the world. There must be an upper distance limit.:

:Probably, though we are fairly unusual people, Tom. I guess I’d be happy if it could reach from the castle to Hogsmeade. This isn’t quite the same as talking face to face, or in dreams. It’s odd not being able to see your face.:

:It’s still me, Harry.:

:I know. I just feel . . . better, I guess, when I can see you.:

Tom refrained from pointing out that facial expressions could very easily be deceptive. :Yes, but the advantage is that we can speak without the necessity of you having to fall asleep first. Though, I agree it is nicer to be able to see each other.:

:I suppose so.:

Tom could sense something else behind that statement, some vague emotion. He wondered if it was just that Harry was feeling isolated and lonely, or if he was being subconsciously coaxed by the bond into desiring his company. :Harry, I truly would like to continue this, but the longer I lurk over here, the more of a chance there is for someone to notice me. I should take care of your aunt and then go find your uncle.:

:Okay.:

There was a definite sense of disappointment that time. Tom shook his head and refocused, this time on the aunt, and reinforced her instructions. :Harry, I’m done here. I’ll go back to the house first, so if you don’t hear from me within ten minutes, assume that we can’t reach so far yet.:

:Yes. If not, I’ll see you tomorrow evening.:

Tom slipped away down the street invisibly, then apparated to the house once he was out of the expected range of the surveillance. :Harry?:

He heard nothing back, so he tried again, concentrating harder, but still heard nothing in response. To give it due effort he tried several more times, then gave up and headed out to deal with Harry’s uncle.

*

He found Peter exactly where he expected him. The table was scattered with crumbs which Peter ignored in favor of continuing to eat. Tom was tempted to think that the man should have had an animagus form of a mole rather than a rat given his voracious appetite. Of course, it would shortly no longer be an issue, and his food bills would drop drastically as well.

Peter never even looked up as Tom raised his wand. In fact, he was in the process of reaching for another piece of chicken when Tom said the fatal words. Peter slumped over, laying waste to quite a bit of otherwise good food in the process. Tom stood there for a moment, wand still raised, and tilted his head to the side. He didn’t sense any echoes from Harry, but perhaps he would not normally.

After a purely mental sigh, Tom levitated the corpse and led it through the corridors until he gained the back garden, bringing it eventually to a rest on a bare patch of earth. Another spell caused the corpse to be set alight. Tom stepped well back, not particularly wishing to inhale the scent of burning flesh.

He urged the intensity of the flames higher and higher, willing them to finish the job as quickly as possible so that he could be done with it. Even so, he could not completely escape the results of his actions, and suffered in silence until the body was cremated. The resulting pile of ash was favored with a hearty application of water, then churned into the earth with brisk movements of his wand.

*

Harry was pleased to see that their room had become even cozier in nature. The fireplace added a nice touch, lending an illusionary warmth to the space, as well as a different place for Harry to rest his eyes aside from Tom’s face or downward. Why he always arrived standing up, though, was a bit of a mystery.

He sat down and cast his eyes toward Tom, smiling faintly. “I’m not sure I felt anything. At least, I don’t remember any disturbing dreams, and I certainly didn’t wake up because of anything nasty. How exactly did you kill him?”

Tom nodded a greeting, then said, “The killing curse. You said you preferred something simple. I had considered certain kinds of poison, but I doubted those would produce any kind of a marked reaction in you, should your attempts be unsuccessful. After that I incinerated his body.”

Harry exhaled almost in a sigh. “That wasn’t a true test, though, but at least it’s encouraging.”

“Yes, I expect that Bella may be a different story entirely. Depending on how many people are aware of what you told her. . . . Well, she may be as simple as Peter, but I’m not going to make that assumption.”

“And if she has told?”

“Then I think, perhaps, that I shall wipe them all out in one act. Something worthy of Voldemort himself. The question would be whether or not the other Death Eaters should be allowed to witness it.”

Harry furrowed his brow. “Should I assume they wouldn’t know why the others were being killed? The specifics, I mean.”

“Correct. Such a display on Voldemort’s part would help to convince those remaining that they had better think twice before harboring thoughts of sedition, as well as make a number of them start wondering if they should seek the help of the other side.”

“Helping to flush out those who might be let go?”

“In a sense. Practically speaking, I’m going to have to be a lot more sure than that. I foresee a number of private meetings and obliviations in the future.”

Harry flashed Tom a quick grin, then sobered. “Well, if my shielding doesn’t hold up, I get the feeling I really won’t enjoy what you might end up doing.”

“You may or may not feel it, Harry. I think, based on the past, that it was whenever I was feeling extreme emotions that you were compelled to share the experience. That is, when I wasn’t deliberately trying to possess you. If this is more than just Bella, I will be fairly angry, but I’m not sure it will approach the level of irrationality or madness that it once would have.”

“That makes a certain kind of sense.” He paused, then changed the subject. “Setting aside fate for a moment. . . . Why did you come after me first, Tom?”

Tom’s brows rose fleetingly. “That requires two answers. I was aware that there were two to be born that fit the criteria, you and the Longbottom boy. In part, it was a question of which protections I could subvert first, though to cover my bases I intended to deal with both of you. However, the second answer may seem a bit hypocritical. I considered you more of a threat, being able to identify with you more. We’re both half-bloods. If I could become this great figure of power, even more so than pure-bloods, then why not you? As it was, Peter fell neatly into my hands, so I went after you first.”

“You’re right. It does sound like hypocrisy. Voldemort comes off as saying he wants to kill off that which he hates most about himself, even when he recognizes that his blood made no difference, or might have even made him stronger. It makes no sense whatsoever. Yes, I get the part about carrying on Salazar’s noble cause, but. . . . It doesn’t change anything. The death of every single muggle, muggle-born, and half-blood doesn’t make Voldemort a pure-blood, and it doesn’t change the fact that you had a lousy past.”

“I know. Then again, insanity makes its own rules.”

“Yes, well, insanity is very convenient at times.” Harry held up a hand and continued, “No, I didn’t mean that as an insult, Tom. If everything I’ve read is accurate, then I understand you couldn’t help but be a bit crazy. On another note, Dobby found something interesting for me.”

“Oh?”

“About dementors. I’ve been thinking about them, and what it might mean to let them go. Well, assuming that Fudge wouldn’t let them back in as guards to Azkaban. You mentioned genocide, but if what he found is accurate, it doesn’t exactly apply. Apparently, they don’t breed like other creatures, they just . . . appear. I think, given time, dementors will appear in Azkaban regardless. So, if you were to try starving your lot to death, it isn’t like it would mean the end of them.”

“Dobby found. . . ?”

Harry nodded. “He says there’s a lot of interesting stuff hidden in the castle. But, I expect you would know that to some degree. I assume that’s where you found out about your connection to Salazar, right?”

Tom tilted his head to the side and stared at the fire. When he didn’t speak for several minutes, Harry began to get very curious. “Tom? What is it?”

“Hmm?” Tom turned his gaze on Harry and gave him an odd smile. “Maybe I won’t have the others watch the death of Bella and/or her coconspirators. I could devise an elaborate trap for them, and for those others I wish to get rid of as being too dangerous or too caught up in sadism. Or at least, some of those. It might seem a bit suspicious to dear Bella if only she and her friends are called.”

“She doesn’t exactly seem sane to me, Tom. I’m not sure if it would matter. I mean, doesn’t she believe you see her as one of the most loyal? And, if she has begun the formation of a rebellion, it may be that those she’s contacted may be the same ones you already have down for, uh, handling.”

“True. Well, as I plan on interrogating her with veritaserum, she can tell me exactly what she thinks about that before I obliviate her memory of the event. If she is that bold, then yes, you’re right, it won’t matter.”

He paused, then said, “Harry, are you feeling isolated?”

“Yes, but it’s not all that much different from the summer before my second year, and far less unpleasant. Why?”

Tom shrugged a shoulder. “It occurred to me that if you do get to feeling too lonely or caged in, I could trip the wards deliberately and make them consider moving you to where you’d have more people to talk to. Though, I know you said you don’t always appreciate what your friends and the Order put you through.”

Harry sighed. “You know, there are times when I truly wish I could question you with veritaserum.”

“Because you still aren’t sure who to trust. Harry, part of trusting is learning to do so, through experience. You’re sitting there, so unsure, wondering if you should continue to let me into your head, or if you should run to Dumbledore the moment you can and tell him everything, am I right?”

“Of course. That’s why I wish I could just know. And, Dumbledore would never give me that opportunity.”

“But I might?”

“You might, if you really mean all that you say, and if you trusted me not to ask anything out of bounds.”

Tom arched a brow, then smiled. “Let’s say I allowed it. And let’s say that you were satisfied. Would you allow the same in return?”

“I . . . guess I would have to,” Harry replied a bit reluctantly.

“All right. Though, until we’re able to be physically face to face again, it’s a moot point, wouldn’t you agree?”

“Which wouldn’t be until I was back at Hogwarts and was able to go down to Hogsmeade. And that assumes I could slip away from my friends. Or, can—are you prevented from entering the grounds?”

“I have no idea, actually. I won’t know until I try, I suppose. Harry, if you’d like to visit, I can send a portkey with Dobby. We’d have to slip you back in again like we did before. You already have a lockpick. I’d just need to get more of the invisibility potion, or you could bring along your cloak.”

Harry ruffled his hair and glanced at the fire. “We could do that. But if Dobby is able to jump me around Hogwarts, then he could conceivably jump me back and forth between here and your home, right?”

“Distance might be a factor, Harry.”

“Then I’ll ask him at breakfast. If not, I guess it would have to be the other way.”

“You might wish to know that Severus has not heard anything yet on when you’ll be removed.”

Harry shrugged. “I don’t really expect them to come for me until a week prior. Not for almost three weeks.”

“You’re welcome to visit at any time, Harry. I’ll simply have to make sure you know if I have anything planned. If Dobby can’t jump you, then let me know. I’ll make a set of portkeys.”

“All right.”

*

Harry was woken by the sound of Dobby popping into the room, letting him know he had overslept. Not, of course, that he had to be awake at any particular time. Once they got the question of what he would like to eat out of the way, Harry spent some time trying to wake up properly and get out of bed. When Dobby returned Harry said, “Dobby, I have a question for you.”

Dobby perked his ears and leaned forward slightly.

“You said you could bring me anywhere in Hogwarts with you. Just how far can you manage? Like, could you jump me from here to Tom’s home?”

Dobby brought his hands together in front of him, under his chin, and considered. “Dobby is not sure, master. Dobby would have to try to know.”

“What if the attempt failed? I’d just stay here?” was Harry’s reasonable question.

“Master would not be harmed in the attempt. Master would stay right here.”

“Okay. When I’m done eating, would you like to try?”

“Dobby is being happy to!”

Fifteen minutes later he held one of Dobby’s hands and waited. Dobby disappeared, but he didn’t. Dobby was back in seconds with a look of dismay.

“It’s all right. Don’t worry about it,” Harry said. “Maybe once I’m back at Hogwarts you can try to see if you can jump me down to Hogsmeade. Thank you for trying, at least. Would you be willing to do me a favor, though?”

“What is master wanting?”

“I wanted to let Tom know something. If I wrote him a letter, could you deliver it? I don’t want to use Hedwig because I need to send her out every three days and I’m afraid sending her to Tom’s would take too long.”

“Dobby is willing.” Dobby nodded several times.

Harry sat down to write out a short note to Tom about the failure. Within minutes Dobby had popped out again, leaving Harry quite alone. After some thought he realized that he still wouldn’t know, should Tom produce veritaserum, if the potion was genuine.

Then again, he could ask Dobby to find him a book on bindings and oaths. It might be that a Wizard’s Oath could ensure that Tom would not ask him anything Harry hadn’t already approved. That way, if he was forced to be truthful himself, that would mean Tom had also spoken the truth.

He spent another few minutes wondering if he should be asking what exactly Tom had planned for Bella, then shook his head and reached for one of his books.

*

He nodded to the house-elf and opened the letter to the sound of it popping out.

Tom,

Well, I had Dobby try to jump me over there. No such luck. I’ll have him try again once I’m back at school. I guess it’ll have to be portkeys, though frankly, I can’t stand the things. You might be able to guess why.

Since there’s only a few weeks left, I guess two should do it, right? Maybe I could arrive on Friday evenings. Go back Saturday night? Of course, I know that portkeys are strictly regulated, but I can’t see that as being an issue.

Harry

Tom smirked. Harry certainly had a casual disregard for the rules. Still, it would show a certain amount of trust on Harry’s part should he actually use a portkey sent to him. He laid the letter aside and got up to find suitable objects, then keyed them to the audience chamber, set to trigger at the right word. He composed a short letter in return and boxed everything up, making his way to the kitchen afterward.

“You, Belk, I have a task for you.”

“Yes, master.”

Tom handed over the package and said, “When Dobby returns, give this to him for his master. I’m sure he’ll be back around noon.”

“Of course, master. Belk is being happy to.”

Tom nodded and turned, heading back to his study, at which point he activated his ring, then settled in with a book while he waited. Severus swept in a short time later and sank into a chair as he removed his mask.

“That is no longer necessary, Severus. Peter is dead, so there will be no one here to see anything they shouldn’t.”

“I see. How tragic. May I ask how he died?”

“I could say it was from gluttony, but that would not be accurate. However, he was in the act of eating when I hit him with the killing curse. Wasted rather a lot of food in the process, I’m sorry to say.”

“Indeed. It is as well you called. Dumbledore has finally given voice to when he plans to remove Potter to Order headquarters. They intend on fetching him on the twenty-fourth. Albus is quite solicitous of the boy’s safety.”

Tom snorted. “Of course. Well, that’s what Harry expected anyway. I assume someone from the Order will be letting him know shortly, then, though I’ll tell him the next time I see him.”

Severus arched a brow.

“Dreams, Severus. Dreams. The only night I didn’t speak to him was when I killed Peter. And speaking of inconveniences, let’s discuss Bella, shall we?”

“As you wish.”