Grazhir :: Harry Potter :: Prodigium :: 03 :: All

03 • All

When Lucius came through with the location of Potter’s relatives Voldemort was both pleased and annoyed. It had taken his minion a very long time to get past all the protections Dumbledore had emplaced, though whether that had been because of the Death Eaters who had slithered their way out of being sent to Azkaban or because the old man thought Voldemort was not truly gone was somewhat irrelevant.

When he arrived at their very normal house in their very normal neighborhood he took the time to examine the wards, a smile slowly forming on his face at the sheer ineptitude of whoever had fashioned them. His bet was on Dumbledore. That blood wards had been used and were weak meant that Potter’s relationship with his relatives must be bad indeed. Yes, they would still present a problem to the majority of his minions, but for himself they were no more than a minor annoyance.

Even so, he was intelligent enough to realize that shattering them would probably bring the old man there immediately, so he resolved to handle things obliquely. The old man would never know what happened until after the fact, just as it should be. That being said, he waited until the family left the house in their car and followed them, snatching them after they exited the vehicle. Scans revealed no spells of any kind on them so they were brought to the prisoner cells at his stronghold to be interrogated.

It was evident almost immediately that they utterly loathed the child and were afraid of him given the shout of, “He’s a freak just like his freak parents! Always doing freaky stuff and threatening my family!”

Voldemort took his time while asking questions, with careful application of pain curses to encourage the silly muggle to answer without ruining his mind. The truth could be discerned by use of Legilimency, but that could wait until he had satisfied his urge for torture.

“I don’t know, I tell you! The damn hell-spawn won a scholarship somewhere. We were so pleased to get him out of the house we let him go without bothering to find out where!”

This was backed up later with Legilimency, with neither of them having a clue, and it was also revealed that Potter seemed to have control of his magic without needing a wand. If what he could see in the minds of these pathetic muggles was correct, Potter had far more control than he had ever had as a child, which was worrisome. In the end he took great delight in torturing them to death, starting with the fat whale of a man and ending with the woman; the corpses were dumped in an alley not far from where their vehicle was parked.

The implication he was left with was that Potter was in a muggle school, which made no sense to him. He would have thought Dumbledore would have the boy trained rather than leaving him to the mercy of muggles. The woman’s memories clearly showed that Dumbledore had visited the house prior to what would have been Potter’s first year at Hogwarts, but had left without taking the boy, and no one else had shown up after that. Had the old man deluded himself into thinking Potter was a squib? Or was it that Potter had forced him to think so? The idea that Potter didn’t trust the twinkly-eyed, grandfatherly façade of the headmaster was actually quite amusing. It wouldn’t save him from death, though.

*

Harry was duly informed by school staff that his family had been killed and that they would get back to him as to his disposition for the incipient summer. He was then sent off with his tutor to one of the school chaplains, he assumed because they expected him to either be in denial and need to be coaxed out of it, or have some sort of a breakdown and need spiritual guidance. He took the news quietly, and the most they could get out of him was that he was not well-liked by his family.

Further news revealed to Harry that the Dursley will would see Dudley packed off to his Aunt Marge, while he was to be sent to an orphanage. And, given that he had already applied to and been accepted by University College London (contingent on his GCE scores), it would be somewhere in London itself. He found that to be annoying, but supposed he could get away easily enough on a regular basis, and not just for his schooling. At least he had left nothing of interest at the Dursley home, so he would never have to return there. He would, however, have to stop his subscription to the Daily Prophet and begin buying it day by day, unless his new accommodations afforded him an easy way to avoid having muggles ask questions about why owls kept visiting him.

*

Dumbledore received the news only because the instrument which monitored the wards had informed him they had fallen. The only way for that to be true was if Harry or Petunia were dead, and the monitor for Harry was unchanged. He supposed he would have to track down where the boy would be sent, just in case, though he continued to have severe doubts about the validity of the prophecy. It might well be that he would have to, once again, take up the mantle of destroyer of dark lords.

A floo call had Nymphadora Tonks, a half-blood with a muggle-born father and sympathetic to him, on the task of investigating in the muggle world. The least he could do would be to keep an eye on the boy for the time being, even if it turned out to be pointless in the end.

*

Voldemort did much the same as Dumbledore, though he had to comb through his ranks to find any half-bloods, which was no easy task given that many half-bloods were corrupted by their muggle heritage, and only a small percentage understood the truth. He himself had been too long from the muggle world and had no idea how to go about it personally, nor could he be bothered to learn.

*

In mid-June, after he had been established in his new ‘home’, Harry became aware of another magical in the vicinity. While not Dumbledore, whoever it was was also quite powerful, and Harry quite carefully managed to mist the person, who turned out to be the self-titled Lord Voldemort. He kept him incapacitated long enough to sort through some of the new information he had acquired, which just so happened to include the secret of Voldemort’s survival on that Halloween night, and how he had managed to regain a physical body.

And, while he had no doubt that Voldemort would happily destroy the orphanage without the least hesitation, Harry was not so inclined to bring death to essentially innocent people. That being so, he consumed the man on the spot, forced the wand to him which had dropped to the ground, and drifted off to № 12 Grimmauld Place to digest his meal.

Perusal of the Daily Prophet several weeks later showed that Alastor Moody, aka Mad-Eye Moody, a retired auror notorious for his paranoia and alleged friend to Dumbledore, had gone missing.

*

Voldemort was spitting mad by the time he had regained a body once again. He still had no idea what had happened to him. One moment he was scouting the area of the boy’s location and the next he was a spirit again. He had never even felt the spell which killed him.

It was very tempting to track Potter down again right away, but perhaps it would be wiser to focus on other things first. He knew where the child lived, so he would keep for a while, especially as it was known via the reports of his minions that the child was unknown for visiting the wizarding world. Making sure his people were in position would go a long way toward making the ministry fold when he showed up with the corpse of their savior. Planning would get him everywhere. Blind rage would likely see him ejected from his body again.

He called to him one of his minions known to correctly follow orders and not get ideas of their own, then ordered the man to haunt Potter. There would be no attacks, no entering the orphanage, or any other overt actions; he was simply to keep an eye out for any changes in the boy’s circumstances and report weekly, sooner if an emergency arose.

*

“Again?” he asked.

“Yes. Just last night it darkened again. I have no idea what has happened and have not been summoned,” Severus replied.

Albus crinkled his brow and glanced at his monitoring instruments. “I must wonder why. You have done nothing except follow the orders he gave you. The fact that your Dark Mark keeps changing shows us that Voldemort is not truly gone. I presume you would have told me already had anyone said something to you.”

“Of course.”

“See what you can find out, thought I expect it will be . . . very little, sadly, until you are contacted directly or called.”

*

The year passed for Harry fairly uneventfully, if one disregards the number of Death Eaters he consumed, those who had been watching the orphanage, probably on the orders of Voldemort. He left the watchers from Dumbledore alone. They, however, were clueless as to how much or how little the old man was aware of. It was late one Saturday night, when everyone in the orphanage was sleeping, that he sneaked out under cover of invisibility so he could safely apparate to № 12 Grimmauld Place. One Horcrux was already there: the locket.

The diary of Tom Riddle was in the possession of Lucius Malfoy, but Harry suspected it was nonviable given that it had been the first created.   He also suspected the Gaunt ring was useless, for the reason that it had been created second. Even so, he was going after it and already had a copy he intended to leave in its place if the ring proved to be viable. As it turned out it was useless, but he switched it anyway and returned to his house feeling pleased.

The Hufflepuff cup would be a problem unless the goblin definition of full cooperation covered that artifact, and the Ravenclaw diadem would have to wait until he could find the time to get into Hogwarts. Nagini, Voldemort’s recent familiar, would simply have to wait, even though he was fully aware of where Voldemort resided in Britain. The ring went on a shelf and Harry headed to Gringotts, laughing a bit due to Voldemort not even being aware that his Horcruxes were being used up each time he had to regain a body. So damn intelligent, yet so damn ignorant at the same time.

Alguff, though nervous when the matter was explained to him, was more than willing to inquire. He was back shortly thereafter with approval from the bank’s director, despite the highly irregular request. Alguff escorted Harry down to the Lestrange vault and opened it for him, then waited outside as Harry deftly switched the real cup for the duplicate he had made. It wasn’t long afterward that Harry was back at № 12 Grimmauld Place with another Horcrux in his collection.

Satisfied with the night’s work Harry returned to the orphanage and settled in to sleep.

*

When autumn of 1994 rolled around Harry was interested to note that a Triwizard Tournament was being held at Hogwarts. It was surprising considering what he had read of them in the past, what with the potential for deaths, and wondered who had been so persuasive as to garner enough support to host another. He expected that Dumbledore had been adamant about not sending any of his students and staff to the mainland should it be held at Beauxbatons or Durmstrang, which would explain how it came to be held locally. If nothing else it gave him a ready opportunity to visit the castle during the events, and during one hopefully slip away long enough to obtain the diadem.

The first opportunity came in late November. Harry was in the stands wearing one of his faces, knowing after hearing what the task would be that he would actually like to watch rather than sneak off. Hopefully the second task would be more conducive to his plans. Even so, he eyed the grounds and castle with memories of more than one person in mind.

When he returned in late February he realized, after hearing what the task would involve, that it was the perfect time to slip into the school. For that he went as a cat, having long since stopped by an animal shelter which euthanized animals there for too long to try on a few new forms, taking ones which had already been put to sleep.

Voldemort’s memory was foremost in his mind as he made his way to the seventh floor, and then as he paced back and forth asking for the exact same thing Riddle had. Inside was a hodgepodge of everything under the sun, but Harry knew what he was looking for and was able to find the diadem without much trouble. A quick switch was enacted and he was back at the second task with no one the wiser. Though, truthfully, he had to wonder why anyone would want to ‘watch’ the second task, given that staring at a dark lake was about as exciting as watching paint dry.

He realized, once he was back to his normal life, surrounded by normal things, that while he could actually seek out Voldemort and keep killing him, it might cause the madman to become suspicious enough to start investigating things, and that might result in a check on the Horcruxes. After a great deal of thought and playing out potential scenarios in his mind he decided that one more death would be all right, but only when he was ready.

*

Voldemort was becoming rather peeved that so many of his Death Eaters kept going missing. He suspected that Dumbledore had something to do with it, but the method escaped him. A personal look at the area around the orphanage revealed no wards he could uncover, and it completely went against the old man’s policy of redemption and endless second chances. He himself was not fond of the idea of spending any amount of time near the boy just yet given what had happened the last time he had settled in to spy. Perhaps it was time to step things up?

True, with people not knowing he was alive it was easy for the general populace to wave away attacks on muggle towns as being done by supporters or random insane persons. They were not prepared to poke their heads out of their cozy lives of denial, which would make it that much more devastating when he did appear and terrorize them in person. Perhaps just a little longer.

*

His seventeenth birthday was fast approaching and Harry was pondering deeply his next course of action. He was aware, after having misted Voldemort again when the man had decided to pop by, that he should probably get a move on with things. Unfortunately, it was not as though he could gorge himself on Death Eaters and completely wipe out Voldemort’s power base, though he could take out some of those who infested the ministry; he was not sure just what good that would do overall. After all, he cared very little for the wizarding world, and if too many of Voldemort’s people died the man might become very suspicious of him. After a great deal of thought he came up with his plan.

On the thirty-first he was sitting in his room at the orphanage after having created a serious magical disturbance. The book he held in his hands was a historical account, guaranteed to make the blood pressure of any reasonably decent person spike in anger. This would, when questioned, be the cause of the disturbance. Harry promptly flung it across the room and watched as it slid down to the floor. He then found a much more interesting book to read.

It just so happened that at the time of the manufactured disturbance there was no Death Eater skulking around the area, but one of Dumbledore’s minions was, and that minion fled immediately to report. When Harry sensed a magical approaching he checked to see who it was, mussed his hair a bit, and continued reading until a knock sounded at his door. “Come in.” The door opened to reveal a woman he recognized from Dumbledore’s memories as Professor McGonagall, though she was behind and off to the side from one of the orphanage ladies.

“Harry,” Mrs Marquet said, “you have a visitor.”

He set down his book with an irritated shrug and nodded, then gazed at McGonagall with wary curiosity as she entered.

“Mr Potter, I am Professor McGonagall. Is it all right if I close the door?”

Harry shrugged again. “Fine by me.”

She did so quietly and turned back to him, her eyes widening momentarily when she saw what he was reading. After a moment she seemed to get a hold of herself. “Mr Potter,” she said slowly, “do you remember being visited some years ago by Professor Dumbledore?”

“Yes. He said he came to check up on me, as a favor to my parents.”

She nodded. “That makes this easier, then. You see, we had expected when you were eleven that you would be attending the school I teach at. Unfortunately, that fell through due to a reason which I will shortly explain. At the present time it seems it is possible.”

Harry arched a brow at her. “I’ve already finished schooling.”

A weird expression flitted across her face. “This is a different type of schooling.”

He glanced down at his book, frowned, and said, “Ah, that kind of schooling. Does this have something to do with that strange . . . thing . . . that happened earlier?”

She gave him a tight smile and nodded, then produced a wand and conjured a chair, seemingly a little put out when he lazily blinked. After seating herself she asked, “May I ask what happened earlier?”

“I was reading a history book and became angry,” he said simply.

“Oh?”

Rather than elaborate he answered her with a question. “What do you teach?”

“Transfiguration. I’m somewhat surprised at what you’re reading.”

“Why, because I’m a squib?” he countered.

McGonagall shook her head slightly, though it did not come across as a negative. “You are obviously not a squib given what happened earlier. I simply had no idea that you would have purchased any books of that nature.”

‘Because I’m allegedly a squib,’ he repeated in his mind. “He mentioned Gringotts. I got curious.”

She hesitated, nodded, then said, “With your permission I would like to check to see where your power level is. Assuming it is sufficient, which I have no doubt of given the strength of the spike earlier, you could attend Hogwarts and learn magic.”

Harry quickly de-cloaked his power such that he would appear to be average or a little above based on his memory of Dumbledore’s memories, then nodded.

Less than a minute later she was giving him another tight smile. “You should purchase a wand. I’m sure Mr Ollivander would be pleased to see you. Though. . . .” She shook her head again. “I admit, having a new student at your age is a bit daunting. You are terribly behind, unfortunately.”

He smirked faintly. “Perhaps in waving a stick around, yes. I have, however, read extensively. For example, I’ve often wondered if the reason conjured items are impermanent is because what’s actually transfigured are dust particles in the air, something which by nature is not cohesive. The conjuration itself works against the very nature of the material being used.”

After a startled silence she launched into a comparative theory discussion which lasted quite a while, and morphed into other subjects entirely, guided by Harry’s desire to confound the woman.

“—have to wonder about a great many other things, as well. I mean, taking into account much of mythology, science, fantasy works, and even science fiction, it is possible to postulate that during the long history of evolution something like a meteorite strike caused a type of radiation which mutated part of the human race, creating the start of what one might term the magic gene. Those affected may have passed on the mutation to their offspring—perhaps as a recessive gene—and eventually children began being born who had this gene active. Over time they realized—probably through accidental magic—that they could effect changes in their environment.

“As more of them bred together, more of a population base appeared with these god-like powers. Or, at least, they would appear god-like to the humans of that time period. It might also explain, as a recessive gene, why muggle-borns appear seemingly out of nowhere, at least from the viewpoint of magical persons, because the parents involved each contributed to an active gene in one or more of their children. It’s also possible that what we call magic is simply the genetic ability to tap a form of energy from a separate plane of existence.”

Harry had to rigorously throttle back the desire to laugh as the expression on McGonagall's face became more and more confused.

“Were that true, it would explain why modern scientists have yet to stumble over this energy, and why it would interfere with electronics. This energy is not natural to this world, and disrupts what is natural. But that’s just theory. I can also imagine that inbreeding, which produces defects of varying severity in non-magical people, would do the same with magical people, resulting in defects such as mental degradation and even what you term squibs.

“On another look at separate planes of existence, it could be postulated that what magicals term as magical creatures are either mutated evolutionary paths of mundane creatures, much like how it may be true that humans divergently evolved, or, these creatures were actually summoned from a separate plane in quantities large enough to provide a fairly stable breeding population, maybe from the same plane in which we tap this energy termed magic. It would be excellent were that true given that the wizarding population does not seen to understand about resource conservation, having hunted some species to extinction, or near extinction. So. . . .”

*

“Albus,” she said slowly, “his mind is. . . .”

He gave Minerva a worried look, and gestured for her to continue.

“Well, he’s either a very fast and glib talker, or more brilliant than anyone I have ever encountered. It seems that after your visit he became curious about the wizarding world and started purchasing books on every subject available. His theories are complicated enough and draw from so many sources of knowledge that I had real difficulty keeping up. He could also probably pass his NEWTs in non-wand subjects tomorrow.” She paused.

“Divination excepted. This is in addition to having completed his muggle schooling. In fact, he was quite derisive regarding Muggle Studies. Said that the texts he purchased were so backward and out of date it was laughable, and only served to show that wizards were probably mocking the muggles in order to keep wizards from losing their sense of superiority, despite the fact that muggle advances have surpassed our own intellectual growth and research. He pointed out that the blame probably rests with pure-bloods who seek to maintain the status quo and the foundation of their power base.”

By then Albus’s brows had risen up drastically, a reaction he covered by reaching out for a calming dose of sherbet lemon. “I see.”

Minerva heaved a sighed. “I have told him he should purchase a wand. When I checked using your little spell his power was slightly above average, which was disappointing. However, his intellect should more than make up for it. I have every expectation he would be sorted into Ravenclaw. What I don’t understand is why now.”

Albus aimed a vague smile at her and twinkled knowingly. “He did just turn seventeen. We both know that is the age of majority for a reason. Perhaps this is what unlocked his heretofore missing ability.” It sounded good to him, in theory anyway.

She nodded absently.

“My dear Minerva, I would like you to meet with him again, perhaps in a private room at the Leaky Cauldron, and begin going over some first year wand material. See how quickly he picks things up. While it is true that he would not be affected by the Trace, it is best that he refrain from any experimentation at his current home.”

“Yes, Albus. And what if he does pick things up quickly? Can it be arranged for him to take his OWLs? I have no doubt he already has all the theory down, and from the way he argues, he actually understands it as well. It does not appear to be observable rote memorization.”

“I think that could be arranged,” he said, “though he would have to pay proctor and evaluation fees given that he is taking them out of phase.”

She nodded again and drifted out, presumably to plan.

*

Harry headed off to Gringotts as soon as McGonagall disappeared off his radar to claim his inheritance. The goblins were most helpful, even providing an illegal two-way portkey to a shopping district in France, as he had no intention of visiting Ollivander’s in Diagon Alley. There he visited the wand shop in one of his myriad faces and spent several hours going through wands, finally settling on one that at least produced some reaction to his magic. He wasn’t actually going to be using it anyway, so it was a minor issue in his mind. It seemed his demonic side precluded ‘proper’ use of a wizard’s most valuable tool.

On his return to № 12 Grimmauld Place he cast a few simple spells through it, proving that he could use it to some degree. He was more concerned with the notion that someone might, at some point, demand to perform Priori Incantatem on it, thus the need to at least partially channel any observable spells through the wand.

McGonagall arrived the next day to speak with him again and offer an invitation to a private meeting at the Leaky Cauldron to see how well he could use theory and knowledge in practical application. Once they had settled in and she had cast a few privacy wards she said, “I am somewhat surprised that no one has ever mentioned seeing you in the alley.”

He shrugged carelessly. “Nobody seemed to notice me when I first came here. Tom showed me how to get through the barrier when I mentioned I was a squib. Once I learned that I was famous I took measures to prevent identification.”

“Oh?”

“Wigs, for one thing, muggle makeup to hide the scar, and contact lenses to disguise my eye colour,” he lied. “Speaking of which, why is it that so many people know my distinguishing features? Was it really necessary for the entire wizarding world to know about the enduring reminder etched on my forehead that my parents were murdered? I guess privacy is something of a foreign concept around here. In fact, it would not surprise me if people would be tactless enough to demand to see the scar.” Even he wasn’t sure why the scar existed. Surely if he had been hurt during the confrontation the wound could have been healed. The only explanation was that ridiculous prophecy.

Minerva shifted uncomfortably and cleared her throat. “Well, Mr Potter, why don’t we begin by going over some of the first year spells.”

Several hours later he had proven to her that he was quite capable, thank you very much, though he did begin haltingly, and then occasionally fumble the totally unnecessary wand movements and force certain spells to come out wrong. The table exploded at one point when his “mind wandered”, but McGonagall quickly fixed it. They agreed to continue meeting so he could work through the other four years with her—she pointed out that it would be highly irresponsible to do it any other way, citing Baruffio as an example—and Harry left for the day.

On his way out he noticed one of Voldemort’s lackeys on his tail again, but decided to let it lie. Someone had to remain alive to report back that Harry was now actively entering the wizarding world, after all. The two weeks following saw them meeting so he could be ‘guided’ through successive years, and he was eventually offered the opportunity, arranged by Albus Dumbledore on his behalf, to take the OWL exams.

While he was waiting for his results to arrive he had more meetings with her to go over sixth year material, and he deliberately flubbed more often and took longer to attempt to give the impression that he was reaching the point where an actual year in a formal school setting would be necessary if he were to properly learn seventh year material in wand subjects.

Naturally, his OWL results came back with perfect scores. McGonagall took him on a trip to show him how to pass through the barrier to Platform 9¾, then left him to his own devices until the first of September with a reminder about the Statute of Secrecy. Harry kindly refrained from rolling his eyes at her—well, until she was out of sight, at least.