Harry Potter and the Ashes of Chaos
Year 2: The Sacrificial Slytherin
Chapter 1: Reunions and Revelations
Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction based on the Harry Potter universe. All recognizable characters, plots and settings are the exclusive property of J.K Rowling. I make no claim to ownership nor do I make any profit.
Acknowledgement: Thank you as always to my betas Umar, Luq707, Yoshi89 and Fezzik for their incredible work on this story.
Self Promotion: I have a discord server where you can chat and read all of my chapters early. If you would like to join, simply copy the link on my profile and change (dot) out for . I had to write it in that format for the site to allow it on my profile.
In addition, you can follow the official ACI100 fanfiction account on Instagram @aci100ff or by using the link on my profile to get even more out of my written works.
Here we are, back for year 2 with no delay between years! Frankly, I am rather proud of that fact, for it is quite rare for an author to not delay between years/books from what I have seen. If you guys are enjoying the story up to this point and have not done so already, a follow and/or a favourite would be greatly appreciated. I do not ask for them often and this is probably the only time I will do so during year 2, but we are tantalizingly close to both 2k followers and 1.5k favourites, which is absolutely mental!
Also, I will do fic recommendations in the first chapter of each new year, but not any other time. Some may be repeated over multiple years, and some may be new.
Harry Potter and The Prince of Slytherin by The Sinister Man.
Sarcasm & Slytherin Series by sunmoonandstars.
The Mind Arts by Wu Gang.
They Shook Hands Series by dethryl.
A Cadmean Victory by DarknessEnthroned.
Limpieza de Sangre by TheEndless7.
Out of The Depths by Mordac.
Harry Potter and The International Triwizard Tournament by SalientCasualty.
Harry Potter and The Slytherin Selection by DrizzleWizzle.
Departure From The Diary by TendraelUmbra.
June 20, 1992
King’s Cross Station
Charlus watched his brother leave Platform 9¾ for the Muggle World with very mixed emotions. On one hand, his brother was an absolute, undeniable git. On the other hand, if these muggles really were as bad as Harry made them out to be, then weren’t Dumbledore and his dad also gits for sending him back there?
Beside him, his best friend, Ron Weasley, was completely oblivious to his inner turmoil. Charlus suspected his other best friend, Hermione Granger, may have suspected at least part of it since she shot him a near exasperated look before wishing her two friends a pleasant summer and following in Harry’s footsteps as she too vanished through the barrier into the Muggle World.
“She really is mental, isn’t she?” Ron asked with obvious fondness.
In spite of himself, Charlus smiled. “Yup, sure is.” Then, he saw something that temporarily washed Harry from his thoughts, if only for a few seconds, as a wide smile split across his face and his deep, hazel eyes suddenly filled with warmth. Standing a bit ahead of the two Gryffindors were Ron’s mother and sister, who had already been joined by their eldest son at Hogwarts, Percy. Standing with them too though, was one of Charlus’s favourite people in the entire world.
“Uncle Pete!” he exclaimed, rushing forward to wrap the man in a tight hug. Peter Pettigrew chuckled as he hugged his godson back before briefly tousling the boy’s hair before they split apart.
“Looking sharp, sport!” Peter told him with a rather infectious smile. “You’ve grown since last summer; your hair is still dreadful, but we’ll take what we can get.”
Charlus scowled playfully at his godfather. Peter had always mocked both him and his father for their unruly hair, something James had always taken pride in for that exact reason. “If it pisses off Peter,” he had joked, “it’s alright in my books.”
“How was your year, sport?” Charlus hesitated for the briefest of moments, something that he knew had instantly given him away to his godfather, who’s eyes had sharpened almost at once. It was odd to see that calculating, evaluative air in his godfather’s gaze. His father had talked about it enough, for he had told him proudly that his godfather was one of the best detectives the DMLE had ever seen, and had even called Peter a deductive genius. But it was another thing altogether for Charlus to see Peter like this.
“It was fun!” he said, and it was mostly true. “I did alright on the exams, Quidditch was a blast. I met some new friends and me and Ron got to spend a year at Hogwarts!” From his side, Ron grinned at Peter.
“Good to see you, sir.” Ron said respectfully to Peter. Charlus rolled his eyes, knowing that the rebuke was coming. For whatever reason, Ron seemed to hold anyone in a position within the DMLE in a regard similar to how most people held Professor Dumbledore.
Peter too rolled his eyes, though he smiled affectionately at Ron. “For Merlin’s sake, Ron! How many days have you and Charlus terrorized the manor while I was over with James? It’s just Peter, none of this sir business.” he lowered his voice to a rather loud mock whisper, “James gets called sir a lot at work. I can’t afford to have an ego as big as his.” Ron and Charlus both laughed as Percy shot Peter a mildly disapproving glance and Mrs. Weasley smiled at him fondly.
“Are you sure you wouldn’t like to come over for dinner, Peter?”
Peter waved his hand airily. “No, no, that’s perfectly alright, Molly, but thank you very much for the offer. I haven’t seen my godson in ten months and I’d really like to catch up with him; you know how it is, of course?”
Molly smiled fondly at Ron. “Oh, I certainly do.”
Charlus turned to Ginny. In his youth, the other girl had always acted rather skittish around him, blushing at the mere idea of being close to him. Over the last year or two, however, she had lost that habit and when he was over at the Burrow, he had barely even seen her. “You’re starting at Hogwarts next year, aren’t you Gin?”
She scowled at him. “Don’t call me that.” she snapped pointedly.
“Ginny,” chided Mrs. Weasley, “don’t be rude; it was only a question.”
Ginny rolled her eyes, though her mother did not see it. “Yes, Charlus, I am.” she answered with mock politeness.
“I’d love to chat, Molly,” Peter broke in, “but knowing those delightful twins of yours the way I do, I reckon we’d be here a little longer than I think either me or Charlus want to stand around. It’s getting late, after all, and I had to switch my shifts so I could pick him up today. I’ve got to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow, you understand?”
“Of course, Peter. You really must come over for dinner soon; you and James both. The DMLE have run the pair of you ragged this year. Speaking of which, where is James, exactly?”
“At work, I’m afraid. He got a tip off about that break-in near Diagon a few days ago. Couldn’t switch shifts.”
“That just proves my point!”
Peter smiled bashfully back at her. “I suppose it does. Trust me, Molly, I daresay you’ll be seeing the both of us soon. James might be thick, but even he’s not dense enough to turn down an invitation to enjoy your excellent cooking.” Then, he rested a hand on Charlus’s shoulder, making the younger boy smile when he saw the obvious affection shining in his godfather’s eyes. “Well, what do you say, sport? Should we head to the manor?”
Charlus nodded eagerly and followed Peter to the floo connections. Within minutes, the two of them stood in the front foyer of Potter Manor. A house elf took Charlus’s trunk up to his room within seconds, and the boy himself was sitting in a comfortable armchair across from his godfather before he knew it.
“So, Charlus,” said Peter, foreshadowing the seriousness of the discussion through the use of his godson’s first name, “what was it that happened this year at Hogwarts that has you so twitchy?”
Charlus hesitated. “Has Dad not told you?”
“Can’t.” Peter answered easily. “Said he’d have liked to; said he’d have done it if he could, but he’s under an oath, best I can figure out.”
Charlus waited only a second longer. He was sure that his father would not mind if he told his Uncle Pete.
And then, the tale began.
Minutes Later, at Greengrass Manor…
Daphne landed gracefully on her feet in the entrance hall of her ancestral home, having used the portkey feature tied into her heiress ring upon seeing Tracey and her parents off. As soon as she landed, Daphne allowed a fond, soft smile for the home in which she had grown up. Here was a place that demanded no masks, no facades. Here was a place where Daphne could simply be at ease — be herself.
Her reverie was shattered in that moment when Astoria entered the hall, made a controlled but urgent beeline towards Daphne, and wrapped her arms around her. Daphne laughed softly as she wrapped her arms around her younger sister. “You and Charlotte are terrible.” she teased, remembering how the youngest of the Weitts family had done the same thing at the Samhain party all those months ago.
Astoria made a face. “You can’t tell me you didn’t miss me!” she challenged.
Daphne just smiled as she ruffled her younger sister’s hair, something that prompted Astoria to bat her hand away in annoyance. “No,” Daphne admitted, wrapping an arm around her sister as she steered her towards the sitting room where she was sure her mother would be waiting just as she had been for the Yuletide break, “I can’t.”
Sure enough, her mother was waiting for her and upon her entrance, Celia Greengrass swept to her feet and took Daphne into her arms. Daphne allowed herself to relax into her mother as they took their seats on the couch, with Daphne snuggling into her mother’s side. Celia sighed in mock exasperation at her daughter’s antics.
“And you said I was bad.” Astoria accused through her grin, eyeing her sister’s obvious state of content. In response, Daphne merely shot Astoria a glare, but judging by her younger sister’s smirk, she had failed to put the normal sort of power into that glare.
“How were your grades?” her mother asked after Daphne had told her a slightly edited account of her first year at Hogwarts. She was sure her mother knew, but Celia Greengrass was not really the type to press.
“I thought they were good.” Daphne said a bit nervously. “E’s in Astronomy and History, an E+ in Defense Against The Dark Arts, O’s in Charms and Herbology, an O- in Transfiguration and an O+ in Potions.”
Her mother nodded. “More than acceptable.” she said with approval. “I was hoping for an O in Transfiguration based on your mid year grades, but I can hardly be disappointed with an O-.”
“I was hoping for an O as well.” Daphne said with a sigh. “McGonagall is a fairly hard marker, so I can’t really be too disappointed.”
“Did that friend of yours get an O?” Celia asked knowingly, obviously referencing Harry.
“Oh, him,” Daphne said with mock distaste and an exaggerated rolling of the eyes, “no, of course not. He got an O+.”
Astoria gasped and even her mother looked taken aback. To say that was a rarity would be a line typical for somebody with a profound talent for understatement. “That is very impressive.” Celia’s lips twitched. “Prodigious, even.”
Daphne smiled fondly. “The prat got three of them.”
“What?” Celia asked sharply. “I would wager that has never been done before.”
“It was done once before according to Harry. I never asked who, but probably Dumbledore.”
“What were his other two best grades?”
“Charms and Defense Against The Dark Arts.”
“Do you know what his showcases were?”
“I know he used a cheering charm in Flitwick’s.” she said, which made her mother look even more surprised, “It’s apparently a third year spell.” she informed Astoria, who covered her own mouth in surprise. “I never asked what he did in Transfiguration and he wouldn’t tell us about Defense.” she shook her head. “Professor Hurst was an absolutely brutal marker, but a brilliant teacher! I wish I knew what he did; I can only imagine what it would have taken…”
“What happened to the Defense professor this year?” Celia asked, with the air of somebody inquiring about the weather.
Daphne hesitated. She had never had the chance to ask Harry what had happened the night he went after his brother but Blaise, Tracey and herself did have their suspicions and the timing of Hurst’s disappearance, mixed with the fact that both Snape and Sinistra were still teaching was rather suspicious. “We weren’t told.” she answered, which clearly fooled Astoria, but did not fool her mother.
“I see.” she said cryptically. “Well, dinner should be ready soon. I know you said at Yule that you wanted to shower as soon as you got home, so I will let you do that now if you would like?”
“Please.” Daphne sighed, getting to her feet and making for the hallway.
“Daphne.” her mother called, drawing her attention. “If there is anything about your first year you would like to talk about, I would love to listen.”
And that was it. She didn’t press for information, nor did she stick her nose into her daughter’s business. Instead, she simply offered the invitation for Daphne to share more if she wanted. That was one of the many things that she liked quite a lot about her mother. In response, she merely smiled before turning on her heel and making her way up to her room.
Meanwhile, at Malfoy Manor…
Tentatively, Draco knocked on the door of his father’s study. It was one of the only rooms he was not allowed to enter without an invitation and was probably the most heavily warded room in the entire manor. When he was given the metaphorical green light to enter the room, he did so, sparing a nervous glance for the family portraits, bookshelves, fireplace and desk that dominated the room. His father was standing in front of his desk and to Draco; he looked very much as if he had just stopped pacing.
“How was your first year?” Lucius asked a bit stiffly.
Draco resisted the urge to recoil, but he managed to answer in a level voice nonetheless. “It was fun, for the most part. Except for…” he allowed his voice to trail off. His father knew perfectly well what he was talking about.
“Ah yes,” Lucius said in little more than a whisper and suddenly, Draco was reminded rather painfully of the reason that so many people within the Wizarding World feared his father. “Right to the heart of it, I see.” he took a long, deliberate pause before he looked at Draco. “You have failed the Ancient and Most Noble House of Malfoy.” Lucius said bluntly.
Draco reared back as if struck. “Father-“
“You have disgraced your house through your decorum and poor execution. You have acted childish and immature, and even had you not, I am certain any plan you would have devised this year would have failed due to your pathetically high degree of ineptitude-“
“Father… I… please-“
Lucius’s wand had flashed from his sleeve faster than Draco could track and before he knew it, he had collapsed in a heap, screaming his throat raw as he experienced pain beyond belief. His father had never cursed him before, and Draco would have been positively stunned by the fact had he been able to think of anything other than the pure, unadulterated agony that flowed through his veins like blood and consumed every fibre of his being.
Finally, mercifully, the curse was lifted and a panting, shaking Draco looked up with wide, terrified eyes brimming with unshed tears. “You will not interrupt me again.” Lucius told him. He did not yell. As a matter of fact, he barely whispered the words, but every syllable was tinged with danger. “Instead, you will explain to me exactly how your pathetic plan was thwarted by a measly half blood and exactly how I came to owe James Potter fifty-thousand galleons?”
“You… you what?”
“Do not be a fool!” Lucius snarled. “The trial has yet to take place, but I have no hope of winning the case due to your incompetence!” Draco flinched back as Lucius took a long, deep breath and composed himself. “Now,” he continued, “the answers to my questions, Draco?”
Draco gulped. This was going to be a very long first night back at Malfoy Manor.
Minutes later, at Castillo Zabini…
Another thing that Blaise disliked about international Portkeys was the fact that unlike most standardized Portkeys, they required a longer travel time. The feeling of spinning through space and time at the speed of light was nauseating enough in Blaise’s esteemed and well-practiced opinion, but when one had to endure the feeling for more than twice as long as normal without reprieve, it was not a pleasant experience.
Idly, Blaise peered down at the necklace that he wore but did his best to conceal at all times. Blaise did not wear an heir ring, as House Zabini was not one that belonged to Magical Britain. This necklace was the closest thing to one he owned, though it was not emblazoned with the Zabini crest. Instead, it was marked by a simple yet symbolic triangular mark that had been as important as any crest to the Zabini family for generations.
Blaise barely paid the house elf any mind as he stepped past it and made his way towards the same sitting room that he had met his mother in upon his arrival over Yule. When he entered, she was waiting for him this time, not reading as she had last. She spared him the briefest smile one could possibly imagine, but nothing beyond that.
“How were your grades, mio caro?”
“Passable, I suspect.” Blaise answered in smooth Italian. “An A in Astronomy, E’s in Herbology, History, and Transfiguration. I achieved O-‘s in Charms and Defense, but I think I’d have received an O under any other instructor in the latter.”
“Oh, was she an unfair professor?”
“No, just very demanding.”
“How interesting. How did our mutual interest perform?”
Blaise nearly winced. ‘He’s my friend, Mother.’ he wanted to spit at her but he did not. Showing weakness in front of her was not an option; it had never been.
“He received an O+; as he did in Charms and Transfiguration.”
“How very interesting. He is the one then, mio caro?”
Blaise hesitated. “He might be; but I need more time. I’m not sure yet.”
His mother nodded in acceptance. “I shall speed plans along then.” she decided. “You will pass him an invitation next summer when the time comes?”
“Of course, Mother.”
An hour later, at Potter Manor…
Charlus finished the tale of his first year at Hogwarts with a sigh of relief. It had been painful to relive parts of it; notably Harry’s actions down in the chamber and his utter failure against Voldemort. As he sipped his tea and ate his way through the heaping plate of his favourites that the house elves had prepared, the talking only became easier and easier. When he finished, he looked at Peter imploringly.
“Do-do you think Harry is going dark, Uncle Pete?”
Peter hesitated as an emotion Charlus could not place flashed past his eyes. “It’s possible, sport.” he admitted.
“He is in Slytherin.” Charlus said darkly.
“Come on, sport, just because he’s in Slytherin doesn’t mean he’s going to go dark. Plenty of good chaps have come out of Slytherin.”
“But you just said-“
“Yup, but being in Slytherin didn’t have anything to do with it.”
“But Slytherin always… wait? Who’s a good chap to come out of Slytherin?”
“Your grandmother, for starters.” Peter said with a mischievous grin. “There’s that one bloke too, hmm — I’m not sure if you’ll have heard of him. Someone like — Merlin, maybe?”
“What?” Charlus exclaimed, his jaw falling open. “No way he was in Slytherin!”
“Yup,” Peter said, that same mischievous smile still on his face, “he was picked by Salazar Slytherin himself before the Sorting Hat even existed.”
Charlus gaped. “But,” he said, trying to pull his head back on task, “you still think Harry could be going dark?”
Peter sighed. “I think it’s definitely possible. What you’re telling me about him hesitating… well, that’s not good. Usually when somebody hesitates like that, in a stressful situation, they have something to hide.” he gave Charlus a rather piercing look that reminded him oddly of Professor Dumbledore. “Never hesitate if you want to look trustworthy.” he told his godson, and Charlus noted that down for future reference. It would probably be important in front of the press and the like.
Peter eyed Charlus critically. “Something else is bothering you.” he correctly deduced, causing Charlus to flush red. “Come on, sport; out with it.”
Charlus hung his head. “I wasn’t good enough.”
Peter blinked. “What?”
“Don’t say that name, Charlus.”
“Professor Dumbledore told me I should say the name.”
Peter sighed. “Of course he did. Well, if you must then.”
“Voldemort beat me so easily! I never even got a spell off! I walked in, got disarmed, got taunted and then got bound and that was the end of it!” He was becoming distraught just talking about it and Peter clearly noticed, for he set his fork down decisively and made hard eye contact with his godson.
“Charlus, listen to me. For one thing, that was incredibly brave what you did. A bit foolish, but incredibly brave and something to be proud of. For another, you are eleven! If your brother had one thing right, that was it! There is no way you could have competed against one of the most powerful sorcerers ever at the age of eleven!”
“But Harry did better than I did — way better!”
This gave Peter pause. “Did he?”
“Yes! He didn’t land a spell on her either, but he got a few off and even fought her off for a few seconds.” he hung his head. “I can’t be worse than him!”
“Maybe he just practiced more than you did, sport. It’s no worry. You’ll just have to work harder. Make up for the time.”
Then, Charlus looked up with a gleam in his eye. “The summer!”
Peter frowned. “What about the summer?”
“I could practice in the summer! You told me how the trace works! Hey! Didn’t you tell me about tutors that one time? Do you think I could get a tutor for duelling? Maybe other stuff too, but mainly duelling?”
Peter did not answer at once, appearing to be in a state of deep thought. “I really don’t know if your father would approve.” he answered at last.
“Dad’s always wanted me to train-“
“But this is different.” Peter cut across him sternly. “This is learning to fight at the age of eleven, because you’d want to know how to fight, not duel.”
Charlus frowned. “What’s the difference?”
“A duel has rules. She-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named never followed rules.”
Charlus paused before turning hazel puppy dog eyes on Peter. “But could YOU get me a tutor?”
Peter paused in a rather deliberate fashion. “I… may be able to. But I would never go behind James’-“
“I won’t tell!” Charlus assured him. “It could be while he was at work or something? We could do it at your place so the tutor wouldn’t have to get past the wards. Please, Uncle Pete! Pleeease?”
Peter paused. “If-if you promise… if you swear that you won’t tell James, or preferably anybody else for that matter — not on your magic, just your word, I… suppose I could see what I could do.”
Later that night, at No. 4 Privet Drive…
Harry froze at the sight of the words written upon the first page. Naturally, knowing whom Hurst had truly turned out to be, he was more than a little bit apprehensive as to what might really be going on here.
Emily… he’d heard that name before… and then it clicked. The prodigy who had vanished from the pages of history. Likely the last Parselmouth to have attended Hogwarts before Harry himself. But, then again, Emily was not such an uncommon name. Harry cursed the Statute of Secrecy. Now that he knew how the Trace truly worked, he knew that Privet Drive would be one of those locations easy for the Ministry to pick up on. He was sure that there was no witch or wizard living anywhere near Privet Drive. This unfortunately meant that Harry could not rely on any detection spells he had picked up from the book Grace had gifted to him, nor the ones that Cassius, Hestia and Flora had taught him on Yule.
That left only Harry’s instinct to work off of, and for some inexplicable reason, his instinct was pleading for him to take the metaphorical leap of faith.
‘I’ve made so many bad decisions lately.’ he thought as with a great inhale of breath that caused him to unintentionally turn invisible, Harry put a quill to the parchment.
Emily is a pretty common name.
Is there a surname that you would be comfortable sharing?
Harry waited only a minute before the reply appeared and his breath caught in his throat.
You are clever, Mister Potter, very clever indeed.
Seeing as I know exactly who you are and you know nothing of me, I suppose telling you that my surname is Riddle isn’t too far of an overextension on my part.
To most, that name would mean nothing, but to yourself, if the rumours hold true, I have a feeling you might just know of it?
Harry paused, choosing his next words very carefully. If he was going to dive head-first into a conversation with somebody who he did not know, he would do so at least by trying to verify the validity of anything his “pen pal” was saying.
I do, as a matter of fact, know of the name Emily Riddle.
You will understand, of course, if I ask for assurances that it is indeed Emily Riddle whom I have the pleasure of speaking to?
The reply came less than a minute later.
Ah, Slytherin — how I miss my old house…
Some may call it paranoia, but I truly treasure the values that Slytherin House instills upon those who take up residence there. I could, of course, tell you that I hold the record for most O+’s achieved as a first year as well as on the O.W.L and N.E.W.T examinations, but I would be very disappointed in my newfound acquaintance if you settled for that. So… hmm, what to say? What you may know? Ah! There is a corridor deep within the Hogwarts dungeons that has been found by very few. It is a more lifelike depiction of the snakes in the corridor nearest the Slytherin common room and can be accessed through either a very long, monotonous walk, or through a secret passage hidden behind…
Harry had to internally applaud her. It gave nothing of importance away but was just the kind of tidbit that would prove her identity. He also noted that she did not give away the fact that she was a Parselmouth. Seeing as Harry had no plan of doing so either, he thought that this was perfectly fine by him. After all, he already knew that about her, even if she did not realize it.
A suit of armour very near the bottom of the staircase leading into the dungeons.
Well played, Emily Riddle, and it is a pleasure to meet you, at least in a sense.
Meanwhile, in the Headmaster’s Office at Hogwarts…
Severus Snape did not bother to knock on the Headmaster’s door. He knew that Dumbledore would call for him to enter before he ever had the chance. Privately, the Potions Master had always thought that a rather rude habit, but he would not dare to voice his thoughts so openly. When he entered, there was already a comfortable looking chair ready and waiting across from the Headmaster, and Severus slid gracefully into the seat before a word was said between the two of them. He had met the Headmaster like this on a countless number of occasions over the years, but never had such a meeting started with such an undeniable air of tension.
“Ah, Severus,” Dumbledore said, by way of an icebreaker, “I was wondering when I might see you. Could I perhaps interest you with my newfound muggle delicacy?”
“No,” Snape said shortly, trying not to wrinkle his nose at the bright bag on Dumbledore’s desk, “you know perfectly well my thoughts on muggle sweets, Dumbledore.”
“Ah yes, I do indeed, but I do find myself hoping you will one day change such narrow minded views and embrace the true treasures of the world in which we live.” the man smiled benignly at Snape for several seconds before allowing the expression to fall from his face. “Is it safe to assume that you are here for the exact reason I suspect?”
“I would hope so.” Snape said snidely. “If not, you may very well be losing your touch.”
The old man chuckled. “Such a thing is possible.” he admitted. “But on this occasion, I do believe I am acutely aware of why you are here.” He steepled his fingers and took on a more businesslike demeanour. “I cannot say that I have eagerly anticipated this meeting but alas, I have known that it was inevitable. I know you have questions for me, so ask away.”
“What happened down in the catacombs?” Snape asked at once.
Dumbledore did not so much as blink at the question. “Charlus went after the agent of Lady Voldemort. He and his two acquaintances managed to evade the traps we had laid forth and Charlus alone advanced into the final room where he came face to face with Amelia Hurst.”
“It was her then as we had suspected?”
“It was, though I admit, I underestimated Voldemort on that front.” when he saw Snape’s crooked eyebrow, he elaborated. “You see, I had suspected possession. Such a thing would have allowed Voldemort a certain level of control over the body she inhabited.” he wrinkled his nose. “The truth, however, turned out to be more heinous than that. Voldemort struck a witch down in the forest of Albania according to Charlus. She told him and his brother that she used a snake to do so. At that point, she merely chose to inhabit and seize full and complete control of the body.” Dumbledore shook his head. “She also managed to fool my Priori Incantatem because she had a second wand, with which she used to kill the troll on Halloween in apparent defense of Charlus’s twin.”
Snape’s eye twitched but he said nothing on the reasoning for it. “I must admit that I only understand possession on a mental level.” Snape admitted, referencing a similar phenomenon that could be accomplished through a ridiculously high level of Legilimency. When Dumbledore nodded, he continued. “Even in light of my lack of understanding, I would think it impossible to completely occupy another’s body for so long?”
“I am not much more familiar with the magic than you are, I’m afraid.” Dumbledore answered honestly. “I do know, however, that in theory, that should be the case. One’s soul is a precise thing and it is designed for a very specific body. From what Charlus told me, Voldemort was maintaining the solidity of the body through the consumption of unicorn blood.”
Snape nodded slowly. “That… would likely be sufficient.” he conceded. It was a rather brilliant idea.
“Indeed,” Dumbledore agreed hollowly, “your next inquisition, Severus?”
“It was the Gryffindor Potter who defeated her once more?”
“You are certain of this?”
“How did he do it this time?”
“The same way he did it the first time, I believe.” Dumbledore answered. “Sacrificial magic is a very powerful thing, and mixed with the enigma that is the magic centering around love as a catalyst…” he shrugged. “I believe that an essence of that protection still lives on inside of Charlus. I do not believe this protection would extend to anything beyond matters pertaining to Lady Voldemort, but I do not believe she will be able to harm him unless she finds a way of overcoming that barrier.”
“She will do so as long as she lives on.” Snape said bluntly. “She is more gifted with blood magic than any and is at the very least, equal to me in terms of her knowledge in regards to potion making.”
“I am glad to see we both view that outcome as the most likely one.” Dumbledore agreed
“She is still alive then?”
“Alive is a rather abstract term. I do not know if she is technically alive based on the fundamental constructs of nature, but she certainly is not dead.”
Snape rolled his eyes at Dumbledore’s antics. “Surely you are one or the other?” he asked, actually mildly interested.
“In most any other case, you are indeed correct. Nature demands that you fall under one of the two categorizations for rather deep reasons that we frankly need not delve into. Suffice to say that Voldemort has found a way to one-up nature itself.”
Grudgingly, Snape had to admit a degree of awe for such an accomplishment.
There was a long, awkward pause in which an unasked question hung in the air. “I know that you know or suspect the majority of this already, Severus.” Dumbledore said bluntly, losing patience with Snape’s stalling. Frankly, it was late and he had much to do before leaving for his annual ICW convention next week. “We both know the question you are trying to work up the courage to ask, so please, go on and ask it.”
Snape stared at Dumbledore hard and sneered before positively spitting the question at the man in front of him. “You meant for this to happen!” It was not a question. His voice carried so much poorly masked anger that it was most obviously a statement. “This whole time, it was supposed to be about protecting Lily Potter’s son. Instead of doing as you had promised me ten years ago, you used the boy as yet another pawn in your plans.”
“And what makes you think this, Severus?”
“Please, Dumbledore. A chess set? I know it was Minerva’s puzzle but we both know when you say sit, Minerva quickly obliges.” Dumbledore frowned at the demeaning of his long time friend, but he did not cut the man off. “Weasley is well-known as a chess prodigy, so the challenge was tailor-made for him. The Devil’s Snare can be beaten by a clever first year if they know how to conjure blue bell flames.” he sneered again. “Granger made it rather obvious she knew exactly how to cast the flames and in hindsight, my puzzle was exactly the sort of thing she would be capable of solving, but I had never expected a keen muggleborn to walk into the trap. As for Potter, flying brooms? Honestly, if I’d have known the traps beforehand, I’d have done a lot more to keep Charlus Potter well away from that blasted corridor. The only true tasks were the cerberus and the troll, both of which were dealt with in advance for the terrific trio hell-bent on treacherous undertakings.”
“You have said everything but your point, Severus. Please make it so that your thinking is out in the open.”
“You have spent the year observing Potter and his friends in an effort to manufacture a confrontation between him and the Dark Lady.”
The silence that rested within the room was more heavy and oppressive than any thus far and Snape watched clinically as Dumbledore closed his eyes and took a long, deep, breath before answering. “I admit that I may have guided things in that general direction, yes.”
“This whole time, it was supposed to be about protecting Lily Evans’s son!” Snape hissed. “Now you are telling me that you knowingly sent him after the Dark Lady?”
“Severus, consider what I have told you. I was certain that Voldemort could not harm Charlus. By ensuring a confrontation between the two of them, I was not only confirming several of my own theories, but I was hoping that maybe, just maybe, Charlus could finish her once and for all.”
“A plan worthy of a Gryffindor.” Snape spat. “So many things that could have gone terribly wrong and in your infinite wisdom, you failed to account for the other Potter, who does not seem to have this mark of love that protects him from the Dark Lady. What, Albus? Is he expendable to you?”
Dumbledore raised an eyebrow. “I was unaware that he had ingratiated himself to you so drastically.”
“Answer my question!”
Dumbledore sighed again, suddenly looking every bit his age as he responded. “I had very good reasons to believe that both Potter twins would survive an encounter with Lady Voldemort. In saying so, I must admit that I had not even considered the possibility that Harry would go after his brother.” Snape was not entirely sure that he believed the Hogwarts Headmaster, but he did not dare to try and legilimize Dumbledore to be certain. Dumbledore shook his head sadly. “You have my word, Severus, that I will do nothing like this again and that I will revert to the original plan of keeping Lily Evans’s son safe.”
Snape sneered as he swept to his feet, already gliding towards the door. “You had better, Dumbledore, because I did not agree to help a chess master who cares nothing for his pawns.”
Late that night, at Peter Pettigrew’s Apartment…
Peter brushed soot off of his robes as he stepped out of the Floo and looked around his rather well-furnished apartment in London. It was by no means comparable to the manor homes that were frequented by many of the major pureblood families in Magical Britain, but between his cut from the lawsuit that he helped James fulfill nearly four years ago, and his considerable pay as a special detective for the DMLE, Peter had managed a rather luxurious apartment.
Allowing himself a brief moment of content, Peter allowed his eyes to roam over the plush sitting room with a great deal of fondness. In this brief moment, Peter managed to allow the events of this day to slip through the cracks in his mind before, with a sigh and a degree of ruthless determination, Peter brought his mind back to the problems at hand.
He found it ironic, as he reminisced about a day months earlier when he had tried so hard to find out exactly what Dumbledore was hiding behind that locked door that now, months later, Charlus had happily spilled everything to Peter without much hesitation. True, he had been hesitant at first, but half a drop of Veritaserum had been more than enough to convince him. It had not been enough to force him to speak on the matter, but just enough to nudge him in the right direction. Peter knew that his godson would truly want to tell him; he had simply known that it would take some encouragement on his part.
‘A shame,’ he thought, reflecting on that tragic day once more, ‘a shame that I had to wait so long… a shame that kid had to die.’
October 11, 1991.
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Peter had wasted no time after seeing the Potter heir to his meeting with James. Pulling the hood of his cloak up over his face, Peter quickly scampered out of the Three Broomsticks and into the first abandoned alley he could find. When he arrived, he promptly transformed into the form that had affectionately been christened Wormtail so many years earlier.
It had been tedious to wait for the door of Honeydukes to open and difficult to weave through the feet of so many Hogwarts students without being stepped on, but Peter managed it after some cautious deliberation. Once in the cellar, he briefly took on human form once more to open the passageway before morphing back into a rat and sliding effortlessly into the tunnel, scampering down the tunnel as fast as his bobby little legs would carry him.
It had taken some house calls to some rather unpleasant old friends of his to set this little distraction up for the night of Samhain, and Peter would be damned if he wasted such an opportunity. Just because he had no good reason to be at the castle on the night of Samhain did not mean others could not be used to get him what he needed.
When, at long last, Peter exited the passage back into the familiar corridors of Hogwarts, a sight that still filled the rat animagus with a fair bit of nostalgia, Peter simply waited. He was not overly bothered who it was that would have the misfortune of taking the fall.
It turned out that the distinctly unlucky person in question was a tall, athletic boy in Slytherin robes who strolled into the corridor about thirty minutes later. It had been so easy for Peter to quickly scamper behind him and shift to human form without the boy even noticing. From there, it had all been academic.
As if his world had been put on pause, the unknown Slytherin froze in mid stride and his back straightened almost comically, as he turned to look at Peter. Peter had always thought it amusing how those subjected to the Imperius Curse always wound up looking very much like muggle soldiers standing at attention. The boy’s eyes were glassy, but Peter knew that effect would cease the moment he had received his instructions. A true master with the Imperius Curse could give detailed, long-term instructions through simple thoughts. Peter, who was never Merlin with a wand by any means, could not, but he had faith enough in his abilities that his verbal communications would not fail. For something as simple as getting the Slytherin to enter the secret passage as for them to not be overheard, Peter merely had to twitch his wand in that general direction. Once the two of them were safely in the passage and well and truly out of earshot, Peter turned to the boy with a businesslike expression.
“I’ll cut to the chase. I want to know what’s in that third floor corridor. I have a distraction all lined up, all you need to do is follow my simple instructions to make sure it goes off without a hitch and then go take a peek behind that door. Are you following?”
Terence Higgs nodded mutely.
Peter Pettigrew’s Apartment.
Peter sighed as he shook his head. His intention had never been for Terence Higgs to die. He had planned to sneak into Hogwarts the very day after Samhain as Wormtail, get the kid to meet him at the statue and spill the beans. At that point, Peter would have simply instructed him to forget the whole scenario and they would be off on their separate ways. He didn’t feel guilty, per se. Albus Dumbledore had always worked towards his greater good, and though Peter thought it was completely backwards, the philosophy of sacrificing some pawns for one’s vision was one that he had very little trouble in prescribing to.
If he had only learned the truth then — if he had only learned what was truly happening then, his plans could have been so much further along than what they were at present.
The Dark Lady’s rise seemed imminent and if Peter’s plans on that front were to succeed, he really needed to start rushing them along in a hurry.
With a flick of his wand, Peter summoned an ornate mirror that he had not used in many years. Written on the back of the mirror were two simple, yet cryptic words:
“Walpurgis.” Peter intoned, and the mirror suddenly glowed blue. Peter took a seat on the sofa and pulled towards him the nearest bit of reading material, a rather dark, rather advanced tome on Potions, and read for about twenty minutes before his call was finally answered.
Peter looked up with a sharp smile that may have leant itself more towards his animagus form than his human one. Staring back at him through the mirror was a soft, aristocratic face, with dark blue eyes framed by golden blonde hair. It was easy for one to get lost in the man’s slightly angelic features, even for someone of his age, but the cruel intelligence in those midnight blue eyes told it all, as did the certain sharpness one could spot if they knew what to look for.
“So good to see you, old friend.” Peter said with a fond smile. “I have a favour to call in.”
June 21, 1992.
No. 4 Privet Drive.
Harry was quite groggy when he awoke the next morning, and found himself in a slight state of confusion. He was rather used to his luxuriously perfect bed in the Slytherin dorms and was rather baffled as to why he was waking up as stiff as a board and sore enough to think that he might have fallen down the stairs the night previous. However, after a few blinks of his emerald eyes, he quickly remembered his circumstances with a verbal groan. Then, as he glanced up to the clock, Harry started. It was past 6:30; the Dursleys had always woken him up at 6:30 AM sharp to make them breakfast.
Confused, Harry sat up and looked around the room, only for his breath to catch in his throat due to absolute terror.
His trunk was gone, as was his owl cage! In a split second, Harry was on his feet and lunging for the door but when he pulled on the handle, the door did not so much as budge and Harry quickly knew that it was locked from the outside. Without thinking, Harry placed his hand on the handle and was halfway through simply willing the door to unlock when he froze with utter terror once more.
If he magicked his way out of his current predicament, he would find himself not only under a violation of the Statute of Secrecy, but quite possibly expelled from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
Without conscious thought, Harry reared back as if he had been struck as his breath began to quicken at a rapid rate in unison with the beating of his heart. Harry’s mind clouded completely with terror as he realized what had happened.
The Dursleys had locked him in his room! Whether they had been fearful of his retribution for all the years of abuse and neglect or whether they were simply the most spiteful people one could possibly imagine was up for debate, but either way, they had trapped Harry in this room! He tried unsuccessfully to prevent himself from hyperventilating as he quickly took stock of the situation. He fell onto his bed with a silent cry of despair when he realized that the only things the Dursleys had left him were his wand and holster, which he couldn’t use for fear of expulsion, and the simple black book from the night previous.
June 21, 1992.
The Department of Mysteries.
Behind one of the thirteen identical doors that led into the depths of the Department of Mysteries, Records sat behind a desk in a room that was warded in ways that would frankly make most curse-breakers cower in terror. Records, was, of course a code name. He, or she, for it was impossible to tell under the black cloak that cast the figure’s face into permanent shadow and made noticing any detail of their figure completely impossible, was simply assigned that name due to their role within the DoM. There were thirteen core branches that made up the Department of Mysteries. Among them, one was records. It was this branch’s job to keep track of all things ranging from obvious to obscure. In addition, the data collected had to be interpreted and relayed to the other twelve branches of the department. Throughout history, those interpretations had been used to predict major events taking place in the future, stop disasters, exploit the economy and far, far more.
Today, however, Records’ job was a bit more monotonous than that. Just as they were concluding, a clearing of a throat caught their attention. When they looked up, they noticed a figure leaning leisurely against the wall. This was the only man or woman who served the department and was not mandated to wear the preposterously secretive attire that the rest of said department frequented. That was because in reality, this man had little to do with the department’s inner workings. Well, in actuality, he had everything to do with the department’s inner workings, but not directly. It was also essential for this man to be known, for he was Saul Croaker, Voice of the Unspeakables and the Department of Mysteries’ bridge to the outside world. In addition, Croaker served as the bridge between the department’s branches, often relaying information back and forth and even mediating the balance between said branches.
“What is it, Croaker?” Records asked bluntly. “I’ve been at this all day and my patience isn’t overly high.”
Croaker’s lips twitched. “Come now, Records, there’s no need to be rude. I am here for the mandatory advisement in regards to potential people of interest in the coming years.”
Records sighed. Thankfully, Croaker had entered moments after the job had been completed. “There are two,” Records told him, “but one of them is far too young to be of any consequence at this time, if historical comparisons hold true. The other is certainly intriguing, but it is unlikely anything will come of them in the avenues we hope for.”
Before Croaker could ask any further, Records scribbled two names down on a piece of parchment and passed it over to Croaker. When Saul Croaker read the two names written upon the piece of parchment, his brows rose up further. Still, he asked nothing. Records was not the type in the best of times, and he knew that he would receive a full report when the time was right. Still… his job could be getting a whole lot more interesting in the not-so-distant future.
I do want to address a couple of things mentioned in the reviews in the final chapter of year 1. Before I do so, the response was very positive overall, so I am glad you guys enjoyed it. However, there were a few points that came up a few times that are mildly perplexing to me.
Firstly, the people who were saying Harry should not have gone along with Dumbledore’s plan just because he was Dumbledore. Frankly, that is not what happened at all. Harry literally had no choice in the matter. If you remember, he protested the decision originally, but once Dumbledore informed him that James had cleared it, there was very little he could do. As the Lord of House Potter, James has the full right to dictate Harry’s living situation. If Harry directly disobeyed the order, James could have simply made it mandatory as Lord, and Harry could either follow the order or risk his heirship, which would make him a lot more vulnerable to things like being disinherited.
Nextly, I would like to address the three or four people who said that this was canon rehash? Um… how? It’s canon rehash because Harry went back to the Dursleys and didn’t join Voldemort? I’m sorry, but that logic is… flawed, at best. The confrontation had subtle differences that will be very major in the future and the drama with James and Dumbledore is a major turning point for Harry’s character and the plot as a whole. There is also the prophecy and the connection to Emily, which are also both MAJOR points. I have said before that I will stray further away from canon as the story progresses. Some things kind of have to happen in year 1 in order to progress the story. I won’t change things for the sake of changing them. I will change them when it suits the plot, which will happen more frequently as the story goes on. By example, the main plot of year 3 isn’t the canon one at all.
Finally for review responses, for those of you who said the prophecy was not vague enough… well, that is one of multiple stanzas and none of you came even close to interpreting any one line of it correctly, so I would say it’s a lot more vague than you realize 🙂
So at last, the rat is out in the open. I actually foreshadowed that flashback scene all the way back in chapter 9 with the brief mention of Harry spotting rats in the tunnel on his way back to Hogwarts, but nobody caught it XD.
Next chapter, you will meet Mr. Bellona for the first time, so that should be interesting. The chapter will also end with a line of dialogue that I have been waiting to write since before I even wrote the prologue.
Please read and review.
PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, June 13th, 2020 at approximately 3:00 PM EST.
Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.