Harry Potter and the Perversion of Purity
Year 3: The Looming of Shadows
Chapter 4: Face to Face
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.
Acknowledgements: Thank you to my editor Athena, as well as my other betas 3CP, Luq707, Raven, Regress, and Thanos for their incredible work on this story.
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July 31, 1993
Harry drew his wand but knew it was hopeless. Days had been spent lamenting how he was not yet ready to face Sirius Black, and Voldemort was an entirely different monster.
The Dark Lord chuckled. “Do you mean to kill me, Harry?”
“You killed my parents.” He was surprised how calm his voice sounded. “Why shouldn’t I?”
“Such childish words, should and shouldn’t. Who is to say what you should and shouldn’t do? The Ministry of Magic, the most corrupt magical organisation in the country? Is that who you defer to in times like this?”
Harry took a deep breath. “You don’t always need to be told—”
“You never need to be told. Not those of us with power. Should and shouldn’t, right and wrong; they are cut from the same cloth of lies. Why should someone with power bend to the whims of those who are weak? Why should they not do what is best for them and instead do what they’re told?”
The pain in his scar was still blinding. Harry clamped down harder on his emotions and the pain receded, still present but less violent. It was like he had unblocked a river; his mind was moving again. Not that it’s helping. How can I answer a question I’ve asked myself before?
“Lucius Malfoy told me I have no reason to fear you.”
“And what do you think?” Voldemort asked, his voice soft and quiet.
I can hardly think at all. “It doesn’t make any sense.”
Harry heard Voldemort move but could still see nothing. Enough of this; if I’m going to die, it won’t be in the dark. He lit his wand, shocked and horrified by the sight before him. Scarlet eyes stared out from a chalk-white face, bald and noseless. It’s like he’s half man, half snake.
Voldemort spread his hands; skeletal things with long, pale fingers that were like spider legs made only from bone. “Do you see what you have accomplished, Harry?”
“I have conquered death, yet my defeat still haunts me. This body reminds me every day of what happened that night.”
Every nerve screamed for him to run, but he held his ground. Fleeing would result in nothing but death; surely Voldemort would never take that chance. “So why are you talking instead of killing me?”
Voldemort spread his hands. “Magical blood is precious, every spilled drop is a tragedy.”
Harry forced down the urge to scowl. “That’s never stopped you before. Why should it now?”
“Is that what they’ve told you?” Voldemort’s voice remained quiet but he might as well have shouted for how hard his words hit home. It’s like what Grindelwald said the first time we met. The Dark Lord looked angry for the first time as he stood, waiting. “Answer me.”
“Is that how they label me? A tyrant who killed for sport and pleasure?”
He wants the answer, and something tells me lying would be a bad idea. “Sort of,” he admitted.
“Explain,” the Dark Lord demanded.
Harry forced himself not to muss his hair. “People’s stories are different. No one seems to say the same thing, but most people think that. They say you wanted to kill anyone who wasn’t a pureblood.”
“Do they now?” Voldemort moved towards the window, pacing back and forth. Harry watched his every step and realized that Voldemort wasn’t even looking at him. “Do you remember what I told you the night we met at Hogwarts?”
How could I forget? That’s the night that started everything, the night I started thinking for myself. “You talked about muggles and how they fear what they don’t understand. You mentioned that they were dangerous and that the Statute of Secrecy would fall. You’ve said it’s come close before.”
The words were like chalk on his tongue. They had kept him up for days back then, but he had ignored them. Now it was impossible. How can I ignore them after what I’ve seen? A broken girl lay in a pool of snow and blood, disfigured past recognition. Flames crawled up dry wood, licking at the hem of dark robes as a crowd of muggles cried for blood. He’s right — everything he said about them was right.
Bile rose in his throat. Why was the world so broken? Why did it make him agree with men like this? Harry wanted it all to go away. Voldemort, Grindelwald, all of it…
Do you? a small voice asked. Do you really want them gone? Look what they’re making you.
“Muggles,” hissed Voldemort. “The operative word is muggles. Where in what I told you did I mention the purity of blood?” Harry opened his mouth, but closed it. “Speak your mind,” Voldemort commanded. “Now is the time to ask your questions. I will strike you down for none of them.”
Wariness remained, but he decided to ask anyway. Not that I have much choice. Sod it, Grindelwald surprised me, maybe he will, too. “Tell me the truth, then?”
Voldemort ceased his pacing and turned his crimson stare on Harry. “The truth?”
“You seemed upset over what I’d heard about you and the war. Tell me the truth. What should I know? Convince me.”
Voldemort’s misshapen lips curved into something Harry thought was supposed to be a smile. “I have told you already what I want.”
“Tell me more clearly.” It was a mark of how far Harry’s Occlumency had come that he was able to speak like this. One wrong word might mean death.
Voldemort considered him. “I wish to eliminate muggles and the threat they pose. That has always been my goal.”
Harry’s heart raced, but his voice stayed level. “What about your followers? Most of them were famous blood supremacists.”
“What of them?” asked Voldemort.
He sounds so casual. “You say that you don’t care about blood supremacy, but then you keep them around.”
“Why should their opinions matter to me? All I care about is how well they serve. Those witches and wizards pledged themselves to me. I don’t track every step they take because I have nothing to fear from them. If the job is done and done well, why should it matter if they go the extra mile?”
This doesn’t add up. Everything I’ve read says he’s a tyrant. At least some people argue Grindelwald meant well. “What about people like my father?” Harry asked, scrambling for anything to throw at Voldemort. “He was a pureblood and you killed him.”
“I did.” Voldemort’s voice was calm and casual. Should it bother me how easily he talks about killing them? Harry had never known their faces back on Privet Drive. Am I a monster because I don’t cry for people I never knew?
“Why?” he asked, unsure what else to ask.
“They opposed me. There was no malice, only purpose.”
I still think of Privet Drive anytime I look at him, but I can’t hate that answer. How could he hate someone for trying to survive? Harry wondered what he would have done in Voldemort’s place, but thinking about it made his skin crawl. “So you only killed them because it helped your cause?”
“And you would do it again, wouldn’t you?”
“Then why am I different?”
“Why would you not be?”
“I know about the prophecy.” Voldemort’s expression remained unchanged. “It said that a child born as the seventh month died would be the one to vanquish you. Dumbledore says you thought it was me, which is why you killed my parents and then attacked me.”
Voldemort spread his hands. “And I was right, was I not? You were born as the seventh month died, and just as the prophecy foretold, you vanquished me. That is the end of it; the prophecy has been fulfilled and we are free of its bindings.”
Harry’s mind blanked. “We’re… what?”
“Vanquished, not destroyed. My powers were shattered by magic I never considered. I was weaker than a ghost, scarcely a shadow drifting through distant lands. Does that not sound like I was vanquished? Did the prophecy not already come true?”
“Dumbledore made it sound—”
“Like there was more? Like it was your duty to throw yourself between him and I?” Harry said nothing. “Dumbledore has always been content letting others die. Grindelwald broke Europe while he sat comfortably in an office and marked my essays. I rose up years later and challenged everything he stood for, yet he never fought me. His servants died, but did he ever lift a finger?” Voldemort smiled again — an image of cruelty that chilled Harry to the bone. “Why would Dumbledore fight now when he has the perfect pawn? One who has already taken a king off the board?”
That’s impossible, Dumbledore would never use me like that…
He did leave you with the Dursleys, a dark voice whispered. Even now he’s admitted that he’s not telling you everything. Why not? Does he not trust you, or does he not trust what you would do if he told you?
“The Malfoys might view you as a tool, but that doesn’t mean all of us do.”
I won’t be used again, not unless I’m getting something out of it.
“So you still want me to join you?” asked Harry. Thinking of that was easier than contemplating his own paranoia.
Voldemort smiled. “I want it more now than ever.”
Harry forced himself to remain calm and ignore the blood rushing in his ears. “Why should I believe you? Why should I believe that it isn’t just some plan to kill me?”
Amusement danced in Voldemort’s eyes. “Think, Potter. We have been alone in this room with you at my mercy. If I wanted to kill you, you would be dead.”
“My mother’s sacrifice—”
“Is not all-powerful. There are always ways. I cannot touch you — fine. I doubt that blessing would stop me from conjuring a storm of fire and burning you alive.”
Stop using logic that I can’t just disprove. “What about you manipulating me? How can I trust you’re not doing that?”
Voldemort smiled. “That’s better. I have no use for fools.” He spread his skeletal arms again. “Ask anything of me and you will have it, so long as it doesn’t weaken myself or my cause.”
Harry’s mind blanked. He can’t be serious. He cleared his mind at top speed. “So you’re bribing me to join you?”
“I am offering you a compromise and giving you a reason to take it. I’m not demanding your loyalty, I am asking for a chance to earn it.” That has to be a lie; Voldemort would never want to earn anything he could just take. “We want the same things. You will see that soon.”
This sounds too good to be true. “What if I refuse? What if I run back to Black Manor and write a letter to Dumbledore?”
“Then you die and waste the opportunity of a lifetime.” His red eyes gleamed. “There are things I can give you that no one else can, not even Dumbledore.”
Harry felt like his breath had frozen solid. Muscles ached each time he breathed. Could he do this? There’s no way he’ll just let me take the offer and hang around forever. He’ll demand my loyalty eventually. How long will he give me?
He thought of his parents again and what they would think. He imagined their disappointed faces and expected to feel sadness. Instead he felt rage. If they were worth anything, they’d want the best for me. But is this best? The risk is so high…
A broken corpse lay in reddening snow, surrounded by discarded rocks and screaming mobs. Wood snapped beneath his feet as white-hot flames licked at the hems of his robes. The world faded, lost to the unimaginable pain of the Cruciatus Curse. A cupboard door slammed and darkness swallowed him, bitterness clawing at his chest.
That was when he decided. The risk is worth it — anything to never feel helpless again.
August 3, 1993
Ron had expected it to be cooler underground, but it was just a different kind of heat. His skin no longer burned, but the air was so thick and stuffy that it was difficult to breathe.
“We’re getting closer,” said a tall man with dark skin and long black hair.
Bill had kept his word and convinced their mother to let Ron go with him on this job. Ron had half-expected that her mind would change, up until the moment he portkeyed away with Bill. I still don’t know how Bill convinced her.
They had met up with the others and taken a flying carpet to their excavation site. Ron had never been on a flying carpet and remembered his father complaining that they were illegal back home. Doesn’t beat a broom, but I’d buy one if I could. A sea of sand spread out beneath them, dotted with small towns and scarce mirages that were there for a heartbeat, then gone.
Bill had rolled up the carpet and shoved it into the bag slung over his shoulder when they’d landed. “Can’t you just shrink it down?” Ron had asked.
“No,” said Bill. “Altering its properties like that would disturb the runic array. We wouldn’t be taking it back with us if I did that.”
I didn’t even know what that meant a few weeks ago. Percy asked Bill runic questions often and Ron had taken to listening in. Most of it was beyond him, but he had gathered some basics. Wonder what Hermione would say if she knew I was going out of my way to learn stuff. His bubble of pride popped when he remembered the electives he’d chosen. Stupid, stupid!
“It’s darker than hell down here,” Ron complained in a whisper, squinting through the black void ahead. One of the cursebreakers’ wands was lit, but Ron hardly noticed.
“That’s typical,” Bill explained. “One of the most common wards we deal with is one that blocks light. It’s a nightmare to cast, but the Egyptians were good.”
“Couldn’t you, like, I don’t know, break it?”
One of Bill’s colleagues laughed. Another — a quiet, older man — was more serious. “It’s not worth the risk. If it’s tied into a larger scheme, we could trigger much nastier traps.”
“Left or right?” one of the men asked when they came to two branching paths. Sand made up the floor while rough stone of the same colour comprised the walls and ceiling.
“Left,” said the man who’d assured them they were getting close. How he knew any of that as they sloped further down into the darkness, Ron knew not.
August 7, 1993
Harry could hear his robes flapping in the wind as he soared in a great circle around Black Manor. He swerved hard to avoid Regulus, who had been flying the same circle but in the opposite direction.
Harry righted the broom; he had swerved too hard and flown off course. I thought my Nimbus was responsive. It’s like this thing reads my thoughts.
Regulus signalled for them to land, so they swooped down, touching down just feet from the manor’s front door. Both ran hands through windswept hair and grinned.
Few grins had crossed his face these past few days, so lost he was in troubled thoughts. Voldemort’s red eyes and pale skin haunted his nightmares, whilst Harry dwelled on that final choice and how it made him feel in his waking moments.
Not enough… I should feel more, more than just worry it will backfire. Maybe Grindelwald’s visions had done more than he realized. I still don’t want them to stop… oh, Merlin, what’s happened to me?
“What are you thinking?” Regulus asked once the pair stepped inside. Harry made a face; the inner conflict must have shown in his expression.
If he wants to know, then fine. “Did you know?”
Regulus frowned. “Know what?”
“Did you know that Voldemort planned to trap me alone on my birthday?”
Regulus paled, but his expression remained calm. “No.”
Harry wrung his hands. “You serve him, don’t you?”
Regulus stared past Harry and out the nearest window, a far-away look in his dark grey eyes. “I think you knew that already.”
I want to believe him… everything he’s ever said seems so honest. Black Manor was the first home he’d ever known outside of Hogwarts. I just want this to work out.
Harry shrugged as casually as he could. “I wanted to see how you answered.”
“Clever. If I lied about one, then I lied about the other.” Harry nodded. “May I ask whether the Dark Lord asked for your loyalty?”
Harry met his eyes, his stare unblinking. “You swear you didn’t know?”
Regulus stared right back. “I swear it.”
I can’t wait for all the comments waxing poetic about how poorly a thirteen-year-old boy handled his confrontation with Voldemort. Those outrageous dismissals of logic are always fun to read 🙂
In all seriousness, I hope the chapter lived up to last week’s cliffhanger and that you all enjoyed.
Please read and review.
Thank you to my lovely Discord Editors Idefix, Knight, and veryniceaccountname for their corrections/contributions on this chapter.
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PS: The next chapter will be posted next Saturday, October 29th, 2022. OR YOU CAN READ IT AND THE FOLLOWING FOUR CHAPTERS RIGHT NOW BY JOINING MY DISCORD SERVER! THE NEXT TWENTY-EIGHT CHAPTERS CAN BE READ RIGHT NOW BY ANYONE WHO SIGNS UP TO MY P*T*E*N PAGE! That is the entirety of Book 3, plus the first five chapters of Book 4. There will also be a chapter posted there tomorrow. All those links can be found on my profile. If any give you trouble, search my pen name on Google, click on my website, and use the direct links on its homepage.
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