Susan goes with Harry and Professor Dumbledore to #12. Lord Voldemort recalls past adventures while he tends his wounds.
Chapter 4 Every Teenaged Witches Fantasy
Susan stepped out of the ministry into the cool night air. She stayed close to the headmaster, still unsure of what to do about Severus Snape. Harry was inside still collecting paperwork and dealing with his fine/reward. The evening had been an emotional rollercoaster for her and right now she seemed to be at a lowpoint. She felt emotionally drained after her collapse during her interview. Thankfully, the auror had taken a Wizard's Oath, so she did not feel that she had betrayed Harry's trust. She justified her actions by reasoning that the more people that know what a shady character Professor Snape is the better.
Five minutes later Harry stepped out clutching a stack of papers. He was still in his sweatpants, although the mediwizard had cleaned the grime and mended the tears from the battle. He had also been given an ill-fitting robe with DMLE emblazoned on the back. The headmaster carefully regarded his student.
"I am all finished."
"Were there any other problems Harry?"
"No sir. The clerk was even kind enough to let me use an owl to send a message."
"Who did you owl?"
"I must ask why?"
"After what Lestrange did to his parents, I figured he should be told. I would have like to done it in person, but that's not practical. Maybe, I will be able to floo call him when we get to our destination."
"Perhaps, but let us at least wait until tomorrow. If you and Ms. Bones will grasp this portkey it will take you our destination. Ms. Bones, you will need to memorize the information on this piece of parchment." He said holding out a copy of yesterday's Daily Prophet and a folded scrap of parchment. Susan and Harry both felt the pull of the portkey and found they were now on the sidewalk in a residential neighborhood standing between a house marked #11 and another marked #13. They heard a faint pop. Susan spun to look at the new arrival and relaxed seeing it was only the headmaster. Out of the corner of her eye, she noted that not only had Harry also turned, but also he had his wand out and had dropped into a defensive crouch.
"Note to self," she thought. "Don't ever try sneaking up on Harry."
"Sorry sir," Harry said returning his wand into the borrowed robes. "Constant vigilance and all that."
"Indeed. Alastor will be pleased. Now the house has been inaccessible since the unfortunate death of Mr. Black. He could have only left it to one of four individuals, Remus, you, Ms. Tonks or myself. I have already eliminated the other three, so it must be you. To take possession, you must place your hand on the door and say 'I am Harry James Potter. I claim this house in the name of Sirus Orion Black.'"
Susan had looked at the piece of paper that informed her there was a secret house here and suddenly the house sprang into existence before her. She was still registering what the headmaster had said. The house belonged to the notorious murderer Sirus Black. The last remaining vestiges of her once normal and safe life vanished. Where but a few hours ago the things that mattered most were OWL results, evening tea and talking about boys with Hannah. In its place now were hiding in the home of a murderer, teachers trying to kidnap her, headmasters that did not seem surprised and moments of absolute terror, which she hoped one day she would be able to forget.
"I, Harry James Potter, claim this house in the name of Sirus Orion Black."
Susan swore she heard his voice hitch when he said the other man's name. Understandable, she reasoned. Black had been trying to kill Harry after all. She saw the door glow momentarily and then open. Harry entered followed by Susan and then Dumbledore. The space inside was definitely not open and inviting. It looked like someplace Pansy Parkinson would like.
"Where is Kreacher?"
"Phineas was able to venture through the portraits. He has been lying at the base of Mrs. Black's painting for several days. He is either dead or catatonic. We shall see momentarily."
Sure enough as they entered the kitchen, Susan saw the body of a withered looking house elf and smelled the stench of decay. Covering her mouth she ran to the sink and emptied the contents of her stomach. Harry came over to comfort her, while Dumbledore verified that Kreacher was truly gone and vanished the body. At the sound of Susan's retching, the portrait the dead elf had been laying under came to life and started screaming obscenities at them. Dumbledore sighed and cast a powerful silencing charm that muted her. He next used his magic to freshen the air. This helped Susan immensely. Harry was behaving in time-honored tradition by keeping her hair out of her face and running the tap to get rid of the vomit.
After purging herself, she chanced a look at Harry. He patted her back reassuringly and she saw genuine concern in his green eyes. Every teen witch in Britain and probably several other countries dreamt of spending quality time with Harry Potter. Even Susan herself had indulged in a few daydreams. Somehow, holding her hair out of the way while she vomited had never made it into those fantasies. True he was being no less noble or gallant than she imagined. Unfortunately, Susan really didn't feel that he was seeing her best side right now. She felt utterly humiliated.
"It's okay Susan. The smell kind of got to me as well. You've had a rough night and a lot to take in."
"I am sorry about your elf."
"Don't be! He is partially to blame for my godfather's death!" This confused Susan even more, but strangely she was getting used to it. She was trying not to focus too hard. Focusing leads to concentration and that would lead her to start thinking about the horrors of tonight, which she was determined to avoid. Later, she promised herself, when no one else could see - she would confront her loss.
"Okay Harry. I don't know what to say. I uh well I should start by thanking you for saving my life. I guess you can add my name to the list of people who owe you a life debt." She said struggling to regain her composure. "How did you know to come?"
He tapped the famous scar on his forehead. "Sometimes, I can see what he is doing through this. We are getting better at blocking each other out, but he let his defenses slip during the battle."
"Oh." Was the only reply Susan could make while digesting that nugget of information. Inside she was thinking, "What the hell can you say to that? Good show Harry! Tune in to the Dark Lord hour this week on Wizarding Wireless." She wondered how much he had seen and the pain it must cause him.
Coming to her senses she continued, "And the portkey Harry? Did you really make it wandlessly?"
"Yeah. I am still a little confused about that though."
"Perhaps I can offer a theory." The headmaster sat at the table. "There are many ways to learn magic. Traditionally, you read books and then find opportunities to practice until you can perfect the spell. Your friend Ms. Granger is a prime example of how much can be achieved with such diligence. Every so often, a person comes along who has an instinctive grasp on magic. I suspect you are such a person Harry. You have already experienced several portkeys. You know what the around one feels like. Coming out of your vision and feeling the need to reach the Bones residence, you tapped into your magic and instinctively created your first portkey. I will have someone start working with you on apparation. You will start doing several side-alongs before you are given any instruction. If my theory is correct, your body will feel how the magical field is manipulated and this should significantly reduce the amount of time required for you to master this skill. I may also have Minerva start helping you to determine if you can indeed become an Animagus. Once you have discovered your form, we may be able to jump start the process by having you transfigured into that form repeatedly. Again, should my suspicions be correct, you would acquire the skill in no time at all."
"Have you ever known someone else that learned magic that way?" Harry asked interested in the olive branch that his mentor was offering. Ironically, that may have also explained how with no previous training, he had cast crucio on Bellatrix Lestrange after much exposure to the curse.
"Only myself in recent history. There were several other suspected instances. All of whom became legendary witches and wizards."
"So that means you are an animagus? What is your form?" Susan asked wanting to be a part of the conversation.
"A goat - not terribly useful except for getting a family member into trouble and looking inconspicuous on a farm. I haven't really found the need to transform in well over a decade. However, any ability has its uses. Before you are so quick to dismiss the goat, it should be know that I have a keen sense of balance as a result. Much like young Nymphadora, I was dreadfully clumsy in my youth and the transformation made a significant change, which carried over to my natural form."
Upon disclosure of this new information, several stories from previous years made sense. Something about his brother getting into trouble over goats, Professor Flitwick's offhanded crack about "the barmy old goat" and a Christmas present Harry had seen Hagrid give to the headmaster - a block of Goat's cheese. For the first time all evening, Harry saw a hint of the missing twinkle in Dumbledore's eyes.
"If I can learn it, I would be happy to sir. Like you said earlier, we need all the advantages we can get."
"Yes. Perhaps if Ms. Bones could summon her house elf. Otherwise, it will not be able to enter the premises. I will also arrange for your friend Dobby to come by to help you get things in order. He has been able to access the site to feed Buckbeak. Bill Weasley will be by tomorrow to examine and reinforce the wards. I have already given them a cursory examination and they seem fine for the moment. As soon as I can arrange it, you will have at least one guard here around the clock and the rest of the Weasleys will most likely be moved here. Your friend Ms. Granger is out of the country for five more days. I do require your formal permission to continue using your home as my headquarters."
"Of course sir, but please restrict your people to the first two floors. I do want some sense of freedom." Harry couldn't resist placing a condition on the usage. He did not really care if the Order members came upstairs or not; he merely wanted to remind Dumbledore that things were not okay between the two of them right now.
"Understood." Apparently Harry's message had been received loud and clear. "I must be going now. You have both had a very difficult night. Experiencing death firsthand is never pleasant. Should you wish to talk to someone, perhaps your head of house it can be arranged. I would caution you to not develop such a callous attitude towards killing. It is a path one does not wish to travel."
As the headmaster stood to leave, Harry replied with a certain sense of coldness. "Sir, you once said that death was just the next great adventure. I don't think I will lose much sleep over punching Rudolphus's ticket. I tried to rationalize that I didn't kill Quirell, because he was already possessed and in the chamber that really wasn't Voldemort's sixteen-year-old self. Looking back now, I don't see the difference between what I did then and what I did tonight. I have been a killer since my first year and looking ahead I know it will happen again."
"You are correct in a sense Harry. The difference between having to kill and wanting to kill is your conscience. Goodnight." With that the headmaster disapparted leaving the two of them alone.
Susan watched the exchange between her classmate and headmaster in shock. No one had ever really heard the truth of what happened to their first year Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor. Rumors had been traded like chocolate frog cards. Most had heard bits and pieces of the Chamber of Secrets, but outside of Harry's close friends, Susan doubted that anyone had heard the full story. The entire student body assumed that Harry had a grandchild like relationship with the headmaster. That may have once been the case, but for the moment they alternated between casual acceptance to barely disguised anger in their comments. Susan decided that if she was to spend much more time in "Harry's World", that she must learn the dynamics of Harry's relationships with other people. It was already becoming a confusing blur. Perhaps when Hermoine gets here she will be able to explain things. She was in her Ancient Runes class and they had spent some time together working on projects. They weren't exactly friends, but they could at least exchange smalltalk on occasions. Maybe she could also approach the young Weasley girl, who was either a fourth or fifth year. She would actually have to make friends with her and learn her first name. Otherwise it would be rude. They had only ever met at DA meetings and the number of words spoken between the two of them could likely be counted on one hand.
Susan concentrated and focused on her house elf. A minute later she was rewarded by a faint pop and Trixie had arrived. She had two trunks and her aunt's pensieve. One trunk contained clothes and the second trunk contained books. Trixie asked it there was a room to store valuables from the damaged house. Harry told the small elf to use one of the unoccupied bedrooms and to seal it so only her and Susan could access it.
"Miss Susan in a hard spot to get to. Trixie had to work real hard to get by wizard magic. Trixie hope she be safe here."
"I do to." Susan said quietly.
Harry handed her a butterbeer from the chillbox. She gratefully accepted. She toyed with the idea of asking for something with a bit more kick to it, but dismissed it. Harry had already seen her vomiting. He probably would be even less impressed if she followed her earlier performance by trying to get drunk. She paused her train of thought for a moment. "Why do I suddenly care so much about what Harry thinks of me?"
"Trixie will go prepare a room for Miss Susan and her friend." The house elf said cheerfully levitating the trunks into the air.
"On the third floor is a pair of bedrooms. I usually share one with Ron and the other Ginny and Hermoine use." Harry told the elf.
Ginny - that was her name! Susan filed that tidbit of information away. "Harry, for tonight I don't mind sharing a bedroom. I really don't want to be alone."
"Um, well, okay if that is what you want." Harry looked somewhat uncomfortable.
"Relax Mr. Potter. I am sure you are a perfect gentleman." Susan said enjoying his awkwardness. "This doesn't mean we have to go to Madame Pudifoot's or anything."
A little fire came back into Harry's eyes. "I suppose the entire school heard about my so called date there?"
"Pretty much. I was actually there with Ernie, Hannah and Justin. Saw most of it with my own two eyes. Damn that girl can cry, but yeah it was all over the Hogwart's gossip network by the end of the day."
"You were there with Ernie?" Harry asked skeptically.
"Hey, leave my errors in judgement out of this!"
"Seriously, what did you see in him?"
"Well, if you must know, Ernie is very confident. He's a very nice guy. He is rather good at Transfiguration."
"So why aren't you two still dating?"
"Because, he is too confident. A bit too arrogant and knows he is really good at Transfiguration." She said flashing a genuine smile for the first time in several hours, but what felt like days. Harry chuckled in return.
"I look back and wonder what I could have done different with Cho and the best thing I came up with was that I shouldn't have gone on the date in the first place."
"You are probably right. I don't think you two could have made it work anyway."
"Why not?" Harry replied trying but failing to sound offended.
"She was too needy and you obviously had more important things going on. I really don't know Cho personally, but from what I see she is ultra-competitive and she craves positive reinforcements. The kind of person who always needs to be told that she is smart, pretty or good at quiddicth. She is very high maintenance. You seem to want space, peace and quiet. So from the outside, it looked like a disaster from the get go. Plus, she is way too jealous. She was certain you and Hermoine had a thing, but she definitely has a thing for Ron. By the way do you have a day in the Ron/Hermoine dating pool?"
"Seamus tried to get me into it, but as best friend to both of them I have to excuse myself. It just wouldn't be right. What day did you pick?"
"I got August 28th. I figure just before school, Ron will get up the nerve. I tried to get your birthday, but that, September 1st and Hermoine's birthday were the first ones taken. The pot is over 100 galleons!"
"I try to avoid those silly betting pools. Merlin knows what they bet about me!"
"Actually there are quite a few. There is one on the number of times you will catch the snitch next season, another is the number of times you end up in the hospital wing and the two most popular are number of points Professor Slimeball will take from you in potions for the year and, of course the next girlfriend pool."
"The next girlfriend pool? Do I even want to know?" He said shaking his head.
"I am going to regret this, but how does that one work?"
"Well you are given odds based on the girl you pick?"
"Whose got the best odds?"
"Cho and Hermoine are even money. Most people think there will be reconciliation with Cho or that Ron and Hermoine have a big blowup and she runs to you. Ron's sister has pretty good odds as well. Everyone sees the way she used to stare at you. Pavarti gets some bets because of the Yule ball." Susan was actually really enjoying the flush on his cheeks.
"So who did you put your money on?"
"But she is dating Justin. Even I know that."
"Yeah. We did it as a joke. I bet on her and she bet on me. We got the standard same year different house odds. Twenty-five to one."
"Who is the long shot?"
"Pansy. One Hundred and fifty to one. You hate her guts, she is Draco's little hussy and she looks like a pug. Even Millie Bulstrode has better odds. She at least has a nice disposition."
"Really. I have never talked to her."
"Well that's not surprising given the way your two houses are always at each other's throats, but Millie is quite good at Ancient Runes. Most people assume that she is an idiot because of her looks, but I assure you she is actually very smart."
"I will keep that in mind."
"Well you asked? But don't let anyone know I told you. I would hate it if everyone thought that I ruined their fun when you suddenly fall head over heels for Hannah."
"Not likely. Remind me to hex Seamus when we get back. In fact remind me on a weekly basis to hex him."
They laughed and finished their drinks. Susan's elf came back downstairs and informed them that the bedroom had been cleaned and was ready for them. Harry asked the elf politely if she would feed the hippogriff in the attic. Trixie readily agreed and told them that she would have breakfast prepared for them in the morning. Susan just added it to the growing list of unusual things she was encountering. As they started up the steps, she decided to ask him about it.
"Do you really have a hippogriff in the attic?"
"Yeah. Remember Buckbeak from third year? Attacked Malfoy because, he was too much of an idiot to approach it correctly."
"Really. I heard that the Ministry ordered it be executed."
"They did. We rescued it. Story for another time though."
"Oh. I am just amazed that you take all this in stride. How do you cope?"
"There's an old Chinese curse - May you live in interesting times. I am learning to accept it rather than fight it. Here we are. The loo is just around the corner. If you want, I will take you up to meet Buckbeak tomorrow. I think you two will get along just fine."
"Thanks. If its okay with you, tomorrow I would like to use my aunt's - um well I guess use my pensieve. I want to see your adventures. Since that bastard is after me, I want to know what I am up against. Will you show me?" She looked him straight in the eyes and allowed him to glimpse the determination there.
Harry thought for a moment. She was asking for some pretty personal information. Things he had rarely shared with anyone, much less someone he barely knew. He knew deep down that she deserved it as much as anyone else.
"Okay. I will show you what I can. There may be some things that I don't want to show. I am still dealing with them, but we can cross that bridge when we get to it. Fair enough?"
She smiled and gave him a hug. "Thank you." She choked out and broke away to the bathroom. Harry stood there for a moment lost in thought. Susan's hug was soft and gentle. It was quite unlike the hugs from Hermoine and the Weasley women. They would normally attempt to crush and smother him. As he walked into the room and sat on his bed, he hoped that he would receive more soft and gentle hugs. He drifted off to sleep before Susan had returned.
Susan spent twenty minutes in the bathroom trying to get her composure back. She nearly lost it when she realized what Harry had just agreed to. She had read the article in the Quibbler. She knew that Harry would show her Cedric Diggory's death and Voldemort's rebirth. He might even show her the truth behind the Basilisk from their second year as well as the events at the Department of Mysteries. Susan knew how much Harry valued his privacy. She cursed herself for practically demanding that she be allowed to see the terrible events in his life. How could she be that rude? What kind of horrible person would do such a thing? Having been denied their full release before; her tears arrived with a vengeance. For ten straight minutes she sat on the edge of the bathtub and wallowed in her misery. She remembered how upset she had been in her third year when her first boyfriend had broken up with her. She recalled how her mother sat with her on her bed and let Susan sob on her shoulder reassuring her that the world would not end over some fourth year Ravenclaw. Feelings of pettiness and guilt racked her body as she muffled her sobs. She was certain that everyone would express their condolences about her aunt and say what a wonderful person she had been. What made her angry and frustrated was the knowledge that her mother would be hardly mentioned at all - almost as an afterthought. She continued crying until she had no tears left.
Making herself as presentable as she could possibly be, she left the bathroom and returned to the bedroom. Trixie had left a nightshirt and dressing gown out on the bed with the hideous Chudley Cannon's logo on the bedspread. She went ahead and extinguished the light. Harry was already sound asleep. Doubting that he would awaken and fearful that if she returned to the bathroom it would trigger another breakdown, she changed there in the darkness. Thankfully, Harry did not stir. Susan slid under the comforter and bundled herself up into a fetal position. She was exhausted, but could not sleep. She wished the headmaster had sent back some sleeping draught. It was probably going to be a long night.
From the other side of the room, she heard a low moaning begin. In the minimal light from the window, Susan saw Harry begin to thrash about on his bed.
"Sirus ... No! Sirus! I am so sorry! Cedric get out of here! Save yourself! Run! No don't die! My fault."
Susan heard the anguish as his cries repeated themselves. In a perfect world, she would get up take him in her arms and hold him to drive the pain away. This however was far from a perfect world. She found new moisture clouding her eyes as she watched the so-called hero of the wizarding world struggle against his inner demons. Curling even tighter into her fetal position. She grabbed the other pillow and put it over her head to muffle the noises and prayed that sleep would finally claim her. While she waited for sleep to eventually come, Susan thought of the irony of the Teen Witch Weekly article about the fantasy date with Harry Potter. One of the comments was how one of the top fantasies was spending the night in Harry's bedroom.
The last thought on her mind before sleep finally took her was, "Oh yes definitely every teen witches fantasy."
Many miles away from where Susan desperately tried to sleep. A figure sat on the edge of the bed smearing a burn salve on his chest and left arm. Veela cream was an impressive remedy. Made even more potent when mixed with the blood of the Veela that mixed the cream. Few healers willingly performed that step. Fortunately, Lord Voldemort was quite persuasive. Strategically, tonight was a draw. Amelia Bones was dead and she was by far the most impressive of the ministers that could possibly be elevated as an interim solution. He still held out hope that Rudolphus and Severus were able to complete the mission and capture the Bones heiress, but a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach told him to expect defeat. He had learned long ago to trust that gut instinct. Again, he cursed himself for overextending his assets. Had he taken Bella or Peter along as well, they could have shouldered more of the magical load and he would have been stronger and not exhausted when Dumbledore's whelp arrived. The sting of Potter's curse still reverberated through him.
The Dark Lord pondered the champion of the light and his nemesis. The boy had not been able to face him in the Department of Mysteries. Dumbledore's formidable animation skills had protected him, while Potter looked broken and defeated. This time however, the boy rushed headlong and by himself into battle. His appearance had certainly not been expected. The element of surprise allowed the boy to land that foul curse. Bones's "Devastator" held far more power, but it was still impressive. Popping the stopper on a third restorative draught, he grimaced from both the foul tasting fluid and his continued failure against a boy wizard, not even of age yet. Voldemort did not rise to his position by continuously underestimating the opposition. Quite the opposite - in the years that preceded his rise to power it was he who was usually underestimated. Those fools who sat on their thrones and trusted their lackeys, while they dreamed of being Grindelwald's successor. He had even played the lackey role on two occasions ingratiating himself into both a Dark Witch and Wizard's inner circle only to betray them. The Lady Arrevan died with her three top lieutenants watching the sunset from her villa in Nice. Gasping for air that would not come as the poison he tainted their dinners with closed their airways. She frantically applied the bubblehead charm hoping it would save her. The foul hag's final thrashings were the basis for his serpent patronus, which protects him during the negotiation with the dementors.
The Dark Lord Christobal died in a much more straightforward manner. Voldemort broke him physically. He still recalled the battle as if it were yesterday. Walking into the room after a particularly brutal battle to deliver his report, Voldemort was immediately placed under crucio by one of the two bodyguards. The burly Norwegian named Sven held him under the pain curse while Yuri Christobal lamented the loss of his idiot nephew Palus during the battle. He was only one of three soldiers lost that day compared to the five dozen workers the Turkish ministry lost as an entire ministry building was destroyed. The stupid braggart walked down the middle of the street as if the sight of a Christobal would somehow shield him from the curses of the desperate and dying inside the crumbling inferno. No less than three blasting curses, a bone breaker and two rather well performed piercers perforated his carcass. Palus Christobal was dead before his body ever hit the pavement. Voldemort however had moved the rest of his soldiers up under disillusionment and obscuring charms. At his side a promising young man just graduated from Durmstrang, named Antonin Dolohov.
A quick signal to Dolohov and his team concentrated blasting curses against the side of the building seeking the load bearing columns that maintained the structure. The second group led by a raven hair witch name Misha Perez provided covering fire and maintained the anti-apparation wards. She flashed him a wicked smile as the continuous barrage of spells began to take its toll on the building. The workers inside the structure must have realized at some point that Christobal's forces were not going to storm the building. A few of the made a brave attempt to escape most dying on the steps cut down in a withering display of firepower from Misha's team. Two more ministry workers attempted to use brooms from the upper windows. Voldemort used the same jinx that he had the fool Quirell later attempt on Harry Potter. One managed to escape beyond the range, while the other clung to his bucking broom for nearly twenty seconds before his body fell six stories making a rather satisfying noise on impact.
"Hurry Anton! Before more of them realize what is happening. With that Voldemort concentrated his abilities on assisting the first unit with collapsing the building. Less than one minute later, there were telltale signs of the buildings collapse. The five-story building started making a rumbling noise and then moments later gave way. Voldemort covered his mouth to prevent inhaling the dust cloud. He quickly signaled his fighters forward to search for and eliminate the survivors. Seeing no immediate threat, he made his way to his second in command. The raven-haired beauty engaged him in a hushed conversation.
"Misha," he said struggling not to cough. "Who is injured and how badly?"
"Fliess is dead and Messner soon will be. The rest have minor injuries. I take it you saw what happened to Palus?"
"Yes. Better that his stupidity dies here, then have him breed and produce more useless offspring! Saved me the trouble of killing him myself."
"You know the old man will not see it that way. He will have a reckoning."
"There will be a reckoning this day, but it shall be mine. All of us would be dead if we followed the original plan. Storm a ministry building in broad bloody daylight. How very original."
"You know where my loyalties lie, Tom." Anyone else would suffer a heinous curse calling him by his muggle name. Misha was the exception. They wore no masks, no airs or illusions between the two of them. There was only primal lust and unchecked ambition. "Anton and I will cover the hallway. You will have to eliminate the old man and his two pets."
"I have seen the way he handles what he considers failure. I will have prepared myself. The potion I have prepared will fortify me against the pain curse. I will suffer, but the moment it is lifted, I will be able to attack. It will be sudden and viscous. There will be one less pretender calling himself a 'Dark Lord' this day."
"Fight well, my true liege."
Misha's parting words were branded across his mind as he contorted in pain from Sven's curse. Ranier, the second bodyguard did not even have his wand drawn. This was expected. Christobal's bodyguards had become complacent. Voldemort's knowledge of this fact was part of the inspiration for his plan.
After a minute, Sven released the curse. He walked forward arrogantly and lifted Voldemort up by the back of his neck. The pain precursor potion was already allowing him to see past the haze of agony through which he had just been subjected. Sven felt his victim struggle for balance and lean into him. His survival instincts were seconds to slow as he felt the tip of a wand thump against his breastbone.
"Reducto!" Voldemort yelled channeling his power into the blasting curse blowing an eight in wide hole through his tormentor's chest. The curse finished Sven and still had enough power to injure Ranier's leg. The second bodyguard fell off the elevated dais screaming in agony. Yuri Christobal overcame his shock and rose to his feet drawing his wand. Voldemort used the shell of the dead Norwegian to shield himself. He stuck his wand and hand clear through the hole in Sven's body ignoring the gore and cast the killing curse at the prone form of Ranier. The sickly green light enveloped the careless man, who would never rise again.
"You dare! Lacero!"
Voldemort shoved Sven's lifeless body in the path of Christobal's cutting curse. Returning fire with one of his favorites - "Vlad's impaler". The curse was two spells wrapped in one. The first a piercing curse followed by a pain curse that sent a wave of pure agony through the victim's body.
Christobal screamed in agony as the curse winged him on his right arm. The man was a hulking brute, who reminded Voldemort of Horace Slughorn. Once upon a time, Yuri Christobal had been a giant of a man, but he had allowed his impressive physique to fall into disarray. The pretender sent a killing curse in answer, but it was poorly aimed and posed no real threat. Sounds of battle could be heard coming from the hallway. Misha and Antonin were a class above the rest of Christobal's troops. He had no concerns, as he knew they would protect his backside. Voldemort felt the impact of a blasting curse, which was muted by the protective vest he wore. In return he slammed a bone crusher which ruined Christobal's hip. The man howled in agony as he fell in a heap. Shielding himself from the feeble return fire, Voldemort cast the disarming curse painfully separating the man from his wand.
"Now before you die, you shall suffer. Crucio!"
In retrospect, Voldemort would have liked to spend the next several hours or days tormenting Yuri Christobal, but the practical side won out as the sounds of battle continued from the outer hallways. He released the pain curse and watched as the broken body struggled to reach his wand. The future Dark Lord gathered his energy at his wand tip and released the killing curse, ending the reign of the "Butcher of Istanbul". Next, he performed a cutting curse to sever the man's head and a simple levitation spell.
Exiting the room into the great hall, he floated the head next to him smiling. Misha and Anton smiled at him as the spellfire in the great hall came to a halt.
"The Butcher is gone! Those who would follow me stay and reap the rewards. Those who will not leave now or die! There will be no second offer. Yuri offers no objections. Do you?" He said making the severed head nod in agreement.
Voldemort's meditation ended on that fond memory. It was a milestone on his rise to power. He gained many followers and much wealth that day. Sometimes, when he was deep in thought, the Darkest Wizard in recent history wondered if it was not so much about the end result of immortality, but the adrenaline fueled journey to get him there. A flick of his wand started a bath and he opened a jar full of medicinal herbs. He would soak for a time before returning to his remaining troops. They would not know the weakness he felt now. He vowed not to repeat Christobal's arrogance and complacency. There would be no surprise from within, not even Severus.
In a moment of reminiscing, he actually missed Misha. She would often share his bath with him. In truth though, he missed her counsel more than her physical presence. Misha had made no effort to hide her disgust at the physical transformations, he had undertaken. The had not shared a bed in the last five years of her life, but her advice and skill were invaluable. As he lowered himself into the bath, he recalled the final moments of the witch who had been the closest thing to a friend he would ever know.
It was June 27th, 1977. The day became know as the Portsmouth Bloodbath. It had started as a simple muggle-killing raid, but escalated as the ministry brought a sizable force of aurors and trainees into the field. His troops were high on adrenaline and spoiling for a fight. It became one of the bloodiest days of his first rise.
He finished disposing of a pair of fools, who dared to challenge him. A smile crossed his lips as he took in the carnage. It was magnificent! Misha stood despite her injuries, streaks of gray had invaded her raven tresses. A triumphant look of victory as she levitated a damaged muggle motorcycle and repeatedly crushed Alastor Moody's leg. The old auror, who had been quite the thorn in his side was screaming in agony and clutching his ruined eye.
Misha tossed the muggle vehicle aside and towered over the doomed man. "So ends the great Moody. Hero to the end."
She lowered her wand and started her killing curse. As she did, she was bathed in a pale lavender light. There was a sickly crack as her neck suddenly bent to an awkward angle. Her eyes still held that look of triumph even as the light faded from them. She fell to the ground revealing her killer. He was a young man, probably still in the trainee program. He had a square jaw line and a muscular build.
"Accio Moody!" He gestured his wand still meeting Voldemort's gaze filled with defiance.
Voldemort fired a killing curse, but the young woman next to the auror levitated the same motorcycle Misha had been using as a club into the curse's path causing an explosion. The smoke obscured his enemies for a moment and the man used it to his advantage hitting Voldemort in his leg with a piercer.
"Frank. Portkey! Now!" Seconds later the trio disappeared before the smoke cleared. It was the first, but not the last time Lord Voldemort would encounter Frank and Alice Longbottom.
Author's notes - Good chapter. I am pleased with the outcome. Why can't an animagus form be practically useless? I expect everyone will enjoy the joke. For those of you who wanted more Harry and Susan the first part was for you. Remember however, less than twelve hours have passed since the start of the story. So patience is required for the relationship to develop. I hope you enjoyed the give and take between the two of them. Susan is trying to cope with her loss and at the same time fit into "Harry's World". Thus she will be on an emotional rollercoaster for the next few chapters. For those who have enjoyed the action so far, there was a lot more Voldie! As you may notice, I made Yuri Christobal into a mockery of the usual Voldemort encountered in other stories. Why Frank and Alice at the end you ask? Why not! Most authors use the assumption that Voldie chose Harry over Neville because they were both half-blood. I offer this possibility - maybe Frank and Alice were really a pain in the you know what and Voldie chose the Potter's thinking they and their child were somehow less of a threat. That is part of my promise to those who read my stories. I will give good plots and every so often challenge a preconceived notion or two with my own twist. - Jim.