During the train ride before third year Harry has a close encounter with a dementor that causes him to absorb the soul fragment within him, granting both knowledge and power. Features Harry with a ...
I I I
Special thanks must go to Rorschach's Blot for granting permission for me to plunder his Odd Ideas folder for good material - in which it abounds. I spent about a week modifying one of the better ones to fit, until I realized that it worked best almost unchanged.
It should make this romp a little more fun for all of us.
I I I
"Thank you, Dobby. That will be all."
Harry smiled, already turning as the grateful house elf disappeared, popping out from behind him. Binding Dobby to his service was one of the best things he'd ever done, and Dobby had already paid for all of the headaches of last year a dozen times over.
It was the end of his third time through the day, and Harry had been going after projects the entire time. Sometimes he was in the library looking up information and copying books, others he was off to Sprout's greenhouses collecting ingredients, or sometimes off to Hagrid's pens doing the same.
All of this frenzy of effort was greatly facilitated by two things: having his father's invisibility cloak, so people didn't see him all over the place all at once (otherwise he'd have been forced to spend most of his extra time in a private room, like Hermione was), and Dobby. The little house elf had been almost pathetically grateful to be Harry's own elf, and with him popping in and out to collect things Harry'd gathered, taking them back to his room and bringing him out tools, the work had gone much more swiftly.
Harry also had an elf that could keep his secrets cleaning his rooms and looking after him. Since the rest of the castle staff of elves all reported to Dumbledore, having the work done by his private elf was another way to blind the Headmaster's agents and keep secrets.
Besides, he liked Dobby. He considered the elf a friend, if a trifle batty.
Then again, who wasn't? This was the wizarding world, after all. Sanity was the rarest sort of magic of all among them.
Under his cloak, Harry passed below the windows of the Hospital Wing, where vast tumult was currently going on. It was highly doubtful Dumbledore would actually die, being both in the hospital wing and in front of Poppy at the time his injury, not to mention having his own pet phoenix on tap. No, against those forces the drop of basilisk venom on the tip of that needle sharp bone would prove ineffectual, he was sure.
However, the special herbs and spices smeared over the shaft near the tip ought to confuse them. The basilisk venom was only a drop, and right on the point at that. It would literally vanish into any injury. It would take a miracle for that to kill him, considering where he was and the resources Albus had to draw on there. However, they would have a pretty time wondering over how a bunch of seasonings and flavorings caused shock and symptoms like venom from the most dangerous snake known.
Also, Albus would be mustering considerable resources to look for amuggle by the name of Colonel Sanders, and anything diverting time and attention away from examining Harry under a microscope was a good thing.
Of course, it remained to be seen if the subtle dark curse on that bone would do its job or not.
I I I
"Harry, may I have a word with you in private?" Luna asked as she found him on his way to breakfast, having waited just outside the Great Hall on what was for everyone (except him and Hermione) the second day of classes.
"Sure Luna," Harry agreed, stopping his advance. "What is it?"
"Well." Luna quietly drew him aside, down a hallway, into an unused classroom which she then proceeded to magically lock and place privacy charms around, some fairly advanced ones, Harry noted.
"You've put me in something of a bind," she admitted, once she was sure they were secure.
Harry cleaned off a dusty desk with a wand flick to have something to sit on, then sat on it, looking at her soberly.
"I'm afraid I don't know what you mean," he declared, before offering,"Why don't you start at the beginning?"
"I think I'd better," she agreed. "But first, I was wondering if you'd be interested in significantly weakening Voldemort's forces?"
"How?" the boy probed, carefully. Most people viewed the Dark Lord as no longer a threat, so her offer of help against him was unexpected to say the least - though not unwelcome.
"As many as three murders and as few as one," Luna frankly replied, not bothering to conceal a thing. "Depending on your godfather."
"Why don't you explain?" Harry said, it was not a request.
"You know how important Lucius Malfoy is to to Voldemort don't you?"Luna asked intently. "Wars are won by gold after all..."
"And Malfoy has a lot of gold," Harry sighed. That was one of his problems. The Potter fortunes, while generous for his own use, were wholly inadequate to serve as a war chest. "So you're saying we should kill him?"
"At a minimum," Luna agreed. "Unless you can find a way to neutralize Narcissa and Draco without killing them then they will have to go as well."
"I take it that you have a way to do that, don't you?" Harry asked calmly, Luna had dropped her mask and Harry figured that it was only polite to do the same.
"Your godfather Sirius is the head of the Black family," Luna explained."If he were to die on his attempt to murder you, then you, as his heir, would have the power to dissolve Lucius's marriage to Narcissa."
Harry leaned back on his desk. "It might interest you to know that Sirius Black is entirely innocent on all charges placed against him. He was never even given a trial. Here," Harry reached down into his bookbag, pulling out a sheaf of notes, which he then offered to her. "After Peter Pettigrew was captured alive and proven to be a Death Eater, I insisted on being present for the questioning, which took place immediately, and I had an auto-notes quill running. I was going to offer them to you for a third exclusive article, but you haven't done anything yet on the last set of notes I gave you."
"There is a reason for that, and I'm coming to it," Luna admitted. "If Sirius Black could be cleared, he can do it. Otherwise you might want to ask him to relinquish his position to you. But it doesn't matter who does it, the Head of the Black family must dissolve Narcissa's marriage."
"Why?" Harry's tone came clear as a knife.
"Once Lucius Malfoy dies, someone is going to inherit the estate. Normally that would be his wife or child, who would answer Voldemort's call as quickly as he would, funding him with their money. But if the marriage were to be dissolved, they couldn't touch the fortunes. It was a political match to enhance the power of both families, the Malfoy is a rich and upcoming house while the Black family is on the decline. Lucius could, of course, remarry Narcissa or adopt Draco into his family unless..."
"He was dead," Harry nodded.
"The timing would be the tricky part," Luna mused. "It would all have to be done in the same day... in the same hour if possible."
"What would happen to the Malfoy fortune then?" Harry inquired with a raised eyebrow.
"It would go to the closest blood relative, Lucius Malfoy's niece... me." Luna admitted.
"You?" Harry was surprised. From Voldemort's memories, he'd known Lucius had a sister, but...
"Lucius was my mother's older brother," Luna said with a cold smile."I won't miss him."
"I see." And, in point of fact, Harry did.
The girl gave a deliberately casual shrug. "Not to mention the fact that it will cause my poor cousin Draco no end of trouble when his status as a pureblood is gone."
"Really? How would that go away?" Of course, Voldemort had been a wee bit obsessed about blood power and purebloods, so Harry knew quite a bit about their culture - more than most of them did, to be honest, but couldn't think of a way to lose pureblood status completely without being named a blood traitor (something he couldn't imagine Draco would ever be in danger of) or having one's impure ancestry revealed.
Everybody was concealing a bit of shameful past somewhere, even if it was only cousins cast out for marrying muggleborns.
Luna fidgeted, misinterpreting his question as ignorance. "Well... Harry, the first thing you have to know is that there are different levels of pureblood. Status is based on a combination of money and how long you can trace your magical line. The Potter family for example is about the middle of both, while the Weasley family has a long line but no money, and the Lovegoods are on the short end of each, respectable but not significant, just another junior pureblood family."
Ah, it was it was a loss of status, not heredity. That resolved his confusion. Someone taking a tumble down the social ladder occurred regularly."What about the Malfoy family?"
"High on money but it's a relatively new family," Luna replied. "Which is why Lucius married Narcissa, the Black family has no money but the Ancient in their motto is not just for show like the Noble is. Lucky thing really, if it weren't for that then we wouldn't be able to go through with this plan."
"What do you mean?"
"The marriage of Lucius Malfoy to Narcissa Black sealed an alliance between the families," Luna explained. "Breaking the alliance would cause some... bad things to happen, very bad things. You can, or I should say that you'd be able as Head of House Black, to dissolve Narcissa and Lucius's marriage. You would then have to arrange a new marriage between a member of House Black and House Malfoy."
"You could marry me... or have Sirius do it I suppose," Luna mused."If we do things correctly then Draco will be frozen out and the only person able to fulfill the agreement on the Malfoy side is me. The only ones on the other side are yourself and Sirius... unless Nymphadora can transform all the way, I'm not sure if that would work but it's a possibility."
"We have to get married?" Harry lofted an eyebrow.
"I have to get married," Luna corrected. "You have a bit of wiggle room, I'd prefer it to be you, but..."
"I need to think about this," Harry said with a shudder. "I can't just... I need to think about this."
"I understand Harry," Luna sighed in disappointment. "But please agree, even if you don't want me yourself, please agree to this."
"Why is this so important to you?"
"Because by and large, Malfoys don't die in accidents."
"I don't... your mother?"
"Was a threat," Luna agreed. "And so were you and so am I."
"Sirius named you his heir about a week after you were born," Luna said calmly. "Lucius lost the court case to have his son named heir to the Black family the week before my mother died... as chance would have it, he also stopped petitioning to have Sirius given the kiss the same week."
"You're saying he's responsible for Sirius being put in Azkaban?" Harry asked intently. "And for the death of your mum?"
"I'm saying that members of the Malfoy family don't tend to die in accidents,"Luna said firmly. "And that that was a particularly convenient week for my dear Uncle. I'm not saying any more than that, I will say however that it was what convinced the Hat to put me in Ravenclaw."
"Slytherin Luna is a threat, but not a large one. With Snape in control of the house she won't be difficult to break or dispose of," Luna spoke in an odd tone. "Gryffindor Luna is just as bad, courageous but also ablack mark on the Malfoy name, she'll have to come to some misfortune. Hufflepuff Luna is also bad, but since she never really had friends it wasn't much of a possibility. Ravenclaw Luna on the other hand... she's not as bad as the other three but she'll have to work to convince the world that she's harmless, not too hard mind you, Ravenclaws have no common sense and wouldn't look under the surface of something if they didn't have to."
"So that's why you're always doing odd things," Harry realized.
"Loony Lovegood isn't a threat," Luna explained with a shrug. "And no one takes her seriously, you'd be surprised what people will say around you when they think you won't understand what they say. Much the same way that innocent and good Harry gets overlooked. No one questions it."
Harry was nodding. "But then I had to go and put my finger in by placing you under the aegis of my personal protection."
The sharing of the cup was very old, hearkening to the earliest times when a visitor was offered water to ease a parched throat. His formal gesture of friendship to her told the rest of the Ravens in no uncertain terms that Luna was under Harry's protection. That he used Hufflepuff's cup while carrying Gryffindor's sword and wearing Rowena's diadem only helped to impress the pants off of everyone there, reinforcing the image of him being able to carry through on that protection.
It also took her out of obscurity and bumped her up several levels on the threat category for people like Lucius Malfoy, who she'd previously been very successfully avoiding. He had, in effect, very thoroughly stripped away the defense Luna had already enjoyed by offering her his protection.
Okay, so that was it. He had volunteered himself as her protector, and here she was asking for his, rather proactive, protection against her family. It was time he owned up.
Other plans would have to be abandoned. But, he HAD offered...
"I'm in," Harry said suddenly. He smiled, it wasn't a nice smile, it was the smile of a boy who'd spent ten years living in a cupboard and working as a slave. "I presume you have a plan... wife?"
There was an honest pang in there, saying that, as he had been planning out a campaign for netting himself Hermione. Harry honestly considered the girl to be prime future bride material.
He had many reasons for this, ranging from the sentimental, she was the first girl who was truly kind or thoughtful toward him, to the Machiavellian, she was the smartest witch in their year, and as such a tremendous asset.
But, also the proverbial: best friends make the best spouses.
Still, whatever the reasons (and they were many, more than he'd bothered to catalog, really), they hardly mattered anymore, as he had a debt of honor he had to be repaying to Luna for that article - not that he expected to suffer doing it, Luna was almost as nice a catch, and it was still early enough to let Hermione down gently.
"Not yet beloved," Luna giggled, noting and pretending not to note emotions playing out on his face, spelling out his thoughts as though he'd spoken them aloud. He concealed them well, but hadn't had her years of practice. Most wizards tended to rely on magic to shield their minds and forgot about body language. Still, her own plans could get modified in reply. "I can't wait to see the look on Draco's face when he realizes he doesn't have aname."
"What's that mean?" Harry got yanked back to present scheming, out of lost thoughts over defunct plans with Hermione.
"Like I said before," she shrugged, "there are different levels of pureblood. When the marriage is dissolved then Draco looses the Malfoy name, unless you're willing to take him into the Black family then he drops to the lowest rung of the pureblood pecking order."
"So what am I then?" Harry asked. That was something Tom's memories did not address, but had to have been talked over by important people in the proper circles in the meantime. "I thought since I was a half blood that..." he trailed off upon seeing her smile.
"You're different," Luna said with a grin. "You're a wild card, one can insert you into any level without too much difficulty. One must remember that you are not simply Harry Potter, you are also 'the-boy-who-lived'and that is a title that carries quite a bit of weight."
"I see, so where do we start?"
"You're going to need at least one mistress," Luna mused, changing her plans on the fly to improve her chances of staying Harry's bride and not getting pawned off onto Sirius. She could still see the pang in Harry's eye over the loss of his Hermione, and decided not to come between him and that, when it could only cost her in the long run to do so. "I've worked up a short list of possible candidates but the decision is of course yours."
"Why do I need a mistress?" Harry demanded, wondering why Tom hadn't researched this, before an answer came to him: Voldemort had sacrificed his sexual organs as part of one of those rituals to gain immortality -symbolism was important to magic, and by destroying his ability to replace himself in the circle of life as a cost during powerful magical rites, he got to extend his own place in it indefinitely, theoretically.
Actually, all he'd gotten was an ageless state that paired nicely with the 'return from death' option from his horcruxes. Neither worked terribly well without the other, as old age was one of the few deaths a horcrux couldn't save you from, a soul having only so much duration for staying'in life' as it were, and once that time limit was up, when the natural span allotted to a man expired, his horcruxes would ordinarily just die of old age with him.
Being ageless got around that nicely. But it wasn't very good to be immune to the march of years only to get knifed in the back, either.
All of the magical routes to immortality had loopholes like that, it was the reason they didn't have hundreds of dark wizards cluttering up every den and alley. So Tom had doubled up, thinking to get around that by using strengths of one style of dark immortality ritual to cover the weaknesses of his other.
But that was why Tom Riddle hadn't been terribly interested in forming a dynasty - he'd never intended to leave anything to anyone, because he'd never intended to go!
So he'd paid no interest to how to form a proper magical family of his own.
"Social standing," Luna explained, drawing Harry back from his instant of contemplation. "You don't actually have to do anything with her... or him I suppose, but you need to maintain at least one to show that you can afford the expense."
"What about you?"
"It's tolerated so long as I'm discreet and wait until after your heir is born," Luna replied. "It's accepted after your heir has a heir of his own, why do you ask?"
"Oh Harry, I wasn't planning to have a boyfriend on the side. You don't have to worry about that."
"Then why do you want me to have a girl on the side?" Harry demanded.
"I told you," Luna sighed in exasperation. "Social standing. You'll look like a saint if you marry poor Loony Lovegood, you'll look like an idiot if you don't have someone on the side to keep you relaxed."
"Why should I care about social standing?" Harry said with what Luna thought to be an adorable pout.
"Because like it or not you are an icon," Luna explained. "If we can provide you as an alternate to Voldemort then I'm sure we can get at least a few of the families to side with you, if we can start a credible rumor that one of Voldemort's grandparents was a muggle or something along those lines then we may be able to lure a few families away from his side. None of that is possible if you don't go through the correct motions."
"Why?" Harry, for all of his memories, still had very little experience, and the rapid flip-flops of topic she was so adept at kept mildly confusing him.
"Because the more people on our side the faster this war will end in our favor," Luna said in exasperation. "The less we have the faster it will end in their favor."
"No," Harry scratched his head innocently, "I mean why should we start a rumor that one of Voldemort's grandparents was a muggle?"
"Because it'll make him less palatable to the purebloods," Luna said slowly. "Would you like me to explain that?"
"Why should we start a rumor if we can prove that one of his parents was a muggle?" Harry asked, in the dawning stages of a plan.
"What?" Luna asked in shock.
"His father was a muggle," Harry repeated. "Didn't you know that?"
"You can prove this?" She asked intently.
"Shouldn't be too difficult," Harry agreed. "He told me so himself, one of those times I was facing him, and he gave me enough information tracking down the rest shouldn't be too hard. Actually, here's a little trick he showed me when we were fighting in the Chamber of Secrets last year."
Using his wand, Harry wrote out the sentence, "I am Lord Voldemort."Then, with a deliberately flashy swish of his wand, had the letters rearrange to the name, "Tom Marvolo Riddle."
He pointed to the still glowing letters. "This is the dark lord's birth name. He and his muggle father share the same first and last names. The only thing he got from his mother's side was a distinctive middle name: Marvolo, after his maternal grandfather, but which pegs his mother as Merope Gaunt, a witch who was known to be mooning after a muggle in town, and frequently berated by her poor but pure father for lusting after a rich but magicless boy whose name happened to be Tom Riddle - also the name of a student who appeared at Hogwarts some eleven years and nine months after Tom Riddle, the muggle, who had confused his parents by running off with the witch, went back to his wealthy family claiming he'd been ensnared. Between Hogwarts student records, muggle social services for the orphanage he grew up at, and town records at Little Hangleton, where his parents lived, we ought to be able to nail down every part of this until it's rock solid. The Dark Lord is a Half-Blood, and son of a muggle."
"Oh..." Luna went cross eyed and she shuddered in pleasure. "Harry, you know just what to say to a girl don't you?"
I I I
One insane idea is good, but they get so much more interesting when they can bounce reflections off each other in kaleidoscopic arrays!
Harry Potter is one of those universes where catastrophe gets piled upon disaster for the main character and the abuse never seems to stop. Most of the victories he gains are just to have one source of pain or another stop for a short amount of time.
He is outnumbered, outclassed, not given space to maneuver, and those he counts as allies all turn on him to one degree or another: Dumbledore won't listen, Ron has gotten angry and/or jealous enough several times to cut loose their friendship, Hermione picks Ron over Harry, and Ginny is at best a minor character who has little impact, while all of the adults of their acquaintance are Dumbledore's servants first, and Harry's friends a distant second.
That is a world that requires serious powerups on the side of Light just to stay even, and I find it both wonderfully refreshing, and desirable in every aspect to see it happen.
Having Harry achieve something without getting hospitalized for weeks doing so is also a wonderful change from the original material.
Of course, I love to see the light triumphant in any universe.