Disclaimer: I do not nor will I ever own the Harry Potter story, characters, villains, heroes and creatures. I also sadly do not make any money off this story. Trust me; my bank account cannot lie about that.
Thanks to Nancy for her help as always!
FLAMES OF BETRAYAL
The manor was dark and depressing. The aura of evil surrounded it, making anyone who came near it, tremble with fear. If one could hear past the wards and spells, they would be horrified to hear screams of tortured souls. However, those inside the manor found the screams to be music to their ears and laughed joyously when the screams got louder.
In a room lay, a man who was bleeding profusely and barely conscious. He was tortured beyond imagination and his only crime was that he was a Muggle, a person without magic, a person who had no knowledge of the Wizarding World. He only knew that his family had been tortured and then murdered. He watched, horrified, as his precious son was forced to kill his daughter and then turned the knife on himself. He watched in anguish as the men in black robes and white masks raped and mutilated his wife, laughing at his pleading and begging. They finally tired of her and killed her. His mind broke and he retreated, never knowing the torture that was inflicted upon him. He died in a flash of green light, a broken man whose only crime was to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Voldemort watched as his Death Eaters tortured the Muggle family. He chuckled as Avery smacked Goyle for getting blood on his robe when he cut the man too hard. The Dark Lord watched with indulgence while his Death Eaters played. With a sigh of satisfaction at how things had been going, he leaned back on his throne of human bones. His mind began to wander and he laughed with malice as he wondered how Harry Potter was faring in Azkaban. He laughed as he remembered how fast the Wizarding World had turned on him. His plan had been foolproof. He worked hard on opening the connection between the two of them, and it paid off at Potter's trial. Even though he only had control for a short time, it was enough to get the boy convicted. He sighed as he remembered the celebrations of the Death Eaters when Harry Potter was sentenced to Azkaban. He thought fondly on the night of torture and mayhem that had ensued.
Voldemort shifted in his throne, idly wondering how the old man was taking things. His weapon was defeated and the Wizarding World was losing faith in him. His little Order hadn't been much help in containing all the massacres caused by Voldemort and his Death Eaters. With Potter and his visions out of the way and his misinformation to Snape, Voldemort was gaining a larger grasp on the Wizarding World. Voldemort sneered at the thought of Snape. Dumbledore was secure in the knowledge that Voldemort didn't know about Snape and his traitorous ways, but he knew, oh yes, he knew.
He thought about killing the man, but decided that he would use him instead. He began to give Snape misinformation to keep the Order off balance. However, he knew that Dumbledore was catching on, so he decided that he needed to kill the spy soon. He looked over at Snape, who was standing in the corner and staring at everyone with a cold expression and snarled in disgust. The sooner he got rid of him the better, but he had one more little mission for Snape. He needed a potion made and when it was finished, Snape would become a new source of the Death Eater's entertainment. His minions hated nothing more than a traitor.
Wormtail startled Voldemort out of his thoughts. He came scurrying into the room, a look of panic on his face. He fell to the ground and kissed the hem of Voldemort's robe. He looked terrified. "M...m...master," he stuttered.
Voldemort looked down at the quivering, pathetic man and curled his lip up with disgust. "What is it Wormtail, that you have to interrupt me?" he hissed.
"T...t...t...the Malfoys were captured and taken to the Ministry. Dumbledore was at the Minister's office. T...t...t...there is talk about releasing Potter from Azkaban," he stammered softly and cringed, waiting for Voldemort's reaction.
It was not long in coming. "WHAT?!? How dare they get captured and ruin my plans," he yelled furiously.
The Death Eaters stopped their torture, killed their victim, and walked over to Voldemort. Bellatrix stepped forward and kneeled at his feet. "My Lord, is something wrong?" she asked.
"The Malfoys were captured and one of my plans was foiled," Voldemort replied furiously.
"Stupid Malfoys. I always knew they were going to get captured," Avery muttered softly to Goyle and they both chuckled maliciously.
Voldemort snarled, took out his wand, and yelled, "Crucio." The spell hit Avery and the man fell to the floor, screaming in pain. Goyle's face went white and he took a step back from the convulsing man.
Voldemort growled angrily. "Do you think it's funny that my plans got ruined?" he hissed. He lifted the curse and Avery lay there, sobbing in pain. "Get up, you worm. So you find the capture of my Death Eaters amusing, do you? Goyle, Bellatrix, take Avery down to the Dungeon and show him the error of his ways."
The two Death Eaters grabbed the whimpering man and dragged him out of the room. Voldemort turned his gaze towards the other Death Eaters and they shivered under his cold glare. "I want you to find out what happened, and then I want you to kill the Malfoys. I no longer have any need for them."
"But Master," one of the Death Eaters began and Voldemort's rage boiled over. He pointed his wand at the Death Eater and screamed, "Crucio." He watched with malicious delight as the man fell to the floor and began to convulse. Voldemort frowned; he didn't feel any better. The rage was still boiling inside of him and he didn't feel any satisfaction from the torture. He lifted the curse and looked at the quivering man thoughtfully. He smirked. "Concoqu," Voldemort hissed and watched, fascinated, as the man began to cook from the inside out. He relished the screams and embraced them, smiling as they began to calm him down. The man finally died and Voldemort sighed wistfully, nothing like a spot of torture to get you through the day.
He glanced at his nervous Death Eaters and chuckled. He watched them cringe in terror and reveled in their fear. This is why he became a Dark Lord. To watch others cringe before him in fear. Everyone feared him, everyone except Dumbledore and Potter. His mood became foul again and he snarled. "Leave me!" he growled. The Death Eaters bowed then left the room. "Wormtail! You stay."
The quivering man bowed to the Dark Lord and waited for whatever his Lord would do. He whimpered internally, it was times like this that he wondered why he ever joined the Dark Lord. There was no sign of the power the Dark Lord had promised. No, he was nothing more than a punching bag for the Dark Lord and his followers. He should've stayed with the Aurors when they captured him, but he'd had a chance to escape, so he took it. He'd transformed into his animagus form after one of the Aurors forgot to cast the binding spell and left in a hurry. He had come back to Voldemort, triumphant, only to be tortured for being captured and giving out information.
"You shall go to Hogwarts and spy on the Order. I want to know what's going on. Dumbledore will know where Potter is. Once you find out, let me know and I will crush him before he can even begin to heal. His body will be weak and his mind shattered, he will be ripe for the picking. Go!"
Voldemort watched, disgusted, as the rat ran out of the room. He shook his head, what was I thinking when I allowed that idiot join me? Oh yes, I wanted the Potters dead. Mmm...His presence is getting old. I may have to take care of him as well. Better yet, I know a certain werewolf who would enjoy a treat. Voldemort began to laugh evilly, his red eyes glowing with malicious humor.
Several days later, Wormtail came to the manor and scurried into the room where Voldemort sat. He stopped in front of the chair and fell to his knees, waiting for the Dark Lord's acknowledgement. After waiting for several minutes, Voldemort finally rested his gaze upon Wormtail.
"What news do you have for me?" he hissed.
"Potter is no longer in the castle, my lord. He has disappeared, along with Weasley and Malfoy's old house-elf. No one in the Order can find them and Dumbledore is quite angry," Wormtail reported.
Voldemort was torn between anger at the news of Potter's disappearance and amusement at Dumbledore's anger. Voldemort leaned back in his chair, idly tapping his fingers on the arm of his chair. Over the last several days, Voldemort had tossed around an idea of asking Potter to join him instead of killing him. If his mind wasn't shattered from his stay in Azkaban, then he would be furious with the betrayal of his friends and the Wizarding World. The idea has some appeal.
"How was Potter's condition?"
"He's catatonic. Apparently, there was a conflict between Dumbledore and the now youngest Weasley. When Potter was younger, he had some papers drawn up that would give Ron Weasley control of Potter's estate if something were to happen to him and he became unable to make his own decisions. He then tricked Dumbledore into signing a Wizarding Contract that would disallow any interference with said paperwork. If he does, Dumbledore loses his magic," Wormtail explained with a small smile.
Voldemort looked at Wormtail, shocked, then began to grin. He erupted into laughter. "Dumbledore lost control over his weapon, and he never even knew it. I have to admire Potter's foresight," he said, amused.
Wormtail gave the Dark Lord a nervous grin. "The youngest Weasley has also stated that he is interested in proceeding with the Rite of Emancipation. There has been conflict within the family and they have not treated him very well."
Voldemort sneered and said, "Yes, those Weasleys are hypocritical morons. They give the Wizarding World a bad name."
If Wormtail hadn't feared for his very life, he would've rolled his eyes at that comment, but luckily, his preservation for life overcame that urge.
Voldemort looked thoughtful. "I decided that I was going to ask Potter to join me if his condition would allow it, but since the brat is catatonic, he shall just have to die instead," he stated suddenly. "I want you, Bellatrix and Avery, to find Potter and bring him to me. You are not to kill him, no matter the temptation. I will be the one to kill the brat. I will make him ever regret defying me. Go now and get Bellatrix. Find him Wormtail, because if you don't I shall make your life a living hell," Voldemort hissed.
With a brief bow to Voldemort, Wormtail turned and ran out of the room. He had no idea where to start. Not even Dumbledore knew where to find Potter and he had been looking. Wormtail remembered watching the tantrum Dumbledore threw when he found Potter missing. He'd seen a great many things over the last several days that shocked him. He came to realize that Dumbledore was not the kind man he appeared to be. Why he hadn't told the Dark Lord the things he saw he didn't know, but a thought terrified him, just how bad could Dumbledore be? Could he be as bad as the Dark Lord? If so, would the Wizarding World even survive?
Ron and Harry walked into Gringotts, swaggering arrogantly. Harry snickered quietly as Ron looked around and walked up to a goblin. Ron looked down at the goblin arrogantly. "I would like to talk to Susie, please," he demanded coldly.
The goblin looked up at him and sneered. "There is no one here by the name of Susie."
Ron arched an eyebrow and glared at the goblin. "Are you telling me that you have no one here by the name of Susie? Are you lying to me, little man?"
The goblin gasped, his face outraged. "Little man? How dare you!"
Ron straightened to his 6'3" height and glared at the goblin. "I dare, little man, because I know you're lying to me about Susie. Yesterday a friend of mine told me about a goblin, named Susie, who worked here. He told me that the goblin had name issues and that my friend was kind enough to name him. He then told me that the goblin lied about not having a name, therefore hurting my friend's feelings. I am here to demand satisfaction. I would like to speak to Susie, now, or I swear to Merlin I shall cause a scene of untold proportions," Ron informed him while glaring at the angry goblin.
The goblin growled, his expression furious. "I have told you already, wizard, we do not have a goblin working here by the name of Susie," he stated furiously.
"LIAR!" Ron roared. "Is this how you run your business? Do you often lie over such a simple thing as a name? What else have you goblins been lying about? The safety of the bank, or the amount of money in our vaults? Why I even heard there are actually two speeds on your carts, but you tell the Wizarding World that there is only one," Ron paused, and then gasped dramatically. "Are you really even goblins? Are you lying about that?" Ron wailed loudly.
The goblin looked around frantically, noticing that the other people in the bank were watching and listening to them. Realizing that it would not be good for business if the wizard continued on, he hurriedly told him that he would find Susie. Ron glared at the goblin suspiciously. Finally, with an indignant sniff, he nodded. "Very well, but you had better not be lying about that." With a nod, the goblin rushed off, looking over his shoulder at Ron with a look of fear.
Ron could hear Harry chuckling behind him. He looked over at his friend and in a low voice said, "Blimey, Harry, now I know why you do all those stupid things when you're bored. This is fun. It's a good idea, changing our glamours. Now Susie won't know what hit him." Harry laughed softly and agreed.
Ron noticed two goblins approaching him. The second goblin stepped forward. "I am Glixx. Is there something you needed?"
Ron looked him up and down. "I'm not looking for a Glixx; I'm looking for Susie."
Ron watched in fascination as the nose on the goblin's face twitched. "Sir, I'm afraid there is no Susie working for us."
"You lie. My friend was here yesterday and he told me that a Susie insulted him. Now, are you Susie?" Ron asked.
Ron raised finger and said, "Eh...no, unless you're Susie you can't speak. Now, are you Susie?"
"Sir as I have said before..."
"Are you Susie?" Ron asked slowly.
"Sir, if you..."
"Are you Susie?"
This continued the conversation for several moments before the goblin broke and yelled, "YES, FOR MERLIN'S SAKE YES, I'M SUSIE. THERE ARE YOU HAPPY?"
Ron looked down at the heavily breathing goblin curiously. "You know they have potions for your breathing problem, maybe you should get that looked at, Susie."
Glixx froze, looked up at Ron, and then threw his hands in the air. "I QUIT! I can't take the stress! I can no longer work with these crazy wizards. You're all nuts! NUTS, I TELL YOU!" Glixx screamed, ignoring the two goblin guards that walked up beside him. "You make a good goblin go mad. I don't even like wizards," he yelled as the guards hauled him away. The bank became quiet while everyone watched the spectacle. Whispers started when the guards drug the goblin into another room and closed the doors.
Ron looked over at Harry. "Do you think I went a little far?" he asked, concerned. Harry and Ron stared at each other then shook their heads. "Naaaaahhhhh," they said together and began to laugh.
A goblin walked up to them and looked at them with amusement on his face. "Gentlemen, may I be of some assistance?"
Harry looked over at the goblin and grinned. "Biletooth, my friend. We're here to see my vault."
"Very well. Before you leave, Ghistpok would like to see you. He has some paperwork for you. I believe he was to give them to your house-elf."
Harry nodded in understanding. "All right."
"If you would follow me," Biletooth said then turned and walked away. Harry and Ron followed him down to the stairways and to the cart. They got in and Harry grinned at Ron wickedly. Ron gulped and pleaded with Harry. "Please, Harry, I just ate."
"You ate a couple of hours ago, but because you're my brother," Harry paused and grinned foolishly, "I won't ask Biletooth to increase the speed of the cart."
"Thanks Harry," Ron said, relieved.
Harry nodded and turned to Biletooth. "So, how'd you know it was us? Can you see through glamours?"
Biletooth shook his head. "No, only the offices have spells to see through glamours. We normally have a Witch watching the foyer, but she is off today. The only reason I knew it was you was because you requested Susie. You are the only two wizards who would request a goblin by the name of Susie."
Harry chuckled and said, "Yeah, I guess we are. I think we broke Susie though. I was surprised he quit. I thought money was the way of life for goblins."
Biletooth smirked. "Glixx is pretentious, even for a goblin. He dislikes wizards and can barely tolerate them enough to interact with them. He is very prejudicial. He isn't tolerated much by other goblins, who routinely work well with wizards. In fact, most of the goblins at Gringotts don't like him. His father is the one who got him the job here."
Ron snorted. "Sounds like the Malfoys of the goblin race."
Harry grimaced at the name. He would never forget that with the help of Voldemort, Lucius and Draco killed three people that he cared for, and then framed him for their murders. The cart came to a stop and they got out. Harry opened the door to his vault, bemoaning about the fact that he would have to bleed for his money. The vaults to the door opened and Harry and Ron walked in.
Ron stopped and looked at Harry. "I just had a thought,"
"Did it hurt?" Harry asked with mock concern.
Ron rolled his eyes. "Yes, very funny, ha ha. Seriously, how are we going to find the ring in this huge vault?"
Harry looked around the vault then looked at Ron. "Good question. It's not like we can ask 'where is the ring to block Dark Marks?' and poof a light will show us where it's at."
A bright light flash towards the back of the vault and Harry looked over at Ron, his expression shocked. "No way," he breathed.
"I guess we should go find out," Ron said.
Ron and Harry walked towards the back of the vault where the light was shining. As they passed furniture, portraits, and trunks, Harry decided he would come back later and go through them. They found the light and sure enough, it was shining a small metal jewelry box. They approached the box and looked into it. There were several pieces of jewelry, some necklaces, bracelets, and earrings; there was, however, only one ring. Harry picked it up and looked it over. It was gold and sliver set with an oval black onyx. Sitting in the middle of the stone was a small snake made of gold. Harry could hear a slight hissing sound coming from the snake. It was very masculine and Harry knew that Severus would probably like the ring.
"I'm pretty sure this is it," Harry said.
"How can you be sure?" Ron asked.
"Well, one, the light was shining on it. Two, it's the only ring sitting in the box. Three, there's a gold snake sitting in the middle of the ring and four, I can hear the snake talking faintly," Harry explained.
"Ah, that would do it then."
They stepped away from the pedestal and walked back towards the vault doors. As Harry passed a table, he saw a slight glow coming from a book. Curious, Harry walked over to the table and picked up the book.
"Whatcha got there, Harry?" Ron asked.
Harry shrugged as he gazed at the book. "I'm not sure. The book started to glow as we passed the table. Funny it didn't glow as we were going to the back of the vault." He opened the book and the realized it was a research journal.
Skimming through it, Harry got excited as he realized the journal contained the research on Dark Marks by the man who made the ring Harry was holding. Harry felt giddy; this was something they should read through. Rose said that the man was close to finding out how to get rid of the Dark Mark. He reached the last page of the journal and found a potion recipe. Skimming through the description of the potion, Harry realized that this was a Dark Mark removal potion.
"Ron, I know how to get rid of the Dark Mark," he said with excitement.
"What do you mean?" Ron asked.
"This book is the journal of Tiberus James Potter, the man who made the ring. This is all the research he did on the Dark Mark. At the very end of the journal, he developed a potion for removing Dark Marks. With this potion, we can rid Severus of Dumbledore and Voldemort's Dark Marks."
"Blimey, Harry, that's great," Ron replied excitedly.
Harry continued to read the potion when he came upon a problem. "Crap. We may be a little hasty in our celebration. Apparently, the potion is missing a key ingredient, but Tiberus wasn't sure which one would work," Harry explained, feeling disappointed. He closed the journal and put it in his pocket.
"Well, give it to Snape to read. Merlin knows he's a rather decent Potions Master. Maybe he can find out what's missing," Ron told him.
Harry looked at Ron, amused. "Why Ron, are you complementing Snape?"
Ron shrugged and grinned. "The last nineteen months have shown me that things are not always as they appear. I've learned that those who I thought were friends turned on us and those who I thought were enemies are actually our friends. I've decided to take a different approach to things. I've decided to adopt the wait and see approach."
"Ron, that's rather mature of you. Who are you and what've you done with my brother?" Harry teased.
"Yes, very funny," Ron said.
They snickered and walked towards the door of the vault where Biletooth was waiting. After Harry closed the vault doors, they walked to the cart and waited as Biletooth locked the outer vault doors.
Ron looked at Harry. "Wonder how and Snape and Dobby are getting along."
"I can only imagine," Harry replied.
Concoquo - Latin - to cook, to boil
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