Let's recycle some zombies.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. JK Rowling owns all. Don't we all wish we were her?
Summary: The summer after 'Order of the Phoenix', Harry is depressed and angry. And he starts thinking. Is death really irreversible?
After disappearing for a year, Harry has returned, wearing the pins that identify him as a Necromancer. It's time to get ready for the war with Voldemort.
Spoilers for: Books 1 to 5. (HBP never happened. Really.)
Harry noticed Hermione staring at him while he knotted the strings. Each thin, colored rope was carefully arranged and put into its place, sometimes entertwined with small feathers and pieces of glass, or other little things. A web-like shape slowly formed underneath Harry's capable hands.
"It looks like some kind of dreamcatcher," remarked Hermione. "The Native Americans used to make those, to keep away bad dreams."
Harry looked up briefly from his work, and smiled."This is something like that, yes. It's a Soul Catcher, actually."
Ron flopped down on the couch, accidently messing up afew of the strings. "Neat. What does it do?"
Harry carefully put the strings back in the right order, while Hermione rolled her eyes at Ron. "Honestly. What could it possibly do?"
"It catches souls, and holds them. I hope to try it on Voldemort," explained Harry. "I don't want him to keep escaping. But this kind of magic is pretty useless as long as the body is still alive, and it needs aconstant feed of magic when its in use. I should be able to deal with Voldemort's soul easily, though, once his body is gone."
"You certainly seem to know what you're doing,"Hermione commented, eyeing the strings. Harry grinned at her. "Nah, I'm just pretending to."
Sirius entered the room. He held a Daily Prophet in his left hand. He was looking healthier every day, and his broad smile lightened up his face."Congratulations, Harry. You made the front page again." He showed them the front page, that was almost completely filled with a huge picture of Harry as he came out of the courtroom. The small skulls in his black hair glinted even on the paper.
The press had been waiting for Harry, of course, and he'd had a lot of difficulty getting to the Ministry car the Aurors had transported him in. As soon as he'd stepped out of the courtroom a lot of flashes had gone off, and he'd been nearly suffocated by the mob of reporters. The word of what his hair pins meant had gone around quickly, though, and he'd been given a wide berth after that.
He tied the last string and critically inspected the Soul Catcher. After adjusting a few strings he put it down on the table and looked hopefully at Sirius. "Does Grimmauld Place have a laboratory?"
"For potions, you mean?" Sirius blinked. "Not that Iknow of. My dearest family was more into hexes and Dark Curses."
Harry made a face. "I thought so too. Then I'll have to ask Dumbledore if I can use Hogwarts' laboratories."
Ron looked at him with sympathy. "Blimey, mate. Snape isn't going to like that!"
"What do need you a potions laboratory for, anyway?"asked Hermione.
Harry shrugged. "To make a potion, obviously." At Hermione's annoyed look he smiled uneasily, and started babbling: "I know it's rather gross, but Voldemort has an army, and the Order hasn't... You can't really count the Aurors, the Ministry is still too busy weeding out Death Eaters to be of much use, and you know how -"
"You're going to raise an army," Hermione stated.
"So, what graveyard are you going to desecrate?"
Harry sighed. "I'd rather you don't put it like that... Think of it as - er...- recycling?"
Hermione was not amused.
Neither was Dumbledore, when he visited Grimmauld Place and Harry explained why he needed to use Snape's laboratory.
"Harry," he said gravely, "those bodies you want to use, they've been people once. They had friends and families, who would be devastated if they heard the graves had been robbed in such a horrible way. Iknow it is difficult, but you have to look for another way to defeat Voldemort. Have you thought about the possibility that you are mistaken, that Necromancy isn't the power the prophecy spoke of?"
"Then what is it? Love?" Harry deadpanned. "I doubt you killed Grindlewald with hugs and kisses, Professor. What do you think Ishould do to Voldemort, smother him to death?*"
"Harry, you must understand -"
"I understand, alright! I understand that if I don't go into battle prepared, Voldemort's Death Eaters will make mincemeat out of me before I can say 'Quidditch'. There are too many of them for me to handle all at once! I may be protected against the Killing Curse, but there are worse things than death. I won't be of much use against Voldemort if I'm crippled, or in so much pain I go mad. I need that army!" He threw his hands up. "Besides, it's not as if someone's still using those bodies! They're just lying there! If I handle this correctly no one will have to notice the graves are empty."
"Be that as it may, I still can't condone this. You'll have to find another way."
Hard green eyes met blue ones. "The Wizemgamot has given me the right to wield Death Magic in this battle. If you don't allow me the use of Hogwart's laboratories, I'll go to the Ministry and use theirs. But then you won't be able to keep an eye on me and who knows? I might decide Ilike working for them better than I like helping the Order." He paused for amoment, and added: "I promise they'll get a decent burial after all of this is over."
Dumbledore looked into his eyes, hard. "I worry for you, Harry."
"You don't need to. I'm perfectly fine." Harry didn't blink. "Will you please inform Snape I'll be using his laboratory this evening?"
Dumbledore nodded slowly. "Very well," he conceded. "I shall be there also. I am most curious as to what exactly you'll be doing."
"I won't pollute Hogwarts with Dark Magic, don't worry. It's just a potion."
Dumbledore watched him leave the room, presumably to have his lunch. He was still gazing at the door when Molly came through it, and asked him if he wanted to join in. "There's always a seat open at the table, and there's enough food to feed a village, really, Albus, are you sure -"
He declined politely, and ignited the fireplace so he could Floo back to his office. The whole time he couldn't stop worrying about Harry.
He had changed. A lot. To threaten like that... And the casualness he displayed when talking about robbing graves...
Albus Dumbledore decided to keep an even closer eye on the young Necromancer. He was not going to let another Dark Lord rise. The one they already had was bad enough.
Snape wasn't amused either, and his glare could have melted stone. He didn't say a word when Harry entered his laboratory, but he didn't leave either. He merely nodded tightly at Dumbledore when the Headmaster greeted him, and kept on glaring at Harry.
Harry ignored it. He emptied the bags he carried on one of the workbenches, and put the ingredients in the right order. Or at least in an order that felt right.
One of the best things of being a Necromancer was that he worked mostly on instinct. Yes, there were some basic rules you had to follow, and you had to learn some things, but the details were up to you. Every Necromancer had its own way to practise Death Magic. Harry had read somewhere about an ancient Necromancer who'd raised an entire army with only a pinch of salt and a drop of spit. It would take some time before Harry could rise to that level of skill.
It would have been useful, though. Then he wouldn't have to use Snape's laboratory, when the owner himself was trying to glare ahole in Harry's skull.
Harry filled his own golden cauldron with water from the tap.
"Gold, Potter? Is an ordinary pewter one not good enough for the Chosen One?"
Harry ignored Snape's scathing tone. While he sliced some squiggly roots he answered calmly: "Gold is associated with sunrises and phoenixes, among other things. That connection with renewel and rebirth is what I'm looking for. But I don't want them to completely come back, so I need to balance it." The sliced roots made the water a murky brown, which changed to pitchblack after Harry put in some other ingredients. "Necromancy is about death and darkness, yes. But you can't bring someone back with only Death Magic. In a way there's always a life, or a piece of it, that must be sacrificed. That's perhaps the oldest rule in existence."
"I have something better to do than to listen to your babbling, Potter."
"Then why don't you leave? Are you afraid I'll blow up Hogwarts?"
Dumbledore cleared his throat. "Now, Harry, Severus, you're both mature and old enough to stop this silly fighting."
"I'm mature, Snape is just old." Harry looked at the fuming Potions Master. "But you're right, professor Dumbledore. Anyway, I need to focus right now, so please don't disturb me for a while."
"Try not to blow up my dungeons, Potter."
"Oh, I'll try..."
Grave robbing, Harry decided, was a nasty business. He'd gone through all that trouble to dig up seventy bodies, and that was only so he could get started. There still had to follow some creepy incantations, and the vile-smelling potion had to be sprinkled on the bodies, which was all alot of work for seventy soldiers who would fall apart again after a month or so.
He'd picked a small wizarding graveyard barely anyone knew about anymore. There had been a battle, many centuries ago, and most of the people buried here had died in it. Harry was fairly confident most of the dead here didn't have any living relatives who could be angry at him.
He'd also decided what kind of spirits he would summon to 'live' in the corpses. They had to be dead but not passed on yet, so that did narrow Harry's choices, but he thought he could find enough. There were plenty of ghosts around. He was going to summon those with previous experience fighting a Dark Lord, hoping they would at least be sympathetic to the Light. Of course, there were ways to force them into loyalty, but Harry would rather avoid that... It would be a nasty surprise in a middle of a battle to notice your layalty-insuring spells expiring. You'd only have a minute to curse before your own army stabbed you in the back.
Seven rows of open coffins stared at him, together with the eyes of almost the entire order. Moody's eye was especially unnerving.
"Okay, there we go." Harry took a deep breath and began chanting.
An hour, three Callings to Libitina, eight Requests to Hades, and a lot of awful-smelling potion later, Harry stopped reaching with his magic.
The corpses hadn't even twitched.
Well. That wasn't so good.
He scratched his neck. "It doesn't seem to work... How odd."
There was a silence.
"You messed with these people's remains for nothing?"
He smiled a bit embarressed at Hermione. "So it would seem. Err... It's my first time, you know. I really tried."
"Think, Harry. Was there something you forgot? Something you didn't do or say?"
"Not that I know of. I did everything by the book." He frowned. "Perhaps I need a pinch of salt..."
"No thanks, unless you've got some fish an' chips to go with it," someone behind him said. Harry turned to look into a face that was only half there. A maggot was worming its way through the remains of a nose.
Harry swallowed. "I guess it worked, then?"
"Obviously, Master. I must say, it's odd having a body again after floathing around for so many years." The zombie lifted something that, a long time ago, maybe resembled a hand. Before the maggots got to it, anyway. He inspected it. "Not exactly the best housing, but I'll manage. This is temporary, right?"
Seventy others were standing behind him, looking a bit forlorn and waiting for someone to explain what was going on.
"Oh, it's temporary, I promise. I'm not depriving anyone of their eternal peace and stuff." Harry smiled uncertainly. It was unreal, seeing seventy zombies being so... aware. At least Inferi acted the way you'd expect someone with half a brain (literally) to act. Then again, Inferi didn't house intelligent ghosts.
It was, surprisingly, Ron who thought about something that had completely slipped everyones mind.
"Blimey, Harry. Where are you going to keep them?Grimmauld Place isn't big enough."
Harry blinked. The seventy freshly-rotting zombies waited politely. Harry turned, to look sheepishly at Dumbledore. "Well... there's this place far below Hogwarts... You've heard about the Chamber of Secrets, right?"