Descent into Darkness

BY : Athey1024
Category: Harry Potter AU/AR > Slash - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 69307
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter, nor any of the characters from the books or movies. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.


 



Disclaimer: Don't own Harry Potter. JKRowling does.



First Beta Pass by Clemex



– –



On Monday, during his visit to Voldemort's manor, Harry succeeded in apparating across the ballroom, once. He was a bit off on his destination – missing his intended spot by about five feet, but for his first successful attempt, it wasn't bad.



As he was preparing to leave, Voldemort informed him that once he had apparition down, the two of them were going to begin dueling lessons and discussing the magical theory behind the dark arts. Harry just stared back at the dark lord with a dropped jaw and stunned silence. The Dark Lordwanted to teach him dueling and dark arts?



After a scathing scolding about looking like an idiot and being instructed to pick his jaw up off the ground, Harry was dismissed and used the time-turner before using the portkey back to Hogwarts.



Harry used his cloak to slip back into the school, the same as he did every day after his lunch-time visits to Voldemort's manor, and met back up with Ron, only a minute after his earlier self disappeared into a bathroom. The pair made their way up to Divination, and with each step Harry felt his anticipation growing.



He was going to try Voldemort's suggestion today, and he couldn't help the feeling in his gut that he was actually going to get somewhere that day. He scolded himself for being stupid enough to get his hopes up, but couldn't quite manage to squash the feeling away.



As the class gathered in the room, it became obvious that the smoke scrying section was done because Trelawney had rearranged the seats again back to their usual places and the big fire pit in the center of the room was gone.



When she called the class to attention, Trelawney began a long-winded talk about using the inner eye to see into a person's soul that Harry was quickly tuning out.



"The Human Aura is made up of seven main Human aura's which extend up to four feet from the Human body. These aura's all occupy the same space at the same time, each Human aura extending out further than the previous aura. All Human aura's are interconnected and reliant on the others for normal function," Trelawney was saying in that annoying low 'mysterious' sounding voice she used.



"The astral human aura extends about eight to twelve inches from the physical body and appears as brightly coloured rainbow clouds. The astral human aura is the bridge between the physical world and the spiritual world.



"The mental human aura extends about four to eight inches from the physical body and is usually a bright shade of yellow in colour. Within this Human aura are our thoughts and mental processes. The more active our thinking processes the brighter our mental Human aura becomes. Within this Human aura can be found thought forms. "



Harry tuned out her lecture, choosing instead to try catching the professor's eye and see if he could maintain eye contact long enough to slip inside her head for a quick look-around. Unfortunately, Trelawney didn't seem terribly interested in looking at him at that moment, and just kept right on talking and talking about different auras and how many inches they existed from the body, as if that meant something to any of them.



About twenty minutes later, she told them to partner up, and cut off all lighting in the room except for the 'natural light' that came in through the windows, which still had thing hangings draping over them, giving the room a rather dim look.



Harry sighed heavily and turned to face Ron. She gave them instructions and told them what page to turn to in their textbooks before telling them to start.



Ron said he was too confused and insisted that Harry give it a go first. Harry read the page in the book, since he hadn't paid any attention to Trelawney's annoying ramblings. Finally he focused on Ron and gave it a go.



"Let's see... well... I think for the Etheric Aura I'm seeing er.." Harry looked down at the book before looking back up at Ron. "Delft blue? That means you've got strong ethics. A strong deep blue also suggests that you're in good physical health. I think. For your Mental Aura I'm seeing... sort of a sienna color I'd say." Harry looked down at the book and then had to hold back a bark of laughter.



"Whut?" Ron asked, seeing Harry's expression.



"Oh um... well, the book says that Raw Sienna indicates poor thinking process," Harry mumbled through the tight grin he was trying to force off his face.



Ron snorted and rolled his eyes. "Whatever. What's next?"



"Um, well, your Etheric Template Aura looks purple... like grape, I guess."



"What's that one mean?"



Harry looked down at the book and then flipped the page.



"Er... Laziness."



"Pfft," Ron said, rolling his eyes again. "Next?"



"Well, your Ketheric Template Aura looks like Amber," Harry continued and then referenced the book again. "Ah. That one means strong personal courage."



Ron grinned at this one. Another minute and Harry had gone through all the different auras for Ron.



"Alright, alright. Let me do you," said Ron. He sat forward and skimmed over the book page one more time before turning his focus on Harry.



"Alright your er... Etheric Aura issss...kind of maroon-ish." Ron looked down at the book. "That means self empowerment. Your Emotional Aura is sort of like carmine. And the book says... carmine is for people seeking change. You seeking change, Harry?"



Harry shrugged and Ron moved on. "You're mental aura is... sort of like mustard, I'd say." Ron looked back down at the book and flipped to the next page where the list continued. He frowned and screwed up his face. "Well that's not right."



"What?" Harry asked, hesitantly.



"Says Mustard is usually seen on people who are really manipulative. Pfft. This stuff is such rubbish. Moving on," he said dramatically and flipped back a page. "You're uh... Etheric Template Aura is... sort of a light yellow-green. Like lemon-green." Again he consulted the book, and again he frowned at it before rolling his eyes.



"What?" Harry asked.



"Well, it says that lemon-green is for people who are cheats and liars. Maybe it's more like pale green? That's spiritual advancement. It's definitely not iridescent green, and that's for friendly people. Ah, here we go. Lemon yellow, that's strength of direction. That sounds more like it."



"Heh... yeah," Harry said, feeling a bit more wary by the minute.



"Aaandd... your Celestial Aura is..." Ron trailed off before screwing up his face a lot. "I've got to be reading this one wrong. Oh... oh, well maybe not."



"What?" Harry asked, feeling rather unsettled.



"Well it looks... black."



"What's black mean?"



"It says that there are two types of people who end up with black in their celestial aura. Um... well, murderers, and people who've really hurt other people, or who have it in them to kill people –"



Harry's eyes went wide and for a moment he thought his heart had stopped beating.



"– and people who've been either abused a lot or tortured," Ron finished, looking back up at Harry, hesitantly.



Harry blinked at Ron, holding a neutral expression on his face. "Oh."



"Er... yeah," Ron mumbled before clearing his throat. "Anyway, this aura stuff is rubbish. Think that's sufficient to get Trelawney off our backs?"



"Yeah, just don't tell her that you saw black on mine. I'm sure she'll find some way to interpret that to mean I'm going to die a horrible death under the cruciatus or something."



Ron snorted.



Harry and Ron both started to write down the notes from what they'd 'seen' during the class exercise, and Harry sat there, waiting for Trelawney to come over to speak with them.



Harry made sure to write down as much detail as he could from what he'd 'seen' of Ron's various auras so that he'd have a lot of stuff to say to her once she got over. Finally she left Lavender and Padma's group and came over to where Ron and Harry were sitting opposite each other.



She asked them how their reading went and Ron said a little bit, but was vague and mumbly. Trelawney was less than impressed and turned on Harry rather quickly. The second she made eye contact, Harry slipped into her mind and began a furious search for anything pertaining to the prophecy that he had personally witnessed the previous spring.



His search turned up instant results, much to his surprise and elation. He found the memory of her speaking the prophecy about the servant returning to his master and could tell right away that it had a very different feel to it than the rest of her memories that he'd breezed through. It was like it was on a different wavelength, and it was buried under a layer that her conscious mind didn't quite see. Harry slipped away from the prophecy memory, but stayed in the same general location of her mind and began to look for other memories that had the same strange feeling to it.



He was glad to discover that there weren't a lot of them. Trelawney obviously didn't make legitimate prophecies very often, and it was obvious that most of those that she did make were done when alone and there was no one around to even hear them.



Finally he came across one of the prophetic memories that took place in a very familiar setting. Dumbledore's office.



It was in Dumbledore's office. Not the pub. In fact, none of her memories of actual prophecies took place inside the Hog's Head. He pulled the one in Dumbledore's office to the forefront and quickly began to watch it. It began with Trelawney going rigid and her voice becoming suddenly very gravely. Dumbledore sat up to attention, suddenly watching her with far more interest than his demeanor a moment earlier had.



She began to speak –



The only one with the power to match the Dark Lord approaches...



Born to those who have thrice defied him,



Born as the seventh month dies...



The Dark Lord will come for him and mark him as his equal.



He will –



"Harry?"



Harry blinked and gave a start at suddenly being jerked from Trelawney's mind.



"Are you alright Mr. Potter?" Professor Trelawney asked as she peered down at him with her enormous, magnified eyes.



He quickly tried to slip back into her mind; desperate too see what came next, but she looked away and he cursed her in his own mind, as he wished he could do it in reality.



"You just zoned out there for a minute," Ron was saying, "You were talking and then you just sort of... stopped. Are you sure you're alright?"



Harry fought the urge to snap at the red head and forced a calm smile on his face. "Yeah, I'm fine. Just sort of out of it today. Not getting enough sleep, I guess."



"You're not having nightmares again, are you?" Ron asked in a whisper as he leaned in closer.



"No, no. Nothing like that. I'm fine, really."



Harry turned his head and watched as Trelawney walked over to Dean and Seamus and began to speak with them. He realized he was clenching his jaw in frustrated anger, and he could feel his magic beginning to boil deep within him, furiously. The urge to curse something, violently, was roaring in his head, and he knew he needed to calm himself down quickly, or he might loose control of himself. He was so frustrated! He had been so close! So fucking close!



He needed to calm down. He needed to relax. He closed his eyes and tried to slow his breathing and push his angry magic back down inside.



It wasn't working.



He took another deep breath, trying to remember what it felt like to have Voldemort's fingers combing through his hair, and as soon as he successfully brought the memory to the surface, he felt some of the tension leaving him.



He continued to focus on the imagined feeling of long slender fingers trailing across his scalp, and the steady sound of the Dark Lord breathing during his meditation exercises and Harry finally felt like his head was clear enough to think again.



One thing was for sure, that prophecy was not the exact same as the one that Voldemort had heard. He'd also gotten one more line from it than Voldemort already knew. And the Dark Lord will come for him and mark him as his equal.



Mark him as his equal? Well, Harry was marked. That was probably referring to his scar. And while Harry held no delusions about being a magical equal to the Dark Lord, there was the fact that Harry possessed a portion of Voldemort's soul. Did that make them equal on some level? Since the soul and the scar were connected, perhaps that's what that line was referring to?



He needed to get the rest of it! He was going to have to find an opportunity alone with Trelawney and force some sort of situation where she couldn't get away from him until he'd gotten everything he needed from her mind.



Harry decided to visit Voldemort again later that evening and ask him for any advice. He could sense that he was on the brink of something huge, and now that he knew he could actually get it from her head, he wasn't going to give up until he had what he wanted.



The frustrating part was that he was going to have to wait a few hours because his earlier self was still at the manor, at that very moment, not having even apparated for the first time yet. Harry couldn't return to the manor until after his earlier incarnation had left, because there couldn't be two Harry's there at the same time.



Harry refocused, or at least tried to refocus on the class work. He spent the remainder of the class trying, repeatedly, to make eye contact with Trelawney, and not once succeeding in getting into her head. It was exceedingly frustrating.



After class let out, Harry and Ron made their way towards the Great Hall; meeting up with Hermione in the hall on the way. Harry stabbed at his food angrily while checking his mechanical wristwatch every few minutes, practically counting down to the time he had left the manor earlier.



"Harry, are you alright?" Hermione's voice came through, drawing his attention away from the mutilated potato on his plate.



"Huh? Oh yeah... just... tired."



"You seem really... distracted," she said, hesitantly.



"I just..." he foundered, his mind was too jumbled and preoccupied to come up with convincing lie to tell her. "I don't know what's up. I just feel antsy," he said, ducking his head and scowling at his watch again. Fifteen minutes...



"You know... I think I really just need to go for a walk. I need to clear my head and sort out what's eating at me. Do you guys mind?" Harry said, giving them a pleading, apologetic look, hoping it would keep them from getting too suspicious.



Hermione and Ron shared a Look, but then turned back to Harry and nodded. Hermione looked worried, but didn't say anything else. Harry packed up his bag and stood to his feet. He would start walking around the grounds towards the edge of the wards and portkey to the manor as his watch showed it was the same time that it had been when he'd entered the time-turner room, several hours earlier.



– –



Voldemort watched as Harry Potter disappeared into the time-turner closet and felt the exact moment the boy's magic disappeared from the manor. He had been impressed with how fast Potter picked up on the various lessons he had taught him. Once things had been explained to him properly, he could catch on quite quickly. He still had trouble wrapping his mind around some concepts, but he had an instinctive control over his magic, and once he started to understand the ideas, the magic obeyed his will without any resistance.



His development and control was on par with Voldemort's own education during his teen years. Faster even, but of course, Voldemort had had to teach himself most of these things when he was younger. Potter had the advantage of a proper instructor, so it was understandable that he would be catching on quicker.



Three lessons and Potter had already managed to appratate.



Voldemort grinned to himself before pausing and frowning. Was he... proud, of the boy? He was. How odd.



He turned and began to make his way up the stairs towards his study. Mixey would have dinner ready soon, and he wanted to get a few things done before –



The thought was suddenly cut off by the sudden reappearance of Potter's magical energy and the sound of a portkey popping in from behind him. He turned around and found Potter standing there with that wrinkled pucker in his forehead that he got when he was frustrated. The look was instantly replaced with a huge relieved smile as he noticed the Dark Lord standing there at the foot of the stairs. The intensity of the boy's smile, and the foreign feeling it inspired in Voldemort's chest, shocked him for a moment.



He quickly squashed it and gave Potter a questioning look.



"You're back awfully soon," he observed suspiciously.



"It drove me crazy having to wait until I knew my other self had already left. I got into Trelawney's head today in class! I found the prophecy but the bloody bint blinked and turned away from me before I could hear the whole thing!"



"You found it?" Voldemort exclaimed.



"Yes! It was there! But there is definitely something seriously fishy going on. I found it in the section of her subconscious where her mind stores all of her legitimate prophecies, and it had the exact same feel to it that the memory of the prophecy I heard last year about Wormtail, so I know it's real. The thing is that it was not in the Hog's Head! It was in Dumbledore's office! And the portion of it that I did manage to hear wasn't exactly the same as the one your Death Eater overheard. It was really close, but some of the wording was different."



Voldemort had to take pause at this. What did it mean?



"In what way was it different? Tell me the exact wording."



"Okay, it went, 'The only one with the power to match the Dark Lord approaches. Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies. The Dark Lord will come for him and mark him as his equal. He will... and then I got ejected from her head by bloody Ron Weasley yelling at me. Trelawney blinked and then moved on to the next group. I wanted to curse the hell out of both of them."



Voldemort had stopped paying attention to Potter's grumblings as he went deep in thought over the changes to the lines. "The power to match the Dark Lord, not vanquish... interesting..."



"Yeah, I know! What the hell do you think is going on? You said you were positive that the one your spy had overheard was legitimate, but this one wasn't in a pub, and the wording is different."



"That last line is interesting too... mark you as my equal... well, I suppose its fairly obvious what that's referring to."



"My scar, and your soul."



"Precisely."



"I need to figure out a way to go digging through her head without interruption and without garnering suspicion. There's no way I can wait till next class. I'll go mental if I have to wait a whole week."



Voldemort looked thoughtful for a moment before speaking again. "Have you ever used any memory charms?"



Potter blinked. "Like obliviate? No. I've never really had the opportunity try it out."



"Perhaps you can pay her a visit in her office, and use a compulsion spell to get her to sit still long enough for you to have a nice thorough dig through her addled mind. When you've gotten what you need, simply obliviate her and tell her that you came and asked her for help with some assignment, she helped you and you're done. Simple as that."



Potter stood there looking thoughtful as he considered the Dark Lord's suggestion. "I could try it. I was hesitant to do anything that extreme against a member of the staff... I was afraid it'd get noticed."



"Were it any other teacher, I'm sure it would, but that woman is an incompetent idiot. The only reason that Dumbledore has kept her in his employment is to protect her from me."



"Okay, but I've never cast that sort of compulsion charm on someone before. I've cast Pareo on someone, but that's a fairly powerful dark obedience spell, and I didn't think I could get away with that one inside the castle wards. I've put some simple compulsion charms on letters that I've sent my muggle aunt to force her to actually answer my questions, but that spell only works when cast onto an object, not something I could cast directly onto Trelawney... although, I suppose I could just put that charm on a piece of parchment and hand it to her... then I don't have to have my wand out and put her on her guard."



"Either way. I could easily teach you how to do the other types as well. You really should know how to perform a few different compulsion and control spells."



"I get the theory and I know the spell for a standard compulsion charm, I just haven't had any way of practicing it. I was hesitant to try out any spells like that in a risky situation without knowing if I could properly cast it or not."



Voldemort looked thoughtful for a moment before a wicked grin spread across his thin lips.



"WORMTAIL!" He bellowed loudly. Potter jumped slightly at the sudden yell, but Voldemort noticed that the boy's expression quickly shifted to one of amusement and gleeful anticipation.



A few second later a sputtering, chubby, balding, man came jogging down a corridor looking anxious and worried.



"Yes, my Lord?" He said, as his eyes darted back and forth from the Dark Lord to Potter with suspicion and fear.



"You will aid us tonight. I need to instruct Potter on some spells so he can retrieve something for me."



"Yes, my Lord. Anything you need," Wormtail cowered as he dipped his head.



"Good. Potter, Wormtail, come," Voldemort said as he began to briskly stride towards one of the empty rooms that he and Potter had used a number of times for spell practice.



Potter followed with a rather menacing grin spread across his face, and Wormtail's look of worry only seemed to grow every time he glanced over and saw it.



"What are you smirking about, brat?" Wormtail hissed under his breath as they continued to walk forward. Voldemort was a good five feet ahead of them, but he heard the remark anyway. His eyes narrowed as he glanced over his shoulder as he considered reprimanding his servant for his snark.



Potter's grin only grew wider. "You're going to being playing 'lab-rat' tonight. I just think it's rather appropriate," Harry said, airily. Wormtail bristled and looked as if he were about to try and retort something, but Voldemort reached the door, opened it and turned to glare at the short fat man. Wormtail was instantly cowed by the look and remained silent.



"This shouldn't take long. I suspect Potter will catch on quickly enough," he said as he turned from them and entered the room. The two followed; Potter with a confident gait and Wormtail with a hesitant cowering step.



The lesson progressed smoothly enough. Wormtail was understandably hesitant to allow the two of them to throw compulsion charms and obliviates at him, but he wasn't about to go against his Lord's direct orders, so he submitted, just as Voldemort knew he would.



Mixey interrupted them twenty minutes in, informing them that dinner was ready. Voldemort allowed Wormtail a 'break' to told him to go eat his dinner in his room, while he and Harry took their meals in the dining room.



Potter was entertaining in his enthusiasm. He was fascinated with how the different types of compulsion spells worked and the way the magic felt to cast. The more the boy spoke of how his magic 'felt' to him, the more intrigued the Dark Lord was. Very very few wizards were as in tune with their magic as Potter was. The way that he, himself, was. It seemed that their magics worked very much the same way, which made the line about being equals from the prophecy that much more curious and intriguing.



After their meal, he called Wormtail back into the room with them and had Potter try his hand at the Imperius curse. He couldn't use it on the Seer, because the school's wards would detect the use of any of the Unforgivables, but it was important that the boy know how to perform it anyway.



The second Potter had cast the spell correctly – which also happened to be his first try at it – the Dark Lord was once again impressed with how adept the boy was the darker spells. He almost always got them on his first attempt. He watched as Potter's eyes glazed over a bit and rolled up into his head as a look of elated euphoria spread across his features for a fraction of a second. Potter recovered quickly enough and his face was covered with a wicked grin.



"Merlin, I love that feeling," he said while a small giggle erupted from his chest.



"Feeling?" Voldemort asked curiously as he watched the boy's behavior. He was beginning to form some suspicions about the boy's magic and it was slightly concerning.



"The Darker spells... they... effect me, I guess," Potter said, pulling himself together and doing a few deep breaths to compose himself. "It's kind of crazy. I mean, in the beginning, when I first started playing around with the Dark Arts, I would totally lose myself to this sort of... crazed madness.This... euphoric haze of insanity, I guess. But it feels bloody amazing. It's indescribable. Anyway, your bit of soul inside me? He told me I needed to keep practicing so that I could gain control over it, so it wouldn't control me so much. That's one of the reason I made myself do exactly one hour of practice every evening. But no more than that. Only one hour. I wanted to do more, but he – your er... soul – he told me that restraining the amount of time I did it was part of gaining control."



Voldemort nodded thoughtfully. It was still strange to him at times to think that the portion of his soul locked within Potter actively communicated with the boy, but he was glad now that it had. There was no telling what the boy's mental state would be at the moment if he hadn't reigned the madness like that. The boy was clearly addicted to his own dark magic, but he seemed to have it relatively under control. Voldemort himself had had to deal with a dark addiction in his youth, and it took him considerably longer to get a handle on it. He was going to have to take this into account once he really began the boy's dark art's training.



Potter refocused his attentions on the Imperiused Wormtail and began forcing him to do various acts of self-humiliation, while giggling maniacally. The boy was extremely amusing to watch.



Potter lowered his wand and his giggles subsided with a content-sounding sigh. "Well, I've now officially earned myself three life sentences in Azkaban," Potter said with a chuckle.



Voldemort looked over at him and rose a single curious questioning eyebrow. "What exactly is that supposed to mean?"



"Well, it's a life sentence for every one of the Unforgivables, right?"



"You've cast an Unforgivable before?" Voldemort asked, his interest peaked.



"I didn't tell you about Skeeter?"



"Skeeter?"



"Ah, I guess I didn't. Do you know who Rita Skeeter is?"



"Isn't she a reporter for the Daily Prophet? There's been several articles in it lately reporting that she's... missing?" Voldemort ended with a slowly appearing smirk.



Potter's grin began to grow again. "Yeah. She's the nasty bint who wrote all those articles on me. She's also the one who outed me to the whole bloody world. Thing was that I just couldn't figure out how the hell she found out. She practically quoted a conversation I had with Fleur Delacour, but she and I had been totally alone at the time, and I read Fleur's mind later on to confirm that she hadn't been the one to run her mouth off.



"Right after the second task, I saw this big ugly water beetle in Hermione's hair and snatched it up, intending to flick it away or just squish it. But as soon as I touched it, I sensed a wizard's magical aura, so I stuck the beetle into a small magical container and kept it in my pocket till I could investigate it.



"Long story short, it turned out that Rita Skeeter was an unregistered animagus, and her form was that of a small beetle. No one knew she was at the school, or that she could turn into a tiny bug, so I figured there was almost no risk at all of anyone ever connecting her disappearing to me. So I took the little bug down into the chamber, forced her back into her human form, and used her as my own personal test subject. There were so many dark spells I'd been dying to try out on a real, living, person, but I hadn't been able to. Throwing spells at a giant dead snake is only so fulfilling. After a while it's just not very satisfying anymore." Potter ended with a bit of a pout and Voldemort barked a small laugh.



"So you used an Unforgivable on her?"



"Two. I used crucio a couple times, and holy shite what a rush! I can't even describe how... wow that was. I can see why it's so damned popular."



Voldemort smirked. "Yes, I've always been extremely partial to that one.



"Yeah, well, I basically just kept throwing stuff at her until she was no longer recognizable, and when I was finally satisfied that I was done with her, I used the killing curse. Worked on my first try."



"You're lying."



"Nope. I swear to Merlin, I got it on my first go."



"Smug little prick."



"How many times did it take you to cast the killing curse properly?" Potter asked, with legitimate curiosity in his eyes.



"My second casting."



"That's still bloody amazing. I mean, everything I read made it sound like I'd have to cast it dozens of times before I even got close to casting it properly."



"Most are unable to cast the killing curse. They simply do not have it in them."



"Well, you and I clearly do," Potter snickered.



They resumed the lesson and by the end of the hour Voldemort was sufficiently pleased with Potter's progress. He was sure that Potter would have no problems in getting the prophecy from the Seer now. He dismissed a disoriented Wormtail back to his quarters and walked Potter back to the time-turner room, still speaking the entire way there.



Potter acted as if he were on some sort of sugar-rush and was talking far more than he usually did. It was curious and yet also mildly amusing. His youthful enthusiasm was almost contagious, and Voldemort found himself snickering at the boy's jokes more than he would normally allow himself.



"Hey, if you ever decide that Wormtail has worn out his usefulness, do you think there'd ever be a chance I could obliviate the last year from his mind and hand him over to the Ministry?" Potter said as they walked down the hall.



Voldemort paused and gave the boy an incredulous look. "Why the hell would you do that? I thought that if you ever wanted to do anything with him, you would want to just kill him."



"Well, I'd love to do that too. Hell, I'd really enjoy that. But if I hand him over to the Ministry and can get my godfather cleared."



Again, Voldemort looked at the boy with a sense of confusion.



"And why, exactly, would I want Sirius Black cleared? You do realize that he was one of my more annoying opponents, don't you?"



"Was he really? Well, I guess he was an auror, wasn't he?" Potter said. "I guess, it's just that if he was cleared he could get custody of me and I wouldn't ever have to worry about someone trying to force me back to the Dursley's."



Voldemort scoffed quietly. "I sometimes forget that you're still so young. What does it matter if those fool muggles retain custody? They have custody of you now and yet you have no intention of going back to them. What difference does it make?"



Potter shrugged. "I don't know... I guess it's just sort of residual hope from last spring when Sirius first asked me if I wanted to go live with him. I really don't need, or even really want it much now, but it's still there. Besides, you should see how he's living now. It's horrible. He's literally hiding in a cave, living in rags and filth and practically starving to death."



Potter paused and observed Voldemort for a moment before smirking and rolling his eyes. "Okay, okay! I get that you didn't like the man but you don't have to look so smug about that."



Voldemort rose a single daring eyebrow, which made Potter snort and begin to chuckle.



"I may take your request into consideration, but I pose you a question –" Voldemort began.



"Alright," Potter responded with a nod and giving the Dark Lord his full attention.



"If Black's name is cleared and he gains custody of you, he would expect you to stay with him during the summers, yes?"



Potter looked thoughtful for a minute and frowned. "Yes, he would."



"You can persuade your muggle relatives to permit you to go where ever you please, so you will be able to come stay at the manor this summer, however you would not be able to do such a thing with Black. You wouldn't be able to come here."



"Shit," Potter grumbled and then heaved a heavy sigh. "You're right. Well screw it. Anyway, I guess I should get going. I've already eaten up almost your whole day."



"Yes you have," Voldemort drawled, causing Potter to grin.



"I'll see you tomorrow after lunch," Potter said as he leaned over and hissed the password to open the time-turner closet. "My free period is second block tomorrow; before lunch, so I'm going to try and visit Trelawney then. I don't think she has any morning classes, so I should be able to get in to see her."



"Good. I will expect a thorough report tomorrow."



Potter grinned and nodded his head. "You bet." He turned and slipped inside the closet while waving.



"Goodbye Harry," Voldemort said quietly as he saw the door begin to close. He caught the flicker of surprise from the boy's eyes from the open crack as the door slid closed.



A moment later Harry's magical signature disappeared and Voldemort once again felt that strange empty sensation that something was missing.



He huffed out an annoyed breath and turned away from the room. He needed to catch up on his tasks, so he quickly strode towards the staircase and up to his study.



– –



Harry climbed up into the Divination classroom and looked around. It was deserted, but he had expected as much. He'd overheard Lavender Brown speaking with her friends on several occasions about how Professor Trelawney refused to have classes before noon because of some ridiculous excuse about the inner eye or auras or something, that was really just an excuse for her refusal to get up before ten am.



He had also heard Lavender mentioning the divination groupies gathering in Trelawney's office before lunch for tea and biscuits on frequent occasion.



Harry strode across the divination classroom to the door in the back that he knew led to Trelawney's office. He turned and pointed his cypress wand at the hatch in the floor that was the entrance to the classroom and cast a quick locking spell on it. Next he turned to the office door and gave a gentle knock.



"Come in," came Trelawney's dreamy voice from the other side. Harry pushed the door open and quickly strode inside.



"Morning Professor," Harry said in a smooth, confident tone.



"Mr. Potter?" She blinked at him through her magnifying specs in obvious surprise and confusion before trying to rework her expression. "Ah, I was wondering when you would be coming to see me. I've Seen your desire to visit me for some time now."



Harry grinned. "I'm sure you have." He turned his back on her and pushed the office door closed, As he turned back to face her, he pulled his wand up and pointed it right at her.



"Compellere," he said in an authoritative voice as he aimed his wand at her head and focused his will upon her.



It was a relatively mild compulsion spell, that depended a great deal upon the wizard's personal strength and skill to be truly effective. Because of this, most wizards couldn't use it to force a person to do anything outside of their own reasonable will. This also meant that the spell was only just barely on the dark side of gray. Not a neutral spell, but still low enough on the list to not register with the wards as a dark art.



Harry pressed his will upon her with all his strength and watched as her eyes glazed over and a dumb little smile appeared on her face.



"Good, Professor. Very good," Harry said in a calm soothing voice as he walked over and sat in the chair opposite her desk. "Now you're going to sit there and look me in the eye and you're not going to blink until I'm done. Do we have an understanding?"



"Oh, yes, of course dear. Anything for my favorite student."



Harry made a slightly disturbed face, but pushed past it as he looked into her eyes and quickly slipped inside her mind.



– –




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