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

Harry was woken by Ginny and Hermione showing up with food the next morning. Fleur was allowed to leave on the conditions that she was being transferred into the care of her family's healer. Her burns had been bad and were only partially healed but her family wanted to get her back to France. Harry bid her a fond farewell and wondered if he'd ever see her again.

Hermione and Ginny were eventually joined by Ron but none of them could stay very long since they all had exams to attend. Harry was a little annoyed that he was missing his transfiguration exam, even if he didn't need to take it. As soon as he was done with lunch Harry pulled out his bag and made it look like he was sorting through books to read. He wrapped his entire bag up in his invisibility cloak, making it disappear entirely. He sat and waited for Moody to show up and open the door to the hospital wing and as soon as the man did, Harry got up, telling Madam Pomfrey he was just going to use the loo.

He disappeared inside, wrapped the invisibility cloak around himself, activated the map and smiled at the second Harry Potter dot currently standing directly outside the door to the bathroom. His future self must have followed 'Moody' into the hospital wing.

Relieved that he wasn't going to have any trouble with his plan he opened the door to the loo and quickly slipped out. His other self slipped inside and Harry quickly hurried out of the hospital wing while his other self stepped out of the bathroom, sans invisibility cloak and returning to his bed. Harry caught a glimpse of himself as he darted out the open door and felt a shudder down his spine. It was never wise to see yourself when messing with time. There were horror stories about people going mad from it. Harry really wasn't sure why a person would go crazy from seeing themselves, especially if they completely understood why and how, and were even expecting it, but he still felt a weird quiver in his magic so he figured that there was probably just some weird magical law about time-travel that just made the whole thing a big no-no.

Twenty minutes later and Harry was limping his way up the stairs in the manor and feeling quite a bit out of breath. He had to admit that the damn spider's poison had left him feeling a bit weak. Just as Harry reached the top of the stairs, he heard the door to the study open and there stood a scowling Tom. Harry ducked his head instinctively but looked up at the Dark Lord through his long eyelashes with an innocent smile.

"Stupid foolish brat."

"I won, didn't I?"

"Have you seen what the papers are saying about the task yet?"

Harry blinked. He hadn't thought about that. "No, but it's probably all lies."

"It damn well better be," Tom growled.

Harry continued to make his way over to Tom, trying his best to minimize his limp but Tom noticed.

"Well they clearly got one thing right. You broke your ankle," Tom said crossing his arms over his chest and giving Harry an angry glare.

"S'not broken anymore. Promfrey healed it up rather nicely. It's only a little sore now," Harry mumbled defensively and looking away.

Tom scoffed and walked over, bending low and wrapping his arm under Harry's armpit and supporting his weight as he led Harry into the study. Harry was rather startled by the gesture but greedily leaned into the older man's side, soaking up the soft warmth of such physical contact. Once inside, Tom pulled out his wand and directed his chair out from behind his desk to the open section of the room and then transfiguring it into a couch. He sat down and pulled Harry onto it, laying him down with his head in Tom's lap. They had only assumed this position on the chaise lounge in the library before, but the arrangement was familiar enough that Harry quickly eased into a comfortable position and raised his injured ankle up onto the opposite armrest of the couch. He sighed happily, enjoying the arrangement greatly.

As was usual, Tom's fingers instantly found their way into Harry's hair.

"You worried me, do you realize that you stupid boy?" Tom said coldly, but Harry could hear something deeper behind the words and they caused a strange warm fluttering to fill his chest.

"Sorry," Harry apologized quietly, but he couldn't refrain from smiling through the words. "It wasn't all that bad. I'm sure that whatever the Prophet said was grossly exaggerated."

"It said that you managed to break your ankle after a battle with a giant acromantula that managed to bite you and then fall on you, crushing you beneath it."

"It didn't bite me so much as one of it's pincers scratched down my side while it fell beside me," Harry said.

"I'm sure," Tom said sarcastically and Harry could tell from the tone of the man's voice that he was probably rolling his eyes.

"I wouldn't of had so much trouble with the stupid spider if it weren't for the damn aggressive weeds in the hedges. The taratal vines grabbed hold of my ankles when I was busy shooting off the acromantula's legs and dug their nasty little barbs in. Tripped me and made me lose my opportunity to properly dodge. I had everything under control until that. It was a stupid little mistake and I know I was an idiot for not realizing what was happening sooner, but I still made it out of there fine in the end and I won with a record breaking time. I completed that maze faster than anyone ever has in the history of the Tri-Wizard tournament. I think that's gotta be worth something."

"It said that you appeared at the entrance to the maze unconscious and hanging onto the cup portkey," Tom said accusingly. "Making it out unconscious is hardly making it out fine in the end."

"I knew the cup was a portkey that would get me to the judges and thus, a healer. I think I did pretty good. I could have passed out before getting to the blasted cup and then the stupid taratal vines would have tried to pull me into the hedge and eat me or something."

Tom made a displeased growling noise in his throat and Harry felt Tom's fingers tighten in his hair for a moment. Finally he heaved a sigh and resumed gently massaging Harry's scalp.

"We have things to discuss."

"Right," Harry said nodding his head slightly in the other wizard's lap.

"Did you ever come up with an alias to use for the summer?"

"I did, actually!" Harry said, his voice perking up. "I was thinking Evan Harris."

"Evan Harris?"

"Yeah, with the last name as Harris, if anyone slips up and calls me Harry in the presence of any of the Death Eaters, they'll think that I was just called 'Harris' and not pay it any mind."

"That's good... I like it. And Harris is a very common name. There are a number of pureblood lines with that name. None are very well connected or have any significant standing, but that only makes it easier for you to disappear into the background without any proper proof of your identify. Very good, Harry."

Harry grinned widely at the praise.

"And Evan?" Tom asked.

"My mum's maiden name. Evans. It isn't too obvious is it?"

"Obvious would have been you going by James or Jim."

Harry chuckled. "Yeah, I figured out right away that using my middle name was out. When Evan occurred to me, I realized I really liked the idea. I mean, me liking it doesn't even really have much to do with it being based of my mum's last name – I actually just really like the name. I think I can be comfortable with going by that name."

"Mm," Tom made an acknowledging sound in his throat and nodded his head. "Evan... I believe I can get accustomed to that. You realize that I will have to use the name most of the summer, correct?"

"Oh yeah, I get that. I think I prefer it. I kind of like the idea of not being Harry Potter for a while."


"Yeah, I mean... Harry Potter isn't really even me. Harry Potter is the Boy-Who-Lived. The Gryffindor Golden-boy. Dumbledore's man. I hate that. I mean, it's like Harry Potter is a character in the wizarding world's favorite fairy tale and they all have these irritating expectations about me. All that rubbish in the tabloids is just another level to it. People don't give a damn about me, they just want to know more about the story of Harry-bloody-Potter. I'm sick of Harry Potter," Harry finished with a disgruntled sigh.

"And you think becoming Evan Harris will help?"

"Did becoming Voldemort and throwing away Tom Riddle help you?"

"Point taken. I suppose I cannot fault you for wanting to create a new identity for yourself. Would you prefer me to start using Evan even in private now?"

"You can call me whatever you like in private. I really don't mind what you want to call me. You know me. You know the real me, so when you call me Harry I'm not Harry Potter, Boy-Who-Lived. I'm just... Harry. But I think it might be nice to be Evan too... In any case, you let me call you Tom, and I love that you let me do that. It just feels... significant," Harry said trailing off in a whisper. "So whatever you like calling me, is fine with me."

There was silence for a minute and Harry wondered if he'd made a mistake voicing his inner thoughts.

"It is significant, pet," Tom said finally and Harry smiled at both the admission as well as the pet name. Tom was doing it more and more lately and Harry found that he really loved it.

They were quiet for another long minute before Tom spoke again. "Tonight I will be calling the Death Eaters at midnight. I would like for you to be here an hour early. Their marks will direct them into the entry hall since that is the only place within the manor wards that will accept their apparition travel. I want you to help guide them into the ballroom as they arrive."

"Alright," Harry agreed easily.

Tom pulled out his wand and with a flick a box floated over from the desk and levitated in the air before them. Tom removed his hands and Harry got the message that he was to sit up. He shifted his legs down and sat up beside Tom on the couch. The older man leaned back and his arm stretched along the back of the couch, stretching out behind Harry. Harry plucked the box from the air and opened it. Inside were what appeared to be fine pitch black robes. He pulled them out and found a chrome silver mask with etched designs into it, laying on the bottom.

He felt his heart stop for a moment before suddenly speeding up tremendously.

It was his Death Eater uniform.

The mask was different though. It was unlike any Death Eater mask he had ever seen before. Instead of a full face mask, it was a Venetian half mask. It only covered the upper half of his face and had a ridge for his nose. It was also silver instead of the bone white masks that he had seen at the Quidditch World Cup the previous fall.

Granted, every Death Eater mask he had seen was slightly unique, but they had all been full-face masks, and they had all been white. He'd never seen one that only covered part of the face. This would leave the lower half of his face completely unobstructed.

"It's beautiful," Harry whispered without even realizing he'd spoken. He looked up and met Tom's eyes. "It's different though."

"You are not merely a Death Eater. Even Evan Harris will not simply be one of my followers," Tom said.

Harry frowned, not quite understanding. "What do you mean?"

"You are to be known as my personal assistant and my... apprentice. The others will be made aware of your special position and rank tonight at the gathering."

Harry gaped at him, too stunned and overwhelmed to know what to say.

"You have done much for me Harry. Your services, loyalty, and sacrifices will be properly rewarded."

"Just being here with you is reward enough," Harry whispered shaking his head.

"And that is just one more reason..." Tom trailed off as his free hand came up and brushed lightly against Harry's cheek. Harry's eyes closed and he tilted his head into the touch, sighing contently.

"Tonight, my return will finally be known by all of my followers. Tonight I take the first step towards rebuilding my army, taking control of the magical world, and working towards my task, and you will be at my side."

Harry let out a shuddering breath as he tried to wrap his mind around that full enormity of that statement and what all it might mean. It filled him with such a powerful emotion and he wanted nothing more than to kiss one of those long slender fingers that were currently caressing the side of his face.

Instead, the next thing either of them knew, their lips were pressed together and they were both grabbing and pulling at each other, trying to get closer.

Heavy shallow breaths, swollen lips, marked flesh and tousled hair was followed by Harry feeling Tom's strong hands grabbing hold of his hips and pulling him up to straddle the older wizard's lap as he remained seated on the couch. Gasping breaths, keening whimpers, and long low moans escaped them as the two began to desperately writhe against each other. Robes were suddenly being desperately removed and buttons were undone as frustrating cloth was shoved to the side. Whispered pleas and names were panted and rhythmically called out as flesh was grasped in a warm, long-fingered hand, and hair was roughly pulled by the other.

Through his heavy lust-filled haze Harry managed to dig into Tom's trousers, grasping hold of the other man's length for the first time. The noise that escaped Tom's throat was euphoria to the younger wizard's ears and he knew in that moment that he could live his entire life with no other goal than to hear that sound again and again and be a happy man.

Harry came hard, panting heated breaths against Tom's neck and holding onto the older wizard as if his life depended on it. The other man quickly followed, muffling his own pleasured grunts in Harry's hair. He had never felt so drawn to one person; so in-tune and connected to one person before. So understood and so cared for. This man cared about him. Worried about him when he was hurt. This man wanted Harry to stand by his side while he conquered the world.

As he held onto Tom, slowly coming down from his euphoric high one thought kept echoing through Harry's mind and it almost gave him pause.

I'm falling in love with you, Tom...

But he couldn't say it. He couldn't say the words because he was just too afraid. Too afraid of breaking his perfect weird thing with Tom. He wouldn't be the one to screw this up. He needed it too badly. He needed Tom. So instead he clung to Tom harder, slowly letting his breathing calm to a normal rate.

The two eventually parted and Tom spelled them clean with a simple flick of his wand. They spent a bit more time discussing plans for that evening and it was decided that Harry would leave his Death Eater robes in the manor. He would put them on when he arrived that evening.

Tom helped Harry down the stairs, frowning at Harry's limp and eventually spelling Harry's ankle numb for him. He escorted Harry to the time-turner room and they shared one last passionate kiss before Harry disappeared inside.

– –

Harry was greatly relieved to find himself released from Madam Pomfrey's evil clutches that even for dinner. His limp was almost gone now and he didn't feel nearly as light-headed as he had earlier. A few extra hours and a few more potions had done him a world of good.

He walked into the Great Hall and the room fell silent for a moment before the entirety of the Gryffindor table began to applaud. Harry stood there, blinking in shock for a minute, trying to figure out what the hell this was all about. The Ravenclaws applauded and Harry saw the Hufflepuffs grudgingly joining in. The Slytherins were clearly above such actions, and in fact, several were sneering at him. It finally registered in Harry's brain that this was because he was now the Tri-Wizard Champion and had won the cup for Hogwarts.

He couldn't help but snort at the show of support the school was now so enthusiastic to show him when they had all utterly shunned him when he had first been forced into this ridiculous circus. He made his way over and sat down on an open bench beside Hermione and across from Ron. Ginny came over and sat down on Harry's other side, beaming at him enthusiastically.

"So Madam Pomfrey let you out early?" Ginny exclaimed.

Harry just looked at them all slightly blankly, still a bit unsure how to react to all of this. "Er, yeah. She let me out." He glanced around at the eager Gryffindors who were all looking at him with a level of pride and smugness that made him want to curse the lot of them.

"So Harry, is it true that you fought against a giant acromantula?" Seamus Finnigan exclaimed from down the table.

"Yes..." Harry said slowly, looking at Seamus funny.

"Is it true that you killed it?"

"Yes, I killed it," Harry said, rolling his eyes.

"How?" Seamus exclaimed.

"I stuck my wand into its head and hit it with a point-blank blasting curse," Harry said slowly in a tone one would use explaining something to a child.

"You got close enough to stick your wand in it's head?" Dean yelped.

"Well this was after I'd cut off most of its legs and it fell to the ground."

"You cut off its legs?" a fifth year down the table gasped. "How?"

"A severing curse," Harry said in a very slow, condescending tone."

"What – diffindo? Diffindo cut through an acromantula's legs?" Another older Gryffindor said.

"No, not diffindo."

"What then?" the same boy asked, as if he couldn't imagine what other spell Harry could has possibly used.

"Uh, I think I used concisus on the spider's legs," Harry said with an exasperated sigh. This was getting old. He wondered if he'd even be able to eat.

"How the bloody hell did you learn concisus?" the boy exclaimed.

"Language!" a female 6th year prefect scolded him, but then looked at Harry with obvious curiosity.

"Er... a book?" Harry asked giving them a look that said 'duh'.

This continued for several annoyingly long minutes before Harry finally had enough and made it none-too-clear that he would rather be eating right then than speaking to any of them, any longer.

As the meal drew to a close Dumbledore stood from his chair and called the hall to attention.

"Attention, everyone! As I'm sure you are all well aware of now, the final task of the Tri-Wazard Tournament was held yesterday evening. Three of the four champions had to be taken directly to the hospital wing after exiting the maze, so no proper awards ceremony could be held during the actual event. And while young Miss Delacour is now resting at home in France, we do have the other three competitors here with us tonight, so we ought to take advantage of what we've got.

"Prior to last nights task, Mr. Harry Potter was in first place with a total of 88 points, Cedric Diggory was in second place with 76 points, Viktor Krum was in third place with 72 points, and finally Fleur Delacour was in fourth place with 60 points. Fleur Delacour and Cedric Diggory were both rendered unconscious and defeated by the foes within the maze and received ten points each for surviving for as long as they did, despite the dangers. Viktor Krum survived the maze and escaped with minimal injury and through the use of impressive spellwork. For his efforts the judges awarded him 40 points.

"And finally, finishing in first place after most skillfully dispatching a nest of young acromantula, a full-grown blast ended skrewt, anti-gravity mist, solving the sphinx's puzzle, and battling a full-grown giant acromantula, and coming to the end of the maze in record breaking time, Harry Potter was awarded a full 50 points!"

The hall burst into cheers, although Harry once again noted the lack of any enthusiasm from the Slytherin table. Although now that he looked closely he realized that Draco was looking at him with a rather odd look. It certainly wasn't loathing, that was for sure. Harry still didn't know if Draco had told his father about Harry's switch in loyalties, although he supposed he might learn about that tonight.

"Thus the standing leaves Mr. Harry Potter in first place with 138 points and the winner of the Tri-Wizard Cup!" Dumbledore called out, grinning and twinkling madly as the hall erupted in another round of cheering.

Harry suddenly realized he was being beckoned up to the front and gave a grudging sigh before standing up and plastering a gracious smile on his face. He walked to the head table and was presented with the cup and a heavy sack full of galleons from Ludo Bagman who seemed to by eyeing the money bag with hungry eyes. Harry held it tightly and kept his eye trained on the man. He also decided to make sure he counted the money before he handed it over to the Weasley twins.

Harry thanked the headmasters and Ludo Bagman and was grateful when he was able to escape the spotlight without having to do some sort of public speaking.

Harry left the Great Hall feeling burned out and irritated with all his new-found fans. Their two-faced-ness only stoked his anger. Did they honestly think that he would so easily forget how they had all treated him when this whole mess had started?

He stayed in the common room for as long as he could stand, but the admirers just kept coming and he eventually escaped up to his dorm room, claiming fatigue from his injuries. At 10:30 Harry secured his curtains around his bed and slipped down into the common room under his cloak. Invisibly slipping out the portrait hole without anyone noticing it opening and then closing was accomplished with a few silent notice-me-not charms.

He made his way down through the school, across the grounds and it was just after 11pm when he activated his portkey and reappeared in Riddle Manor. He could feel Tom's magical energy emanating from the ballroom on the first floor but he went upstairs to the study to collect his robes and mask first. He entered the room and picked the box up off a side table where he'd left it earlier in the day. He smiled to himself at the memory of their earlier escapades and had to squish the images out of his mind as he felt a shudder of desire surge through him. He slipped on the black robes and then slipped the glamor ring onto his left index finger and felt as the illusion took over his form. It was a strange magical effect. The illusion was semi-corporeal. He could feel the changes if he touched his face. He could even run his hands through the long blond hair that now hung from his head. But since he was keyed into his own appearance, if he looked in a mirror, he only saw his normal reflection staring back at him.

Finally he reached down into the bottom of the box and pulled out the silver-chrome half-mask and held it in his hands. It was really quite beautiful. He thought so at least. It had some simple flowing lines etched into its flawless metal surface from each side of the bridge of his nose up over his eyebrows.

Harry conjured a standing mirror with a flick of his cypress wand – his holly wand was carefully stowed inside his bag behind Tom's desk – and he came to stand before the mirror. Slowly, Harry rose the mask and applied it to his face. The masks had a magical sort of sticking charm applied to them that would prevent them being removed by anyone other than the wizard themselves, and the Dark Lord, so all he had to do was place it there and it was secured.

He stared into the mirror, mesmerized by what he saw there. He was still seeing himself, rather than his blond glamored appearance. After a moment of looking at himself in the mirror he pulled the hood of his fine black cloak up over his head, shrouding his face in darkness. The light caught off the chrome mask though, and made it that much more ethereal to see.

He shuddered in perverse pleasure at the sight. He felt powerful and dangerous. He felt like a force to be reckoned with. A force to be feared.

Harry made his way down the stairs and straight to the ballroom. Tom was there – or rather, Voldemort was there. He had already transformed and was standing there in the center of the room in all of his bone-white, hairless and scaled, serpentine glory. The man always felt overwhelming with parselmagic in this form and Harry felt himself grow slightly lightheaded from the power. It was intoxicating and he felt the most insane urge to kiss the man.

He was endlessly relieved that he was still able to be attracted to the man, even in this form, although it did make him wonder if there was something wrong with him. Because – honestly – Voldemort did appear entirely monstrous and frightening like this. There was nothing about him that should be considered attractive by anyone who was sane. Well, maybe his power. But being attracted to his power wasn't quite the same. Harry still felt attracted to him. To Voldemort. To Tom. Harry really couldn't find any logical way to describe what he was feeling, so he gave it up as a bad job and shoved the thoughts from his mind.

Tom was distracted with preparing for the gathering. He'd acquired two more house elves in the last week and they had been working with Mixey to get the manor in spotless condition, and had begun to work their way through the grounds. But that would be a lengthy and on-going process, and it wasn't like any of the Death Eaters would be seeing the grounds tonight anyway.

Harry stood in the ballroom, observing and lending aid whenever Voldemort required it. The Dark Lord spoke, mostly to himself, as he planned over certain things aloud, and Harry added in his opinions when it seemed appropriate. Voldemort didn't give much outward hint to it, but Harry could tell that the Dark Lord appreciated him being there.

Barty arrived at 11:30pm and by 11:45 he had returned entirely to himself and completely discarded the 'Moody' persona and all of it's paraphernalia. He had been confused as to who Harry was and it took Harry a moment before he remembered he had the glamor ring on. He chuckled and keyed Barty into his ring allowing the other man to see his true self. Voldemort also took that opportunity to inform Barty that Harry would be known as Evan Harris from here on out in the presence of any other Death Eaters.

At 11:50 Voldemort drew his yew wand and pressed it to Barty's left forearm, calling his Death Eaters to him for the first time since his return. Barty's flinched minutely and Harry could see beads of sweat upon his brow from pain, but the main smirked triumphantly despite it. Harry felt the leather cuff on his left arm warm up and was suddenly filled with an image of the manor's entry hall. He gasped a bit in surprise but then grinned widely up at Voldemort, who was secretly smirking right at him.

Harry hadn't been sure if his cuff portkey would really be activated along with all of the other normal marks, but found he really liked the idea that it did.

Harry knew what his expected task was and with a quick bow of his head he left the ballroom to wait in the entry hall to greet the Death Eaters as they arrived.

Harry stood there, leaning casually against the archway that lead from the entry hall to the long hall that lead to the ballroom. A few minutes passed before the first sound of apparition popped into the entry hall. The man standing there was already dressed in black Death Eater robes and a white full-face mask that had dark lines carved into it giving the shape the cheek bones and upper teeth of a skull. The person blinked at him in surprise and Harry gave the man a curt nod.

A moment later they were joined by another man. This one's mask was decorated in a fashion that reminded Harry of the restraint masks that were used in muggle asylums with only a small hole for the mouth filled with vertical lines to prevent anything large from entering it. Again, Harry gave the masked man a curt nod as he looked at Harry with a sign of surprise. The two men then looked at each other for the briefest of moment, silently acknowledging each other.

A second later the entry hall was filled with another two pops and two more black robed figures were suddenly there. Again, each one had a unique mask as their only distinguishing feature.

"The entry hall will get crowded quickly, you may start making your way towards the ballroom," Harry said suddenly, causing all of the men to focus on him. There was another pop and a fifth man entered the room. Harry jerked his head towards the archway. "Through there, to the left, down to the end and through the large double-doors. I'm sure you all will recognize the magical signature enough to know where to go."

The group shared a look before silently walking past Harry and through the archway.

After another five had gathered Harry repeated his instructions, sending them on their way. Six more after that arrived almost at the same time and he sent them to follow the last batch. Four more a moment later, and then an additional seven filled the entry hall in the span of ten seconds. Harry was glad he was clearing out the entry hall as fast as he was or else people would have started falling over each other. More and more came and he was impressed by the turnout, but these people had had months of warning.

Finally, at 12:05, Harry called one of the new house elves, a young male named Kibby and had him stay there for any who arrived especially late. He suspected Snape would be the only one he would encounter. Anyone stupid enough to be list late wouldn't be showing up at all. Harry briskly strode down the hall and entered the ballroom.

Voldemort had erected himself an elaborately molded silver, emerald and malachite throne atop a stone dais. As Harry walked in, what looked to be the last of the procession was crawling back from the Dark Lord on their knees and then standing to their feet.

Kissing his robes, Harry realized suddenly. He wondered if he should do it too. Tom hadn't mentioned any such thing, and he didn't mind doing it in the least...

"Ah, my dear Harrissss... come here and join uss," Voldemort said inclining his head and showing the barest hint of an upturned mouth. A small smirk stole its way onto Harry's lips but he mastered his expression and briskly walked across the large space to stand beside Voldemort and knelt down.

"My Lord," Harry said with honest reverence in his voice and a bow of his head.

"Stand, Harrissss and join my other Death Eaterss. You rightful spot is in the front row."

Harry quickly stood and walked over to stand in an opening towards the center of the smaller line that made up the front row. Behind it was a wider curved line that was extending all around Voldemort in a large semi-circle. Harry noticed out of the corner of his left eye that long platinum blond wisps were escaping the black hood of the man beside him and smirked to himself having a pretty good idea of exactly who he was standing beside.

Slowly, Voldemort stood to his feet and stepped down off the dais as he swept the crowd with his piercing red eyes. "Twenty-seven..." he began in a deadly quiet voice. "Twenty-seven of my followers who remained faithful and returned to me when called."

He paused and narrowed his eyes at many of those in the crowd. "Or have you? You have all returned to me now that I am restored to my full power, but not one of you sought me out!" He spat in an quiet angry hiss. "Thirteen yearsss, I was left to wander and not one of you came to my aid..." his voice trailed off and Harry could feel a shudder of fear run through the crowd and he felt a shudder of excitement and eager anticipation crawl up his spine.

"Please, my Lord! Forgive us!" one man from the front row called out as he threw himself onto the floor at the Dark Lord's feet.

"Forgive?" Voldemort's voice went high and angry and his wand was out faster than the eye could register. The next few seconds was filled with the tortured wailing of the masked man's screams as the Dark Lord cast a crucio on him.

Harry realized his voice had become fast and shallow with excitement and a mad grin had spread across his lips as he watched the man writhe, and felt Voldemort's powerful, intoxicating magic, fill the room with such a sudden fervor. The screaming ceased and Harry quickly blinked and masked away his emotions, trying to force himself under control.

"Forgive?" Voldemort hissed in a deadly whisper, speaking into the suddenly thick silence. "For now I may forgive but I will not forget," he spat. "Thirteen years you all lived comfortable lives after publicly denying your allegiance to me. Pleading coercion, mind control, and innocence. You spent your lives in comfort, hiding amongst our enemies and watching as they slowly destroyed our world with their ignorant philosophies and morals. All the while, I was left as little more than a specter, trapped and unable to save myself."

Suddenly the door opened and several heads turned to look at it out of instinct. Harry was sure that many of them were also curious to see who had the gall to show up several minutes late.

"Ah, Severus," Voldemort said, raising a single hand and beckoning Snape forward.

Snape took several steps forward and fell to one knee and bowing his head. "My Lord."

"Rise, Severus," Voldemort said and Snape stood to his feet, several feet from the Dark Lord. "I am to assume that all went as planned?"

"Yes, my Lord. It was just as you anticipated."

"Good. Go to the front line."

"Yes, my Lord," Snape said again as he bowed his head briefly and took a few steps back until he came to stand in a space cleared to Harry's right side.

"Please, my Lord!" the Death Eater directly to Harry's left who he was now positive was Lucius Malfoy, said. "We all want to know. How did this miracle come to pass? What happened to you and where have you been all these long years?"

"Where have I been?" Voldemort sneered quietly. "I have been but an echo of my former self. Stripped of my body and my power. Capable of nothing more than possessing the simple creatures I encountered. I whiled away months and then years in a dark little hole, deep in the Albanian forests. Unable to wield a wand or perform the magic necessary to restore myself, I waited. Waited and hoped for one of my faithful followers to seek me out, but none came." Voldemort's hard cold eyes swept the group again with angry accusation burning through them.

"Why, I asked myself, would none return to my side? Surely they knew better than to actually believe me gone. My followers, who knew of the enumerable steps I had taken to guarantee my continued existence. I, who have gone further on the path to immortality than any other before me! Surely they knew better than to think me gone?

"If not that, than perhaps they had chosen to side with my enemies? To stand at the side of the Light sided sycophants? Perhaps they chose to stand with Dumbledore?"

At this Harry could feel an aura of disagreement and several shifted as if they wished to argue against the assumption, but did not have the guts or the idiocy to speak out of turn..

"Than perhaps they believed that I had actually been vanquished? Destroyed by the child hailed as the Boy-Who-Lived?" Voldemort continued on, glaring at the gathered men with narrowed eyes.

"Do you all wish to know what actually took place that night, more than thirteen years ago?" He asked raising a single hairless eyebrow, questioningly. The group shifted and murmured very quietly under their voices, but none spoke above a whisper.

"It was the magic of dear Lily Potter that did it," He said in a soft voice and Harry saw Voldemort's eyes travel to Snape. "It was requested that I allow Lily Potter to live. It was a request that I saw no reason to deny since the man who requested it had served me well and done me a tremendous service. So when I went to the Potter's home that night, I easily dispatched of James Potter and then followed Lily Potter up to the young Harry's nursery. I gave the woman the option to flee. She did not need to die, and I did not wish to kill her. Little did I know, this would be my final downfall. You see, young, innocent, Light, Lily Potter was secretly a practitioner of the Blood Magics and had enacted a pact with ancient magics I had not anticipated.

"When Lily refused to move aside and died by my hand when it was not necessary, she sacrificed her life in exchange for her son's. It created a protection powerful enough to deflect the majority of the force behind my killing curse. Young, fifteen month old Harry Potter was merely scarred while my very soul was ripped from my body and cast to the abyss. However it was clear that at least one of my experiments into the nature of immortality had worked because I was not dead, when I surely should have been. So you see, my followers, Harry Potter did not vanquish me. He didnothing. He was merely a baby, and nothing more. It was Lily Potter who brought about my temporary fall, and she is dead."

Harry was surprised by how utterly unaffected he was by listening to these words spoken to such a crowd, but it was clear by the short moment when he and Voldemort's eyes locked, that the Dark Lord actually harbored the briefest concern for Harry. The concern behind the man's eyes would have gone unseen by anyone else, but Harry saw it, and he returned a soft, reassuring smile that was banished a moment later behind a blank mask.

Voldemort instantly continued, refocusing on his gathered Death Eaters. "The Boy-Who-Lived is a fairytale. He is a fantasy character, created by the Light, and told to their children as a bedtime story to give them false hope. He does not exist. Some of you are aware that there was a prophecy that I had been pursuing in regards to the Potters. They had gone into hiding and were under Dumbledore's protection because a Seer had claimed that their child would be born with the power to vanquish me."

He paused and the room shifted with anxious anticipation.

"It was all a lie," Voldemort sneered. "The entire thing was concocted by Dumbledore in an elaborate plan to try and have me destroy myself. The Prophecy claiming my fall at the hands of Harry Potter is a lie."

Hushed murmurs broke out but were instantly silenced with a sharp look from the Dark Lord.

"What of Harry Potter, my Lord?" Lucius asked, and Harry could detect that there was something more to that question than was actually spoken. Snape glanced past Harry's position, and looking towards Lucius Malfoy for a moment before looking forward again. Harry knew that neither of them knew who he was and he fought to keep a smirk off his l lips.

"Ah, yes. Potter," Voldemort began slowly. "It is good that you ask, Lucius. This is a matter that I feel is of the utmost importance to discuss with you all tonight. Harry Potter," he began slowly, leaving a pause for dramatic effect, "is not to be touched. Under no circumstances should any of you approach him. Under no circumstances should any of you attack him. I have plans already set in motion regarding Harry Potter and I do not want any of you messing them up by interfering.

"Should I, at any point, learn that one of you was responsible for harming or attacking Potter, without my direct instruction, you will be punished most severely," Voldemort hissed threateningly and his eyes flared with a bright flash of blood red. The gathered crowd shuddered.

"Now back to more pressing matters. As you can all see, I have been back for some time now. I have been making preparations slowly and quietly. My miraculous return, as you asked, dear Lucius, is the result of three faithful followers. Wormtail, step forward!"

Wormtail flinched from his place at the far end of the first row and took a few quivering steps forward as he bowed his head.

"Wormtail was the only one of you to seek me out. He came to me, finding me as I drifted deep in the forests of Albania. It was through his initial aid that I was able to begin setting my plans in motion. But even Wormtail did not seek me out due to loyalty. No. Wormtail came to me seeking protection from those he had chosen to betray. He came to me out of fear." Wormtail flinched again and Harry could hear the lumpy man whimpering under his breath.

"Step back, Wormtail," Voldemort said with an air of disgust to it. "Barty!"

Barty stepped forward from his place four to Harry's right, tall and proud. "Now young Barty Crouch here is a truly faithful follower. He went to Azkaban rather than deny me as his master and Lord. He suffered there for over a year before he was secretly broken out by his dearly departed daddy," Voldemort finished in a mocking tone. "He suffered for a decade but freed himself and came to my aid. He has served me well this last year and has done much for me. He will be rewarded appropriately."

"Thank you, my Lord," Barty said bowing his head low before standing straight and taking a step back into the line.

"And finally, I would like to introduce you all to someone new. Someone who has proven himself loyal and valuable to me in ways that no one else could accomplish. Someone who has done for me things that no one else could possibly do and who has proven himself to me fully and completely.He is young still, but you all will show him the proper ressspect!" Voldemort said in a fierce voice before pausing to trail his eyes across the crowd.

"Evan, step forward," Voldemort commanded at last and Harry took several steps forward, coming to stand directly before the Dark Lord. "I wish to now introduce you all to my apprentissss; Evan Harris." Voldemort reached out and grasped Harry's shoulder, turning him to face the crowd. Harry easily spun around and bowed his head for a moment before standing tall again and looking out over them all.

It was clear that they were all stunned by the pronouncement, and Harry couldn't fully hide the slightly smug smirk that graced his lips as he looked out over the gathered group of Death Eaters.

"Evan will be living here in the manor for the next few months. He will be working as a personal assistant to me as well as attending to additional tasks. If there is any point that you come to the manor to deliver a report or other intelligence and I am indisposed, but Evan is available, you may leave the information with him and he shall make sure that I receive it quickly. Now..." Voldemort paused again, looking over the crowd and placing a hand on Harry's shoulder to indicate that he should return to the line. Harry quickly turned to face the Dark Lord again, bowed his head and took two steps backwards to resume his position in line.

"Quite a few of you have managed to gain positions within the Ministry. For this I am pleased. I wish for you all to prepare as much information about your department, work, the people who you work with, and those who you have influence over and bring it back to me. I will meet with each of you individually to discuss what you bring me.

"Much time has been wasted. While I was left to wander the abyss, the Light has been growing and growing in power. Passing legislation and establishing new departments that weaken the foundation of our society and leave us vulnerable to the muggles. The egregious actions of those idiots who have come into power must be rectified!" he hissed. "We must act swiftly, but we must act in secret until everything has been properly prepared for. This is a war that will initially be waged in the shadows, but once we are ready, we shall take control swiftly and secure it within an iron grasp!

"Our mission is paramount! The wizarding world is in more danger than they realize and it is not by our hands that they shall fall, but by their own! They are slowly destroying themselves and they are taking us with them. We shall all perish by their idiotic governing, when the muggles become aware and decide to act against us. We must gain control of the Ministry and the Wizengamot, and finally we must take Hogwarts. A new day is dawning, my faithful followers. With you by my side, I shall lead our world and restore the great glory to our society!"

The meeting went on for quite a while. Harry was eventually summoned to sit on the stone dais beside Voldemort's throne and to take directed notes. He quickly conjured parchment and a quill and began to note down each of the specific things that Voldemort would lean over and quietly speak to him to, as the Dark Lord discussed things and questioned different Death Eaters individually. Mostly the notes were reminders of things to investigate or to prepare, and objects that would be useful to crafted to serve specific spying purposes.

The back row was dismissed first after they had each been briefly debriefed and then assigned specific tasks. That then left what Harry figured was Voldemort's Inner Circle to stand before him. More things were discussed and more tasks were dolled out. Each person present was expected to prepare several reports on various intelligences and bring them back later. As Harry sat there, scribbling away on the rolls of parchment before him, he noticed several people in front of him eyeing him speculatively, and several eyeing him with contempt. It was clear that there were those among the Inner Circle who were less than pleased with some young unknown coming in out of no where and suddenly being assigned the title of 'Apprentice'. The idea of the Dark Lord taking on an apprentice at all was unheard of and had undoubtedly left quite a few of them bewildered.

The only person among the crowd who was currently keyed into Harry's glamor, besides Voldemort of course, was Barty. Even Wormtail was ignorant to Harry's true identity.

One by one, as the night wore on, the Inner Circle Death Eaters were dismissed until there was only Lucius, Snape, and Barty left standing in the line. Wormtail had long since been sent off to his room. At some point during the lengthy debriefing Nagini had come into the room and she was currently stretched along the base of the throne at Voldemort's feet.

The Dark Lord had just finished giving Lucius his final assignment and it would be the most obvious moment for Lucius to leave, but it was obvious that he was itching to ask another question and yet unsure if he should.

Voldemort smirked at the man's hesitation. "Was there something else you wished to speak to me about, Lucius?"

"I heard a... curious rumor, my Lord," Lucius said, bowing his head lightly and chancing a quick glance towards Snape and Barty.

"Did you now? About what?"

"About Harry Potter, my Lord," Lucius said, once again glancing towards the other two in the room and lingering most suspiciously on 'Evan Harris' sitting on the dais. "Perhaps we could discuss it in private when you are done with the others?"

"That will not be necessary, Lucius. Everyone else that still remains in this room is already aware of that which you are asking about," Voldemort said with a light air of amusement. The startled surprise in Malfoy's unobscured eyes caused Harry to duck his head to hide his smirk. He apparently didn't hide it well enough since Lucius was now glaring down at him.

"I am to assume that your son Draco probably made suggestions to you that Harry Potter said something to him that would suggest that the Boy-Who-Lived had become the Boy-Who-Switched-Sides?" Voldemort asked airily.

"Yes my Lord. I had my doubts to it's validity though. I suspected that Potter might be trying to trick Draco into admitting things he would be best served not admitting to someone like Potter. However Potter mentioned the date of March 20th, suggesting to Draco that on that date my mark would have reacted. It did of course – am I to assume that was the night of your full resurrection, my Lord?"

"That is correct."

"When Draco asked Potter how he knew such a thing, he said it was because he was there for the resurrection..." Lucius said, letting the sentence trail off into an unspoken question.

"He was," Voldemort confirmed easily. Lucius blinked and it was clear, even with the mask, that the man was stunned.

"He... was?"

"Potter has aligned himself with me. He played a crucial role in the ritual that restored my body and magical powers. He is secretly working against Dumbledore, and his switch in alliances must be kept secret at all costs."

"Yes, my Lord!" Lucius said, only barely recovering from his shock. His lips wavered a few times as if he were searching searching for words to speak, but unsure how to properly voice his questions without getting cursed. "H-how..."

"How did Harry Potter end up coming to my side?" Voldemort asked with a slight smirk gracing his lipless face.

"I must admit, my Lord, that I am also desperate to understand how this came to pass," Snape said from Lucius's right.

"Didn't Potter explain it to you when he first approached you for me?" Voldemort asked airily and Lucius's eyes widened behind his mask and darted over to Snape with shock.

"He... did," Snape said slowly. "He said that the reason his name was initially put into the cup for the tournament was your doing. The original plan was to abduct him during the final task and forcefully using his blood in a ritual to restore your body."

"That is correct."

"However he said that through the course of the year he came to several realizations, as well as discovering your plans."

"Again, correct. The realization that the prophecy was false, and that it was an elaborately constructed scheme by Dumbledore in an attempt to destroy me made it obvious that there was no legitimate reason for the two of us to continue attempting to kill each other. We both came to the realization that our efforts could be much better put to use working together to take down our common enemy – Albus Dumbledore."

"Harry Potter considers Dumbledore an enemy?" Lucius asked disbelievingly.

"We are all fully aware of the levels of duplicity that the man is capable of. He is also remarkably skilled at deceiving those around him. Unfortunately for Dumbledore, Harry Potter has had a bit of an awakening, and has learned to see the old man's deceit for what it is. He came to me of his own free will, with absolutely no coercion. He is loyal to me and has served me well so far.

"It is true that he made mistakes, but he was young and being played by a master manipulator. During his first year, when he prevented my acquisition of the philosopher's stone, he had no idea it was even I who was after it, and he was only acting because Dumbledore had secretly directed him to. In his second year, again, his actions cost me an extremely valuable object, and resulted in the death of a thousand-year-old basilisk, however, again – he was merely being used by the old man. He was an extension of Dumbledore's hand. He was being used. I do not blame him for his actions. He was young, naive, and he had been tricked.

"He has repented for his actions against me, I have forgiven him his past misdeeds and he has moved beyond those I have committed against him and come to terms with working under me. He has since proven himself dependable and devoted to me and our cause. I do not question his loyalties to me. You, however, have left me with my doubts."

"M-my Lord! I have only ever devoted myself to the dark cause! I have always and forever been loyal to you first! I –"

"You discarded a powerful magical artifact that was both precious and irreplaceable, for your own personal gain," Voldemort interjected with a harsh, angry, sneer.

"That muggle-loving fool Weasley was trying to push through legislature that would greatly hinder our cause, my Lord. I only ever wished –"

"To humiliate him and discredit him. Yes, I saw that much for myself, Lucius. Whether or not your actions actually had any effect on the bill failing to go through, however, is debatable. I can approve of the goal, however, I left that artifact with you with the expectation that you would guard it with your very life, and instead, you let it fall into the hands of light wizards. Your actions resulted in the diary's destruction, and for that, you will repay me."

Lucius's eyes were filled with barely concealed terror and he quickly shook his head before bowing low. "Y-yes, my Lord."

"Now, Lucius," Voldemort said sitting up straighter in his throne and calling the elder Malfoy to his full attention. "The school term is as good as over, but during the next school year I will be requiring your son's assistance with Potter."

"Of course, my Lord. Whatever you need."

"Bring him here to the manor during the summer so that I may speak with him."

Harry could see the discomfort in Lucius's posture but the man tried to mask it well. "Yes my Lord. I will bring him."

"Good. That is all Lucius. I expect the report from you within a week."

"Yes my Lord," Lucius said as he dipped to one knee and bowed before standing and preparing to leave. Harry wondered how many times that evening he had heard the phrase 'yes, my lord'.

"Evan, escort Lucius to the entry hall and wait for me in the study," Voldemort said then, pulling Harry out of his musings. Harry nodded his head and began to stand up. He had been expecting this. Snape and Barty would finish their Hogwarts debrief, and receive any end-of-term instructions now and Harry would be filled in later.

He rolled up the scrolls he had taken his notes on and tucked them under his arm. He stepped down off the dais and strolled over to Lucius's side. The pair quickly left the room, leaving Voldemort alone with Snape and Barty.

Harry and Lucius walked down the long hall in silence at first, but the silence was broken by Lucius.

"I must admit that my curiosity is beyond peaked about you," he said in a calm conversational voice.

"Oh? And what about me would inspire such curiosity?"

"I don't think I have ever heard of the Dark Lord taking on an apprentice. It is absolutely unheard of."

"Ah, that."

"Yes, that." Lucius said shortly and finally turning his head and giving Harry a sharp look. Harry smirked back causing the elder Malfoy's eyes to narrow.

"It is a position that I somehow slipped into my fluke. I was not seeking out the position, but the Dark Lord desired to teach me."

"He desired to teach you?" Lucius remarked disbelievingly.

"There is much about me that goes unseen," Harry said, grinning back.

"I would assume as much if you were able to catch the attention of the Dark Lord," Lucius said coming to a stop now in the entry hall and giving Harry a long look over. Not that there was a lot of look at since they were both covered head to toe in black robes. Although Lucius's eyes did linger longer of Harry's half-exposed face. The elder Malfoy was clearly intrigued by the unique mask, but didn't remark on it.

"Evan Harris, was it?" Lucius asked, conversationally.

"That's right."

"You wouldn't be related to the Tutshill Harris's or perhaps the Portree Harris's?"

Harry just gave the other man a small smirk and remained silent.

"Hm," Lucius huffed quietly before pulling his cloak around him better. "Well I suppose I shall be off."

"I suppose you shall. If you come to the manor often this summer, we shall probably see much of each other."

Lucius rose a single eyebrow before narrowing his eyes. He gave a curt nod before apparating away. Harry smirked and chuckled lightly under his breath before turning and heading up the stairs to wait in the study.

– –

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