I was concerned about my Horcruxes. If a Weasley was capable of stealing one of them, then they weren’t nearly as safe as I had presumed. My first instinct was to gather up my poor soul pieces and never again let them out of my sight. Unfortunately, after many hours of deliberation, I decided that I couldn’t risk hiding five Dark artifacts under my bed, at least not with Dumbledore’s keen eyes always upon me. Watching.
Yet, after destroying Diary, I was left with only four Horcruxes, two less than I’d originally intended. For my own peace of mind, I would have to create a new one. Now, I just needed to find someone I wanted to kill.
That shouldn’t be too hard. Used to happen all the time.
I skimmed the Prophet, whose title proclaimed the escape of Sirius Black.
“My right hand man, hm. You think I’d remember something like that.”
I shrugged. I’d certainly forgotten more important things over the past twelve years. Besides, the Blacks were a Dark family, so of course he was one of mine.
It was a pity to lose him. After all, not every minion could escape from Azkaban. That’s the sort of talent that can conquer a nation.
I almost regretted abandoning my previous activities. But not quite.
“Dementors!” I ranted. “What could possibly convince Dumbledore to bring dementors into the school?”
Hermione said, “It’s just to keep us safe from Sirius Black, Harry.”
“Right, right, of course _it is. They’re protecting us from an emaciated, wandless convict who _might want to kill some of us by hiring a hundred Dark creatures that _definitely _want to eat all of our souls. However did I forget?”
Dementors are terrifying. I might have cut up and scattered my soul, but I assure you, I’m quite attached to it.
I really needed to make that Horcrux. Surely no one would miss a Weasley or two?
“The grim!” Trelawney cried, skeletal hands fluttering around her mouth. “You’re in grave danger, Mr. Potter. Very grave danger.”
“I’m always in grave danger,” I said. It wasn’t like I sought out these things, precisely. It’s more that getting what I want often involves dangerous situations, and I happen to be immortal.
“You could die,” she insisted.
One of the Gryffindor girls, probably Lavender, shrieked.
I snorted. “Not likely.”
“I’ve heard you do this every year,” Hermione snapped. “Tell some poor student they’re going to die and scare them. But they never do.”
“Come to think of it,” I mumbled. “Why don’t you ever predict the deaths that actually occur? Like the Perks girl.”
Hermione sighed. “Harry, Sally-Anne moved.”
“Yes, that’s what they told us,” I said, patting her reassuringly on the arm. “Of course, most of those deaths are First or Second Years, who naturally wouldn’t have your class. I imagine you wouldn’t even see them except in the Great Hall…Wait, is_ that_ why you never come to meals?”
“I…” Trelawney was taken aback at my insight. “Yes, I’m afraid that’s true. A prophecy, once spoken, can never be averted you know. And it’s such a terrible thing to see those poor, doomed children. Now, back to your teacups, everyone. I can sense your third eyes fluttering shut!”
“We don’t have Dark Magic!” Ron yelped.
I suppressed an exasperated sigh. “Ron, all pure-blood families have Dark Magic. If you don’t know about yours, it’s because your family doesn’t trust you.”
Horror filled his Weasley eyes. “Why wouldn’t they trust me?”
“You’re the sixth son, Ron. That’s easily three more sons than they need. They won’t tell you a thing until you’ve proven yourself worthy.”
He leaned forward, desperate to learn more. “How do I do that?”
I thought for a moment. “Have you tried asking? That would show that you’re smart enough to know about these things.”
Ron grinned, clapping me on the back. “Thanks, mate. You’re the best.”
A Howler chased Ron out of the Great Hall, spitting smoke and screeching.
“HOW DARE YOU ASK US ABOUT DARK MAGIC! JUST WHAT EXACTLY ARE YOU DOING IN THAT SCHOOL, RONALD BILIUS WEASLEY? WHY, I SHOULD…”
I bit into a piece of bacon, contemplating the very public response. A brilliant ploy. The Weasley matriarch was cunning, indeed.
“Can we go back inside, now?” I whined.
“No,” Ron said.
He had forced me to attend a Quidditch match because I owed him for the Howler incident. The intricacies of maintaining a friendship never ceased to baffle me. I’d usually not bother with such things. However, the boy’s loyalty depended upon his delusion that he was my “best mate,” and it would take months to break in a new Weasley.
I groaned. “But it’s pouring rain!”
“So what? You’re not even wet.”
Hermione asked, “Why is that, anyway?”
“I’m Harry Potter,” I said.
“That doesn’t mean any-”
“Oh, look, the game’s starting.”
Hermione fell into a disgruntled but obedient silence while the players zipped about in the rain.
Quidditch, such a ridiculous game. It’s entirely reliant upon the skill of the seeker, unless one team is ridiculously outmatched, in which case the seeker is superfluous.
Furthermore, the Quidditch games’ points are far too tied into the House Cup, which irked me greatly during my first time as a student. There I was answering questions, acing tests, charming professors, and earning loads of points, only for one clumsy seeker to ruin our chances of winning.
I do not lose.
Therefore, I convinced the Ravenclaw and Slytherin seekers to sit on the field for a week while their chasers racked up so many points that one of our Houses would win even if the teachers blatantly cheated in favor of the others. That was the first year I won the House Cup for Slytherin and the reason that Hogwarts games are no longer allowed to last more than three days.
Pleased at my victory over foolishness, I’d cheerfully gone back to ignoring the sport.
“This is boring,” I said.
Ron’s face wrinkled with the effort of thinking. “What do you mean? Didn’t you see that dive by Spinnet?”
“Yes, yes, I’m sure it was very nice. I didn’t notice because it is pouring rain. It’s also freezing out here.”
Hermione asked, “Didn’t you cast a warming charm?”
“Of course I cast a warming charm.”
“I did, too,” she said slowly. “So why is it so cold?”
I peered through the thick rain and the mist of my icy breath until I finally spotted the cloak of a dementor. I could feel misery creeping into my already frustrated mind, turning the world even dimmer than it already was.
Dementors both cause and feed off of unhappiness. Trying to dredge up happiness in their fog is insanely difficult and bound to work for only a fleeting period.
It’s far easier to grow angry. How dare they make you sad!
That way, they’ll focus on your depressed companions while leaving you alone. If you haven’t escaped by the time everyone else is eaten, you deserve death.
Unfortunately, blinding fury is not conducive to good decision-making.
“Wow, Harry, I can’t believe you charged a dementor!” Ron said.
At the same time, Hermione said, “I can’t believe you would do something so stupid!”
“Dementors have no natural predators, so they have no idea how to react to aggression,” I said. Admittedly, this hadn’t occurred to me at the time, but it certainly explained the creature’s terrified flight.
“It’s a good thing Professor Lupin cast a Patronus before you got hurt,” Hermione continued.
“I could’ve taken it.”
Only thirteen years old and Hermione Granger was already planning her first genocide. While I admired her precocious cruelty – I hadn’t even dreamed of such things until I was at least sixteen – I just had to ask…
“Hermione, why do you hate house-elves so much?”
She poked her head out from under the couch where she’d been hiding a malformed mitten. “I’m sorry?”
“I’m not judging,” I hastily assured her, “just curious.”
“Harry, I don’t hate house-elves,” she said. There was no particular reason for her to lie. It was nearly midnight, and the common room was empty of eavesdroppers.
“I’m not sure why else you’d be doing that,” I said, gesturing towards the hat she’d stuffed under a table leg.
Hermione stood up proudly and proclaimed, “I’m trying to free them!”
I blinked, attempting to make sense of her logic. “…You do realize that house- elves die when you free them, right?”
Impressive actress that she was, Hermione flipped from cheerful to threatening tears in an instant. “W-what?”
“I mean, I sort of thought you knew,” I said. “Free elves just lie down and die. They don’t eat or sleep…”
I’d seen it happen once, and, let me tell you, it was hilarious.
She sniffled. “I, um, didn’t know. I went to the library, but there weren’t many books talking about them. I suppose one book said not to free elves, but it was also full of t-torture techniques and, oh, it’s all so awful!”
She frantically began picking up the knitwear she’d hidden around the room.
I hummed thoughtfully. “Really, I’m not sure why you thought leaving clothes around would help at all. They do our laundry.”
Hermione paused. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
She looked down at the clothing piled in her arms. “I don’t suppose you want a hat or something?”
I chuckled and placed an arm around my minion’s shoulder. “Hermione, not even the house-elves want your hats.”
My classmates are so boring.
Our latest Defense teacher had acquired a boggart – a creature capable of showing one’s greatest fear. But what did it show? The murder of their loved ones? The destruction of all they held dear? My own impressive self, either as Lord Voldemort or Harry Potter?
No, of course not. That would be entertaining. Instead, I had to suffer through ten straight minutes of acromantulas.
Lupin frowned as Ron’s boggart skidded past on roller skates. “Another spider?”
“One killed our last Defense professor,” Hermione informed him.
“It also petrified several students,” I added.
Lupin said, “Acromantulas can’t do that.”
“It was enchanted by Salazar Slytherin,” I said as the boggart morphed into a slightly taller, longer-fanged version of its previous form.
Acromantulas really aren’t that frightening. It wouldn’t have even succeeded in slaying Lockhart if I hadn’t hit him with a tripping jinx at a crucial moment.
Therefore, I decided to add a little interest to the proceedings by revealing my own boggart.
Honestly, I wasn’t certain what form the creature would take. Oh, sure, I had reasonable concerns, such as having my soul consumed by a dementor. Still, none of them would send me into a panic. Even death seemed less daunting after I’d successfully conquered it.
I stepped forward, shoving Lupin aside when he tried to block my path.
The boggart leapt at me, its black legs turning blue and melding into robes. White fangs lengthened into a beard, and the creature’s two remaining eyes twinkled.
“Dumbledore,” I hissed, raising my wand.
He chuckled, a sickening sound. “Dear boy, did you really think I wouldn’t notice?”
I froze. “What?”
“You’re just the same as the Dark Lord was at your age.”
I shrank away, insisting, “No. You’re wrong.”
“Riddiculus!” Lupin said when he noticed my panic.
A dozen tiny bows appeared in Dumbledore’s beard. A few of my more simple- minded classmates started giggling. But I wasn’t so naïve. He had worn his beard in a similar manner during my first raid of Diagon Alley.
“I would have to be a fool not to see it,” Dumbledore said, “and I think we both know I’m not the fool I seem to be.”
“R-riddiculus!” I cried. His robes turned to a pink dress, the frilly hem resting above his wrinkled, hairy knees. But, no, that’s exactly the sort of thing he would wear, hoping to catch his enemies off guard.
He smiled with false benevolence. “Don’t we, T–?”
The boggart fell, eyes dull and maggots crawling from his beard. I laughed hysterically.
“He’s dead,” I gasped. “Oh, thank Merlin, he’s finally dead.”
The boggart darted over to Hermione next, turning to a skeletal house-elf wearing nothing but a pair of poorly-knitted mittens.
I sat in front of Dumbledore’s desk, eyeing the various knickknacks surrounding me and wondering how many were secretly weapons. Though the headmaster seemed as serene as ever, I’m fairly certain his phoenix was glaring at me.
“Lemon drop, Harry?” Dumbledore asked.
“No thank you, sir,” I said, unwilling to consume its still-unknown poison.
“Do you know why you’re here?”
My hand twitched towards my wand as I stifled the urge to flee. “No, I have no idea.”
“Ah” – his eyes began twinkling menacingly – “I was just speaking with Professor Lupin –”
“I have an idea, now,” I blurted out. He had finally put the pieces together.
I rambled on, “It’s the boggart, isn’t it? Well, let me tell you, I am not afraid of you. That would be incredibly ridiculous since you are so obviously a kind, completely genuine protector of the Light. Practically a grandfather to me.”
“Really? I had no idea you thought so well of me,” Dumbledore asked, leaning forward.
I nodded and tried to look very thirteen, possibly younger. “Oh yes! I’m thinking that my greatest fear is really of terrifyingly powerful wizards who know where I sleep. You’re more a metaphor for that.”
“I would think Voldemort would be a more fitting example,” Dumbledore said.
“Yes, well, I don’t know what he looks like,” I said. “Also, I’m pretty sure he’s dead.”
“I only wish I were so certain,” he sighed.
“What do you mean, sir?” I squeaked. I was doomed.
“On the night Voldemort was vanquished, I’m afraid he didn’t die. In fact, I believe he came to Hogwarts two years ago.”
Five steps to the door. Dumbledore was old and his reflexes weren’t the best. I could probably make it, so long as the phoenix didn’t go after me. If I ducked around a corner long enough to put on the invisibility cloak, I would probably be alright.
He said, “You seem nervous, Harry.”
“I, um, don’t like being called into a teacher’s office?” I said.
If I started running now, I could probably catch him by surprise. Unless that was what he expected me to do. Curse him and his elaborate traps…
“I think I understand what your greatest fear is,” he said gravely. “You believe that you’re like Voldemort. Don’t you?”
“Uh…” I wasn’t sure what facial expression would be appropriate for the occasion, but I was fairly certain that the terror currently overwhelming my features was not a good choice.
The old wizard chuckled. “Allow me to set your mind at ease. You are nothing like Lord Voldemort.”
I gaped. “Really?”
“He was a cold, cruel child with no friends.”
In my defense, I was very devoted to my studies, and Dumbledore is exaggerating. Lots of people liked me. Except for him.
Dumbledore continued, “He would never have gone to protect the Stone or set off into the Forbidden Forest to save his classmates from Slytherin’s monster.”
Admittedly, I didn’t do either of those things, but I certainly wasn’t going to tell him that.
“…Also” – his twinkle intensified – “I have it on good authority that he hated Quidditch.”
I forced a smile. “Wow, we really are nothing alike. I love Quidditch. If only I wasn’t bullocks on a broom, I’d have joined the team by now.”
“I’m sure you would have,” he chuckled. “Are you certain you don’t want a lemon drop?”
“Very. I, um, should probably be getting back to my friends now. Goodbye, Headmaster.”
I left as quickly as I could without making it obvious that I was fleeing. Either I had miraculously escaped Dumbledore’s suspicion – for now – or he was just toying with me, hinting that he would leave me alone so long as I remained an amiable, Quidditch-obsessed Gryffindor.
I wondered if suffering under whatever Dark Magic Dumbledore possessed would be less painful.
“Harry, what are you still doing up here?” Hermione whispered, nose wrinkled at the heavy perfume and smoke that filled Trelawney’s classroom.
“Trying to open my third eye.”
The first time around, I’d dismissed Divination as unnecessary. To my great distress, that seemingly unimportant gap in my knowledge led to my downfall, short-lived as it was.
Hermione rolled her eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re buying into all this tripe. Trelawney is obviously a fraud.”
I smiled. Sometimes I forgot how little our group encyclopedia really knew.
“_Professor _Trelawney,” I corrected, mimicking her tone.
Though I teased her about it, I was glad to see this rebellious streak. It proved that she was waking up and seeing authority figures for what they were:
Upon closer observation, I had cast aside my early assumption that Hermione was this generation’s Bellatrix. Her obsession with rules, goody-two-shoes personality, intelligence, and hidden cruelty were far more reminiscent of my younger self.
Hermione pursed her lips. “Really, Harry, she hardly counts as a professor. She doesn’t teach anything. At least not anything useful. You don’t really believe that you’re going to die, do you?”
Technically, I already had.
“Of course, not, Hermione,” I assured her, squinting into the mists of my crystal ball.
Hermione huffed and stormed out. Her robes billowed behind her as she disappeared into the smoke of Trelawney’s poorly ventilated room. She certainly had the theatrics of a Dark Lord.
Perhaps I should use Longbottom for my Horcrux.
He had yet to swear an oath of unending loyalty, and Merlin forbid if the prophecy was correct and I’d picked the wrong child.
It wouldn’t be hard to cover up. I could pretend it was a Potions accident or something. Everyone would believe that.
Except, no, much as it pained me to admit it, Longbottom was as integral to Slytherin’s House Cup victory as I was. Such a resource should not be wasted frivolously.
“Since I am substituting for Professor Lupin for the seventh time in as many months, I will preemptively inform you that our topic next month will once again be werewolves,” Severus said dourly.
“Can’t we do something else?” Ron groaned.
“Ten points from Gryffindor for questioning a teacher.”
I raised my hand. “I don’t suppose we’ll learn how to kill them? I feel like I know a lot about werewolves but am ill-equipped to destroy one.”
Severus smiled thinly. “Yes, I do believe that will be the topic of our next lesson. Good question, Potter…Twenty points from Gryffindor.”
Ron flailed his arms around in confusion, threatening to knock over my inkwell. “But you said it was a _good _question!”
“Ten more points for disrespect,” Severus said, sweeping out of the room. I tried not to look too obviously pleased.
“Snape’s a git,” Ron said.
I shook my head, sighing. “Well, you can hardly blame him – what with his condition and all…”
“He’s obviously a werewolf,” I said.
“Oh, Harry, that’s ridiculous,” Hermione huffed.
I raised a hand to silence her objections. “No need to cover for him. This is clearly a cry for help.”
“You’ve gotta be kidding me,” Seamus Finnegan said. “Snape’s a werewolf?”
“Of course he is. That’s why he’s been teaching about them every time he substitutes. It’s all he knows.”
“He does seem to know an awful lot about werewolves,” Longbottom mumbled, looking a bit green.
The class exploded into discussion, and I made sure to drag Hermione into the hallway before she finally exclaimed, “You don’t seriously believe that Professor Snape is a werewolf?!”
“No, Hermione, that would be ridiculous,” I said.
“Then why would you say something like that? People are absolutely awful about werewolves. Do you know what that kind of rumor could do to his reputation?”
“Yes, which is why I don’t appreciate him trying to out Lupin.”
She looked startled. “You know about that?”
“Snape’s been teaching about werewolves for months, and Lupin’s gone every full moon. I’m not an idiot,” I said.
While I was growing concerned about my classmates’ mental abilities, the truth is that I suspected Lupin long before his first class absence. You see, several of my minions were werewolves back when I was Lord Voldemort. I know the signs well.
“Oh,” Hermione murmured.
“And I’m honestly offended that Snape is so intent upon ruining his colleague’s life. Werewolves are perfectly reasonable people, so long as they’re taking the proper potion. This rumor will provide a plausible explanation for Snape’s actions and help to hide Lupin’s secret.”
She beamed. “That’s very noble –”
“But, mostly, I thought it would be funny,” I finished.< Previous Next >