The Dursleys didn't raise Harry Potter to be a very good boy – but it was Dudley Dursley who sealed the deal there.
Everything Dudley did was right while everything Harry did was wrong. Screaming for attention was right, silence in the corner wrong; demands and impatience right, quiet patience wrong. In Dudley's games, the hero was loud, obnoxious, mean and arrogant, and he walked over the struggling villain – Harry – with an ease and smugness that always grated. And every time something went wrong, was broken, hours of work ruined, recently cleaned floors soiled, Harry was the perpetrator while Dudley the righteous bystander pointing out the criminal.
That wasn't to say that the elder Dursleys didn't have their part in it. They started everything, laid the base in cement and asphalt. It was in the way they treated Harry – shoved aside, pushed to do everyone else's chores and insulted. In their eyes, Harry could do no right, and everything he did was suspect. Their final, finishing move was the rumours spread across Privet Drive and, indeed, the whole of Little Whinging.
"Oh, we didn't want to take the boy in, but family must look after family, no matter how bad they are. The boy grew all twisted, but I suppose we mustn't blame him for it – it's all in the genes, they say," Petunia would gossip over the hedge between number 4 and number 2, painting Harry as a delinquent, a criminal in the making. "Always stealing and skirting off chores and you can't even imagine how awful he'd be to Dudley if we weren't watching. Vernon's thinking that St. Brutus might be our only chance with the boy – that's the school famous for reforming criminal, delinquent youths, you know…"
"Get away from there boy!" Vernon would snap, when Harry did anything with a neighbour nearby to see. "I'm so sorry, Mrs. Evans, try not to mind him. Up to no good as usual, but I'll keep an eye on him."
Harry grew up under the titles of freak, lazy, thief, delinquent and many, many others. It wasn't until school and learning to read – and finding the school library to be a good source of information – that he managed to attach proper definitions to the words. Before becoming “a person or animal that is markedly unusual or deformed”, freak meant something entirely different to him. Lazy was something that was the same in both words, but thief – “criminal who takes property belonging to someone else with the intention of keeping it or selling it”, rather than “someone who lives in another's house and eats another's food without earning it” – was another one that was redefined. And so were delinquent, criminal, waste, interloper, and many, many others.
It was eye opening, to learn to understand those things. He didn't think at that time that he was any of those things – but everyone thought he was, clearly. It explained why the ladies of Privet Drive all clutched their purses when he walked by, and why the men glared at him if he so much as walked past their driveways, why every kid in the school and in the playground bundled up their things and moved to play elsewhere when he came close.
Thief, a person who steals. Delinquent, guilty of minor misdeed, a young offender. Criminal, someone who has committed a crime. Crime, an act punishable by law.
It was as close to enlightenment as Harry had gotten in his young life. It led him to spend more time in the school library, just to understand more, to open his own eyes a little wider. Crime, he found, was a multifaceted thing. There were so many – and he rather doubted he had done any of them, but still. Theft was just the start. Offence against a person like assault, battery, kidnapping, mayhem, murder, manslaughter, homicide, sexual assault. And offences against property like arson, blackmail, burglary, embezzlement, extortion, larceny, robbery… Then there were more complicated ones like forgery, impersonation, cheating, use and trade of illegal drugs, crimes against peace, genocide, piracy…
He didn't care for the offences against person or persons; they seemed more like something the Dursleys did. But offences against property… most of them seemed to have a clear, understandable goal: Money.
He had never had money of his own, not one single penny.
"Hmm, I think that's not a good book for a boy your age," the librarian said disapprovingly, when finding him reading a law book, specifically the laws that concerned with theft, trade and possession of stolen property. "Why don't you try this instead?" she added, taking the book away, and putting the Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes into his hands. "Might teach you a valuable lesson, Harry Potter."
It certainly did – Harry hadn't gotten to organized crime yet. Sherlock Holmes himself didn't interest him – the man was arrogant, superior, smug, and reminded him too much of the way Dudley acted when he played the hero of whatever game he was playing. But then Harry got to the Final Problem, and learned about James Moriarty.
It didn't change his life – his life was already set at that point. But it did change the world.
The letters, Hagrid and Diagon Alley didn't impress Harry all that much –by that time, he had become a boy who was hard to impress with tricks. Gringotts however, did – it was the final proof that what he saw wasn't a great big lie, some sort of illusion, a fake staged to astound him and fool him. Though there was still some room for suspicion as far as the goblins went – they could be people wearing suits and masks, after all, and if not that, then puppets.The cart ride to the vaults proved everything. There were some things you can fake; several kilometres worth of downside on a cart, however, was not one of them.
"Oh, good Merlin, I hate those things," Hagrid bemoaned when they returned to the surface. The cart drive had, obviously, not agreed with him. "I could use a cuppa right about now. Or, maybe, somethin' stronger."
Harry, his mind flying with possibilities – magic, money, gold, and what Hagrid had called the only magical bank – glanced at his guide. "Do you want to go to Leaky Cauldron for something?"
"Yes, that'd be just the thing," Hagrid said, brightening a little.
"Well, you go. I want to talk with the goblins about my account, things like that," Harry said, and smiled at the giant man's glance. "That money's all I have, right? I should be looking to take better care of it."
"Well, I suppose yer right. Alright – but don't go anywhere else. I'll come an' fetch yeh later."
Harry nodded in perfect agreement, and waited until the man had lumbered away before turning to the goblin who had guided them down to the vaults. "I'd like to talk some business with someone here. Who should I go to?"
"What sort of business?" Griphook asked suspiciously.
"The best kind," Harry said, and grinned. "The private, hopefully profitable sort."
He was taken to a goblin called Grimstone, who met him in a surprisingly large office where every wall was covered with bookshelves, and the desk was covered in instruments probably used to weigh and evaluate precious metals and stones. The old goblin wasn't too happy to find himself in a meeting with an eleven year old, but he seemed professional enough as he snarled at Harry about his business.
"I've got several concerns. First, I'd like to know the balance of my account. Next I want full details about the Galleon's equivalency to muggle money. Then I want to know the current value of Galleons, as in, what can I get with how much and so forth. Then I'd like to know about your saving and investment option accounts. Then…"
There were lot of questions, and after overcoming his initial surprise, Grimstone was an infinite well of information. He had some ten thousand galleons; one galleon was worth about five pounds which lifted his wealth to fifty thousand pounds, not a bad sum at all. Gringotts had no such things as savings or investment accounts, though, which Harry found to be particularly criminal – but then, Gringotts didn't need to compete with other banks, and seemed to hold no respect for any sort of wizard establishment or business, so maybe that made sense.
"Since you're the only bank, you service pretty much every wizard, right?" Harry asked thoughtfully. "Everything from the lawful to the illegal, right?"
"What are you suggesting, Mr. Potter?" the goblin demanded to know.
"Just thinking aloud," Harry said, eying the goblin thoughtfully. "As the only bank, Gringotts is in a unique position. Tell me, what would be Gringotts reaction if they knew a client was about to or already had committed a crime? If said crime would have no effect on Gringotts business, of course."
"Why would Gringotts take interest in wizards' doings?" the goblin sneered.
"Okay. How about if a client wanted to horde stolen goods in their Gringotts vault?"
"What wizards put in their vaults is immaterial, so as long as they pay their fees on time."
Harry blinked and smiled. "Tell me, does Gringotts offer any consultation services?" he asked, leaning forward. "Say I wanted to hire a person of certain abilities, but I had no way of finding this sort of person. Would Gringotts offer aid in finding and securing the services of this person? Or if not, would Gringotts point me in the right direction so that I could do the finding myself?"
"That, Mr. Potter, depends on how much you're willing to pay. Gringotts itself doesn't consult," Grimstone snorted. "But some… individual goblins might."
"Excellent. And what would these certain individual goblins think of keeping whatever consultation they give private?"
"All proper business is private, Mr. Potter. One does not thrive by spreading their secrets to the world."
Harry smiled. "Brilliant, just brilliant," he said, leaning forward a bit more. "Last question, the most important one. What is the state of magical organised crime, as far as you know, and who would I need to go to in order to contact the leader of the underground?"
The goblin blinked. "I… beg your pardon, Mr. Potter?"
Harry frowned a little. "Who runs the criminal underworld of magical world?"
For the first time, the goblin looked utterly baffled. "Runs? Do you mean the Dark Lord?" Grimstone asked. "I do not believe that there has been one since the wizard whose name must not be said – and he was vanquished ten years ago by you, Mr. Potter?"
"What?" Harry asked, blinking. "Explain?"
The goblin did. Harry had heard only snippets of what had killed his parents up until that point – that they were great wizards, murdered by someone, and that the event had made Harry famous. But to learn that the murderer had been the underworld leader, Voldemort, or Dark Lord as wizards called it – and to learn that there hadn't been anyone else since, was something else entirely.
"No one took up his position?" Harry asked with disbelief.
"Well, the war ended with his death," Grimstone said, still looking baffled. "Most of his followers, the Death Eaters, were given trials and send to prison. Some escaped, of course, but…"
"But no one took up after his death," Harry muttered, frowning. Maybe it was like with Final Problem – Voldemort's empire had been taken out so completely that no one had been able to rebuild. It seemed like utter waste to him, though. "So, there is no one I can contact about hiring a killer," he murmured.
Grimstone's eyebrows lifted up. "A killer, Mr. Potter?" he asked, shocked.
"Well, yes. There is someone I'd very much like out of my life. I want to hire someone to kill the man for me," Harry answered, leaning back in his chair and sighing. "With the money I have, I should be able to pay decently enough for it, right? Five hundred, or maybe a thousand, Galleons should be enough – it wouldn't be tricky or anything for a wizard, to arrange the death of a muggle."
The goblin stared at him silently for a long, long while, looking utterly speechless. Then, composing himself, Grimstone cleared his throat and got a thoughtful look on his grotesque goblin face. "If I were to supply you with a name," the goblin said slowly. "What would there be in it for me?"
"A suitable fee, of course," Harry said, his eyes growing alert once more. "Do you have a name for me?"
The goblin eyed him for a long moment and then nodded. "Yes, Mr. Potter. I think I do."
Hagrid was a useful man, Harry found during the shopping trip. With a little nudging, he let things slip without even noticing it himself – when Harry asked about mail, he told Harry about owls; when he asked about instant contact, faster than owls, he told about two-way-mirrors and fireplaces. When Harry mentioned innocently that he would've very much liked to walk around Diagon Alley without being recognised by so many people, Hagrid was a fountain of good ideas – polyjuice, cloaks, masks that changed facial features or blurred them, there were even necklaces and such that changed a person's voice.
Hagrid even took him to a shop where Harry could get all of that, just after Harry had gotten his wand – cherry wood with dragon heart string, much to the disappointment of the sales person. Harry got a cloak and a mask which made his face forgettable. He also got an owl – not the white snowy one Hagrid suggested at first, but a perfectly ordinary, boring tawny owl which was the most commonly used owl type. He also got himself all his school supplies, plus several books about the histories of Dark Lords and such, but after what he had learned so far, he wasn't expecting to be impressed.
Wheedling Hagrid against taking him straight back to the Dursleys and into booking rooms from the Leaky Cauldron wasn't even difficult – the giant of a man was ridiculously easy to manipulate, after all the practice Harry had with the much more difficult Dursleys. Harry even managed to get himself his own room, though Hagrid did complain about it being expensive or something like that – Harry didn't particularly care. Harry had plans and privacy was necessary for them.
That night, after Hagrid had drank himself into a stupor on Harry's money – without knowing it, of course, Tom the inn's owner was the soul of discretion – Harry holed himself up in his room, and made his preparations. He sent an owl with the cheap, small two-way mirror along with a small note to the man he intended to hire, and while waiting for an answer, he prepared. The mask fit him poorly but did its work, and the cloak and a little bit of twiddling with the candles did the rest, casting deep shadows on his face. The gem necklace he had bought changed his voice from that of a boy to that of a man, and to anyone who would see him from a certain angle, he would appear nothing more or less than a secretive, shadowed man.
With all that done, he sat the other two-way-mirror onto the bedside table, sitting himself down in front of it with the curtains of the four posted bed behind him acting as a screen so that his background wouldn't give his location away. Then he waited, staring at the black surface of the mirror, holding out until the dark wrapping around it would be removed and he'd see if his packet had been received, and if the man in question would be interested.
Evidently, he was, because he didn't have to linger more than twenty minutes at the mirror before light breached the black surface and he had a view of an alley, of the sky and the corner of a building, before the mirror was angled towards a face. "Mr. Greyback, I presume?" Harry asked, forcing himself not to react to the rough, unshaven, scarred face.
"Yeah, you the tosser with a job for me?" the rough man demanded.
"Yes," Harry answered. "Are you private enough to talk business?"
"Tell me your business first," the man growled, glaring at him. "And what you're going to pay for it?"
"My business is murder, Mr. Greyback, and I'm going to pay you gold for it," Harry said as calmly as he could. "So, are you private enough to talk business?"
Greyback wasn't, and Harry had to wait for fifteen minutes for the man to relocate himself to a more secure place, before they could get to the details. "The target is a muggle man, you don't need to know his name," Harry started. "I will tell you how you can recognise him and where to find him if you take the job. My demands will be that you will make it seem like an accident – a car accident, for example, shouldn't be too difficult for a wizard to arrange, I should think."
"No, not too difficult," Greyback said, narrowing his yellowed eyes. "And how much are you going to pay for it?"
Harry had contemplated the payment for a while – murder seemed like business one needed to pay lot for, but the entire affair itself was a bit too simple for high payments. Magic, he presumed, could make everything pretty easy, murder included, and even ten thousand galleons could run dry. He had no intention of wasting his funds more than he could. "Seven hundred galleons," he said. "Two hundred now, five hundred once you've completed the job."
"That's unicorn shit. Two thousand, a thousand up front," Greyback snarled and then stopped to wait, eying him through the mirror expectantly.
Harry laughed, hiding his dismay as carefully and tightly as he could. Had he gotten the payment so wrong? He would gauge proper prices later. "You take me for someone who bargains, Mr. Greyback," he said, bluffing cheerfully, sharply. "It is two hundred now, five hundred when the job is complete, or I will take my business to someone else. If you aren't interested…"
"Seven hundred isn't enough to risk being sent to Azkaban," the other snapped.
"Not for you, I suppose. I will take my business to someone else, then. I apologise for wasting your time, Mr. Greyback," Harry said and reached towards the two-way mirror, to turn it face down on the table.
"No, no, wait. To hell with this, fine," Greyback snapped. "I'll do it, damn you. But I want my two hundred now, right now."
"You'll get it," Harry said, letting his satisfaction seep into his tone. "Now, as to the details of what I want you to do…"
In the end, what he wanted wasn't all that complicated. Greyback would have the time frame from the start of October to the end of November to arrange a lethal car accident for one of Grunning's Electronics' employees. Once it was done, he would leave the two way mirror looking at any sort of proof – a news paper clipping for example – and once Harry got that confirmation, Greyback would be sent his five hundred galleons for a job well done.
"What's your name anyway?" Greyback asked after writing down Vernon's description and the details of his car – Harry had ordered him to, as he doubted that the man would remember otherwise.
Harry hesitated, not having intended to give any names for himself, and for a moment he considered saying that it was none of the man's business. But then again… Harry rather doubted it would be the last time he wanted Greyback's services. Because, who knew, Petunia might need removing too, and Dudley, if they didn't smarten up after Vernon's death.
With a spark of rare and mostly harmless mischief, Harry smiled. They did share one name, after all, so…
"Moriarty," he said. "James Moriarty. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
Hogwarts was and wasn't impressive all at once. For a building and piece of history, it was magnificent. As an experiment and exhibition of magic, it was no doubt unrivalled. For a school… well. As a school that openly vilified twenty five percent of its population, hallowed another twenty five and completely overlooked the rest; a school that not just allowed but encouraged bigotry and racial prejudice; that separated people by their alliances and so called abilities… it was an excellent sort of breeding ground for alliances. But as a school meant to prepare people for their futures, their lives as adults and individuals, not so much.
And all this, without getting to the actual lessons.
First, though, the sorting ceremony;
"Oh, Gryffindor is most certainly out and I would rather sew myself into a ball than subjugate the poor Hufflepuffs to you. Slytherin, I presume?" the hat asked almost idly, while browsing through Harry's innermost thoughts. "You have all the right aspirations of greatness, and Slytherin would certainly help you along."
"Absolutely not," Harry answered, because Slytherin would hinder him more than help him – and it would paint him in a suspicious light when Vernon died and when other similar things happened – and they would. He had had quite enough of being automatically assumed to be the villain. Besides, he didn't have the patience for what he saw as common topics of conversations in Slytherin – blood politics and whatnot. It was a sort of company he didn't care to choose, now that he actually had a choice.
"Ravenclaw, if you please," he said instead.
"Hmm… You suit Slytherin much better," the hat objected.
"Do I?" Harry asked, and thought about his long hours of research – of crime and law and now magic, history of Dark Lords and their methods, of the other studies he had on the way. He thought of his preparations, his plans – surely much more intellectual in nature, than ambitious and cunning. He didn't want to be known; he had no aspirations of greatness. What he wanted was precise, knowledgeable, intelligent control over his own life, preferably with no fame of greatness attached.
James Moriarty was first and foremost an intellectual, after all – and criminal mastermind only in the shadows.
"I concede the point there," the hat said. "Very well then, but remember to also study wizarding law when you start your plans in RAVENCLAW," the last bit was yelled for the entire hall to hear, and with satisfaction Harry joined his new housemates in the table of the eagles.
He made acquaintances in Ravenclaw, and happily forgot the time spent with Ronald Weasley on the train – the redhead was not what Harry would call a good conversationalist, and Harry didn't care one jot about Quidditch. Ravenclaws weren't that much better, though – all they were curious about were classes and future lessons, and learning this and that spell to perfection. And whatever personal interest they expressed, it was always the sort that set Harry's teeth on edge – mostly they wanted to talk about how he had survived the killing curse, a mystery he wanted to solve himself. Though there were also those who wanted to make friends for the sake of making friends, but Harry had long ago decided that he wasn't the friend making type. Friends were a hindrance and, yes, a disadvantage. They got too close, and saw too much.
So he quitted that field as soon as he could, and surrounded himself with books, putting as big a distance between himself and those of his age as he could without seeming too aloof. Then he studied, studied, studied. He didn't care to touch subjects like transfiguration, potions, charms and such in his free time – it was the job of the teachers to teach him those. Instead, he concentrated on things not taught at Hogwarts. Firstly, wizarding law, as the hat had suggested. It was a bit pitiful – wizards concentrated too much on the abuse of magic, onto dark spells and whatnot, that their laws concerning property, and crimes against a person committed by use of old fashioned muggle methods were pitiful, and full of holes. For theft and robbery, a wizard was more likely to get a fine than imprisonment.
There had been very few wizarding thieves and robbers too, as far as Harry could see. It was a given that Gringotts couldn't be robbed, but there were almost no burglaries in wizarding history either – not even in Knockturn Alley. Slavery in the wizarding world was and wasn't a crime – it depended if the slave in question was a wizard or something else. Prostitution was the same thing; forgery wasn't even mentioned for some reason, but misuse of muggle artefacts got two whole pages full of laws. Impersonation was also never mentioned – which made sense, with something like glamours being legal and things like the use of polyjuice only getting you a slap on the wrist. Kidnapping was illegal, but barely touched – and it was usually just over looked, if the kidnap victim was released with no harm done.
How no one had exploited the ever loving hell out of wizarding world, Harry had no idea. Dark Lords had, but in a completely different way – they tended to be more political entities, than economical, interested in their ideals of a pure wizarding races and the extermination of muggles or muggleborns or magical creatures, in the resurrection of the old ways and whatever else. Harry couldn't find a single Dark Lord interested in pure and simple profit. Dark Lords seemed more inclined to bankrupt themselves, than to increase their wealth.
They weren't, Harry decided, the leaders of the wizarding underworld, not the way he had assumed they were. They were wannabe conquerors and tyrants, freedom fighters turned wrong, not criminals in the true sense of the word. The magical world, as far as Harry could say, didn't have an underworld at all, not a criminal one anyway. No organised crime whatsoever – no trade or use of illegal drugs, no forgery business whatsoever, nothing. Not to mention something as exotic as the trade of illegal arms, stolen goods, art, and so forth.
No business at all.
While Harry was researching this, and other similar topics, school started and continued – and disappointed him completely. The only three classes he approved were Transfiguration, Charms and Astronomy. Everything else was either taught by complete incompetents, or otherwise completely useless. What did he care about flying on a broom, when one day he'd be apparating, and until then he could use Floo travel? Honestly. What disappointed him the most was potions – such a beautiful, useful art, turned into a ticking time bomb by a petty, prejudiced man who was more interested in tyrannising his classroom, than in teaching. And Quirrell was hardly worth of mentioning.
Harry approved the pitiful ghost of a history professor, though. All the Ravenclaws used history classes for their own individual studies, and so did Harry – and if one did not learn history properly, they couldn't learn from it either. If his life in the wizarding world would turn anything like he assumed at this point, it would be to his advantage that wizards in general were oblivious to their own past.
The crowning moment of Harry's entrance into magic – and start of Harry's first career – was confirmed on the fifteenth of November, when he had moved from studying wizarding crime (or the lack of it) to studying dark magic. When he dug out the two way mirror, now disguised as a small pocket memorandum book, to check if Greyback had yet to confirm the job done, he got his confirmation. Like ordered, Greyback had pinned something to the surface of his mirror, facing the mirror; the front page of a newspaper, where a bold title proclaimed "TRAGIC ACCIDENT ON LONDON BRIDGE!" The text and picture beneath it explained how a silver grey Honda had lost control and slammed through the walkway, down from the bridge and into the water. The driver had died before he had been rescued. According to the title, a flaw in the brakes was suspected.
Greyback got his payment with Mr. Moriarty's compliments.
Dumbledore approached Harry at breakfast the next morning for a private word, and told him about the horrible accident that had befallen his uncle over tea in his private office. Harry faked surprise and dismay, but didn't bother with sorrow or anything else. He hadn't liked the man and wouldn't start pretending just for Dumbledore's benefit. He thought he probably left the Headmaster a bit suspicious – an eleven year old who didn't mourn their guardian, how horrible – but he didn't care enough to worry. He was too satisfied with the plan's success.
It could've been the end of it if it wasn't for Greyback. The ruffian wasn't a very wealthy man normally and his sudden boost in wealth had been noticed – and it had attracted curious people. It was only a week or so after Vernon Dursley's tragic accident, when Greyback left a note on the two-way-mirror for Mr. Moriarty to find.
"Friend of mine could use some cash," it said. "Got any other jobs?"
At first the message only made Harry snort and go about his day as normal – he had no money to waste and no other people to remove at that point. But, when he thought about it more… he did have interests. He had things he wanted to find out, knowledge he wanted to accumulate.
"Information of every establishment in Diagon Alley and other joined alleys," he sketched out a message, taking care with his hand writing – he would need to get a typewriter somehow, and soon. "Names and records of businesses and their merchandise, the owners, managers and other employees, and their revenue if possible. One galleon for every full report of each business. Payment at delivery of reports."
He didn't put the message on the mirror yet, though. First he needed to work out the details of how the reports were to be delivered. Owls needed a name to deliver to, and Harry wasn't about to reveal Moriarty's real identity to anyone.
It was one of his classmates who helped him there, catching Harry while he was studying the history of magical mail delivery.
"Any particular reason for your interest?" Boot asked curiously.
"I'm still too new to the magical world. I'm wondering if there is a way to instantly deliver messages and possibly other objects, aside from the Floo Network," Harry answered honestly. "I'm unlikely to get a personal fireplace any time soon, and I don't like forcing my owl to stay on wing twenty four hours a day."
"Ah," Boot said and thought about it. "Well, you could try Vanishing Cabinets and the like. They're a pair of cabinets, you put something into one, close the door, and it appears in the other one. It only works between two people, of course, not like the Floo Network, but it is faster," he suggested. "I think there's a shop in Hogsmeade that makes them... yes, Dervish and Banges."
It wasn't all that difficult to hire one of the upper year students, who had weekend passes to the village, to get Harry a catalogue and then to buy him a small version of the general Vanishing Cabinet– more a Vanishing Shoebox really, but it served its purpose well enough –, so one of the pair was sent to Greyback along with Moriarty's note.
He didn't expect to get as many reports as he did – Diagon Alley and Knockturn Alley were, it seemed, only the mouth of an overgrown centre that was the hub of wizarding Britain. Knockturn Alley, for one, continued to Abysm Alley and Skelet Alley, Diagon Alley was connected to Aesthetic Alley and to Psychic Alley, then there started Quizzic Alley and so forth. Why Hagrid had only shown Harry Diagon Alley and nothing more, he didn't know, but he didn't care at this point.
There were more businesses in the magical centre of London than Harry had assumed – he ended up paying some four hundred galleons to several of Greyback's friends – though he suspected that most of the money went to Greyback himself. It didn't matter, though, not for all the details Harry had gotten, all the useful information. He had also gotten several notes about empty shops and business-that-used-to-be, though he didn't pay for those titbits of information, he did make note of them.
After that, Harry had Greyback and whoever his friends were get Harry more information – about other wizarding locations and such. The chain of streets that started with Diagon Alley was the biggest, but not the only one – there were similar places in every major muggle city. And there was one pure wizarding town, Hogsmeade, that was not far from Hogwarts. Overall, the wizarding world was much bigger than Harry had assumed, much wider spread – and this was just the United Kingdom. The rest of the world was similar.
But how to make use of it? And how to make use of the people Greyback knew, who were now more or less in Harry's employment?
It was the morning of Halloween – and the day when someone decided to release a troll in the corridors of Hogwarts - when Harry wrote Greyback a simple but succinct query, "I require a complete list of your friends' talents and current livelihoods. Answer by mirror." He hadn't gotten his answer yet when the troll debacle was announced, making the entire school panic.
"A troll?" he asked with disbelief, while the other Ravenclaws only barely managed to keep themselves from screaming. Then he shook his head, stood up, and while the teachers commanded the students to their dormitories, Harry went to find a quieter place to wait for his reply. If he went to the dormitories now, it would be full of chatter about the troll event, and he had more important things to consider. An empty classroom would suit him much better.
When he ran into the troll, it was fairly unfortunate. The troll was found later with Achilles, hamstring and wrist tendons cut with very precise cutting hexes, leaving the troll crawling and moaning in pain after an enemy that had left it behind a long while ago. Harry, annoyed with this latest distraction, had retreated to the Astronomy tower, by far his favourite spot in the entire castle, where he waited for Greyback's answer
Some of them seemed to be men more or less like Greyback – ruffians with no job, who no doubt used their every Knut on liquor and such. But others, by the looks of it, were not just women, but prostitutes, most of whom lived and worked in Abysm Alley, for what little pay they could manage.
"Hm," Harry mused, while elsewhere the teachers lugged away the poor, wounded troll. "I can make use of that. I can definitely make use of that."
The problem was, it would require a bit more involvement than the use of a two-way-mirror, the Vanishing Shoebox and Greyback as his spokesperson could provide. Tapping his chin thoughtfully with the disguised two-way-mirror, Harry considered his options. Was there a way to slip away from Hogwarts without being noticed? The school wasn't particularly well guarded, but it was still a very much a boarding school – and who knew what sort of magical things there were about watching the students, aside from the ghosts and the portraits. He wasn't even completely certain of the precise location of the school. So, how to slip away not just unnoticed, but possibly approved by the school staff?
Well… there was Vernon's upcoming funeral. Smiling, Harry turned to leave the tower, already planning a perfect letter to dear old Headmaster Dumbledore, from one Petunia Dursley.
Arranging the trip out of Hogwarts required some manipulating, but Harry managed it easily enough – though professor Flitwick did insist on escorting him right to the doorstep of Number Four Privet Drive, all the while throwing sympathetic looks at him. After the professor had gone, however, everything went smoothly – Harry summoned the Knight Bus, and it didn't take more than of couple of hours before he was in Diagon Alley, and ready to get to business.
That day, though, his business was relatively simple. He and Grimstone had a private chat and Harry opened an account under the name of James Moriarty, going a bit further with it than with the Potter accounts, and making it a cheque account – handling coins got a bit irritating, when one was talking about large sums, after all. Once the account details were settled, Harry transferred a full half of his earthly goods into the new vault, making sure that only he was privy to the details of that transaction – Dumbledore had apparently kept his vault key for several years, and he did not like that idea one bit. Thankfully, he now had monopoly over his own money, and more.
"In the last five months, you've used a full ten percent of your capital," Grimstone said warningly. "Keep this up and in less than five years your vaults will be empty, both of them."
"I rather doubt that," Harry answered with a smile. He would need to spend a bit more – possibly almost all of the contents of the Moriarty vault – in the course of the next few months, but after that he was more than certain that he'd start earning more than spending.
He took the opportunity to check out some businesses in the Alleys as well as several empty buildings in Knockturn Alley – a couple of which looked fairly nice to him. Walking into Knockturn Alley was a bit of a problem – the patrons there were a mighty curious lot, and a hag, of all things attached herself to him, asking about his business and where he was going and whether he would like to come with her.
"Kindly release me, madam," Harry answered calmly, while pulling his potions knife out and placing it squarely against her wrist. "Or you will find how difficult it is to heal severed tendons."
"Oh, my dear, I don't believe you have the, uh, guts for something like that," the hag purred at him.
He did have the guts – and after she had ran off, clutching to not only a wrist that was sprouting blood but trying to cover the stab wound in her side, Harry was left pretty much alone. Harry's potions knife was pretty much ruined though, and eying it with dismay he decided that he needed a better self defence weapon. Glancing around he spied a shop called Borgin and Burkes, and after nonchalantly discarding the ruined knife, he walked in.
After coming out as the satisfied owner of a cane – which concealed a thin, dwarf made blade – he returned to his business.
That day, he didn't buy anything else except for a replacement for his potions knife. He did make many plans, especially after peeking into Abysm Alley and seeing just how many women there were in the shabby, dingy alley, trying to lure bored men to their beds. There were many sorts of… businesses he knew he could start with, but it seemed like prostitution was the best bet, seeing that the work force was already there – and eagerly looking for work, judging by how many of them had contacted Greyback for the opportunity to work for Mr. Moriarty.
Satisfied, Harry returned to Diagon Alley and then to the Leaky Cauldron, where he spent the rest of his day off from school reading newspapers and having a meal, before using the fireplace to Floo to the Staff Room of Hogwarts, announcing his return and the success of Vernon Dursley’s funeral, and then going back to Ravenclaw tower.
After that, the work began. In the following weeks, Greyback did more for Mr. Moriarty than he had in months, ever since the death of Vernon. It wasn't only Greyback, but several others of the like – they ensured that Moriarty could purchase the deeds for several abandoned properties in Knockturn Alley, Abysm Alley, as well as Skelet Alley and Quizzic Alley at ridiculously low prices, probably by using their fists and wands, but Moriarty wasn't too particular about that. After that, the work on establishing the first business commenced.
First was the hunt for a relatively intelligent prostitute with a head for finances and a firm hand – and who could be threatened to be trustworthy. Violet, she said her name was when Greyback finally brought her in front of the two-way-mirror – with Harry on the other end disguised as he had been the first time. The negotiation was short and sweet, and in the end the woman was both terrified and confused enough to bend to Harry's every whim. And thus started the Floral Bathhouse, as it would later be named, that had its facilities in Knockturn alley.
It was one of the prostitutes, a muggle born witch just a few years out of Hogwarts, who invented the front of making the place seem like a bath house. Even though Harry wasn't too happy about it, he paid for the repair and refitting work to actually make the place seem like a proper bathhouse. Thanks to Greyback's more gruff methods it was all done at… sensible prices of course. After the refitting and redecorating, and separating the establishment into the bathhouse and the backhouse, everything went more or less according to plans. Greyback and Violet pushed every prostitute in Abysm Alley into servitude, either by luring them or forcing them, until the Floral Bathhouse, soon to be famous for its scented baths, was the first and, most importantly, only brothel of magical Britain.
It was better for all, in the end. The girls had more comfortable accommodations; they had previously been living in the streets. They also received protection from rougher clients – living together and having their own house, they turned up rather defensive and less likely to get robbed or mistreated. Violet turned out to be a relatively skilled matron – she charged a lot, but rightfully so, and on top of that she actually got the whole bathing thing working so that in the day time, the place actually worked as a bathhouse, while in the night time it was a whole different thing.
And after Moriarty's suggestion to find some more free minded women and men among the employees and then using Polyjuice, glamours and other magical means to fill more specific fantasies for a higher price, the Floral Bathhouse started to attract higher paying clientele.
And of course, Moriarty got a full forty percent of the proceeds.
Over the months before Harry's first Christmas at Hogwarts, he worked out the details and plans for several businesses. After the Bathhouse had become something of a booming success, he started working out other basic needs for rich wizards and witches who liked to spend their riches. That was when he found that, aside from Quidditch games and broom races and what little betting happened around them, the wizarding world had remarkably little gambling going on.
So, opening a casino was next in line. Unlike the bathhouse, however, it was rather more complicated because this time not only did Moriarty lack the ready work force, but wizards had no notions about what a casino even was, and on top of that, he knew that he would need to work out the details of the establishment with Gringotts, if he wanted to get the thing running properly.
Since the establishment of the first so called "Moriarty Business" and its relative success, however, more and more people had been turning to those who were already working for Moriarty, hoping to get their part in the success. While Greyback tried to sort out the people by their talents like commanded, Moriarty commissioned several more two way mirrors and Vanishing Boxes, all built to his liking and decorated with a silver M as was suitable. A pair of them went to Violet at the Floral Bathhouse, of course, while other pairs waited for their new owners.
The third owner of such a mirror and box turned out to be a young muggleborn man named Jack Higgins, after Greyback had brought the man in front of his own mirror, to meet Moriarty. "I wanted to work for Gringotts," the muggleborn, who judging by his apparel had not only fallen on hard times but had been sleeping outside lately, admitted. "My father, a muggle, was a banker and I'm good with numbers so that was what I wanted to do too, but… well, Gringotts bankers are all goblins. And after the Ministry turned me down, no one else would hire me, so…"
Jack, Harry soon surmised while hiding under his mask, his cloak and the voice changing jewel, was a smart man and better with numbers than Violet – light years ahead of Greyback as far as intelligence went. And, on the plus side, he was a muggleborn, and thus more familiar with the more exotic aspects of the muggle world.
"There is a business I am hoping to establish," Harry admitted. "Possibly in Knockturn Alley, or perhaps Diagon Alley if a suitable property can be procured," he would get more clientele there, but the real estate there was damned expensive. "I could use a man who has a way with money."
Jack Higgins wasn't all that familiar with the details of how muggle casinos worked – but with the potential of not only having a job but running a business, he was more than eager to find out. Giving him a small starting sum for the research and a month to complete it, Harry, as Moriarty of course, promised to send him a two-way-mirror to use to keep him abreast of the situation.
A month later, they started planning the Higgins House. It would start small just in the corner of Knockturn and Diagon, just on the Knockturn side (the property was cheaper priced there), but with the potential of expansion. Gambling a little himself, Harry gave Higgins a sum of money to do his refurbishment and hiring for the facility, before sending one of his mirrors to Gringotts so that he could iron out the details with the goblins.
"A gambling house?" Grimstone asked with some suspicion.
"Trust me, it will be more profitable than you can possibly imagine at this point," Harry grinned, and for a good two hours they talked shop before Gringotts agreed to the plan – they even agreed to make the chips for Higgins House, all emblazoned with a letter H – which, at close inspection, looked a bit more like an M than an H. Gringotts would be doing the money exchange from Higgins chips to Galleons and back, though – they did not approve having the gambling house holding that much money so close to Gringotts.
After the details were settled, it was Christmas and Hogwarts emptied. While waiting for Higgins to finish setting up the business, Harry studied – mostly Astronomy, he had long since given up on potions and just about every other subject, they were all hopelessly illogical, though they had their purposes. He also took his time to explore the castle (now that it wasn't full of chattering students) and examining the paintings, the statues, the armours and whatever else decorated the place.
It was during one of his exploration ventures when he ran into the Mirror of Erised – which caught him by bit of a surprise. As he stepped in front of it, he saw himself as a man – as Moriarty – with neat but nondescript robes, a hat, his sword cane at his side and a thin smile on his lips – and with a street full of his businesses, crowded by his people standing behind him. In his hand he held a golden two-way-mirror, disguised as a memorandum book.
"Obviously," he said, after figuring out the mirrors trick and, shaking his head, he turned to leave. Desire, though, was the wrong word for it. Future seemed much more fitting.
The most interesting thing about that Christmas was the Invisibility Cloak someone was kind enough to send him. It made exploration and getting away from irritating students and teachers ever so much easier.
Higgins House was opened on January the fifteenth. At first business was relatively quiet, as the people of the alleys had no idea what it even was. But after a few curious people had wandered in – and won considerable sums from the tables, the games fixed of course but they didn't need to know that – more people got interested. With a reputation of an easy place to make money in, the House soon boomed – and when people started losing more than winning, well. By that time there was enough customers, some of them even winners, that no one noticed.
It was the first time Wizarding Law took interest – some Aurors wandered in and scowled darkly, trying to figure what the place was and how exactly it had so many customers and such huge profits. They suspected glamour's, potions in the drinks and whatnot at first, but of course it was nothing like that, and they couldn't exactly charge Higgins for taking the money people so willingly threw at the tables. Wizards had absolutely no laws against gambling, or profiting from it.
What it had was the start of what would be a booming gambling culture.
While Moriarty started an underground Duelling Ring – with a great deal of betting involved – as well as setting the plans for House-elf fights and Hippogriff races, Harry went to school. Hogwarts was becoming a bit of a bore by that time, and even though he paid attention in his classes and studied for his tests, he was much more keen on the time in between, when he could check his now several disguised mirrors and his Vanishing Boxes for news.
It was February, when an incident at Hogwarts drew his attention almost solely to the school – when a crumbling wall, previously perfectly solid, almost collapsed onto him, nearly killing him. He avoided it, of course, with use of a shielding charm – one did not start making his way in life like Moriarty had before learning proper self defence – but the fact that it had crumbled onto him caught his interest and then some. Because the only way it could've happened was if someone had made it happen.
Someone in Hogwarts had tried to kill him.
Moriarty didn't have that many enemies yet – the people who worked for him and who now owed him a lot of money were miffed at him, a bit irritated, but they couldn't be called enemies. If anything, he had more supporters than enemies, after how many jobs and success stories he had arranged. So he rather doubted that was it, and besides, there was no way anyone knew he was Moriarty. Moriarty was thought to be a middle aged man, a business genius of the darker side, possibly one who had only just arrived to UK. Not an eleven year old boy hero.
So, to be specific, someone had tried to kill Harry Potter. Which was quite interesting.
In the following days he kept a sharp eye out, and made a list of possible suspects in his head.
Snape was first addition and first exclusion – the man hated him, sure, and used every opportunity to belittle him, but it had lessened of late, with Harry too preoccupied with business to bother, and was Snape starting to ignore him. And besides, the man was much too subtle to be knocking down walls – he'd use an untraceable poison, if he wanted someone dead.
Draco Malfoy, then? The idiot had tried to make friends with him at the train, then taken insult at Harry's dismissal and now spent every encounter trying to get a rise out of him, much to Harry's irritation. He rather doubted Malfoy had the power to knock down a solid wall though, physically or magically.
Who else then? He hadn't made much of an impact on Hogwarts – he was an average student, a bit withdrawn but everyone justified that with his family member's death. Certainly, none of the Ravenclaws held any grudges – Ravenclaw was a house of recluses, and they knew the value of privacy and giving it. Ronald Weasley? The redhead still seemed to be stinging from Harry's cold shoulder and the fact that they had gone to different houses. And… well, Harry couldn't really think of anyone else.
Which made whoever it was a very good actor. With that in mind, Harry set out to find inconsistencies in everyone he spent time with – which was mostly his housemates and, of course, the teachers. Snape was of course excluded right away. With Harry being Aurora Sinistra's favourite first year student, Harry excluded her as well. Minerva McGonagall was much too professional and neutral to hold such passionate dislike – and the woman couldn't hide her emotions to save the world – so she was excluded too. Binns was dead, Filius Flitwick was much too cheerful and genuine to ever hate anyone that badly, Dumbledore wanted something from him and death wasn't in it…
Which left Quirinus Quirrell, who was inconsistency embodied. The stammer was the first thing, something Harry had noted long ago. Harry had heard stammers before, he had even practiced one himself when he had been younger, just to see if the muggle teachers would react to it. He knew how it sounded when someone faked a stammer, and when they had an actual real one. A real stammer started from the throat and made it hard to breath, and overall the mouth was stiff and clumsy, the words awkward, rounded and sometimes hissing. On top of that, there were prolongations, continuant sounds, inability to go from one vocal sound to another. Quirrell's stammer though was all tongue and lips, P-P-Potter and B-B-Boot. Harry had never heard of a stammer that only had repetitions like that, and such clear ones too.
So the stammer was a fake, and a bad one at that. Then there were the inconsistencies with Quirrell's past – going from the Muggle Studies professor to Defence Against the Dark Arts professor, for one. Encountering vampires and becoming too terrified to speak, honestly. The turban – why the hell a turban, the man had never been to the Middle East or India. And finally the smell, a powerful garlic smell that surrounded the man.
A smell, which was no doubt used to cover another smell.
So, the verdict was, Quirrell was a fake and wanted to kill Harry Potter. Why? There was any number of reasons, most to do with Lord Voldemort. What was more curious, though, was why Quirrell was there, now, and in the way he was. Why Hogwarts, why under such a disguise? A disguise which was obviously built to give the impression of utter weakness and helplessness.
It was only then that Harry started paying any interest in the third floor corridor, and why it was closed off.
After finding a Hell Hound behind a locked door off the third floor corridor, Harry started connecting the dots. In hindsight, figuring out what had happened was easy enough. Harry had been too distracted with his own money and its possibilities during the first visit to Gringotts, but he did remember that Hagrid had had some official Hogwarts business and that he had fetched a very small parcel from a high security vault. Later, there had been history's first and only break-in at Gringotts and the papers had reported that the vault that had been broken into had been emptied that day. Then, on the first day at Hogwarts, during the feast, Dumbledore had warned the students about going to the third floor corridor on the pain of death. And then there was the troll incident – if he recalled right, Snape's leg had been wounded afterwards, and of course, Quirrell had been the one to announce that the troll was loose in the castle.
So, whatever Hagrid had taken from Gringotts had been hidden in Hogwarts, with at least a Hell Hound guarding it. Quirrell was aiming to steal it, and had released the troll as a distraction. Whatever the thing was, it had to be valuable somehow, since both Dumbledore and Quirrell had gone to such lengths. Therefore, whatever it was, Moriarty would no doubt be able to make use of it.
First he had to deal with the teachers, of course – it wouldn't do having them barging in. So, taking the example of the famous Weasley Twins, he pulled a bit of a prank – which had the nasty side effect of leaving half of the school’s students, and of course the entirety of the staff, in the throes of food poisoning. It was highly amusing and had the benefit of having scapegoats too – no one would've ever thought that a quiet recluse like Harry Potter would do something like it; not when there were people like the Weasleys in the school.
Figuring out how to get past the dog was much easier - he only needed to get Greyback to get him a phial of the most deadly poison he could get his hands on, and a lot of it. Harry then snatched the closest small animal he could find – Filch's cat – and force fed the poison to her, before throwing the dead cat into the room with the three headed dog. He only had to wait for so long, standing outside the door, hidden beneath the Invisibility Cloak, listening, before the cat was gone and the dog was succumbing to the poison.
The Devils Snare he landed on after jumping down the trapdoor was torched before it could do him much harm. The keys were a bit more problematic, but not much. All he had to do was immobilise the lot with a spell and then check them for the right grooves until he found the right one. The chess set proved slightly more challenging, but again not by much – the charmed opposite set had very little intelligence, and Harry managed to put the thing into checkmate in four moves by luring two pawns out of the way and getting a clear line to the king with his queen and bishop. After that there was a room with a troll, but that easy enough to deal with – it was the same creature as the one he had seen on Halloween, and it cowered at the sight of him, huddling into the corner and whining. Following that there was a logic puzzle of all things.
Overall, the whole ordeal was fairly boring. The finish did very little to impress him – the Mirror of Erised met him with clear face, and when Harry concentrated his desire to have whatever was in it, he found the thing in his pocket. A blood red stone, which at first seemed to be nothing particularly valuable – it wasn't even a ruby. But, seeing that so many people had gone through so much trouble to hide it and get it, Harry shrugged his shoulders and put it back in his pocket before making his way out, planning to do some research to see if red stones had some particular magical properties that he wasn't aware of.
It took a full day before anyone noticed that the third floor had been breached and someone had stolen what turned out to be the famous Philosopher's Stone, capable of producing the Elixir of Life and turning cheaper alloys into gold. The stone was by that time, of course, already in Moriarty's Gringotts vault, waiting for the time he could think of a use for its unique qualities.
He had no use for the gold making ability – it would only destabilise the economy and he had other much more interesting ways of making money. But the Elixir of Life, that had some value. Not just to him, but some potential clients, who would no doubt give away their entire worldly possessions at their death beds, just for a sip.
Quirrell, unsurprisingly, vanished from the school soon after, while Dumbledore led the teachers in a vain search for the actual thief. Harry had done his job well, though, and left no traces behind, and while the teachers lost hope and Filch fumed about his dead pet, Harry went about his days as he always did, doing his school work, and checking his several fake memorandum books for reports, news and potential new business suggestions.
Now that his credentials as a proper business man had been established, he had actual clients coming to him about loans and suggestions, as well as help. Greyback and his lot – his ever growing lot – worked only for Moriarty, but Moriarty could easily hire them out to whoever might need them. And so, new business rose to the alleys, all backed by Moriarty Loans and his plans, some succeeding and some failing, and all paying their due sooner or later, in money or in blood. It didn't take long before people were also hiring him to work against each other – hiring him to figure out a way to bring this or that business down, and so forth. There were even a few cases of someone needing to be warned, removed, hidden away and secured, or saved, and after Moriarty had dealt with a few extraordinary cases, more of them appeared.
They even conspired to push each other out of Moriarty's good graces, but with little success – Harry didn't care what personal scandals those who worked for him had plaguing them, unless those scandals affected their work performance, or he could actually take advantage of those scandals. So, when a pushy upcoming ruffian secretly informed Moriarty that Greyback, who even now intermediated most of Moriarty's business, was a werewolf, Harry couldn't really have cared less. He did make sure to give Greyback free time around full moons from that day onwards, though.
Then Lucius Malfoy, a patron of Higgins House, made the mistake of accusing the house of having fixed games after losing some considerable sums to the house. The games had been fixed of course, but only in the beginning – and only so that the first customers would win more than lose, to give the house a head start. After that, the games had been kept perfectly legal and only ruled by luck and chance. But true or not, for a gambling house – especially for the only proper gambling house in magical Britain – it was deadly, to have one of its more high class patrons accuse it of cheating, especially when the man knew very well that no cheating had ever happened.
He was the first person Moriarty went out his way to teach a lesson to. And so, while Lord Malfoy went about, spouting his idiotic lies, the scion of the family vanished from Hogwarts, without a sound or clue. While Greyback delivered Moriarty's message to Lucius Malfoy; "For every lie you speak, a piece of him shall be removed," signed by Moriarty, Harry had Draco Malfoy blended into the wall of an abandoned classroom, petrified but perfectly safe.
At first Lord Malfoy didn't seem all that intent on following the order, but after a day stretched to a week, the man made a borderline public announcement that he had been wrong about Higgins House, making his most sincere apologies. While the teachers were raking the lake and through the forest for him, Draco Malfoy staggered into the Slytherin common room with no idea what had happened.
Kidnapping and ransoming, Harry decided after that, could become the next line of business. Of course not always children or students. That would put too much suspicion to Hogwarts, but… it had potential.
From kidnapping and ransoming, it moved to pressuring elderly wealthy wizards and witches with no heirs but a lot to leave behind, and from there it went to extortion and blackmailing. House Elves, Harry soon found, were an excellent resource, and useful for more than setting them to pummel each other with bony wrists in a fighting ring – most of them were mistreated and weak and it was easy to force them to give away their masters secrets. Moriarty made a whole new business about of forcing house elves to steal secrets, embarrassing letters from their masters and mistresses, and holding those letters hostage.
Digging up dirt and skeletons in various closets turned out to be so profitable, that he made a mental note to dig around the closets of Hogwarts professors and of course it’s esteemed Headmaster. He would also need to pay some attention to the Ministry, especially those from magical law enforcement, for similar things. One never knew when having them under his thumb might come in handy. Both in terms of power and influence, as well as money. And money was, of course, the goal of everything.
Moriarty never went into the fake Galleon business, though. Gringotts monopoly and usefulness stopped him and he didn't want to lose the neutral rapport he had with the goblins. He did find a clever young muggleborn woman who was already making fake muggle money – by magically duplicating it, which made the fakes untraceable and perfectly identical to their real counterparts, unless you were a wizard of course. Using this fake money to buy muggle gold, jewellery, artwork and whatnot became a nice bit of business.
That wasn't the only thing he had started on the muggle side of things. When a clan of vampires had contacted him, he had also started the plans for an underground blood bank, which would pay its donors quite well for their contributions. The homeless and the poor of London would make a great base for what would be an excellent blood trade – and the vampires would pay quite nicely to have a steady supply of blood they didn't have to risk their own necks to get.
From blood trade it went to potions trade – which started innocently enough. After finding out about Greyback's condition, Harry had found that Moriarty had an entire werewolf pack under his wing – Greyback's ruffians. After that, Moriarty went out of his way to ensure that those of them who wanted it could get their monthly doses of Wolfsbane. They didn't have to pay that much for it, either, and whatever they couldn't pay for, they compensated with work. The concept of potions trade had some potential, and after finding several fairly talented potions makers, Moriarty went out his way to supply potions for more… exotic needs. One particular potion, Bliss Brew which was illegal in most magical nations, got especially good reaction and profit, once proper mass production was arranged.
By the time Harry's first school year ended, James Moriarty was the wealthiest man in magical Britain, as well as soon to be its most influential one. While Harry headed to the Privet Drive, more out of curiosity to see if Vernon's death had made any changes to household dynamics than with any intention of actually staying there, Moriarty was already planning on expanding his many businesses to the continents. France, he had learned, had a good deal of unemployed part Veelas, and off hand he could think some two dozen uses for the Veela enthrallment.
The cauldron was bubbling and something was rising from it, while nearby Peter Pettigrew whimpered, clutching his severed wrist.
Voldemort's plan had gone wrong, though he didn't know by how much yet. Harry Potter, still tied to the angel statue, had to give the Dark Lord one thing; the plan for the whole ritual thing had been very nice – the Tri-Wizard tournament to boost the magic, then the ritual itself to restore his body into something resembling a human. The problem was, the problem Voldemort didn't know anything about yet, was the fact that Moriarty had seen it coming.
Smothering the urge to smile maliciously, Harry waited, watching. The being that rose from the cauldron was man shaped, with head, torso, arms, hands, waist and legs like a man. But it wasn't very human. It was paler, and not very human like in its features, but for a creature that had been baby shaped a short while ago, it must've been an improvement. Voldemort certainly seemed to think so, as he ran his hands over his head and face, fingers long and spidery, looking like he was enjoying every moment of it.
"Robe, Wormtail," Voldemort commanded, and the bleeding rat of a man went to get the robe for his master. Soon after that, Voldemort took his wand, aiming it at Wormtail's Dark Mark, summoning his followers to him. Death Eaters took their places in a circle around their master, with gaps here and there, where people were missing.
Voldemort gave a speech about his own power and triumph over death to his followers, and Harry smiled viciously. This was almost too good to be true – certainly something he had never thought he'd live to see. A powerful Dark Lord, making a complete ass out of himself.
"Now, Harry, take your wand," Voldemort said, turning to him and releasing him from the statue. "Let us face each other for the final time, Harry Potter, hero of the free magical world. Have you been taught to duel? First you bow. Bow to death, Harry."
Harry didn't. He smiled instead, dropping his wand and kicking it away. "You think you've won," he said, amused. "You think I'm the hero. This is bloody hilarious."
"What?" Voldemort snapped, and Harry smiled, lifting his left hand and checking his wrist watch. A couple of minutes to go.
"He told me to tell you, before the end," Harry said, lowering his hand and pushing it into the pocket of his trousers. "This plan of yours? It was noticed long ago. I thought it was pretty neat, I’ll grant it to you, when it was explained to me – and I think it would've even worked. The whole Twi-Wizard tournament and the cup as a portkey, arranging it so that there'd be a fourth champion and that the fourth champion would win. Very neat."
"I'm glad you approve. Now pick up your wand, idiot child," Voldemort ordered.
"Nah," the young man said, and shrugged. "I've already lost the feeling in my fingers; I wouldn't be able to aim it properly. Never you mind that," he added and grinned. "You haven't gotten it yet. This is just too much."
"The fact that I'm not Harry Potter," the young wizard said, and lifted a silver flask from his pocket. The flask that had previously belonged to one Alastor Moody – or Barty Crouch the Junior. "Polyjuice potion," he explained, while Voldemort's eyes widened. "Also, I've been poisoned. Slow acting, shouldn't really affect me yet, but I was bitten by an acromantula in the maze, so it's working a bit quicker."
While the Death Eaters shifted worriedly where they stood, Voldemort's eyes widened. His right hand shook and suddenly the wand he had been holding slipped from his fingers, falling to the ground. The Dark Lord quickly took hold of his fingers, rubbing at them with his other hand, but it was obvious that he was losing feeling. "Who are you? Why would you agree to something like this – you're going to die as well!" he snarled.
The fake Harry Potter smiled. "Of course, but I already was. Late onset of Dragon Pox. I'm set to die within the week. But, by doing this I ensure that my family will be well looked after – they'll be getting about fifty thousand galleons thanks to what I'm doing here," he said cheerfully. "Not bad, for a dying man, don't you agree?"
"Potter couldn't have arranged this," Voldemort snarled. "That idiot boy couldn't have –"
The fake Harry Potter before him laughed, coughed, and fell feebly to his knees. "Ooh, its working fast now," he said breathlessly. "Sorry about my behaviour, I was fed some diluted Felix Felicis before this, I'm still a bit high on it," he added, grinning. "And no, Potter didn't. He hired a consultant to do the work for him, or so I imagine. You might've heard of him. If not, then your followers probably have."
"What consultant?" Voldemort demanded acidly, looking like he was about to fall as well, while behind him his followers exchanged worried glances.
"I'll give you a hint – or Potter will, anyway. He wanted me to tell you, before the end, and I quote," the fake Harry Potter said, clearing his throat. "I am not the Holmes to your Moriarty."
While Voldemort fell to his knees, blinking with incomprehension, around him the Death Eaters's exchanged looks and turned decisively, panicked and terror stricken. As the Dark Lord turned, reaching a shaking hand out towards Lucius Malfoy, the Death Eaters all backed away hurriedly.
"Help me," the Dark Lord demanded. The Death Eaters backed away further, a few shaking their heads, a couple looking like they would've liked no more than to apparate away.
"They won't," the fake Harry Potter said, while falling to his face on the ground, pale and shaking all over. He laughed softly, partly muffled by the earth. "No one will. Moriarty even has Dumbledore under his thumb – your little Death Eaters wouldn't stand a chance." With that said, and with another breathless laugh, he died, stilling where he lay, to forever retain the polyjuiced form of Harry Potter.
"Damn it. Damn him. Moriarty," Voldemort growled. "I will kill him. I will kill him."
"I rather doubt that," a new voice said, and a man in a dark cloak walked closer, with a cane at his side and a memorandum book in his hand. As the Death Eaters looked up worriedly, Moriarty flipped the book shut and pushed it into his pocket, lifting his forgettable face and smiling.
"Hello, my gentle wizards and witches," Moriarty said, while walking up to the dying Dark Lord and pressing the end of his cane to the back of the Dark Lord's head, pressing his face to the cold, dark dirt. "Harry Potter hired me to ensure the death of one Lord Voldemort, as well as the heroic death of his own famous person. So I rather think that your witness accounts tonight have some… risk to them," he trailed away, grinding Voldemort's face into the dirt as the Dark Lord breathed his last, soon to fall still. Then, without any visible reason, the body began to rapidly deteriorate, decaying before their eyes.
Moriarty smiled, while the Death Eaters, nailed to their places by his dead, cold gaze, stared helplessly back. "Shall we talk business?"