The silence of the simmering fumes, occasional clockwise stirs and furious whispered debates occurring between Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley in Potions class on a Friday afternoon was interrupted by near identical hisses emitted from the lips of one Harry James Potter and Severus Snape.
Shit. He couldn't have picked a worse time to call. He probably did this on purpose, that bastard, Harry thought furiously as he bit back a moan and desperately used every bit of the Occlumency training he had received the previous summer from said bastard to keep his face blank and emotionless.
"Harry?" An inquiring voice asked from in front of him. Obviously his ploy hadn't worked; ever the observant Hermione noticed the flush suffusing his face and the iron-grip he had on his silver knife, cutting up valerian roots for the fourth step in the potion before pleasure blasted through his nether regions where his Dark Mark marked a trail the Dark Lord often traced with his tongue.
"Harry, what's wrong?" Hermione gazed at him worriedly through chocolate-brown eyes, bushy hair askew. "Is it your scar again?" She hissed, looking around furtively as if Voldemort himself was going to pop up from behind Neville's cauldron. "Stomach ache." Harry muttered his default excuse for odd behaviour regarding his bodily aches and pains, adopting a constipated expression that often graced Dudley's face when he played video games.
"Mr. Potter?" A baritone voice asked from above Harry, where he sat hunched over. "Will you be requiring a visit to the infirmary?" Snape raised a brow, dark eyes filled with knowing and his face barely repressing a twitch. "Yes sir," Harry breathed, and vowed vengeance on Voldemort.
His cock twitched in his pants from another wave of pleasure, and Snape made an odd noise in the back of his throat. "Mr. Malfoy!" Snape barked, "I am going to escort Mr. Potter to the infirmary. I trust you'll keep these dunderheads in line for the next hour or so."
"Yes sir!" Malfoy looked almost unusually pleased. Harry guessed that Voldemort had only called on his Inner Circle of Death Eaters this time. And it better be for something very important. Like, say, finally killing Scrimgeour.
Snape led him out by the arm and his knees damn nearly gave out a few feet away from Snape's chambers where they could safely Floo away to Voldemort's Headquarters at Malfoy Manor. "Only a few more steps, Potter. Stay on your feet." Snape looked at him with a strangely pitying glint in his eyes. He probably thought that Voldemort engineered the his Mark to be ten times more painful.
Harry chucked weakly. If only he knew...
"Does it hurt more?" Snape asked abruptly, surprising both himself and Harry. They stopped in front of a smoothly carved door with silver runes. Snape muttered an incantation and waved his wand in a slashing motion. "No, sir." Harry's response must have surprised him because the great, unflappable Severus Snape faltered briefly in his motions.
"In fact," Harry spoke with a Cheshire Cat grin, "it's quite the opposite." Snape blanched just as the door opened with a soft click. "He... what?" Snape was aghast. "Not to worry, Professor, I've got it under control." Harry strode confidently into the room, studiously ignoring the bulge in his trousers and made his way over to the fireplace. He grabbed a pinch of Floo powder and stepped inside of the fire, shouted 'Malfoy Manor' and let the spinning take him.
He ended up with cool, black marble pressed into his face (or vice versa) and his arse in air, body sprawled awkwardly on the floor on the Floo Room of Malfoy Manor. "Tsk, tsk." A hissing voice jeered mockingly from above him. "No amount of etiquette lessons in the world will stop you from blundering like a buffoon out of a fireplace."
"And a cheery hello to you too." Harry murmured from his place on the tiles and glared up at Voldemort from underneath his fringe. Voldemort’s crimson eyes gleamed with malice and an all-too-familiar emotion that foretold a literal pain in his arse the morning after. Harry groaned. Thank Merlin it was Friday...
"You better have a good reason for calling us here.," Harry growled as he stumbled to his feet, still disorientated from the trip through the fireplace and blinking owlishly. Voldemort handed him his glasses and he quickly put them on with a muttered 'thanks'.
"I have a perfectly good reason," he replied smoothly, gesturing at Harry and Snape, who exited the fireplace with not a single hair out of place to follow him to the meeting room. On the way, Harry speculated the various reasons as to why Voldemort had called them there again. It had to be pretty damn big for him to make such a fuss, calling Harry and Snape out of class like that.
When the Death Eaters were (relatively) settled around the massive table in the meeting hall, Voldemort at the head of the table and Harry at his left in honor of his special position in the ranks, Voldemort began to speak.
“Earlier, this summer, I gave Draco Malfoy a task. That task was to kill Albus Dumbledore.”
The room exploded into sound and motion, Death Eaters gesticulating wildly and shouting all sorts of things that weren’t heard in the din of roaring voices. Harry remembered the failed assassination attempts with the bottle of oak-matured mead and the cursed necklace and Katie and Ron and felt a sense of anger.
The Death Eaters were still going strong in their protestations, and Harry saw that Voldemort was getting quickly irritated by it all. Sod it. He’ll Crucio them all. He cast a non-verbal Sonorous on his throat with a twitch of his wand and bellowed:
The room quietened immediately.
“Our Lord wishes to speak.” Harry nodded at Voldemort and the various assorted Death Eaters regained their pureblood decorum. Voldemort cleared his throat and continued:
“Now that we have all gotten that out of our systems,” he sent a dark look at Yaxley, one of the most ardent protestors – Ha. Suck it, bitch. Your Lord knows best- “I also assigned him the task of finding a way to get the Death Eaters into Hogwarts, to attempt a takeoverand assassinate Albus Dumbledore. The first task was, I admit, given in the spirit of revenge as I am quite sure that the Malfoy child will fail in his task and in that event, Severus has agreed to take over his task. This was enforced by Narcissa and Bellatrix and involved the use of an Unbreakable Vow, did it not?”
“Yes, milord.” Snape sat stiffly, keeping his eyes straight and boring into the wall. “So far, he has managed to find a Vanishing Cabinet in the Room of Requirement, twin of the one stuffed in the back corner of Borgin and Burke’s, and is on his way to fixing it.”
The Vanishing Cabinet? Harry vaguely recalled the twins telling him something about stuffing Montague’s head into a Vanishing Cabinet, fifth year. He also remembered hiding in a big, black cupboard his first time in Borgin and Burkes’ in his second year, a potentially unwanted customer. Everyone who was anyone knew that Vanishing Cabinets far surpassed any wards or charms placed in the place they were entering. This was the reason why they were outlawed by the Ministry, placed under the blanket term of ‘Dark Artefacts’. Draco had outdone himself this time.
Harry quietly snorted. Voldemort noticed this and turned to Harry. “Something to add, Harry?”
“This… this bloody brilliant, isn’t it?” The Death Eaters looked torn between amusement and puzzlement; hearing the ‘Chosen One’ call a plot to assassinate Albus Dumbledore and infiltrate and take over Hogwarts ‘bloody brilliant’.
“And that is why you will assist him in this endeavour.”
“My Lord!” Snape cried, beseeching. This was mad, absolutely mad. The Dark Lord had finally, truly lost it for good. “Are you mad?” (*insert trolldemortface*) Harry echoed Snape’s thoughts and the majority of the dining table’s focus turned to Harry and Voldemort.
“Honestly, if he doesn’t let his own godfather assist him, then how will possibly accept ‘Scarhead’s’ help?” Voldemort’s eyes blazed a deep, dark red and most of his followers winced. “He will if he knows what’s good for him,” he hissed. “Perhaps I can offer him a little… incentive.”
Harry groaned. “Not Narcissa! You know how much I love her teacakes!”
“I didn’t mean her!”
“Not Lucius either, I want to unlock the secrets of his luscious, shiny hair!” Voldemort looked a bit put out at his lover calling another man’s hair luscious- didn’t Harry say that he thought bald men looked sexy?- but quickly steered his train of thought back to the matter at hand.
“I didn’t mean murdering or pillaging or whatever! Doesn’t he want to regain his family’s honor and political standing? This is a chance to not only redeem the Malfoy name but to release his father from Azkaban.”
“You’re serious?” Harry was resigned to his fate. He knew that Draco would be jumping up and down at the Dark Lord’s offer, and sighed. There was nothing to it now.
“Now to plan which team goes in first; Dolohov, you man Alpha, Bellatrix, you head Beta. Severus, remain on standby to assist Mr. Malfoy and Harry here…”
It was mad, Harry thought as he lay on his bed in the sixth year boys’ dorm that night, soothed by the cacophony of snores and nightly sounds and Ron’s occasional mumbles of ‘no, mum! Not vegetables!’
The Dark Lord’s plan was utterly mad, yet so… brilliant. It was simple and brilliant and he was sure it was fool proof (or as it were, idiot-Malfoyproof). He hoped it wasn’t a case of famous last words.
“Why now?” He’d asked Voldemort after the meeting had concluded and the Death Eaters had hurriedly Apparated out of the Manor- save for Snape, who had lingered on with a peculiar look in his eyes until Voldemort had snapped out a curt dismissal.
“Why not now? The old coot is dying anyways from the cursed I placed on my Horcrux; why not bring down the Light side’s morale while we’re at it? As an added kick to the balls, to use a crude Muggle phrase, the much-revered Chosen One will also defect to the Dark side, causing much panic and terror to ensue. We shall have out freedom and the Ministry before the end of the school year, if all goes to plan. And even if it doesn’t we have you as back-up.”
It had struck Harry that there was no way they could lose, not now. Not after the Voldemort and the Death Eaters had worked so painstakingly over the last year to bring their plans to fruition.
Merlin, this is what the Dark Lord had been working towards for years. And he would have succeeded... if it weren’t for the minor setback of blowing himself up by casting the Killing Curse on an infant Harry James Potter.