The Sugar Quill
Author: Beyondfreedom3  Story: Harry Potter and the Dark Lord  Chapter: Chapter 1: The Wait
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Chapter 1

Harry Potter and the Wizarding World are the idea and intellectual property of JK Rowling.  I have manipulated them a bit, but that’s about the extent of my involvement.

 

Chapter 1

 

The Wait

 

The light of the nearby fire lit up the face of a young man. He was pale and skinny with black circles under his eyes - the tangible evidence of pure fear.  His face almost faded into his white blonde hair and he was tall and awkward, typical of a teenager who had just gone through a growth spurt.  It was his eyes, though, that betrayed his thoughts.  Death was near for this young one, and there would be no escaping it.  Yet, the mind is forever hopeful, even in seemingly impossible situations.

 

“You have failed me, Draco,” said a raspy voice behind the boy.  Draco turned slowly away from the warmth of the fire to face the cold, red eyes that were boring into the back of his head. 

 

Lord Voldemort crossed from the doorway to the chair, where only a small coffee table separated himself and (the boy) Draco.  In the flickering light, he could see that Draco was trembling.  The light of the fire lit the room with the help of the floor-length mirror to the left, in the corner, and some candles placed on the mantle.  The mantle was made of some dark wood and carved into intertwined snakes and skulls. 

 

“My Lord, he is only a boy.  His mother pleaded with me to help him and keep him safe,” said the man in the corner, mostly hidden under stringy, greasy black hair. 

 

“Silence, Severus.”  The sibilant sound of his s haunted the room.  “My patience with you will only extend so far.  You have done me a great service, but never presume to influence my judgment.  I gave the boy a task, and it lay half complete until you stepped in and finished it for him.  Do not be so naïve to think that I do not know why you did this.  I know everything.  The Unbreakable Vow, Severus?  Do you realize that you did this of your own volition?  When Wormtail told me of your Vow, I made sure that the Vow would not be the reason you killed your beloved savior.”  Lord Voldemort turned his head to see the effect of his words on the man dressed in black robes.

 

Severus had a way of dressing, almost like he was a minister.  He wore long black robes with the hint of a habit around the collar.  It was obvious to anyone who saw him with the Dark Lord that he thought he was second in command.  He spoke up after a few seconds, “My Lord, I would have done your bidding with or without the Vow.  I could not have known the Unbreakable Vow was not in place unless I had tried to break it.”

 

A whimper escaped from the pale, silent young man.  His face changed from fear to realization as the words finally took on meaning in his head.  The change was slow and visible.  His silence begged the question of the man whose eyes he was trying to avoid. 

 

“That’s right, Draco.  Let it become real to you.  Your mother is dead at the wand of her own sister.”  Voldemort reached over the table and grabbed Draco by the robe to pull him closer.  “Those who truly follow Lord Voldemort are loyal, and nothing as silly as blood will stand in the way.  Your mother had to die because she betrayed my confidence by going to Severus for help, and because she was told not to speak of our plan to anyone, as you were.”  Voldemort let Draco go and watched his reaction to these words.  He turned his head back to Severus and said, “Death was the only use I had for her because it allowed me to test two of my followers.”     

 

As if awakened by the words he had just heard, Draco pulled his wand from an inner pocket of his robes and pointed it at the heart of the horrible man with the slit-like red eyes.  He was breathing hard and the reckless abandon that only comes from having nothing else to lose or live for flashed in his eyes.  He could kill.  Voldemort could see it in his eyes as the veil that separates the mind from the action of a killer was suddenly lifted.  He stood there, wand drawn, frozen on the spot.   

 

“Would you really be so foolish as to waste a perfectly good killing curse on me?  Have you learned nothing from being at school with Harry Potter for six years?  I cannot be killed.” Voldemort’s face formed what must have been a smile as he spoke. 

 

The next few seconds were a blur.  A flash of green light filled the room, followed by the sound of Draco’s wand falling to the floor next to his body.  His eyes were open, but no light was in them.  He was dead long before he could even form the words of a curse. 

 

“My Lord, I want to remind you of something valuable.  The wait is almost over, Harry Potter is turning 17 soon, and the protections of Dumbledore and his mother will no longer be in place.  We will find him as soon as this happens and bring him to you.”  Severus had walked over to face Lord Voldemort as he said this.  He came to where Draco’s body lay and looked down at it for a moment.  Voldemort noticed his lingering stare, no matter how brief, and laughed to himself at the weakness of mere mortals.  Severus found himself again and began, “If it pleases you, my Lord, I will go back to Hogwarts to search for Dumbledore’s wand.  The one thing Draco did right that night was to separate the headmaster from his wand.  I believe it will be valuable for you to possess…” Snape trailed off with this statement, apparently lost in thought about something. 

 

Voldemort broke the silence and said, “Severus, I will not forget what you have done for me.  You are truly my most loyal subject.”

 

“My Lord, I live only to serve you,” said Snape with a slight bow. 

 

“No matter what you do, do not kill Harry Potter.  He was responsible for my weakness, and he will pay by my wand.  Kill anyone else who hinders you, but Potter will die by my hand alone.”  Voldemort spoke these words with a greedy, obsessive look in his eyes. 

 

A pop and Severus Snape was gone, leaving Lord Voldemort by himself.  He strode slowly to the floor length mirror on his left, and began to consider his reflection, before speaking to it. 

 

“Did you learn nothing from Severus Snape, your beloved professor?  I am the most powerful Legilimens in the world; drawing you here to see this was too easy for me.  I need no glass orb to show me that your end will come soon and by my wand.  As soon as your birthday begins, you will be found and brought to me.  Do not think you will walk away from this meeting alive.  Sleep well, Harry Potter, your nightmares will soon be coming for you!”  Voldemort began his high-pitched laugh.

 

-ђ-

 

Harry awoke with a jerk.  His first thought was that what he had just experienced must have been a nightmare.  The second came fast and furious behind the first-Voldemort knew that he would soon be unprotected.  Neither thought was of any comfort to him.

 

Over the past couple of weeks, though, comfort had been the last thing on Harry’s mind.  He had had plenty to keep his thoughts occupied.  He had thoughts of the past like did Dumbledore really die at the hand of Snape and why did Dumbledore paralyze him?  He had thoughts about the future like where would he need to go to find the remaining Horcruxes, and how long would it be before he would face Voldemort for the last time?  Occasionally his thoughts would wander, in the present, to what Ginny might be doing.  All these thoughts had kept him in his room. Mostly he was watching for anyone coming, as he was sure he was no longer guarded, but the idle time left him free to dwell on the many unpleasant things in his life.    

 

Every long once in a while, when he was tired of torturing himself with thoughts of death and responsibility, he let his mind wander to Ginny Weasley.  Maybe he had been a bit premature in his decision to separate himself from her-she was strong, and to think that she would choose safety over being with him was ridiculous.  But he loved her, and the thought of ever allowing her to come to harm was too much.  “No,” he thought to himself, “I made the right decision.” 

 

Two things Harry knew for sure were that the dream he had just experienced was real and that Draco Malfoy was now dead.  Although the thought of Draco’s death was not exactly sad to him, he didn’t really like that death seemed to be all around him.  He wanted to stay as far away from Voldemort as he could...at least until he found and destroyed the remaining Horcruxes, so that he didn’t become part of the death that he thought plagued him. 

 

The wait would soon be over for everyone.  Voldemort would have a chance at finding Harry, but he would be out of the Dursleys’ house.  And the Dursleys could begin to tell stories without having to explain Harry. 

 

The wait, for Harry, was not just about the end of his youth, it was also about the future that he knew was coming, the one he knew had to come.  The impending confrontation between himself and the Dark Lord was approaching, and he was powerless to stop it.  In fact, he was very sure that he did not want to stop it.  Harry was not sure whether he dreaded it or looked forward to it more. Either way, the wait would soon be over.  He knew that the sooner he began the search for the Horcruxes, the sooner he would be facing Voldemort. 

 

Harry could not get these thoughts out of his mind and knew he would not be getting much sleep as a result.  He looked out the window to see the sky become the odd green color that appears when the sun is barely breaking the darkness, bringing Harry another day closer to either glorious victory or restful death.

 

-ђ-

 

As the sun began to rise, the Burrow began to come alive.  Molly was up and in the kitchen beginning breakfast, Arthur was getting ready for work, and the Order members were coming in for the breakfast meeting.  Nobody had returned to Grimmauld Place since Dumbledore’s death, because nobody was sure that it would still be safe.  The plan was to wait for Harry to leave the Dursley’s under heavy guard, and have him be the secret keeper to make it safe once again.  As it was, the Burrow was now safe.   Unplottable, and closed to the Floo network, all the members would Apparate several hundred yards from the house, in the woods, and walk in from there.  A while back, Arthur decided to put the Burrow under the Fidelius charm, because of the frequency of Order members coming about.  A very groggy and grumpy Ginny was waiting on the edge of the woods, as the Secret-Keeper, to give the Order members directions to the Burrow.  She was protected by a special Portkey that was never more than two feet from her.  Anytime Ginny felt she was in danger, she would grab the Portkey and end up at the Ministry, from which she could bring back Aurors.  She has volunteered for this job, and almost everyone believed she needed something to get Harry off her mind.

 

All of the Weasley offspring had become members of the Order of the Phoenix, under much contorversy.  One particularly crowded day in the Burrow, Molly brought up the fact that Ron and Ginny could not seem to keep themselves out of trouble.  She talked about the Department of Mysteries incident from last year and the recent events at Hogwarts.  She said she believed that they were looking for trouble rather than trying to stay out of it.  A particularly heated argument ensued that filled the Burrow with three voices and all eyes were drawn to it.  In the end, after the unsolicited opinions of several people, it was Charlie who made Molly acquiesce.  He reminded Molly that Harry Potter was their best friend and that they would be directly in the middle of anything that went on, whether she liked it or not.  He went on to say that as members of the Order, they would at least be a bit more knowledgeable about what they might be getting into.  He said that they could be taught, by members of the Order, how to protect themselves and what situations to avoid.  Reluctantly, Molly gave her approval for the inclusion of Ron and Ginny in the Order of the Phoenix.   

 

Ginny’s job as secret keeper did not come all that easy.  She expressed interest in the job and was overwhelmed with a barrage of protests.  She just happened to be sitting in the living room, late one night, while her father, Remus, and Mad-eye Moody discussed what to do about the security around the Burrow.  Arthur had been the one to suggest it.  Immediately Remus fell silent and the others, including Ginny, turned to look at him.  Ginny spoke up and said “I could keep the secret for you.  I am a member of the Order, with nothing to do.” 

 

The room came alive with arguments against her doing so.  Moody had jumped up so fast that the wooden seat he conjured fell over and came dangerously close to the fire behind him.  It was a storm of things like “You’re too young” and “You’re not ready” and “We need someone more experienced.” 

 

Ginny stood up from her chair in the corner of the room and walked over to the coffee table that separated Arthur and Remus on the couch from Moody now on his feet.  “I have faced Death Eaters twice.  I have lost friends and my friends have lost parents.  I survived being possessed by Tom Riddle and even survived being the girlfriend of the one person on this earth that is most certainly marked for death.”  She watched their faces as they listened, for some sign that they understood where she was going with all this.  “The point is that I know I have more to learn, but we all know that there is no more time in which to learn it.  Either I am now a member of the Order of the Phoenix, or I am simply being patronized to keep me quiet.  If you consider me a member, then you must allow me to make some contribution.” 

 

After a short silence, Moody grabbed his chair and sat back down on it while Remus talked.“Arthur, there is no way to guarantee her safety.  That is the case here in this house and outside as well.  The truth is that this job is no more dangerous than simply being a part of this family.  So, with your permission I would like to grant her request.”  Arthur’s face was flushed as he slowly shook his head in ascent.  Remus turned back to Moody as if silently asking the same question.  Moody nodded as well and Remus turned to Ginny.  “There will be conditions to this appointment.  First, you will begin to study Curses and Counter-Curses with Moody starting tomorrow.  Second, you will have a Portkey within arm’s length that you will use at the first sign of trouble.  If anyone shows up you will not fight, but grab that Portkey and get sent to an alternate location.  From there, you will send us a message using the method that Dumbledore taught us.”  Ginny opened her mouth to protest this condition, but must have thought better of it because she closed it just as quickly.  “Last, you will be on-call at all times.  As this is now the headquarters, then members will be in and out of here at all hours.  The first complaint will get you removed from this position.  You’d better understand the trust and faith it is taking to allow you to do this.  Take it seriously,” Remus finished while staring at Ginny.  From that day on, no matter what was required of Ginny, though she may be uncomfortable or inconvenienced, she never complained.  She had not had to use the Portkey as yet, but was ready and willing to do so if the need arose. 

     

Remus, Tonks, and Ginny were the last to arrive at the Burrow.  Molly was bustling around trying to make sure that everyone was served and doing well.  Mad-eye Moody stood at the far end of the kitchen, eerily staring out the window that sat just above the sink.   There were several steaming pots on the stove with spoons in them that were stirring the contents by themselves.  The sun was up, and the unusually large table that had replaced the normal kitchen table was almost full.  No matter how many people sat at this table, it would never be completely full.  At the head of the table sat a tall back armchair where Albus Dumbledore used to sit.  There was no meeting, nobody ever really suggested leaving the chair empty; the thought never occurred to anybody to either sit in it or remove it.  There it sat as a silent memorial to the leadership of a man that could never be replaced. 

 

Arthur Weasley sat about halfway down the table on the side closest the staircase.  He was flanked by Molly (or rather Molly’s seat) and Fleur Delacour.  His eyes scanned the table and the people who were sitting there.  His search came across Remus and Tonks and he smiled a bit, grateful that they had finally decided that happiness and love were more important that caution and moderation in times like these.  He looked in the direction of the head chair, but only for a second or two.  Dumbledore had been the greatest wizard he had ever known or even heard about, and it was too painful to see that he was gone.  Arthur kept looking around until he came to the group of redheads that sat directly across from him.  The three kids that were at the Burrow were all lost in some discussion.  The twins were still living in Diagon Alley, to support their business, but they would pop in every once in a while.  Bill was still recovering, at St. Mungo’s, from the bite he received courtesy of the horrible Werewolf, Fenrir Greyback.  There was another, though, one that he tried not to think about. Percy, the third of their seven children, had decided that politics and public life was more important than family and truth.  Arthur’s survey of the table brought a mix of happiness, sadness, pride, and disappointment.     

 

After a great, but mostly quiet, breakfast, Remus Lupin stood behind the empty chair at the end of the table in an attempt to get the table’s attention.  When the focus was on him, he opened the meeting. 

 

“Did anyone bring a copy of the Daily Prophet?” 

 

A paper was passed down, and as he scanned it, he noticed a couple of names that he knew, but one that stuck out more than the rest.

 

“Dolores Umbridge has gone missing,” he paraphrased.  “Her home in London was untouched.  A letter later arrived at the office of the Daily Prophet stating that she was not able to support the work of the new Minister.  The former Undersecretary said she was off to find someone who would appreciate her discipline and willingness to do whatever it takes to get the job done.”  Remus paused for a second before quoting directly from the Prophet.  “There is much speculation about whether Miss Umbridge has gone to be a part of the Dark Lord’s bid to dominate the wizarding world.  Whatever her ambition, this reporter believes she may have been working for him all along.  More as the story develops, Rita Skeeter.”  As he finished reading, a few groans and growls came from the line of redheads. 

 

After the reaction, he began to speak.  “It is important that we continue on with the work that Dumbledore had us all doing.  However, with him gone, we are no longer on the offensive because the Death Eaters know exactly who we are; therefore, we are all sought after.  The war has quite literally come to our front door, so we must make sure that we are taking care of each other, and that none of us are ever alone when we are away from here.  Also, it is most imperative that we find Dumbledore’s wand.  Has anyone had any luck at that?” asked Remus.

 

Several people shook their heads no.  “Well, we must keep looking,” continued Remus.  “As you all know, the wait is almost over for Harry.  He will be 17 in just a few days, and we all know what that means.”  He paused for a moment before continuing, as if steeling himself for something bad.  “We need to provide security for him; who would like to volunteer?  You must understand that we may be walking into a trap or an attempt on his life.”  A few hands went up and Remus made note of them.  “So it will be myself, Mad-eye, Kingsley, and Tonks.  No, Ron, I don’t think it would be a good idea for you to go.”  This statement was accompanied by a look from Molly that would have burned a hole through anyone.  “We will first and foremost, remove him from the Dursley’s home.  If for some reason we can’t extract him safely, ourselves, I will bring along a Portkey to get him back here.  Anyway, meet me here at 11:30 that night.  We will Apparate directly there.”

 

Ginny spoke up after Remus was finished, saying “You know Harry says he is not going back to Hogwarts for his 7th year...” There was sadness in her eyes, as she trailed off.

 

“...despite my pleading.  The boy is not ready for this, yet he will not budge,” said Professor McGonagall, as she finished Ginny’s sentence.  Her Scottish accent always seemed to get stronger as her level of irritation rose.    

 

“Dumbledore believed he could be as powerful, if not more powerful than Voldemort.  I believe that as well, but he does not yet possess the magical tools he needs to see it to completion-let alone survive.”  The last part she said almost under her breath, but several around overheard her and gasped.   “He has much to learn, and I will continue to try to convince him to change his mind.  I, like Dumbledore, have grown very fond of Potter.  However, I will not let my fondness blind me to the reality that he is a boy who is running head first into a fight with a powerful, dangerous wizard,” she finished.

 

“Minerva, there is not a person at this table who loves Harry more than I,” Molly interjected, glancing at Ginny.  “That makes it utterly impossible to not be affected by the choices that he makes.  I disagree with you on one point-Harry Potter is not a boy.  He is a very powerful wizard.  How can you, having been at the school all this time, miss the way he has handled himself in the toughest of circumstances?  Time after time, with the help of others very dear to me, he has faced and overcome some of the greatest obstacles anyone could face.  As a mother, I can’t bring myself to say he is ready.  As a witch in a war I say that he is exactly what he needs to be at the right time.  I respect you Minerva, and I know you don’t mean some of what you said.  Dumbledore was not wrong to love him as a son.  He was wrong to treat him as a child.  I know that you must allow your children to be who they are, and that means a part of this war.  The wait is over,” she said as she slowly searched the faces “The wizard who will defeat Voldemort has come.”

 

The impact this speech had on many there was profound.  Molly Weasley had never been one to throw caution or her children to the wind.  Family meant everything to her and hers meant the world.  She had taken Harry Potter into her family, so to condone his participation in anything dangerous would be tantamount to allowing him to kill himself.  She would never have allowed it to happen in the past, and that is what affected those around the table the most.  They had seen her change over the past few weeks, after the argument with Ginny and Ron.  Nobody would say that she was growing to like it, but she understood the inevitability of her children’s eventual involvement in everything that was going on in the wizarding world.  All mothers of soldiers in war must come to this acceptance.  The only difference between all mothers and Molly Weasley was that her children were on the very edge of danger at all times, now.  They had faced Death Eaters on two occasions and lived. 

 

Remus saw an opportunity to bring everyone back to the main topic and seized it.  “No matter what our opinion of Harry is, we cannot make any decisions for him.  In fact, I see little value in debating the readiness of a wizard who has already made the decision to fight.  It will be his decision to return to Grimmauld Place or not, it will be his decision to be a part of the Order or not, and it will be his decision of when and how to face Lord Voldemort.  The wait is coming to an end.  Everyone be on your guard.” 

 

They continued to discuss the tasks that needed to be undertaken.  Some would be following Death Eaters while others would be trying to find more information on Voldemort’s whereabouts and what he might be planning.  They no longer had a spy that could slip in and out of Voldemort’s camp without detection.  They also discussed, as they had on several occasions since the Death Eater attack on Hogwarts, what Severus could have told Voldemort and what they needed to do about it.  Remus finally spoke to everyone again. “Well, the day is getting away from us.  I think that is enough for one meeting.  Everyone be safe and keep us all informed.”  He pulled out his wand and raised it like a sword in the air.  “For Dumbledore,” he said as a phoenix formed in the air from the tip of his wand.  It flew around the room, just above everyone’s heads, and then disappeared into a wisp of smoke. 

 

The meeting was over, and people began to leave. 

 

A few days later, on the stroke of midnight, a boy became a man.  “The Boy Who Lived” was no more.  The man who would avenge was born.  Harry was sure this would be a birthday he remembered forever.

 

 

 

 

 

A/N  Many thanks goes out to my Beta-reader Whimsy.  You have helped shape this chapter and the story itself.  Also to my best friend Irishham97 who has done the first draft edit of a big chunk of this story already.  This is as much his as it is my work.  Hope you like it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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