Harry Potter and the Elder Sect
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the characters from the classic Screen Gems Television show mentioned herein. But, you knew that.
It had taken weeks, but using Quirrell's ill-fitting wand, Tom had finally managed to duplicate the Dark Mark on his only remaining servant's arm completely from memory. His original notes on his Mark were no doubt still in his secure redoubt awaiting his return, but there was no way he was going to allow Quirrell to know his secrets.
Quirrell was still gasping from the pain of the installation of his master's mark when the barely pubescent Voldemort moved to call for his minions. Only to freeze in confusion when his mark changed from his carefully designed skull and snake to a smiling yellow disk.
"Hi ya, Fearless Leader," the disk asked. "How's it hanging?"
"You… speak?" Tom asked incredulously.
"You have a firm grasp of the obvious," the disk noted with an approving nod. "No wonder you're in charge. Were you looking to poke me in the eye with that wand, or did you want me to call your buttboys?"
"Call…" Tom hesitated, and swallowed noisily. "Call my followers."
"Okey Dokey Bossman," the disk's eyes narrowed in a manner than suggested both a squint and concentration. "And done. Do you have any requests?"
"Requests?" Tom and Quirrell echoed.
"No problem, Cap'n," the disk laughed, "We'll just pull out an oldie but goodie!"
Tom blinked at that announcement before locking eyes with Quirrell. "Was a call sent?" he asked.
"I don't know…" Quirrell whispered. "I didn't feel anything."
A musical chime filled the air and the room filled with his marked Death Eaters, including those supposed to be imprisoned in Azkaban Prison. Tom suddenly realized he was standing alone, and that Quirrell was among the others.
The Death Eaters had obviously been summoned with no forewarning. Bellatrix was standing in her decayed prison robes with a handful of something held to her mouth. Lucius Malfoy was naked, covered in soap, with a shower cap upon his head and a scrub brush in his hand. Peter Pettigrew appeared in his rat form only to change to human, who stood blinking owlishly before taking his place in the back of the crowd.
The involuntarily transported Death Eaters milled about for several long seconds until the Dark Marks all began speaking in eerie unison.
"All right you lot," the yellow disks on each of their arms said. "Where is your dignity? Show your master all the respect he is due!" Instantly each of the Death Eater's left arms presented the immortal two-finger salute known to British schoolboys everywhere.
"Ah one," the disks called out, "Ah two! Ah one, two three!"
On cue, the grouped Death Eaters threw their arms about their neighbor's shoulders, their upper torsos manifesting identical white cotton jumpers with their first names emblazoned in glossy black letters. Before the shock of this new change could sink into anyone in the room, marching music swelled from nowhere, and they all began to sing:
"Who's the leader of the club," they chorused ,
"Who's enslaved both you and me?
V-O-L-D-E-M-O-R-THey! there, Hi! there, Ho! therePurebloods are as stupid as can beV-O-L-D-E-M-O-R-T"
" Voldemort! " The assembled group shouted,
" Dumbledore !" a quiet voice that sounded suspiciously like that of Severus Snape, if the potions master had been huffing helium for some reason, argued,
" Voldemort! "
" Dumbledore !" Snape supplied, continuing with his contrary, if highly pitched, ways.
"Forever let us hold our dark marks
High! High! High! High!
Come along and sing a song
And join the murder spree!
Lord Voldemort's club
We'll have fun
We'll hide our faces!
Hide! Hide! Hide! Hide!
We'll do things and
We'll go places
All around the world
We'll go pillaging!
Who's the leader of the club
Who's enslaved you and me
Hey! there, Hi! there, Ho! There
Purebloods are as stupid as can be
Forever let us hold our Dark Marks
High! High! High! High!
Come along and sing a song
And join the murder spree!
As quickly as it had begun, the music died, and the assembled Death Eaters broke from their poses.
"Master?" Evan Rosier asked incredulously. "You're so… young."
"Master!" Lucius Malfoy shrieked girlishly as he threw himself to the floor and began kissing the hems of the boy's robes. "You've returned to us, thank you for your gift, you know me so well."
"I have returned," Tom said, stating the obvious and trying to kick Malfoy away from him before the man managed to soak his shoes with the saliva of devotion. The sight of Bellatrix in the white jumper suddenly captured his attention… had she always been so… Tom was suddenly very happy that the robes he wore hid so much.
"You aren't the Master!" Gregory Goyle Senior spat. "You're nothing but a spotty brat!'
The rest of the Death Eaters appeared to have only noticed Tom's age when Goyle mentioned it. The majority drew their wands, while a minority, including Lucius and Bellatrix, continued to gaze at their returned Dark Lord in undisguised adulation.
For his part, Tom was far too busy staring at Bellatrix's chest to notice. A very minor part of his mind, the only part not finding heaving sweater puppies fascinating to the exclusion of all else, was devoted to wondering why his salivary glands were now working overtime.
"'ello, 'ello', 'ello'," the yellow disks on the arms of those aiming their wands at the spotty teen said in a horrible Hollywood version of the stereotypical British Bobby, "Wat's all this then? Are you lot threatening your liege-lord? We can't have that. Assume the position lads!"
As one, the threatening Death Eaters stood rigidly upright, their feet shoulder width apart. Panic filled their eyes as each of their left arms rose to shoulder level and their left hands formed a fist, then with all their strength, each of the offenders savagely punched themselves in the crotch, once, twice, three times.
As one, the offending Death Eaters fell to the floor in agony. The moaning finally tore Tom's attention away from Bella's chest. "Wha?" he said intelligently as he covertly wiped his chin.
"The troops got out of line Boss," the disk on Quirrell's arm said. "We just enforced a little discipline."
"Ok," Tom agreed, "good. Good."
"Would you like Bella to do some star jumps, Boss?" the disk on Bellatrix's arm asked.
"Oh, yeah," Tom nodded. "That would be great!"
"Warden!" the Jason Biggers shouted as he entered the main Azkaban administration offices. "Warden!"
Warden Timothy Jensen sighed. "I know Biggers, the Special Prisoners are singing again. They've been singing for a month, it's not big news anymore."
"No, sir," Biggers gasped. "They're gone."
"What do you mean 'they're gone'? Who is gone?"
"The Special Prisoners, sir." Biggers said. "All of them."
Jensen paled. "Gone? What do you mean gone?"
"Their cells are empty. The doors are still locked and still intact, the prisoner map can't find them, and worse yet, the Dementors on duty in the Special area are panicked."
"Panicked? How can a Dementor panic?" Jenson demanded.
"They're all milling about bumping into each other, trying to get as far away from the empty cells as possible and… and…" the young auror hesitated.
"What is it man? What are they doing?"
"They're screaming," Biggers said. "It's a horrible sound. Whatever happened to the Special Prisoners has terrified the Dementors."
"Merlin!" Jenson exclaimed, trying to imagine what could possibly frighten a demon like a Dementor.
Meanwhile, a young blonde girl happily skipped through the cobbled streets of Diagon Alley. Spotting the gleaming edifice of Gringotts, she smiled and continued her way up the marble stairs to where the guards stood at rigid attention.
"Hi," she chirped, "I'm here to see the manager."
The two warriors shared a confused glance before redirecting their gaze at the air in front of them. The senior of the two had had this position for most of a century, and never before had any human spoken with him.
"Could you tell him I'm here?"
Neither guard spoke, for indeed they were forbidden to by tradition and regulation. The younger of the pair wondered if the punishment that would be forthcoming would be worth the sheer joy of punting the youngling human across the street.
"Oh, I get it, can't talk on duty. Ok, I'll go find him."
As each watched the idiot youngling enter the bank in his peripheral vision, both of the guards issues a small sigh. There would likely be blood… and they were going to miss it.
"I'm here to see the Manager," the human youngling said entirely too cheerfully.
"The Manager sees no one!" The Duty Floor Walker sneered. There was something special about disappointing humans. He tried to disappoint as many as he could every day.
"Oh," she pouted, "that's too bad. Maybe I can change his mind."
The Floor Walker blinked in amazement as the girl skipped toward the entry to the Staff areas. "Stop her!" he called to the guards at the portal.
The pair stood in the doorway, crossing their pikes as they had been trained, completely barring the way.
The Floor Walker blinked as he watched the girl passed between the guards as if they were not there. He moved to his security station at a run and slapped the crystal that would put the bank into lock down, warning the senior management of a security problem.
Hopefully, he would keep his head.
Ognar Flintshard moved through the tunnels in a foul mood. A human child had penetrated into the staff areas of the bank and no one could find it, even after an hour of searching chamber to chamber? Head would roll. The goblin that humans of Britain knew as Ragnock had not achieved his position by allowing things like this to happen.
He stormed past the guards standing post outside his office, closing the door behind him.
"Hi Oggie," a young cheerful voice called from his desk, where his chair was spinning around. "I figured the best way to find you would be to wait in your office. You've got a great chair."
"How did you get in here?"
"How else?" the child asked as she stopped spinning in the chair to face him. "Magic."
"Have you any idea how much trouble you are in?" Ognar thundered, wondering even as he did so just how this child had learned enough of his family name to refer to him in a diminutive. "Your family will be sued into poverty!"
"I kind of doubt that," the child laughed. "My uncle said that you've had dealings with him and that you'd likely jump at the chance to make a little pocket change."
"Your… uncle?" Flintshard asked suspiciously. There were a few humans who knew things that could embarrass him… humans he hadn't managed to have killed yet."
"Oh, yes," the girl smiled. "My Uncle Arthur."
Flintshard's blood went cold. This girl was one of them. One of that vile coven that held themselves apart from profit and loss. Arthur and his friend Flamel were exceptions with their Philosopher's Stone scam, but they only did it as a joke. The idea that anyone would use profit as a way to score a joke was so alien a concept it had taken Flintshard most of a century to understand it. "You are his family?"
"Yep," the small female agreed. "I need to make some sales, and Uncle Arthur said, that if any beings understood how to make a profit, it would be your people, and you in particular."
That caught Flintshard's ear. "Profit"?
"Oh, not for me, personally, but profit just the same," the girl nodded. "And a healthy cut for you and your people."
Flintshard's interest was most specifically piqued, but he was not about to let this slip of a youngling know that. "Why should I care? I'm running a bank; I don't have time for every half thought out plot you immortals come up with to pass the time."
The girl nodded. "Uncle Arthur said you would say that," a sly smile crossed her lips, "and Uncle Arthur told me about your weaknesses." From nowhere the girl produced a green and white rectangular box.
Flintshard caught the scent immediately. "No!"
"Yes," The girl nodded.
With trembling hands, he opened the package to confirm the presences of his treasure. The rarest of the rare delicacies. He swallowed noisily, "What do you want?"
She explained her plan in detail.
"Ten cases," Flintshard demanded.
"Five now," the girl smiled, "five upon completion of our arrangement."
The return of Azkaban's contingent of Death Eaters was as unexpected as their earlier exit had been. Warden Timothy Jensen tried to question the prisoners on their disappearance, but could not get a word in edgewise. The men were all busy singing drinking songs.
He did not have any more luck with Bellatrix Lestrange. The woman was not singing, but she lay on her pallet, covered in sweat moaning quietly about how much her breasts hurt.
Harry sighed as he left the castle. Telling people of his background had turned out to be a mistake. Now everyone was treating him differently, asking endless questions about the night he lost his birth family in 1981. A night he did not remember.
He had thought that a walk around the castle would allow him to sort things out. Doing so meant ditching a class, which generally meant that someone would be riding his butt about doing that. To avoid that confrontation, he created a doppelganger and sent him to transfiguration to take notes. He wondered if anyone would notice.
Probably not, these wand wizards did not seem to be as aware of magic as his family was.
On some level, he knew that there was a lesson in all of this. Being capable of pretty much anything, of having pretty much anything, maybe it was good to be reminded that there were things he could not have.
Not that it meant that he had to like it.
Darkness came early to Scotland in December. The air was crisp, hovering just above freezing. It sort of reminded him of home. Connecticut's late fall was much like this some years. Not the getting dark this early of course, but the chill in the air.
Approaching the Grounds keeper's cabin, Harry turned to look back at the castle. All lit up, the school certainly was pretty… then a light caught his eye, past Hagrid's cabin and at the edge of the forest.
That struck Harry as odd. The forest was supposed to be off limits, but the light piqued his curiosity, so he made his way to see what was going on.
"KROUP CHAGSUP TCSHUP tea Trudy?"
Harry paused while he tried to parse what had been said. The speaker was human, female, and young, and she was trying to speak Troll. Languages were always an issue for Harry. The ability to speak to other beings was an innate skill, not unlike hearing or seeing. He did not need concentrate on the words to know what the other was saying, and his magic allowed him to be understood by the other being…
However, when someone was speaking in a language not their own, it was confusing. Harry was not sure, but he thought that the speaker had just offered someone named Trudie some more tea, which was odd, because Trollish did not have a word for 'tea' and Trudie was not a Troll name.
He entered the clearing to find it lit by blue flames suspended in midair. In the center of the clearing sat a table and a pair of chairs. Harry saw that the human speaker was that Hermione girl he had rescued on Halloween night, and seated across from her was the troll from that night, still dressed in her green sundress.
"Oh, hello Harry," Hermione called from her place at the table. "I was going to see if I could find you after my free period."
"Hi," Harry responded, hesitating for a moment before deciding that both the girl and the troll had seem his magic before and conjuring a chair for himself. "I thought I heard someone speaking troll.
"I found a book in the library on Trollish and managed to teach myself the basic syntax when Trudie and I became friends after you cleared up our misunderstanding." The girl blushed, "How's my accent? Trudie says that I'm fine, but she's too sweet to tell me bad news."
"Ok, I guess. I could make you out, and the human throat really isn't built for Trollish."
That seemed to make her happy, so Harry carried on. "You two are friends?"
"Oh yes," Hermione nodded while the troll, whose name was evidently 'Trudie' voiced an affirmative. "And I was going to try to find you to see if you could do your clothing thing. Trudie loves her sundress, but its winter now and she could really use something more suited to the weather.
Trudie vocalized a 'please' as well.
"Ok," Harry said gesturing so that Trudie was cloaked in a dappled green snowsuit, complete with a fur trim on the cuffs and around the hood.
Almost immediately, the Troll began voicing her complaints.
"What is she saying?" Hermione demanded. "She's going too fast for me to keep up."
"It seems that she didn't want her sundress changed into winter gear," Harry sighed. "She wanted winter clothing as well. Harry gestured and a bundle wrapped in brown paper appeared next to the Troll named 'Trudie'. "There you go. Your sundress and a selection of other outfits."
The girls, both human and troll immediately began tearing at the paper to examine Trudie's acquisitions, while Harry contemplated just what had gone wrong in his life that had resulted in his becoming a fashion designer for trolls.
"Harry?" the Hermione girl asked hesitantly.
"I was wondering… I mean you don't have to, but it would be nice…"
Harry sat wondering why she could not just spit it out, and why she was blushing.
"Anyway," Hermione continued, "Trudie and I are friends, and our tea parties in the forest are sort of a club, and… I was, well, really both of us were wondering…"
"What are you wondering?" Harry asked.
"Could you make us some… matching outfits. For the club?"
Harry blinked. He certainly had not expected that.
Pansy blinked. She had looked up from her Potions essay to find a girl she did not recognize inexplicably dressed in Muggle clothing and standing in front of the Founder's portrait as if she has somehow just appeared there.
That of course was not possible. The only person who could possibly 'just appear' in the Slytherin common room was Harry Stevens… Potter… Harry. He was the only one who could do that, and it was Saturday. As a day student, Stevens was almost never around on weekends. Pansy nudged Tracey Davis who was sitting to her left.
"Who is that?" Pansy whispered. "The girl speaking to the Founder's portrait?"
"I don't know," Tracey replied in the same tone. "One second there wasn't anyone there, and then she just… appeared."
"Hi!" the stranger said as she approached the first years at their study tables, carrying a tray of… something. "Feel like a cookie? I mean biscuit? Free samples."
"Who are you?" Millie asked. "and how did you get into our common room?"
"I'm Tabitha, Harry's sister," the blonde said as if that explained everything, as indeed it did. "My Girl Scout troop is doing the annual cookie sale and Harry mentioned that he hadn't seen anything like that here, so I thought, vast untapped market, you know? Anyway, I'm going to be taking orders after lunch in your big cafeteria place… The place with the fancy ceiling, and I've got a ton of cookies to move, so I thought I'd start here with the free samples. Cookie?"
Millie hesitated, little of what the stranger said made any sense, but she said she was Harry's sister, so the large girl took one of the dark chocolate covered disks.
"Oh, take more than that," the blonde girl urged. "Don't worry about your figures girls, I've charmed these babies to be no calories, no fat, all taste. You could kill a case of them and still fit into your swimsuits this summer."
"What?" one of the fifth year girls asked from the next table. "Biscuits that are just taste ?"
"Yepper," the girl who was much more than a witch nodded. "With these, you keep the moment on the lips, and totally skip the lifetime on the hips." She waited as all of the witches in the Common room began to smile widely. "Free samples?"
Pansy reached out for the offered tray, which she noticed never seemed to run out of biscuits, and selected one of the more yellow disks. A quick nibble and she was astounded by the flavor of lemon filling her mouth. The biscuit was quickly consumed and she reached for another, only to have the tray jerked out of her reach.
"Free samples, eh?" Draco Malfoy said as he snatched the tray away. "I guess these are mine then.
"Ah," the Stevens girl said, her eyes narrowing. "You must be What's His Name, Boytoy."
"My name is Draco Malfoy. I'm surprised you haven't heard of me. Hasn't your brother has spoken of me?" Draco taunted. "Told you of all the times I've bested him?"
"Actually, he just described you as an overdressed sissy who spends way too much time on his hair," Tabitha corrected. "He may have also mentioned that you were a little dick with delusions of adequacy." The girl's nose twitched, and the tray Draco had stolen wrapped itself around his hands. "Didn't your mother ever teach you not to take things that don't belong to you?" She asked as Draco began to panic when he could not free his hands. "Don't even try to mess with me, Pretty Boy. Harry's the nice one, he'll give you chance after chance. Me, I don't do that, I can be an evil little witch when I set my mind to it."
"The sale will be up in your cafeteria, after lunch. Tell your friends." The blond girl called as she disappeared from the Slytherin common room.
The staff assembled to watch their students queuing up for the Stevens girl's biscuits.
"Purely out of curiosity Headmaster," Severus Snape asked, trying to get the memory of the amazing flavor of chocolate and mint biscuit out of his mind. How much was it the girl said that they cost? "Why are you allowing this?"
"I can see no harm from this," Dumbledore explained, not mentioning the twelve cases of those lovely 'Lemon Chalet Cremes ' biscuits currently in his office. "Besides, between the arrangement Miss Stevens has with the Goblins and her own considerable power, I'm not sure I could have stopped her if I wanted to."
"Indeed," Minerva McGonagall said, eyeing the line of students in front of the Gringotts' kiosk where the Goblin bankers were changing Galleons to Muggle Yankee Dollars. "I was amazed to find the girl handing out free samples in my common room before Lunch."
"Earlier than that, surely," Pomona Sprout asked. "She was in my common room handing out free samples just before lunch."
"No, she was in my common room," Filius Flitwick argued. "With some of the most delightful biscuits… peanut butter flavor she said."
"Let us just say, the Elders have a flexible association with time," Dumbledore sighed, clearly not liking the idea that those of an eleven-year-old girl dwarfed his fabled powers. "She was quite likely in all of your common rooms at the same time."
"Uh, two boxes of the Samoas," George Weasley said, looking over the available biscuits.
"Three of the Thin Mints," Fred interjected.
"Ohh, and two of the Do-Si-Dos," George finished.
"Just write your order down on the next free line of the order form," Tabitha directed.
"Why?" Fred asked.
"So I know how many to order."
The twins exchanged a look. "What do you mean, you'll know how many to order? You're selling off that pile right there," George pointed out.
"Which I only have," Tabitha said slowly, as if speaking to a young child, "because I knew how many to order."
Again, the twins exchanged a look, and filled out the form as the young blonde moved on to the next customer.
"And for you?"
"STEVENS!" Draco Malfoy screamed from across the Great Hall.
"Selling cookies now, I don't have time to play with you, Boytoy," she responded as she handed over the next order.
"Take this off me Stevens!" the first year Slytherin demanded brandishing the former platter that now trapped his hands together. "When my father hears of this…"
"Daddy dearest couldn't get that off of you on the best day of his life," Tabitha said conversationally. "Only two people in the entire world can, and I'm one of them." She handed her latest customer five brightly colored boxes. "And for the record, screaming at me like an idiot or threatening me with someone stupid enough to get my brother angry isn't going to convince me to take it off."
A pair of security goblins appeared between the fuming Malfoy and Tabitha, their bladed weapons at the ready. "Is this person annoying you, Mistress?"
"Him? Please guys, a retarded spider monkey could out think this little dick," the girl laughed. "And I've told you, you don't need to call me Mistress. I'm just Tabitha."
"And we have told you," the taller of the two security Goblins rumbled as he returned to his position. "As long as you are in a personal business relationship with the Branch Manager, you will be addressed as Mistress."
"What seems to be the problem?" Dumbledore asked as he approached.
"More Lemon Chalet Cremes, Headmaster?" Tabitha asked innocently.
"She," Malfoy shouted, gesturing with both of his hands, "put this on my hands."
Dumbledore examined the metal tray that had conformed to the Slytherin's hands.
"Amazing," he breathed.
"It's like a transfiguration," Minerva volunteered. "But rather than changing form, the metal changed shape."
"Drano liked my tray enough to try and… borrow it, without permission I might add," Tabitha explained as she filled her next order. "I thought that if he liked it that much, I would make sure he didn't lose it."
"Minerva if you would…" Dumbledore suggested.
The Transfiguration mistress drew her wand and cast. Furrowing her brow, she cast again. And again. And again. "It won't change. I tried to turn it to cloth, to water, to vapor… it ignores magic."
"Indeed?" Albus asked, before pulling his wand and trying, only to fail as well. Dumbledore felt his blood go cold. His wand failed? His wand?" He swallowed noisily. "Miss Stevens if you would?"
"I'm a little busy here," she pointed out as she handed out five more boxes of biscuits.
"Please? Remove the tray."
Tabitha turned to see the smirk on the blond's face. He clearly thought he had won. Perhaps it was time for the lesson that Harry should have taught the boy long before. "All right," Her nose twitched and there was a loud clang as the changed tray fell to the stone floor.
"Thank you, Miss Stevens," Dumbledore said, his eyes twinkling, only to be startled as Draco Malfoy started Screaming.
All eyes in the Great Hall were suddenly on the first year Slytherin who was holding his arms in front of his body, staring at his wrists that were startlingly, not attached to any hands. Poppy Pomfrey rushed to the boy, her wand already in motion.
"It's like a splinching, but… different," the Matron said, her confusion evident. "Mr. Malfoy, are you in pain?"
"MY HANDS!" he screamed. "My HANDS!"
"Oh for God's sake," Tabitha sighed. "What a wuss. I hid Harry's whole left leg for three days and he didn't make as much of a fuss." Again, her nose twitched, and the magically warped metal tray leaped from the floor to reattach itself to the boy's wrists. "Go away, Dooby, you're distracting my customers."
"Miss Stevens…" Dumbledore began.
"Only two people in the world can remove that tray from his hands Headmaster," Tabitha said as she handed two more boxes over to their purchaser. "Dingleberry, and me. I'm not inclined to do it until I'm done with my sale." The girl made an odd face. "I knew I should have brought a few girls from the troop with me."
"And how does Mr. Malfoy go about removing it?" Poppy demanded.
"He needs to realize, understand, and actually believe what he did was wrong. He needs to understand that taking things that don't belong to him is wrong, and has consequences," the girl said simply. "Evidently, no one has ever taught him that fairly simple lesson. I learned it from my mother and father, and I am passing that lesson on to Dimson… free of charge, along with another, more important lesson."
"And what would that lesson be?" Dumbledore asked.
"That there is always someone more powerful than you, and you should be careful of annoying them."
"Be that as it may," the Headmaster said, "You cannot leave Mr. Malfoy like this."
"Sure I can," the girl disagreed. "It's easy to do."
"Perhaps I am not being clear," Dumbledore continued. "If you do not release Mr. Malfoy, and release him now, I will be forced to remove my permission for your sale."
"How is that fair?" the girl asked, accompanying the groans of the students still waiting to make their purchases.
"You will find with age, that fairness is not the only concern one has in these situations," the old man's eyes twinkled, "and in the hopes of reminding you of the lesson you want taught to Mr. Malfoy, " there is always someone more powerful than you, and you should be careful of annoying them.' If forced, I will inform your mother."
"Well," the girl said, pulling what appeared to be one of her sign-up sheets, only this one was completely filled out. "It doesn't look like you cut me off early, which means I going to give in. Would you allow me to teach my lesson to Durwood if the teaching of that lesson doesn't cause him physical or psychological harm?"
Dumbledore seemed to ponder the question for several seconds. "I suppose that is acceptable."
"Ok, cool," the girl said while twitching her nose. The tray trapping Malfoy's hands reverted to its original shape, and fell to the stone floor.
"My hands!" Draco said, staring at his fingers with tears in his eyes. "My hands are free. Thank you Headmaster, thank you."
"Not so fast," Tabitha said, twitching her nose again. Draco's clothing shifted from the standard Hogwarts robes to a green blouse and skirt combination. The blouse was topped with a khaki sash decorated with a single round cloth badge. Closer examination revealed the badge proclaimed its wearer "Enormous Loser".
"Ok, you're in uniform. As the Cookie Sales Committee Chair of troop 328, I hereby deputize you as an honorary Girl Scout. Welcome to the troop. Now, go sell cookies."
Draco's mouth open and closed a few times before he nodded and skipped happily to the table where the sales were being made.
"There," the girl said. "His hands are free, you're happy, I'm happy, Dusty has found himself, everyone's happy. Your students can enjoy the sweets without consequences and I can break all records in the cookie sale."
Dumbledore watched as the girl moved to join the Malfoy heir, and shook his head.
"Whatever she did to the boy has him happy now," Minerva said from his side, "but I doubt he will be particularly happy tomorrow."
"I fear you are right Minerva," Dumbledore agreed. "However, I have learned that sometimes one must be content with what is happening today and allow tomorrow to take care of itself."
Ognar Flintshard was rather proud of the fact that he showed absolutely no surprise when the girl, his designated remote teller and guard detachment appeared in his office with a musical chime.
He would schedule a nervous breakdown later, when there was no one to witness his reaction.
"Hi Oggie," the girl called out as they appeared. The Guard detachment offered their guild's traditional salute while fighting against displaying the amusement they all obviously felt, and the Teller presented his ledgers for inspection, nodded once and exited Flintshard's office.
Flintshard made a note to put a letter of reprimand in the teller's personnel folder for the excessive frivolity.
"I take it your sale was successful?" Flintshard asked once the guard detachment had exited as well.
"Very," the girl smiled. "It was a lot of fun, given the number of boxes I sold, I'm sure your teller made a fair profit on the deal."
"Today's dealings tripled this branch's normal daily profit in the currency exchange department," Flintshard offered.
"So, it was worth doing?"
"I would say yes," the Bank Manger nodded. "Yes it was."
"I didn't forget your final payment," the human said as she produced the promised five cases of thin mints. "You know, those are really good if you freeze them."
Flintshard's mind was racing. Where was he going to find a freezer?
Harry looked up from his breakfast to find three fifth year girls staring at him.
"Yes?" He asked.
"Rumor has it you're stupidly powerful," the girl on the right said.
"What Rebecca meant to say," the girl in the center of the group said, while elbowing her friend, "is that we've heard rumors that you've taken to making clothes for Trolls."
"Well, one troll," Harry admitted.
"And you've done it for free?" the third girl asked.
"Why would I charge for something like that?" Harry asked.
"Could you make this for us?" the center girl asked as she placed a magazine featuring a fashion photo spread in front of him.
Harry shrugged. "Ok," three brown paper wrapped packages appeared in front of the girls.
"Just like that?" Rebecca, the girl on the right asked.
"We never told you which one we wanted," the girl in the center asked. "Which one did you do?"
"Oh, you only wanted one? I did them all," Harry explained.
"All of them?" Rebecca looked a bit faint.
"Sized for each of you individually and in multiple colors," Harry nodded. "I only made the mistake of doing something in a single color once. I don't think I could stand another explanation of colors and seasons and stuff like that. All yours enjoy."
"Oh, thank you!" the girl on the right stood up and leaned across the table to take Harry's face in both hands and kiss him.
"Calm down Sarah!" the girl in the center laughed. "Thanks Stevens, you're all right." With that, the three girls gathered their new acquisitions and hurried from the Great Hall.
"What was that about?" Millie Bulstrode asked as she took her seat on Harry's right.
"Just more data in support of my Girls Are Insane theory," Harry said wiping his mouth on his right sleeve.
"Watch it Stevens," Daphne said as she took her seat across from him. "You may be some kind of super wizard, but we still outnumber you."
"Warlock," Harry corrected, "I'm a Warlock."
"Whatever," Daphne said dismissively. "What did you do to earn a kiss from a fifth year?"
"Oh," Harry said as he returned to his breakfast. "I made them some clothes like in a magazine they had."
That answer produced several seconds of silence, only to be broken by Pansy who had taken the seat on Harry's left.
"You make clothes?"
Harry looked up again to find all of his female classmates looking at him in a most predatory manner. "Uh… yeah," he responded wondering as he said it if that might have been the wrong answer.
"STEVENS!" Draco Malfoy shouted across the Great Hall, drawing the attention of everyone in it, staff and student alike.
Harry had never been so glad to see his blond classmate. "Sup Draco?" he asked when the other boy approached the table.
"I've written my father about what your sister did to me!" the blond continued to shout, despite being close enough for a normal conversation.
"Tabitha?" Harry asked. "When did you ever meet Tabitha?"
"She was here Saturday," Tracey explained from across the table. "Selling some marvelous biscuits."
"She was?" Harry asked. "How about that? Did her sale go well?"
"Very, she was in the common room passing out samples when Draco took her tray from her."
"Ah," Harry nodded. "Yeah, that would do it. So, my sister beat up on you for a while did she, Puss?"
"Your entire family will pay for what she did Stevens!"
"What did she do?" Harry asked, his imagination running wild.
"Well, first she wrapped the tray he stole around his hands and wouldn't let him go," Millie supplied. "Then when he whined to the Headmaster, she let him go and made him sell biscuits."
"She made me wear a Muggle Dress!" Draco screamed.
"A dress?" Harry fought and failed to keep from laughing. "Please tell me someone took pictures."
"No, sorry," Pansy laughed. "I don't think anyone thought of taking pictures."
"When was it? What time on Saturday?" Harry demanded.
"About 1:45, after lunch." Tracey said.
"Stevens I'm going…"
"Hold that thought for a minute Puss," Harry said. "I'll be right back."
Despite having seen it before, the Slytherin first years were amazed by the Stevens boy sudden vanishing.
Seconds later, a laughing Harry Stevens reappeared next to Draco Malfoy. "That was hilarious! Seriously, Puss," Harry threw his arm around the blond. "How do you manage to get on every person you meet's bad side so quickly? Did you learn that somewhere, or does it come naturally?"
"Where did you go?" Millie asked.
"I went to Saturday to see what happened for myself," Harry explained. He pulled his arm off Draco's shoulder and clutched at his abdomen with both arms. "I think I hurt myself laughing so hard."
This made Malfoy so angry that he could only manage to sputter.
"Draco, listen, all kidding aside. You do not want to make yourself the focus of my sister's undivided attention. Last year in the 5th grade, there was a guy who wouldn't leave her alone, always trying to bully her, to intimidate her, so she decided to mess with him. He was a sobbing mess in four days, and she didn't even use any magic. With you, the gloves would be off. You really don't want to mess with her."
Harry returned to his seat and his breakfast.
"So, Harry," Pansy said. "What's this about you making clothes?"
The last day of classes before the Christmas break dragged on and on. Harry was nearing the end of his rope. He settled into his normal place at the Slytherin table hoping against hope for a quiet lunch.
It was not the classwork, which continued to be fairly interesting. It was the girls.
Pretty much all of them, all the time. Request for Dresses, for trouser outfits, for hats, for shoes… shoes, so very many shoes.
He now understood that Tabitha and his mom had always taken it easy on him when he accompanied them on their shopping expeditions.
There were some things a man is not intended to know.
"Hello Harry," a girl said, breaking through his self-pity.
It was the Gryffindor Patil, with her friend Lavender in tow, the all too familiar shape of a magazine rolled up in the blonde girl's hand.
"We were hoping that you might be able to help us out with something Harry," the Patil girl said, her eyes fluttering. Was that supposed to be somehow attractive?
"This one here," Lavender said, pointing a photograph of a particularly attractive witch. If Harry was any judge, the woman in the picture was at least in her mid-20s.
"Isn't that a little old for you?"
"You sound like my father," Parvati sniffed. "Will you make it for us?"
Harry stood up and looked around the Great Hall. The room was full of students starting to dig into their mid-day meals. "Excuse me everyone?" he said in his normal voice that his magic amplified so that everyone could hear him.
"For the last couple of weeks, people have been coming to me for clothing," Harry paused and gestured. Throughout the hall, a sheet of paper appeared in front of every girl. "Those noted detail a complete list of ever article any of you have asked for. Each of you will find on your beds, a complete set of all of them in a variety of colors and patterns sized to fit you. I am officially done. The fashion consultancy is now closed. Don't ask for anything else, the answer will be no."
He sat back down and tried to ignore the looks he was getting from the young women at his table.
"You've been making them clothes?" Vinnie Crabbe asked with a grin.
"Should we be calling you Mr. Harry of Hogwarts ?" Greg Goyle snarked.
"Would you two like to find out what it's like to be small and fluffy?"
"As opposed to big and burley?" Ted Nott laughed. "Give them a break Harry, it's funny."
A rat ran down the middle of the table. The four boys stared at it in amazement.
"Hey, Harry…" Greg began
"Don't look at me, I was planning on rabbits, not rats," Harry said staring after the rodent. "Guys, beyond the sanitation issues, did that seem really odd to anyone else?"
Peter tried to ignore the amplified voice that thundered in the Great Hall outside his nice safe pocket. It had been weeks since he had been out of the Gryffindor first year boy's dorm, other than his frankly horrifying trip to see the reborn Dark Lord. His goal in life was to find a safe place to ride out whatever was coming.
That and to keep his master's new Mark from singing. Other than that first night when the Mark had inexplicably started singing 'Meow', it had kept its musical vocalizations to times when Peter was alone… other than when the Dark Lord called of course.
Peter really tried not to think about that.
He curled into a tighter ball and tried to go to sleep, when he suddenly realized something was wrong.
He had to get out of Ron Weasley's pocket, and he needed out NOW. He climbed from the pocket and onto the table. Avoiding Ron's grabbing attempt to recapture him, Peter scampered across the table and leaped across the void separating the Gryffindor table from that of Ravenclaw house. From that table he jumped to the Hufflepuff table, and from that one to the Slytherin. He then mindlessly raced down the table toward the Staff table, ignoring the reactions of the students he passed.
Entering the Great Hall with his signature billowing robes, Severus Snape raised an eyebrow as he caught the tail end of the Stevens boy's announcement that he was not doing something any longer.
Part of his mind wondered just what it was the boy was not going to do any longer; the rest however knew that whatever it was it was trivial in the grand scheme of things.
Snape froze in place. Something was wrong… Something was… horror filled his soul when the music started. He knew all too well what that meant.
A rat was racing toward him, running long to the top of the Slytherin table. The rodent launched itself off the table, transforming in mid-leap from a rat to a man. Snape found Peter Pettigrew standing before him. Pettigrew produced a rose from nowhere, and clenched the bethorned stem in his teeth.
To his undying shame, Severus took Pettigrew into his arms, and the pair proceeded to tango while singing.
"I ache for the touch of your lips, Dear,
But much more for the touch of your whips, Dear.
You can raise welts
Like nobody else,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango.
Let our love be a flame, not an ember,
Say it's me that you want to dismember.
Blacken my eye,
Set fire to my tie,
As we dance to the Masochism Tango."
Why? Severus asked himself as he moved through the dance. If it had to be Tom Leher, why could not the song have been Poisoning Pigeons in the Park? That was a song he could get behind.
Six hours later, Severus Snape sat in his darkened office, trying to understand what was happening to him. How could he ever face his students after his display in the Great Hall at lunch?
It had not been easy, but he has so far managed to keep the students in the dark as to his new Mark… but now, that was all gone. Pettigrew's arrest had cheered him a bit, but the thought that everyone would know of how he had… That because of him Lily was… Lily's son was…
Albus was intrigued by the control the new Mark held over the Death Eaters, and almost as amazed by Voldemort's rebirth as a child, who seemingly had no control over the Marks himself. However, Albus had no understanding of just what all this meant to Snape. The pain that the lack of control was causing. Not for the first time, Snape regretted all of the choices that lead him to this point.
A knock at his door brought his attention from his problems to the here and now. "Go away," he responded. "My Office Hours are clearly posted on the door; you've missed them for today."
He heard the knob being tried. He set his mouth into a firm line. No student was ever going to open that door. Albus himself would be pressed to open that door with all the magic layered onto it.
To say that Severus Snape was surprised when the door opened to reveal Harry Stevens would be something of an understatement.
"Professor Snape," the boy said in way of greetings.
"I believe I was quite clear that I did not want to be disturbed Mr. Stevens," Severus tried very hard not to look into Lily's eyes in the boy's face.
"Yes sir, you did, but this is more important that what either you or I want," the boy said defiantly. "I had no idea that you wore Voldemort's Mark."
"I'm sure I don't know what you are talking about Stevens," Snape spat. "Now get out of here before I…"
"The only way you would have been caught up in your tango at lunch today was if you wore the Mark. If you are a Death Eater, you have no place in a school surrounded by those weaker than yourself," Stevens explained. "I will not allow it."
"You will not allow it?" Snape sneered.
"No," Stevens said simply. "I will not. Report."
Severus' left arm was suddenly bare and extended from his side. The mark began to speak. "Severus Snape. Age: 33. Potions Master and teacher when he can be bothered. Joined the Death Eaters in a funk at the age of 17 after he destroyed his relationship with your birth mother and she would not forgive him. He has killed no one, though he holds himself responsible for your birth mother's death due to relaying the information that ultimately caused Voldemort to seek out your birth family. He feels absolutely no guilt over the death of your birth father, and indeed feels that James Potter deserved to die for coming between him and your birth mother. The guilt he feels over your birth mother has caused him to attempt to redeem himself by working at great personal risk as a spy against Voldemort."
The boy seemed to relax a bit. "So, despite joining the Death Eaters, he isn't one?"
"No. The man is a massive dick, but he was that way before he took the Mark," the Mark responded. "And he refuses to sing with me. The only time he sings along is when more than one Mark is active and is in close proximity, and even then, he fights against it. In short, he is a jerk."
"Thank you," the boy said and Severus found he had control of his arm once again. "My apologies for intruding on your privacy, Professor, but I had to know. I can remove the mark if you like. Call it an early Christmas present."
"The Dark Mark cannot be removed," Severus said, his mind racing.
"Sure it can," the boy smiled. "I'm the one that changed them after all, compared to that removing one is a walk in the park."
"Oh, come on Boss, don't separate Sevvy and Me," the Mark said. "We've become such good buddies, and he has a lovely singing voice. At least when he's playing along."
"Shut up Mark," the boy said.
"It will be gone? Forever?" Severus asked.
"I have no plans on putting it back," Stevens said as he gestured with his left hand. "There, no more singing, no more dancing, no more responding to the idiot's calls. You're free."
Severus spent several seconds staring at the pale, unblemished flesh of his left forearm. "How did you do that to the Dark Mark?"
"When I found out Voldemort was hitching a ride on the back of Quirrell's head, I knew I had to do something. I mean he was hurting people, and he almost killed Hermione Granger with a troll. I had to stop him, but I couldn't just kill him."
"Why not?" Snape asked.
"We don't kill. Ever," The boy said. "Well, far too many of the older ones do, but my Mom, Tabitha, Adam and me, we don't kill. It would be too easy, and it should not be easy to kill. So much in life is easy for us; we need to have some limits, even if they are self-imposed. Mom has spent a lot of time making sure we all understand that. Voldemort told me that he wanted a body, so I gave him one. A kids' body, one he isn't fully in control of and I put limits on his magic. If he tries to curse someone, he'll be surprised."
"And through him, his followers?"
"Yeah, a lot of them got off after doing some really horrible things to people. So, they are as limited as their master. If they try to cast against something evil against someone, they'll be sorry."
Severus finally looked into the eyes of Lily's son. "I don't deserve this. Because of me, your mother is dead."
"Did you tell Voldemort to kill her? Or my birth father?"
"No, but I supplied the information that lead to their deaths."
"Do you want me to blame you Professor?" the boy asked. "I don't remember the Potters, at all. My earliest memory is when I was almost three and I was jumping on my parent's bed to wrestle with my dad. I don't blame you for anything. Other people may not share that view, but that's how I see it."
"I… see," Severus whispered.
"I was fairly stupid and let my year mates in Slytherin know my birth name, and word spread from them to the rest of the school. I may need to speak with you after the Christmas Break and about how you think I should deal with that."
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