Fanfic: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by AidanChase (Read for Free, 1,332,114 Clicks)

Description: James and Lily ¡ª and Remus and Sirius ¡ª had done everything that they could to protect him. They would, as long as they were alive, put themselves between Harry and Voldemort. And if the prophecy was true, that only Harry could defeat Voldemort, then the only chance Harry¡¯s family had of surviving this war was if Harry finished it on his own.

Characters: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings Graphic Depictions Of ViolenceJames/Lily Harry/Ginny Ron/Hermione Cedric Diggory/Christian ThelborneHarry Potter Cedric Diggory Ginny Weasley Regulus Black James Potter Lily Potter Ron Weasley Sirius Black Hermione Granger Nymphadora Tonks Remus Lupin Tom Riddle | Voldemort Draco Malfoy Neville LongbottomAlternate Universe – Everyone Lives/Nobody Dies

Summary: Summary:

James and Lily ¡ª and Remus and Sirius ¡ª had done everything that they could to protect him. They would, as long as they were alive, put themselves between Harry and Voldemort. And if the prophecy was true, that only Harry could defeat Voldemort, then the only chance Harry¡¯s family had of surviving this war was if Harry finished it on his own.? How different would the world of Harry Potter be if James and Lily lived?This work is marked as Gen; ships will largely, but not entirely, align with canon.

Notes: Notes:

It’s… here. I don’t want to keep you long but we do have some general housekeeping:1 – I am well; I am grateful to be working from home, but as a teacher it is exhausting. For now, updates will be every other week. I will keep you informed as often as I can.2 – Find the AU on Social media! We have Twitter, Tumblr, Discord, and a wiki!3 – Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you to my beta team! ageofzero, magic713, ccboomer, aubsenroute, and somebodyswatson have been a 5-person beta team for nearly 2 years now, and I don’t know how I was surviving before I had their help. If you’ve noticed the upswing in quality of the last two books, you have them to thank for it.4 – And of course a huge thank you to you, dear reader! I hope you are safe and well. Whether you have been with me for all 6 and a half years to date or whether you binged it all last week, I’m just so excited to see through to the end of this journey with you, however long it may take to get us there.And now for a perspective I literally never thought I would write….

Chapter 1: The Dark Lord Ascending

Chapter Text
The table was dimly lit, but the fireplace behind the head of the table spread across the white marble floor and cast a ghostly pallor over the faces of the witches and wizards seated around the long dining table. Their stiff expressions did not make them appear any more lively.Lord Voldemort, seated directly before the fire, was shrouded in shadow. His white hands, however, reflected the firelight almost as easily as the silver sword resting on the table did, and the firelight glinted in his red eyes just like it glinted off the rubies set in the sword¡¯s hilt.The snake, Nagini, slithered along the cool, smooth floor near Lord Voldemort¡¯s feet, then slowly climbed up his chair. He stroked her head and reminded her to be patient. Dinner would come soon. Voldemort had a point to make first.
Footsteps echoed from the high ceiling and two more wizards entered the room. The first ¡ª tall, blonde, and broad-shouldered ¡ª still wore his Ministry badge pinned to his robes. Behind him walked another man in billowing black robes, with stringy black hair, and a sallow complexion. His solemnity fit in perfectly with the crowd gathered around the table.¡°Yaxley, Snape,¡± Lord Voldemort said in a high voice. ¡°You are very nearly late.¡±The blonde man, Corban Yaxley, approached Lord Voldemort¡¯s chair at the head of the table, knelt, then took the seat Lord Voldemort directed him to, an empty space beside Antonin Dolohov. Severus Snape approached next and knelt, but when he stood to take his place at the table ¡ª a space usually found at the end, near Gibbon and the Carrows ¡ª Lord Voldemort laid a hand on Snape¡¯s wrist.¡°Here, Severus,¡± and Lord Voldemort directed Snape to sit at his immediate right, beside Pyrites. It was a place once held by Bellatrix Lestrange, who now sat further down, not far from Lucius Malfoy.Voldemort ignored the daggers that Bellatrix glared at Snape. Snape had served him best in the recent weeks, and deserved this point of honour. Bellatrix, however, had done little but fail and disappoint him. And then there was the matter of her cousin and her niece¡­But there were more important things to be concerned with at the moment. Shaming the Black family could wait a moment longer.¡°So?¡± Voldemort asked Severus, eager for his news.¡°My Lord,¡± said Snape in a soft voice, ¡°the Order of the Phoenix intends to move Harry Potter from the Potter estate on Saturday next, at nightfall.¡±Voldemort noticed the way Snape¡¯s voice seemed to curl around the name Potter, like it was a poisonous potion he dared not hold onto for long. Voldemort knew there was no love lost between Snape and the Potters, but he also knew that a year ago, he had peered into Harry Potter¡¯s dreams and seen Severus Snape¡¯s long-held affections for Lily Potter. Snape may have just returned to his fold with the greatest proof of his loyalty, the murder of Lord Voldemort¡¯s most dangerous enemy, but he still wondered just how trustworthy Severus was.It was easy enough to find out. Lord Voldemort stared into Severus Snape¡¯s dark eyes, searching, using his long-practiced gift of Legilimency to unravel Snape¡¯s thoughts. He found a memory of Snape sitting in a bar, discussing with a squat man ¡ª ¡°Mundungus,¡± the barman called him, in an irritated voice ¡ª as the man, under the pliance of drink and perhaps a potion or two, freely informed Severus Snape that the Order would be moving Harry Potter and his family next Saturday.¡°Good,¡± Voldemort smiled. ¡°Very good. And this information comes ¡ª¡±¡°¡ª from the source we discussed.¡±From the Order itself. From the fools who allowed their guard to be let down long enough for Severus to manipulate them into spilling everything he needed to know.¡°My Lord,¡± Yaxley interrupted, and leaned forward on the table to look directly at Voldemort.Voldemort pulled his gaze from Snape and glanced at the man who seemed so small so far down the table.¡°My Lord, I have heard differently.¡±Lord Voldemort did not think that the Ministry could be any better informed than Severus Snape, and he was shocked that Yaxley had the arrogance to presume so. But he supposed Severus Snape¡¯s rapid advancement in ranks was enough to incite envy among his followers. They wanted to prove themselves. He could indulge them for a moment.¡°Dawlish, the Auror,¡± Yaxley continued, ¡°let slip that Potter will not be moved until the thirtieth, the night before the boy turns seventeen.¡±Snape smiled. ¡°My source told me that there are plans to lay a false trail; this must be it. No doubt a Confundus Charm has been placed upon Dawlish. It would not be the first time; he is known to be susceptible.¡±¡°I assure you, my Lord, Dawlish seemed quite certain.¡±¡°If he has been Confunded, naturally he is certain. I assure you, Yaxley, the Auror Office will play no further part in the protection of Harry Potter. The Order believes that we have infiltrated the Ministry.¡±Alecto Carrow laughed, a high-pitched wheezy thing that reminded Voldemort of a sow squealing. ¡°The Order¡¯s got one thing right then, eh?¡±A few others echoed her laughter. Lord Voldemort did not. His gaze drifted from Yaxley to the main feature of the dining room, the feature that all in the room pointedly ignored. Over the table, dangling by her ankles, was the body of a woman, turning every so slowly. She was unconscious ¡ª for the moment.But she held little interest for Voldemort just now. He considered Yaxley¡¯s suggestion that Potter would be moved right before he turned seventeen. It would be sensible, he thought, to move Potter shortly before the Trace was lifted. At that point it would not matter how deep the Death Eaters had gotten into the Ministry; they would have great difficulty finding Potter if he did not want to be found. However, he trusted Severus, and he knew of the Potters¡¯ great disdain for the Ministry. It was like them to behave rashly, to flee somewhere outside the Ministry¡¯s reach, and as quickly as possible.¡°My Lord,¡± Yaxley continued, ¡°Dawlish believes an entire party of Aurors will be used to transfer the boy ¡ª¡±Voldemort held up his hand, and his follower obediently fell silent.He turned to Snape. ¡°Where are they going to hide the boy next?¡±¡°At the home of one of the Order,¡± said Snape. ¡°The place, according to the source, has been given every protection that the Order can provide. I think that there is little chance of taking him once he is there, my Lord, unless, of course, the Ministry has fallen before next Saturday, which might give us the opportunity to discover and undo enough of the enchantments to break through the rest, and take them at their home.¡±Voldemort turned his gaze back to Yaxley. ¡°Well, Yaxley? Will the Ministry have fallen by next Saturday?¡±Yaxley sat up a little straighter, puffed his chest out. ¡°My Lord, I have good news on that score. I have ¡ª with difficulty, and after great effort ¡ª succeeded in placing an Imperius Curse upon Pius Thicknesse.¡±Desire to impress indeed. Antonin Dolohov clapped Yaxley on the shoulder, and a few of the others around him murmured their approval.¡°It is a start,¡± Lord Voldemort said, ¡°but Thicknesse is only one man. Scrimgeour must be surrounded by our people before I act. One failed attempt on the Minister¡¯s life will set me back a long way.¡±¡°Yes ¡ª my Lord, that is true ¡ª but you know, as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, Thicknesse has regular contact not only with the Minister himself, but also with the Heads of all the other Ministry departments. It will, I think, be easy now that we have such a high-ranking official under our control, to subjugate the others, and then they can all work together to bring Scrimgeour down.¡±Voldemort considered this. ¡°As long as our friend Thicknesse is not discovered before he has converted the rest. At any rate, it remains unlikely that the Ministry will be mine before next Saturday. If we cannot touch the boy at his destination, then it must be done while he travels.¡±¡°We are at an advantage there, my Lord,¡± said Yaxley, though Voldemort wished very much that someone else might make an attempt to prove themselves. He was growing tired of Yaxley¡¯s ineffective information, and this statement was no better. ¡°We now have several people planted within the Department of Magical Transport. If Potter Apparates or uses the Floo Network, we shall know immediately.¡±¡°He will not do either,¡± Snape said. ¡°The Order is eschewing any form of transport that is controlled or regulated by the Ministry; they mistrust everything to do with the place.¡±¡°All the better,¡± Voldemort said, grateful once again for Severus Snape. ¡°He will have to move in the open. Easier to take, by far.¡± He turned his gaze away as Yaxley sank back into his seat. If Potter was going to travel in the open, that meant Voldemort would have to be out in the open as well. There would be no sneaking into a poorly protected home and murdering a child in his bed. But it had to be done.¡°I shall attend to the boy in person,¡± he told his followers. ¡°There have been too many mistakes where Harry Potter is concerned. Some of them have been my own. That Potter lives is due more to my errors than to his triumphs¡­ I have been careless, and so have been thwarted by luck and chance, those wreckers of all but the best-laid plans.. But I know better now. I understand those things that I did not understand before. I must be the one to kill Harry Potter, and I shall be.¡± A cry of agony interrupted Voldemort¡¯s train of thought. He recalled the prisoner below his feet, in the cellars of Malfoy Manor, and pulled his gaze from the woman above the table to Lucius Malfoy.¡°Lucius, is your house-elf good for nothing, if it cannot keep our prisoner quiet?¡±¡°M-my Lord,¡± Lucius bowed his head slowly. ¡°Draco,¡± Narcissa said in a calm, quiet voice, ¡°find Winky. See to it that our Lord is not disturbed again.¡±The young man with pale, blonde hair and an ashen face seemed eager to leave the table. He glanced up at the woman above the table just once, then disappeared into the Malfoy¡¯s kitchen.Voldemort had found the house-elf Winky to be useful, though frailer than he would have liked. He had stayed in the Crouch family home for the year before his return to his body, and the house-elf had, under Barty Crouch, Jr.¡¯s control, helped keep him alive in his half-life form. And then, after he had returned to himself, after he had looked into Regulus Black¡¯s eyes and seen nothing but hatred and revulsion, and after Regulus Black had so very nearly revealed Voldemort¡¯s secret ¡ª his Horcruxes ¡ª Winky had helped him again. He had gone to the caves he had explored as a boy, where he had hidden Salazar Slytherin¡¯s locket, and had the house-elf show him the proof of Regulus Black¡¯s betrayal: the small silver locket, with a simple note inside. Voldemort had burned the parchment immediately, but the words themselves were forever seared into his memory.
I have stolen the real Horcrux and intend to destroy it as soon as I can. I face death in the hope that when you meet your match, you will be mortal once more¡­
It had sent Voldemort into a rage. He had taken Winky to check on his other Horcruxes, the ones he knew could be at risk. This elf had been weaker than the first he had used, but at least it had survived both the curses surrounding the locket and the curses surrounding Helga Hufflepuff¡¯s cup. That had been intact, too, safely stored in Lestrange¡¯s Paris estate, but Voldemort could not risk it staying there for long. Though Severus insisted that Regulus Black was not in the Order, and had not made contact with Dumbledore, it was a risk too great to ignore, and so Voldemort had entrusted the cup to Bellatrix Lestrange. Her family¡¯s vault in Gringotts was as safe as Hogwarts, he was certain.Lucius, of course, had seen to it that his diary had been lost. Lucius had been soundly punished for that. As for the diadem, Voldemort was confident that no one else could know where he had hidden it; no one else could know Hogwarts as intimately as he did. And then there was the matter of Lord Voldemort¡¯s grandfather¡¯s ring¡­ The Gaunt family home was far too public a place, too close to the site of his resurrection to visit safely without fear of the Ministry¡¯s interference. Soon, though, he would have control over the Ministry. Soon he would be able to visit the site for himself and check. But surely it was safe. No one but Dumbledore had known the truth of his family, and with Dumbledore dead¡­ ¡°As I was saying,¡± Voldemort looked back at his followers, ¡°I understand better now. I shall need, for instance, to borrow a wand from one of you before I go to kill Potter.¡±He was not surprised by their shock. He had perhaps hoped one or two might be eager enough to impress him, but he did not blame them. Their wand was their mark of power; no true pureblooded wizard would desire to give that up.¡°No volunteers? Let¡¯s see¡­ Lucius, I see no reason for you to have a wand anymore.¡±¡°M-my Lord?¡±¡°Your wand, Lucius. I require your wand.¡± ¡°I¡­¡±Voldemort noticed the way that Lucius turned to his wife for assistance. It grated on him and he resisted the urge to curse Lucius then and there, but he did restrain himself, for Lucius reached into his robes, and drew his wand. It was a sleek, dark thing, and he passed it to Lord Voldemort.Voldemort turned the wand over in his hands. The custom fit handle, a snake with its fangs bared, was almost comical when he considered Nagini and the true terror she inspired.¡°What is it?¡± Voldemort asked.¡°Elm, my Lord,¡± said Lucius.¡°And the core?¡±¡°Dragon ¡ª dragon heartstring.¡±¡°Good.¡±Voldemort withdrew his own wand, which had served him so well over the years, and compared it to Malfoy¡¯s. He hardly had a moment to note the stark difference in colour before he saw Lucius¡¯ hand reach ¡ª ever so slightly, an involuntary movement ¡ª but Voldemort turned his cold, red gaze on Lucius.¡°Give you my wand, Lucius? My wand?¡±Some of the others around the table laughed, but Voldemort did not.¡°I have given you your liberty, Lucius. Is that not enough for you?¡±Voldemort saw movement near the doorway to the kitchens. Draco had finished what his mother had sent him to do, and seemed unsure if he should return to the table. When he realised that he had been seen, he hurried to his mother¡¯s side.¡°But I have noticed,¡± Voldemort said as the boy took his seat, ¡°that you and your family seem less than happy of late¡­ What is it about my presence in your home that displeases you, Lucius?¡±¡°Nothing ¡ª nothing, my Lord!¡±¡°Such lies, Lucius. Why do the Malfoys look so unhappy with their lot? Is my return, my rise to power, not the very thing they professed to desire for so many years?¡±¡°Of course, my Lord.¡± With a trembling hand, Lucius wiped away the sweat that had begun to form on his upper lip. ¡°We did desire it ¡ª we do.¡±Narcissa did not look at Lucius, nor at Voldemort, but she nodded once in agreement. Draco, for his part, started to look at Voldemort, but could not bring himself to. He glanced back at the woman dangling over the table, then down at his lap.The Malfoys¡¯ manor had been Lord Voldemort¡¯s base of operation since the death of Barty Crouch, Jr. Losing his most faithful servant to Regulus Black had also cost him a safe place to avoid the Ministry. Lately, the Malfoys had been under more scrutiny from the Ministry, and Voldemort knew they were not pleased with the attention. But in the same vein, Voldemort was displeased with them. Lucius had failed to retrieve the prophecy from the Department of Mysteries, and as a result, Voldemort had lost many of his most valued Death Eaters to cells in Azkaban. Then young Draco had failed to kill Dumbledore ¡ª not that Voldemort had never truly expected the boy to succeed.¡°My Lord,¡± Bellatrix, with her voice full of its usual fervor, said ¡°it is an honour to have you here, in our family¡¯s house. There can be no higher pleasure.¡±Her family¡¯s house, Voldemort thought. What an interesting choice of words. He did not think much of family, though he called the Death Eaters his family. People who relied on others, who trusted others, were weak. Even he had made that mistake, trusting Lucius and Bellatrix, who had failed him, and Regulus Black, who had betrayed him more fully than anyone else. Regulus Black was Bellatrix¡¯s family far more intimately than Lucius Malfoy.¡°¡®No higher pleasure,¡¯¡± he said. ¡°That means a great deal, Bellatrix, from you.¡±His praise brought tears to her eyes, as it so often did. ¡°My Lord knows I speak nothing but the truth!¡±¡°¡®No higher pleasure¡¯¡­¡± he said once more, and turned Lucius¡¯ wand over in his hands. ¡°Even compared with the happy event your family has scheduled this week?¡±The Malfoys seemed unaware of what event he was referring to. Bellatrix stared, mouth half-open as she worked to unravel Voldemort¡¯s riddle. ¡°I¡¯m talking about your niece, Bellatrix, and yours, Lucius and Narcissa. She is, as I hear it, preparing to marry the werewolf, Remus Lupin. You must be so proud.¡±The table erupted into laughter. Though Narcissa did not flinch, did not even seem surprised by the news, Bellatrix¡¯s face flushed with both shame and anger. Good, Voldemort thought, even as Nagini hissed at the loud outburst. He stroked her absently. It was time that the Black family paid for Regulus¡¯ crimes. Bellatrix owed Lord Voldemort more than she would ever know.¡°She¡¯s no niece of ours, my Lord!¡± Bellatrix had to shout to be heard over the jests and taunts of those at the table. ¡°We ¡ª Narcissa and I ¡ª have never set eyes on our sister since she married the Mudblood. This brat has nothing to do with either of us, nor any beast she marries!¡±Though Bellatrix¡¯s passion was admirable, Voldemort was far from finished. ¡°What say you, Draco?¡± He did not need to shout; the table went silent as he opened his mouth. ¡°Will you babysit the cubs?¡±The level of noise rose once more as the table erupted into laughter. Draco Malfoy, for his part, was concentrating very hard on his lap. He did not look up at the comment nor make eye contact with anyone, though his ears burned red.Lord Voldemort was surprised by the boy¡¯s stalwart display. From what Yaxley had told him, Draco had played quite the coward at the top of the Astronomy Tower. Well, at the very least, Voldemort had one thing to be grateful to Draco for. Though he had done it unwittingly, the boy had brought Voldemort the Sword of Godric Gryffindor.¡°Enough,¡± Voldemort said, and the laughter faded away. ¡°Many of our oldest family trees become a little diseased over time,¡± he said to Bellatrix. ¡°You must prune yours, must you not, to keep it healthy? Cut away those parts that threaten the health of the rest. From your niece to your traitorous cousins¡­¡±¡°Yes, my Lord,¡± she said, on the verge of tears once more. ¡°At the first chance!¡±¡°You shall have it.¡± Voldemort noted that Narcissa said nothing, but he supposed the shame she had just experienced would have to suffice. She was not properly one of his followers; she was merely Lucius¡¯ wife, and his gracious host, after all. And she had been willing to give her son to his cause. ¡°And in your family,¡± he turned from Narcissa and Bellatrix to the table, ¡°so the world. We shall cut away the canker that infects us until only those of the true blood remain.¡±Lord Voldemort used Lucius¡¯ wand to reanimate the woman hanging above the table. She moaned and her body twitched with attempts at movement, but there was nothing she could do against the magic that held her in place.¡°Do you recognise our guest, Severus?¡±All eyes turned to the woman as she rotated slowly. Her face was brilliantly red in the firelight as her blood drained to her head, and her eyes were wide with terror. She certainly recognised Severus.¡°Help,¡± she said, her voice weak and terrified. ¡°Severus ¡ª help me ¡ª¡±¡°Ah, yes,¡± Severus said, voice calm and even.¡°And you, Draco?¡± Voldemort asked. Draco did not move. He had become as still as his mother.Voldemort considered for a moment that this might be insolence, but he decided the boy was simply terrified. ¡°No,¡± he said, ¡°you would not have taken her classes. For those of you who do not know, we are joined here tonight by Charity Burbage who, until recently, taught at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.¡±This resonated with a few of Lord Voldemort¡¯s followers. A witch at the end of the table even cackled in delight.¡°Yes,¡± Voldemort continued, ¡°Professor Burbage taught the children of witches and wizards all about Muggles. How they are not so different from us¡­¡±Dolohov spat on the floor.¡°Severus,¡± Burbage gasped as her face turned to meet his again. ¡°Severus, please¡­¡±Draco looked up at this, then quickly back down. Severus was unchanged.Voldemort flicked Lucius¡¯ wand and Silenced the woman. ¡°Not content with corrupting and polluting the minds of Wizarding children, last week Professor Burbage wrote an impassioned defense of Mudbloods in the Daily Prophet. Wizards, she says, must accept these thieves of their knowledge and magic. The dwindling of the purebloods is, says Professor Burbage, a most desirable circumstance. She would have us all mate with Muggles¡­ or, no doubt, werewolves.¡±There was no more laughter. They understood. Voldemort was calling for an entirely different humiliation. Though her cries could no longer be heard, the tears streaking her face, falling into her hair and on the table, were obvious. Her gaze met Severus¡¯ once more, and once more, Severus showed not an ounce of pity or sympathy.¡°Avada Kedavra,¡± Voldemort said. The bright green light filled the room, briefly, then struck Burbage in the chest. She fell to the table with a thud. Draco jumped out of his chair and fell backwards onto the floor. Several others stood and stepped back in surprise.Voldemort stroked Nagini¡¯s head. ¡°Dinner, Nagini.¡±The large snake slithered forward. Her jaw opened wide and she began to consume her meal in one large, long bite.A few of the Death Eaters looked on, fascinated. Some looked away. Voldemort focused on the Sword of Godric Gryffindor, still lying before him on the table.He had some time to complete his ritual. He could feel the familiar damage to his soul. Damaging it was simple; there was no pain in it. It was the rending that would hurt. He looked down at his hand, examining the papery white skin. Bluish veins stood out across his bones. He looked less and less human with each Horcrux he made. He wondered how many he could make before he would simply cease to be.His plan to have seven parts of his soul separated out and hidden had gone awry. He had lost two already. Four more remained in safety, hopefully. As soon as he had control of the Ministry, he could check on the Gaunt residence outside of Little Hangleton. If the ring was not there¡­ If it was not, then that was one more betrayal on Regulus Black¡¯s head. That was one more strike against Bellatrix and Narcissa and their foul family that should have been made of such noble stock.He stood, and all of his followers stood too. Draco, who had only just gotten back into his chair, jumped to his feet.They understood that the meeting was over, and they began to leave. The sight of a python slowly consuming the body of a full grown human was an unpleasant thing to witness. Nagini would likely take an hour to consume her meal. The Death Eaters found this act either too grotesque or too dull, and began to filter out of the Malfoy¡¯s dining room.They all left, except for Severus, who stayed at Voldemort¡¯s right hand, though he was not watching Nagini. His eyes were on the sword.¡°Have I failed to reward you enough, Severus, for the great loyalty you have shown me?¡±Severus did not look up from the sword. ¡°No, my Lord, it is not that at all. I was only considering what you might plan to do with Hogwarts, now that it is within your grasp.¡±Voldemort had considered this, but it was not one of his priorities at the moment. He wanted the Ministry under his thumb before he made any plans for the future youth of the Wizarding world. ¡°Is that what you wish to have as your reward?¡±¡°I will serve in whatever way my Lord sees fit.¡± Severus even punctuated this statement with a small bow.Voldemort recalled the scrawny, greasy half-blood that had first received his Dark Mark all those years ago, and then a few years later had come rushing in with news of a prophecy, urgent news that needed to reach the Dark Lord¡¯s ears immediately. Who would have thought that that young man would someday have shown Voldemort such incredible loyalty by killing his greatest foe?¡°We shall discuss it again, once Potter is dead, and we have the Ministry in our hands. Victory is within our grasp, Severus.¡±¡°My Lord.¡± And Severus left without sparing a glance at Burbage¡¯s body.Alone at last, Voldemort took Lucius¡¯ wand and began to draw the runes for his ritual into the Malfoy¡¯s table. He had practised these runes for hours in his dormitory beneath the Black Lake, comparing the shapes in his parchment to those in his books, checking each stroke for perfection. He had sat on the floor in the Chamber of Secrets and tried the spell for the first time, after killing that stupid, loud-mouthed girl. It had been long and painful, but he had carried the ritual out perfectly, and his diary had become his first Horcrux.By now, he had read and performed the ritual so many times he was intimately familiar with it. He stared at the Sword of Gryffindor, thinking it was a fine replacement for the locket Regulus Black had stolen from him. At least the Malfoy boy had done this for him. Maybe the child was not a complete waste after all.

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