Chapter Six: So it Begins

Iris stretched with a lazy smile as the sun streamed in through her window. Snuggles purred as she stroked the Lethifold softly. Over the years Snuggles and Tom's relationship did not improve much, but at least the two were no longer actively trying to kill each other.

Looking around her spacious room, Iris smiled fondly at the pictures of her and Tom decorating the walls. Tom had looked oddly pleased to see her putting the pictures up and looked unbearably smug whenever he looked at them. He made a point of putting others up around the manor, though she wasn't sure why he was so insistent about it. Actually, for her sake of mind, it was probably better that she remained blissfully unaware of Tom's motives in regards to the pictures. Iris could hardly believe that she had had Tom for so long. Time really had flown by.

"Iris, are you ready yet?" Tom's smooth voice outsider her door got her moving.

"Not quite, give me five." She heard Tom huff and stalk off. Grinning at his childish behavior that he so rarely displayed, she stumbled out of bed rushed around her room, getting dressed, taking care of necessities, and gathering what she would need.

"So Tom wh—" Iris stopped speaking when she realized that Tom was no longer by her side. Iris groaned when Tom disappeared from her side in dismay. Damn him! It was hard enough worrying about the kid getting in trouble when he was with her, it was ten times worse when he was on his own.

Aggravated with his near constant disappearing acts, Iris thought it best if she pull a Dumbledore simply put a tracking spell on him and tie it into a fancy little silver gizmo.

Tom of course was keeping one eye on Iris while peering into a shop that had caught his attention. He silently snickered as she huffed and began searching for him, using her wand to do so. Cheater. She always took the lazy way out. He had made a game of it though; seeing how long he could evade her once she started to use her wand. He'd managed a measly five minutes tops one time, though that was only due to her being waylaid by the Malfoys. He was still angry about that. She should have ignored them and come after him instead.

"Why, why am I stuck with such a little terror?" Iris muttered ominously under her breath, eyes squinting as she searched the crowded street for said terror where her wand was pointing.

Tom smirked as he saw her muttering with a scowl on her face. He was the one to start scowling moments later when she spotted him as he tried to become lost in a large group passing by him. He cursed, earning a scandalized look from a woman next to him and took off. Smiling in triumph, Iris dashed after him.

He smiled as he heard cursing, from Iris and other people that she crashed into from the sounds he was hearing behind him. He continued to run, twisting around corners and ducking around people. His heart was pounding in excitement, his senses sharpening as he ran faster. If he could avoid being 'captured' by Iris for over five minutes, he would be happy.

Rounding a corner, Tom nearly crashed into a pug-faced girl who looked like she might be a second year student at Hogwarts.

"Watch where you are going Mudblood!" Tom stiffened as anger blasted through him. Who was she to call him such a name? He took a deep breath and mentally chanted that he couldn't curse her; too many witnesses.

"Well! Answer me Mudblood!" Tom barely restrained his wince at the high-pitched screeches that made a miserable attempt at passing off as her voice. He sneered in disgust instead, mentally chanting more frantically that he couldn't curse her.

"Is the poor Mudblood too dumb to understand me? This is why your kind should not be allowed to dirty the air we Purebloods breathe." She laughed as Tom began shaking from his fury and with the effort of not cursing her. She stopped laughing when he failed to react in a way that she was hoping he would. An ugly sneer distorted her features.

"Tarantallegra!" Tom didn't even have to move out of the way her aim was so bad. He laughed and tossed a boil hex at the girl with his wand discreetly. Of course she proved to be one of the loudest screamers he had ever had the displeasure of encountering. He took several steps away from her, only to bump into a warm body. He froze and slowly looked up.

"Tom." Iris said nothing else; she didn't have to. He barely refrained from shifting nervously. What was it about Iris that had him acting so human at times? He mentally gagged at the horrifying thought that he was growing soft in his advancing age and continued exposure to Iris's often Gryffindor behavior.

"Yes Iris?" His voice didn't betray him and he breathed a mental sigh of relief. He didn't want Iris to know how she affected him, but had a sneaking suspicion that she knew despite his best efforts to keep her in the dark. It was odd he thought suddenly. Iris acted as though she knew him, really knew him. It was like she could see past all his defenses and masks to the very core of his being. He didn't like that feeling, not one bit.

Tom frowned as a new thought came to him. He had noticed several times that she seemed to look at him with such horror and pain, followed by determination and sometimes resignation. It made no sense. Was she expecting him to start randomly torturing or killing…smart of her he admitted grudgingly…that he would snap and go insane at any moment? Perhaps he would, nothing was certain and he freely admitted that he wasn't normal, something that he took great pride in. Why would he want to be like the masses, like the pathetic sheep all around him when he could be something far more, when he could be great?

Iris saw the look of deep contemplation on Tom's face and inwardly sighed. Tom thinking so intensely was almost never a good thing. She knew that Tom acted differently around her, he always had, even as Voldemort. It was inevitable what with her carrying a part of his soul before she came to this time. She closed her eyes briefly and inhaled deeply.

Who was she kidding? The damn Horcrux seemed to have managed to come back from whatever hell it was in to torment her once more. Hadn't she done enough, didn't she deserve a break? What had she done to deserve such a fate; to always be forced to bear a part of Voldemort's soul? Had she been a monster like Voldemort in a past life or something, or was it just fate fucking with her like it always did?

"Iris?" Iris was jolted out of her depressing thoughts by Tom's cool voice barely carrying the sound of his worry. She gave him a soft smile. Did it really matter she thought? Did it matter what she did? A part of her that was growing daily whispered that some things were set in stone, Tom becoming Voldemort being one of them. She had promised herself that she would always be there for him, whether he became a monster like last time or not. She knew now that she couldn't kill him a second time, especially when he looked nothing like Voldemort had after his resurrection. She had already traded one promise for another, would it happen again?

"We'll talk about this later." Her voice was hard and sharp, causing Tom to briefly display his dismay. She smirked at him, banishing her thoughts for another time.

"What have you done to my daughter Mudbloods!" Iris cursed and took one look at the irate woman with a red face and pug-like features and groaned in dismay. It would appear that the female Parkinson's all had pug-like features. She barely refrained from snorting. It was kind of like the Potter hair.

Gellert Grindelwald grumbled and huffed as he stalked through the crowds of Diagon Alley. He was in Britain to determine if there really was living Peverell walking about. His useless minions…followers, he meant followers, had been unable to confirm anything. So here he was forcing himself not to hex the next snot-nosed brat that ran into him, or their mothers who all seemed to think that he was at fault. Honestly, he was simply walking while the little rats were running hither and tither with no thought for other people.

He smirked when he saw his reflection in the glass of a shop he was walking past. No longer was his hair blond or his eyes their unusual violet. Now his hair was black as could be and his eyes a soft teal. He cackled inwardly as he thought about him walking around Diagon Alley right under the nose of Albus Dumblewhore. He wasn't sure exactly who came up with the nickname for the nosy man, but he loved it and was determined to find the person who started the name if only to see what other devious names said person had made.

A faint trace of magic stretched lazily across his senses and he was immediately alert and ready for battle, his magic rising to defend him. When nothing came at him, he relaxed slightly, though he remained wary and ready to attack at a moment's notice. He followed the trace; entranced by the way it teasingly twined with his own.

Iris sneered at the woman in front of her. For fuck's sake, the fucking harpy wouldn't fucking shut the fuck up. The amount of mental swearing increased on the same level as her rising anger. She was about ready to set Snuggles on the nuisance but noticed Tom was discreetly aiming his wand at her. She suddenly smiled, knowing exactly what was going to happen. Tom had a penchant for time delayed spells and had managed to figure out how to make some of the nastier spells activate hours or even days later. She really couldn't say that she was all that surprised by his accomplishments. A desire to madly cackle rose in her and she squashed it with some reluctance. He was far more skilled naturally than she had been at his age.

Tom reigned in his growing desire to stun the woman harassing Iris and store her in the dungeons for a while. He knew Iris wasn't anywhere near upset enough for her to let him get away with it like she had let him with Edward. Satisfaction filled him as he thought of that, but it was somewhat tainted by the fact that the woman had started screaming at Iris. He shot a babbling hex and flatulence jinx and timed them to set off when it was least convenient. The fool didn't notice a thing.

"Look lady, your kid started it. It's not my fault that she didn't like the results. Keep a closer eye on your kid, I'm not going to do it for you." The woman puffed up in anger.

"Your son hexed my daughter!" Iris blew out a harsh breath. Gods she was fucking tired of this. She would be having another long talk with Tom after this about not hexing random children, no matter how annoying.

"He will be punished for that, but keep in mind that your daughter was taunting him and tried to hex him first." The fucking little brat had completely failed to hit Tom while he was able to flawlessly.

"Do you know who I am Mudblood!" Iris's eyes hardened and turned icy as her anger reached critical.

"An inbred Pureblood." Her response was teeming with the barely restrained rage she was feeling. She despised this woman. She had miraculously managed to somehow keep herself from cussing out loud in front of Tom.

"How dare you! I am Lady Parkinson!"

Gellert finally reached the source of the magic that had been flirting with his own. He hadn't known magic could do that and intended to learn how. The woman was facing away from him, her long fiery hair tumbling down over her back. A young boy of Hogwarts age stood next to her with a look of loathing and anger on his handsome face as he stared at Lady Parkinson screeching at the other. A devilish grin stretched his face as a delightful idea took form in his mind. He was extremely glad that the magic he had been tracing wasn't indicating that the woman was married to another. Not that it would have stopped him, but this made things easier.

"Ah, Darling, there you are."

Iris stiffened at the sinful voice behind her. She closed her eyes in relief; finally, a way out that wouldn't involve her being arrested. Tom on the other hand just about attacked the other male for daring to call his Iris 'darling'. Snuggles stirred slightly, sensing the sudden hate the boy was emitting. Luckily no one noticed her 'cloak' move on its own.

Iris turned and squinted at the tall…What did he eat as a kid, growth potions? man behind her. His accent was German and he was wearing a heavy glamor, but there was no mistaking him for a Light wizard with that aura. She thought about that and amended it to only those powerful enough being able to sense his aura accurately and the glamour as well. Normal witches and wizards would simply feel like he was a dangerous predator eyeing them as its potential next meal and miss the slight glow of a glamour.

"Where have you been?" Her tone was lightly accusatory, while mild irritation combined with sappy emotions were forced onto her face. The man looped his warm arm around her waist and it took everything in her not to hex him. Screw a way out, she didn't agree to actually get touchy freely. There was also the fact that Tom looked like he was about to explode any second and that was the last thing she needed.

"I lost you when an old friend distracted me." Iris had to give the man credit; he was an excellent liar. Interjecting just the right amount of embarrassment, regret, and cheerfulness into his tone, he sounded quite sincere.

"Hmm." She gave him a look that plainly said 'you are in trouble mister'. He smirked lazily in response, setting her on edge. Lady Parkinson was not happy being ignored and turned her ire on the apparent husband of the woman responsible for her precious daughter being hurt. Gellert cut the other woman off before she could yell at him.

"We need to leave now unless you wish to be late darling." Iris narrowed her eyes and Tom clenched his hand around his wand. Parkinson glared and began yelling again. Iris wandlessly silenced her to put an end to that. The idiot didn't even realize that she was silenced at first. The crowd tittered in amusement. A crowd that she was eager to get away from.

"Lady Parkinson seems to have issues with that…snookum's." She released a shrill girlish giggle that had every male within hearing distance cringing away in horror and disgust. It was the most awful thing that they had ever heard. The nickname was almost as bad. Gellert didn't think he'd ever felt so offended or disgusted in his entire life. His face scrunched in disgust and his teeth clenched.

Tom immediately recognized the powerful weapon her giggle, if you could call it that, could be and vowed to record it somehow to use on his victims…prey…he meant fellow students, honestly, he did.

Gellert never wanted to hear that monstrous giggle thing ever again. He wouldn't even wish to inflict it upon his enemies…ok, fine; that was a blatant lie. He very, very grudgingly admitted that it perhaps had some use. Just so long as he never heard it again, he'd be a very happy man.

Tom had never felt such irritation towards another except for Edward or Walburga since Iris had 'adopted' him. He quickly realized within the first thirty seconds of meeting Lady Parkinson and her awful daughter, that those two were given the dubious honor of attaining his attention. Had they known the thoughts swirling through his mind, they would have run the other direction ages ago.

He had to quickly reevaluate his opinion on the Malfoys being the largest annoyances in his life when Parkinson's unholy spawn…wow what a hypocrite he thought in disgust. He in no way wanted to be seen as similar to Parkinson's daughter.

"Right then, let's get to it." Iris snagged a fuming Tom's hand and marched off, somewhat hindered by the heavy arm still wrapped snugly around her waist.

Gellert chuckled softly at the venomous glare the boy, Tom he reminded himself, was shooting at him. If the boy were a basilisk, he would be dead from that glare.

Tom having heard the chuckle snarled, eyes flickering red with his fury. Gellert was instantly on alert, giving the young Dark wizard a look of suspicion. He knew that there was a ritual that had certain side effects, but the boy was far too young for such things. Unless…Gellert shifted his gaze to the annoyed woman at his side, no, she would have avoided such magic; hers was grey, not black.

A startling thought occurred to him in that moment when she turned her head up and to the side to scowl at him. That scar…oh, it reeked of dark magic. Was it possible, did she suspect or know? That didn't explain how it could be possible or how it happened if he was right however. The boy certainly didn't know or suspect seeing as he would have never let her get so close to anyone else. He burst out laughing as he thought this. No wonder the little brat was so pissed at him. The boy's magic would be screaming that the woman was his and his alone. Too bad, the boy was in for a rude awakening. Tom was simply too young to prevent people from touching…wait, what was her name?

"Giomar." Iris looked at the tall man in confusion. Say what now, famous in battle? It clicked suddenly.

"Iris Evans, this is Tom, my…ward. Yes, that Evans." Tom hated being called her son and most times her cousin. Gellert snorted at the distinct pause and the warning look Tom aimed at Iris.

Shock suddenly hit him harshly. Ms. Evans, the Evans who was responsible for so many wonderful spells, enchanted items, and potions? She had never let her picture be published so the world remained mostly unaware of what she looked like outside of Britain. It was obvious who did and didn't know based on their reactions to her, i.e. the higher ups in the Ministry were aware but not the rest of the population. She probably claimed that Ms. Evans was a cousin or something. If people were aware, they would be staring or gossiping. Parkinson would have never have been so confrontational either. But why was she telling him this? Was she planning on revealing her identity soon?

"Your name is not really Giomar is it?" Gellert gave to far too observant boy a disgruntled look.

"What makes you say that?" Iris remained silent, content to observe the two.

"Call it a hunch." Gellert glared at Tom. A hunch, a hunch he says. Gellert's mind oh so helpfully provided in response to Tom's answer.

"Your hunch is wrong." Tom opened his mouth to argue, but Iris gave him a look that caused him to snap his mouth shut with a click of teeth and a dark scowl.

"Thanks for intervening back there, but I need to take Tom to get his supplies for Hogwarts." Iris tried to pry Gellert's arm away, but was unsuccessful. She began to squirm in an effort to escape. It wasn't until a soft chittering in her ear that she remembered Snuggles was pinned as well. She stopped squirming and gave the frozen man beside her a cautious look. People gave them annoyed looks for stopping suddenly, many from the crowd that dispersed after they escaped Parkinson.

"What was that?" Gellert had a very good idea just what made that sound, but prayed to every deity that he was simply hearing things.

"Err…" Tom looked positively gleeful at the development, Iris glared at him.

"That would be Snuggles, oops, I meant Hades." Tom's grin was shark-like. Gellert gave what he had thought a cloak a look of horror when it growled. There was no denying it; a Lethifold was clinging to the Iris's back. How had he not sensed it? Oh… there was a mild charm on it to dissuade people from noticing anything abnormal.

"I see." What else was he supposed to say; oh, by the way, you have a flesh-eating monster clinging to you like a tick? He supposed that since it hadn't attacked him as of yet that he was most likely safe so long as he didn't aggravate it or Iris. He had a sneaking suspicion that the creature and Tom didn't get along.

"I'm the only one who calls him snuggles. Most just call him The Beast." He bet they did. Well, this would certainly be a new experience on many fronts; shopping while pretending to be a father and husband, shopping with a Lethifold, and shopping with a female. He shivered in slight horror at the thought.


Disclaimer: Not mine! Beta by Eternal Blood Love.