"Language of the Dead"
"Prongslet, you have a visitor!" Sirius called from downstairs. Harry, who had been doing his school work in his new room while conversing with Asmo, was surprised at the announcement of someone coming to see him. He hadn't been expecting anyone today or at all this summer until his gathering of friends for his birthday which Sirius demanded he have.
"Coming!" He yelled back before marking his place in the Potions textbook and grabbing his holly wand. The boy walked briskly to the entrance of the house, passing the portrait of Walburga.
She was oddly silent but only Harry knew why. He had the honor of witnessing one of her frequent rants about blood traitors one night when she had noticed the little boy watching her with interest. Of course, being the proud lady that she was, said: "What are you staring at, boy?"
Said boy narrowed his eyes at the Black woman and whispered (for both Remus and Siri had been in the kitchen at the time), "You will address me with respect, Lady Black, or you will not address me at all."
"And why should I have to respect a blood traitor who is disgracing my sacred house?" Harry knew the woman was annoyed with having to watch all sorts of people ruin her home, but it was no excuse to be imaginably rude to him! He had done nothing personally to the lady. Hell, he'd barely even been downstairs except to eat dinner with the other two residents because Kreacher had taken a liking to him which meant having meals brought to him in his room.
The boy smirked before saying, "I brought back your Lord, so do both of us a favor and play nice or else I'll have him tear apart your portrait and burn each little piece with Fiendfyre." He would've said that he himself would do those things, but he was only supposed to be twelve. Though he did suppose bringing back a Dark Lord was meant for older people...
Lady Black observed him up and down until apparently deeming him as worthy and said with a small almost non-existent smile on her face, "Very well. You will bring honor to the Black name and restore our worth."
That was a give in for Harry though. "It's already been done, my lady." He smirked as the painting of the woman looked pleased.
"Call me Walburga, dear. You're the only family that I happen to like enough to use that name." Harry felt as if he should be honored, but he really wasn't. Perhaps it was because she had been a right bitch in his last life.
He wasn't about to disrespect her by saying nothing, though. "You may call me Hadrian then, Walburga." He said with a little, proud smirk.
The lady smiled stiffly and asked, "Why are you up, my dear?" She almost sounded like Mrs. Weasley had when she pretended to care except maybe this time the woman wasn't pretending. He had always wanted a mother figure in his life even if no one would truly replace Lily Potter. Having someone care for him would always be something special to him.
Harry smiled sadly. "Just nightmares is all." The past few nights had been the worst with dreams filled with giant snakes and a dissolving Quirrel, not to mention the ones about Cedric. In his mind, Harry knew none of this would happen, that it was in the past, but it was still worrying. He supposed PTSD had consumed him once again even in his new life. The stress of new beginnings had led to the nightmares coming back which had, in return, led to him being before Lady Black.
The woman in question only looked at him with understanding eyes. "They never truly go away, even if you are at your happiest. One can only help to relieve the terror they cause. You should try Dreamless Sleep if your fears get worse, but you should consider talking to someone about them. No one wants to do that, but I assure you it helps." She had a faraway look in her eyes as she said, "Once my Regulus vanished, I turned to Orion for comfort. He made it better, but they never went away."
Harry knew she was right but talking to someone? About his feelings? There was no one he really could turn to about his certain problems except Death or maybe even Life, but they weren't human. He briefly considered talking to Tom, but then he remembered that he was one of the reasons for his nightmares so perhaps not him.
Walburga regarded him with warm eyes as she said, "You are not required to talk right now. Go take a Dreamless Sleep for tonight and figure something out tomorrow, dear. It will be okay in the end." For a woman who shrieked at the top of her lungs about how much she hated impure people, she sure did seem kind right now to Harry. He wondered why that was. Maybe it was his title or his usefulness to the Dark Lord. It could even be his appearance that resembled more of the Black family then the Potter one this lifetime. Either way, he was grateful to have someone who cared despite her being a portrait.
"Thank you, Walburga. I'll do that now then." He said before wandlessly closing the curtains that covered the portrait. The following nights were blissfully nightmare free which made Harry well-rested and content.
Needless to say, the two had come to establish mutual respect.
"Hey there, kiddo. She's at the door, said something about a friend of a friend?" Sirius said confusedly. Remus, who had just gotten up due to the previous night being a full moon, gathered his cup of coffee and sniffed the air.
"I believe it's the Farley girl." He spoke tiredly.
Siri just stared at the man incredulously. "You can tell that from her smell?"
"I'm a werewolf, Padfoot." The man deadpanned.
Harry rolled his eyes at his dogfather's antics before going to answer the door. Standing in the doorway was none other than Gemma Farley, hyperactive jumps and all.
He tilted his head to the side and asked, "Gemma? What are you doing here?"
The girl's eyes widened then she grinned at the little boy before her. She patted his head while saying, "I was sent to tell you that He will be visiting you at your birthday get together."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "How does He expect to do that without getting caught?" Honestly, the man only just got a new body, and he's already trying to see him? A little stupid if you asked Harry.
Gemma, seeming to know what he was thinking, smirked and said, "He'll be introduced as a family friend of the Malfoys."
Thinking it over, that would work, but he would have to get a new name because too many people knew the name "Tom Riddle". That would be exciting to see what the man had planned. Very exciting indeed. Maybe Draco had even wet his pants when he found out who would be his house guest for the summer holidays. That thought served to amuse Harry greatly.
With a smile on his face, the boy whispered, "Make sure he remembers a gift."
Genma grinned and bounced on her heels, "I will certainly be sure to give him your message."
The two of them shared mischievous looks before saying goodbye to each other. The girl still had to work on all her school projects and send letters to every single Death Eater that remained loyal. It was sure to be a hectic summer for her.
As Harry entered the kitchen for a cup of tea (seeing as he was already downstairs), the more mischievous of the two men asked him, "So" he started as he stared at his cup with a small smirk, "was that your girlfriend?"
There was a moment of silence before an answer was given. "You do realize I'm not even twelve yet, right?" The boy had a single eyebrow raised as he spoke. "Besides, I'm far too busy to have a relationship."
Remus, who found this conversation amusing, jumped in, "I believe you are right. You should focus on your schooling." The werewolf took a sip before continuing. "You know Lily and I said the same thing."
"Don't let him fool you, pup. Moony here was swooning over me by third year." Sirius whispered with a grin that showed more teeth then it should.
With his enhanced hearing, the man heard the whisper and slightly whacked the grey-eyed man on his head. "I'll have you know it wasn't until fifth year, and I distinctly remember someone asking Lily for advice in our seventh year."
"Hey, hey! There's no need to go that far now." Siri said with a slight blush as he looked around frantically.
Harry watched in amusement and shook his head at his godfathers' antics. They acted like an old married couple while also somehow acting like newlyweds at the same time. It was different from the relationships he had previously witnessed. Although his marriage wasn't exactly real, he did know it looked perfect to others. The Dursleys was also a bad example of a marriage. Harry had no doubt that the two loved each other, but it was unlikely to be healthy for Vernon's weight.
Then there was Ron and Hermione. Their marriage was most certainly the best he had come across in his last life. They had loved each other and cared for one another. As much as Harry hated to admit it, Ron was a nice husband and an even better father. He almost felt bad for taking Hermione away from her love, but then again, this was a new chance at life with more possibilities. Perhaps she could find a new, better love. Merlin knew Hermione Granger was a handful, and the person she ended up with was bound to be just as bad as her. Not that he thought of her as bad. Just difficult sometimes.
With a cup of hot tea in his hand, Harry headed upstairs to finish his homework. He planned on having it done by the time his birthday came around. Of course, Potions was done first to relieve the biggest batch of essays. He soon realized that it was not as much as his last life. Maybe Snape had gone easy this time. It was definitely a possibility considering the unexpected gift from Christmas and the various glances of pride and adoration.
In fact, he should write to him. Inviting him to his party would seem friendly. After all, the man was one of his godfathers. What was the worst that could happen? They were all adults including the childlike Sirius Black, so hopefully, everything would work out.
He was wrong.
He was very wrong.
Currently, Harry stood in between two sides of people, holding them back with only a little help from his Death magic. He honestly didn't know how this had happened. One minute the guests were talking about various topics and the next they had spells thrown all over the place in the kitchen while Walburga shrieked about disrespect.
Before the catastrophe that was his birthday celebration, Harry had been in the sitting room waiting patiently for his friends to arrive. The first one to pop through the floo had been Neville followed by his grandmother who looked much older then what was considered alive.
"Neville!" Harry said excitedly. "I'm glad you could come." He smiled as the boy shyly smiled back.
"I wouldn't miss seeing my friends for the world." He admitted in a small but happy voice.
Harry only continued to smile as he realized that the Neville in his last life barely had any true friends, especially during his first couple years at Hogwarts.
"You must be Hadrian Potter-Black." The old woman said with a stern look.
"That is me, Lady Longbottom." He took her hand to plant a small kiss on her knuckles before saying, "I welcome you and your grandson to the Ancestral Home of House Black."
Although the stern look stayed on her face, Neville's gran softened her eyes and nodded in approval. "Thank you Mr. Potter-Black."
Harry waved her off, "Please, call me Harry."
"If you insist. Where are your godfathers?"
He pointed to the hall that led to the kitchen, "They are through that hall, ma'am."
She nodded her thanks before leaving the two children behind.
The next person to show up was Hermione, though she was without her parents. Apparently they had appointments to tend too and trusted their daughter enough to not get lost in a fireplace.
Draco arrived shortly after Hermione with his mother and father. Not a moment later, came a man with dark brown hair that was combed back and slightly ruffled due to the floo and striking deep blue eyes. He wore black wizarding robes with dragon skin boots. He appeared to be around twenty which made Harry think that he had already absorbed his diary self.
Draco looked wary toward the man and stood close to Harry as if the boy would somehow make the man disappear. "Harry, this is my father, Lucius Malfoy, and my mother, Narcissa Malfoy." The blonde had said while pointing to each of his parents respectively.
"Lord Malfoy, Lady Malfoy. It is a pleasure to have you here." Harry smiled charmingly at the two adults as he kissed the woman's hand and bowed to the man before speaking again. "All the other Lords and Ladies are in the kitchen. Lady Malfoy, I assume you know where?" He knew she had grown up here with Bellatrix and Andromeda after all.
She smiled cooly. "Yes, thank you Heir Potter-Black."
Honestly how many people were going to be calling him by his last names? And he wasn't even an heir! "Hadrian if you will, Lady and Lord Malfoy."
"Of course, Hadrian. Please call me Lucius then." The man had finally spoken and while it was formal, there was an underlying current of almost fear. Maybe the big bad Dark Lord Tom had told him something. He did not know what, though. Perhaps he should find out, but knowing Tom, he would most likely tell him soon anyway.
"And me as well. Narcissa is acceptable."
Harry smiled again, "Of course."
As they left, Draco began to get more and more frightened. He was shaking a fair bit but tried to hide it by stuffing his hands in his pants pockets. He must have been afraid of the Dark Lord in the room who was left with four children that couldn't match his power level. Of course, only Harry could but no one knew about that except possibly Tom seeing as he knew about the patching of his soul.
Harry, being the perfectly sane person that he is, grinned and walked over to the man. His head came up to just below his heart. He cursed the Dursleys for their treatment that stunted his growth. His friends look wary except for Draco who looked downright terrified, but Harry thought about the horror stories he grew up with from his father. They were bound to be ugly and ruthless.
Harry, on the other hand, was calm and even a little excited. "I see you finally have a nose, Tommy."
The man's eye twitched which made his grin even wider.
"I see you haven't grown any." He retaliated, annoyed.
The grin from Harry's face fell while his eyes narrowed, "Now that's just mean."
Tom huffed, "You started it."
"You know, you can be very childish. Has anyone ever told you that?"
"Says the child himself."
"I have an old soul." Harry sniffed in disdain at being called a child.
The Dark Lord rolled his eyes, "Right. Excuse me for thinking the twelve-year-old was a child."
The man was glared at before being asked, "So what's your name?"
"Thomas Rivers. Muggleborn."
Harry hummed in agreement. "Story?"
Tom smirked, "Mother and father moved from America at an early age then were later killed in the First Wizarding War where I went back to the states until I reached my majority. I was homeschooled and registered at the Ministry for a DADA Mastery as well as Ancient Runes." He sounded proud of something so simple.
"Did you get all the documents you needed?" Harry asked.
The man raised an eyebrow, "Of course I did."
Harry rolled his eyes, "Oh but of course."
There was a small voice behind them that said, "Harry?"
He turned to see it was Draco who looked incredibly pale. "Yes?"
The blonde gulped before whispering, "That's the Dark Lord."
"I'm aware." He said amused. Did they think he would walk up and start a conversation with a complete stranger? Harry knew better than to talk to weird creepy men after all.
Oh. They hadn't informed Neville about the Dark Lord being back and coming to his birthday party. It must've slipped his mind.
Harry looked at the scared boy dead in the eyes and asked seriously, "Do you trust me?"
Neville stuttered out, "I-I mean, yeah, of course, I do Harry, but this is You-Know-Who!"
The Master grabbed his friend by the shoulders and whispered softly, "Then trust me."
"O-Okay." He ducked his head.
Harry grinned and bounced back to the man. "Come on! He's about as deadly as a bunny! Right, Tommy?"
Tom glared at the boy before comforting the children, "I will not harm this brat's," he pointed at Harry, "friends or family." The kids had started to look better until he added as if it was an afterthought, "Unless they cross me."
They exchanged worried glances before scrambling to the kitchen.
The blue-eyed man chuckled as Harry sighed. "You didn't have to scare them."
"If I had wanted to scare them then I would have had them crying on the floor in a ball." He defended.
Harry only rolled his eyes. "Come on. I think Siri wants to start eating soon."
And now, something had happened in the middle of everyone eating the chocolate cake.
Severus Snape had finally shown up.
Seeing as Harry had not told his godfathers about the invitation he sent to Snape, there was bound to be a fight.
And, of course, the Master of Life and Death was right.
As soon as Snape had entered the kitchen hesitantly, Sirius had thrown a stunner that was blocked by a shield conjured hastily.
"What the bloody hell are you doing here, Snivellus?" The grim animagus yelled, getting up from his seat at the table.
Snape glared at him while coldly saying, "I was invited, you dunderhead. How else?"
"I can prove that is certainly not since I am standing right here."
"No one would want you here!"
During the argument, everyone had gotten up and stood by the wall to be away from any stray spell that might have been thrown with most of the adults trying to stop the fight. Tom, noticing the agitated state of Harry's magic, asked, "Do you wish me to step in?"
Harry stared up at him and shook his head. "No. I'll handle it." He said with narrowed eyes
The boy walked over to where the two men were still arguing and throwing various spells. He stopped a foot from them and whispered in a deadly tone that was heard by everyone in the room, "Enough."
The men before him froze suddenly. Both could sense the magic that swirled around them. To their shock, it came from the boy. It was Dark and terrifying. They shivered in unison as it enclosed them in a cocoon, reaching as far as their very souls.
Eyes wide with fear, his godfather asked, "P-Pup?"
His eyes were cold and his face rigid as he spoke. "You will not fight. You will not act so childish as to bully someone. You are both grown men. Act like it." Harry gave one final squeeze with his Death magic before forcing it back into himself.
Snape looked down in shame and said, "I apologize, Potter-Black."
"Call me Harry." The boy said softly as to not frighten away the man before him.
His professor nodded his agreement. "I prefer Severus." All Harry did was grin.
"Pup, what the hell was that?" His godfather asked with wide eyes and a pale face.
He shrugged in response. "Magic." After all, he wasn't exactly lying, was he?
Sirius snorted, disbelief covering his face as the fear washed away. Even Sn-Severus had a small smile on his face.
He felt eyes on the back of his head. He tracked them to Tom who was looking at him in interest. Harry left the two men to discuss their new 'alliance'.
"Told you I could handle it." Harry laughed with a grin forming on his lips.
Tom examined him for a while until finally saying, "Yes. You did indeed."
After his very eventful birthday, it was soon time to go shopping for Hogwarts materials.
Even though they didn't go on the day Lockhart signed books, Harry was still quite put off from the idea about the man teaching them all year. If he could even call it teaching. To be honest, Lockhart was someone who creeped him out. He was always around young kids and touching them against their will.
It certainly did not sound good, that was for sure.
Sirius and Remus had let him go on his own as they were getting his school books from Flourish and Blotts. They both knew that he was more than capable of protecting himself.
Which is why he was currently standing in Borgin and Burkes with Draco and his father.
He was looking for something very special to cover his face. A mask that could hide his features while giving him a signature look as Tom had with his Death Eaters.
Searching through the shelves and cases of Dark artifacts was boring due to the lack of exciting finds. He tossed a cursed ribbon back in its place. Who would even buy something so simple like that? All it did was put the person's hair in ridiculous hairstyles.
When he almost gave up in his search, Harry came across a very interesting mask. It looked to be made of porcelain. It was black with an inanimate snake wrapped around it. The creature was dark green and black but light green on its underside and its head. There was only one eyehole, for the snake had covered the right one and part of the mouth. In fact, it looked like the snake was about to bite the left eye socket. Perhaps it was just baring its fangs for the world to see. The mouth part was stretched into a large creepy grin which could be seen clearly apart from the small part the snake took up.
Overall, Harry was excited to see such a perfect mask that was now his. It would come to good use later on. Maybe even sooner rather than later.
"Harry?" He felt a hand on his shoulder and knew immediately that it was Draco.
He turned to face the blonde and said, "Yes?"
Draco looked at the mask in his hands and smirked. "It looks scary. You'll be sure to frighten some people with it on."
Harry chuckled lightly. "That is the point."
He went to the counter where Mr. Burke was working and handed the mask to the man who raised an eyebrow. "Are you sure you want this, boy? It's not as light as you."
Before Harry could make the shopkeeper scream in terror, Lord Malfoy stepped in. "We don't have time to wait for your warnings. Ring it up now." He spoke coldly instead of the casual tone used when Harry was looking for a mask.
"Right away, Lord Malfoy!" Burke squeaked as he hurriedly rang up the price.
Harry left the shop and said his goodbyes as it was time to meet up with his godfathers. Hopefully, they wouldn't bother him about what was in the bag. Even if they did, he could always lie, but he didn't like to, especially not to his family.
Though Harry didn't have the diary Horcrux to worry about this year, he did have a meeting with a Dark Lord to go to. Maybe he could even convince Tom to let him sit on the throne with him.
They were equals, weren't they?