Somewhere on the Other Side

A/N

And here is the next chapter for you guys.

On another note, the first chapter of my new story 'When the Roses Bloom Again' he been posted here and can be found on my profile.

I will post a chapter of that once every two weeks for the time being, and this will continue to be updated weekly.

I have added the first chapter here because of a rather irritating bout of plagiarism that seems to be plaguing me across several platforms.

Of course, as always, you can read ahead for all of my stories on my website. Simply join the discord server (link can be found on the homepage of my website, which is the first link on my profile).

The new story will be updated weekly over there, and this is already available in full.

Anyway, follows, favourites and reviews etc would be very welcome on the new story also, as well as here.

Enjoy,

TBR

July 9th, 2003

Harry had returned to the beach that had become so familiar to him during his first months as he adjusted to his new life. Now, he found himself adjusting once more to an existence he believed he had left behind since he had married Narcissa. It was an odd and unwelcome feeling and sleeping in a bed without the woman was not something he would ever get used to.

Not that he had any intention of doing so. If there was indeed a chance he could save her, he would do what was necessary to see to that end. He needed his wife, and his daughter needed her mother.

As such, he had wasted no time in sending Olin to scout the land, not out of caution mind, but so there was no delaying the inevitable.

Harry was not the same man that had left here some two years prior. He was certainly not anxious, and he did not cower in a tent waiting to be found. It was he that had become the hunter and the enemies he had unwittingly accumulated over the years were his prey.

They would learn this imminently, and there was not a person that could stop him.

There were many here that had crossed his mind during his absence, those he wished he had been able to happen upon when he was strong enough to do to the Death Eaters what they had done to others, and he would not pretend that he was not relishing that opportunity.

Perhaps a part of him had broken with the loss of his wife, or perhaps it was that he no longer feared his enemies?

To Harry, it mattered not. Whilst he was here, it was a certainty that his path would cross with Tom's followers in the pursuit of the Dark Lord himself and his remaining Horcruxes.

Harry was eager for such confrontations knowing that those here were not ready to face what he had become.

"What have you seen?" Harry asked as Olin appeared on his shoulder, the bird's mood reflecting his own.

"Death," Olin grumbled as he met Harry's gaze, showing him what he had seen.

"Now?" the man questioned.

Olin offered a single nod in response.

"Then we shall greet them the way they deserve."

"DEATH!" Olin shrieked excitedly before the duo vanished in a puff of smoke.

(Break)

For Sirius Black, being able to roam the landscape of Britain was no longer nothing new, his status with the Ministry counting for nothing in comparison to his status amongst the followers of the Dark Lord. In truth, they were one and the same and had been since the former had fallen some six years before.

It wasn't, however, the threat of being returned to Azkaban he had to contend with now, but death. If he were to be captured by those posing as aurors or the Death Eaters, his fate would not differ. He would be taken before Voldemort and tortured, his demise following swiftly after.

It would likely happen one day, but he would not make it easy for them. He was amongst the very few that remained who stood against the tyranny the country had fallen under, and he would die on his feet knowing he had stayed true to himself to the very end.

"Are we sure we can trust Dung on this?" Remus whispered with his wand drawn.

Sirius shrugged.

As unpleasant a man that Mundungus Fletcher was, his information often proved to be fruitful. Remus and Sirius were merely here to scout the area for themselves. If the Death Eaters that were operating here could be eliminated with minimal risk, then the Order would strike.

"We will see," Sirius murmured, his grip tightening around his own wand.

Anywhere the Death Eaters were thought to roam was not safe and they had a tendency to lay rather clever traps for any that were not supposed to be there. They had gotten good at this, learning from the mistake of believing they were safe from attack. It had taken them some time, but Voldemort seemingly grew tired of losing supporters to the efforts of the Order.

"Wait," Remus whispered urgently, placing a hand on Sirius' chest to halt him. "Something's not right," he added, sniffing the air.

"No," Sirius agreed. "They've already surrounded us."

The darkened streets suddenly lit up with spell fire and Remus and Sirius cast the strongest shields they could to repel the attack from the dozen or so assailants.

The spells, however, did not reach them, and they dropped their defences a moment later, breathing heavily from the effort it took to maintain them.

"What the hell happened?" Sirius panted.

"I don't know," Remus replied, "but it suddenly got very cold."

Sirius' eyes widened as he too felt the drop in temperature, and he scanned the skies above for any sign of what he feared had come for them.

His observation was cut short as another salvo of spells were sent their way and they were forced to shield once more.

"WHAT THE BLOODY HELL IS GOING ON?" a furious voiced demanded. "WHERE DID THOSE BIRDS COME FROM?"

It became colder still as the Death Eaters that were hidden around them seemingly waited for Sirius and Remus to drop their shields again, something that was inevitable.

"Can you apparate, Moony?" Sirius asked through gritted teeth.

The werewolf shook his head.

"Wards," he ground out in return.

"Then we'd better fight back whilst we can. We will work our way back the way we came."

Remus nodded his agreement as he held up three fingers, readying himself for a countdown.

Tentatively, he lowered the final finger and both men dropped their shields in tandem, prepared to face an onslaught of spells.

The Death Eaters did not disappoint, and as one, they attacked, though the spells did not make it even halfway towards the duo. Seemingly from nowhere, they were intercepted by ravens that vanished in small clouds of smoke as the magic impacted against them.

"Was that you?" Remus asked, his words punctuated by the sight of his breath from the unusual chill in the air.

Sirius shook his head, both men wincing as a shriek rent the air around them.

"DEATH!"

They watched curiously as an odd raven with white eyes landed on a powerline above them and began cleaning its feathers, uncaring of the tense atmosphere.

"DEATH!" it called again.

"That is bloody creepy," Sirius muttered, his gaze sweeping over the buildings around them as he looked out for any of the Death Eaters that had trapped them.

Remus nodded, he too vigilant.

The street they were on was eerily silent, until another scream sounded, this one not born of bird but an agonised, human scream.

The two men could only look on as the scream drew nearer before a body hit the ground some ten feet away with a dull thud, silencing the scream immediately.

The robed man donning the white mask the Dark Lord's followers favoured was undoubtedly dead, unmoving and his limbs twisted in angles that should not be possible.

"I bet that hurt," Sirius commented.

Before Remus could reply, another body followed, though this one slid into view from the shadows, stopped by the corpse of his comrade. This man yet lived, but only briefly.

With a choked wheeze, his back arched and he coughed, falling limp as blood oozed from beneath the mask he wore.

"WHO THE FUCK IS DOING…"

The words of the furious Death Eater were cut off and Sirius and Remus prepared themselves to see another body join the accumulating pile.

Instead, only a severed head was thrown into the mix, bouncing across the cobbled street as though it was a muggle football.

This man was bereft of a mask, his face contorted in an expression of utter fear.

The sight of this sent the remaining Death Eaters into panic, but as they attempted to flee, a green fire roared into life, surrounding the streets on all sides, trapping them within.

The raven above was evidently excited by this as he bounced on the powerline, flapping his wings, squawking its favourite word.

"Let's move, Padfoot," Remus suggested. "Maybe we can find a way out."

Sirius nodded and led them back to where they had come from, but their path was blocked by the flames that had them hemmed in.

"What do you think?" he questioned.

"I've never seen anything like it," Remus murmured, moving his wand in intricate patterns as he attempted to determine what they faced. "They can't be vanished or manipulated. I don't know what to do."

"Then maybe we should get away from them and find some cover," Sirius replied. "Let whatever is happening to them pass and then get out of here."

"We should," Remus agreed. "Over there, I saw an alley we can hide in. At the very worst, we won't be attacked from behind."

It was the werewolf that led them this time, the screams of the Death Eaters continuing as the two men concealed themselves in the darkened alley and waited.

The sounds of the dying ceased a few moments later, the crackling of the flames the only thing that could be heard.

"Wait," Remus whispered when Sirius moved to leave the alley.

His warning came in the nick of time as a person sprinted past, though they stopped suddenly as a whip was lashed around their neck and they fought to free themselves, to no avail.

Another robed figure emerged from in front of the struggling Death Eater. They were not masked, but the hood they wore hid their features other than a pair of white eyes that could be seen within the garment.

They paused in front of their victim and lifted them a foot or so off the ground with only a flick of their wand.

The Death Eater gasped, and a trickling of fluid could be heard as his bladder emptied, undoubtedly from the fear he felt.

Sirius nor Remus were inclined to feel sorry for or help the man who only moments ago, attempted to murder them.

"Hmm, you're not so tough alone, are you?" the white-eyed man spoke in a gruff voice, unmoved by the stuttered pleading of the Dark Lord's follower. "Don't worry, I will let you live, but Voldemort won't."

"DEATH!" the raven shrieked from somewhere in the distance.

"He will die, my friend," the man muttered reassuringly, "but his life is not mine to take. Now, return to your master and tell him what you saw here. Perhaps he is in a forgiving mood."

The Death Eater choked out words of gratitude as he was released and wasted no time in running, though Sirius and Remus were taken aback as the man's gaze shifted to them.

"I have no quarrel with you," he said as he quashed the flames around the streets with a wave of his wand. "I'll see you both soon."

"H-Harry?" Sirius gasped disbelievingly.

But his godson was gone, vanishing in a plume of smoke with the raven that had accompanied.

"Moony, that was him!"

Remus nodded, his own eyes wide at the sight of the son of one of his best friends.

"But how?" Sirius questioned.

The animagus had long given up hope that Harry lived.

For months after he left Grimmauld Place, Sirius had searched for him, glimpsing him only once. Sightings of Harry had become less and less frequent as the years passed and it had been almost three that anyone in the Order had seen him.

According to Kingsley, Harry did not appear to be faring well, favouring one of his legs from where he had been injured.

But where had he been?

"I don't know, Sirius," Remus sighed, "but maybe we should tell Moody. He will want to know."

Sirius nodded, lost for words by the appearance of the boy.

"Are you okay?" Remus asked, placing a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder.

"I thought he was…"

"I know," Remus whispered as Sirius choked, "we all did."

"But he's not."

Remus shook his head and smiled knowing that seeing Harry meant everything to the man.

"He's not," he confirmed. "He looked well."

"And he saved us."

"he did," Remus agreed. "He left quite a mess behind him."

Sirius surveyed the damage as they left the alley and deflated.

He didn't know what had happened to Harry during his absence, but he had been wrong in his assessment of him. Harry was a boy no longer. He was a man, and one that had been hardened by the world they lived in.

It saddened him that being the way his godson was had become a necessity. If he had not, it was unlikely that he would be alive now. Sirius preferred what he saw around him now than the alternative.

The Death Eaters deserved what they had coming. Harry had been but a boy when Voldemort had come for him, and now it seemed that had been flipped. Harry was seeking out the Dark Lord and Sirius didn't know how he felt about it.

Terrified? Relieved? Proud?

Perhaps it was a combination of the three he felt, but that was not what he was focused on in this moment.

Harry was alive, and that was all that mattered to the man.

"Come on," Remus urged, pulling him from his thoughts. "Let's get back and explain what happened."

Sirius nodded and the two men apparated back to the doorstep of Grimmauld Place, the ever-present Death Eaters lurking in the square outside the wards remaining, though unaware of what had happened this evening.

They would know soon enough, but here they would be, hoping to glimpse a member of the Order leaving.

That would not happen. Those that stood against the darkness did not make such errors. To do so meant death, and they avoided that at all costs.

Still, the Dark Lord's followers were persistent even if they knew their efforts here would be fruitless.

The wards were nigh on impenetrable, and the best they could do is look on where they knew the house was and nothing more.

It was quite the sore point for the Dark Lord who lacked the ability to get to his greatest opposition.

"Still there?" Remus asked.

"As always," Sirius snorted before pushing the front door open.

With so many now living within the walls, the house had finally been restored and somewhat resembled the home that Sirius had grown up in for the first fifteen years of his life, though the dark artefacts and less savoury elements had been removed.

The only thing that was left was the portrait of his mother who, even after all these years, berated any and all she could when she was disturbed.

"Oh, shut up," Sirius grumbled half-heartedly at the woman as she began bellowing her disappointment in him at the top of her lungs.

"Was Fletcher's tip any good?" Moody growled as they entered the kitchen.

Remus shrugged.

"We wouldn't know, we were ambushed as we arrived."

Moody hummed irritably and shook his head.

"That's the fourth of his that has led to an ambush," he muttered. "We can't keep using his information. It's getting too dangerous. How many?"

"About a dozen, maybe a few more," Sirius answered.

"Then you two must be getting better," the grizzled veteran praised. "Not even a scratch."

"We didn't even need to raise our wands," Remus sighed as he took a seat at the table and helped himself to an orange from the fruit bowl. "You might want to send for the rest."

Moody frowned, but tapped his staff smartly on the floor, summoning the rest of the Order that would be dotted around the house.

"What is it, Moody?" George Weasley questioned as he entered with his twin, his brother Charlie and sister Ginny.

Molly and Arthur followed with Tonks, Sturgis, Doge and Kingsley a moment later.

When the rest of those staying in the home followed, the Former Auror shrugged and nodded towards Remus and Sirius.

"These two have something to report about their little venture this evening," he explained. "Go ahead."

"It was a trap," Remus began with a shake of his head. "As we arrived, the wards went up and we were surrounded."

"Again?" Fred questioned.

The very same thing had happened to him, George and Neville during their last outing and they had barely escaped with their lives.

The Longbottom Lord was missing three fingers on his right hand, but they were under no illusion that it could have been much worse.

"Well, you don't look so bad for it," George added, smirking at Neville who scowled unhappily.

"That's because someone helped us," Remus explained, "we didn't do anything."

"Someone helped you?" Moody asked suspiciously, eliciting a nod from both men.

"It was Harry," Remus replied.

Silence followed the revelation, and it took a moment for what the werewolf had said to sink in.

"Harry?" Hermione whispered.

The woman had returned almost two years after Harry had vanished and had stayed with the Order since, hoping that he would be found and often venturing out to look for him herself.

"Where is he then? What happened?" Charlie questioned.

"Where is he?" Sirius seethed, his infamous temper getting the better of him. "You all but turned your backs on him after what happened at the wedding and now you want to know where he is?"

"Sirius…"

The Head of the Black family pushed Remus's hand away as he glared at those gathered around the table, their treatment of his godson undoubtedly a part of the reason he had fled in the first place.

"You scorned him for what happened, even when he explained that he did not know. He saved most of your bloody hides that day and you still treated him like he was one of them," he finished, pointing out of the kitchen window towards the square outside.

"You have to understand, Sirius that we did not know he was capable of that," Sturgis replied. "Dumbledore would not have wanted the boy to do that."

"DUMBLEDORE IS DEAD!" Sirius roared, slamming his hand on the table. "AS ARE SO MANY OTHERS BECAUSE WE DID NOT FIGHT BACK AS WE SHOULD HAVE."

He took a calming breath, his chest heaving as those around the table paled under his fury.

"Raise your hand if you have not lost someone you care for over the past bloody six years," Sirius instructed.

None did and he shook his head.

"We are losing, and we are all that is left. Do you honestly think we are going to win the way we are going? We are holed up here like vermin waiting for the day to be slaughtered. Do any of you believe there is a happy ending for us or for the others out there to scared to stand up for what is right? No, there isn't. You are excited now by the prospect of seeing Harry again, but do you really think he wishes to see any of you? He is no longer a boy that you can push around, who hasn't survived these past years through living by Albus's morals, and one that you can guilt into being the saviour the world expected him to be. He is not Albus, and tonight proved that. Do you know what he did?"

The gathered Order members shook their heads collectively and Sirius grinned ferally.

"He slaughtered them. Put an end to the Death Eaters there like they were nothing, and I'm damn proud of him," Sirius declared.

"As am I," Remus agreed. "We would have been killed if it weren't for him. I don't know what you're expecting from Harry, but any memory you have of the poor orphan you remember should be forgotten. He has proven that is not who he was anymore."

The two men left the room, the animagus and the werewolf finally having gotten off their chest what they had carried for several years.

"Do you think they listened?" Remus asked.

Sirius merely shrugged in response.

"Honestly, Moony, I couldn't bloody care less."

(Break)

The gate opened at his touch here still, and he found himself looking up at the home he shared with his wife and daughter. In truth, he didn't know why he had come nor what he expected to find here, but as he walked up the long drive, the house felt nothing more than a shell of itself.

Releasing a deep breath, he pushed the front door open, wincing at the creak of the hinges that had not been used in many years.

The hard floor he had walked many times had accumulated a layer of dust and the walls were bereft of any of the work Narcissa had done on the place. In this moment, Harry realised just how effort she had put in to make the house their home and it only felt emptier for it.

It felt wrong being here without them, but he was compelled to see where he had spent may hours with his daughter and the past months sleeping with a wife he never imagined he'd have.

The stairs too groaned in protest as he ascended both flights and found himself outside the room he and Narcissa had painstakingly prepared for Helena. When he entered it, the feeling of emptiness intensified.

It was empty, cold, and the walls were blank. There was no basket where his daughter slept, no chair where he would feed and soothe her and no Helena.

He missed the girl, and though it had been only a day since he had seen her, it was the longest he had spent without seeing her since she had been born.

Shaking his head with the coldness of the room filling him, he took his leave and opened the door to the adjoining room, swallowing deeply as he eyed the empty bed.

Harry had never been overly sentimental about people. He had lost his parents before he had gotten to know them, and many had mistreated him. Even those that claimed to be his friends had been fickle at times, but not Narcissa. She had always been true to herself and to him.

Truly, they were worlds apart as things stood and he would see them all together once again, no matter what he had to do.

"Death," Olin cawed almost comfortingly.

"I know, old friend. I miss her too."

"DEATH!" the raven repeated, though this exclamation was not so peaceful.

"Soon, Olin," Harry assured him, "they will all pay for what they have done."

Olin nodded, his eyes narrowed.

The raven had been restless since they had arrived, his own grief palpable.

Any could say what they would of the eerie bird, but he was very protective over Narcissa and Helena. Often Harry found him perched on the edge of his daughter's basket, watching over her whilst she slept.

Helena was fascinated with him also, and it was not unusual to see her reaching to grasp Olin with her chubby hands. Olin was not so inclined towards that treatment, but he would peck gently at her blonde hair, grooming her in his own strange way.

"Can you take me to him?" Harry asked bluntly.

Olin closed his eyes before opening them and shaking his head.

"Can you take a message?"

"DEATH!" Olin squawked excitedly flapping his wings.

"Then that is what we will do," Harry decided as he removed his trunk and retrieved a quill, ink and some parchment.

He began scratching away before seemingly changing his mind and started anew on a new piece.

Tom's reaction would be predictable. He would rant and rave, and even threaten, but he would not come himself. He would merely send his Death Eaters after him and Harry would find himself fending off the Dark Lord's followers.

It was not them he wanted, not unless they carried the name Bellatrix Lestrange or any of the others he wished to meet for a final time.

No, he needed to provoke the right reaction and doing it through Voldemort directly was not the route to take. He needed to do it through another agent, and he knew just who would be perfect for this endeavour.

If all went to plan, it could prove to be a success on two fronts.

Not only would he eliminate the greatest threat next to Tom and lure the man into a confrontation, but he just might also learn of another Horcrux. If Voldemort had entrusted one to Lucius, would he not do so with the one he considered his most loyal?

At the very least, the avenue was worth exploring. If any knew of them, it would be her the Dark Lord had brought into the fold, and if she had information, Harry would have it from her one way or another.

As he finished writing his note, he placed it in Olin's beak.

"Take it to Bellatrix," he instructed. "If she is with Tom, do something to piss him off too, old friend. Let him know what we think of him."

Olin gave a muffled called and vanished, leaving a smirking Harry in his wake.

(Break)

It was with disgust that the Dark Lord looked upon the corpse of his subordinate, the failure of him and the rest of the team to kill Lupin and Black, unacceptable to say the least.

The excuse given was even less forgivable.

A single man had arrived and killed them all according to the snivelling coward who claimed of beheadings, a cold worse than the Dementors, and a man with eyes of white that had spared him.

Lord Voldemort's nose wrinkled at the lingering smell of urine the Death Eater had brought in, his robes soiled from fear. Again, unacceptable, though the tale told had given pause.

Who would dare interfere in one of his operations in such a way?

No one. Only the remaining members of the Order would show such temerity, and Lupin and Black had frozen too at the arrival of the assailant.

Then who was it?

It mattered not for they would die. Wizarding Britain was under his control and the man in which his follower spoke would be found within the week. Of that, he was certain.

For this to happen, however, he needed to consult with his inner circle to ensure they had their absolute best looking for him. The Dark Lord wanted to greet this man personally before putting an end to him with his own wand.

He must be suitably punished before he is given the release of death.

"Ah, Lucius," he greeted the blonde who bowed reverently in response. "How are things fairing with your group?"

He had put Lucius in control of the auror force with a few of his most competent and feared to ensure the red-robed men and women remained in line. Since his coup, only a handful had attempted to resist.

They could no longer be counted among the survivors.

"Well, my lord," Lucius answered. "There is order amongst the ranks and they serve you, as they should."

"I am pleased to hear it," Voldemort replied.

Lucius had taken his role as Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement in his stride and was thriving in the position.

It had been a good choice appointing the man.

"And what of Draco?"

"He is my son," Lucius returned simply. "He lives to serve you, as I do. He is content with his lot and is expecting his first child in the coming months. He is pleased with his wife."

Voldemort nodded.

He didn't care if the brat was happy with his bride or not. He had only given the blessing to keep Lord Greengrass in line, just in case he took it upon himself to become a thorn in the Dark Lord's side as his eldest daughter had.

Daphne was dead and to ensure loyalty, he had all but insisted that Astoria be married to Draco. Perhaps it would remove the headache of the boy's other proclivities from surfacing too often.

Lord Voldemort did not wish to rule over a mass grave, after all, and Lucius did not wish for more bastard children to born to his line. It would only create problems in the future.

"And you, Fenrir, how is the department doing under your care?"

The werewolf grinned ferally, his yellowed, sharp teeth bared. He had fed recently, the blood still visible between them.

"It is hungry work, my lord," he answered, "but satisfying. The creatures continue to arrive to be registered and branded as you asked."

"And how many are you feeding on?"

"Only those that refuse to serve you, my lord," Greyback assured him. "They aren't so frequent anymore, but they do surface from time to time."

Voldemort nodded, ignoring the urge to grimace.

Greyback was a foul beast, but a useful one. His pack numbered in the hundreds and they were excellent hunters when put to task.

Having greeted two of his most valuable assets, the Dark Lord leaned back in his chair as the other members of his inner circle entered one after the other, none able to ignore the mutilated body of the man that had been punished earlier this evening.

If the blood smeared across the floor did not attract their attention, the smell of did, and a Bellatrix sauntered into the room, he sealed the door with a hiss, piquing the interest of his familiar.

"Shh, calm, Nagini," he comforted before turning his attention to his gathered followers. "Earlier this evening, a trap intended for Black and Lupin was foiled by an, as yet, unknown individual. He killed an entire team of our own, sparing only one," he informed them, pointing to the remains of the lone survivor.

"Who would dare?" Bellatrix questioned.

"The man hid like a coward in the shadows, his face was not seen, but he escaped as did the werewolf and your cousin."

Bellatrix grimaced at the mention of Sirius. She had never considered the man family, not even when they were children.

He was no true Black.

"I want this man found," the Dark Lord instructed simply. "Fenrir, you will send the pack across the length and breadth of the country if necessary. I expect you here within the week with either his corpse of his location."

The werewolf nodded his understanding.

"Lucius, you will have the aurors searching for him also. Rumours of what happened will be spread through that damned radio broadcast. I would see them silenced quickly."

"Of course, my lord," Lucius complied.

The radio broadcast in question was undoubtedly a propaganda machine set up by the Order of the Phoenix. It irked the Dark Lord so and had been the catalyst for many skirmishes over the years.

"We cannot allow this to cause further unrest. It must be dealt with and…"

Voldemort paused, his eyes narrowed as a raven with white-eyes appeared in the room.

"DEATH!" it shrieked, almost as though it was mocking him.

It was an unsettling creature, somewhat familiar and it made the Dark Lord feel undecidedly uncomfortable.

How did it even pass through the wards without him being made aware of it?

Regardless, he watched the bird curiously as it dropped a folded-up piece of parchment in front of a confused Bellatrix before taking flight around the room and settling on the chandelier above.

"A friend of yours, Bella?" the Dark Lord questioned.

The woman shook her head as she retrieved the missive, her face quickly purpling in rage as she read the contents.

"What is it?" Voldemort demanded. "Read it!"

Bellatrix swallowed before doing so, unable to conceal her fury.

Lestrange,

Tell your master that he can no longer flee from Death. Tell him that Death seeks him out, and that there is no escape. Tell Tom Riddle that Death will have his due.

Tell him that his soul belongs to me and it shall be claimed.

Lord Peverell

The room was silent and remained so as she finished reading the letter received from this Peverell and the Dark Lord felt his own anger burning within his veins, something that only increased as the raven mocked him once more.

"DEATH!" it screeched as it took flight once more and defecated on Lord Voldemort's shoulder.

None dared laugh at his misfortune, even when he levelled his wand at the raven and his spell missed the mark. The infernal creature, unlike his followers, did dare mock him and appeared on the chandelier once more, flapping its wings excitedly, it's caw so like a chuckle.

His next spell also missed as the raven vanished in a puff of smoke to avoid it, and the Dark Lord hissed his displeasure.

Seeing this, Nagini took it upon herself to deal with the bird and lunged from her spot next to the Dark Lord, who smirked as it failed to move.

Instead of the sound of its tiny bones being crushed and a shriek of pain, the raven made no noise but Nagini thudded to the hard floor and began thrashing around.

Voldemort could only look on helplessly as the throes continued, Nagini hissing incoherently until a bloodcurdling scream filled the room and the serpent fell limp.

"Nagini!" the Dark Lord hissed.

She was dead, something that was only punctuated as her body was engulfed in a black fire until nothing remained but a pile of ashes that were blown across the floor by the draft in the room.

Lord Voldemort could only stare at the spot his companion had been, shocked by the destruction of one of his Horcruxes as though it was nothing.

"Find him!" he seethed. "Bring this Peverell to me!"

The room emptied with only Bella daring to remain in the face of his grief and rage.

"Allow me to find him, my lord," she pleaded. "I will bring his broken body to you and you can have your vengeance. I will find him," she reiterated almost lovingly.

The Dark Lord merely swallowed and nodded, and Bellatrix all but skipped from the room seemingly pleased that she would be unleashed on this man.

(Break)

Narcissa Malfoy woke once more with a gasp, confused by yet another dream that had been so vivid, one she remembered but was certain had not happened.

Thomas Avery had not been killed in St Mungo's. The man had been sent to Azkaban at the end of the first war and still lived now. Lucius had mentioned him in passing not even a year ago.

What on Earth was happening to her?

If it was only the dreams she had to contend with, she could perhaps dismiss them out of hand as what they appeared to be, but it was not so simple. This Peverell was someone she held feelings for, much stronger feelings than she'd ever had for her own husband.

The thought of the green-eyed man stirred something within her, something she had not experienced in many years and certainly not to such a degree. She rubbed her thighs together with a huff before kicking the sheets away and sitting up. She should not be having such thoughts about another man.

Still, she needed to know what this all meant. Were they merely dreams that seemed to be teasing her? A glimpse into a life she may have lived had things been different during her younger years?

She was nearing fifty-years of age and she could not help but reflect on what had come to pass since she had married Lucius.

It was not good.

She had spent much of her years within these walls, raising Draco for only a few of them before he had been all but torn away from her and indoctrinated by his father.

Her son had been a sweet toddler, but within a year under the tutelage of Lucius, he had become arrogant and had eventually turned into the monster he was now.

Narcissa had heard rumours of the acts her son had carried out under the guise of serving the Dark Lord. She understood complying with the man to preserve himself, she was equally guilty of that, but not to the degree off enjoying hurting others and even violating them in such ways.

The thought made her shudder, and she retrieved her box that contained her memories of her time at St Mungo's.

She did not wish to dwell on what her son had become. It filled her with disgust and disappointment.

She had thought that marriage would have curbed his behaviour, but it had not. He had only become better at hiding it.

With a sigh, she removed her notebooks as she had the previous night, looking for any mention of anyone that fit the description of Peverell. She had perused them in detail already, but she must have missed something.

After only an hour, she decided she had not.

There was indeed no mention of any case she had recorded that could pertain to the man who was haunting her dreams, and yet, she felt that she knew him, that she had once grown to care for him.

Had she? Had someone taken it upon themselves to modify her memory?

She released a deep breath.

Before the dreams, the name Peverell was not one she had ever heard, and it was certainly not a common name. She would have remembered one like it.

"Harry," she murmured thoughtfully as she left her room knowing she would be unable to sleep peacefully until she put the matter to rest.

The sun was only beginning to crest the sky as she made her way towards the family library. If there were any mention of such a family, she would find it amongst the exhaustive collection of books there.

Pushing the door open, she lit one of the lanterns kept on a hook by the entrance and began perusing the shelves. It had been some years since she had come here, preferring to keep to the rooms Lucius had given her when Draco had been born.

If she ever needed anything from the library, she would simply send an elf to retrieve it, but not for this. She needed to do this for herself.

"Prominent Pureblood Families of the past Five Centuries," she muttered as she removed the first volume that showed any promise.

This Peverell had been a pureblood, the lordship ring she remembered sitting prominently on his finger confirming that.

Turning to the glossary, she balanced the tome on one hand and trailed a finger down the list of names that could be found within, frowning when she came to Parkinson and then Potter with no mention of Peverell between the two.

Why would the family not be mentioned if they were real? Were they perhaps an older family that had died out?

"Impossible," she denied as she replaced the book and removed another: Wizarding Genealogy: A Study Through the Ages.

This was an older work, the pages having yellowed and become brittle on the edges. Much to her surprise, it was written by a member of the Ollivander family some three centuries prior.

Carefully, she again opened it to where the list of names could be found.

"Orpington, Parkinson… Peverell," she whispered as she came to it.

Turning to the page that contained the information about them, she frowned, noticing that this section was considerably smaller than the one that spoke of the Potters on the preceding entry.

The Peverells

A family of old, one steeped in intrigue and mystery. Their alleged feats are as fantastical as they are awe-inspiring.

"Flee from those with eyes of white, for Death will follow soon after."

The last known Peverell was Iolanthe Peverell who married Hardwin Potter some many centuries ago.

Family Status: Extinct

Narcissa felt a twinge of disappointment at the revelation, though she did not have time to ponder it. The door to the library opened and she hurriedly replaced the tome and removed an inane one on magical plants from a nearby shelf.

She opened it as Lucius rounded the corner, frowning in displeasure at her presence.

"This is an odd hour for you to be awake," he commented. "Usually by now you have passed out from your wine consumption."

Narcissa ignored the barb. They had become common over the years and the insults of the man meant nothing to her.

"I was looking for new plants for the greenhouses," she replied. "What brings you here? It's not often you seek out knowledge, not when you seemingly know everything."

Lucius's nostrils flared in irritation, but he too ignored her words in favour of turning his attention to the shelves that Narcissa had just been perusing.

"There is a pressing matter the Dark Lord requires to be looked into. An entire team his followers were killed last night by a single man, and he needs to be dealt with."

"One person?" Narcissa questioned with a raised eyebrow, her amusement barely concealed.

Lucius hummed as he removed the first book she had consulted.

He slammed it shut only a moment later and dropped it to the floor.

"Bloody false name," he grumbled.

"You have their name already?" Narcissa pressed.

Lucius released a sigh of frustration.

"Did you not hear me, woman? It is a fake name. I wish you would not bother me whilst I'm working. Your presence hinders me, and the smell of wine is unbecoming."

Narcissa felt satisfied by the small victory and decided to take her leave whilst she was ahead, her steps pausing as her husband muttered a single word from behind her.

"Peverell."

There it was again.

Any notion she had that her dreams were meaningless was all but gone. This Peverell was real, and he was killing the followers of the Dark Lord.

Still, she did not know what it all meant. Was it merely a coincidence that she had begun dreaming of this man and one carrying the same name of a family thought extinct for hundreds of years had surfaced?

Narcissa did not know what it meant, but an odd sense of anticipation filled her, and dare she say, excitement?

Her thoughts returned once more to the man occupying her dreams, and as she returned to her room, she couldn't help but smile at the thought of him.

(Break)

Harry had laughed uproariously at the sight of Olin greeting Tom in his own special way, though the laughter had ceased abruptly at what had unfolded next.

Seeing his companion swallowed by Voldemort's serpent had worried him, that was until Olin had emerged unscathed by the skirmish and the snake had been killed.

Taken aback, Harry had forgotten about Nagini and Dumbledore's belief that she was a Horcrux. He did not believe that even Tom would prove to be so arrogant as to create one intentionally using a live vessel.

He had been wrong, and his thoughts had shifted to the remaining tethers the Dark Lord had created.

It was a risk banking on Bellatrix having one in her possession, but a necessary one.

He had pondered any and all other possibilities and none made sense. Tom was arrogant, but he was logical. He could not be assured that Lucius would discover what it was he had been given and the only person he trusted more was the unhinged woman.

Harry was certain that if she didn't have one, she knew of them and he could glean something useful from her.

The other remaining Horcrux here should have been more straight forward, but when he considered it, it could prove to be the riskier of the two.

The Diadem was likely still within the room of requirement. The problem he faced with retrieving it was that he knew nothing of Hogwarts' status.

Was it still functioning as a school?

Who was the headmaster?

What security measures had been put in place?

Again, Olin had been unable to help him gain access to the school. Not that such a thing was the pertinent issue. He could get into Hogwarts with little effort on his part. What he would find inside the castle was what concerned him most.

Even with the many months under the tutelage of Dumbledore, he had learned nothing of the wards around the school, but he knew they were considered amongst the oldest and strongest within Britain.

Harry certainly did not wish to contend with them if it could be avoided, as such, he needed information about the castle and there was only one place he could go where he may just learn what he needed to.

Although he had assured Remus and Sirius he would see them again, he had not expected it to be so soon, but he knew he would only be delaying the inevitable if he waited.

He had no allies here, no means to find information elsewhere, and not the time to do so.

His daughter was waiting for him to return.

"What did you see, Olin?" he whispered.

He had sent the raven ahead to check Grimmauld Place and was pleased with the decision to do so. After only a glimpse into the bird's mind, he saw the area was full of Death Eaters lying in wait.

Harry nodded his understanding and drew his wand.

He had no need of prisoners this time around, his message to Tom having been sent already. With that in mind, he conjured several more ravens, imbuing them with spells that would get the attention of those within Grimmauld Place.

With a grin, he sent them on their way and, they took to the air silently, waiting for his command.

With a but a nod, the area was rocked by an almighty explosion as the ravens detonated in front of the targets leaving none alive and the muggle car alarms nearby blaring, their lights flashing and the smell of burning filling the air.

Knowing there was no longer any threat to him, Harry stepped out into the open and stood in the middle of the square, waiting for someone within the house to investigate.

They did so only a moment later; Moody, Kingsley, Sirius and Remus emerging from within the hidden home with their wands drawn.

"Potter?" the Ex-Auror questioned. "Bloody hell, lad, I thought these two had finally lost their minds when they said you had come. Now get yourself in here before more of them come. They've got this whole are being monitored."

Harry nodded and ascended the steps to the house, entering it as it was for the first time since the night he had fled the clutches of the Order.

"I can't say I missed you, you old hag," he snorted as he passed the portrait of Walburga Black.

He hadn't been given the opportunity to. He had met the woman in the flesh, and she was just as unpleasant.

Making his way into the kitchen with the four that had come to fetch him, he was greeted by the sight of a sizable group of people, all of whom were familiar, but it was one person that caught his attention, and he didn't know how he felt about seeing her again.

Hermione's eyes widened at his appearance and she smiled nervously, approaching, and tentatively wrapping her arms around him.

"I missed you," she whispered.

"Then why did you leave?"

Hermione deflated and nodded her understanding as to why he would ask that question.

"I needed time, Harry."

He could understand that. He too had needed time to adjust when he had arrived in what he now considered his home.

He couldn't say he missed most of the people here. They had either been complicit in keeping him locked away or had shunned him for what he had done.

How they would balk if they knew the things he had done since.

"Potter," Charlie Weasley greeted him.

Harry simply nodded in response.

He didn't like the man. His incessant defence of Bill and Fleur for going through with their wedding irked Harry and the two had almost come to blows many times during his last stint here.

It appeared the dislike was mutual.

"Where have you been, Harry?" Sirius asked worriedly as he took a seat, seemingly not knowing how to act around him.

"I spent a few years hiding, and then got tired of it," Harry explained with a shrug. "Things don't seem to be going too well here."

"They're not," Moody growled. "We can barely leave without being attacked. We are all that remains of those that will stand against them."

"Well, he won't be a problem for much longer," Harry sighed. "He will be dead and then you can begin rebuilding your lives."

Charlie snorted.

"So, now you decide to just show up and do what was expected from you?"

"Yes," Harry answered simply. "I have been needed elsewhere, but of course, you have been here, so why haven't you killed him, Weasley?" The redhead flared his nostrils but said nothing else.

"Did you get married?" Hermione broke in, noticing the ring that adorned his finger.

Harry nodded.

"I did," he confirmed seeing no need to hide it, "I have a daughter also."

"A daughter?" Sirius questioned, evidently surprised by the revelation. "Married to whom?"

"That doesn't matter," Harry replied dismissively as he removed a photo of Helena he kept in his pocket and handed it to his godfather. "Her name is Helena."

Sirius held the photo as though it was the most precious thing in the world and smiled warmly.

"She doesn't look much like you."

"No," Harry agreed, "she takes after her mother."

"She must be a very beautiful woman," Sirius commented.

Harry fought the urge to laugh.

The man had spoken of his disdain for his cousin many times. Not that he would believe Harry if he were to tell him the truth of the matter, something he would not do. His life was complicated enough without including anyone in it.

"Are we just going to forget that he abandoned us?" Charlie interjected hotly.

"Are we going to forget that you all tried to keep me prisoner here?" Harry fired back. "Just shut up, Weasley."

"No one will try to keep you here, Harry," Sirius assured him firmly, eying the rest of the Order.

"I would like to see them try."

Charlie stood at the challenge, though paled as Olin appeared in a puff of smoke and glared at the man.

"DEATH!" he shrieked warningly.

"Charlie!" Mrs Weasley chastised, her eyes drawn to the eerie raven.

Charlie reluctantly retook his seat.

"Bloody hell," Sirius chuckled, "he's no less scary even in the light.

"Olin is a clever bird," Harry replied, scratching his companion above the beak.

"Where did you get him?" Hermione asked curiously.

"He found me," Harry answered with a shrug. "He's been with me ever since."

"Death," Olin cawed.

"Well, now you're here," Moody interjected, "would you care to explain your plan to us?"

"I'm going to kill him," Harry replied simply. "To do that, I need information about Hogwarts. What's it like in there? Who's in charge?"

Moddy shook his head darkly.

"We had to close communication with Snape," he sighed. "He's the headmaster there, but it was too risky to keep the floo accessible. Voldemort spends time at the school, and we feared he would somehow find his way through. That was two years ago, and we have heard nothing since."

"What about McGonagall?"

Moody shook his head.

"She was killed by the Carrow twins and replaced by MacNair. We don't have anyone on the inside we can trust."

"And Snape?"

Moody shrugged.

"Your guess is as good as mine, but I wouldn't expect any help from him. Snape is only loyal to himself. He wouldn't help unless promises were made, and I would not be willing to make them."

"Slimy git," Sirius mumbled.

"Anyway, why do you need to get in there?"

"There's something I need and I'm reluctant to go in there blind," Harry answered cryptically. "It is necessary."

Moody frowned, but did not press the issue.

"And what about the rest of them?" he asked. "The Dark Lord's hold is too strong to be broken by only his death. Someone else will take his place."

"Any that could, will die," Harry returned. "Bellatrix and Lucius are the only two that could hold it together, and they will be dead before him."

Moody shook his head.

"It's not that simple, Potter. His numbers exceed our own and people are too scared to stand up to them. Greyback is a problem. His pack numbers in the hundreds and continues to grow."

"I know," Harry replied. "They are already looking for me, and they too will be gone within the next few days."

Moody chuckled and leaned back in his chair.

"You seem to have this all thought out. What's the plan?"

"To kill them," Harry answered candidly. "My plans are my own and it is best you all keep away. I will be doing many things most of you will disagree with, but I will not deviate from my plans."

"So, you're going to kill an entire pack of werewolves, the Dark Lord's most dangerous followers and then him?" Moody snorted.

"Yes," Harry simply, "then I will return to the life I have built for myself."

"You're leaving?" Hermione asked.

Harry nodded.

"This is not my home anymore," he sighed. "I have been granted permission to return to finish this, but then I must go back."

"I don't understand," Sirius broke in confusedly. "What do you mean?"

"DEATH!" Olin squawked.

Harry offered the man a sad smile as he nodded.

"Harry Potter is dead, Sirius. Two years ago, I passed through the veil in the Department of Mysteries and my life was forfeit. It is magic that I do not understand, but my world is not this one."

"What the hell do you mean, Potter?" Charlie snapped irritably.

"The Veil of Death?" Hermione asked, wide-eyed. "I read about that in Magical Myths: The Lost Artefacts of Wizarding Britain."

"Of course you did," Harry chuckled, "and yes, I can only assume they are one and the same."

"But you should be dead if you pass through it," Hermione exclaimed.

"For all intents and purposes, I am," Harry replied with a shrug. "Like I said, I have been granted a return to deal with Voldemort and then I must go back."

"No," Sirius choked. "No, you can't be dead. You're here, why can't you just stay?"

"Because Death will always have their due, Sirius," Harry answered, placing a comforting hand on his godfather's shoulder. "If it's any consolation, I'm happy where I am. I have a family, and even play Quidditch for a living."

"Really?" Sirius asked sceptically.

"Really."

Sirius released a deep breath after staring at him for a moment and nodded.

"Your parents?"

"Are there," Harry confirmed, not divulging any more information than necessary.

For the benefit of his godfather, Harry felt the need to at least be honest to a degree. He couldn't simply vanish and leave the man hoping he would return again.

That would not happen, and he would not see one of the very few people that had stood by him live with such false hope.

"What a load of crap," Charlie grumbled. "Do you really believe this?"

"It doesn't matter if you do," Harry returned uncaringly. "It is the truth, and I will be gone when my task is complete."

"But you don't have to leave yet?" Sirius asked.

"No, not just yet," Harry assured the man, "but before anything else, I will need to get into Hogwarts."

"You have the map, don't you?"

"I do," Harry confirmed, remembering the days he would sneak around or out of the school for Hogsmeade weekends during his third year.

Many had passed since he had used it last, but it appeared that he had need of the Marauder's creation once again, though much more was at stake than only risking a detention if he was to be caught.

Regardless, he needed to get into the castle, and it was the only way.