The Imprint of the Soul
"Is this it?" Harry asked as he, along with Lord Greengrass and a defeated Lucius Malfoy arrived in front of a large manor.
"It is," Greengrass confirmed. "They dragged me here to sign Astoria over after they killed my Daphne. Did you know her, Potter? She was the same age as yourself."
The man's tone was almost devoid of all emotion, as though he had cried all the tears he could muster.
"I knew who she was, but I would not pretend to have known her."
"No, she was a Slytherin through and through, but not a sheep. Not like the rest of the shits who cowered before the bastard. My Daphne was a strong woman."
Harry nodded his understanding. He sympathised with the man, but he was one of many that had lost much to this conflict. Perhaps now that it was over with, and his other daughter would be returned to him, he would find a semblance of peace.
Harry was not foolish enough to believe he would get over the loss, no father would, but there was a silver lining, as dull as it was.
"So, Malfoy, what can we expect to find inside? I wouldn't even attempt to lie to me, I will know and will have the truth one way or the other," he warned.
Lucius swallowed deeply before sighing.
"Draco is inside with his wife and son, as is my own wife. There are some prisoners in the dungeons, but that is all."
"Well, it does appear you can speak honestly after all," Harry snorted, ignoring that he referred to Narcissa as his own wife. "Now, I can't imagine Draco being so cooperative."
"He will not," Lucius agreed.
"Then he will die," Harry returned simply as he dragged the Malfoy lord forward by his long hair.
"No wait!" Lucius pleaded. "I can make him see sense."
Harry eyed the man sceptically for a moment, not breaking his stride.
"You'd better hope so. He will either die or will spend his life rotting in Azkaban. I personally couldn't care less."
He truly couldn't.
Draco had always made a nuisance of himself, but little more where Harry was concerned. He was little more than a spoilt child and Harry doubted much had changed.
He would still be the self-entitled ferret he had always been.
Still, if he proved to be difficult, Harry would put an end to him. The only reservation he had in doing so was that he somehow needed Narcissa to comply with him.
Even though this wasn't his wife, his Narcissa was in there somewhere, and if sparing Draco meant he would have her back, he would. The Malfoy heir was of no concern without a Dark Lord and his father to wipe his nose for him.
After a few more moments of walking in silence, the trio reached the front door and Harry shoved Lucius forward to grant them access.
Reluctantly, he did so, and they entered a large entrance hall. As expected, it was gaudily decorated in white marble and luxurious wooden furniture, displaying the wealth of the family that owned it.
"Well, where are they?" Harry asked without preamble.
"They'll be in the parlour," Lucius sighed, "it's that way," he added, nodding towards one of the large, oak doors.
"The same room your lot took me to?" Greengrass interjected.
"Yes!" Malfoy ground out.
Greengrass looked torn between rushing to his daughter and throttling Lucius.
Harry could not blame him. He would face the same dilemma were he to find himself in the man's position.
"I'll lead the way then," Greengrass declared, the former of his urges taking precedence.
Harry followed, shoving Lucius in front of him so he was trapped between himself and the now hurrying Lord Greengrass. They came to a door around halfway down the corridor and the man forwent the courtesy of knocking.
"Father?" Harry heard a feminine voice question and he arrived in time to witness Lord Greengrass ploughing his fist into the surprised face of Draco Malfoy.
He proceeded to kick the man repeatedly, and Harry himself took no small amount of joy in seeing Malfoy get some of the due he was owed.
"Father no, not in front of Scorpius," the young blonde woman pleaded.
Greengrass relented but seized the moaning Draco by the throat and pulled him to his feet.
"I've been waiting for this day for a long time, boy," he seethed, the two men nose to nose. "You're lucky my grandson is here or I would be painting these walls with your blood, you little bastard."
Judging by the state of his only remaining daughter, Harry would do nothing to stop him.
Astoria Greengrass was thin and gaunt. She likely ate little and only carried on for the small boy she held in her arms. She certainly had no love for her husband, the look of utter disdain aimed Draco's way attesting to that.
"Since you've had your reunion, I will leave Draco to you," Harry broke in. "I think death is to kind for him personally, but that is your choice."
Lord Greengrass nodded.
"I will not have my grandson hating me for killing his father," the man sighed, seemingly having unleashed some of the pent-up anger he held. "He will go to prison."
"It's the best place for him," Harry agreed accepting the offered hand from the other man.
"Thank you, Potter," Greengrass said sincerely. "If ever there is anything I can do for you, just name it."
There would never be anything he needed from the man, but he appreciated the sentiment.
"What about him?" Greengrass questioned, nodding towards Lucius.
Harry had not considered what he would do with the Malfoy patriarch beyond using him to get here.
"I can take him too," Greengrass suggested. "The pair of them can rot in my dungeons until they can be handed over to whoever takes charge."
"That's fine with me," Harry replied.
It would relieve him of the burden and he would not deny the man his chance to make the Malfoy's lives miserable.
"The only request I do have is that you leave Na-Lady Malfoy out of any retribution."
Greengrass frowned but nodded.
"Your reasons are your own Potter, but she will not be harmed by me or my own," Greengrass assured him. "Honestly, I haven't seen the woman in years, not even at the wedding."
"Then I believe that is all we have to discuss," Harry declared. "I am pleased you have your daughter back and I hope you all find some happiness."
"Thank you, Potter," Greengrass replied as Harry took his leave of the room, his mind firmly on the reason he was here in the first place.
He wouldn't pretend that he was not nervous. He did not know how this Narcissa would react to him, if she would be cooperative or if she would try to kill him.
All he knew was that he was so close to having his wife back and he would do whatever it took to ensure that happened.
He would not be leaving without her. He could not envision returning home to Helena without the girl's mother nor without the woman he loved.
Narcissa felt eerily calm as the wards alerted her to something out of the ordinary occurring within the house, not because she was not concerned but because she knew Harry had come.
She could feel him on the periphery of her conscience, his presence almost overwhelming but not oppressive. To her, it felt like a warm embrace calling to her, wanting to sweep her up.
She shook her head, huffing slightly at what it provoked within her.
She did not even know this man, and yet, she had come to yearn for him like a lovesick teenager, and still, she did not know why.
The dreams she had were one thing, but they could not be the reason behind such strong emotions, to instil such a need for him. It simply had to be more than she knew, and she hoped that she would learn of it now that he was here.
Had she not been teased enough by what she had seen?
Only last night, she found herself cradling a bundle of blankets with the brilliant green eyes of Harry staring up at her, though the babe looked very much like her.
Again, when she had woken, it was to her own eyes full of tears and a sense of loss and longing weighing down on her.
She pushed those thoughts aside as she felt him come closer, the anticipation she felt turning to nervousness at his approach.
What if she had been wrong? What if the dreams were not real and the Harry in them was nothing but a figment of her imagination?
Were she to be honest with herself, Narcissa did not know if she could face that. So deeply she had fallen in love with the life she had somewhat been a part of that the thought of it not having happened filled her with dread.
Now, it was too late to dwell on such a thing. The door behind her opened and she stilled, the scent of the man she found herself desiring filling the room, though it was mixed with other odours that were not so enticing.
"I was just making some tea, would you like some?" she asked, her mouth dry but voice much steadier than she expected.
He remained silent for a moment, and she could feel his gaze burning into the back of her head before he sighed.
"I'll have some of the chamomile, I can't stand the green stuff you drink."
Narcissa unwittingly smirked as she set about the task of preparing the drinks. Green tea was her favourite. Of course, Harry would know that.
How? Perhaps she was about to find out.
As she finished with the cups, she turned and placed them on the table, taking her seat before allowing her eyes to roam over his form. She paused as their eyes met, her breath hitching in her chest.
They had the very same effect on her here as they did when she dreamed of him, more so now if anything.
"Would you like to take a seat?" she asked.
He nodded and did so, his stare remaining on her. She held it, not wanting it to end until she forced herself to look away. She could not afford to get lost in him, not when she had so many questions that needed to be answered.
"You're injured!", she gasped as she noticed the deep gash on his arm. "You silly man."
He stared at her in a mixture of confusion and amusement as she retrieved her healer kit and kneeled next to him. Rummaging in her bag for a cleansing solution, she did her best to ignore the way he was staring at her, and she set to work.
"You know who I am," he stated after a moment, pausing her ministrations.
She nodded her reply, sealed his wound with a whispered spell and retook her seat.
It had been almost three decades since she had been a trainee-healer, yet she knew what to do as though it were only yesterday she wandered the corridors of St Mungo's.
"You're Harry. Potter or Peverell, I don't know."
He nodded his understanding.
"I was born Harry Potter. James and Lily were my mother and father, but it's not who I am anymore. Harry Potter died almost a few years ago now."
"In a manner of speaking," Harry sighed. "It's complicated and probably completely unbelievable but that's not the first time you've healed me."
He was smiling as though he was allowing a fond memory to come to the forefront of his mind.
"Are my dreams real?" Narcissa blurted.
She didn't know why she had done so but she needed to know. As much as she dreaded him denying it, she had to know if it was in her head or her heart was indeed true.
"Your dreams?" he asked with a questioning frown.
"I've been dreaming of you for days," Narcissa whispered. "We…well, I saw us meet, get married and even have a baby."
"Helena," Harry said, his smile widening considerably.
The expression suited him and warmed Narcissa. She had come to know that smile well.
"That happened, but not here," he sighed.
"Of course it didn't," Narcissa chided, "I am not so foolish to believe that, but I have these feelings for you that I cannot explain and not ones you get from dreams, they are…"
She stopped speaking, taken in by the way he looked at her.
"What is it?" he asked.
Narcissa shook her head and swallowed deeply.
"You're looking at me like no one else ever has before," she murmured shyly. "Like…"
"You're the most important thing in the world to me?"
"That's because you are," he replied quietly. "Sorry, it's hard for me to see the difference between you and her. I know you're not her, but you are at the same time."
Narcissa raised an eyebrow at him.
"Maybe you should start from the beginning," she suggested. "Maybe then I can understand why I feel as though I am in love with a man less than half my age."
Harry rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly and Narcissa laughed.
"I do not believe for one moment that this," she said gesturing between them, "was your intention."
"It wasn't," Harry assured her, "but this is as strange for me as it is for you. I suppose it all began when I died here. I was brought to a cloaked figure who sent me to a different world to this one, gave me a new life and new name."
"Peverell," Narcissa clarified.
"When I woke up there, I was in St Mungo's and the year was 1975."
Narcissa felt an odd tingle run through her as he spoke.
"I was training to be a healer then," she informed him.
"I know, that's how we met," he said warmly. "Well, a lot happened, and we ended up married."
"I saw that," Narcissa revealed. "We were happy, you played Quidditch, and I finished my training."
"And then Helena came along," Harry finished.
"But why do I know this? Why are you here instead of there? Did something happen to me?"
His expression became one of guilt and he took a moment to compose himself before he nodded.
Narcissa was taken aback by the revelation, but more so by the slumping of Harry's posture and his unguarded expression of grief.
She wanted to reach for him, to hold the man in her arms.
"How?" she pressed gently.
Harry shook his head.
"I took a stand against the Dark Lord. He couldn't get to me, so he tried to kill our daughter and you. I tried…"
He choked and Narcissa, unable to see him this way, did reach for him this time and took his hand in her own.
"What about her? What about Helena?" she asked.
"I made it," Harry assured her and Narcissa breathed a sigh of relief. "I wasn't quick enough to get to you. Bellatrix got there first."
"Bella killed me?"
"To her, you were a traitor for marrying me."
Narcissa found it hard to believe that her sister would kill her, but if Bella harboured the same disgust for her as she did Andromeda, there was undoubtedly the possibility she would.
"I didn't know that," she explained.
"But you know about Helena?"
"I do. She was a beautiful baby from what I saw."
"She gets her looks from her mother."
Narcissa fought the blush that threatened to form, though she was not completely successful. There was something about the blunt honesty of the man that was refreshing. It was certainly a change from the backhanded insults she'd endured from Lucius throughout the years.
"I am no longer the beautiful young woman I once was," Narcissa countered. "As much as I feel that I am, I am not your wife."
"No," Harry agreed, "but she is in there somewhere. Why do you think you have been having these dreams?"
"I don't know," Narcissa returned frustratedly.
Harry gave her a look of sympathy and squeezed her hand.
"When you died, the same cloaked figure that took me to where I met you called me to them. They explained that your soul had not been harvested, that it had been sent to the one place it could continue to exist and the one place that I could retrieve it."
"Inside me?" Narcissa asked in disbelief, putting the pieces together much faster than Harry would have expected. "How? Who is this cloaked figure?"
"Death," Harry answered simply.
Narcissa eyed him sceptically for a moment and released a deep breath.
"I read about the Peverells and their alleged association with Death. I thought that it was nothing but fanciful tales."
"It's not," Harry replied. "I know this is difficult for you to believe but my wife's soul is merging with your own. That is why you have been having these dreams, that is why you feel the way that you do."
"So, it is real, but not for me?" Narcissa asked almost sadly. "These feelings are not mine?"
Harry shook his head.
"No," he answered apologetically.
Narcissa stood and turned from him before releasing a watery chuckle.
"I should have known."
"How could you? This isn't something that happens."
"No, but I was foolish enough to buy into these feelings, to allow myself to be drawn into what I saw. It all felt so real."
"Then maybe it is," Harry offered comfortingly. "Maybe seeing and experiencing what you have is more than just dreams and the feelings of someone else. Maybe it has become a part of you."
Narcissa met his gaze and gave him a grateful smile.
"But none of it is mine," she pointed out. "You are not my husband, it is not me that you fell in love with, and she is not our daughter."
Harry appeared to be at a loss as to what to say and Narcissa spared him the need of finding the words he was looking for.
"Sorry?" he asked with a frown.
"Well, I don't suppose you came here to drink tea and talk to me. How do you get her back?"
"I need to take you to the cloaked figure. Only they can separate your soul pieces and return hers to her body?"
"You need to take me to Death?"
"Will that not kill me?"
"No," Harry answered. "Your soul and body will remain intact."
Narcissa sighed as she took her seat.
"I do not know if it is the part of your wife influencing the way or feel or it's me, but I trust you and I will help you get your wife back to you. Knowing how you feel about each other and for your daughter, I could not keep you apart. Is it selfish that there is something within me that wants to hold on to all of this?"
Harry shook his head.
"No, me and my Narcissa are very happy. I don't expect your life turned out as you would have liked. I remember the look on her face when she told me she was going to be married to Lucius. She was devastated."
"As was I," Narcissa murmured. "My life changed when I was betrothed to him. I was forced to give up healing, and it only became worse when Abraxus died. Lucius cast me aside as though I was nothing. He had his heir and had no use for me."
Harry felt for the woman. How could he not? This was the life his wife would have lived had he not prevented it. Taking in the somewhat broken Narcissa Malfoy in front of him, he now understood what he had done for his own. He had saved her an existence of misery.
"I'm sorry there wasn't someone to save you from that."
"Don't be," Narcissa snorted. "Until recently, I did not know any differently."
"That's true," Harry conceded.
A comfortable silence fell between them for a moment before Narcissa spoke once more.
"Is Lucius dead?"
"No, but he is in Lord Greengrass's dungeons and will stay there until other arrangements can be made, as is Draco. He will likely spend the rest of his days in Azkaban."
Narcissa nodded, not having expected anything less.
"And my grandson?"
"Is fine," Harry assured her. "Lord Greengrass will not hold what Lucius and Draco have done against him or you. I would suggest writing to him and seeing if you can reach an accord."
Narcissa suspected Harry had something to do with that and nodded gratefully.
"I will and thank you. You didn't have to intervene on my behalf."
"No, but I know the kind of person you are. You shouldn't be punished for the actions of others."
Her life had consisted of her being judged and looked upon by other because of the actions of her husband and even the family she had been born into.
"Then there is little more to do than get your wife back. How do we get to this cloaked figure?"
"Olin?" Harry called.
The eerie raven arrived in a puff of smoke, his wings flapping excitedly as he perched on Harry's shoulder.
"DEATH!" he squawked.
"I think there's been enough of that for one day," Harry snorted.
Olin gave him what could only be described as a look of disappointment, but he did not repeat his chosen phrase. Instead, he looked at Narcissa with something akin to fondness.
"Hello, Olin," the woman greeted the bird nervously.
"He loves Narcissa," Harry chuckled. "He will be fine with you."
Tentatively, the woman reached out and stroked the raven's feathers. Olin, as always, preened under the attention.
"How will he take us to him?" Narcissa asked.
"He will take us to a gateway of sorts. Those who crossover don't come back. You will be one of only two of to be allowed to return."
"That sounds rather ominous."
"It is," Harry agreed, "but you have nothing to fear. I won't let anything happen to you."
Narcissa nodded and allowed Harry to take her hand.
There was a familiarity to the gesture, and she ignored the warmth it filled her with. It was not hers to bask in, after all.
"Let's go, Olin," Harry instructed.
Narcissa felt herself enveloped in the cold magic of the man and shuddered as they arrived in a large stone chamber. It was empty other than for the stairs that circled the room and an archway. There were runes etched into the construct, none of which she recognised.
She had studied the subject at Hogwarts but had never seen anything of the sort.
"Is this the gateway?" she asked.
Harry nodded grimly.
"This was where I was brought to before I was sent to my new home," he explained.
"Do you miss being here?"
"Parts of it," Harry admitted. "I have friends here that I will never see again. Sirius is here, but he's there also," he finished pointing towards the archway.
"Then we should get you home," Narcissa suggested.
Harry gave her a smile as he pulled her gently towards the veil, pausing as they reached only a foot away and stared around the room a final time.
There would be no coming back again. His time here was at an end.
"Try not to be alarmed by what you may see. Nothing in there can hurt you."
Narcissa nodded nervously, her grip tightening around his hand as he led them through the archway.
The world around them vanished and she found herself in the strangest of places. There was no colour here. Everything was in a shade of grey and the same cold magic seeped into her very being, quashing her own. She could feel nothing other than what wherever she was allowed her to.
"It's cold," she muttered.
"It's them," he said, pointing above.
Where Narcissa expected to see a ceiling, there wasn't one but the space above them was filled with humanlike shapes floating lazily around. There were thousands of them, all faceless and silent.
"What are they?"
"The souls of the damned," Harry replied. "Those that tried to escape Death. This is their prison."
"Merlin," Narcissa whispered stepping closer to him.
The thought of being confined to such a place filled her with dread. This Death of which Harry spoke was evidently not a forgiving being.
"Ah, Peverell," a voice spoke, pulling her attention away from those above. "It appears I was right to trust you."
"I've done what you asked of me," Harry replied coldly, "and brought her as instructed."
"I see," the cloaked figure acknowledged, its faceless gaze sweeping over her, "and just in time."
"So, you can bring her back?"
The figure offered a bow and gestured for them to follow. They did so and it led them up a flight of stone steps. At the top, there was a table where a young woman laid, seemingly resting.
Narcissa balked at the sight of her younger self. It had been many years since she had seen such a reflection, long before she was married to Lucius, but she remembered it well; her long blonde hair, the unblemished skin and her lithe figure.
She was no longer this woman. She had grown old, the skin around her eyes wrinkled, her hair shorter and face somehow thinner than her younger self. She ignored the stab of envy she felt as Harry spoke.
"Will there be any side effects to this?"
"I do not believe so," the cloaked figure responded. "This is something I have never done, but as they are of the same soul, there will certainly be nothing negative. Mrs Malfoy will keep the memories she has seen and perhaps some of the fondness that she has developed, but little else. She will return to her life unharmed, as will your wife. Her Death was instant, and soul delivered to me undamaged."
"Good," Harry declared.
"You will need to step back, Peverell," the figure instructed.
With a final smile of gratitude to her, Harry released Narcissa's hands and made his way down the stairs to observe from a distance.
"This may feel slightly uncomfortable for you," the figure warned as he placed a clammy hand on Narcissa's chest and his other on the younger woman.
At first, she felt nothing, but after a moment of muttering under its breath, the cloaked figure began tugging something free from within her. Narcissa's chest began to tighten before she felt a sudden, overwhelming sense of relief, and then sadness.
Not only had the soul of her other self been taken, but most of the pleasant feelings she had experienced were gone with it. A part of her wanted to be selfish and demand it back, but it did not belong to her.
Still, her eyes welled with tears at the loss. She had never felt anything so wonderful, and it seemed so cruel to take it from her.
She stiffened as she felt a hand come to rest on her shoulder and she met the eyes of Harry. As they had earlier when she first saw him, they filled her with warmth.
"I still have some of those feelings," she choked. "Even for your daughter."
"I'm sorry," he offered.
Narcissa shook her head.
"No, I don't want you to be sorry. I'm grateful for it. For the first time in my life, I got to experience what it was like to be loved by someone the way you love her," she explained, pointing to the still form of the younger woman, "I got to understand what it is to love another. Thank you," she whispered before placing a kiss on his cheek.
Harry gave her a sad smile.
"If this has given you anything, then I am pleased," he said sincerely, "but it is time for you to return home. You don't belong here."
Narcissa nodded her understanding.
"Thank you, Lord Peverell, for the love and the sadness I got to experience," she chuckled. "She is a very lucky woman to have you. Just…make sure she is happy."
"I will," Harry promised. "Olin?"
The raven cawed gently as he landed on Narcissa's shoulder and the final thing he saw of her was a smile as tears spilled down her cheeks and her waving him goodbye.
He returned the gesture and hoped that life would grant her some kindness. It had not done so thus far.
"She will wake soon, Peverell," the voice of the cloaked figure interrupted his thoughts.
Turning his attention to his wife, he took her hand and waited, willing her to return to him.
The moments creeped by as Harry stood vigil, but eventually, her eyelids started to flutter, and he held his breath in anticipation. Everything he had done this past week had led to this moment; the absence from his daughter, the destruction of Voldemort, all so he could hold her in his arms once more.
"Harry?" Narcissa whispered confusedly as her eyes opened.
Harry could only nod as he drank in the woman in front of him. He had missed her more than he could put into words, which usually failed him anyway. Instead, he pulled her close to him and sobbed, the emotions he felt overwhelming him in the moment.
"What happened?" she asked.
After a minute of trying to compose himself, he released her from his hold. Meeting her gaze, his grief threatened to get the better of him once more, but he managed to keep it together.
"You were killed Cissy."
Narcissa frowned before her eyes widened, the memories of what had come to pass making themselves known.
"I'm d-dead?" she choked. "The hospital…Bella."
"No," Harry said firmly, "not anymore. I brought you back."
Narcissa swallowed deeply.
"I remember the light, Harry, the curse that hit me. There's no coming back from that…Helena, is she?"
"She's with your parents," Harry explained, assuaging the woman's fears somewhat, "but yes, what happened at the hospital was real."
"I'm not dead? How?"
"That is a rather complicated answer," the cloaked figure interjected.
Narcissa stiffened at the sight of it, but it continued speaking, nonetheless.
"When your soul was ripped from your body, it was brought to me. Instead of taking it for myself, I sent it to where it could be preserved. Peverell here retrieved it, and here you are."
Narcissa became pensive for several minutes, piecing together what had happened.
"I remember it," she murmured, "being me, but not me. I was older and married to Lucius."
Harry released a deep breath. There was only one way he would be able to make her understand just what had occurred, though he had never thought he would have to do such a thing.
He had left his former life where it was and there had never been need to divulge it to his wife, not until now.
"I have some explaining to do," he sighed, "but not here. We need to go home."
Narcissa nodded her agreement.
"Are you okay?" Harry asked dumbly, not knowing what else to say.
"I will be," Narcissa replied, "when I understand all of this and see my daughter."
"You will," Harry promised. "We will get her together."
"Then take me home, Harry Potter," she insisted.
She did not appear to be angry as much as she was confused, and Harry could not dispute the name she had chosen to address him with. Harry Potter may be dead, but that was just who he used to be.
"Olin," he instructed.
With a puff of smoke, the three of them vanished and Harry dreaded the conversation that was to follow.
How could he help Narcissa understand everything that had befallen him? Would she feel betrayed? Hurt?
The latter was almost inevitable, but she needed to see that he hadn't not told her because he didn't trust her. He had simply kept it to himself because that was not who he was anymore.
He was Harry Peverell, Death's chosen, and the man Narcissa had fallen in love with.
He merely needed to help her see that.
July 16, 1977
It had been a week since the incident at St Mungo's, and wizarding Britain had spiralled into chaos. Attacks such as the one at St Mungo's had become a nightly occurrence, and the public was now truly gripped by fear of the Dark Lord.
Even his name was only whispered amongst those brave enough to do so. To the rest, he was referred to a 'You-Know-Who'. It was said that the man himself would appear if his name was uttered. A ridiculous rumour, but so terrified the public had become, most were taking no chances.
The name Lord Voldemort was taboo and not spoken in respectable company.
For Edgar, the week had been one of the worst of his life, second only to when he had lost his father.
He had spent it in his study for the most part, reliving the horror that had been his and Benjy's excursion to St Mungo's. The man he had come to call friend yet lived, but was still in a bad way, but the wife of another who had stood as his best man him, had perished.
He hadn't seen nor heard anything of Harry since and Edgar Bones could not help but feel responsible for what had happened.
Narcissa had died when he had promised Harry he would save her. He had failed and his friend had vanished with her body.
Edgar took another sip of his whiskey, grimacing at how raw it had made his throat over the past days. There had not been an evening he had gone to bed sober, the demons haunting him not allowing him rest, not without the alcohol to force it.
When he did try, he saw Narcissa's empty stare, her body slumping in front of his eyes and felt the helplessness grip him once more.
It proved to be too much, kept him from sleep and away from his own wife.
Ellie was at a loss as to what she could do to help him. She was heavily pregnant and had her own things to deal with and it made Edgar feel like a burden.
In truth, he just needed to hear from Harry, anything from the man. The silence was worse than any condemnation from his friend. With that, at least he would know where he stood.
Still, nothing had been forthcoming, though Edgar suspected when Harry had done what he felt the need to, there would be repercussions for many.
The Dark Lord saw the death of Narcissa as a victory for himself, but Edgar knew better. If anything, the man had awoken something within Harry that he would not be able to comprehend and had ultimately sealed his fate.
Edgar would not pretend to know the Peverell lord in and out, but he was not one to forgive nor shy away from the fight.
Those that donned themselves in black robes and white masks would not be safe, Bellatrix would not be safe, and the Dark Lord would never be safe so long as he drew breath.
Harry Peverell would be coming for them all, and there was not a single thing that could stop him.
Narcissa had been silent since they had arrived home a few minutes prior. She had simply walked around the house, pausing as she reached Helena's room and entered. There, she took a seat in the nursing chair and held on to the little rabbit the girl would like to play with.
"How is it even possible?" she asked quietly, not meeting Harry's eyes. "You're Harry Peverell but also Harry Potter. How does that happen?"
Harry released a deep breath, trying to find the words to explain the complicated series of events that had been his life.
"I was born Harry James Potter on the 31st July, 1980," he began. "James and Lily were my mother and father, but they were killed by Voldemort on Halloween the following year."
"So, that was all true?"
"I didn't lie to you about anything. When I was brought here, Harry Potter was dead."
"But you're still alive," Narcissa pointed out.
"Not as I was," Harry whispered. "My soul is not what it once was. It is a combination of souls that have been merged. For all intents and purposes, Harry Potter is dead in all the ways that would count. My magic is different, my soul is different. I am a Peverell in both."
"I won't even pretend to try to understand that."
"I don't either," Harry replied, "but it is who I am."
"Why didn't you tell me?"
She was hurt, something much worse than if she would have been angry with him.
"When I came here, I thought that part of my life was over with, that this would be a new start for me. Everything I knew was gone and it wasn't ever coming back. I didn't want to dwell on it. I wanted to move forward, to do what needed to be done and live for once. I never got the chance to do that before. Besides, what do you think would have happened to me if I would have said I had travelled through time almost thirty years? You would have put me on the ward with the other nutters or the Ministry would have taken me."
"That is true," Narcissa conceded with a gentle grin. "I was already tempted to do just that the more I got to know you."
Harry snorted and the two fell silent for a few moments.
"I'm sorry," he offered. "For what it's worth, I didn't want to hurt you. I didn't intend for any of this to happen, but I wouldn't change any of it."
Narcissa finally met his gaze.
"Why do you have to be so bloody complicated, Harry?" she huffed.
He could only shrug in response.
It was a question he had posed to himself on numerous occasions.
"This is my life."
Narcissa shook her head.
"Not forever," she countered as she stood and wrapped her arms around his neck. "You are a father, a husband and a Quidditch player. When you have dealt with what you need to, that's what you will be."
"That's all I want."
Narcissa placed a kiss on his cheek and gave him a look of frustration.
"You really are a silly man," she sighed. "I love you, Harry Peverell, or Potter, or whatever the hell you are. Just don't keep things from me or you will see the side to me I warned you about."
Harry nodded his understanding.
"So, what do we do now?"
"Well, there are things we need to discuss and decide upon, but for now, I want to bring our daughter home. Everything else can wait until then."
Harry could not agree more.
A week without Narcissa and Helena was not something he wished to endure again, and he would do what was necessary to ensure that didn't happen again.
He had come so close to losing them both, and there would be hell to pay for those who tried to take them from him.
Tom Riddle's time was coming to an end, and any who attempted to stand in his way would join him.
For too long Harry had been reticent, had made allowances that should never have been made.
Those days were well and truly behind him, and the Death Eaters and Dark Lord would know that soon enough.
After a week since having received the ominous missive from Harry, there had been silence. None had heard anything pertaining to the Peverell lord. What he was doing or done had remained a mystery, though wizarding Britain had not remained idle.
The news of what happened to Narcissa had broken the very next morning, the murder of one sister by another sending shockwaves through the community, but it became the talking point for but a day. The attention of the public turned to the almost continuous and ferocious attacks that had been occurring.
The Dark Lord was seizing the advantage he had cultivated for himself.
Druella, Cygnus and Helena had been staying with the Potters whilst their own home was being repaired and new wards added, surprisingly at the insistence of Charlus who seemed to have struck an accord with the son of his friend.
The two men had never been on the best of terms, but the Potter lord had opened his home to them, had cared for them whilst they grieved and did their best to look after Helena.
It had been a difficult week at best, and with what else was happening outside the walls of Potter Manor, there seemed to be no reprieve.
"Would you like me to take her for a few minutes?" Dorea asked, holding out her arms to accept the bundle Druella was carrying.
Helena had been restless and unsettled without Harry and Narcissa. She had never been a baby that cried much, but she had not been herself this week. She would become upset, and even more so when she saw that it was not her mother or father coming to soothe her.
"Thank you," Druella said gratefully as she placed the babe in the waiting arms of Lady Potter. "I just don't know what to do for her."
Dorea offered her a sympathetic smile.
"You're mourning. Taking care of a baby is not the easiest thing to do even when you're at your best."
"I just miss her," she whispered. "Almost every day Cissy would come and visit. Have you heard from Arcturus?"
"He has not taken the news well. Melania says he is brooding in his office and will likely do something drastic. My brother is not the most level-headed person when he is calm, and much worse when he is upset."
"That would be where Cygnus gets it from," Druella muttered. "Only last night I had to prevent him from leaving and putting himself in a situation. He's not very good at showing what he's feeling but this is tearing him apart."
"Of course it is," Dorea agreed. "He is as dense as the rest of the Black men but… Charlus? What's going on?"
The appearance of her husband with his wand drawn and wearing a grim expression was enough to give her cause for concern.
"Someone is at the gate. Take them into the basement and don't unseal it unless it is my voice you hear."
"No, Charlus I am coming with you."
"I will go with him," Cygnus declared as he entered the room, his eyes rimmed red from where he had been recently crying. "Come on, Dru, we have to keep her safe."
Druella reluctantly nodded her agreement and allowed herself to be led into the basement where Dorea locked it behind them with a spell she did not recognise.
"If it comes to it, we can escape through the floo in the corner," the woman explained. "It is not on the network but will take us to Arcturus. He and Charlus created it during the Grindelwald years."
"And there was me thinking they only snuck down here to drink whiskey," Druella snorted.
"Oh, that's what they do mostly," Dorea huffed.
The small talk did little to serve as a distraction from why they suddenly found themselves in the basement.
"Who could it be at the gate?" Druella asked.
"Very few people know of where the house is. It could be Albus, but he would not impose on Charlus unless necessary. He would not be warmly received."
"Why does Charlus dislike him?"
"Your guess is as good as mine," Dorea sighed. "Charlus does not believe Dumbledore conducts himself to what his true nature is. He believes the Chief Warlock is perhaps the most manipulative person he has met."
Druella nodded thoughtfully.
She had not pondered her former headmaster much in the years since she had left Hogwarts, but she could see the Lord Potter's point. Even Arcturus would bemoan how foolish people were to buy into the benevolent façade of the man.
"Erm…You might want to come up here," the voice of Charlus called to them.
He appeared to be both surprised and shocked and Dorea frowned as she led them from the basement, her wand clutched and ready to use if needed.
The sight that greeted her as she emerged into the kitchen left her feeling more confused than what Charlus seemed to be, her breath hitching in her chest as she spotted her husband clinging to a young woman.
The man was sobbing tears of relief, and Druella followed suit as she took in the sight of the familiar blonde hair.
"Cissy?" she choked.
The eyes of her daughter peered over the shoulders of her husband, they too filled with tears as she nodded.
The sound of Narcissa's voice almost brought the woman to her knees and she looked at her son-in-law questioningly, the words of his note ringing true. She had only one question she needed answering, and despite how pale and tired Harry appeared to be, she had to know.
"How?" she whispered.
"Because Death is not always the end," he answered as he took Helena from an almost catatonic Dorea and kissed the girl on the cheek as though he and Narcissa had merely gone for dinner.
Druella watched as he handed his daughter to his wife, her heart brimming with a joy she thought she would never feel again. The urge to wrap her own arms around the woman was hard to ignore, but she did so in favour of taking in the vision of Narcissa doting on the now happy baby.
"She will be okay," Harry assured her.
Druella could only nod, not knowing what to say or how to express what she felt to the man.
Whatever he had done had worked.
Against all odds, he had returned Narcissa to them and Helena. Perhaps one day she would have the truth of the matter in full, but for now, she was content to appreciate the miracle for what it was.
It didn't matter how he had done it, what mattered was that he had succeeded and Narcissa was with them, seemingly no worse for wear for what she had endured.
He watched as they slumbered, neither willing to be away from the other. Helena had refused to leave Narcissa when she had been passed over to her and the woman equally would not be without her daughter.
As such, they had taken the bed in the master bedroom for the evening and Harry was content to take a step back. Narcissa and Helena needed this. He would have his time with his wife in due course.
Besides. It gave him the opportunity to catch up on what he had missed during his absence.
Charlus and Cygnus had given him a brief synopsis of what had been happening, and the news was not good. As much as he wished he could shut out the world for a little longer, Voldemort was asserting himself too strongly.
Harry's rest would not come until the Dark Lord had been dealt with; and Bellatrix, and the guest that remained prisoner in his own dungeon.
Rosier would get what was coming to him before the others, but there were things he needed to do before he spoke with the man.
Firstly, was sorting through the missive he had received in the interim. Much to his relief, Dobby had placed them in manageable piles and he dismissed two of them immediately.
Those that were a priority would take precedence and then the accumulation of newspapers. They would give him an idea as to what he was walking back into upon his return to the fray.
The first letter was one from Dumbledore offering the expected condolences and platitudes. He put it aside and read another of a similar nature from Titus Jones, his Quidditch coach.
Having no need of such things any longer, he took the last letter frowning at the unfamiliar hand and opened it, a sad smile gracing his lips as he did so.
I do not know where to even begin in saying how sorry I am for what happened to Narcissa. She was a beautiful woman and will be missed by all that knew her.
I am writing to you not only to offer my regret at your loss, but also as a concerned woman. Edgar is not taking this well. He has all but isolated himself in his study and spends his days staring into the bottom of a glass.
I in no way wish to diminish the grief you must be feeling, but if you could find it in your heart to reach out to him, I would be most grateful.
I know that you are not the kind of man to blame him for any of this, so please, I am pleading with you to see through your own misery when you can to put an end to his.
Harry had not given much thought if any to what Edgar must be going through. It was him that had been there also, and he that had done all he could to save Narcissa when Harry could not.
Of course, the idiot would blame himself and likely think that Harry did too. Even before he knew that he could bring Narcissa back, such thoughts had not even crossed Harry's mind.
Edgar was his friend and had proven such since he had arrived here.
With a sigh, he summoned a travelling cloak and placed it around his shoulders.
"Come, Olin," he instructed, "there is someone we need to see."
"Death," Olin grumbled, and the duo disappeared in a plume of smoke.
Once more Edgar found himself in the throes of a disturbing dream as he relived the horrifying moments he had experienced in St Mungo's. No matter how many times he was subjected to the nightmare, it never got easier.
He watched as Benjy was cut down in front of him, and how his own intervention in Narcissa's death was all for nought. For the dozenth time, he met the lifeless eyes of the woman and his heart sunk.
This time, however, there was no Harry when he turned towards the entrance. It was empty, and he suddenly felt cold, as though the air had been sucked from his lungs.
He coughed and sputtered as he came around, shielding his face from the stream of water that was being liberally sprayed on him.
"What the bloody hell?" he gasped, his eyes widening as he spotted Harry seated on the opposite side of his desk, looking at him with no small measure of irritation.
"If you're going to be a drunk, Bones, at least choose something of better quality than this piss."
Edgar was nothing short of taken aback by the man's appearance, his mouth opening and closing with no words forthcoming.
"Ellie wrote to me," Harry explained. "She's worried about you and from what I can see, she should be. Bloody hell, Ed, pull yourself together. Have a wash and a shave, you've got a wife and will have a baby that will need you soon."
After a moment, Edgar managed to shake himself from his shock, only to feel a wall of guilt slam into him.
"Harry, I'm sorry…"
"For what?" Harry asked. "For stepping up when I needed you most? For putting your own life on the line to save my wife?"
"I failed… I."
"Did everything you could," Harry interjected. "You're a good man, Edgar Bones, one of the best I have ever met, and don't you forget it," he finished as he stood.
"But, she died," Edgar said dumbly.
Harry shook his head.
"No, Edgar, she is very much alive. You will see for yourself soon enough, but not until you've cleaned yourself up. Do you think Narcissa will allow you to hold your goddaughter in that state?"
Edgar's eyes widened in disbelief.
"No, I saw it, Harry," he denied. "No one comes back from that."
"My Cissy did," Harry countered, "as have I. Rest up, Edgar, I have a few things to do but I will be in touch soon."
With a sharp slap on his back, Harry was gone, and Edgar could only stare at the space he occupied, the only thought running through his mind was that Narcissa was alive.
Harry would certainly not lie about that.
For what only could have been days, he had been left in the small, stone room. Despite it being July, it was cold down here and there was no light; both depravities undoubtedly intentional to make any that found themselves in the unfortunate position of being here as uncomfortable as possible.
The food was barely less scarce than warmth. Once a day the damned elf would leave him a meagre two slices of bread and a cup of water along with a look of disdain. It had not attempted to harm but the loathing the creature felt for the Lord Rosier was impossible to miss. If it didn't feel that it would be defying its master, Evan had no doubt the elf would administer its own form of punishment.
Having quickly concluded his big-eared and wide-eyed tormentor would do little but glare at him, he had began goading it with challenging grins, to no avail.
The creature would come no closer than the few feet away it left the food for its prisoner.
It was all the amusement Evan had, though he suspected that would be short-lived. For the past two days, he had heard activity from somewhere above him, meaning that someone had returned home.
He would not be left to rot here much longer than he already had at least.
His period of isolation came to an end no more than a few hours later, and his closed his eyes tight as his cell was suddenly filled with light.
When he opened them, he was met with the visage of the Lord of the manor, his face illuminated by a torch he had used to navigate the lower levels of the house.
"Peverell," Evan greeted him, his voice hoarse from lack of use.
The man said nothing, but stared at him, his brilliant green eyes burning into Evan's own blue ones.
"I don't suppose you came down to take in my good looks, Peverell," Evan sighed. "What is it you want?"
Still, he said nothing, but removed a newspaper from within his robes and dropped it on the floor between them.
By the light of the torch, he could not read the headline, but the image was one that made his stomach sink.
"You tried to kill my daughter," Peverell spoke, his voice cold and eyes now burning white.
Evan was too distracted by his own turbulent thoughts to be intimidated by the man, his own gaze firmly back on the edition of The Daily Prophet.
Somewhat unhelpfully, Peverell moved the light closer and the bold writing swam into view, confirming what he believed he saw.
Rosier Manor Torched! - No Survivors Found
"She screamed when she realised what was happening, but there was nowhere for her to escape. Those anti-apparation wards your master likes to use to trap his victims are rather spectacular, are they not?"
Evan shook his head in denial.
There was no lord that would be so cruel as to target an innocent girl, other than his master, or him on the Dark Lord's orders.
"Cara," he choked.
"She didn't die well, Rosier," Peverell said with a casual shrug, "just as my own daughter would not have at his hands."
"You bastard!" Evan seethed. "Cara was innocent."
"As was Helena and my wife, but that did not stop you and your lot, did it? No, but you reap what you sow, Rosier, and I will exact a cruelty upon yours the way they would mine. This," he continued snatching up the newspaper, "is only the beginning."
Evan could not deny the truth with which Peverell's burning gaze spoke. The Dark Lord had pushed him over the edge and the man was now unhinged, more so than his niece, Bellatrix.
"I'll kill you," Evan whispered.
"Of course, you will," Peverell chuckled darkly, "though you are in no position to carry out your threats. I, however, am and need something from you."
"If you think I will help you you…"
Evan unleashed a bloodcurdling scream as a spike was rammed into his eye and blood began to seep from the wound in a steady stream.
"You really started to bore me," Peverell grumbled as he examined the organ he had so callously removed. "Don't worry, this will be put to good use. Try not to die too quickly, Rosier. I'm not quite done with you."
Evan could only whimper from his place on the floor, the wound throbbing painfully as he fought to steady his breathing.
Peverell had taken his eye and had left him here to rot once more, his thoughts wondering to just what the man would do to him next.
His daughter had been murdered and he had been defiled, not dissimilar to what the Dark Lord would have done to Peverell if the chance presented itself once more.
Were it possible, Evan would shed tears for Cara. She had done nothing to harm any, had been a weak, but sweet girl, and the light of his life since his wife had passed.
And now she was gone, taken by a cruelty that should not have been visited upon her, and it was likely that he would meet a similar fate.
His life was in the hands of Lord Peverell, after all.
"Then he has returned, much sooner than I planned," the Dark Lord mumbled, eying the newspaper Bellatrix had placed in front of him.
"We cannot allow this to stand, my lord. Evan was a loyal man and his daughter innocent," the furious woman replied.
"He will pay, Bella," Voldemort promised. "Killing his wife was just the first of what is to come to Peverell. He will surface from the shadows, blinded by vengeance, and he will die by my hands."
Bellatrix pouted but did not argue.
"Worry not, Bella, he will not get aw…"
The Dark Lord paused, his eyes narrowing as he spotted the raven perched on his chandelier, provoking the rage he felt towards the creature.
It did not goad him as it once would have with it's squawking of the word 'death', but merely stared at him.
"What has it got in its mouth?" Bellatrix whispered, slowly drawing her wand.
The bird dropped what it carried, and it rolled morbidly towards the duo, the sight of the eye confusing him for a moment before Bellatrix gasped.
"Evan! That is Evan's eye!"
Voldemort growled as the raven flapped its wings mockingly, it's eerie stare unwavering.
"An eye for an eye, fair is fair. Rest whilst you can, Tom Riddle because Death will have their due. You cannot flee from me, those that kneel to press their lips to the hem of your robes are not safe. Death stalks you all, his cold grasp always within reach. You cannot flee from Death."
The whispering of the raven was unnerving, the voice it spoke with that of his foe.
Peverell had indeed returned, and knowing he was out there readying to strike against him left the Dark Lord with a distinctly unsettling feeling that only Lord Peverell could evoke.