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Chapter 2: Evil visits the Ministry

Silence reigned in the partly lighted and almost empty floors and corridors of the building where the Ministry of Magic was located. That was not unusual since it was barely one in the morning on the first Sunday of July. The only exception to the silence and emptiness was found in the Atrium.

The Atrium was the very long hall which any worker or visitor had to traverse to enter the Ministry. It had a highly polished floor and walls made of some shiny dark wood and a peacock-blue ceiling with constant moving and changing gleaming golden symbols. Gilded fireplaces lined the walls, though they were presently unlit.

Halfway down the hall was a fountain composed of several larger than life-size golden statues set in the middle of a circular pool. The tallest statue was that of a wizard holding his wand pointed straight to the ceiling. Grouped around the wizard were a beautiful witch, a centaur, a house-elf and a goblin, with the last three looking with adoration at the wizard and witch. The gleam of sickles and knuts could be seen at the bottom of the pool. Even on a Sunday, water flowed from the tips of the wands, the point of the centaur's arrow, the tip of the goblin's hat and each of the house-elf's ears, so that the tinkle of falling water broke the silence in the hall.

At the far end of the Atrium was a set of golden gates that served as the entrance into the Ministry. To the left of the gates was a desk over which hung a sign saying SECURITY. Slouched over that desk was the only person left in the Ministry.

The man was badly shaven and dressed in robes of the same color as the ceiling. A badge with the name Eric Munch was pinned to the front of his robes.

Eric yawned as he read the front page of the previous day's issue of the Daily Prophet. Dominating that page was a story featuring the Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge in which he reassured the public that the Ministry was doing all it could to find Voldemort after his reported sighting nearly ten days before.

Eric recalled reading an article which had appeared in the Prophet a week ago about that sighting. It had said that Albus Dumbledore, the esteemed Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and some Aurors had confronted the evil wizard in some graveyard on evening of June 24th. It had mentioned something about Harry Potter, but Eric couldn't recall what the article had said about the Boy-Who-Lived who had already defeated You-Know-Who once nearly fourteen years ago.

Suddenly, he heard a soft pop from somewhere down the Atrium. It was the sound of someone Apparating in. Eric looked up, startled. Now who could be coming here at this time, he thought. Not for the first time, he wished that Fudge had followed the advice of James Potter and had stationed some Aurors for guard duty at night. It just wasn't safe anymore for a mere security wizard.

Steeling himself, Eric drew his wand and got to his feet. He slowly walked down the length of the hall. As he drew near the fountain, he saw someone approach. The intruder was cloaked with the hood over his head so Eric couldn't see the face.

"Who are you?" the watchman said, shakily pointing his wand at the man. "What are you doing here at this hour?"

The intruder drew the hood back, exposing his pale bald head and flat nose with slits for nostrils. He turned red eyes on Eric as he gave him a cold smile.

"You should feel honored," the man said in a high pitched voice as he glanced at the nametag on Eric's breast, "Eric. Few people are graced with the presence of Lord Voldemort these days, though that will change in the future."

Eric's face turned pale as his eyes widened. You-Know-Who! You-Know-Who's standing in front of me. "Yeah, w-well, even you s-shouldn't b-be here this late at night."

Voldemort smiled again. Two more cracks sounded and two more cloaked figures appeared. This time, their hoods were down but white masks covered their faces.

Before Eric could move, one of them cried in a feminine voice, "Immobilus!" Eric felt his body stiffen while his wand clattered to the floor. Then he felt his ropes bind his body.

"Ah, much better," Voldemort said, smirking. He turned to the one who had taken Eric's wand. "Bellatrix, stay here with this one. Lucius and I won't be long. You can have a little fun with him but nothing permanent or severely damaging."

"Yes, my Lord," the woman said, bowing and smiling. She gazed at the Eric and said "Crucio!"

Voldemort and the man he had called Lucius walked over to the lifts with their golden grilles, the security man's screams ringing in their ears like music. They entered one of the lifts and Lucius pressed the number nine button, causing it to descend. After a couple of minutes, the lift stopped and a cool feminine voice said, "Department of Mysteries,"

They stepped out into a long corridor that had bare walls and no windows. The only door in the corridor was a plain black one set at the very end. Strangely, there was a chair in the middle of the corridor, set against the wall so that it had a clear view of both the elevators and the black door.

Ignoring the empty chair, the two Dark wizards went down the corridor and passed through the black door, entering a large, circular room that was completely black, including the marble floor and ceiling. Set at intervals all around the walls were several identical, unmarked; handle-less black doors interspersed with branches of blue-flamed candles.

Lucius said, "Lumos," and the end of his wand lit up. They kept the door they had come through open. While Voldemort watched, Lucius opened each door and peered inside. Then, after peering through the fifth door, he said, "My Lord, I believe it is this way."

The room they then entered was furnished with all sorts of desks and bookcases. Clocks of every kind occupied every surface. There was some sort of dancing diamond-bright light at the other end of the room coming from a great crystal bell jar. They passed it and went through another door.

The room beyond was as large as a cathedral and lined with towering shelves holding several hundred small dusty glass orbs neatly lined and labeled. The light from more blue-flamed candles in brackets set at intervals along the shelves caused the orbs to glimmer dully

Voldemort and Malfoy moved quickly among the shelves until they came to row ninety-seven. Among the glass orbs in that row, they came to one whose label had a date of some sixteen years ago written in spidery writing and below that:

S.P.T. to A.P.W.B.D.

Dark Lord

and (?) Harry Potter

Voldemort reached out and picked up the glass sphere. He looked contemptuously at it as nothing happened before putting it in the pocket of his cloak. The two men then returned to the Atrium.

Once they were there, Voldemort looked at the watchman as he spoke, "As much as I hate to miss an opportunity to sow terror by killing someone here in the Ministry itself, I believe it would be best if we left no evidence of our visit here." He pointed his wand at the watchman, "Obliviate!" He saw the frown on Bellatrix's face causing him to smirk. "Now, don't pout, Bellatrix. I'm sure we can find a nice Muggle for you to torture and kill later. Put him to sleep and release him from the body bind. Then place him back at his desk."

"Yes, my Lord," she said. She waved her wand at the watchman as she said; "Somnulus!" then she lifted the body bind. Using a Mobillicorpus spell, she placed him back in the security desk.

"Good," Voldemort said. "Now, we take our leave," he said and the three of them then Disapparated.

The area they then appeared in was a well groomed lawn in the back of a large three-story mansion. They entered it and climbed a marble staircase. On the second floor, they made their way to a lavishly furnished bedroom.

Voldemort sat down in a posh armchair in front of a crackling fireplace and took the glass globe out of his pocket. He gazed at it as if trying to see within its smoky interior. Lucius and Bellatrix remained standing and silent as they watched their master regard the small sphere.

Suddenly, Voldemort threw the sphere forcefully on the floor, breaking it. Out of the shattered pieces of glass, the same ghostly figure of a woman that Dumbledore had viewed a few days before rose in front of Voldemort.

After giving the prophecy, the ghostly figure faded away like mist before sunlight. Voldemort leaned back in the armchair, apparently thinking. The two Death Eaters looked at each other but remained silent, not daring to say anything while their master was deep in thought.

Finally, Voldemort looked up and smiled, "So that is it? That is the whole so-called prophecy? I cannot believe that old fool Dumbledore pins all his hopes on such a vaguely worded prophecy. It is of little consequence after all."

He looked at his two followers, noting the looks of confusion on their faces, "It seems you both do not understand."

Hesitantly, Lucius said, "Not exactly my Lord. Why is it of little consequence?"

Voldemort gave them a look of contempt and exasperation, "Do you not see, Lucius? It doesn't say that Potter will defeat me. It just says that one of us will kill the other. That brat has not the strength to fight me. He barely touched me the last time we fought. All we have to do is find his pathetic family. Once we do, we shall destroy him once and for all and the world will be ours."

"But, my Lord," Bellatrix said, "How do we find that family of blood traitors? They will undoubtedly be at the Potter's family manor but that is hidden. Even Pettigrew couldn't tell us where it was."

"Leave that to me, Bellatrix," Voldemort said. "Even if we cannot find his home, there are ways to make him come to us. In the meantime, we will concentrate on letting the world know again the fear associated with my name. Now, leave me. I would like to rest. I will summon you when I call the others."

The two bowed and left without another word.

Voldemort gazed into the fire, "Soon, Harry Potter, we will see each other again. And this time, Dumbledore will not save you." He smiled then laughed his laughter cold and menacing.

Hundreds of miles away in Potter Manor, Voldemort's foe sat upright in his bed as his head exploded in pain. Harry placed a hand on the lightning shaped scar on his forehead scar. It was hot and tender. That meant that Voldemort was happy about something.

He reached out to Ginny's mind through their bond. He felt that she was still asleep so she had not felt the pain. Blowing out a breath in relief, he turned his thoughts to the strange dream he been having before the pain from his scar had awoken him. There was something about being in a long beautiful hall with a blue ceiling and a fountain with golden statues then golden gates, lifts, a black room and thousands of crystal orbs.

As the images became clearer to him, Harry realized that he had seen those images through Voldemort's eyes and therefore had been in his nemesis' head again that night. He gasped when he realized where he had seen that hall and fountain before. It was the entry hall of the Ministry of Magic. That meant that Voldemort had been in the Ministry of Magic that night.

He quickly got out of the bed and threw on a bathrobe. Exiting his room, he hurried down the second floor corridor.

Reaching the door of his parent's bedroom, he tentatively tried the doorknob. He hoped it wasn't locked. If it was, it meant that his parents were doing a few things he had been doing with Ginny lately, maybe even more. That was something no bloke should see his parents doing if he didn't want to be blinded for life.

Sighing in relief when he found the doorknob moving easily, he pushed the door open and peered inside. On the large master bed, his parents were peacefully sleeping.

Padding softly to the side where his father was lying, he gently shook the older man's shoulder as he whispered, "Dad! Dad! Please wake up!"

James sat up in the bed and drew his wand from beneath his pillow before he recognized the voice of his son, "Harry? For Merlin's sake, son, don't do that! I could have cursed you before I knew it was you."

Harry gazed sheepishly at him, "Sorry, Dad, but this is important."

The remaining fog of sleep cleared from James' mind at the urgent tone in his son's voice, "What's wrong?" He glanced at the clock on his bedside table. "What are you doing up so early in the morning?"

"I think I was in Voldemort's mind again tonight," Harry said, "From what I saw, he took something from the Ministry."

James paled, consternation filling him, "Let's head down to the living room where you can tell me about it. I don't want your mother to hear this right now. I'd also like for Albus to be hear what you saw. I hope he isn't a sound sleeper."

James wrapped a bathrobe around himself and he and Harry went down to the living room. Once they were there, Harry sat in one of the sofas in front of the fireplace while James lit the fireplace with his wand.

Once that was done, James threw some floo powder into the fire and stuck his head in the green flames. "Albus Dumbledore," he cried. After a few seconds of feeling his head speed through several other fireplaces, James looked out from the fireplace in Dumbledore's office. He felt relieved that the man was at his desk, wide awake.

"Albus," James called softly.

Dumbledore looked up from the papers he was looking at. His eyes widened in surprise when he saw James Potter's head in his fireplace. "James, what is it?"

"We need you to come over, Albus," James said, "Harry's had another vision of Voldemort. It seems that monster was in the Ministry of Magic tonight."

Alarm was clear on Dumbledore's face, "All right, James. Stand back. I'll floo there immediately."

James stood up from the fire and sat down beside his son, "Albus will be here shortly, Harry." Harry simply nodded and stayed silent.

After only a few minutes, the fire's flames turned green and Dumbledore stepped out of the fireplace. The elderly wizard sat down in one of the fluffy armchairs next to Harry.

"All right, Harry," Dumbledore said, "Tell me as much as you can recall of what you saw through Voldemort's eyes."

Harry slowly narrated as much as he could recall which was up to the time Voldemort and his cronies Disapparated from the Ministry. When Harry had finished, Dumbledore leaned back in the armchair and sighed.

"That's it then," Dumbledore said, "Voldemort knows the whole of Sybil's prophecy. He now knows that the prophecy doesn't predict his defeat. He'll stop at nothing to get his hands on Harry now."

"You're sure that Voldemort and his Death Eaters didn't meet anyone else, Harry?" James asked, "No one intercepted them in that corridor?"

"No, Dad," Harry answered, "There was a chair in that corridor but it was empty when Voldemort and Mr. Malfoy got there."

"Bloody hell!" James said. He turned to Dumbledore, "Who was on guard duty tonight, Albus?"

"I believe it was Mundungus, James," Dumbledore said. "I don't think he tried to contact me."

James swore again, this time more softly, "I knew that petty thief was unreliable. He probably wasn't there when Voldemort got there. I doubt he could have left without them noticing, even with an invisibility cloak on. You really shouldn't have let him join the Order, Albus."

Dumbledore sighed, "Perhaps you are right, James. Though if he had been there, I doubt he could have done anything. He might even have been killed by Voldemort."

"I know, I know," James said, now looking furious, "Still, this wouldn't have happened if Fudge had allowed me to station some Aurors in the Ministry at night. But the fool wouldn't hear it. He claimed that Voldemort was too scared to come to the Ministry itself. Well, now he's gotten what he wanted with little opposition."

"Wait a minute, Dad, Professor," Harry said, "Do you mean that thing Voldemort got from that strange room is a copy of the prophecy."

"Yes, Harry," James said, turning to his son. "It's standard procedure that when a suspected prophecy is made, a copy is stored in the Department of Mysteries, in that room you described."

"If that's the case, couldn't anyone get a hold of it? I mean, just go up and take it?"

"No, Harry," Dumbledore answered. "Only the persons concerned with the prophecy can take it, which means in this case either you or Voldemort. I've been concerned since he regained his body that he may try to get hold of that copy."

"So someone should have been there tonight?" Harry asked, looking at his father. "Someone from the Order named Mundungus? What's the Order?"

James sighed, "The Order is the Order of the Phoenix, a group Albus put together during the last war as a kind of resistance group against Voldemort since the Ministry wasn't doing enough then. After your escapade with Wormtail and Voldemort's resurrection last summer, Albus decided to restart the group. Because of Albus' concern about the prophecy, a few people from the Order have been standing as covert guard in that corridor under an invisibility cloak every night for the last three months. A man named Mundungus Fletcher, who is part of the Order, was supposed to be there last night. However, considering what he is, I'm not surprised he wasn't."

Before Harry could ask anything else, James turned to Dumbledore, "What do we do now that Voldemort knows the whole prophecy, Albus?"

"Well, there's nothing we can do about it, James," Dumbledore said. "For now we have to concentrate on keeping Harry safe."

James nodded, "We'll have to strengthen the wards around the Manor."

"Yes, James," Dumbledore said, "I think Bill Weasley will be able to help you there."

"You're right, Albus," James said, "I'll contact him in the morning." He looked at Harry, "Unless you can get Ginny to tell him now, Harry."

Harry grimaced, "If you don't mind, Dad, Ginny's still sleeping. I don't want to wake her up. We were up pretty late, reading some of the books we found in the library. Plus, I don't want to bother her with another Voldie nightmare. I doubt old Snakeface will come here tonight."

"I agree with Harry, James," Albus said, "Let's not worry anyone else just yet. Though this is a grave development, we can afford to wait until morning to set up the extra wards."

Just then, a wail sounded from upstairs.

James grimaced as he got up, "Looks like it's another sleepless night for Daddy. I think that's Daisy."

"Wait a minute, Dad," Harry said, getting up. "Let me do it. I know where the bottles are and I doubt I'll get any more sleep tonight after visiting Snakeface's mind. You go on back to sleep."

"You're sure, son?" James asked.

"Yeah, Dad," Harry said, grinning, "I love spending time with the little tykes. Being away at Hogwarts for most of the year, I've missed them."

"All right, son," James said. "Thanks. I'll return the favor someday when you and Ginny have your own kids. Just don't make me a grandfather for at least five more years."

Harry's face paled then turned as red as a Weasley's hair, "Err, all right, Dad, thanks, I guess. Um, don't worry about that." He quickly climbed the steps to go to the twins' room.

Dumbledore smiled, the familiar twinkle glinting in his eye, "That boy is so remarkable. Even after the horror of what happened in the graveyard, he can still show so much love. James, you do realize that he and Ginny will most likely marry as soon as she graduates from Hogwarts. With their bond, they won't wait any longer. So, knowing how fertile anyone with Prewitt blood can be, you'll probably be a grandfather soon after that."

James grimaced, "Yes, Albus. I do realize that. I just don't want them to have any 'accidents' before then. I mean, I did give him 'The Talk' already. But from the passion I've seen in those two when they're just snogging, I have to find some way to warn him. I remember how I was at his age, or for that matter, how Sirius was at that age. Even being in love already with Lily didn't stop me from fooling around since she wouldn't pay any attention to me then."

"Don't worry about that, James," Dumbledore said. "Hogwarts has safety measures that prevent that from happening in the dorms or classrooms." He rose to his feet. "I better be off now. With this new development, I have to modify some of the plans I was making. I'll see you later, James."

"All right, Albus," James said, standing up as well.

Dumbledore had just Flooed away when Harry came back down, carrying Daisy in his arms. "Uh, Dad, did the Headmaster leave already? I wasn't able to say goodbye to him."

"That's all right, son," James said. "He knows you've got your hands full."

"I'll say," Harry said. Another wail sounded from the second floor. "Uh, Dad, Daisy's crying woke up Andy as well. I can't carry them both, so can you help me out?"

James smiled, "Of course, Harry. I guess neither of us will get any more sleep."

"That's fine," Harry said, "I guess we can have some quality time together. We haven't really had that since I started going to Hogwarts. I miss that, too."

"So do I, son," James said, "So do I. I better go get Andrew before he wakes up your mother and sister."

Harry grinned and waited for his father to fetch his baby brother. He really looked forward to spending a few carefree hours with his father and younger siblings, with no thought towards Voldemort and the coming war. He knew they wouldn't have many hours like this until he had defeated Voldemort. He just hoped he'd survive to see that time and have similar moments with Ginny and their children someday.

A/N: Well, there's chapter two. A bit of a dark beginning, I hope you liked the lighter ending. Please read and review.