Note: Welcome to the last day of 2012. Hawklan and I hope you enjoy this last gift for the year.
Draco did his best to listen to the goblin as he explained how the disavowing process would work, but he couldn’t help but think about the threat the Dark Lord had given him if he tried to run. He had always believed that serving the Dark Lord would be his greatest honor, but it was now turning out to be his ultimate nightmare and there was no way out. The fact his mother had abandoned him to this fate made what he was doing right now bearable. Clearly she didn’t care if he lived or died now as long as she and his aunt were safe.
‘How dare she leave me behind?’ he thought before he managed to force himself to focus. “So can we get on with this now or do you want to bore me to death with more talk?” Draco spat, interrupting the goblin. “I am a very busy and important person and I demand we speed things up,” he added, doing his best to sound like his father when he had accompanied him to the bank.
Griphook stared at the young Malfoy heir in distaste as he spoke. Clearly the boy had taken on all the worse traits of his father who was one of the most hated wizards alive to the goblins. Hopefully when the war between Voldemort and Lord Potter was over they would never again have to deal with one of the Malfoy’s. He decided to just get this over with as it was clear the boy didn’t care about how the disavowing process would work.
(12 Grimmauld Place)
Martin rubbed his forehead in deep thought as he went over everything Lord Black had said about Dumbledore. It painted a rather depressing and disturbing picture of how things were even more complicated. It wasn’t bad enough the Dark Lord was back, now they had to also deal with Dumbledore acting just as bad as the Dark Lord.
‘How the hell did no one ever see the real Albus Dumbledore?’ he asked himself.
Dumbledore was one of the, if not the most powerful, wizards alive today and it was said only he was on par with the Dark Lord. He didn’t think that anymore, Harry Potter had stood up to the Dark Lord time and time again and somehow survived and he was still just a teenager. A teenager who had faced more threats than most adult wizards alive, this included almost the entire force of dementors during his third year and surviving a direct confrontation with the Dark Lord as well as his followers. According to Hannah, he had also taught a large portion of the school how to defend themselves the year before when Delores Umbridge tried to keep them ignorant of such knowledge.
“I know the situation looks bad but we are already trying to counter him at every turn we can. His main concern at the moment is regaining control over Harry,” Xander explained, having stayed silent to allow the man to come to grips with what he had been told.
“Why is that so important?” Martin inquired as he focused on Lord Black.
“It has something to do with a prophecy which is what started Voldemort’s obsession with Harry and his family,” Xander answered as he leaned back in his chair. “Dumbledore wants to control Harry right up to the point they fight their final battle, considering the old man knew they would clash and did nothing to train Harry in the years he has been back in this world I think it is clear he wanted Harry to fail,” Xander explained.
Martin frowned at the idea. “If it is a prophecy then why would Dumbledore be so willing to make sure Harry failed?” he inquired. “Prophecy is not something easily messed around with and by ensuring Harry failed, he may as well give our world to the Dark Lord,” he protested.
“I think Dumbledore wants to be the one who kills Voldemort,” Xander suggested with a shrug. “It is the only explanation as to why he has left Harry untrained. Thankfully his adventures, as well as his friendship with Hermione, has given him a lot of knowledge on how to defend himself,” he told Martin with a smile. “Plus Remus Lupin taught him the defensive spell to use against the Dementors. Something I’m told he picked up quicker than most adults ever did,” he added.
“Yes I know, Hannah told me he tried to teach everyone who was a part of this D.A group they formed the past year,” Martin said as he poured himself another drink from the jug of water. “The fact he can cast it is impressive, especially given the fact he only learned it when he was thirteen. Most adults can’t manage to learn it till they are in their twenties,” he stated with an impressed look as he shook his head at the fact. “So you think Dumbledore wants the glory of killing the Dark Lord?” he asked, moving their discussion back to more serious matters.
“Well it is a possible answer as to why he wants to control Harry so much, as well as leave him with so little defensive knowledge,” Xander answered, hesitating slightly before speaking. “But if he knows it has to be Harry who kills Voldemort than clearly my suggestion is way off base. We have evidence of his deeds where Harry is concerned and we know there is more hidden by Sirius Black before his death, but we hadn’t the time to see what else he found out,” he explained as he ran a hand through his hair.
“Sirius, from what I remember, was a cautious person and only ever let his guard down around Lily Potter, James Potter, Remus Lupin and Peter Pettigrew,” Martin said, recalling his time at school with the former Lord Black. “I guess with the way he was brought up and the family he belonged too it was obvious he would not just passively trust Dumbledore. Many of the darker families have accused him of evil deeds before,” he stated as he downed his glass of water before speaking again. “I just never believed they could be true, we were all brought up with the idea Dumbledore was the ultimate good wizard,” he added with a troubled shake of his head.
“I only met the man once, but from what I could tell he was a good man who didn’t take things for granted. He was also committed to helping his godson survive the nightmare we are all now trapped in,” Xander responded, as he downed his own glass of water afterwards.
“This will make the special session of the wizengamot all the more difficult. Dumbledore will have heard of Fudge’s death and will be plotting to get his own man in the top spot,” Martin told him in a resigned tone. “We may need to call upon Harry Potter sooner than you hoped, injured or not he has the only voice which can match Dumbledore’s,” he added.
Xander frowned at this because Harry had only just woken up. He had been told that news as he got back from collecting the Abbotts. Harry was in no shape to be going anywhere, but he could not fault Martin Abbott’s view of the situation. Harry was just as famous as Dumbledore and would be able to sway people’s opinions of who would make a better Minister for Magic. Amelia will probably have realized the same thing and he would not be surprised to see her or someone sent by her to talk Harry into agreeing to help. But to do that they would also have to convince Jenny and more importantly Lily, and he doubted unless Harry agreed to go by himself Lily would give her consent.
“We’ll cross that bridge when the time comes. For now Harry stays in bed recovering,” Xander finally responded. “He was hurt badly by Amos Diggory’s spell,” he pointed out.
“Damn it, we need to be unified if we are to have any hope of stopping the Dark Lord and his followers,” Martin exploded as his frustration with the situation peaked. “But more and more it seems we are splintering into small factions,” he added as he slumped a little in his seat and swore quietly.
“Which means we will need a Minster who can rally everyone together into a single force, someone who can inspire them to fight,” Xander stated with a nod of his head at the other man’s point.
“But who could do that, if Dumbledore is now an enemy who can we rely on to be that leader?” Martin demanded to know before going silent.
Xander let out a sigh because he had no answer to give.
Narcissa sat nursing a hot cup of tea as she tried to think of a way to escape Britain without been caught, beside her Bellatrix did the same thing. The house they were using was now under the Fidelius Charm, which would give them time to plan an escape without any of the Dark Lord’s search parties finding them as the house was now hidden. The house itself had been kept in good shape thanks to the family’s house elves, both sisters were nervous although Bellatrix had worked herself into a fighting rage should they be discovered. She was taking the Dark Lord’s betrayal worse than Narcissa had originally thought, but should they need to fight then maybe it was best her sister was in such a mood. Finally she realized there was only one way of getting out of the situation, she was just fearful of how Bellatrix would respond to it.
“I know what we need to do to get out of here with our skins intact Bella, but you are not going to like it,” she finally admitted.
Bellatrix slowly turned to face her sister and noted the cautious look in her eyes, she knew instantly that whatever her sister had come up with she was not going to like it one bit. “What is it?” she finally asked.
“We need to make a deal with Potter. He is the only one who might give us a fair chance to actually leave without trying something,” Narcissa told her. “If we have something he can use to win or at least hurt the Dark Lord then he will be willing to do anything, even let us go,” she stated.
“Are you out of your mind Cissa?” Bellatrix exploded just as Narcissa had expected she would. “Have you forgotten I’m responsible for Sirius’s death?” she pointed out. “Plus my well known love of violence and murder, what in hell makes you think he will even listen to what we have to say before he tries to avenge Sirius?” she demanded to know.
“Because for all his want to kill you to avenge Sirius, the boy has a pretty clear focus on the bigger picture, he now knows the cost of acting on instinct,” Narcissa assured her. “Acting on instinct is what led to the situation that got Sirius killed, he will not make the same mistake twice as I’ve learned through his encounters with Draco,” she explained. “My son always comes home and rants about the encounters they have had. I have gained much insight into Potter’s psyche which my son as usual ignores as he doesn’t know how to learn how to read an enemy,” she went on with a long suffering sigh that she always let out when her son was concerned.
“Draco was born with Lucius stupidity increased by a tenfold, and he was brought up by your idiotic husband to think everything would be handed to him on a silver platter,” Bellatrix snarled in response. “Potter has always had to fight for what he has, which is why he has survived for so long,” she admitted.
“I agree, but back to the point at hand Bella,” Narcissa said, bringing things back on topic. “Potter needs all the help he can to defeat the Dark Lord and he knows that. If we offer him something he cannot refuse then we will get what we need to escape,” she explained as calmly as she could. “He is no longer under the control of Dumbledore, the Dark Lord’s spies have confirmed this, including Severus, and he has begun to grow and learn how to think for himself,” she went on. “We need to control any meeting we have with him, so he meets our terms, but to do that we need something we can use which he needs,” she stated. “And that Bella must come from you, you were the Dark Lord’s most trusted follower so you must know something no one else ever has,” she said focusing on her sister.
Bellatrix looked away and focused on the wall as she took in everything her sister had said, it was insane and yet she could not fault her sister’s logic. Potter was not that foolish old man he had once followed, and she knew there was potential in Potter to be the Dark Lord’s equal which the Dark Lord had already admitted to her. The Dark Lord had many secrets and she knew many of them, including one she was never meant to know. She knew if he had ever learned of her knowledge she would have been executed long ago, hell she was certain it would have been a very long and painful death had he found out she knew his deepest darkest secret.
Narcissa noticed the sudden uneasy look as he sister looked anywhere but at her, which confirmed in her mind that her sister knew something they could use to bargain for their freedom. Now came the real hard part she knew, and that was to convince Bella to share whatever this secret was. No matter that she had been cast aside by the Dark Lord who she had served so faithfully, she still feared the response should he ever find out she was the one who gave it away. A fear she well understood and knew wasn’t out of place, but right here and now they had no choice but to use what they had, no matter how much danger it put them in.
Draco walked out of the bank with his head held high as he tried to wield the same kind of presence his father had always had, he kept an eye out for any sign he was been followed. For now he would follow the Dark Lord’s orders and pay him his expected tribute, but one day he would have his revenge not only on Potter, but on his mother as well for abandoning him and even on the Dark Lord for his disrespect to him and his father even after such loyal service.
(12 Grimmauld Place)
The silence had continued to build up as the two men tried to think of someone they could not only trust to be Minister, but someone who could rally and lead their people in the fight ahead. Xander decided for now it was time to change the subject to a more personal conversation that was long overdue. He really hoped Martin Abbott would at least listen to him before he began to argue, because he was certain his claim of a family link to the Abbotts was not going to be accepted easily, if at all.
“There is another situation I need to discuss with you, but it has nothing to do with our problems concerning Dumbledore or Voldemort,” Xander finally said, feeling confident enough to start.
He immediately gained Martin’s attention as he locked his eyes on him. Clearly the other man was wondering what other business they could have between them except as allies in the war.
“And what else do we have to discuss Lord Black?” Martin finally inquired.
“Please just call me Xander, I’m still not used to be addressed as Lord Black,” Xander responded with a small grin. “I don’t know if you will recall the attempt by Narcissa Malfoy to stop me and Jenny inheriting the Black title and inheritance, but her first reason for contesting our claim was due to me being a Muggle,” he added.
“Yes I recall the whole event and I also remember the claim of you been a muggle as well as your response, that you had recently discovered that you were a wizard who’d had a magical block on your core for most of your life, which had only been broken days before during a heated argument,” Martin replied before Xander could continue.
“Well after we defeated Narcissa Malfoy’s attempt at seizing the Black title and inheritance we started to look into my family history in an attempt to locate my link to the magical world,” Xander explained. “It took a friend of mine in the muggle world to find that link. I’ve been cautious about following it and decided to observe my magical relations as best as I could to see what kind of people they were,” he informed Martin, who looked interested in what was been said.
“A wise precaution especially in this uncertain time,” Martin admitted and could think of only one reason Xander was telling him this information, and that was that he believed himself to be linked to Martin’s family. “Am I correct that you believe yourself connected to my family?” he asked directly, deciding to get to the point as they were far more important things to deal with than ancient history.
“Yes I do, we found my great grandfather was called William Abbott although when he came to the muggle world he changed his name, this was in 1912 and we did find all the paperwork involved,” Xander answered with a quick nod of his head. “We believe his son my grandfather inherited his magical powers, but decided to forgot that part of his life and bound my powers when I was born, clearly the ability to perform magic skipped my father as he has no power to think of,” he continued. “Does the name ring a bell?” he asked.
Martin did indeed recall there was or had been a William Abbott in his family a few generations back, but he had vanished and had believed to have been killed somewhere during the reign of the Dark Lord before Grindelwald. Clearly that was not the case if this was the same person they were talking about; he would have to do some digging himself into this matter when he could.
“I would like to look at these documents you have so I can compare them to the family tree and history, if this is true then clearly my family had an unknown link to it,” Martin said after a brief pause to think on the matter. “For now I ask we keep this matter between us, there is no use is claiming something that might not be true and I am sure you agree we have other things to concern ourselves with that are more important than this right now,” he stated to which Xander nodded in agreement. “Another thing is that you and your wife are a high priority target for the Dark Lord due to becoming the guardians of Harry Potter, no offense intended but I hope to keep my wife and daughter of his radar for as long as I can,” he explained calmly. “Letting any connection between us or even the belief of a connection known may turn his attention on them and that is something I intend to delay for however long I can,” he finished.
Xander didn’t take any offense in what Martin had said as he understood perfectly why he had said it. The man obviously cared about his family far more than anything else in his life and he wanted to protect them as best as he could. He more than understood this view. Hell if he was in Martin’s place he would do the exact same thing.
“No offense taken I assure you as I understand your position perfectly,” Xander finally said as he realized Martin was waiting for an answer. “The war must take priority, but I hope you can help me confirm what we have found out as it would help me accept this new turn in my life a little easier,” he added with a smile, which Martin returned as he nodded in agreement.
Amelia ran a hand through her graying hair and let out a tired sigh, she had called everyone she could trust about the upcoming emergency wizengamot meeting to decide who became the next Minister. Now she had to decide who would be the new Minister, but first she had to return to headquarters and see how Susan was doing. She hoped having Hannah and Stacy there has managed to help calm her down and get on her way to recovering, not that such a thing would happen anytime soon. She also had to talk to Harry and his guardians as she had realized she would need him present at the meeting. Not only was Harry now Lord Potter having gone through the right of inheritance, but he was as famous as Dumbledore and might be able to help sway people to side with those who supported their cause.
She knew Dumbledore had to have heard about Fudge’s death by now, which meant he would also be gearing up for an attempt to get one of his easily controlled pawns into the Minister’s seat. And if that happened she knew his first act would be to somehow regain control of Harry Potter, he could even attempt to disavow Xander and Jenny’s claims to the Black title and inheritance as well as their guardianship of Harry. They needed all the help they could get, thus injured or not she needed Harry to be at the meeting. Not looking forward to this discussion she got up and headed out, with Moody, Tonks and Shacklebolt quickly joining her.
Dumbledore smiled with a twinkle in his eyes as he prepared for the meeting to choose the next Minister. He had contacted everyone he had any influence over and made it clear they had to get someone in they knew they could trust. He had also made it clear that they could no longer trust certain people like Amelia Bones and others, that they had foolishly allowed themselves to be led astray by a young man who had allowed fear and paranoia to cloud his judgment. That is was now more important than ever that they reclaim control of Harry Potter, as well as control of the Ministry if they were to have any hope of defeating Voldemort. This had to work, or he feared what the future would hold for the world and more especially for him.
Voldemort sat on this throne as he listened to the reports that all his supporters, who still sat on the Wizengamot, were ready to ensure one of them became the new Minster. This would be a critical point in his plans; if he managed to get one of his followers into the position of Minister then he could take over the whole Ministry bit by bit and without much trouble. However if he failed then there would be no other option but open war, just like during his first war on the Wizarding world.
Either way he thought things would change forever in the next few days, his eyes took on an unearthly glow as he imagined the slaughter to come and he smiled as he noted his followers shivering at the look.