Hermione Granger heard what could only be Harry's voice as well as someone else's who had been missing for a whole year. She quickly got up and walked across to the boy's room where found Harry and his twin sister Forest facing Ron and Ginny. She quickly noted that neither Ginny nor Ron looked pleased to see that Forest had returned. She could quickly deduct why Ginny was not pleased. The red headed young girl was intent on getting Harry to date her this year and she probably saw Forest as a very big obstacle in her plan. Why Ron wasn't pleased to see Forest was a harder thing to get a grip on, granted he had not exactly been close to her, but they hadn't been enemies either.
Shaking of those thoughts she shouted "Harry," before she rushed forward and pulled him into a hug. He was stiff in her embrace and he didn't return it, which made her realise her friend was not happy with her.
She backed off quickly and locked eyes with him and noted her was glaring at her. No, not just her, but Ron and Ginny as well. She knew the reason why as well. All summer she and the others had gotten letters from Harry demanding information about what was happening, but they had been ordered by Dumbledore not to say a single thing, not even to say things were quiet and that there had been no signs of the Dark Lord. Finally two weeks ago the letters stopped and they knew when he arrived he would be angry with them all. But this was far worse she thought as she stared into his eyes, there was more than anger in them. She could see rage and frustration as well. She shivered as she had never seen such a look from her friend before.
"Harry, please understand. Dumbledore ordered us not to tell you anything," she quickly stated before he could blow up. "He was adamant that nothing be put into any letters as they could be intercepted by the Death Eaters," she added.
Harry's gaze didn't change at all infact if she was honest with herself it seemed his anger and rage increased. "You could have phoned me Hermione, you have the Dursley's number. Remember... I gave it to you in third year," he growled out. "No Death Eater would be able to overhear us then, hell even Dumbledore and the majority of his people don't know how to use a phone," he spat. "But not once did you bother, even to check up on me after I saw Cedric being killed," he went on as Forest felt her insides freeze when she heard him mention seeing someone die.
She looked away and tried to focus on the argument, but her mind kept coming back to the fact her brother had once again faced death, had faced Voldemort and his followers and watched someone die and she hadn't been by his side. She felt like she had betrayed him, what had she left him to face while she went off with the Doctor she thought bitterly. The raw pain she could hear in his voice chilled her to the bone. She prayed her journey with the Doctor had been worth it and that she would ensure that her brother would live.
"I...I," Hermione stuttered as Harry countered her argument.
"Ease off mate," Ron said with a dismissive wave of his hand. "She just probably forgot. It's been three months I'm sure you've gotten over it by now," he added easily as if seeing someone die was a simple affair.
Harry's gaze finally shifted from Hermione who let out a sigh of relief, even as she struggled to find an answer to Harry's counter argument. Ron did his best to ignore Harry's look of contempt. He really wished he could just lay the git out, but if he was to keep his cover then he had to take whatever crap Harry shot back at him.
"Ease of, simply get over it... eh Ron?" Harry spat, his tone even angrier as he stepped closer to his supposed best friend. "Do you think you'd simply get over it if you had been the one to witness Cedric getting killed or watching as Voldemort was resurrected?" he demanded to know as his fists clenched and unclenched as if he wanted to hit Ron. Seeing Ron and Ginny both flinched when he said the Dark Lord's name he snarled at them. "None of you can ever hear his name without cowering in fear," he snapped.
Ron glared back at the supposed great boy-who-lived and really wanted to lash out, but he managed to hold himself in check. If he wanted to get paid he had to hold himself in check. Ginny frowned as she listened to Harry yell at them. She could hear the disdain in his tone as he mentioned how most wizards could not help but shudder at hearing the Dark Lord's name. She felt insulted. He didn't understand that they had been raised to fear the Dark Lord as the ultimate sign of evil.
Whatever Ron was going to say in reply never got heard, as suddenly Fred and George appeared having clearly apparaterated into the room. Harry's glance spun to them as did the others. The two twins were smiling ear to ear at being the centre of attention.
"Hey Harry we thought we heard you delicate tones," Fred said, his smile widening. In truth he and his brother had been worried by the quick escalation of the argument, they didn't want a fight breaking out as they had more important things to deal with now that the Dark Lord was back.
"And look who's back," George picked up straight away. "The lovely and talented Miss Forest Potter," he added with what he believed was a charming smile which made Forest roll her eyes.
"May we inquire just why you are both so upset?" Fred asked, as he leaned against the wall while George went and sat on a nearby bed.
"It doesn't matter," Forest responded, stepping in while she placed a calming hand on her brother's shoulder. "A difference of opinion and a case of someone having not realised the reality of what we face from this point on," she stated with a glare at Ron. "You'd better wake up Ron, because more than likely we are going to see a lot more death before this war is over and believe me, you won't get over it anytime soon," she concluded as she pulled Harry away from their friends.
Ron sneered at them both before he turned and stormed out of the room in disgust. He cursed the fact that Forest had come back. Her return would make his job that much more difficult to stand. He might have to ask for a bit more money for this.
Ginny glared at Forest before running to catch up with her brother. She didn't know where the other girl got off lecturing them, seen that she had run away for the last year. But she dared not say anything right now. Harry was angry enough and it might hurt her chances of getting him to like her the way she wanted him to.
Fred and George winced as they watched silently, this wouldn't do at all. They needed a unified front if they were to survive this thing, even they realised the dangers they all now faced. Clearly if they heard Forest right their younger brother didn't yet realise things had changed, deciding to leave the other twins to their own devices they turned and left as well. Hermione quickly followed, deciding to give Harry some space and she doubted Forest would be up for a talk right now.
"Are you okay Harry?" Forest inquired as she pulled her brother over to one of the beds and pushed him onto it.
Harry rubbed his eyes a little before he looked at her. "I suppose, my temper just seems very close to the surface of late," he admitted. "Ron's utter failure to understand what I witnessed and how it affected me just made me explode," he told her with a tired shake of his head.
Forest sat next to him on the bed and pulled him into a sideways hug as the mention of what her brother had seen brought back the feelings of pain and guilt she had felt before. "I'm sorry Harry," she whispered brokenly. "I should have been here for you last year," she added as a few tears fell.
Harry pulled his sister closer and did his best to comfort her. He believed he knew what she was feeling and while a very small part of him was pleased to see this break down he pushed those feelings aside. This was his sister, his twin and he didn't like seeing her in pain.
"It's okay Selene," he told her. "Maybe it is best that you weren't there. Maybe if you had stayed it might have been you in the tournament," he added with a shiver that turned him cold and Forest could feel it run through him. "I was lucky to make it out of that graveyard, maybe just maybe had it been you things would have happened differently," he stated. "I couldn't live with myself if you died," he admitted.
"And neither could I if the reverse happened. What I saw with the Doctor may help ensure that we both come through this Harry," Forest told him as she pulled away and make him look her in the eye. "We knew that he would come back eventually and now that he has we are going to be on the top of his kill list," she pointed out as she ran a hand through her twin's messy black hair. "We have to be prepared for whatever comes next," she stated.
"And we will be Selene," Harry replied as confidently as he could. "We will be," he repeated.
The twins fell silent as they got comfortable on the bed, they still leaned against each other and slowly they began to drift of into sleep. Sirius and Remus came to check on them ten minutes later and paused as they noted they were fast asleep against one another. Sirius pulled his wand and slowly levitated a blanket over them and then closed and locked the door behind them.
"Why did you lock it?" Remus inquired with a raised eyebrow, their previous argument forgotten as they had done so many times before. They could never stay mad at one another.
"They need to rest without interruption Moony," Sirius responded as he put his wand away. "Harry has been through a lot since he came back from Hogwarts and thanks to Dumbledore's orders and Forest having been missing he had no one to talk to about what he saw in the graveyard," he reminded him. "Now she is back and there is no one better to help him to finally face what happened and overcome the effects it had on him, but before that they need to rest as it will not be an easy process and you know that Moony," he continued with a pointed look at his friend. "You remember what it was like seeing your friends die?" he asked.
A dark look passed over Remus's face at the question as he did indeed remember what it was like to see so many people killed. "Yes I remember," he replied. "Come on let's go back downstairs and see what else is going on," he said as he turned and began to head back downstairs. Sirius glanced back at the door with a worried look before he followed.
The Doctor leaned against the wall of the Tardis having finished the first book in the ‘Potter Twins' series. It was quite factual about what actually happened. Forest had told him all about her adventures with her brother and their friends and almost everything she had told him was in the books. The mystery of who wrote them was now something that interested him. Who could have gotten so much information about what really happened to Forest and Harry? He picked up the second book ‘The Potter Twins and the Chamber of Secrets' which was the first of the series he had found and sat down to read it, hoping this might give him some clues to who the mysterious author was.
Lord Voldemort looked up as Severus Snape walked into his throne room and bowed before him. He hadn't called his spy, so he could only suspect something had happened Snape believed he needed to know.
"Rise Severus and report," he commanded as he lent down to stroke his familiar Nagini who lay at his feet, her tongue flicking out every few seconds.
"My Lord, Forest Potter has returned," Snape responded, knowing that his Master would want to know the other Potter twin had come back and was proven right as he noted the interested look in the Dark Lord's eyes. "The old fool was very suspicious and seemed to think she may have joined you. He did all he could to make the other Order members believe it," he went on. "I don't know his reasons, but I suspect he wants to cause distrust between the twins," he suggested.
"This is interesting news indeed my slippery friend," Voldemort finally responded as he rose from his throne and moved closer. "Did you learn anything about where the girl has been?" he demanded to know.
"All she would say my Lord was that she was travelling with someone," Snape answered. "She would give no information on with whom or where she had been. After the attempt to get answers from her the old man admitted he could not get into her mind to get the answers he sought," he explained.
"So she has learned Occlumency?" the Dark Lord mused, although Snape could detect this was meant as a question.
"I do not know Master, the old man did not say," Snape told him. "It is possible she has done so and if she has, then she might attempt to teach her brother," he replied.
"Ensure that this doesn't happen, Severus. I want the boy's mind open to me," Voldemort commanded darkly. "Do you understand me?" he asked in a deadly tone of voice.
"Yes Master," Snape responded with a low bow, while he did all he could not to visibly shake at the implied threat. "I will do all I can to learn where she has been," he offered.
"Encourage Dumbledore's view of things that the girl has indeed joined me," Voldemort ordered as he thought over what he had been told and so he made a quick choice on how to use it. "Maybe we can spread dissent in the Order and the twins themselves, making them all the more easy to kill," he added with a cold smile.
"As you command my Lord," Snape responded in understanding and he could see the potential for chaos this would cause in the Order.
"Excellent, now go," Voldemort agreed before turning away from his servant. "Get the information I desire and when you see Draco Malfoy, tell him I want him to prove himself capable of serving me by injuring either the boy or his sister, I don't care which," he ordered, stopping Snape near the door. "But he is not to kill either of them, should he do so make him understand the rest of his life will be a living hell," he warned with a sinister smile.
"I understand Master," Snape said with another bow before he turned and left, making his cloak swirl behind him.
Voldemort returned to his throne and sat back down and wondered where little Forest had been for the last year, it would have been much more interesting had she had been there for his rebirth. Yes breaking Harry Potter would have been simpler by murdering his beloved twin in front of him. A smirk graced his features as he imagined the scene. Still his rebirth had gone off without a hitch and he once more had a body. The only thing that had gone wrong was the fact that Harry Potter had survived and escaped to warn Dumbledore of his return.
At least the Ministry had not believed his story one bit, their fear of his memory has been more than enough to make them ignore the warning of his return and the threat he once more brought to the Wizarding world. Still the fact that the boy lived had been a setback. To finally remove the threat of the boy and his sister he needed a certain piece of information that he knew the old man had in his possessions. Hopefully the plan he was about to put forward would in the end grant him that information. He leaned back in his throne and began to day dream of torturing and finally killing the Potter twins once and for all.
Albus Dumbledore sat behind his desk with a frown on his face. He contemplated the argument he had just had with the Potter twins a few hours ago. He had not expected such open defiance from either of them. Clearly he was loosing his influence with them and that was a big problem if his plans were to succeed. Another problem was Forest's new ability to shield her mind from his probes. Where had she learned to do that? He leaned back in his chair and wondered how to proceed. Finally he decided he would continue with his attempts to create mistrust between Harry and his sister. He hoped that by making the two twins wary of each other he could manipulate them much easier in the future. Granted right now it seemed that their relationship was even stronger than before, but he would find a way.
He got up and moved to his side desk where he had many little instruments that were tied magically to the twins. They confirmed that his beginning effort had done nothing to make Harry begin to mistrust Forest. He would have to try harder and he might have to do something about Sirius as well as he knew the man would back his godchildren every time. Stroking his beard he wondered yet again where Forest had been for the last year. ‘Travelling she had said, but where and with whom?' he wondered. Too many questions and not enough answers and that wasn't something he liked. He turned and left his office passing Fawkes who silently watched him with a disapproving look on his face, the phoenix didn't like the current actions of its chosen partner.
Snape walked into the manor guided by one of the families many elves, he had decided to talk with Draco now so that the boy could prepare. He also wanted to ensure the boy didn't rush in his eagerness to please the Dark Lord. He was led into the large living room where Narcissa stood in an elegant black silk dress. Lucius was nowhere to be seen, more than likely he was at the Ministry ensuring the Minster continued on his path of making things hard for Dumbledore and the Potters.
"What do you want Severus?" Narcissa demanded to know with a frown as she noted the look Snape gave her, it made her shiver in distaste as it was a look filled with lust.
It made her feel sick to her stomach, but then she knew Severus was a man who usually lusted after women way out of his league. He had lusted for many years after Lily Potter until her untimely death. His obsession with Lily had been well known and had been the source of amusement for some, including herself and her sister Bellatrix. Say what you want about Lily Potter, but she had been a powerful witch and smart as they come. She barely gave the man the time of day and yet he had followed her around like a little lost puppy.
Now it seemed he had shifted his obsession to her, this wasn't the first time she had seen him look at her like that. She wished she could wipe it off his face with a rather nasty spell she knew, but he happened to be close friends with her bastard of a husband. One day though she promised herself she would deal with them both. She just had to find the right opportunity to rid herself of them and all the things connected to them.
"I need to speak to Draco immediately," Snape responded, missing the look of disgust Narcissa shot him. "I have orders for him from the Dark Lord" he stated.
Narcissa had to fight to keep the anger she felt from showing on her face. She hadn't wanted her son mixed up in the return of the Dark Lord, but it seemed there was no escape from him. She felt cold as she realised that more than likely she would loose her son to whatever madness the Dark Lord had planned. Lucius had already filled his head with tales of the wonders he had experienced during the first war, of the pleasures he had felt with the captives and of the power he had wielded. She didn't doubt for a second he would follow whatever orders he was given, she felt her disgust and hatred for Snape grow even more.
"I will go and get him," she finally said in response. "Wait here," she commanded before leaving the room and heading upstairs where Draco's room was.
She found her son lying on his bed reading one of his books on the Dark Arts his father had gotten him. Shaking her head in annoyance at Lucius she coughed to gain his attention.
"Is something wrong Mother?" Draco asked as he took note of her watching him from the door.
"Severus Snape is here to talk to you on an important matter. He is in the living room so I suggest you go down now and don't keep him waiting," Narcissa informed him even as she wished she could grab him and take him somewhere he might escape the madness to come.
She watched coldly as Draco eagerly got up and ran out of the room, all but throwing his book to the floor. She shook her head and cursed the day that the Dark Lord had come back to life. She turned and headed to her own room already feeling a headache coming on, from here on out she suspected they were going to be few good days to come and so she decided to act on the plans she had made quite a while ago if things would turn sour again. This time she wouldn't risk being killed from either side. The only thing that still kept her here was Draco, but now she feared that she couldn't do anything for him anymore. It was time to cut her losses.
Draco ran into the study wondering why his favorite teacher and somewhat uncle had come to see him personally. The look he was given as he arrived made him think that whatever it was he wanted to talk about was going to be something he enjoyed.
"Sit down Draco and listen closely," Snape instructed him with a slight glare as he wanted the boy to understand this conversation was serious. "I have just come from the Dark Lord. He has a mission for you to undertake when we return to Hogwarts," he explained.
Draco felt a burst of pride shoot through him at the news that the Dark Lord had chosen him to carry out a task. It seemed that he finally was going to get the respect and power he felt he should always have had, especially at Hogwarts. For far too long he had been shown up by Potter and his damn friends, especially the uppity mudblood Granger.
"What does he want me to do, Uncle?" Draco inquired eagerly, finally managing to get his emotions under control and speak.
"Control yourself Draco or you may find your service to the Dark Lord short lived," Snape commanded and was at least relieved to see the boy manage to look serious. "He wants you to come up with a plan to injure either of the Potter twins. He doesn't care which one you decide to strike, but you aren't allowed to kill either of them," he informed him. "Should you do so he has instructed me to tell you that the rest of your life will be spent in torment and agony," he explained with a rather sinister smile that made Draco understand his warning was no joke. "Do you understand?" he asked.
"Yes Uncle I understand," Draco responded with a quick nod even as his mind drifted to all the things he might do to injure Potter or his bitch of a sister. He didn't know which one to strike just yet, but he would think on that, soon he would have his revenge of them both.
"Good and see that you keep the Dark Lord's warning in mind," Snape shot back before he turned and left the room and then the house.
As he headed for the apparition point he hoped the boy would listen and obey the warning. He didn't want to think what the Dark Lord might do in response should he actually kill one of the Potters. He feared he may be punished as well for failing to make sure the boy understood his orders properly. Pushing those thoughts away he recalled how good Narcissa had looked in her dress. Oh how he wished he could have her, but he dared not to attempt anything as Lucius would have his head and he needed the elder Malfoy's backing.
Sirius sat at his desk in the study and was thinking hard on the way things were going. He didn't like Albus' new hostility to Forest or his attempts to control her and Harry. He seemed far removed from the man he had followed during the first war, something else was going on here and he didn't for a minute understand what it was and why the old man was suddenly so cold and hard to them and especially to the twins. He wished Lily and James were still alive, because he knew they would be able to discern what was really going on.
The only people he could trust were Remus, who was sadly far too trusting of Dumbledore, and of course his cousin Tonks, who was respectful of the old man, but was still open minded and might listen to his concerns. He leaned back in his chair and hoped he could find out what was really going on, before whatever it was actually happened.
Narcissa canceled the spell she had used to listen in on Snape and her son. She shivered at what the Dark Lord had ordered Draco to do and now she knew for sure that however this went there would be hell to pay and she didn't plan to be one of those people who had to pay the price.
Until now she had planned to save her son as well, but she knew that would be a futile attempt now. Draco was too much like his bastard of a father and would never go with her. It was more likely that he would betray her. So she put today's date on the letter to Gringotts she had prepared awhile ago and smiled as she remembered how easy it was to get Lucius to sign and seal it while he was distracted. She bound it on the feet of one of their owls and sent her on her way.
After that she prepared several more things to ensure nobody would look for her. As she was finished with those she grabbed the medallion she wore around her neck and with the command word "Nudin" she activated the portkey.
Only seconds later all Hell broke loose in her study room.