You should never rely on Common Sense to guide your fellow people. Common sense is not as common as one might like to believe, and often facilitates misunderstandings and causes problems. It could be said that it’s common sense that murder is bad, but we so often forget that the rules of common sense aren’t inherently ingrained within us, but have to be taught.
When Harry Potter murdered Professor Quirinus Quirrell by burning the man with his bare hands, Headmaster Dumbledore awarded him 60 points, winning Gryffindor the house cup. While the scent of burning flesh still lingered in his nostrils, the Headmaster told Harry it was his mothers love that made blisters appear under his touch, made blood boil and fat melt, and that this was a beautiful thing.
That summer, whenever he awakened from nightmares filled with the screams of a dying man, blistered and cracked skin, eyes leaking more than just tears, he thought back on the Headmasters reassuring words and let them convince him what he did wasn’t bad at all.
While killing his problem worked for him in his first year, Harry didn’t think the same could be said for the voice in the walls that petrified students and cats. And while killing his last incompetent defence professor was personally endorsed by the headmaster, he didn’t think it would be received the same if he did it again this year, no matter how much Lockhart irritated him.
That was, until the stood before the entrance of the Chamber of Secrets, and it was Ron who suggested pushing the Professor down the hole first. Harry had long since figured Ron was a lot more well-adjusted than he was, so if Ron thought it was alright, then it had to be.
The boys stayed behind the Professor, Harry intending to use the man as a shield for the Basilisk’s gaze, Ron presumably intending the same. But then Lockhart stole Ron’s wand and caused an explosion that caused them to be separated, Ron on one side, and Harry and Lockhart on the other. While Ron worked to make a hole in the rubble for them to crawl through, Harry pushed Lockhart in front of him and continued into the chamber.
A while later, while the Basilisk was chewing on Lockhart, Harry burned the now corporeal form of Tom Riddle to death this time with his wand. He idly mused it was interesting they taught such a dangerous spell to first years, but then dismissed the thought as he looked down on Ginny’s still body.
Like Tom said, she didn’t wake.
Harry entered the Chamber with a determined Ron and a scared professor. He left the Chamber with a distraught Ron, no Professor, and Ginny Weasley’s corpse. He was worried what other people would say. Last time the headmaster was nice to him because he’d saved the Philosopher’s stone, but this time he’d failed in his mission. Would they blame him? Would they say it was his fault? It wasn’t like he had any proof of what happened, since he burned Tom and the Basilisk ate Lockhart.
His worries were for nought, as it turned out. No one blamed him, an he was even thanked for trying his best and taking Ginny’s body back with him. The Headmaster later confided in him that Tom Riddle was Voldemort himself, and Harry realised the situation was more like last years than he realised. Ginny was possessed, just like Quirrell was, so it wasn’t Harry’s fault that Ginny died, just like it wasn’t his fault that Quirrell died.
That’s what he told himself at least, whenever he woke up from another nightmare that summer.
He refused to think about Lockhart at all.
Now, Harry knew very well that aunt Marge wasn’t possessed by Voldemort, and he didn’t mean to do it, honest! But he’d had to listen to her insults for a week already, and then what she said about his parents- the parents who died to save Harry’s life, the parents who could only smile at him through the pictures in the album Hagrid gave him.
His patience snapped, and so did his magic.
Aunt Marge blew up.
Through his shock Harry was dimly grateful for his glasses for preventing the viscera from getting in his eyes.
As the minutes passed, the screams of the Dursleys barely audible through the ringing in his ears, he realised this situation might not be received the same as his previous murders. So while his relatives were still distracted, he packed up his things and left.
A dog followed him. Maybe he should have cleaned off his clothes, his face at the very least. Not even the strong summer wind blowing through the streets could get rid of the smell of blood. He stopped on the corner of the road, arms hanging limply at his side, eyes staring without seeing, not knowing what he should do or where he should go.
The warmth of the dog licking his blood-crusted fingers brought him out of his stupor. He knelt next to it and let it lick him clean. Dog slobber was preferable to Marge’s insides.
When the dog was done, Harry expected him to leave, but instead the dog sat down next to him and whined a little.
“Do you think the headmaster will understand if I tell him it was accidental magic?” he asked the dog. “Do you think he’ll even care? Blowing up a Muggle in any circumstance can’t just be ignored…”
The dog stared at him for a moment, before his features shifted, and suddenly next to him sat a haggard looking man with dark matted hair and a face like he hadn’t eaten anything in years. “Are you telling me the blood all over you was from a Muggle?”
At this point, Harry didn’t have it in him to be surprised at the dog really being a man, so he only nodded. The man sighed deeply. “Well,” he said, “I escaped Azkaban for supposedly blowing up twelve Muggles. It wasn’t actually me, but we could run from the ministry together?”
The next day Harry sent a letter to Dumbledore explaining what happened, he didn’t expect the man to believe him, but he didn’t expect him to approve of his actions in the last two years either, so he might as well try.
When he got a very understanding letter back, he wrote a new letter explaining everything Sirius had told him about the event in which twelve Muggles blew up instead of just one. Once again, the headmaster’s reply was full of understanding, and soon both ‘fugitives’ were bundled up in the Hogwarts infirmary and Aurors were sent to apprehend the Weasley’s pet rat, which had been in a family picture in the newspaper above an article covering Ginny’s death.
It was a lucky coincidence Sirius was his godfather, because the Dursleys would surely refuse to take him back in now.
Killing Aunt Marge had opened a door in Harry’s mind.
Everyone said it wasn’t his fault, that you can’t control accidental magic, never mind that he’d been harbouring similarly violent fantasies the entire week the woman had been at Privet Drive and the blowing up had happened right when he’d been thinking of that very thing. Not even Hermione had scolded him for losing his temper.
So now Harry had a bit of a dilemma. Because no matter how blase everyone was over his literally becoming a serial killer (you become one after the third time after all) Harry couldn’t get rid of the worry in the back of his mind that the next time people wouldn’t be so accommodating.
He adjusted the fire under his cauldron and surreptitiously watched Snape stalk through his classroom like a big bat-shaped bully. Maybe it was time to test the theory. At the very least Sirius wouldn’t mind, he’d even tried to kill the man once while they were teens.
Harry threw a cutting curse at Snape in the middle of the hallway. No one was around, and Harry quickly left the scene. He was called to the headmaster’s office the next day. Snape had been found and had used his dying breath to accuse Harry of killing him. “If you’ll just let me check your wand my dear boy, everything will be fine.”
So Harry handed over his wand, and watched in fascination as the spell revealed he’d indeed used a cutting curse. The headmaster stared at the result for a moment, before his eyes found Harry’s. “Did you-” The headmaster swallowed in an uncharacteristic loss of composure. “Did you kill professor Snape, Harry?”
Harry hesitated. Right now, Dumbledore didn’t very much look like he would forgive Harry’s actions. He shook his head. “No headmaster, I didn’t kill professor Snape.” The blood-loss did that very well on its own.
Now it was Dumbledore who hesitated. “Would you swear the same under Veritaserum, my boy?”
“No Headmaster, Veritaserum is dangerous to use on minors.” No other reason, none at all. He was dismissed soon after, the headmaster looking more tired and old than he’d ever seen him. Harry was wondered if he should have waited until the end of the year. Maybe the headmaster wouldn’t have reacted this way if he had.
When he arrived home that summer, Sirius asked him the same question, “Did you kill Snivellus?” Only, Sirius didn’t look tired and disappointed, he looked delighted, so Harry smiled back and told him all about it.
Keeping both the headmaster’s disappointment and Sirius’ delight in mind, Harry decided not to go kill anyone else if he could help it. And if he couldn’t, to at least wait for the end of the year.
It wasn’t until Harry stood inside a graveyard in the middle of the night, still aching from the Crucio that had been sent his way and shakily holding onto his wand, that he killed someone else. The papers hadn’t reported that Peter Pettigrew had escaped custody, but it did explain the continued delay of the man’s trial date.
Voldemort was busy sending curses and blocking Harry’s own, he wasn’t thinking of his followers, all crowded around them in a circle, and so he didn’t think to send a shield at the traitor standing out in between the circle of faceless masks. Pettigrew’s head fell in the grass before anyone processed what happened, and Harry grinned viciously as the body dropped after a second of delay.
Voldemort paused his barrage of curses to watch his follower slump dead on the ground, so Harry took the opportunity to send the same burning spell at the man as he did Tom Riddle two years ago.
It was not as effective the second time.
Voldemort easily dispelled the fire, but didn’t move to retaliate. Instead he stood stock still and regarded Harry as if he were a particularly interesting insect. Harry shifted. “So uh, shall we continue our duel or…?”
“Does Dumbledore approve of his little hero using such deadly force?”
“Well… He didn’t mind when it was professor Quirrell, or professor Lockhart, or my aunt, but…” Voldemort raised a hairless eyebrow.
“He wasn’t very happy when professor Snape died.” Harry could have lied of course, but he didn’t think the person who killed his parents had any right to judge.
When Voldemort just continued to stare, Harry looked around the circle to avoid the piercing red eyes. Although some people twitched in obvious curiosity, no one else spoke. Harry suddenly realised something. “He also didn’t mind the you from the diary! Burning him worked much better than it did just now.”
Voldemort’s red eyes snapped from Harry to Lucius Malfoy. “Luciusss,” his voice was a menacing hiss, “You will explain to me how Potter came near enough to my diary to murder it later.” The pale white hair sticking from under Malfoy’s hood seemed to pale even further in fear.
“Y-yes my lord.”
“Potter?” Voldemort turned back to Harry again. “How many of your murders were self-defence?”
The words were slow to penetrate Harry’s mind, but when they did, he paled. Self-defence. Was that why Dumbledore didn’t mind some murders? Was that why he was so angry about Snape? Holy fuck.
Harry’s hands shook, his stomach twisted. Quirrell was self-defence, Tom Riddle was as well, but the others? Lockhart wasn’t, Marge was only if you counted defence against emotional abuse, Snape went in the same category, Pettigrew just now wasn’t, he just killed the rat-bastard because he wanted to. “T-two.”
Voldemort smirked. “And I suppose Dumbledore thought the others were… accidents?”
“Aunt Marge was accidental magic,” he mumbled.
“That still leaves us with three, unless you forgot to mention someone.” He waited for Harry to shake his head before continuing. “I can’t believe the-boy-who-lived became a serial killer at an earlier age than I became a regular murderer,” he shook his head in disbelief. “Did anyone here start earlier or did Potter just set the record?”
“Have you reconsidered my offer from first year? Remember? From just before you burned Quirrell alive?”
“Don’t have to be sarcastic about it,” he mumbled. “And no, I hadn’t reconsidered-”
“Reconsider now then,” Voldemort interrupted. “You have two options; swear loyalty to me and get sent back to school, or die.”
Harry- Harry did not want to die.
No one had noticed Harry’s long disappearance from the maze. For all everyone knew, the third task took a few hours, both Victor Krum and Fleur Delacour sent up red sparks, Harry was the first one to get to the cup, which transported him out of the maze in front of the bored audience, and Cedric vanished without a trace never to be seen again, presumably eaten by one of the creatures in the maze.
Only two people didn’t believe this version of events. Headmaster Dumbledore pierced Harry with his eyes even more intensely than he did after Snape died, and professor Moody’s magical eye was so fixed on Harry he was worried it would escape its socket and chase him around.
If Harry hoped the search for Cedric would give him the opportunity to escape, he would be wrong. Moody grabbed him by the arm and dragged him to the castle. Luckily Dumbledore was occupied.
Moody roughly pushed Harry in a chair and searched his face. “Karkaroff fled when the Dark Mark was activated.” Harry couldn’t stop the panicked widening of his eyes. “Why aren’t you proclaiming the Dark Lord is back, boy?”
Dark Lord? Since when does Alastor Moody, most ruthless Auror in the force, call Voldemort the Dark Lord? “You put my name in the goblet,” Harry realised. “You’re a Death Eater.”
Moody lazily pointed his wand at him, but didn’t attack. “You’re right,” he said, “I’m using Polyjuice.” As if to accentuate the point, he took a swig of his hip-flask. “That doesn’t explain how you aren’t either dead, or letting everyone know the Dark Lord has risen once more.” The man’s eyes gained a fanatical gleam. “Was he glorious? Did he torture those little traitors and put them in their place? Did they scream?”
“He tortured Avery,” he blurted out.
Not-Moody froze. “Only Avery?”
Harry considered it. “I’m pretty sure he’s going to torture Malfoy for getting his diary destroyed.”
“That’s not enough!” The man blasted one of the blurry mirrors to smithereens. “They deserve every bit of pain for not staying loyal! For not even searching for our Lord once!”
“He did say he was very disappointed,” Harry reasoned. “Isn’t that supposed to be worse than anger or something?”
Not-Moody looked sceptical.
“It’s just something I’ve heard, my parents were dead before they could ever be angry or disappointed in me, so I wouldn’t know.”
“No Potter, you’re right, but I still would have liked them to be tortured a bit.”
“I’m sure they’ll be eventually.”
Silence fell between them.
“Sooo, why are you hiding the Dark Lord is back?”
“I- kinda swore loyalty to him?”
“I set a new record for youngest in the group to become a serial killer.”
“Ah,” Not-Moody nodded wisely, “that would impress My Lord- Our Lord now, I suppose.” He pulled up a second chair and sat directly in front of Harry, leaning forward with that mad glint in his eyes again. “Now, who did you kill?”
“Won’t someone come in here?”
“Nah.” He waved his wand at the door vaguely. “All the other officials will be busy searching for Diggory.”
“Right.” He paused, feeling a bit of sadness for Cedric’s death for a moment, before shaking it off. “Most recently I decapitated Pettigrew.”
Not-Moody clapped his hands in glee, which was a very disturbing sight. “Good choice, Potter.”
After an hour of talking, Not-Moody’s form rippled, and his true face was revealed, which Harry appreciated a lot more. Pale slightly-freckled skin with a mop of uncombed straw-coloured hair. He looked to be somewhere in his thirties, but would probably appear younger with his hair combed and his face cleaned up a bit. “What’s your real name anyway?” Harry asked once the transformation was done.
“Barty Crouch Jr.” The man said with a sneer.
Ah, so that’s why they kept seeing Crouch hanging out in this office on the map. “Did you kill your father?”
The manic glint was back, only stronger now Harry could see Barty’s real face. “I did. Bloody bastard won’t be missed by anyone.”
“See, that’s where I went wrong with Snape. I thought no one would miss him, but apparently Dumbledore liked him and now he’s mad at me.”
Barty patted his shoulder. “No one could have predicted anyone to miss Severus, it’s not your fault.”
“You knew him?”
Barty grinned. “Both Death Eaters, weren’t we? Joined around the same time too, although I was a bit younger. I would have joined sooner, but our Lord wouldn’t mark anyone under seventeen.”
“Yeah, that’s what he said to me as well. I just had to promise not to kill him for now.”
Barty nodded sagely. “He’s a merciful Lord.”
“I’ll give it some time before I decide if merciful is the proper word.”
The moment Harry and Sirius closed the doors of their house behind them Harry grinned and spun his godfather to face him. “I decapitated the rat!”
Sirius’s eyes shone with hope. “Wormtail?”
“The very same.” Sirius whooped and ran to the kitchen for a celebratory drink, Harry following with a skip in his step. The night was spent drinking, dancing and singing Celestina Warbeck songs. Sirius was so happy that he only asked how and when Harry met Pettigrew three days later. By that time, Harry had decided on exactly how much he should tell Sirius, which was basically everything.
“-and then he said, ‘You have two options; swear loyalty to me and get sent back to school, or die.’ So obviously I didn’t want to die and here we are.”
Sirius had lost all expression a while ago, and now continued to stare at a spot just over Harry’s shoulder without blinking. “Sirius?”
“Did he mark you?” he whispered.
“No, I just had to promise not to kill him and then he let me go.”
Sirius was silent for a moment. “When you say promise-”
“I didn’t promise not to kill Malfoy?”
“You’re right, this is a great deal.”
When it came to Umbridge, Harry didn’t have the patience to wait for the end of the year. That had been his plan, but then the bitch decided to carve up his hand for no reason. He wasn’t even the one going around saying Voldemort was back! That was all Dumbledore and Harry didn’t have anything to do with it. Even Ron and Hermione were doubtful of the headmaster since Harry assured them nothing had happened during the third task.
But Umbridge didn’t care that Harry kept his silence and found other reasons to get him in detention. Once, it was for not turning a single page of his book in thirty minutes. To which he replied he was a slow reader, which is true, but not the reason he wasn’t turning a page, the book was just god-awfully boring.
She would have no doubt found an equally stupid reason for a second detention, but he never gave her the opportunity. The moment the words ‘I must read at a reasonable pace’ carved themselves into the back of his hand, rage flooded through him. He’d only felt such rage once before, and just like last time, his magic snapped.
At least Harry could prove the accidental magic was provoked this time. Well, after they managed to fish the black quill out of toad viscera.
He got three owls the next day. One from Sirius that rambled on and on about what he would have liked to do to the bitch who hurt his godson. One from Barty that detailed the theory on deliberate wandless magic and even gave an incantation for the exploding curse should Harry ever want to use his wand to be covered in blood. The last one was the shortest, simply reading:
I’m impressed by your speed if not your self-control
Try not to kill the next one, I’ll try to send one of mine
Harry hoped it was Barty, he was a good teacher. Thinking it through a little more, Harry grabbed a bit of parchment and suggested that very thing, sending the letter off with Hedwig. He would use the time it took her to come back to write nice long replies to Sirius and Barty.
It was indeed Barty, and it was glorious. This time he wasn’t pretending to be Moody, he just came as himself with only a different name. No one really knew what he now looked like anyway and anyone who did recognise him would dismiss the resemblance because Barty was supposed to be dead.
All his lessons were as insane as the one on the Unforgivables from last year. He demonstrated more dark curses on spiders and insects, showed them various dark artifacts and how to recognise them by the feel of the magic and various other clues, and even had all of them use one of those horrible quills just to make a point. Harry got a lot more understanding from his fellow students after that.
One memorable occasion Barty gave them each a choice between two objects, one of which was cursed. They had to point out the safe object, which would then be given to a cute fluffy animal to see if it survived. Ron’s rabbit died as its guts were ripped out by an invisible hand. Hermione’s kitten was strangled by the locket she chose. Neville, miraculously, managed to keep his duckling alive.
Harry felt the difference between the cursed object and the safe one the moment he stepped up to them, and so was left a choice; to kill, or not to kill? He bit his lip as he stared at the puffskein he’d been assigned. It was like a literal ball of fluff, only, Harry knew they had very creepy long tongues and didn’t have much love for the creatures.
Trying to act nonchalant, he dropped the puffskein directly on top of the cursed tea-cup. He wasn’t sure if he could hide his delight when it exploded. The horrified and disgusted screams of his classmates only adding to the experience. Barty could certainly see through his act, and winked at him as he vanished the mess.
Opinion on Barty’s skill as a teacher was mixed. Mixed in the sense that everyone dreaded his classes except for Harry, and oddly enough the more vicious of Malfoy’s two goons, Crabbe. Harry unwillingly found his opinion of Crabbe improving.
Sadly, even Harry’s friends hated Barty’s classes. There was no end to the complaining and moaning and even a little weeping from the people who weren’t emotionally stable enough to handle a few exploded kittens. Harry pretended to be of the same mind, but his heart wasn’t in it, and he was pretty sure Hermione saw through him. She certainly watched him far more intently during Barty’s classes than any other time.
His theory was proven only sort of correct a few weeks later. Throughout breakfast, Hermione kept glancing at him, and once they were done she finally gathered the courage to ask.
He’d prepared so well for this moment, even practised his lines until they sounded completely natural and nonchalant. So he was taken by complete surprise when she asked, “Harry, do you have a crush on professor Squat?”
Harry sputtered, “I- What?” He shook his head, his face feeling very warm all of a sudden. “No, Hermione. Why would you think that?”
She – very rudely – rolled her eyes. “Harry, you’re blushing harder than Ron when he was asked the same about Viktor Krum.”
Oh fuck, that was bad. “But Hermione!” he definitely didn’t whine, “You know he’s a Death Eater, right?”
“Yes Harry,” she said. Her somber tone might have worked if he didn’t recognise the twist of her mouth which meant she was trying very hard not to laugh. “It was hard not to realise when he had us killing innocent fluffy animals in a lesson. Everyone knows he’s a Death Eater. Which is exactly why I’m concerned you have developed a crush for him.”
“I don’t have a crush on him!”
“You’re the only one in the school who enjoys his lessons.”
“That doesn’t mean I have a crush on him, and besides, Crabbe likes them too.”
She rolled her eyes again. “And since when is liking the same thing Crabbe a good thing?” Shit, he hadn’t meant to admit to liking Barty’s lessons. He hid his face in his hands.
“Why hasn’t he been fired if everyone knows he’s a Death Eater?” Harry mumbled through his hands.
“To be honest, I think Dumbledore has better things to do at the moment than hire another teacher.”
Harry lifted his head to look at her incredulously. “You realise finding good staff is literal his job as the headmaster right?”
“We aren’t discussing the failings of the headmaster right now Harry, we’re talking about your crush on professor Squat, who is also a Death Eater, and who kills small animals because he feels like it and probably does to same to Muggles.”
Harry knew she was right, Barty had told him in detail about the last time he went Muggle hunting, but he decided not to mention that to her. “Okay fine,” he said venomously, “there’s just one thing, I don’t have a crush on professor Squat.” The thought hadn’t even crossed his mind! Sure, he looked nice, and Harry loved his classes, and he felt all warm and happy whenever Barty praised him for getting a question right. And fine, his heart stuttered a little when he winked at him after the puffskein exploded, but none of that meant anything!
Hermione sent such a pitying look his way that he had to look away from her. Without his permission, his eyes drifted to Barty at the teachers table. He was just taking a letter from an owl he recognised as the Dark Lord’s. He would have to ask what it said when they met later.
“You’re staring at him right now Harry!” To his utter shock, it wasn’t Hermione, but Ron who said that. It was only then that Harry realised he had the attention of nearly all his Gryffindor year-mates.
Neville patted him on the shoulder. “It’s okay Harry, it happens to the best of us.”
“Yeah mate, it’s fine,” Ron said, “We should have expected it really. You’ve been a little off ever since the Quirrell incident.”
“Anyone would get a little touched in the head if they burned a man alive at the age of eleven,” Seamus said, nodding sagely.
“I hate you all,” Harry said, jumping to his feet. “I’m writing to Sirius.” Then he stormed out of the Great Hall.
Sirius was not helpful.
Ignore it, that’s what I did with Remus.
Harry wrote back:
And how did that work out for you?
To which Sirius replied, after some rather obvious lies:
I have to leave the room whenever he and Tonks start flirting.
Harry despaired over the answer.
So I’m fucked, is what you’re saying.
Sirius, always willing to be a right arse, wrote back:
Unless you want to try asking him out?
He’s a Death Eater!
Says the Serial Killer who promised to be marked after he turns seventeen.
“So, I have been informed that I have a crush on you.”
Barty raised an eyebrow at his carefully neutral tone. “And are you planning to do something about it?”
Harry shifted, watching Barty only from the corner of his eye. Putting on his most Malfoyish tone he said, “I could be convinced.”
Barty’s lips twitched. “We could make a date out of the Azkaban raid this weekend?” Harry perked up at the suggestion, then frowned.
“I don’t like Dementors much.”
“Can’t you cast a Patronus?”
“I suppose as long as no one sees it…”
Barty waved his hand dismissively. “Deer Patroni aren’t that rare anyway. Did you know Snape had a doe?”
Harry wouldn’t be surprised if this little fact spontaneously made his Patronus change forms. It must have shown on his face, because Barty cackled.
“Potter,” the Dark Lord said with a sigh. Not even McGonnagal had ever said his name with such exasperation. “Why are you here?” While the question was addressed to Harry, the Dark Lord looked to Barty for an answer.
“We’re on a date!” Barty said, voice chipper.
“A raid date!” Harry added in the same tone.
The Dark Lord closed his eyes for a moment. “Barty, you do realise Potter is fifteen?” At Barty’s nod, he looked to Harry. “And you know Barty is a 34-year-old whose mental and emotional development halted at nineteen?” Harry nodded. Voldemort sighed. “As long as you’re both aware.”
Hermione slowly lowered the paper reporting on the Azkaban raid. “Harry, where were you this weekend?”
Panicking, not having prepared for this question at all, he blurted, “On a date!”
His fellow sixth-years stared at him. Hermione raised an eyebrow. “Did you and your Death Eater go on the Azkaban raid as a date?”
A pause. “No?”
“You don’t sound so sure of that mate,” Ron said.
He desperately searched for a change of topic. “Did you know Patroni can change forms?” he squeaked. Neville slapped a hand to his face.
Of course Hermione knew already. “Patronus forms are subject to change if the caster goes through an emotional upheaval of some sort, including falling in-”
“It’s because I was told Snape had a deer Patronus,” Harry said with confidence.
Hermione paused. “Yes, I’m sure that’s what did it.”
“What did it turn into?” Neville asked.
“A crow.” Lavender gasped, causing everyone to look at her.
“About a decade ago a prophesy was foretold that’s famous for how specific it is. It tells of an event in Germany in 2005, in which crows steal the livers of a certain species of toad, causing them to explode.”
“Thousands of them, innards flying everywhere.”
“I think I’ve heard of this,” Hermione mused. “Certainly not unique to 2005 though, bloody divination.”
“I’m not sure if this is better than having the same Patronus as Snape.” Several people nodded in agreement.
Then, of course, Ron had to ruin his perfect deflection. “So, are we just going to ignore that Harry and our thirty-year-old Death Eater professor broke into Azkaban together as a date?”
“Can we stop talking about my raid date? I want to know more about the toads.”
“Please tell me you called it a raid date in the presence of all the other Death Eaters,” Ron said with no small amount of glee.
Harry sighed. “I called it a raid date when the Dark Lord asked why the hell I was there.”
“To his face?”
“To his face.”
“What would a toad explosion look like?”
And so the year continued. Harry badly hid his connections to the Dark Lord and his new relationship, and the people around him teased him about it. Harry and Barty went on a few more raid dates, and Barty eventually introduced him to Muggle hunting. They alternated between going with just the two of them, and going with the newly free Lestranges. The Dark Lord even joined the whole group a few times.
It was near the end of the year when Harry decided to cut off some loose ends, and so he and Barty Apparated to Privet Drive.
“Do I need to wear my safety goggles?” Barty asked.
Harry hummed. “I’m not sure, exploding would end them so quickly, they wouldn’t even feel it…”
“You could torture them a little first.”
“Not really in the mood. Although…” He nodded decisively. “Don’t let yourself be seen.” Then they made their way to the door.
Both invisible, they creeped through the house. Harry knocked over a particularly offensive vase in the hallway. “Who’s there?” a voice bellowed from the living room. Uncle Vernon was home then, good.
Through the door, Harry was delighted to find his whole family present. He quietly made his way to behind the couch they were sitting on, and just as they recovered from the broken vase he whispered; “How well do you remember what happened to dear old Marge?”
Screams, oh so loud and oh so lovely. Faces pale, eyes darting everywhere. They couldn’t see him, and they wouldn’t until he wanted them to. He moved to a different spot in the room and continued. “Have you ever wondered what it felt like? To swell and swell until she simply burst?”
“Please stop!” Petunia looked on the verge of fainting.
“Did the cleaners get every bit of her or do you still sometimes find a drop of blood hidden in a corner? I’ve heard blood and viscera are even harder to get rid of than glitter.”
“FREAK! STOP THIS THIS INSTANT!” Harry grinned. Vernon was already swelling and he wasn’t even doing anything yet!
“Did you have trouble sleeping at night? Did you wonder if I would come back for you? You treated me much worse than Marge ever had the opportunity to you know?” He pulled the cloak off and bundled it in his arms. Three pairs of eyes snapped to him. “Did you really think you were safe here?”
One by one, the three began to swell. Their skin standing up as if filled from underneath with air. Petunia ripped first, explosion at once more violent and less because of her smaller frame. Following her was Dudley. Harry hadn’t been sure if he should punish his cousin as well, but the moment he saw those grubby little eyes, repulsive even widened by fear, any doubt was wiped from his mind.
He deliberately slowed Vernon down, giving him every opportunity to savour the sight of his wife and son ripping into pieces, splatter him with warm fluids and slimy organs. And only when Harry saw the last bit of hope leave his eyes, when despair was the only thing left, did he let the man pop as well.
He took a moment to admire the mess in the room, covering not just the floor but the walls and ceiling as well. Barty stepped up behind him and took his hand. “No torture?”
“You don’t think that was torture?”
“Oooh, psychological, I get it.” He pulled his hand, slowly dragging him from the room. “Let’s go to headquarters, get all that blood out your hair.”
“We should stay there a while, Dumbledore is sure to know this was me.”
Barty nodded. “We’ll skip the end of the year, Dumbledore won’t be a problem after this summer.”
Barty was right. Dumbledore didn’t return to Hogwarts for his seventh year. Harry wasn’t sure what happened to the man, but he didn’t really care as long as Barty was there. Popular belief was that Voldemort had been the cause of the DADA curse all along, which is why Barty wasn’t affected by it.
While many were confused by the fact Muggle-Born were allowed to return, Harry wasn’t. After spending so much time with Death Eaters and the Dark Lord himself, he’d come to realise their goals were severely misunderstood. Really, the Dark Lord didn’t even want to become the supreme ruler or whatever, and he didn’t have anything against Muggle-Born. Some of his followers did, but they weren’t the ones making the rules. In fact, no one was making the rules, because the Dark Lord had abolished all laws.
Hermione did not approve.
Hogwarts’ curriculum was edited to make sure everyone was taught how to survive this new chaos state. While Barty continued Defence classes focused mainly on recognising dark curses, objects and creatures, the Dark Lord began a new Battle Skills class teaching them everything they had to know about both offence and defence in the field.
Harry was proudly marked when he graduated Hogwarts, the new and improved Death Eater initiation just requiring he swear himself in the name of anarchy.