Absently stroking the large snake draped over his shoulders, Lord Voldemort looked at the large manor, a sick smile on his face.
While he had finally managed to get his body back after nearly two decades of living as a wraith, he had suffered what he considered to be a major setback.
The boy, Harry Potter, had managed to escape from right under his nose. And it was all thanks to Wormtail's incompetence. Voldemort hoped that the man truly felt the loss of his eye. It serves him right to have the boy blind him.
At first, he had been angry at his plans of taking over the wizarding world being scuppered. The boy would no doubt go running to Dumbledore who would then take steps to thwart him.
But then good fortune smiled over him again. While his faithful servant Crouch, may his soul rest in peace, had been captured, the Minister of Magic, Cornelius Fudge had refused to believe Dumbledore.
Capitalising on this, he had Lucius use his silver tongue on the incompetent Minister.
While it was nearly a month since Voldemort had heard the report from his slippery friend, he still couldn't help but chuckle. Lucius actually had Fudge believing that Dumbledore was out for his job and was additionally using Hogwarts as his training grounds for his own private army.
It truly proved that Fudge was an idiot. Had the man actually sat down to think, he would have realised that a good ninety per cent of the Auror force had gone to Hogwarts when the old man was headmaster while the remaining ten per cent had been taught transfiguration by him.
If Dumbledore wanted to be Minister, all he would have to do is just say the words, and his wish would be made reality.
But all that was nothing compared to the other stroke of good fortune.
Sirius Black, the last remaining member of the illustrious family, also did not believe that he had returned. According to Lucius, his anger and bitterness towards Dumbledore had made sure of that. On top of that, he was now the guardian of the boy.
So that meant that Harry Potter was now within easy reach. Black had also quite conveniently let it slip to Lucius that he was going to be holidaying in France in a location that Narcissa remembered. Apparently he wanted to "reconnect" with the boy and ease their strained relationship caused by the subject of his return and Black subsequently not believing the boy.
And that lead him to his current location. Harry Potter, the one prophesised to bring about his downfall and the one person he wanted dead above all others was in that house, far, far away from Dumbledore's protection.
Perhaps he would offer them a place within his ranks? He knew that Black hated Dumbledore right now. That hate could be useful for his cause. As for the boy … well, during his time as a wraith, he had done a lot of thinking and realised that the whole prophecy thing was malarkey. He was Lord Voldemort, the defeater of Death. No silly bint with a mystic voice was going to tell him what his fate was going to be!
Besides, there was no way the boy would ever be able to find out about his Horcruxes.
So offering the boy a place wasn't a bad idea either.
Waving his wand (he might as well call it his, Bertha Jorkins wasn't around to use it anyway), Voldemort analysed the wards around the house. Typically they weren't much of a challenge for him. Black, in his complacency, had not upgraded his wards. Oh well.
A few waves, flicks and muttered words later, Voldemort was walking up the impressive driveway and towards the front door.
A further flick of his wand blew the doors open. Striding inside (after letting Nagini slip in, unnoticed) Voldemort immediately spied Sirius Black. His quarry was unarmed! This was almost too easy. The man was truly as big a fool as James Potter.
'Hello, Black,' Voldemort said pleasantly, a cold smile on his face. 'Pleasure to meet you,' he made a show of looking around. 'And where is young Harry? I so badly want to meet him.'
'Riddle,' the other man replied steadily. Voldemort narrowed his eyes at the hated name. 'You are not welcome here. I suggest you leave before things go badly for you.'
Voldemort laughed in a high cold voice. 'Unless you have an army hidden somewhere in this house, Black, I very much doubt that you would stand a chance against me.'
While he had Black distracted, Voldemort could see Nagini slithering up behind the other man. 'I would suggest giving up now, Black. I only want to talk. Do not try to resist me, for it will end in your demise.'
'I do not want to hear anything you have to say, Tom!'
'So be it,' Voldemort snarled, raising his wand.
Inexplicably, Black gave off a feral grin.
Behind him, Nagini struck…
Lucius Malfoy stood in the dining room of his manor. His master had gone off to France to take care of his blood-traitor cousin by marriage and that Potter brat.
He could not wait for that moment. Once Black and the boy were gone, he would have unfettered access to the Black family secrets. Then magical Britain would be his. Well, it would be his lord's, but Lucius would hold all the strings. He would be the enforcer of the Dark Lord here, while his master went abroad to annex more countries.
Suddenly, he felt a spot on his left arm burn. The master had finished his work! He would be here soon.
In the next few minutes, the room was filled with the other Death Eaters. Seeing them assemble provoked deep nostalgia from Lucius. It was just like in the old days, when he was young and hot-blooded.
The faces around him were lined and wrinkled now, some having gained weight. But that did not detract from the moment. This would be the first step to greatness.
At long last, the doors opened and the Dark Lord swept inside.
Lucius and the other Death Eaters knelt. 'My Lord,' they all said with reverence.
'I trust that your mission went well, my lord?' Lucius finally spoke up after they were bidden to rise.
'Well, if you are talking about me, Lucy, then, yeah! It went quite well.' A different voice spoke up.
Immediately, all the Death Eaters turned towards the door to see Sirius Black standing there with a full blown smirk on his thin face.
Two jets of light flew off the wands of two of the more alert Death Eaters.
However, before they could even get near Sirius, they were met by a shield.
It took the collective a moment to realise that the shield had been put up by their master.
'Whoops,' Sirius said with a smirk. 'You might not want to do that. Tommy here might not like it. In fact, he might just react with violence the next time one of you clowns tries that.'
He glided towards the head of the table, sitting at the spot Voldemort was to have occupied. The Death Eaters could only watch in shock.
'Wh – how,' sputtered Lucius.
'Well, sit down,' Sirius said with a condescending smirk. 'Make yourselves comfortable. I have quite a story to tell you lot.'
Lucius' eye twitched as Sirius casually put his feet up on the polished mahogany, making the chair lean back on two legs.
'Now, now, don't keep me waiting.' Sirius said. 'Tommy here might just get angry otherwise.'
Unnerved by the unnaturally silent Dark Lord, the Death Eaters all sat down.
'Now that wasn't so hard now, was it?' Removing his legs from the surface of the table and letting his chair fall down on all four legs, Sirius started his tale.
'Now how to begin … Oh I know! Once upon a time, a long time ago … well not so long ago, more like seventy to eighty years ago there was a woman. She was born to a pureblood family, but tragically, she was a squib.'
'Her family, while pureblood and old were what you would call "broke" or "poor". They were also quite insane. This poor squib girl, her name was Merope Gaunt, by the way, was quite oppressed by her nutty father and homicidal brother. The only reason they kept her around was because she could marry her brother Morfin and have little inbred, cockeyed, ugly kids.
'Yeah I know,' Sirius said upon noticing the expression on one of the Death Eater's face. 'That is quite disgusting. Then again, I doubt there is anyone here who doesn't know that the Gaunts were a bunch of loons. Anyway, one day, she fell in love with a boy. This boy was everything her brother was not (including not being her brother). The problem was he was a Muggle and so, completely oblivious to magic and well unsuitable in her father's and brother's eyes.
'Now, Merope kept her love a secret, knowing full well that the handsome Muggle would never be with her. But one day, she became lucky. Morfin, and her father, Marvolo were arrested and imprisoned by the Ministry. Now that she was free, she could pursue her love.
'Of course there is another problem, and that was the fact that the Muggle was handsome and rich while she was ugly and poor. But that wasn't much of a problem as even squibs can brew potions.
'To cut a long story short, she made a love potion, ensnared him and had his kid. The problem was that the Muggle finally broke free from her enchantment because of which she was left alone, pregnant and destitute. Well, she died at childbirth.
'The boy she gave birth to was a handsome and powerful wizard, proving that a bit of new blood can do wonders for magical power. He attended Hogwarts, he got phenomenal marks, was prefect and Head Boy. But he was also just as homicidal and nuts as his dear uncle and grandfather. He was also quite bitter and had a major hatred for the Muggles as they had tormented him quite a bit when he was younger.
'So what do people like that do? Well, he turned to the Dark Arts and became seriously evil.
'But that wasn't the end of it, was it Tommy?' Sirius smiled at the silent figure standing next to him. 'No, see, this, well, he's practically a Muggleborn, so, to use the vernacular of present company, this Mudblood decided that being the average dark lord was quite pedestrian. So he decided to go the extra mile. And so, after years of study, he made a Horcrux. And, brilliant chap that he is, he managed to make one by the end of his seventh year.'
The Death Eaters all sucked in shocked breaths. Horcruxes were a taboo subject. Only those who had intensively studied the Dark Arts or were Dark themselves knew of their existence.
The Dark Families all had tried their level best to suppress the knowledge of these terrible devices, for there were things that should not be done, and lines that should not be crossed. And the splitting of a soul was one of those things.
The Dark and Light sides may disagree on many things, but the one thing they held in common was that the soul was sacrosanct. Splitting it was considered to be the ultimate evil.
It was this reason why many Dark Arts books did not have information of such devices.
Sirius looked at the collective. 'Now, this wizard wasn't fully satisfied with one Horcrux. No, he made many.' More gasps followed this revelation. 'He made a grand total of seven Horcruxes. At the same time, he had started gathering followers. He would then give some of his followers, the most trusted ones, these Horcruxes for safe keeping.'
Sirius paused for effect and then continued. 'Of course, by now we all know that this man happens to be standing next to me. Now Tommy here, made a major mistake. He left a Horcrux in the family home of the Blacks.'
Coldly looking at the form next to him 'Now what this Mudblood failed to understand is that the Blacks are one of the foremost families in all of Britain. We have been around much before the Founders of Hogwarts. In fact we were the first magical settlers there! And we have more collective knowledge than this pretentious prick.'
'The minute I found out what was in my house, well …' Sirius smiled as he thought back to the past year.
When he had first found out what it was, Sirius had then gone to the secret library only accessible by the Head of the House. In it there were books that dealt with the darkest of dark magic.
Unlike the other families that were more than happy to ignore the more gory aspects of Dark magic, the Blacks had actually experimented and studied those subjects. The chief focus of their studies was Horcruxes.
Now, just like the rest of the saner Dark wizards, they knew the costs involved with splitting one's soul. They had no intention of creating one. But they were paranoid enough to think that someone else might. So they thought up ways to use Horcruxes to their advantage.
Sirius had used the knowledge within the books to possess the bit of Voldemort's soul within. Once he owned that fragment of soul, he had extracted knowledge of the other fragments, hoping to find the bit that was roaming around and possessing Defence teachers and being served by certain rats.
Instead, he hit upon the revelation that there were more Horcruxes. One of which was destroyed.
So Sirius had sought them all out. He knew their locations, thanks to the soul fragment from the locket (which he found out much later was the biggest bit as it contained another fragment that was in Harry's scar before the boy had touched it) so the job was easy.
Taking the soul fragment by fragment was easier and carried with it a lesser price than it would have with one singular whole soul, as Polaris Black the first had mentioned in his book.
As a majority of Voldemort's soul was still tethered to the living realm, Sirius only had to sacrifice a small mammal to recall the soul fragment that had been released from its container. According to Virgo Black the fourth, a necromancer, this was significantly lower than the cost of a human sacrifice that was required to bring a full soul to the living realm.
Once he had six-eighths of Voldemort's soul, Sirius could see flashes of the Dark Lord's thoughts. Of course, he had to be close to the wizard to be able to do so.
Sirius ended the edited version of the past few months, watching the shocked expressions of the Death Eaters.
'Of course,' he continued. 'I had needed the man himself if I were to possess him fully. This is where you come in, Lucy!' He added cheekily, causing the blond man (who till then, had been caught up in the fact that he actually had a Horcrux in his house) to start.
'See, I knew you wouldn't hesitate to give up my location to Voldemort here. So you lead the wanker straight to me where I was happily waiting for him with everything prepared.'
Of course, Sirius ruminated. Fudge and the public not knowing about Voldemort's return was also part of the plan. That would make sure that no awkward questions were asked. It was a tricky thing though, as Dumbledore could very well prove to be more persuasive.
Convincing Harry was also tricky. The boy had been quite upset to find out that Sirius had aided in the Minister's belief that Voldemort had not returned. However, Sirius had won the boy over when he mentioned that Voldemort would not bother him ever again after the plan was executed. The prospect of having the man at his beck and call also helped matters.
'As soon as I saw that snake, I knew that it was another Horcrux.' Sirius continued speaking. 'So with the final bits of Voldemort's soul now in place, I could fully bind him.'
He removed an old fashioned oil lamp from a pocket in his robes. 'I think you have heard of genies? They are a result of a fusion of an Old Persian ritual and an old South American Voodoo ritual that bound a man, heart, body, mind and soul to another person, or in this case his bloodline. So Tommy here is fully mine! And he cannot even attempt to fight back! After all, he has no free thought.'
'Well, he is actually mine and Harry's and also any descendant of Harry's' Sirius amended, a shark-like grin spread across his face. 'Which means that, you lot, as Voldemort's servants, now belong to me!'
'Now as your new master, I have my first order.' Sirius said in a business-like tone. 'Swear the loyalty of your entire line to my line. Swear fealty to the Potter-Black clan.'
'Why should we?' A voice jeered. 'What will you do if we refuse? Personally I think you are just bluffing, Black!'
Lazily looking at the man, Sirius just said in a sing-song voice, 'Ooooh, Tommy.'
Voldemort vanished in a puff of smoke.
A minute passed by before the defiant Death Eater doubled up in pain as he felt the magical connexions to his family being severed.
As Voldemort reappeared, Sirius said pleasantly. 'As of five minutes ago, the Selwyn family is no more. All the members have been eradicated in a tragic fire.' Looking at the Death Eater still doubled over in pain, Sirius continued. 'Congratulations, Robert. You are the last of your line.'
Enraged, Robert Selwyn whipped out his wand. 'AVADA KEDAVRA' he shouted.
The jet of green light came out of the handle of his wand, hitting Robert in the stomach and killing him immediately.
'And now there are no more Selwyns.' Sirius said sardonically. 'I think you all know what happens to a Death Eater if he raises his wand against his master. Check your forearms.'
Cries of shock were heard when they all found the modified family crest of the Potter-Black clan on their forearms instead of the skull and snake of the Dark Mark.
'I have your loyalties, however forcefully taken.' Sirius said silkily. 'But I want the loyalty of your entire lines to mine. So come here and swear. Or else have your family eradicated by my very immortal, very deadly, and very skilled servant. I will point out now that the Blacks are related to all of you twits either by marriage or by blood. So whatever you decide, I will win. You only have a choice. Live now and enjoy your wealth with your lines continuing, or become extinct like old Selwyn here while all your family heirlooms, treasures and wealth become mine.'
'Oh, and Lucy, I would be the first to swear loyalty if I were you. As it is, currently I am rather ticked off by you freely putting my son in danger. I mean, where's the family loyalty, huh?' Sirius gave the blond a mocking look of hurt. 'Also, don't forget. Draco and Narcissa are in the house too. So it won't be that much of a stretch for Tommy here to kill them.'
Led by a trembling Lucius Malfoy, the Death Eaters stood up, one by one and came forward to carry out Sirius' instructions.
‘Good,’ Said Sirius once the last of the Death Eaters was done. ‘Now, where is Wormtail?’ flicking his head towards Voldemort, he said dismissively. ‘Get that rat here.’
In a few moments, Sirius was staring at the trembling form of his former friend with a nasty smile on his face.
‘Hello, Peter,’ he said ominously. ‘You must be wondering why it is that I am sitting here in such … company … well, the details are sketchy, but the gist is that I now control Voldemort here. Meaning I control you.’ He grinned maliciously, showing off all his newly replaced white teeth. ‘I am so going to make you wish that you had never escaped Azkaban a second time.’ Looking around him, he addressed the other Death Eaters. ‘Now, I know you aren’t happy that I took control and all, so here’s something that I hope will make up for it. I give you the man who made all of this’ he swept his hand around him to refer to the current situation, ‘possible. Do with him what you want. Just keep him alive. At least for … say, twelve years. After that, feel free to exterminate him.’
Standing up, Sirius left the room. As the door closed behind him, he smiled as he heard the first salvo of screams coming from Pettigrew. Turning on his heel, he headed home to tell Harry about his success. The boy would be relieved to know that Voldemort no longer posed a threat.
Vengeance was his.