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This book was automatically created by FLAG on September 8th, 2011, based on content retrieved from http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5402147/. The content in this book is copyrighted by Epic Solemnity or their authorised agent(s). All rights are reserved except where explicitly stated otherwise. This story was first published on September 26th, 2009, and was last updated on June 6th, 2011. Any and all feedback is greatly appreciated - please email any bugs, problems, feature requests etc. to flag@erayd.net.

Table of Contents

Summary 1. Part I Chapter 1 2. Part I Chapter 2 3. Part I Chapter 3 4. Part I Chapter 4 5. Part I Chapter 5 6. Part I Chapter 6 7. Part I Chapter 7 8. Part I Chapter 8 9. Part I Chapter 9 10. Part I Chapter 10 11. Part I Chapter 11 12. Part I Chapter 12 13. Part I Chapter 13 14. Part I Chapter 14 15. Part I Chapter 15 16. Part I Chapter 16 17. Part I Chapter 17 18. Part I Chapter 18 19. Part I Chapter 19 20. Part I Chapter 20 21. Part I Chapter 21 22. Part I Chapter 22 23. Part I Chapter 23 24. Part I Chapter 24 25. Part I Chapter 25 26. Part I Chapter 26 27. Part I Chapter 27 28. Part I Chapter 28 29. Part I Chapter 29
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30. Part I Chapter 30 31. Part I Chapter 31 32. Part I Chapter 32 33. Part II Chapter 1 34. Part II Chapter 2 35. Part II Chapter 3 36. Part II Chapter 4 37. Part II Chapter 5 38. Part II Chapter 6 39. Part II Chapter 7 40. Part II Chapter 8 41. Part II Chapter 9 42. Part II Chapter 10 43. Part II Chapter 11 44. Part II Chapter 12 45. Part II Chapter 13 46. Part II Chapter 14 47. Part II Chapter 15 48. Part II Chapter 16 49. Part II Chapter 17 50. Part II Chapter 18 51. Part II Chapter 19 52. Part II Chapter 20 53. Part II Chapter 21 54. Part II Chapter 22 55. Part II Chapter 23 56. Part II Chapter 24 57. Part II Chapter 25 58. Part II Chapter 26 59. Part II Chapter 27 60. Part II Chapter 28 61. Part II Chapter 29 62. Part II Chapter 30 63. Part II Chapter 31 64. Part II Chapter 32
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65. Part II Chapter 33 66. Part II Chapter 34 67. Part II Chapter 35 68. Part II Chapter 36 69. Part II Chapter 37 70. Part II Chapter 38 71. Part II Chapter 39

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Summary

COMPLETE: LV/HP: AU: Raised hating Muggles, Harry arrives at Hogwarts a bitter boy. Unusually intelligent, he's recruited by both the Unspeakables and the Death Eaters at a young age. As he grows older, he finds himself woven into the mystery of his pare

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Part I Chapter 1

There is a "Lord Voldemort" in this story, but he's not very active. There is a Tom Marvolo Riddle. He's a very high end politician in this world. Warnings: SLASH LV/HP. Dark/bitter/cunning/smart Harry. Also, Harry WILL be a Death Eater in the beginning. Summary: Raised hating Muggles, Harry arrives at Hogwarts a bitter boy. Unusually intelligent, he's recruited by both the Unspeakables and the Death Eaters. He becomes an Unspeakable young, and finds himself intrigued by the Veil and working with magic. His loyalty is not that to the Ministry, or the Death Eaters, but to himself. Thinking that joining the Death Eaters will prepare him for his own future and satisfy his need to destroy Muggles, he joins. But he finds himself falling deeper with the Death Eaters than he originally thought. Not only does he struggle to balance Unspeakable work, Hogwarts, and Death Eaters, but he also finds himself woven into the mystery of his parentage. Notes: This is my first fic on this site. Harry's true parentage should be a large part in this story. His father, especially, will play a big role. Also, a thanks to Itallia for editing this chapter. Prologue The woman held the newborn baby tightly against her bosom as she waited for the door to the orphanage to open. Logically, she should have rapped on the door and ran after placing the child on the doorstep. Instead, she found herself frozen in place, unable to react even when the door opened. This wasn't like her. Usually she was sharp-witted and quick. "Can I help you?" The voice was warm enough, Lily noted subconsciously. She clutched at the baby, clearing her throat when her voice got caught. Opening her mouth, she faltered once again as her emerald eyes took in the woman before her. The elderly woman had brown hair tied to the nape of her neck. Smile lines creased around her mouth and eyes. Outwardly, she appeared kind enough, gentle enough, to raise her son. Lily bowed her head, a hood covering her appearance from the Muggle woman across from her. She took in the small baby that slept peacefully in her arms. The baby, no more than a
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few weeks old, was a precious and painful sight. She couldn't keep him, not no. Her arms extended. They felt like weights as she handed over the baby to the Muggle woman. Even Lily noted how much she shook. "H-here," she whispered. "Please, take him." The Muggle's eyes widened and she quickly took the newborn child from her arms when she observed how much Lily was shuddering. "Are you alright, dear?" Lily remained silent, staring at the small baby, now in the Muggle's arms. Merlin, she knew this was for the best, yet it didn't seem like such a good idea when she saw her own son in a stranger's arms. "Dear?" "Izar" Lily strangled into a hoarse whisper. "His name Harrison" her lips quivered from beneath her hood and she felt a small part of her die as the Muggle cradled the black-haired little babyher baby, but no longer hers. "Izar?" The woman questioned, a frown creasing her lips. "His name is Izar Harrison?" No. Harrison was the middle name and Izar the first. But Lily only nodded jerkily, backing away. "Take good care of my baby," she moaned in despair before turning and running. Tears burned her eyes, blinding her path. "Wait!" The Muggle called after her. But Lily knew she wouldn't follow, not with a small child in her arms: A child that she bore and gave birth to, but that was no longer hers. It was for the best. Chapter One "Freak," the lips parted and spit flew. Izar flinched away from the droplets of saliva, trying not to let the bigger boy bother him. His shoulders were drawn up defensively and his eyes were directed toward the swings. A soft growl escaped his lips and his fingers curled inward into fists. "You're a freak, a freak, freak, freak!" The boy laughed, pushing Izar. The dark-haired boy stumbled, trying to gather his footing. The toe of his boot hit the rocks and he went down hard, scarping his knees and palms. The children laughed. Izar laid there, staring blankly at the blood on his skin. His light charcoal-green eyes longingly watched the crimson trail of blood dripping around his wrist. No tears fell when
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the larger boy kicked him hard in the ribs and turned to leave. Tears had stopped long ago. Instead, the pale charcoal-green eyes turned from his blood to the boy's back. His lips thinned and a fury burned inside his chest. Izar's breathing rasped and he struggled to sit up. Around him, the world spun and he was more than aware of the other children watching him from afar. No one ever approached him. They were either too afraid of him or they were afraid of getting targeted by Louis, the orphanage bully. Still, Izar despised those other children. They were weak. They were too afraid, too stupid. He glowered, holding his bruised stomach as he stood up and left the courtyard. It was his own fault anyway. He knew better than to go to the courtyard at this time. He stalked through the orphanage that had been his home for eleven years. Nothing changed. It was still old and worn down. It wasn't dirty, per say, but there was updating to be done and no potential parents felt comfortable enough to adopt a child from an orphanage so run down. "Are you alright, Izar?" One of the caretakers murmured, her expression carefully expressing her lack of concern. The caretakers here learned not to comfort and coddle him, not when he had so furiously warded them off many times before. He hated them. Even if they knew the situation, they never helped matters. Izar passed her without a word, hurrying up to his room that he shared with a younger boy. He was better than them, Izar knew. Nursing his scraped palms, Izar entered his room and collapsed on the bed. The thin mattress groaned as it collided with the rusty springs. Paying no heed to the blood on his hands, Izar picked up the side of the mattress and took out a bit of parchment he had hidden there. Staring at the letter, he allowed a small smile to cross his lips. Hogwarts. Cradling the letter to his chest, Izar closed his eyes, imagining the world of witchcraft and wizardry. Blood stained the parchment, but he didn't notice nor care. He was imagining a world where he was like all the others, a world where children wouldn't tease him because he was different. And most importantly, he was starved for all the knowledge he could attain in this new world. Even at his young age, Izar knew the importance of intelligence. But most of all, Izar was thrilled at the chance to prove himself to everyone. He wanted to make a name for himself in the wizarding world. He didn't want to be just an orphan, or the small boy everyone could pick on, nohe wanted to use his special powers to his own advantage. Ever since Izar was young, he noticed he wasn't like the other children here. He could
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manipulate things to his own liking. There were times when he concentrated really, really hard; he could move toys or other mundane objects across the room. There were also other times where accidents happened accidents that Izar always found fascinating. There was the time where Louis had fallen to his knees out of breath when Izar had been especially angry. Just thinking about it made Izar's fingers tremble with excitement. "Izar?" Izar flinched, stuffing the parchment under his pillow and turning toward the doorway. Another caretaker he was familiar with, Julian, stood near another woman, an older woman who was unrecognizable to Izar. "A Professor McGonagall is here to see you." Izar straightened up from his lounged position, curiosity sparking. With sharp and observant eyes, he watched as McGonagall nodded stridently to Julian before entering the room. Izar examined the way the older woman, McGonagall, strolled. She had an uptight stance, clearly suggesting a stern attitude. "Mr. Harrison, it's a pleasure to meet you. I assume you got your Hogwarts letter?" McGonagall questioned once Julian had left the two alone. Izar stared calmly at the woman, his eyes raking over her. She didn't look anything special. He couldn't sense anything abnormal about her like he could himself. She appeared the same as any normal human being. Izar was a bit disappointed. He had thought that wizards and witches would carry themselves a bit differently from everyday men and women. "Yes Professor," he whispered respectfully as he continued studying her in rapture. The professor seemed to stiffen and her eyes narrowed as she took him in. She was observing him just as carefully as he was observing her. He didn't mind the scrutiny. He remained expressionless, allowing the woman her time to assess him. Something in her posture shifted. Charcoal-green eyes zeroed in on her stiffening spine and her unsettled expression. The unsettlement crossed her features just briefly before she masked it expertly. Izar raised his eyebrows in acknowledgement. "I am here to assist you with your shopping, Mr. Harrison," she continued, her voice hard and stern, yet her eyes tried to take on a gentler approach.
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"Shopping?" Izar asked naively. He assumed she meant shopping for school supplies, for wizard supplies. His pulse jumped at the prospect of that but he sobered quickly. "But I don't have any money, Professor." "There is a fund Hogwarts takes out for orphaned students, Mr. Harrison," she offered him a smile he didn't return. He hated being reminded he was an orphan, abandoned as a mere baby. Her smile wavered into that of a stern line. "Would you like to accompany me today?" "I would enjoy that, Professor." For the first time, in a long time, he offered another human a smile. From the look of McGonagall's expression, Izar assumed he needed more work. {Death of Today} Izar pulled at his robes, straightening out the small wrinkles. He walked the length of the platform, still in silent shock at everything around him. Outwardly, he appeared disinterested and collected. Inside though, he was having trouble keeping everything he learned in memory. There was so much of it. He hated not being caught up with the rest of the children. From what he learned from McGonagall, most of these children were raised in this magical world. They knew more than he did. And Izar would try to remedy that as soon as possible. After getting over the initial shock of Diagon Alley, Izar followed McGonagall through town. Together, they purchased the required objects on the list and only the required objects on the list. There were more books Izar would have liked to get and a few more wizarding robes. But he realized he was on a budget, especially being an orphan. Clearing his throat, Izar wandered toward the train aimlessly. There were students and parents everywhere, seeing their children off to another year at Hogwarts. He eyed the parents, watching as mothers kissed their children's reddened cheeks and as fathers proudly clasped their son's or daughter's shoulders. Izar liked to pride himself on being independent, but he was only eleven, and watching the exchanges gave him a brief sting. One handsome couple caught Izar's interest. A father and son, by the looks of their similar blond hair, were saying farewell in their own particular way. They stood stiffly, separated a good distance away. They almost appeared formal in their departure, neither of them showing any signs of being affected by the upcoming absences. Their attire appeared spun in the finest silk and material. Even the buttons and stitching looked luxurious. Izar found his feet unwillingly bringing him closer to the two. The entrance to the train was just near the two, so it wouldn't appear too odd for Izar to be walking closer. The father, his tall frame sticking sorely out from the crowd, glanced at Izar dismissingly
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before turning away. It wasn't until the man gave a double take when Izar allowed himself to become rigid. He found himself under the inspection of frozen grey eyes. For the first time in ages, Izar found himself feeling vulnerable to another. Neither McGonagall nor any of the other adult witches and wizards in Diagon Alley had made him feel defenseless. Izar's expression fell for just a moment before he quickly constructed his mask back in place. The longer he found himself under the stare of the older wizard, the stronger he felt himself grow. This was good practice for other wizards that may take Izar off guard. This this blond man had a bit of power and allure that Izar had hoped wizards had. When he had met McGonagall, he was disappointed by how much she resembled every other non-magical man and woman. He had thought that every wizard and witch would be the same. But Izar noticed this man was different from them all: he wasn't ordinary, he was powerful. "A first year?" The blonde boy whispered to his father after he noticed his guardian's averted attention. Izar approached the two quicker, eager to get on the train and away from the older man's stare. He passed them, keeping his eyes on the man's grey ones just as coldly. Inside, he was shuddering at the power of the gaze. Once he passed, he heard the man's voice a deep silky baritone. "He will no doubt be a Slytherin, Draco. Stick close to him; help guide him through his first year." Izar's shoulders drooped as soon as he locked himself inside an empty compartment. Slamming the back of his neck against the glass compartment door, he gave a shaky breath. His hands were trembling and his pulse was beating at its highest. He didn't understand why he was reacting in such a way. Yes, he felt defenseless and vulnerable around the blond man, but there was more to it. Izar had almost felt the static around the older man. It was similar to both electricity and heavy air. It was almost like Izar had sensed the man's magic. But that should be impossible, shouldn't it? Even for wizards that wasn't normal. Was it? Still, he couldn't help but allow a smile to stretch his lips. Finally, he had seen a real wizard, a real magical figure that stuck out from non-magical folk. Izar only hoped he was like that blond man. He hoped he wasn't like McGonagall or the other adults and children here. He didn't want to be like non-magical people like those at the orphanage. Just thinking about being normal like them made Izar's pulse continue at a high rate. The train lurched to a start and Izar clutched the door for balance. He breathed against the glass, trying to calm himself.
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He was off to a new life, a new world, leaving behind his horrible orphanage. But for how long until he returned? A sharp rap at the door had Izar straightening up quickly, neutralizing his expression when he saw the blond boy on the other side with a few other children behind him. Before Izar opened the door, he pondered on this predicament called 'friends.' He had never had a friend at the orphanage. He had gone through eight solid years before he realized he didn't need anyone that close to him. He had seen the workings of the orphanage, observed the other children and their friendships. Never once had he seen friends who stuck to the definition of loyalty. There was always a situation in which a friend stabbed the other in the back to climb up in the rankings of popularity or in hopes to gain something from the betrayal. It was human nature to think and act for yourself and only yourself. There was no such thing as friendship to Izar. However, he had to make a decision with this blond boy. Perhaps he could use the blond boy as an ally, not a friend. He would need to keep the boy at arm's length, only relying on the blond for information and the likes. Judging from the other boy's face through the compartment, Izar knew that the boy was thinking the same. Reluctantly, Izar opened the compartment, allowing the small group of four to enter. "Do you mind if we sit here? Everywhere else is full," the boy drawled, sitting down without an invitation. The girl sat down next to him, leaving the two larger boys to squeeze together on Izar's side. "No, I don't mind," Izar acknowledged, eyeing the boy was it Draco? That was what his father called him. "Your lenses, where did you get them? They're breathtaking." Izar frowned at the dark-haired girl as she leaned forward, eyeing him in interest. "My lenses?" He didn't wear glasses. "Yes, your eyes are the most unique color, they must be lenses. Drake, do you see them? Tarnished silver with flecks of acidic green Slytherin colors. They're brilliant, where did you get them?" She repeated as if he were thick. "They're my real eyes," he murmured darkly, irritated at her overwhelming presence. He turned away from her and onto Draco. The blond was clearly amused at Izar's irritation. "I take it you're looking to be Sorted in Slytherin?" Izar questioned lightly. He had read Hogwarts: A History after he purchased it. He knew of the four Houses and
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their qualities. Izar secretly wished he'd be Sorted into Slytherin. Everything sounded spectacular at the castle and his excitement had only grown after reading about it. Now, on the train to Hogwarts, he could barely contain his relief at being away from the orphanage and with his own 'kind.' Draco smirked, his eyes becoming hooded. "I'm already in Slytherin. This is my second year at the school. Pansy, Crabbe, and Goyle are both second years as well. All of our families have been sorted into Slytherin many generations back. How about your family?" Before Izar could clearly understand the boy's question, Draco continued. "Oh, I apologize; I haven't properly introduced myself yet. I'm Draco Malfoy." A pale hand held itself out toward Izar. He looked at it just briefly before reaching out his own hand. "Izar Harrison," he greeted back. Before he could touch Draco's hand, the blond dropped his offered appendage quickly. Izar blinked, confusion breaking through his sturdy mask. What had he done wrong? Why was Draco's face slowly turning into a sour expression? "Harrison?" Draco repeated his last name, the scowl on his face turning into a disgusted grimace. "You are a Mudblood?" "I'm unfamiliar with the term 'Mudblood,'" Izar repeated coldly, feeling his barriers rise at the dismayed glances he was receiving from the lot of Slytherins in the compartment. "Of course you would be unfamiliar with it," Draco stressed, leaning back away from Izar. "Mudblood, otherwise known as Muggle-born you were raised by Muggle parents." Seeing Izar's blank expression, Draco gave a tight laugh, his eyes taunting Izar's lack of knowledge. Izar immediately felt belittled by this boy. "Muggles are non-magical people. They are the pathetic lot of this world. I, a pure-blood wizard, am the superior in the wizarding world. We don't have a drop of Muggle blood in our family line. And you, a Mudblood, are the scum at the bottom of my feet." Izar sat there numbly, unable to believe something like this could happen here in this world. He thought every wizard was the same "Crabbe, Goyle, show this scum out of our compartment. I can't believe father was wrong in his assumption." Before Izar could comprehend it, two hands grabbed his arms, hauling him up from his seat. Izar stiffened at the contact, his mind flashing back to the orphanage when the children used to bully him. He shut himself down as the two boys pulled him out into the hallway and pushed him to the floor. Izar landed on his knees just as the compartment door slammed shut behind him. Turning to look over his shoulder, he caught sight of Draco's revolted face before the blinds were pulled shut.
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Izar stayed on his hands and knees in the dark hallway. No students were mulling about at the moment. Instead, he could hear their cheery voices coming from the compartments. He bowed his head, staring blankly at the carpeted floor. He finally had a name for non-magical folk. Muggles. Those children in the orphanage were Muggles, the very same ones Izar hated. Muggles he hated them all. Yet, apparently he was just like them according to Draco. Izar was a Muggle-born, a child born to non-magical parents. The very same Muggle parents who abandoned him at the Muggle hell. Izar gave a hissed sigh between his clenched teeth as his fingers clawed into the carpet. His shoulders shook in suppressed rage and sadness. Draco may be 'purer' than Izar. And pure-bloods may be the superior race, but Izar knew one thing. He would be the best damn Mudblood the wizarding world had ever seen. He would surpass everything Draco did and he would be more powerful than any pure-blood. Izar wouldn't allow himself to be compared to the filthy Muggles simply because Izar knew he was better than those vile creatures, those ordinary creatures. He wouldn't be ordinary. He had a thirst and a hunger to prove himself. "Er are you alright mate? Need a hand?" Another pale hand was thrust into Izar's face. His shoulders trembled once more before his head slowly arched up, staring a redhead in the eye. The younger redhead backed away hesitantly, his hand falling uncertainly to his side. "No," Izar whispered, baring his teeth. "I don't need help. Not from you; not from anyone." He stood up and brushed passed the stunned redhead. On his path to prove himself, he wouldn't need anyone. No friends. No help. {Death of Today} Izar still felt a bit cold and shaken as he waited for the hat to finish its song. Despite being bitter and moody, he had taken notice of the beauty Hogwarts presented. It portrayed a warm glow to the students, yet the shadows were also alluring, welcoming an escape to Izar if he needed it. There were probably several places he could find in this castle to hide away from everyone. He couldn't wait to explore. He couldn't wait to learn and to advance himself ahead of the students in his class.
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Knowledge was power. Wasn't it? As far as Izar knew, it was. The smarter someone was, the harder it was to take them down and get the better of them. Right now, Izar was clueless about the politics in this world, about the magic, the spells and the people. He didn't know anything about wizarding traditions or how one interacted with the betters. He had a lot to learn in seven years. His fists clenched as he waited for McGonagall to call his name. He was more than aware of the eyes on his back. He knew they belonged to none other than Draco Malfoy. But Izar wouldn't let the blond rile him up at school. "Harrison, Izar," McGonagall spoke sharply, clearly. Izar moved passed the solid forms of the other first years. He stepped up the wooden stairs, heading toward the hat. Whatever would transpire here would alter his future; it would either change things for the better or for the worse. A House was a very important factor in the Hogwarts life. But the Sorting Hat was skilled in the art of minds and character. Only the Sorting Hat knew which House you would be best fit for. Before he sat down on the stool, he met eyes with the Headmaster. It was the first he had really looked at the head of the table. And Izar paused in his advance, feeling the same sensation he had with Draco Malfoy's father, only this time, it was a great deal stronger. Izar swallowed at the amount of static and hair-raising power surrounding the man. Those kind blue eyes twinkled back at Izar, making the man appear ignorant of his own power. The old man was pure power. Izar continued forward after the Headmaster gave him a warm nod. Izar had to get a hold of himself. But even his internal scolding didn't stop his body from shaking at the relapse of being close to the old man. Just as he sat, he caught black eyes looking back at him. Another professor, with alluring power similar to that of Draco Malfoy's father, was sitting near the end of the Head Table. The hat covered his eyes a moment later. "Ravenclaw!"

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Part I Chapter 2

{Note:} I would like to express my gratitude to those of you who took the time to review. It means a lot to me. TIME SKIP Chapter Two Charcoal-green eyes surveyed the ball before him, feeling his disgust and boredom heightening. How could people enjoy these things? It was all about status, about power and flaunting your richery and popularity. Izar leaned against the wall by the refreshments, eyeing the dancing couples and the men and women speaking to one another off the dance floor. It was a large, summer Ministry ball. The Ministry seemed to hold an extravagant ball a few times during the year, using the community of wizards' tax money as means to pay for the ridiculous, foreign dishes and the silks and diamonds scattered across the large room. Izar didn't find it flattering in the least. It was strange how many leaps and bounds he went through in the past four years in the wizarding world. He had arrived at Hogwarts as a poor, orphan boy with unsure expectations. Granted, he was still poor and still and orphan, but he had learned so much at his four years at Hogwarts. His bitter and cold mood had yet to change as well. He didn't socialize with the students unless it was absolutely necessary and he formed no particular bonds to anyone at the school. The first two and a half years, Draco Malfoy had always been a thorn at his side, muttering 'Mudblood' every time in the hallways or ridiculing him. Eventually, the thick-headed blond had begun to shut up when Izar didn't rise to the bait. Being a Mudblood didn't bother him. He wasn't necessarily proud of being so closely related to the filthy Muggles, but he was the best damned Mudblood in this wizarding world. Or, at least, he would be the best. Even Izar wasn't arrogant enough to admit he didn't need to learn anymore. Because he did need to learn more. There was never a shortage of knowledge, especially for him.

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Last year, in his fourth year, he had taken the same O.W.L's the fifth years had taken. By request of Headmaster Dumbledore, Izar had taken the exams to prove if he was ready to skip a grade. Skipping a year at Hogwarts had only happened once before. Surprisingly, it was done by a female Hufflepuff a few decades ago. Not to Izar's surprise, he had passed with high scores. He never told a soul that he was now skipping fifth year next year to start his sixth year. The only other people who knew were a selected few at the Ministry, the Professors, and the Unspeakables. The Unspeakables Izar exhaled, his eyes searching for a few Unspeakables littered around the party. Not many people knew their identity, only that they worked at the Ministry. Izar had gotten to know all of them simply because he had been offered a job there at the end of his fourth year after he had taken his O.W.L.s. Izar had been taken aback at their request to practice his intelligence in their labs. He had taken the job. Magics and magical theory had always intrigued Izar. He had been ecstatic to accept the job. Surprisingly enough, he had enjoyed the job position. All he did, all day, was experiment with magic and the theory of it all. The Headmaster had agreed to let Izar work with the Unspeakables, but only for the summer. His fifth year or sixth year started up in a few weeks. And his fifteenth birthday would be in a few weeks as well. His birthday was just two weeks before Hogwarts started up again. A fourteen-year-old Unspeakable Izar thought it amusing. Unfortunately, he had to continue staying at the orphanage. Each time he returned to the orphanage, his hate for Muggles grew fiercer. "You look bored, Izar," a voice drawled seductively next to him. Izar turned to look at the short girl next to him, offering her a brief, small smile. "Daphne," he greeted coolly before turning back to the politics. The blond Slytherin girl, in Draco's year, was one out of three people he tolerated at times. The majority of the time, she just got on his nerves, only because she seemed to understand him the best and she always seemed to try to pull him out of his cold shell. He wasn't interested in friendship, or being as lively as she wanted him to be. "Daddy says you're skipping your fifth year and entering your sixth. The same year you should have been at the start." "Yes," Izar replied shortly, irritated that it wasn't kept under closer wraps. He didn't want the news to spread that he had skipped a grade. Daphne's father, Mr. Greengrass, worked at
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the Ministry, and was a school Governor of Hogwarts with Lucius Malfoy. Izar was sure Lucius had told already told Draco. The little urchin was probably stalking around the ball, looking to confront him about it. It wasn't that Izar was uncomfortable about the fact that he had skipped years. In actuality, it had been a relief when he was allowed to skip a year, only because he had been bored with the lack of challenge. But he found the drama of the other students so tiring and a waste of time. At least no one would know that he was an Unspeakable, save for Dumbledore and the Unspeakables themselves. Not even the Minister wanted to dabble with the Unspeakableschoosing to stay away at a great distance. "Would you like to dance?" Daphne asked, leaning against the wall next to Izar. She already knew the answer to her question. He didn't feel the need to respond. "My father dragged me here tonight. I only wanted to catch up on my reading." She said airily. Izar turned to look at Daphne, his eyes hooded at the taunting smirk on her face. "Don't mock me," he murmured, pushing off the wall. "You don't fool me, you hate reading and you love these these repulsive social gatherings." His hand motioned to the pure-blood glory. She laughed lightly, her dark green eyes bright. "I know you'd rather have that handsome face of yours buried in a dusty book." She stood up, advancing closer to Izar. Her eyes were level with his own, proving how short Izar was. Daphne was the shortest witch in her year, yet she was attractive and her body didn't look awkward with being so small. "Which brings me to my question as to why you, Izar, of all people are here? At a Ministry ball full of those pure-blood people you hate?" He didn't necessarily hate pure-bloods. He didn't care for their haughty attitude and their assumptions that they were superior. They may be purer, but certainly not superior. Muggles and Muggle-borns were the kind he hated the most. He detested his own kind, yet he always tried to make the best of it and improve himself. Izar took a step backward, flashing her a smirk. "It's too bad your 'daddy' can't tell you everything, now isn't it, Greengrass?" With that parting remark, he turned his heel to escape her and her talkative mouth. "You owe me a dance later," she warned softly after him. Like hell. He couldn't dance and he wouldn't make a fool of himself by having a female lead. Because he just knew Daphne would be the one to lead. {Death of Today} Lucius listened to the chatter of those around him. It wasn't very surprising to note that
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most of the crowd had been drawn to none other than Tom Riddle. The majority of these Ministry workers weren't Death Eaters and they didn't know the very high end politician was scheming against them. But it was hopeless to try to avoid Tom Riddle. They were moths to his flame. Tom Riddle, also known as Lord Voldemort to some, was the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic, and at times, he filled in for the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement when Amelia Bones had to take sick days for her terminal cancer. Outwardly, Tom appeared around sixty years of age with black hair streaked with silver and a slow-aging face. His eyes were dark and piercing, but not nearly as piercing as his true eyes. Lucius had seen through the charm the Dark Lord placed on appearance many times. His true form wasn't a day over thirty the very same age when the Dark Lord became immortal. Thick, dark hair replaced the silver and his skin was flawless. One could say that the Dark Lord was attractive, but the Death Eaters were more attracted to the man's powers and ideals. Usually, Tom Riddle, the politician, kept the conversation flowing and never seemed to leave someone out of the loop. Yet, tonight, he seemed distracted. And Lucius was the only wizard who noticed where Tom's attention was. The dark eyes were following the lithe form of Izar Harrison. And Lucius didn't blame the Dark Lord's fixation. Not only was Izar Harrison a very attractive-if not beautiful- young man, but he carried himself in a way that no other has ever done so before. It was almost a self-loathing, yet confident swagger. It was two conflicting emotions. How could someone hate oneself, yet feel secure and confident? Lucius hadn't seen Izar since the boy's first day on the platform, yet Draco has written him on more than one occasion about the younger boy. Gone was the trepidation and fright at arriving at a new school, a new life, and in replace, an intelligence and maturity clouded Izar's face. Lucius had never seen such maturity on one so young. The young man had grown up beautifully. He walked with a deadly grace, fitting for his rather lithe and petite body. His black hair was crimped in natural waves while a few unruly strands had a curl to them. The face was purely aristocratic; a trait only pure-bloods seemed to share. The high cheekbones, the slightly hallowed cheeks, and the thin neck all pointed aristocratic. Yet, the boy claimed he was a mudblood. But those eyes Lucius was suspicious of the boy's parentage. He hadn't shared his opinion with his son, who had learned from the boy himself that he was a muggle raised child. Nonetheless, Lucius was proud that his Lord was interested in the boy. Izar Harrison was a young prodigy if his test scores had anything to go by.
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"His name is Izar Harrison," Lucius whispered quietly in the Dark Lord's ear when the man looked back at the boy. Tom's eyebrows heightened. "Is that so?" The man tried to feign disinterest once he learned the insignificant surname, but Lucius wouldn't have any of it. He felt something pull him toward the young man. The boy would be a good asset to their side. And he knew the Dark Lord felt that something just as Lucius had. The Dark Lord wasn't foolish. He knew a potential follower just as much as Lucius. And the fact that the Dark Lord had zeroed his attention on the boy as soon as he entered was saying something. "Yes, he is a declared Mudblood," Lucius agreed softly, understanding the Dark Lord's response. "But the boy has an unusual first name and his charisma does not point to a Muggle raised child." Lucius paused just briefly, shooting a Ministry worker a warning stare as the foolish man tried to approach them. "He lives in an orphanage." This piqued the Dark Lord's interest. Lucius knew very little about Tom Riddle, but he did know the man was raised in an orphanage. It was always difficult trying to act normally around 'Tom Riddle' in public. Because when Tom Riddle became Lord Voldemort in front of his Death Eaters, he didn't accept disrespect or cheek. It was not allowed to talk out of turn with the Dark Lord, and at times, some Death Eaters suffered at meetings for their lack of respect during the day at the Ministry. One just had to remember that the Dark Lord was superior and would always be superior no matter if he looked like a friendly sixty year old politician or a devilishly handsome Dark Lord with a hostile disposition. "He resides in St. Patrick's Orphanage, a small, Muggle run-down orphanage near London. The turnout rate for adoption is the lowest in the region." Lucius looked to see if the Dark Lord was engrossed. The politician motioned for him to continue. "Apparently Mr. Harrison has no documented birth parents. He does not strike me as a Muggle-born. This boy he's a pure genius." Lucius watched as Izar pulled away from Ms. Greengrass. The boy was bored, his expression clearly signaling as such. "It's amusing, Lucius, that you express such an interest in a boy that may be the very same kind we kill." Lucius stiffened, realizing he may have stepped over bounds at expressing his interest in a declared Mudblood. "Alas, I feel the draw to him, just as strongly as you do. If not more" Tom Riddle stood up, casting Lucius a cold look, yet his eyes were hungry. "Introduce me to the child." Lucius cast a smug, lipless smile.
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{Death of Today} Izar pulled out a pocket watch, looking at the time. Only a few minutes left Owen Welder, one of the head Unspeakables, forced Izar to attend the Ministry ball for at least two hours. From what Izar knew, this gathering went on all night. How could anyone enjoy this for the better part of their day? "Mr. Harrison," a voice interrupted Izar's musings. Without looking up from his used pocket watch he stole from one of the children at the orphanage, he already knew who stood before him. Three years at Hogwarts had passed before Izar realized the static he could feel from others was his ability to feel and sense magic. As he grew older, he became more sensitive to sensing the magic around him. A good example of his lack of ability at eleven was when he couldn't sense any magic coming from McGonagal, yet now, he could feel her aura quite well. She was a powerful witch, a very light and pure witch, but not nearly as powerful as Dumbledore and Severus Snape. Izar even felt the students' growing magic. Even the objects around the castle carried a signature to them that he could sense. Except he couldn't feel any magic coming from himself. That intrigued him into researching. Apparently there were other magic-sensitive wizards. It was impossible to sense their own aura. Still, Izar felt the need to feel his own aura, and he put that project aside for later. Thankfully, being around Dumbledore had helped Izar control his shaking and relapse from being surrounded by so much power. A part of the reason for being so interested in magic and magical theory was because of his gift of feeling and sensing magic. He enjoyed tapping into the core of magic and stripping the layers, studying each and every characteristic. "Mr. Malfoy," Izar murmured in greeting. He snapped his pocket watch closed before dropping it in his robe pocket. Looking up at the tall and handsome blond, Izar took special interest in tracing the man's face. One thing that hadn't diminished through his years at Hogwarts was his interest in other people. He enjoyed observing them and looking for flaws, for ticks. It appeared that Draco's negative view on Izar hadn't affected his father's own interest. Lucius was observing Izar just as interestedly as Izar was observing him. The cold grey eyes swept the length of his body. "Very flattering robes, Mr. Harrison, for a fitting celebration. I'm assuming the board has invited you here in congratulations for passing your O.W.L.s and continuing on at a higher level?" Izar looked down at his second-hand robes, knowing a taunt when he heard one. He hadn't any money to get decent robes. His paycheck would come to him at the end of the summer. Even then, Izar would probably give most of it to Hogwarts- to pay off some of his loan.
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Without expressing any emotion, he looked back up at the man. "Something like that, Mr. Malfoy." Clearing his throat, he took a step back. "Now if you excuse me, I need to get back to myhome." Before he could turn, he felt the familiar sensation of goose bumps raising the length of his arms. Izar pinpointed it to a strong aura, similar to that of Dumbledore's, but far darker. Slowly, Izar turned to look at the man or woman who had piqued his interest. To his surprise, the man was standing directly behind him. He had to strain his neck back to meet the eyes looking down at him. Izar took a step back again, this time, so he wouldn't have to look like a fool for craning his head back so far. "Mr. Harrison," Lucius' pleased voice tickled his ears. "I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Tom Riddle, the Senior Undersecretary to the Minister." Izar found himself speechless for the first time in years. He was stunned at the power he saw in this man, this stranger. Granted, he had read about Tom Marvolo Riddle in books. The man was a dazzling and successful politician. Seeing him now, Izar noted how tall he was and the way he carried himself with pure arrogance and power. It was what he imagined Dumbledore would stand like if the man wasn't so gentle and kind. And strangely enough, he felt drawn to this man. It was a very strong pull, one that Izar could ignore, but painful not to act upon. Tom Riddle reached out a hand, snapping Izar from his musings. He was weak for dozing off. Why was this man, who was just as powerful as Dumbledore, affecting him so much? He hadn't felt like this since first year when he just discovered the feeling magic. Just as Izar thought Riddle would offer his hand, he was taken aback a second time when the man's hand climbed to grasp his chin instead of his hand. Izar was already looking Riddle in the eye, but the hand to his chin made sure his attention didn't waver. Slowly, if enjoying the sight before him, Riddle turned his face this way and that. "Mr. Harrison, it's a pleasure," Riddle murmured. To Izar, it sounded more like a purr. He filed the information away for later use when he felt shock-like waves traveling across his skin at the taller man's touch. This wasn't normal. It was normal that he could vividly sense the man's power, but his reaction to Riddle was not normal. Riddle's hand dropped from his chin and traveled down the length of his right arm before cool fingers curled around his hand. Izar stood there stupidly as Riddle shook his rather limp hand. Izar looked away from Riddle and toward Lucius Malfoy. Through narrowed eyes, he noticed the blond man's pleased and knowing smirk. Izar didn't like this this secret going on between the two men. He didn't take kindly to be played just because he was younger and
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less pure. Izar grew guarded and aggravated. Why must everything be about blood? He pulled his hand from Riddle's grasp, irritation spreading across his chest. "Whatever game you're playing, I want no part of it." He directed at Riddle, the more powerful source of his frustration. He looked the man in the eye, not at all frightened. "I don't step foot into politics, nor do I ever plan to. And that includes socializing with the likes of the both of you." Shocking orange hair caught his eye and Izar directed his attention to Owen Welder, the Head Unspeakable. "Mr. Welder," Izar raised his voice, catching the man's attention. The Unspeakable was very tall and built muscular. He was a big man with bushy orange hair that spread across his face in a beard. He reminded Izar vividly of Hagrid, the half-giant at Hogwarts. "It's five past nine. May I leave now?" "Ah, my boy!" The man grunted, a pleased smile spreading selfishly across his mouth. He dug into his robe pocket, producing a small book. He tossed it and Izar caught it in one hand. He knew it was the portkey that would bring him back to the charming orphanage. "I'll see you tomorrow," he winked and continued forward, nursing a rather large goblet of wine. Before Izar could activate it, his right wrist was shackled by long fingers. He was tugged rather harshly toward Tom Riddle. Izar could feel the man's anger. Tom's magic become a bit hot and uncomfortable. No doubt because of Izar's disrespect. "I assure you that you're assumptions are ill thought of. There is no 'game' we are playing with you." Dark brown eyes were so close to Izar. No other had ever invaded his space like this man. He found himself locked on the gaze, unable to turn away from the challenge he saw in there. "I find that hard to believe," Izar whispered, trying to pull his wrist away from Tom. The man didn't let go. "Why are you wasting your abundant dark power on being a politician? I can sense something more to you." "This is hardly the place to discuss such matters." Riddle pulled away, looking down at Izar with something akin to admiration. Izar's curiosity piqued when he realized the man wasn't denying his assumptions. He knew there was more to Tom Riddle then what met the eye and Izar wanted to know all of it. It was his nature to know all about something and not just bits and pieces. Yet, he could sense the menace seeping from Riddle. The man was an enigma and also a dangerous wizard. If Izar continued his curiosity, he may find himself in a place he couldn't turn away from. "I'm afraid I'm due back at home," Izar replied sharply, inclined not to mention the orphanage was far from 'home'. When Riddle showed a bit more personality, despite the fact it was lethal, Izar found
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himself more intrigued and more inclined to listen. He didn't like it when people put on a blank mask with him simply because he saw right through it. "I know where to find you." It was both a warning and a promise. Riddle knew about him already and he would also use that to his own advantage. Izar gave a stiff nod, grasping his portkey and tapping it with his wand. It grew hot in his hands. He only had seconds, but it was enough time to catch the predatory glint in the man's eyes. Why did Izar feel as if he just put himself in the predator's grasp? Nonetheless, he wouldn't deny the exhilarating feeling running through him. He had been playing safe for the majority of his life. A little excitement couldn't hurt him. Besides, he had always found the Dark Arts captivating. "I will see you soon," Riddle murmured softly as Izar was pulled away.

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Part I Chapter 3

{Note:} Thanks to those of you who reviewed and read. Chapter Three Izar wrapped the hood securely around his face as he walked down the halls of the Department of Mysteries. The ninth floor of the Ministry was a drop of at least twenty degrees. Unspeakable's cloaks came with hoods and special material that was spelled to keep in body heat. The robes were comfortable enough, and they always seemed to blend into the chambers at the Department which was something Izar preferred. Being in the shadows always comforted him. Glancing down at the ridiculously polished black stone, he studied his gloom reflection that stared back at him. This was his fifth week working here. It took him two long weeks before he knew his way around the Department without getting lost. Most unwelcome guests got lost, and if they entered wrong doors without access, without permission, they would no doubt be very unfortunate to meet the experiments on the other side. The Department of Mysteries was entered by going through a plain corridor. Once the guest entered, they would walk upon the highly polished black floors until they stood in a circular room with twelve doors. The guests would then become dizzy and confused at the doors without handles. Luckily, Unspeakables were welcomed here. The doors wouldn't play tricks on the employees. Still, it came with a trained eye in order to navigate your way around the Department. Without looking up from the ground, Izar could feel the pull to the Death Chamber. He took a deep inhalation, trying to calm his spiking curiosity. The Death Chamber was a large room that held the stone archway the Veil. Izar had been intrigued and obsessed with it ever since he was shown the tour of the Department. Unspeakables typically got to choose where their area of expertise laid. There was the Love Chamber also known as the Ever-locked Room, the Time Chamber, Space Chamber, Thought Chamber, and the Hall of Prophecy. There were also a few rooms in which Unspeakables just experimented with magic to create new and improved health equipment and advanced objects for battle or other useful objects. The latter is where Izar had been assigned. For now. He didn't mind experimenting on things, simply because he enjoyed doing that. Yet he was drawn to the Death Chamber. He
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wanted to work there. Whenever he was curious about something about magic or an object his curiosity always pained him until he quenched that thirst of knowledge. Sighing lightly, Izar entered the door to his right quickly with a palm against the door. It grew hot as it tasted his magical signature before it clicked open. He stepped inside, his eyes briefly studying the tables of Unspeakables who were bent over different items. A few looked up at him just briefly before going back to their work. Their fingers were working diligently, either tinkering with their item, writing furiously with a quill, or using their wand to test the magic. Izar slowly walked over to his bench, feeling relieved to see the stack of his Time-Turners completed. Owen Welder, the Head Unspeakable, had given him the task of completing a half a dozen Time-Turners. It's what every new recruit had to accomplish. There was never a shortage of Time-Turners, unfortunately. While it was very difficult to construct the Time-Turner at first, Izar had grown accustomed to making them. Most of the materials were provided by the Time Chamber; the grain of sands and the unique glass that wouldn't combust with time travel Izar only had to spell the grains of sand. It had been fun- constructing the Turners, but Izar wanted to start on something new today. And with a quick look at the pile, Izar was happy to see a solid eight Time-Turners completed. "Harrison," a voice barked. Izar looked over his shoulder, eyeing the heavy-set man approaching him. "Mr. Welder," Izar greeted softly, his fingers caressing the edge of his stainless steel table. "Have you got a new project for me?" He assumed, because he was only fourteen that he had to be managed and supervised more than the other Unspeakables. The more experienced Unspeakables made their own schedules and started their own projects without word. But Izar would take what he could. When he got older, he would be free to do whatever he pleased. "Not exactly," the man grunted as he came to a stop next to Izar's sitting form. "You wouldn't mind making six more Time-Turners would you? There is an issued demanded for an order of them. You're one of the fastest, kid." The hand that patted him on the back nearly knocked Izar's lungs out. He remained bowed forward from the hit, his eyes narrowing underneath his hood. "Of course, Mr. Welder," he replied silkily. It was the last thing he wanted to do. Bloody Time-Turners. "When would you like them completed?" "Next week, Wednesday."
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Izar flashed the man a tight smile, one that didn't reach his eyes. "They will be completed, Mr. Welder. After which, may I continue off my own? I'd like to try my hand at creating something." The orange beard peeked from beneath the man's hood as the man chuckled richly. "Wouldn't we all like to create the next best thing?" Izar bit the inside of his cheek as his expression remained blank. Welder motioned to the Unspeakables around the room. "Some of us spend years completing that one ideal only to find out its useless to the general public. You won't be able to construct anything overnight, kid, but you may go on your own after the Turners are complete." Owen walked away, chuckling under his breath at the irony of a mere child wanting to invent something. Izar watched the man go, his eyes zeroed on the man's back. "That's what you think," Izar whispered softly, barely loud enough for his own ears. Giving an irritated sigh, he looked at the Time-Turners. He would need to visit the Time Chamber again to gather the needed materials. {Death of Today} Izar dragged his feet toward the orphanage up ahead. He had donned on his Muggle clothing after work and had portkeyed his way over. It was his means of transportation nowadays. He couldn't wait until he was legally of age to apparate. It would make things a lot easier. Granted, he had read about apparating and the techniques, but he had yet to try it. It wasn't legal to apparate at the age of fourteen. Did that include fourteen-year-olds who worked as an Unspeakable? He stumbled on his own feet, grimacing down at his worn sneakers. The lip of his shoes was detaching from the sole. It was making it difficult to walk in and it even looked horrible. If Lucius Malfoy could see him now if the man thought his second-robes had looked horrendous, he hadn't seen Izar's ripped jeans and a worn shirt. All Muggle, of course. The blond would have a heart attack. Izar found that he didn't really care what the blond would think. In fact, he wouldn't mind showing up at the next Ministry Ball in Muggle clothes. Entering the gated orphanage, Izar carefully maneuvered around the Muggle children as they sprinted back and forth in front of the building. Some were playing with chalk while others were playing at the courtyard, enjoying the summer day. Izar paused on the chalked steps to the orphanage, staring out toward the swings. He had always enjoyed the swings when he was younger, yet he never really got the chance to ride them. Louis and a few of his friends had always beat Izar away from the swings. At times,
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when Izar had gotten the chance to swing early in the morning, he found himself being attacked from behind. He was seven when Louis had pushed him off the swing in mid-air. He had chipped a tooth and broken his arm. Those injuries didn't hold a flame to the others he had received in this orphanage. But Izar did learn one thing that day. He would stay away from the swings. Izar clenched his jaw, his eyes brightening. Why must he always reminisce like this? Why couldn't the past just stay buried? Feeling disgusted with the inability to forget Izar entered the dim and depleted orphanage. It smelled of mold and mildew, a scent Izar had gotten used to throughout the years. He always associated mold with Muggles and he always associated musk with orphanages. "Izar," the front woman greeted. "How was your day of work?" Her painted lips parted, revealing her rather dim colored teeth. "Just great," Izar muttered; walking past her, not interested in chit-chat. "You should know you have a visitor in the conference room," she replied cheerfully, not affected by his gloom demeanor. Izar stopped in his tracks, feeling a cold rush down his spine. "A visitor?" he whispered, his eyes averting away from the stairs he was about to climb to the closed door further along the entryway. The conference room was used for visitors and potential parents who were looking to adopt. He figured it was the earlier. He had forgotten all about Tom Riddle. "Yes, a visitor; a very charming man." Her lips melted into a celestial smile. "He arrived about an hour ago. I told him you were working, but he insisted on waiting for you. He's a very," "Charming man, yes, I heard you the first time," Izar spoke dryly, moving passed her and toward the conference room. Was he ready for this? How much threat could Tom Riddle pose at a Muggle orphanage? He opened the door and found his answer within seconds. Yes, Tom Riddle could easily make trouble at a Muggle orphanage. The man, not at all like he appeared yesterday, was lounging in a transfigured chair, his hooded eyes intensely drawn on Izar. Izar immediately felt nude before the man. Earlier, he had boldly proclaimed that he wouldn't mind wearing his Muggle outfit to the next Ministry
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Ball. He discovered that was a fib, especially if Tom Riddle would be attending, because right now, he felt inferior to the man, almost vulnerable. It wasn't a feeling he enjoyed or experienced frequently. The man no longer looked like his sixty year old self. Instead, his thick black hair was tied at the nape of his neck, showing off sharp bone structures of a younger face. Riddle was a defined looking man. Some may find it hard to see him as handsome and only see him as powerful, but Izar thought he was attractive especially those crimson eyes that taunted him from the doorway. If Izar couldn't sense Tom Riddle's familiar magic from the night before, he would have thought he was looking at a stranger. "So glad you could make it," Riddle drawled lazily. Izar bowed his head, his fingers tightening on the door handle. For a moment, he gathered himself and his pride. After a short mediation, he pushed away his feelings of vulnerability and defenselessness. He didn't have to feel this way with Tom Riddle. Izar wouldn't let himself appear weak and shaken. He was just as good just as good Lifting his chin, he shut the door behind him and entered further into the room. Trying to avoid Riddle's spiteful smirk, he sat down in the chair next to the man. "I wasn't expecting you today," Izar started off calmly. His eyes boldly locked on Riddle's crimson. "Especially with your true form." Black eyebrows rose. "How do you know this is my true form?" The man mused out lowly. "How do you know I'm not disguising myself?" "You are disguising yourself," Izar pointed back. "Last night was your disguise. I was right, assuming that you had something -other then politics- in mind, wasn't I? You you have power, just like Dumbledore, yet Dark." Riddle shifted at the mention of the old Headmaster. It wasn't noticeable to most, but Izar was drinking in every move and every expression Riddle put out. "You are an intriguing child," Riddle spoke. "Why do you think I have power? Power that would rival Dumbledore's?" The man was testing him, looking for any faults or errors. Izar sat back in his chair, pondering if he should share the information of his gift. In the end, he decided it wouldn't be a danger. "I'm magic-sensitive." Riddle's pupils brightened a bit at the confession. "I can feel and sense magic from both objects and people. Their auras, you could say, are easy for me to read. I can distinguish their magical signature and their magical core. I could feel you last night and knew then, that you weren't planning on wasting your power just on politics."
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Izar licked his lips, aware of the crimson eyes that followed that action. He leaned forward; closer to the man's pleased humming magic. "Which brings us to the reason why you're here, I gather. Just what are you planning?" For a long while, Riddle sat there, frozen, staring and studying Izar. It didn't unnerve Izar. Instead, he was thrilled at the attention and sat just as motionless, challenging the stare head on. Tom's lips quirked upward a few minutes later. "You have maturity and wisdom far beyond your sixteen years, child." Izar didn't even bat a lash at the mistake in his age. Let Tom Riddle think he was sixteen. Izar was sure that Riddle assumed he was sixteen because he was entering sixth year. But that pointed to the idea that Riddle didn't know much about him. Which made Izar a bit anxious. If Riddle didn't know Izar had skipped a grade due to outstanding intelligence and that Izar was an Unspeakable, then what was it that drew the man to him? Izar was used to people wanting to use him because of his unusual intelligence, but he was puzzled as to why Riddle was drawn to him. "I suppose that's a compliment," Izar continued without pause in conversation. "Otherwise, you wouldn't be here." He chose to keep the information tight-lipped that he was only fourteen. Well fifteen in a few days. Riddle reached forward. Izar noted briefly that the man's nails were longer in this true form. His skin prickled in tiny shocks as Riddle traced his index finger down Izar's jaw line. A fire in his belly erupted and Izar did all he could to keep from showing emotion. Gratefully, the man removed his finger quickly, an expression of bewilderment crossing the man's features before he cleared it away expertly. It was too bad Izar caught it. "Would you like some tea?" Tom questioned lightly, his bright crimson eyes taking on a malicious gleam. Before Izar could answer, the door opened to the conference room. Louis walked inside, holding a tarnished silver tea tray. Izar stiffened, aware of the crimson eyes watching him, but he couldn't look away from the slack face of his child-tormentor. Louis's blue eyes were dull and lifeless. There was a bit of drool at the corner of his mouth as he set down the tray of tea in front of Tom Riddle. "Master, your tea," the voice that spoke was just as void as the eyes. Izar's lips thinned. "You put the Imperius curse on him," he accused, turning to look at the smug Tom Riddle. Izar wasn't upset over the fact that Tom used an Unforgivable. He was upset because Louis was his enemy, his target. But Tom Riddle got to him first.
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"Interesting that you would know that. As far as I know, Hogwarts students haven't been taught the Unforgivables." Riddle cleared his throat, motioning Louis. "Pour the tea, boy." Izar sat motionless, observing the way Riddle's magic soaked Louis due to the Imperius curse. The air was heavy with sinister and threat. It was Dark and oppressive, but not uncomfortable. Just something Izar felt on guard with. He knew he was playing in a field he had no experience in. If Riddle had the desire to kill him, he could do so and no one would be the wiser. "The lovely Muggle woman up front told me you were at work," Riddle took his tea cup from the table and sipped at it, his eyes all for Izar. "Where do you work?" The question was posed airily. Izar dropped his gaze from the bright crimson in favor of staring at the steaming cup of tea. "I work at a Muggle restaurant downtown. It gives me something to do to pass the summer away." Riddle gave a low hum, his fingernails clicking once against the porcelain tea cup. His expression didn't give anything away if he believed Izar or not. "I hope you don't mind if I took the liberty of looking around the orphanage while in your absence. It's such a quaint little home." There was a dry sarcasm there and Izar grew stiff with suspicion. He had a feeling he knew where this was going. "Quite," Izar stood up abruptly, his palms slamming against the table. His temper hitched, causing the porcelain cups and saucers to clatter together. Izar leaned forward, his eyes narrowed on the unaffected man across from him. "If you've come here to disgrace me, you've wasted your time. I may be a Mudblood, but I can walk circles around most of your stuck up pure-bloods." Riddle reacted faster then Izar could have imagined. With reflexes that rivaled a striking serpent, Tom Riddle stood up, towering over Izar. His hand shot out and clamped his jaw together painfully. The red eyes that looked down at him were like twin burning coals. Izar found that his heart stopped for just a moment. "You have a tongue on you that I will need to tame, child. We can either do that the easy way or painful way. That is up to you. I will require respect. Today I am giving you lenience, only because I am courting you." "Courting?" Izar asked. It came out as a muffled mumble with Riddle's fingers still clamping around his jaw. "I came here today to give you the option of becoming my follower or my enemy." Tom pulled his hand away, casting a long look at Izar. "I am a Dark Lord. And you, Izar, have
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piqued my interest. So what will it be?" The question was too broad. A question Izar was sure Riddle asked to overwhelm him. Izar found his knees weak. He sat down on his chair, staring at Riddle's black cloak. He had suspected this. He had. Yet it still came to a shock for him when Tom had announced it so bluntly. So many questions were whirling around in his mind, questions that could remain unanswered while some needed to be answered now, before he committed to something he had no idea what he was committing to. But he did realize that he was backed into a corner, a corner that was both dangerous and unavoidable. "You're a Dark Lord," Izar whispered softly before looking up at the crimson eyes. "I need to know what your ideals are. I need to know when you plan on an uprising. The Prophet hasn't reported anything of you or your followers, assuming you have any." "I have time for questions, as long as you keep your tongue in check." Izar watched through composed eyes as Tom Riddle sat back down. And as if nothing had happened, the older man took his tea cup once again, nursing it between his long, pale fingers. "As I was about to say earlier, I had looked around your orphanage during your absence. I have the ability to see into minds and witness memories." Izar's spine stiffened. "You've had a troubled childhood just because you were different from the rest of them, didn't you? This boy here," the man motioned to Louis. "Especially, has created hell for you since a mere toddler." "You had no right to do that," Izar spoke softly, his eyes half-lidded as he gazed at Riddle. "That was my privacy, my own memories, something I hold very precious to me." Riddle leaned forward, his eyes not at all sympathetic. "Do I look like someone who cares about privacy? You are a potential follower; I deserve to known anything and everything about you. Do I not?" The man didn't wait for Izar to continue. "I will ask you once, Izar, and only once. What do you feel about Muggles?" "I hate them," Izar replied without hesitation. He glanced at the zoned-out Louis. "I've hated them all my life. They're inferior to us, yet they treat us like scum. They're afraid, jealous, but still, they aren't reverential." Izar blinked at Louis before turning to look stoically at Tom. "That's what I think of Muggles." Riddle stared at Izar for a long moment. "We are very much alike, Izar. More than you could ever hope to know." The man stood up, setting his tea cup down before approaching the sitting form of Izar. Surprisingly, the man crouched down near Izar's chair, reaching forward to splay his hand on the younger's cheek. The hand was ice-cold, despite recently being wrapped around a hot
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cup of tea. "Tomorrow night is an initiation. A few other younger wizards will be branded with my Mark tomorrow night. I confess that I look forward to you being within my ranks." Izar found it difficult to breathe with Riddle so close. Never before had Izar sensed magic this alluring, this fascinating. Even if it was similar to Dumbledore's, Riddle's magic was a lot more charismatic and Dark. "All you need to know is that I plan on destroying Muggle stains on the wizarding world. Our world will not bow before the Muggles' wants and needs. We are our own entity." Red eyes burned and the fingernails inched deeper into Izar's cheek before the man scraped them against his cheek in a painful claiming. The younger wizard refused to wince at the burning mark across his cheek. Izar hated himself for trembling, but he could do nothing about it as Riddle leaned even closer, their noses touching just barely. "I hope you realize that I'm not trembling due to your rather passionate speech," Izar started dryly, sarcastically. "I'm trembling from your magic." Izar felt as if he had to cover his arse. He didn't want the man to think him easily seduced. "I still struggle from relapses." Riddle smirked. "I had forgotten of your gift, my little magic-sensitive. I will be greatly honored if you arrive tomorrow night." Eyes became hooded and Izar could have sworn the snake-like pupils dilated at the cause of their proximity. Izar trembled again, his lips thinning in frustration. Why did he have to be so affected by the man's magic? "No worries, Izar, I find you just as enthralling." The man pulled away swiftly, setting something on the table before a motionless Izar. Before the young orphan could react, the man was out the door. Izar gave a shaky exhale of breath, his body quivering at the magic still in the air. The bright side? He was sure, with the longer he was around Tom Riddle, the more comfortable he would become around the man's magic. Nothing like this embarrassing incident should happen again. It took a year to settle down around Dumbledore, it could take Izar a bit less for Tom Riddle. It was just a phase Charcoal-green eyes looked at the object on the table, sensing the pulse of magic coming from it. It was a black crystal, a tiny black crystal set onto a chain. He knew it was a portkey. As his hands settled, he reached for the chain and then the bit of parchment underneath. He unfolded it once to reveal the elegant scrawl of writing. Izar, Let us set the time for seven thirty in which we will decide if you become my enemy or my
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faithful follower. The portkey would be leaving at seven thirty tomorrow night. Izar stared at the chain, wondering the best course of action. Was it smart to pledge his loyalty to a man that would kill possibly slaughter as many Muggles as he could? The man was a Dark Lord, something the world hasn't experienced since the rise of Gellert Grindelwald. He took one look at Louis, still standing lifelessly in the corner. "Louis," Izar snapped. The boy slowly stepped forward. "Yes Master?" Slack eyes waited to do his bidding. A lipless smile crossed Izar's face at the boy's submission. He could have fun with this Knowing he would have to think longer- harder- about this initiation, he placed the humming chain around his neck anyway. The chain all but purred at the action. {Note:} You haven't seen Izar's prodigy mind in the works yet. He will be a brilliant inventor when it comes to magic, but I see him having to do tedious work when he first starts his Unspeakable career to prove his worth to the others. Like making Time-Turners- one thing that every Unspeakable finds tedious. And the Death Chamber- the veil especially- will come to play later on in the story. Especially after Izar meets the redheaded woman who works in the Death Chamber ;)

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Part I Chapter 4

Chapter Four Izar began to second guess his decision. His adrenaline had long ago diminished at the prospect of killing Muggles and controlling them. Yes, he still wanted that and he still dreamed of a wizarding world that didn't even have to mention the word 'Muggle'. Riddle's promises were enough to make any man crawl to the Dark side and kiss the Dark Lord's feet, no matter how proud he was. But as his adrenaline dissipated, his intelligence came back. Izar was very fortunate that he got a full day to really think on his decision of joining the Dark Lord. Taking the Mark of a future Dark Lord was far from smart. He worked at the Ministry, with the Unspeakables more specifically. Not only that, but he was still attending Hogwarts. However, he couldn't blame it all on his association with Light wizards. Izar also needed more information on the organization itself. He wasn't comfortable asking Tom Riddle about his concerns and issues, only because Izar didn't know how to approach the subject with a Dark Lord. He wasn't familiar with Tom Riddle, and in so, he wasn't familiar with the man's lenience. How far could Izar go questioning the man before Riddle hexed him or got tired of his curiosity? Dark Lord's weren't known for their merciful lenience, or their kind disposition. Riddle didn't care about others, Izar knew that much. The only thing Dark Lords cared about is if they had enough soldiers to carry out their cause. After thinking long and hard about the idea of becoming Tom Riddle's follower, Izar decided he needed to proceed with caution when turning down the Dark Lord. His refusal could go of two ways. One, Tom Riddle would see his absence tonight as a declaration of being an enemy. Or two, the man would leave him alone for a bit longer before coming after him a second time with the promise of a Mark. The latter seemed far from realistic, Izar knew. From what he read about Dark Lords, they were possessive- and proud creatures. If someone turned down their cause, they would hunt after their prey until they were slaughtered for refusal to join. And even if Izar could think himself prepared for a Dark Lord after his blood, he was smart
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enough to know he wasn't ready to hold off the Dark forces by himself. Which is why he configured a plan for tonight. If he could just pique the Dark Lord's interest a bit more.perhaps the man wouldn't think so quickly to kill him for not taking his Mark. If Izar had to choose if he wanted the Mark yesterday, he would have been all for it. Tom Riddle was a decent seducer; one that Izar was sure won the man many promising allies. Izar found himself a bit embarrassed for being so easily seduced by the dark promises of destroying Muggles. Tom Riddle found his weak point and had expertly acted upon that. It was a pity the Dark Lord mistook Izar for a boy who wouldn't let those dark promises die. Riddle assumed Izar's thirst for killing Muggles would grow and grow until he acted upon those dark promises. The man mistook Izar for a dreamer. It was a misfortune on Tom's part that Izar was the exact opposite. Izar was logical and level-headed. His hunger accompanying those promises had dimmed significantly with time before his mind began to think logically. Those whispered pledges Riddle spoke to him the day before hadn't increased in volume as Riddle wanted them to- instead- they had dulled into nothing but a faint memory. If Tom Riddle had known Izar's character, the man wouldn't have allowed Izar to think on it. He should have visited the day of the initiation. But Izar was glad Riddle had not taken that route. He knew there would be consequences for dabbling into an alliance with a Dark Lord, especially a Dark Lord that had yet to prove himself in Izar's eyes. How did Izar know if Tom Riddle would be a successful Dark Lord? Yes, the man had power, but that did not mean Tom Riddle would be a decent Dark Lord- a decent leader. Although Izar would be denying the Dark Lord his Mark, he didn't want to make enemies of the man. And on the top side of this situation, Izar would be getting rid of his greatest weakness. His Muggle tormentor. "Louis," Izar whispered softly, his eyes on the freshly inked parchment. "Come here." "Yes Master," Louis, still under the Imperius, approached Izar at the desk with heavy-laden legs. The drool at the corner of the Muggle's mouth had crusted over in white flakes. Izar eyed it in disgust. "I have a very important task for you tonight," charcoal-green eyes glanced at his worn down pocket watch. "In a matter of minutes, actually. It will be of great honor, I assure you." He ignored the monotonous response in favor of reading over his letter. In order to calm
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the rage that the Dark Lord might feel, Izar used curiosity and intrigue as means to keep Tom Riddle from hunting him within minutes of realizing Izar had stood him up. And in doing so, Izar had to reveal a few personal tidbits. He never enjoyed telling someone of himself, it was arrogant and supercilious. Tom Riddle, I have written to apologize for my lack of presence. While you have stirred my interest greatly at your rising empire, I have to decline at this time. I am not a dreamer, I do not let my foolish and childish dreams at destroying Muggles cloud my judgment. That, Mr. Riddle, was an expected move on your behalf. You played your part at seducing my desires greatly, and I can only express my awe at your skill. Most men are dreamers, but I, even for my young age, am rational. I wish to know more about you and your followers. And in order to do that, I must remain at a distance. I am only fourteen, Mr. Riddle, and I have many years to pledge my service to you. I also have strong ties to the Ministry. Carrying your Mark now, would be a heavy burden for me to carry. In other regards, I can assure you that your secret identity is safe with me. I will never speak of you again, Izar Harrison Izar grimaced at the letter, finding it juvenile and childish. The glaring words of 'fourteen' caught his eye like a flaming beacon. He didn't feel fourteen and he hoped to Merlin that he didn't act like a fourteen-year-old. Did his letter sound childlike? He hoped not. He didn't want Tom Riddle to not take him seriously because he was only fourteen. The man would think he could manipulate Izar easier. Raking his tapered fingers through his hair, he folded the parchment and set the chain on top. It was only a two minutes before seven thirty. The letter, he thought, didn't take a side. It didn't specifically say Izar was refusing the man, it just sounded as if he needed more time. Which he did. But hopefully hopefully the man would leave him alone now. Surely the Dark Lord, after receiving the letter, would put Izar out of his mind unless he was insulted enough to hunt after him. Izar wanted to remain neutral in this upcoming war. Though, even he knew that no one could be neutral unless they played the part extremely well. And even at the end, someone needed to declare a side. "I want you to present this to Tom Riddle, Louis," Izar's hands shook just briefly as he handed the portkey and the letter to Louis.
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Charcoal-green eyes were lowered as Louis took the items. By having Louis appear to the Dark Lord, Izar was presenting the man his weakness. Tom Riddle could no longer use his childhood-tormentor as means as blackmail, as means to promise Izar the chance of torturing his tormentor and killing him. The idea was so sweet- and so tempting- that Izar knew it was a glaring weakness. The very same weakness Riddle had played on. He had to get rid of Louis. And the only way he knew how, without getting caught, was to present a Muggle to a group of wizards who despised the very ground they walked upon. Izar would be surprised if Louis ever returned. Either that, or Tom Riddle would be smart enough to realize Izar had sent Louis in order to destroy his weakness. And the man would return the boy back to the orphanage as future leverage. The latter would be expected for an intelligent and manipulative Dark Lord. Izar would be slightly disenchanted if Riddle didn't suspect Izar's reasons for sending Louis. If the boy returned, Izar would be pleased simply because Riddle was smart enough to lead and understand small details. Although, Izar would also be disappointed if the Muggle came back because he would have to find a way to destroy Louis himself. Through lowered eyes, and a quickly beating pulse, Izar watched as Louis was portkeyed away. No matter how anxious he was, Izar knew he made the right decision. He needed to know more about Tom Riddle and his cause in order to know if pledging his loyalty was worthwhile. {Death of Today} Lucius clutched the file, feeling particularly proud of himself for his accomplishment. One advantage of being a school Governor of Hogwarts gave him the right to the students' files. This one, in his hands, particularly was what he was looking for. The files updated themselves each year with new information regarding their subject. After the unanticipated initiation a week ago, Lucius had put in his request for Izar Harrison's file the day after. Six days later, he received authorization of the file. He did not need to see the file, no, he knew of the information that was contained inside. This was for Tom Riddle after the man received a Muggle in place of Izar Harrison a week ago at the initiation. The Death Eaters looking on did not understand the significance of a Muggle. In fact, they were all clueless to Izar's expected attendance aside from Lucius. After ushering his son home after a painful branding to his arm, Lucius had been called by the Dark Lord. The man had shown Lucius the letter. At first, Lucius had been taken aback that the boy had confessed his true age to the Dark Lord. Though, it wasn't until he realized the point behind the letter did he realize it was a brilliant move from the boy. Both the Dark Lord and himself decided the boy was trying to stall some time.
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Other than that, the Dark Lord kept his opinion to himself, remaining silent on the subject. With a sharp order to Lucius to retrieve the boy's file, the Dark Lord never mentioned Izar Harrison again. It wasn't very surprising that the Dark Lord wasn't speaking of Izar. The man never showed his interests, his emotions, and certainly not his favorites. Lucius was smart enough to see the unhealthy obsession Tom Riddle had with the fourteen-year-old Ravenclaw. Despite the man's skilled avoidance on the subject of the child, Lucius knew that if the Dark Lord wasn't obsessed with the boy the child would be already slaughtered for denying the Dark Lord's Mark so rudely. Considering the Dark Lord wanted to pursue the topic that was the estranged Muggle-born, proved to Lucius that Izar Harrison may be something a bit more to the Dark Lord then an average ally. But what? "Come in," the male voice called from inside the office. Lucius cast the desks surrounding the office a cold look before entering the private office of the Senior Undersecretary to Minister for Magic. Lucius shut the door quietly behind him, eyeing the large stack of files and papers on the Dark Lord's desk. The man was bent over a piece of parchment, the useless spectacles on his face slipping down his nose as his quill moved with a charming flourish. Lucius cleared his throat, holding up the folder with a gloved hand. "I have the file you requested, sir," Lucius drawled, eager to see what the Dark Lord thought of the file. The man paused, just briefly, and then continued to write. "On the boy?" "The boy, yes," Lucius responded quietly. The man made a disinterested sound in his throat, gesturing toward the stack of other files. "Just place it over there, I will get to it later, I suppose." There was that indifference the man was acting upon. Outwardly, he almost appeared as if the file was a trouble- a mere burden. Lucius dropped his mouth in an 'awe' sort of understanding and his eyebrows rose mockingly. "Well, if you do not wish to look over it, I will just return it to the archives." With a sharp nod to the bent form of the Dark Lord, Lucius turned his heel to leave. And, if he wasn't mistaken, the Dark Lord would stop him just about, "Lucius," the man's tone was silky, a dangerous sort of warning. "I said I would look over it later. Set it here, now." Clearing his smug smirk before turning around, Lucius walked back toward the desk. He purposely avoided the eyes on him, setting the file directly on top of the freshly written ink. "It would be in your best interest, My Lord, if you read it right away. I only have an hour with
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the file." Lucius began quietly, even if they were in the Dark Lord's warded office. "If I wished for you to hold my hand while I read the file, Lucius, I would have asked you to do so." Nonetheless, the Dark Lord set his quill down in the ink and turned to the file. The first thing the man sought after was the birth date listed on the top of the file. As proved by the child himself, it listed his birth date as a child of fourteen, almost fifteen. The Dark Lord gave a light sneer. Lucius took note of this. "If I may be so bold, My Lord, I would think you to be eager at the potential the child has shown for one so young. Instead, you seem disappointed." He knew he was stepping over the line. He had to remember that this man in front of him was not just a politician. "Lucius, if I wanted you to know why I am dissatisfied in the boy's age, I would share that with you," Riddle replied scathingly. Charmed brown eyes looked up at him sharply. "Watch your tongue and your place, Lucius, I do not find your observation impressive." Lucius bowed his head, his eyes on the top parchment of the file. The file was not thick, as most students weren't. Yet, even Lucius could see a colored photo sticking out at the bottom. Just a sliver of it. His mouth turned downward. Riddle turned the page, his eyes tracing over the O.W.L. scores. "Top marks for a child of his age; I suppose these were the exams that allowed him to skip a year?" Lucius gave a sharp nod. "The results were higher than any of the fifth year students. He truly is a prodigy. Yet, he remains in the shadows. A very curious case, considering Muggle-borns crave that sense of acknowledgment from the wizarding world. Draco informs me that Izar doesn't hold anyone close to him at the school." "He doesn't strike me as the type to strut around school," Tom mused out loud as he turned the next page. The next page was that of the photo. Lucius perked up, noting that it was the standard photo a Ministry worker had to take as their identification. "He works in the Ministry?" Lucius questioned, his tone heightening with surprise. This document was new to the file. It hadn't been here at the end of the year when Lucius had looked upon it highly for the O.W.L. marks. His eyes traced the photograph. Izar Harrison stood, holding his identification number in his hands at chest level. The Ministry identification photos were similar to that of the Azkaban snapshots, very similar indeed. The black cloak and the black background made the child's pale features stand out significantly. Lucius found his eyes dancing across the sharp-featured face, taking pleasure in looking at the face without having to worry about other's notice in his interest. He would stand by his suspicions that Izar Harrison was not a Mudblood. The boy was far too beautiful- far too unique for a wizard who carried dirty blood. His features were exotic,
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striking. And Lucius didn't feel guilty for staring at the Ravenclaws face. No, Lucius always favored beautiful things. There was no shame at looking. But if he didn't know any better, he'd say Izar Harrison looked remarkably similar to a, "The Department of Mysteries," the Dark Lord whispered; his fingers tapping against the photograph as his eyes fell on the Department labeled below the identification numbers. "Tell me, Lucius, how you managed to leave out the fact the boy was an Unspeakable at the tender age of fourteen?" Lucius took a step back at the stare he was receiving from the Dark Lord. "I did not know, My Lord. Isn't this child exploitation? Working a child at the young age of fourteen is against the law- its illegal. Izar Harrison is a minor, with no guardian, he is illegible to work." Tom placed the photograph down, his angry gaze averted from Lucius and on the smirking boy in the picture. The man did not say anything for a long while, his charmed brown eyes tracing over the boy's features. "You bring up a very good point, Lucius." The man began slowly. "The Ministry would find themselves in a predicament if this got out. However, I will not exploit this as of yet. Instead, I can use this to my advantage." "How so?" Lucius watched as the Dark Lord's index finger ran almost lovingly down the cheek of Izar. "There are many possibilities, Lucius. I already have one spy within the Unspeakables. Why not have two?" The man gave a soft sigh, shutting the file of Izar Harrison. "Conversely, if the Unspeakables have enlisted the child in their services, there must have been a valid reason." Tom Riddle turned to look at Lucius, his eyebrows raised. "It is my own mistake for not researching the boy before courting him. I realize now that I am not dealing with an ordinary teenager, but an adult in a child's body. Nonetheless, I must remember that he is only a child." "Will you continue courting him?" Lucius questioned, understanding the Dark Lord's logic. A true prodigy was rare to come across. The Dark Lord would be a fool not to utilize his options. "Or do you think Dumbledore and the Ministry has already sunken their teeth in the boy?" "I don't think Izar is a wizard who follows easily. I see him more of a silent leader with an army of only himself. He's a loner, a very rare occurrence in our time." Riddle handed the folder to Lucius, his lips molded into a thin line. "But I am confident I can snag the boy for myself." Lucius took the file, giving a sharp nod. "I have confidence in your talents, My Lord." Brown eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "Remind me again, Lucius, why you are so interested in the child?"
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Clearing his throat, Lucius lifted his chin. "I'm drawn to him, My Lord," he replied truthfully. "Just the same with you." The Dark Lord chuckled darkly, his eyes flashing dangerously. "Let's hope, my friend, for your wellbeing, that it's not the same for you as it is for me." Lucius frowned, unsure how to respond or reassure the Dark Lord. Just what did the Dark Lord have in mind for Izar Harrison? "Are we still set for this school year, My Lord?" Lucius quickly turned the subject, his spine prickling with chills at the Dark Lord's searching stare. "Draco is most excited and honored at your task you have bestowed him." Tom's lips thinned, the corners of his mouth twitching upward. "I am still ready, Lucius, yet I have changed my plans." Lucius remained expressionless, but he knew what the turn of events would entitle. Draco would be most unpleased. And through lowered lids, he watched as the Dark Lord reached over and tapped his index finger against Izar Harrison's file. A predatory smile crossed Riddle's lips and the man's eyes mocked Lucius. "I want him in our plans as a substitute." {Death of Today} Izar shut the door behind him, shuddering in distaste. The Time-Turners had taken him three days past his deadline. He had just gotten done today and Owen Welder had been a bit unimpressed with Izar's work. Three days past your deadline, Mr. Harrison, I'm a bit disappointed. Luckily, it was the end of the week. Izar didn't have to come back tomorrow, as it was Saturday. He could relax at the orphanage howironic. Relaxing wasn't usually related to the orphanage, but Izar would rather be there then at the Ministry making more Time-Turners. Owen hadn't requested him to do any more and Izar assumed he could begin working on his own come Monday. That thought was what made him eager to return. But he wouldn't get his hopes up. He was sure Owen would have another project for him to do. At least he wouldn't have to worry about wizarding politics this weekend. He hadn't seen hide of Tom Riddle or heard anything of the man. Louis hadn't returned that night. Izar had been greatly disappointed. However, it lifted a bit of weight from his shoulders. He would never have to wonder what it would be like to follow a man as powerful as Tom Riddle. Straightening up from the door, Izar was about to head toward the exit when he caught sight of the Death Chamber. He really shouldn't enter. Despite the room not being off limits to him, Izar was still afraid to enter simply because of getting too caught up in the mystery of
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it all. Charcoal-green eyes swept the circular corridor before he approached the Death Chamber. Quickly, so he wouldn't change his mind, he placed his palm against the door, waiting for it to click open after reading his signature. Izar entered the chamber, shivering subconsciously at the major drop of temperature. He would have been able to see his breath if the lighting wasn't so dim. Izar gave a soft, small smile as he entered the room fully. His feet glided elegantly over the uneven stone ground as he approached the middle of the room. The room itself was square in shape and the minimal light was directed below, bathing the old archway in an eerie glow. Izar drank in the sight as he stood at the edge of the cavity. Stone tiers led down into a pit where a dais sat, and on the centre of the raised dais, the old stone archway- or Veil- stood tall. Izar chose to stay above ground, a distance away from the Veil, just incase he grew too curious. He crouched down on the top of the cavity to the pit, greedily eyeing the tattered black curtain that hung from the archway. In the dark, his fingers caressed the uneven stone ground as he watched the black curtain flutter on its own. If he listened hard enough, he could hear the raspy whispers coming from inside the archway. To Izar, he thought it looked absolutely stunning. Seeing the Veil gave him pleasant chills and a driving urge to understand that piece of old architecture. The room was very dim and Izar tore his eyes away from the archway long enough to compare the Death Chamber to the courtroom he had seen on his tour. Many stone benches ran the length of the room, leading down into the pit. Everything in the room was silent, still, and cold. "Beautiful, isn't it?" Izar stood up, surprised to see a woman sitting on one of the benches leading down to the dais. He had been so involved with the archway that he hadn't looked around for another. He shifted, staring at her. The first thing he noticed was how beautiful she would have looked if she wasn't so worn and thin. She was a frail-looking woman with long red hair and porcelain white skin. In her hands, she held a roll of parchment. Her hands, he noted, were very long and incredibly thin. The wrists were bony, revealing that the woman was incredibly thin. Izar didn't think she took care of herself. She was clean, yes, but she appeared as if she couldn't care a less about her appearance. Her limp hair fell into her sharp face, drawing attention to her miserable gaze. Her mouth was in a thin line as she surveyed him right back. "It is," Izar replied softly, feeling as if his voice traveled the length of the room. "I assume
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your line of study is here?" Her magic wasn't very powerful or incredible. He'd seen better, yet, it was somehow familiar to him. She gave him a small smile, her eyes sweeping the length of him, almost drinking him in. "You assumed right," she looked away from him, just briefly. Izar watched her turned profile, noting that her expression all but crumbled. In whole, the woman looked worn- depressed. A moment later, her expression hardened again as she turned back to him. "I'm Lily Potter and you must be Izar Harrison." It wasn't a question. And Izar wasn't surprised that she knew who he was. After all, most the Unspeakables were warned of his arrival before his first day here. "Your husband? James? He's an Auror, is he not?" Izar had dimly recalled reading about James Potter. Apparently he was a decent wizard who captured many Dark wizards in his young career. "Yes, he is," Izar noticed she tried to keep her eyes averted away from him. "As you can see, I prefer the darker knowledge as my occupation." Pausing just briefly, as if she didn't want to know, she asked, "I imagine you're the same? Not many people, children especially, find the archway a beautiful place." Izar gave a hum, his eyes turning away from her and back on the archway beneath. "I find myself intrigued with the Veil. Someday I hope to study it." Surprisingly, she was easy to talk to. Not that Izar enjoyed her or the conversation, but he wasn't bothered by it. He found it peaceful. Perhaps it was just because he was in the Death Chamber, a place that was peace in itself. Lily stood up from her perch, tucking a few rolls of parchment into a satchel. After pulling the strap over her shoulder, she walked up the few steps to where Izar and the exit were. "Perhaps I could speak to Owen Welder about relocating you here." Izar picked up that her tone was slightly tentative, as if she couldn't believe she was offering him. "You're only here for the summer, correct?" It was if she were humoring Izar. She would only be stuck with him for a few more weeks and then he would no longer be her burden. Izar narrowed his eyes a bit. He didn't like being treated like a child. "Thank you, Mrs. Potter, but I think I'll pass. If I want to study in here, I'll go to Mr. Weldon myself." He cast her a cold look and nod before turning to leave the Death Chamber. Really. Izar imagined Lily Potter, like all the other adults, didn't think he was even meant to be here as an Unspeakable, to hold worthy knowledge. No one ever took him seriously, no matter what his exam scores were. They thought him a joke. Someday, Izar would prove them all wrong.
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{Death of Today} It wasn't until he got back to the orphanage when he realized his life couldn't possibly be relatively normal. A boy, around ten years of age, came running to Izar as soon as he stepped foot in the orphanage. He gazed coldly down at the boy, a sneer upon his lips at the Muggle. "Izar," the boy's eyes were bright. "Louis came back!" Izar stopped abruptly, his spine stiffening. The orphanage had been in an upset when Louis had disappeared almost a week ago. Local authorities had searched for him, only to turn up empty handed. Izar had thought Tom Riddle had killed Louis, but apparently, he was wrong. "He had blood all over and he could barely walk!" The child continued in a fast pace, his breathing coming out in sharp gasps at the excitement. "And the man gave me this. He wanted me to give you it." A crumpled piece of paper was shoved under Izar's nose. With a quickening pulse, Izar took it and slowly unfolded it. Only three words, in elegant scrawl, appeared on the small piece of parchment. So be it. Izar frowned, yet he couldn't help as his stomach fluttered with appreciation. The Dark Lord was smart and manipulative enough to realize Izar had been trying to get rid of his weakness the easy way. The man had proved himself, just a bit more, in Izar's eyes. Even if the small message was loaded with possible meanings, Izar knew one thing. The Dark Lord had most definitely not forgotten him.

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Part I Chapter 5

{Note:} Sorry I didn't respond to some of your reviews. I started half-way and then I didn't have enough time to do the rest. Sorry. This chapter is a sort of interlude. Chapter Five His fingers were trembling and a sweat drop fell from his brow, staining the table he was working on. His concentration was all for the object he was working with, everything else around him was null and void. Izar grunted as the glass wouldn't mold into shape. It seemed that every time he tried to measure the dimensions, they altered on him, making the glass plane impossible to mold with the rest of the material. He had to admit, this piece of invention was ugly. But Izar wasn't a designer and this was his first draft. What mattered was the magic inside the object. The shape itself wasn't even defined as a circle or box it was something in between with a few sharp corners His fingers stilled as he caught sight of the gloating eyes reflecting back at him in the piece of glass he held. It took him a moment to recognize the person staring back at him, and as he did, he dropped the piece of spelled glass, watching in horror as it shattered on the table he was working on. It shattered, but it didn't explode like Izar had been expecting. His eyebrows drew together, staring at the shattered glass in distaste. It should have bloody exploded if he had spelled the right amount of magic inside the glass. Drawing his teeth in a snarl, he turned slowly, staring at Tom Riddle with a mixture of surprise and irritation. The man was looking down at him in haughtiness. "Mr. Riddle," Izar started off tranquilly, a bit of annoyance peeking through. "Whatwhat are you doing down here?" The first thing he wanted to ask was how the man, the Dark Lord, knew he worked down here, as an Unspeakable, but it really was common sense if Izar thought on it. The man was only second to the Minister and would have access to the Ministry files if so desired. However, as his annoyance dulled, his suspicion took its place. It was a guarded suspicion. What did the Dark Lord have in mind, exactly? When Louis, his orphanage enemy, had returned to the orphanage last week with the note from Tom Riddle, Izar knew he wouldn't
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hear the last from the Dark Lord. And as suspected, here the man stood. Even though Izar wasn't expecting their second meeting to be here of all places For a long moment, Riddle chose to remain silent, his eyes first searching over the project in Izar's hands and then taking a longer time to rake the length of Izar's face. "Your lunch period is approaching in a matter of minutes, is it not?" That voice. It was too rich and too arrogant. But it made sense. It was the voice of a charmer, of a rising Dark Lord. Izar pursed his lips, setting down his tools. They didn't do him much good anyway. "I wasn't planning on taking a lunch break today, sir," he said in all respect. His gaze drank in the man before him, almost awed. Izar would never outright show his awe or acquiescence, but he would show respect toward one as powerful as Tom Riddle. Not giving respect to a wizard who deserved it would only create problems and label the disrespectful wizard as foolhardy. Around them, there were Unspeakables who paused in their work at the intruder. Their cool stares assessed the situation quickly before going back to their work once they recognized the Undersecretary of the Minister. Riddle's eyebrows rose. "I think you will be taking a lunch break today, Mr. Harrison. I would most enjoy your presence." It was an order coated with a sweetly sugared tone. Izar gave a light sigh as he stood up gracefully from his bench. Perhaps a break would do him some good. He needed to figure out why the glass, when shattered, hadn't given off a weak explosion. The properties in the spell he cast should have reacted with the break. Instead, it did nothing. Izar followed Riddle out the Department of Mysteries. He passed the Unspeakables still working at their benches. Their inventions looked a hell of a lot better then his own. Izar was curious to know what they were constructing and the functions of each of their inventions. But it was a strict rule to keep silent on your own projects. No one spoke of their works and no one wanted to. It would was far too classified to speak to one another, just as it was about speaking to an outside source about their work. No one knew exactly what an Unspeakable did, save for a few selected inside the Ministry itself. Even then, their knowledge was rather lacking. And it needed to stay that way. Once they reached the elevator, Riddle reached over, pulling Izar's hood up securely. "Keep your face covered," the Dark Lord murmured softly as they were joined by another wizard on the eighth floor. The man who stepped foot in the elevator wasn't shy about his observation of Riddle and Izar. Assessing and interested eyes traced Izar's uniform. Wizards were naturally curious of
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Unspeakables. And Izar could sympathize with them. Curiosity was not the best feeling to harbor, especially when someone, similar to Izar, went through emotional distress for a long while before his curiosity was sated. "I hope your day has been going well?" Izar glanced at Riddle next to him. The Dark Lord's expression gave nothing away. Was he furious with Izar? Feeling murderous over Izar because he had not taken the Mark? It was impossible to tell. All Izar could take comfort in was the man's magic. It was calm and tranquil today. Alluring as ever, yes, but the magic wasn't angry. "As well as it can be, I suppose," Izar responded quietly, turning his eyes toward the stranger in the elevator. The man gave a polite cough in his fist before turning away from Izar with a slight flush to his cheeks. Izar's mouth thinned at the flamboyant nosiness. Some people were far from discreet. After what seemed like minutes, the elevator came to a stop at the main floor. Riddle ushered Izar out of the elevator, his taller frame dwarfing the younger wizard. "Forgive their boisterousness, Izar, they don't see Unspeakables often on the main floor, especially one so short." Was that a jab? Izar looked up at Riddle, his eyes narrowing. The man's lip was quirked at the corner, proving the Dark Lord actually had a sense of humor. Who would have thought? "Yes, well, Unspeakables do tend to shrink with the lack of natural light we see in the depths of the dungeons we work in." Izar replied dryly, playing on the stereotypical image Ministry workers had of the Unspeakables. Frankly, the majority of the population believed Unspeakables were hermits, drawn away in dungeons and locked away from society. Riddle chuckled darkly; leading Izar past the Ministry dining hall. The man, noting Izar's questioning glance, replied lightly. "I hope you don't mind if we go off site for lunch." There was no room for argument even if Izar wanted to stay here, at the Ministry. The only response Riddle received was a tighter tension in Izar's shoulders. As they reached the cool air outside, Tom leaned close, his breath playing on Izar's sensitive skin. "Don't worry, I won't kill you." With that, Riddle curled his hands around Izar's thin shoulders, clutching him close. Before Izar could comprehend it, he was side-long apparated with Tom Riddle to an unknown destination. It took Izar a long moment to get a hold of himself. He all but slumped in Riddle's strong hold, fighting off the nausea rushing through his stomach and throat. He wanted to vomit,
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but he knew it probably wouldn't be a good idea to decorate the Dark Lord's sharp leather boots with his breakfast. Once his head cleared, he assessed his surroundings. Instead of appearing in front of the salivating forms of Tom Riddle's followers, ready for murder, Izar was relieved to see a small caf standing before him. "Have you ever dined at the Lauren McLeen?" Riddle questioned as his hand slid from Izar's shoulder to the small of his back. Izar tensed at the physical contact, not at all used to touches, caresses, or anything remotely similar. Nonetheless, he remained expressionless to his distaste at the controlling hand on his back. "No, I don't really have the luxury to dine out, especially at a caf that looks as if they serve food upon golden dishes." His pale eyes studied the golden spoons on the silk table clothes. Really? Did the wizarding world have anything better to spend their money on? Ah yes, they had the Ministry balls to pour their income on. "Then consider it a birthday gift," Riddle remarked lightly, nodding his head toward the hostess who stood at the front behind her podium. She all but simpered at the sight of Tom Riddle, bowing her head as he passed the long line of waiting customers. No one complained once they caught sight of who was skipping the line. Izar felt a bit odd as he passed the group of customers who were waiting to dine. Never had he had the privilege to walk out of turn, to be served out of turn. And he never had the privilege to have his own table at a fancy caf like Riddle had. The man led him over to a secluded table in the back of the caf. It was shadowed and obscured by a tall, stone pillar. "A birthday gift?" Izar questioned, not at all sure what the man was getting at. Izar stood stiffly next to his chair, waiting for the more important figure to seat first. Riddle, taking note in his gesture, smirked before sitting. "A gift, for your birthday today," Tom motioned for Izar to sit. His charmed brown eyes danced across Izar's taken aback expression. "Surely you did not forget your fifteenth birthday." The man's tone was clearly amused, yet a bit poignant. After taking his own seat, Izar tucked the silk napkin on his lap. He had always read about these practiced manners when dinning with a more influential figure, but this was the first time he had used the mannerisms. "To tell you the truth, sir, my birthday has been the last thing on my mind." And it truly had. He had forgotten all about his birthday. It was never a big event in his life, especially when he never received one birthday greeting. No one knew of his birthday. Tom Riddle was the first one to ever wish him a Happy Birthday. "And what" he leaned forward, pausing in order to push back Izar's hood. The heavy
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material fell away from his head, pooling near his neck. "Is on your mind?" His gaze turned infatuated as he surveyed Izar. Izar looked down and away from Tom Riddle's piercing gaze as a waitress came to interrupt. She didn't necessarily interrupt; she just set down a cup of steaming tea in front of Riddle and one in front of Izar before turning away again. Watching her go, Izar contemplated on how to interact with Tom Riddle. He would be the first to admit that he wasn't skilled in the art of socializing or dancing politically with an Undersecretary of the Minister. Dark Lords were another matter. What was he feeling now that the Dark Lord was speaking to him again? Izar admitted he was slightly flattered to endure the man's attention again. Any man or women would be flattered that a powerful Dark Lord was giving them attention, even after refusing their Mark. Izar knew the man wasn't livid about his refusal, which surprised him. "I've been busy with my work, among other things," he chanced a glance upward, catching the charmed brown eyes. Tom Riddle, in this sixty-year-old form, looked harmless. Granted, he still carried power and influence, but he wasn't as sinfully handsome and distractible. His true form was a lot more threatening to Izar. "Yes, your work," Tom flashed a quick and short smirk. "The Unspeakables I will readily admit that I was taken aback when I learned of your summer job. Tell me," he leaned forward, intent. "How did you find yourself in the Unspeakables' grasp?" The man seemed interested enough. Izar wasn't used to adults giving him undivided attention like this. But then Izar remembered that Tom Riddle was a seducer. He had complete control over his expressions- his emotions. The man was brilliant at acting. And despite the fact that many would consider Izar a socially awkward teenager, they didn't realize he was also brilliant with people. Calming his expression, Izar flashed the man a lopsided smirk. "They contacted me after I took my O.W.L.s.," he said calmly, wiping off the smirk after it started to ache. He wasn't used to manipulating his mouth in any positive gestures. Smiling, smirking, grinning they all took effort on his behalf. "Headmaster Dumbledore knows of my position at the Ministry. He spoke to me about working there. He will only allow me to work in the summer." Riddle's expression darkened a bit before a deep pensive look took its spot. "He's your guardian of sorts?" Izar blinked once, turning the question over in his head. "I suppose, in a way, he is. He signs my permission slip to go to Hogsmeade and he also takes care of the Ministry issues with me. Other than that, we aren't emotionally tied together." Izar reached out to the tea cup, wrapping his fingers hesitantly around the hot porcelain. He struggled to form his next
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question and settled with brutal honesty. "Can I ask you something, sir?" Riddle hid his smirk behind the cup as he sipped his tea, his eyes assessing Izar. "You may," he murmured. "If I guess correctly and assume you just found out about my status as an Unspeakable and my age, I was curious to know what drew you to me. Why would you think I would make a decent follower if I was a Mudblood?" Leaning forward, Tom set his cup down, raising his eyebrows in question. "And what makes you think that your blood status matters, child?" Izar gave a polite sniff, his lips twitching to something akin to a smile. "Forgive me sir, but Draco Malfoy isn't all that subtle. I figure he and his family are Dark supporters and as a consequence, they are pure-bloods. He and a few other Slytherins look down their nose at me at times. I can only assume that you are similar in tastes. You don't like Muggles; therefore, you would dislike anything that comes from them. I, being born from two Muggles, am considered to be very low ranking to the pure-bloods." Glancing around the caf, Izar cocked his head, forging on with the conversation. "I also read about Gellert Grindelwald. He was a Dark Lord, similar to yourself, who was all for blood supremacy. He hated Muggles and didn't find much tolerance to Muggle-borns either." He cleared his throat, unable to really gouge an expression from Tom Riddle. "So forgive my intrigue at your notice. I would have thought you would look over me." Riddle chuckled knowingly. "You've been overlooked your whole life, Izar. I'm sure, even now, you are uncomfortable with my attention, is that right?" The man didn't wait for Izar to comment. "Nonetheless, it was your eyes and walk, among other things that drew me to you." "My walk?" Izar asked, bemused at the answer. Before he could question the man further, a waiter approached them with a flourish. "Good afternoon, Mister Riddle and guest, what can I get you today?" The tone was of complete reverence. It was alien to Izar to be treated so respectful, doubtful of the fact that it was only because he was sitting across a rather 'friendly' and infamous politician. "May I suggest an entre?" Tom questioned Izar lightly. "I think I have an intuition what you would enjoy most." Those eyes Izar looked away from Riddle with a nod, eyeing the safer route- the expectant waiter. Izar wouldn't deny his vulnerable feelings around Tom Riddle. The man's gaze always looked mocking, almost predatory and hungry. Izar had never experienced being the center of someone's attention. No one noticed him like Tom Riddle did. And it was unsettling, only because this was their third meeting, and only their third
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meeting. How could someone, who he had never met, make him feel on guard so much? Obviously, Izar, it's because he's a bloody Dark Lord, Master of Seduction and Charm. The man was born into this sort of skill. "Mozzarella crusted chicken breast," Tom started confidently and Izar hid a smirk behind his hand. He hated chicken. He wasn't very favorable of any kind of meat for that matter. It felt kind of good to have the Dark Lord fail so miserably at guessing his preference at a dish of food. "For me," Tom continued smugly. "And the vegetarian lasagna dish for my guest." Izar dropped his hand like it weighed a ton. Suddenly grim and serious, Izar stared unseeingly at those charmed, smug eyes. Subconsciously, he was aware of the waiter nodding once before leaving their secluded table. Around their table, the sound of dishes clunking together rang harmoniously and the steady string of murmured voices floated across the caf like rhythmic music. The male voices were a deeper tenor while the females brought a bit of heightened soprano. But to Izar, all that was null and void as he stared stoically at the man across form him. "You're a Legilimens," he stated darkly, feeling himself stiffen. He hated Legilimens. He had never excelled in that art and he grew envious of the wizards who were brilliant in that department. Both Dumbledore and Severus Snape were skilled Occlumens and Legilimens; it was a wonder to Izar how they excelled so skillfully. "I am," Riddle acknowledged, not at all afraid to admit it. "But I will admit honestly that I am not in your mind finding out what foods you prefer, contrary to what you may be thinking. Let me rest assure you that I'm not so gentle when I enter one's mind. I enjoy their blinding pain." The man flashed a smile full of teeth and Izar found himself relaxing just a bit at that sadistic statement. Still, he eyed Riddle with a bit of distrust and intrigue. Would it be out of line if he asked the man to teach him Legilimency or even Occlumency? Yes, it would be out of line, especially considering he had refused to take Riddle's Mark. "Getting back to our original conversation," Riddle began. "Your walk is what caught my attention initially. I have never seen anyone saunter like you do. You hold both self-hatred and confidence in your shoulders, a very unlikely pair, yet it is striking and intriguing to see it in a walk. I admit you carry it well, though, I marvel at your personal demons." A flush stained Izar's ears and neck at the man's admission. He never knew someone could carry emotions in a walk. Yes, he'd heard of self-consciousness, perhaps, but never the two emotions Riddle had put out. "And the others?" Izar cleared his throat uncomfortably, his fingers tinkering with the table forks. "You said there were other things that drew me to you." "Ah, yes, I did," Tom nodded cheerfully.
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Izar waited for the man to expand on his statement, but the man remained silent, sipping his tea. Charcoal-green eyes narrowed. "I," "I am going to give you an offer, Izar, and hopefully, you are smart enough to take it." Suddenly, the playful and seductive Tom Riddle had disappeared and in turn, the Dark Lord came through. Oddly, Izar felt more comfortable around the menacing Dark Lord than the charming Tom Riddle. He knew how to act around the Dark Lord. He didn't know how to interact with a teasing and seductive politician. But he was taken off guard when the Dark Lord reached across the table and curled his fingers around Izar's hand, a warning squeeze. "While I find your act of avoidance at taking my Mark amusing, I also find it insulting. Because I find you intriguing enough, I want to offer you something I have offered no other." Izar could have sworn crimson bled through the charmed brown eyes of Riddle. "I have another initiation tonight. I will allow you to sit in and get a sense of my army and my leadership. You will not need to take my Mark tonight; I will give you the chance to observe." There was more, Izar knew. His face remained a blank slate, yet his attention never wavered from the narrowing threat of Tom Riddle. The hand tightened around his bony wrist. "However, there will not be a choice any longer. You will either take my Mark before you start your next year of Hogwarts or you will become my enemy." The man tugged him forward across the table by a yank to his wrist. Riddle leaned in closer, his breath teasing and warming Izar's neck as he whispered in his ear. "This is the downside of catching my attention, the attention of a Dark Lord. I will stop at nothing until my Mark is branded on your skin. But I can guarantee you, once you take my Mark, you will still hold my interest. You will not become a mere number to me." The man paused, his breath hitching lowly. "I will not permit you to hide in the shadows as you prefer." Riddle released Izar, sitting back in his chair. Izar kept his eyes trained on Tom, finding it difficult to look away. Inside, he had a bit of a tremor. He had known this would happen. He had bought himself a week of time before the Dark Lord came after him. He was just lucky the man came to him with another offer than a death promise. But he didn't need to observe. He knew what the meeting held. And even if the meeting did hold horrors that Izar would be forever scarred with, he knew he couldn't turn away. "I don't need to observe tonight," Izar murmured softly. "Thank you, for the offer though," he replied a bit sarcastically, yet he kept it to a minimum. Izar was sure it was a very generous offer to his other followers. Tom Riddle didn't seem like a very merciful Dark Lord.
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"I'd rather just get branded." And he knew Tom wouldn't argue with that. The man's delight was incredibly strong, even Izar could sense the pleasure vibrating through the man's magic. There was an alternative, though, to take the Mark. Izar could run to Dumbledore and take shelter under the old man's wing. But Izar couldn't bring himself to do that. He would take the Mark, only because he was intrigued with what the Dark Lord could offer and also because he wanted to demolish the Muggles in the wizarding world. At least Riddle was supporting a cause Izar wasn't afraid to back up. "Good," Tom gave a lipless smile, his fingernails tapping on the edge of the table. "I have a gift for you after the meeting. I'm most anxious to give it to you." "A gift?" Izar asked weakly. "For what?" Tom laughed truly, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Your birthday, silly child, have you forgotten already? I have just the gift to present you with." {Death of Today} Izar returned to the Department of Mysteries after a rather enjoyable lunch break. Despite the overwhelming reminder that he would no longer be a free man tomorrow, he had enjoyed Riddle's presence. Surely it wasn't the true Tom Riddle, their interactions felt fake, like a play. To Izar at least. He knew the Dark Lord couldn't possibly be this friendly to his followers. They were all below him. He also came to the conclusion that there wouldn't be any dramatic alteration once he got the Mark. He would still be the same Izar, completely independent and free, he would just need to answer to a Master at times. It would be inconvenient, perhaps, but it wouldn't change his life so dramatically. In addition, he would be at Hogwarts for the next two years. Izar was more than sure the Dark Lord wouldn't make Izar and the other followers leave Hogwarts to attend a meeting. It was impossible to be done. And that was Izar's safety net. He would be returning to Hogwarts in a few days. And by that time, he would have more than several months away from the Dark Lord. "Don't be so smug," a voice leered in the shadows. Izar stiffened, turning his heel slowly toward the Unspeakable behind him. The man's short hair was coated with a film of grease, drawing attention to his sunken and pale face. His expression was that of indifference, almost boredom. Izar dimly remembered that this was Augustus Rookwood. Rookwood worked in the Time and Space Chambers.
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"Excuse me?" Izar replied coldly, his own expression mirroring the jaded Rookwood. The man grinned, revealing his rotting teeth. Rookwood made a quick jerk with his arm and Izar tensed, ready to defend himself if the man pulled out a wand. He needed not to have worried, for his eyes zeroed in on the sleeve Rookwood pulled up. On the man's thin and pale forearm sat a dark tattoo. It was dim in the Department of Mysteries, but Izar could make out the skull and slithering serpent coming from out of its mouth. "The Dark Mark," Rookwood whispered hoarsely. His eyes squinted at Izar, almost if he tried to see through him. "You aren't the only one who the Dark Lord seeks after. Many of us have been favored with luxurious lunches and bathed with his attention." Rookwood pulled his sleeve back down, covering the Dark Mark Izar had been staring at in interest. "As soon as this Mark is on your skin, be ready to be cast away. He will continue on with his next prey." Izar's jaw clenched and his shoulders stiffened at the cryptic warning. He remembered Riddle whispering in his ear today that Izar would not become just a mere number to him once he took the Mark. Yet, Rookwood was standing before Izar, proving the Dark Lord wrong. Either way, it didn't matter to Izar. He enjoyed the shadows. He excelled best when the attention was away from him. It wouldn't have mattered to him if he was cast away from the Dark Lord after he took the Mark. In fact, it didn't sound all that bad "You seem to be rather sour," Izar drawled. "Almost as if you don't look highly upon the Dark Lord, isn't that odd?" Rookwood gave a small laugh. "I will lay my life down for our Lord, boy, don't get me wrong. I am just giving you a friendly warning not to get too drunk off his power and attention. It can destroy a man." Rookwood paused, his eyes narrowing into slits as he surveyed Izar. "You look painfully familiar, the more I look at you. What was your surname? Sure you a Muggle-born?" Izar tensed, casting the man a cold look. He didn't want to speak about his parents, or lack of. He had his own suspicions about his parents, and those suspicions did not settle well with Izar. Not after he tried to track them down in his third year. Not after that potion. Not.. He grimaced, pulling those memories away. He was a Muggle-born. "Rookwood, don't you have to get back to your Chamber?" A new voice interrupted their discussion, a female voice. Izar turned to Lily Potter, eyeing her as she stood her ground. Her petite frame was exaggerated with her heavy black robe. Izar noted her deep auburn hair had the same layer of grease that Rookwood possessed. Neither of the two seemed to take much pride of their appearance.
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"Speaking of muggle-borns," Rookwood murmured quietly, his eyes raking over Lily with revulsion. Augustus then gave Izar one last searching look before turning and entering the Space Chamber. Clear emerald eyes turned to Izar. The Ravenclaw noted the deep and dark circles under Lily Potter's eyes. He was sure that the woman's eyes once held vibrancy and clarity. Now, though, they were haunted orbs. Something must have happened in her past or even present day for her to lose such hold of herself. Was James Potter not as great as a man as the books and Prophet claimed? "I don't need your help," Izar spoke softly, not necessarily sharply, but deep enough to get his point across. Her shoulders hunched miserably, yet her eyes remained strong on Izar. "I came to ask for your assistance today. My partner, in the Death Chamber, has been ill this past week. I need someone to assist me in my work. Would you would you mind helping? I know you're interested in the Death Chamber. Not many are willing to be so close to the Veil." Immediately, Izar's mood shifted. When it came to experimenting and learning, he could never refuse. "I have been preoccupied with my own experiments," he replied shortly. He watched as Lily smiled softly, her cracked lips stretching knowingly. He returned the smile, just briefly. "But I don't think I can pass up an opportunity to work in the Death Chamber." He followed her inside the Death Chamber, his mind easily turning away from the ominous aspects of today, eager to learn more of the Veil. {Note:} Next chapter, Lily and Izar interact a bit more. Izar gets the Dark Mark. Yes, you all knew it would happen. I warned you. And really, do you expect the Dark Lord to allow Izar, a fifteen-year-old free reign? He's a Dark Lord. And he's not going to be a bloody pansy in this fic. He will be malicious and sadistic. The HP/LV slash will be a bit aways. There is, however, a reason why Voldemort is so drawn to Izar. You will have to wait for that bit. ;) Also, Izar will be manipulating the Dark Mark. Once he learns of its properties, I can assure you that our young Ravenclaw will be experimenting with that. But some of those experiments may turn out for the worse. And. Next chapter you'll get a big hint of who Izar's father is, if you haven't already guessed.

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Part I Chapter 6

Chapter Six The Death Chamber was just as enthralling today as it was a week ago. Izar drank in the atmosphere with wide and critical eyes. It didn't matter that there was someone in here with him, not when he was so enthralled and drawn to the archway below. His steps were even and practiced as he climbed down the tiers and down into the pit. Once he got the rhythm of the downward steps, his eyes never left the fluttering Veil. And then she had to interrupt. "You're going back to Hogwarts next week, isn't that right? Fifth year, correct?" He wanted to reply scathingly that if she knew it all, why was she even asking? Instead, he gave a lipless hum, his eyes taking in the back of her head. "Sixth year, actually, but yes, I return on Monday." Before they hit the last stair, she turned bemused eyes on him. It was dim, but even Izar could see her indecision. "You're going in your sixth year? But I thought you just turned fifteen." She knew when his birthday was. Today. Yet she tried to hide the fact that she knew the exact date. Why hide the obvious that she snooped at his personal information? He cast her a cold look, pushing past her and walking toward the raised stone dais. Up close, the archway looked even more magnificent. The stone was crumbling, appearing as it surpassed the age of time. "I skipped a year," Izar replied shortly without looking at the red-head. "Now. What did you need help with? For that matter," Izar paused, turning to glance at her slowly advancing form. "Do the Unspeakables in this chamber find any discoveries? To me, I would think you don't get much leeway in discovering the Veil." "That is true," she started. "Many of us don't work in the Death Chamber all the time. There is no need to. The Veil will decide who gets to uncover its secrets. So far, only general knowledge has been found out about the Veil" she trailed off uncertainly as she watched Izar. Izar, his attention half directed on her, and the other on the Veil, found himself almost spellbound. Raspy and dim whispers caressed his ears, tickling his senses and arousing his attention. His tongue ventured out to lick his suddenly cold lips as he took another step closer to the fluttering Veil. "Izar" Lily croaked, her tone sounding almost desperate, yet there was a hint of acknowledgment in her tone, almost as if she had expected and feared
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Izar's reaction. "Please, step back." Even if he heard her warning, her plead, Izar could do nothing but watch, memorized, as the Veil quivered in almost an eager matter. The Veil almost appeared as if fingers were reaching out to caress and rake down the torn and worn Veil from the other side. In a hazy state, Izar brought up his fingers toward the Veil. Even he knew that once any physical contact was made with the Veil, you would be drawn into the other side. There was no coming back. The knowledge didn't stop him. His fingers shakily brushed the tattered Veil, earning a frantic scream from Lily. For the seconds Izar touched the Veil, he marveled at how silky it was. It felt like pure silk, almost water-like between his fingers. And it was cold. So cold. He was torn harshly away from the Veil by thin arms. "What were you thinking?" Distressed green eyes thrust themselves in Izar's face and he blinked stupidly back at her. That was the most life he had seen in her eyes since he'd met her. "You know the consequences of coming too close to the Veil." She took a few deep breaths in his face before she hesitantly let go of his shoulders. "Many men and women have gone insane standing in front of the Veil. They claim they can hear their deceased loved ones on the other side, beckoning them to cross the barrier between the living and the dead. And most of the time, the victim crosses, never to be seen again." "I know that," Izar whispered, trying to gain back his sense of logic after the shock he had gone through. "But the question is," he started; narrowing his eyes on her like a predatory would eye his prey. "How could I hear the whispers if I had never seen death? If I hadn't known one who passed away? Yet, somehow, I was still drawn to the other side. How is that?" "I don't know," her tone dropped a few levels as crimson strands of hair covered her face. He could easily detect her lie. "Liar," Izar hissed, clenching his fists. "You brought me here for a reason, didn't you? It wasn't to help you with your work." He paused, his mind quickly coming up with the first logical answer to his question. "Was I some sort of test subject for you? I admit it was a rather brilliant plan luring me in here for your own amusement, for your own study." He accused her with a twisted smirk on his face. "Get out," the red-headed's demeanor suddenly turned cold. Her green eyes lightened in anger as she raised a skeletal hand and pointed at the exit. "Get out, and never, never come back here." He stepped closer to her, staring her down. She was only a few hairs shorter than him, but he felt tall compared to her pathetic form. "It will be my pleasure," he replied coldly, turning his shoulder on her and gracefully climbing up the stairs.
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It was a long walk up to the exit, and it calmed him down somewhat. There was a very good possibility that he had been a lab rat for Lily Potter. She could have wanted to see some sort of effects on humans after she spelled around the Veil before he got there. But he also reasoned that there was a possibility that it hadn't been an experiment at all. Her heated and affronted reaction after he accused her of using him had pointed to her innocence. But Izar looked down at his hands. It didn't explain why his fingers were black and still tingling. {DT} Charcoal-green eyes almost crossed themselves as he examined his fingers up close. He was sitting on his old and thin mattress, distressed. The wire frame of his bed bent even with his light weight, reminding Izar of the fact he was at the orphanage. His toes barely brushed the floor with the position he was sitting in. A rhythmic scoffing was heard around the small room as his leg rocked back and forth, his torn sneaker catching the floor as his leg came forward. His attention was solemnly on his blackened fingers. They weren't as black as they had been this afternoon. No, only light shading was left, looking like bruises more than anything else. Except, they didn't hurt and they were no longer cold and numb. The door opened to his bedroom and Izar sighed in irritation, not looking up. The boy he shared this room with, Brantley, should know better. "I told you to leave me alone," he growled snidely, throwing his hands down to glare at the younger boy. After his eyes adjusted to the dark, they widened when he realized that it wasn't Brantley, but a dark figure. For a moment, he held his breath, confusion clouding his mind as he tried to grasp who the hooded figure was. If it wasn't for the familiar magic he sensed around the man, Izar would have thought it was a stranger. "Sir," Izar murmured, sitting up straight from his bed, ignoring it as it groaned loudly. Tom Riddle must have snuck inside the orphanage and into Izar's room. "I didn't know you were coming." It was true. After lunch with Riddle today, Izar realized he hadn't received a portkey for the initiation tonight. He didn't know what to expect, but he hadn't expected the Dark Lord to accompany him to the meeting tonight. The Dark Lord carried himself differently tonight. It was similar to the day, almost a week ago, when Tom Riddle, or more specifically, Lord Voldemort had been waiting for him at the orphanage. The man's posture oozed of pure power and threat. He almost brought the shadows with him as he stepped further into the room. Tonight, at the present, the seductive and charming politician, Tom Riddle, was submissive to the menacing Dark Lord.
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"I was going to have one of my men escort you to my side tonight, however, my plans have changed. I came here to assist you to the initiation and to present you with your gift. I'm afraid I need to leave Britain tonight after the meeting. I won't have time thereafter." Even the man's voice seemed to change with his persona. He had a bit of a hissing quality to his words laced with seduction. Izar hesitated. Should he stand in the Dark Lord's presence? Or should he remain sitting on the bed? Granted, if he was branded already, he would even consider going on his knees. But he was unmarked right now and he chose to stand from his pitiable mattress. Yes. It was his birthday. Why did he keep forgetting? "You didn't need to get me anything, the lunch was more than," He trailed off as he watched the Dark Lord enlarge something from his pocket. It was a large tome. The book was wrapped in cloth and spidery fingers unwrapped the material to reveal a dark leather bound book with dusted golden pages. "Is that" Izar trailed off, speechless as he reached for the tome. Before his fingers could come in contact with that old and delicious leather, his wrist was snatched rather harshly. Izar faltered, his eyes ripping from the book and up at the man's cloaked face. No expression could be seen from Voldemort underneath the hood. Had Izar stepped over the bounds in reaching toward the book? "What happened to your fingers?" the Dark Lord questioned, turning Izar's wrist around to see the fingers better. Izar breathed a breath of relief, tearing his eyes away from Voldemort and back on the book, the incredibly rare and most generous gift. "I bruised them," he lied smoothly, distractedly. "During an experiment" Izar licked his lips. "Is this what I think it is?" He changed the subject successfully as his wrist was released. The Dark Lord chuckled beneath his hood, handing it to Izar. "If you are thinking of the Eruditio, then yes, you are correct. I'm sure every Ravenclaw has heard of the Eruditio." Izar took the heavy tome from the tall man, staring at it in incredulity. It took him a long while to snap out of his haze. "This is incredibly rare, sir, I are you certain you want to give it to me?" The younger wizard flipped open the book, revealing yellowed and blank pages. The Eruditio was a book in which showed the viewer information on any subject they wished to know. All the reader had to do was tap their wand on the cover and state what subject they wished to learn about. And inside, the pages would be filled with a wide-based knowledge on the subject. It was having an entire library at your disposal.
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There were only several copies of the Eruditio and each copy cost more money than Izar would ever see in his lifetime. His fingers trembled on the cover as he caressed the strong-smelling leather. "You would be the first I would want to present this gift with, Izar," cold fingers grasped his jaw, puling his gaze away from the book and into the crimson eyes Izar knew to be under the hood. "And I hope, in turn, you will give me your devoted loyalty." And then Izar realized that this wasn't so much as a birthday gift, but a bribe. Voldemort wanted his loyalty and the man played on his weaknesses and interests. Izar's lips twitched and he gave a nod. "Of course you have my loyaltyMy Lord," he murmured. "Thank you for the gift. I will treasure it forever." "Forever," Voldemort repeated back, the word sounding pensive and gloomy on the man's tongue. "Be sure that you do." The man dropped his hand from Izar's face, earning goose bumps in the wake of his absence. "Come child, its time for the initiation." Izar gave his tome one last longing look, disappointed that he would have to wait to use it. He placed his first and only birthday gift securely under his mattress and allowed the Dark Lord to take his arm as they disapparated. {DT} The fortress was as Izar suspected it would be. Dark, old, and cold. Spider webs claimed the corners and the ceilings, barely visible in the dim lighting. They were so thick, they appeared like aged mold. Izar felt the growing trepidation as he walked down the eerie corridor beside a silent Lord Voldemort. Truth be told, he didn't know what he was expected to do. Questions were racing in his mind. How many people did the Dark Lord have in his army? And how many were going to be there tonight? "There is no need to be uneasy, Izar," the Dark Lord murmured silkily. "No harm will come to pass." Izar glanced sideways at the man, who, in turn, kept his gaze forward. "I just don't know what my mannerisms should," he faltered uncharacteristically as he caught sight of two people at the end of the corridor. One of them, even with the heavy black robe dressing his frame, Izar knew to be Lucius Malfoy. The blond hair almost glowed in the dark, the subtle light settling around the man like a halo. But Lucius Malfoy wasn't what caught Izar's tongue and attention. It was the woman standing next to him, the woman who struck a cord of familiarity. Black eyes locked with charcoal-green. A maniacal grin crossed the woman's face, marring the beautifully sculptured features. Her hair wasn't as beautifully laid out as her face; instead, it was a thick black mass of wayward curls. Izar knew she couldn't care a less about her appearance, judging from the smeared make-up around her eyes and lips.
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She tapped a long fingernail against her smirking mouth as she eyed Izar just as obsessively. It took Izar a few seconds to realize he had stopped walking. "My," she whispered hoarsely, quietly, her dark eyes sparkling in inane pleasure. It appeared as if she couldn't get enough of Izar. Her eyes traced his hair to his toes, taking time to study each of his features. "I didn't think I would ever see the bastard son of my estranged cousin" Izar stiffened; his pulse beating at an all time high. He didn't want to hear this. And to make matters even worse, Izar caught sight of the younger blond wizard who entered the corridor behind Lucius. Izar knew it was Draco and he was aware that the other child had heard the woman's declaration. Izar had never lost control of his expressions and he had never lost control of his actions. But he was so close to losing himself in front of the very same people he vowed he would have complete control with. "Bellatrix" Lucius started off, uncertain, yet intrigued at the very same time. His grey eyes traced over Izar as if suddenly seeing him in a new light. The Dark Lord remained oddly silent, standing to the side. When the woman, Bellatrix, opened her mouth again, Izar clenched his fists, his gaze becoming tunnel-like. "When I heard Lucius mention a Mudblood by the name of 'Izar' being initiated into our Lords circle, I could only speculate. But now, seeing the black curls, grey eyes, and the delicate features of Regulus, my speculations were confirmed." Her mouth twitched at Izar's apparent emotionless expression. "Izar is a rather fitting name; I'm surprised the mudblood bitch decided to keep with the Black traditions." She not only knew his father, but also his mother. Izar gave a deep intake of breath, taking a step backward. "That's enough, Bellatrix," Voldemort finally spoke up, placing his hand on Izar's shoulder. It was a weight, keeping him in place so he couldn't run like he so wanted to. Bellatrix's dark eyes took no pity on him as she continued to study him. He stared back, unable to gather his thoughts quickly enough to retort. "I apologize, My Lord, I didn't know the boy hadn't known his parentage." Black eyes glanced shyly up at Voldemort. "I think you of all people should know, My Lord. After all, Regulus betrayed you. Do you really want his bastard and unclaimed son in your services?" She paused, her dark gaze sliding over to Izar once again. "History has a way of repeating itself from time to time. Even if Regulus is dead, he still lives in his son, I can see it." "You must be rather bold to suggest the Dark Lord can't think for himself," Izar whispered darkly, his eyes gaining life back in them after the shock he had gone through. Bellatrix's eyes widened and then narrowed into pleased slits. Before she could rebuttal,
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Voldemort stepped in between the adults, forcing them to take a step back from Izar and the situation. "You three will report to the chamber, where you belong. Now." The man's tone left no room for argument. The two Malfoy's took one last glance at Izar before disappearing into the chamber room. Izar looked down, feeling awkward and uncomfortable. This wasn't how he wanted to find out of his parentage. He most certainly didn't want Lucius and Draco Malfoy finding out alongside him. Not to mention the Dark Lord was all ears, not missing the family dynamics playing out in front of him. "Don't you want to know your mother, my sweet cousin? The one who gave you to a Muggle orphanage after Regulus' death?" Bellatrix took an advancing step around the Dark Lord, leaning in dangerously close to Izar. He stiffened, not noticing her approach. It came to a shock to feel her lips caressing his outer ear. "Lily Potter." She whispered in inclusive delight. "I knew it all, because I witnessed their pathetic affair" her tongue came out to stroke Izar's ear. His eyes widened and the blood drained from his face. "Crucio," the curse from Voldemort was chanted with practice and a twisted vehemence. Through half-lidded eyes, Izar watched as his distant cousin fell to her knees, her face twisting in agony. The scream that passed through her lips was high pitched in tone, piercing Izar's ears. He took another step back, feeling the world spin before him. Even if he would have enjoyed her torture any other time, he found it the crashing point. He took a few more steps backward, more than aware of the crimson eyes following his retreat. It took him another scream from Bellatrix to turn and walk quickly away, his speed close to that of a light jog. He didn't know where he was going and he frankly didn't care. The dark shadows swallowed him up, almost caressing and reassuring him. Izar took a shuddering breath, realizing he couldn't run away from this. His legs gave out and he fell to the cold ground a distance away from the pair. Izar desperately crawled to a small nook in the corridor, curling his body tightly against the wall as he leaned his forehead on his drawn knees. His arms, shaking, huddled his legs closer to his body as he tried to calm his emotions. He needed to remain strong at the initiation; he couldn't have Bellatrix see what she wanted to see, a broken orphan boy, a bastard to the Black family name. He shuddered again, feeling his throat contract. Third year had been the year when Izar had hesitantly experimented on the properties his blood carried. He had wanted to know who his Muggle parents were and he conducted a hereditary potion. It was supposed to map out one's family lineage.
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It took him almost the whole year and two batched potions before he got the potion right. Izar was sure Snape noticed a decrease in his potion ingredients, but he never commented on it. But it wouldn't have mattered. Izar remembered staring at the blank parchment after he conducted the potion. Where the parchment was supposed to show the family trees, nothing appeared but his own name. 'Izar Harrison'. He knew then, in third year, that he wasn't a Mudblood. It had come as a large blow that one of his parents had been a wizard and smart enough to put a barrier on his heritage. It was an advanced Charm, one that only an experienced wizard or witch could conduct. After third year, after the potion, Izar had continued to think of himself as a Muggle-born. It upset him to think of his parents abandoning him intentionally. They had known Izar was a wizard and they had known they were going to give him up. Why else would they place a barrier on his heritage? The idea of being a bastard and an embarrassment to a pure-blood male after a quick night with a lesser woman presented itself to Izar. That's what he thought he was a result of a one night stand. Consequently, it was easier to think of himself as a descendant of two Muggles. But tonighttonight had been the largest blow. Izar didn't care so much about his father. From what Bellatrix said, Regulus Black was deceased, dead, possibly killed by Voldemort's hand for betraying him. Izar didn't know Regulus' outlook on his fate at the orphanage. However, the identity of his mother was what really got Izar. He worked with her. Izar's face crumbled and he tried his damnest to control the burning tears. Never before had he felt so abandoned so unwanted. A bitter laugh escaped his lips and his shoulders shook with the effort to hold in the sob that wanted so desperately to escape. How could a mother abandon her child and then pretend she didn't even know him when they met fifteen years later? Merlin, it stung. Even if Izar prided himself with being cold to the outside world, he wouldn't deny the devastation and hurt he felt. It was undeniable that he was wounded by his parents' actions. A hand placed itself on his back, near the nape of his neck. Izar tensed, sensing the familiar magic around him, a comforting cloud of power. "If it makes you feel any better," the Dark Lord started off softly. "I, myself, was a bastard child." Izar's eyes widened, yet he kept his head bowed near his knees. "No one knows of this, Izar, and I trust you to keep it between the two of us," the hand on his neck tightened to an extent before it stroked calmingly down Izar's back. "I was raised in an orphanage like yourself. My mother died after giving birth to me and my father left my mother as soon as he found out she was a witch. I was a repulsive creature to my father and
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he left me in the orphanage on his own free will." The Dark Lord, the leader and spokesmen for blood supremacy was a half-blood. Izar thought is amusingly ironic, yet he understood the man's motives. "Did you forgive him? Your father?" Izar asked in true curiosity, his voice muffled. A dark chuckle raised the hairs on the back of Izar's neck. "No, I killed him at the age of seventeen." Izar's lips twitched and his head lifted from his bent knees. His eyes rested on the hoodless form of Tom Riddle. The man was grinning lightly, however, his eyes were pensive, examining Izar. Crimson eyes traced over his tearless face and back to his eyes. Izar's respect and reverence for the man heightened. It showed a very large vulnerability on Riddle's behalf to confess his past history with Izar. A history that most wizards would look down upon. Nevertheless, even if Izar's respect for the man was high, he would never depend on the Dark Lord and he would never submit to the man fully. Just because he would have the man's Mark on his skin, didn't mean he had to become a mere mindless puppet. And the same went for his parents. They never acknowledged him. They never claimed him. Why should he? He had his moment of grieving and that was all he needed. He would continue on like the Mudblood he used to be, jaded to his parents' true identities. They didn't care and neither did he. Izar swallowed, feeling the familiar bouts of relapse from Voldemort's magic. He was too close, too aware of the man's over-abundant power. "I may follow in your footsteps," Izar admitted, turning his attention back on their conversation. Truthfully, the idea of ignoring his mother sounded more appealing to killing her. But who knew how he would feel in a few days, after the shock settled. The Dark Lord smirked slyly, his crimson eyes narrowing in pleasure. "That's what I like to hear, my child," the man murmured, his fingernails still touching Izar's back. "I'm ready to take the Mark," Izar commented, his body stiffening at the lingering caress of Tom's fingers. The hand had been a comfort to him during his moment of grief, but the lingering touch was starting to turn into something far from innocent. "Thank you for your generous reassurance, My Lord, but I can assure you that I just needed time to grasp all the information. I would like to take your Mark now." The hand, slowly but surely slid from Izar' back. "Then follow me," the Dark Lord was back to his normally expressionless face. The older wizard stood, easily towering over Izar as soon as the boy stood up gracefully from the ground. "Bellatrix," Izar started as they swept down the hallways at a relatively slow pace. "Won't
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tell any of the others, will she?" The Dark Lord flashed Izar a small smile before he drew his hood back up, covering his features. "Bellatrix's actions are difficult to understand, Izar. But even if they are bastard children, Bellatrix has a sense of honor to her family name. She will not speak to another about your lineage. She enjoyed taunting you, however cruel it was. And she will continue to do so." Izar grimaced, looking away. As long as she didn't tell anyone outside the family, Izar could handle that situation. Despite the fact that the Black and Malfoy family were one of the biggest pure-blood families, Izar had spent the majority of his life being looked down upon because of his blood status. "And you, My Lord, will you do the same?" Izar questioned. "You won't speak of this incident again, will you? Frankly, I'd rather forget about it myself." It was sort of a command, intoned with a plead. He needed to sound a bit condescending when he was dealing with a Dark Lord. He couldn't outright demand the man to silence. "It has already slipped my mind," Voldemort suggested. It was a lie. Izar's gaze dropped. He knew the man wouldn't forget. His own father, Regulus, had betrayed the man. Not only that, but the Black family was notorious for being a strong political force and knowledgeable in the field of Dark magic. Both traits were rather lost on Izar. Nonetheless, Izar didn't think of himself as a Black. He wasn't someone who was defined by his parents and his ancestors. He was just Izar Harrison. {DT} The others shifted. He remained still. And stiff. His eyes took in the three others in the room with him. Two of which were a few years older than him while the last was about thirty years of age. He wondered, briefly, if they received priceless gifts and luxurious lunches from Voldemort. Perhaps they were treated with a brief history lesson from Tom Riddle's past as Izar had. Izar placed a hand on his stomach, feeling a bit nauseated. Regret and apprehension were swirling in his stomach, reminding him why he had refused the first time to take the Mark. He didn't want to be branded. He didn't want to be owned. The idea tore at his resolve,
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forcing his breathing to come out slow and shallow. However, he knew there was no way out of this. His time to back out had been a few hours ago when he had time to run to Dumbledore and hide like a pathetic rat. But even Izar couldn't see himself running. He never ran from things. Instead, he faced them head on, stubborn and pig-headed. He just had to remind himself that he would be going to Hogwarts on Monday. After that, he wouldn't need to attend meetings like this for a good year. Many things could change in that time span. Not so bad Izar forced his hand away from his stomach. After Voldemort gathered him from the small nook in the corridor he had escorted Izar to a small and cold room. There, the Dark Lord abandoned him, leaving him at the mercy of two of his followers. Death Eaters. That was what the servants to Lord Voldemort were called. It was what Izar was to be called after the Mark branded his skin. The Death Eaters had forced Izar to strip to his undergarments before a heavy robe was thrown at him. He, along with the three others, was forced to abandon their shoes and suffer the cold stone against their naked feet. By now, his skin was a pale blue, raised with goose bumps. He didn't know how long he could suffer without something warm covering his feet. The robe probably would have helped ward off the cold if it wasn't so big. The material pooled off him, too airy to be comfortable. Izar clutched his wand in his hand. He forced a cool mask across his face as soon as the door opened to their dark room. "He's ready to see you four," the Death Eater, donned with a silver skull mask, ushered them out of the room. Through his mask, the man's eyes taunted them as they filed out the room. Izar shivered, yet his expression was a calm cynical. He was the second to last in line, perhaps the second to last to receive the Mark. The Mark all he had to do was focus his thoughts on the Mark and learn its properties. He had to admit he was very curious about the Dark Mark adjoined to the Death Eater's arms. Had Tom invented the enchantment himself? And what, exactly, did the mark do? He buried the information in the back of his mind as soon as he entered a larger, colder room. The room was ridiculously large with many, many more servants than Izar had originally thought. The servants were all on their knees in a large semi-circle with Lord Voldemort at the point. Some where so far back, Izar wondered if they could hear anything going on in the front of the room. But he realized that was intentional when he noticed their masks. It was a bit like ranking Izar supposed.
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The Death Eaters who were at the back wore charcoal masks. They were the largest majority, perhaps the newest members. The second group wore silver masks, their numbers a lot less than the nickel skulled masks. And finally, the smallest, barely twenty Death Eaters, wore gold masks. They were kneeling in the inner-most part of the semi-circle, closer to the Dark Lord. The nearer Izar got to them, the more he felt their magic. However, Izar wouldn't assume Voldemort's Inner-Circle was considered the 'most powerful'. Some of the gold masked Death Eaters didn't have very strong magic and some of the Death Eaters who wore nickel masks were more powerful. It had to be based on trust and years serving the Dark Lord. Izar kept his eyes ahead of him, not trusting his eyes to study each of the Death Eaters. He had to admit that Blacks had similar physical appearances. He wouldn't be surprised if he was recognized by any of the other Inner-Circle wizards. He snapped out of his musings as soon as his group stopped in front of the Dark Lord inside the semi-circle. Izar was forced to go on his knees as the older wizard in their group went down first. He bowed his head, feeling eyes boring into his back from the Death Eaters behind him. "I thank you all for coming," the Dark Lord started softly. Izar resisted a snort in amusement. There was no choice but to come. "You have chosen to join a commendable cause that will put a stop against the discrimination against Dark magic. With time we will comfortably cast Dark magic and teach Dark spells to our children at school. There will be no shame to the Dark, only pride." The man paused skillfully, drawing everyone's bated breath. "Not only will we reclaim our position as the finer magic, but we will also cleanse the world of Muggle taint. Muggles have slowly, but steadily plagued our world. Wizards are the superior beings and rightfully so. Wizarding children should not grow up in the Muggle world, especially Muggle orphanages." Izar looked up from his position on the ground, eyeing the Dark Lord. The man didn't meet his eyes, yet he was aware of Izar's gaze. "There should be no Muggle influence in our world, no taint." Here, there were pleased murmurings from the other Death Eaters. They were satisfied at hearing the Dark Lord's speech. Izar was sure they probably heard this more than once but the thrill at hearing those promises got them more hooked- more addicted and captivated by the Dark Lord. It was a never ending cycle. The Dark Lord would preach, sending his aura out to caress his followers, and in turn, the Death Eaters grew more enamored with the man. They craved more. They needed more. "We will fight for our rightful spot in the wizarding world. Dark magic, for over centuries, has been looked down and spit upon. The wizarding world won't know what hit them," Voldemort sat down on his chair that resembled something more of a throne. "Tonight, I have
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asked four wizards to join our cause. I believe they can offer us the advantage we need. And in turn, I will offer them a world without discrimination, a chance at joining the winning side." Voldemort cocked his head to the side, a mocking smile spreading across his lips. "Andrew Rowley." The older man in the group crawled forward like a pathetic animal and came to a stop right before Voldemort's sitting form. "My Lord," he murmured softly. "I pledge to you my loyalty and my riches. I will bring pride to your name." Izar watched closely as the man, Rowley, bent down to kiss the hem of Voldemort's robes. Izar bit back a disgusted snarl, unable to see himself doing something as degrading as kissing the man's robes. Through hooded eyes, Izar watched as Voldemort leaned forward, pressing his wand to Rowley's left forearm. "Morsmordre," Voldemort hissed silkily. Charcoal-green eyes observed as the Mark was all but tattooed into the man's arm. Rowley's shoulders shuddered and a piercing scream erupted from his mouth. Izar leaned back on his knees, his curiosity getting the better of him. Just what was that spell? It must have been more than skin deep for the man to scream so loud. Did it affect the nervous system? The skin tissue was surely damaged and that could issue a piercing scream. But Izar wondered if it went further. After all, couldn't Death Eaters carve off the Dark Mark if they no longer wanted to be a servant to the Dark Lord? Somehow, Izar figured Voldemort wouldn't allow it to be that easy to get rid of the Dark Mark. It had to affect the body as a whole. "Severus," Riddle hissed, motioning for a gold masked Death Eater to approach. Izar stiffened, becoming taller in his kneeling form. His eyes drank in the man who quickly approached Rowley and slathered a salve on the freshly branded arm. Severus? Severus Snape? Izar's hands splayed the cold ground as he leaned closer to his potions master. He didn't know what he was more interested in. Why Severus was a Death Eater or what the salve was made out of. Izar would have to speak to the Slytherin Head of House this year when he got back to school. He was of decent standings with Professor Snape. It wouldn't be awkward to ask such a question about the properties in the salve he used. Perhaps the man could give Izar an insight of the Mark itself. Sitting back, he watched the last two boys go forward to get branded. All of them screamed, perhaps louder than the first man. Despite the pain, Izar was oddly looking forward to getting the Mark and feeling the after affects of the branding. His eagerness of
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obtaining the Mark was purely education. He wanted to solve the mystery of the Mark. And he would try his best not to scream. He couldn't. "Izar Harrison." It was his turn to approach. Unlike the others, Izar stood up and walked to Voldemort before going back down on his knees. Severus turned his neck sharply at Voldemort's call, his surprised eyes locking on charcoal-green before Izar had to look away. "My Lord," Izar started off like the others had done. "I pledge to you my undying loyalty. I will bring honor to your name." He couldn't pledge Voldemort his 'riches' simply because Izar didn't have any. Instead, he dipped his head, gathering the hem of Voldemort's robes like the others had done. His fingers bunched the material, surely wrinkling it. He could feel acid build up in his mouth at the thought of having to do this in front of hundreds. But a hand stopped him. "Bless me instead, child," Voldemort hissed in pleasure. Izar frowned, not comprehending the order. Around him, the Death Eaters gave surprised whispers. "My hand, Izar." Izar wondered what was more mortifying, kissing the man's robes or his hand. Nonetheless, he shakily grabbed the long and pale hand in his own. Both of their hands were cold and shocks claimed Izar's arms at their contact. It wasn't alien. It had happened when Voldemort had come to the orphanage a week ago. It happened every time their bare skin touched. He leaned over and kissed the back of Riddle's palm before turning it over and kissing the pulse point. As he pulled back, Riddle's fingernail scratched the length of his jaw. It drew blood, that much was for certain. Through stunned eyes, Izar watched as Voldemort tasted the blood on his finger, his crimson eyes incredibly bright and taunting as he eyed Izar. Hurriedly averting his gaze, Izar lifted his sleeve, bearing his forearm. He shivered when the Dark Lord's wand pressed into his arm. "Morsmordre." It was painful. Yes. Izar clenched his jaw shut and his eyes slid closed as he felt the affects of the magic wash through him. The shocks he got from physical contact with Voldemort were light and innocent compared to the shocks entering his system now. Lightning-like flashes danced beneath his eyelids as the curse made its way through his body. The shocks heated his blood and eventually made their way to his head. His assumptions were correct then. This was far more than just a simple tattoo. This affected the nervous system. Before long, it was over. Izar opened his eyes, panting. Even if the shocks were finished, the Mark on his skin still burned severely.
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He glanced up at Voldemort, noting the man's pensive gaze. "You did not scream," the Dark Lord held up a hand toward Severus, halting the man's advance with the salve. "Perhaps you don't even need the salve." Izar wanted to protest, but he remained tight-lipped. He had too much pride to beg for the ointment. "But My Lord," Severus, surprisingly, was the one to protest. Voldemort tsked. "If the boy wants the salve, he will need to ask me. It will no doubt bend his pride." Izar bit his lip, keeping his eyes firmly on the ground before him. Everything was a light blur. Somehow, the cold in the room grew warm, heating his cheeks and even his feet. He was sure it was a fever. And it may have been from the Mark. But he wouldn't ask for the salve. If he could make it without screaming, he could make due without using the salve. Later, he was presented with his mask. He was too disorientated to realize he was the only new recruit to obtain a silver mask. {an} Next chapter Izar heads to Hogwarts. I just want to tell you all, this year- Izar's sixth and shortest year- will consist mainly of him getting to know his parent(s) and his relationship with Tom, Severus, Daphne, Draco, and a few other students. It will also be the year Izar will struggle with his standings in the Death Eater crowd. And of course, he will be experimenting on the Mark. His seventh year, however, will consist more of the Veil and his experiments in the Unspeakable world. His ability you got a sneak peak at in this chapter can only be trained by his father and his ancestors.

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Part I Chapter 7

{Notes} Thanks to all of you who reviewed and read last chapterChapter Seven The glass on the window was stained with layers of fog due to Izar's breathing. His forehead rested on the cool glass and his eyes, half-lidded, stared out into the passing scenery. His right hand was clutching at his left arm, trying to numb away the throbbing pain. Even he knew it was no use to try to take away the pain. He had tried every healing spell he knew of but the pain only numbed for a few minutes before coming back twice as strong. He felt miserable. Not himself. And completely ill. His right hand traced over a book that contained information on the Protean Charm. The Protean Charm was designed to link several objects through one common link. Izar had a hunched that this was based off Voldemort's Dark Mark. But no matter how much Izar wanted to learn about the Mark, his mind could only concentrate on the pain his arm was giving off. The large leather tome he got from Voldemort, the Eruditio, was stored at the bottom of his trunk, still wrapped in his protective cloth. He couldn't bring himself to use the book just yet. Not when he was less than pleased with the Dark Lord. Despite his childish stubbornness of not using the book, he did feel the itch that always lured his mind back to the book. Was there more information on the Protean Charm in the Eruditio? Did it have any information on the Dark Mark itself? He doubted it. A loud screech issued from the compartment door as it opened, issuing a timid first year. "Can I," the boy started, his voice cracking with nervousness. Izar's neck cracked noisily as he quickly leveled the little boy with a glare. "No, you may not sit here. Find somewhere else." He hissed without pity, watching through narrowed eyes as the eleven year old quickly shut the door and ran from his compartment. Instead of getting the peace and quiet he wanted, he was so very pleased to see a spoiled blond boy appearing at his compartment door, peering inside. The smirk the boy wore told Izar that he would not be getting the privacy he so desired. Izar just wanted to sit alone. He didn't want others, especially Malfoy, to see his pain.
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"What did the little first year do to you?" Malfoy grinned, welcoming himself in the empty compartment without invitation. Izar leaned his head against the bench, eyeing the blond through narrowed eyes. "The same thing you're doing, Malfoy, invading my privacy." Malfoy didn't appear affected by his snide tone; instead, the spoiled bastard sat on the bench opposite of Izar. The Malfoy heir looked entirely too comfortable being here, especially after three long years of always butting heads. Nevertheless, Izar knew exactly why Draco was comfortable here. And he didn't like it. He was afraid this would happen. He sighed again, throwing the boy a look. "We aren't friends. And we are not family, Malfoy. Whatever you heard from the insane bitch will remain between us, you understand me?" Izar leaned forward, wincing when he put his weight on his left arm. The last thing he wanted to think about was his parentage. He had put the situation in the back of his mind after his branding and never thought of it again until he had seen Lily at the Department of Mysteries last Friday. She had approached him with an apologetic expression dressing her face, no doubt wanting to apologize for what happened the day before in the Death Chamber. But before she could approach him, Izar had turned his heel, leaving her in the hallway by her lonesome. Whatever she wanted, he hadn't cared. He wouldn't put himself through that. Seeing her had brought back the pain he had felt at the initiation. He wanted so badly to ask her the broad question of why, but he couldn't go through with it. It was better to leave the whole situation dead. Like it had been for fifteen years. When Sunday night rolled into this morning, Izar had felt relieved he was going to Hogwarts. He wouldn't need to see or face Lily again until next summer. In fact, he wouldn't even need to think about his parents when his concentration would be sorely focused on his school work and trying to discover all the properties of the Dark Mark. But Malfoy had to stick his nose up Izar's arse just because he found out they were 'related', however distant it was. Izar wouldn't have it. He wanted a quiet year before he had to face it all again next summer. Malfoy's silver eyes dropped to Izar's arm, his expression turning thoughtful. "I heard you were presented with a silver mask. That doesn't happen to new recruits." The boy's voice was pinched, faintly envious, yet curious. The Malfoy heir completely ignored Izar's earlier comment. "The Dark Lord must trust you. And my father seems to approve of our Lord's decision. But what I don't understand is why you didn't receive the salve. I couldn't hear from my position in the back." The boy, barely taking a breath, caught sight of his hand. Eyes widening, he exclaimed,
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"Your hand looks enormous," Draco grimaced, studying how Izar's left hand seemed three sizes bigger than his right hand. Izar growled at Draco, earning a flinch from the blond. "Did you hear anything I said? I have no interest in speaking to you and I especially don't enjoy listening to your extraordinary ability of speaking without breathing." Draco sniffed. "Despite the fact you're attitude mirrors Severus' remarkably well, I'm used to it. You can't affect me. He doesn't affect me." Pity. He had hoped a few jabs would make the boy go back to his old self. Having a friendly Draco was harder to handle than a snide one. "Obviously if he feels the same way about you as I do, I don't blame him for treating you so unpleasantly." "No," Draco shook his head, raising his fingernails to examine them eloquently. "You aren't really unpleasant, you are more cynical, sarcastic, and anti-social. Almost amusing. My mother confided with me that Regulus was a lot like Severus. You three would get along," the blond broke off at Izar's expression. Suddenly, the calm and arrogant Malfoy vanished. In its place was a slightly hesitant and pensive boy. "Listen, Harrison, I didn't come here to apologize to you." Izar raised his eyebrows, his pulse beating quickly in fury. He didn't want to hear his father's name spoken out loud. He didn't want to be having this discussion. "However, I realize my past mistakes for treating you unfairly are unjust. I don't apologize but I would like to start over with you." Izar sneered, sitting back against the bench once again. "Are you, per say, turning a new leaf because the Dark Lord and your father have taken an obvious interest in me, and you wanted to save your own arse? Or are you doing this out of your own change of heart?" The blond made a face. "The first, obviously." "Obviously," Izar repeated dryly, his voice dripping with sarcasm. He really didn't expect Draco to be doing it out of a change of heart. Why would he? The blond was a spoiled brat who preferred to do things the easy way. He was a die-hard Slytherin who only cared about saving his own hide. It didn't matter that he would be putting Izar through a mental torture every time he spoke. As long as he was on his father and Lord's good side, it was all worth it for the boy. Draco smirked. "I'd like to start over. I'll even agree not to mention your heritage to anyone, even you." Izar withheld a groan. The boy wouldn't let up. And he was getting a migraine from listening to the boy's never ending tirade. "If I agree, will you also promise to leave me alone?"
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"That kind of defeats the purpose of 'starting over', doesn't it?" Blond eyebrows hitched and silver eyes danced across Izar's irritated expression. "Though, I suppose it's a start." And after what felt like forever, Draco stood up. His mouth was still twisted into an amused smirk as if he knew the pain he was putting Izar through. "I'll ask Severus to look at your arm. It really doesn't look well." "Leaving so soon, Malfoy?" Another voice entered the compartment, causing Izar to lean his head against the cushion, irritated. Was it too much to ask to have a bit of peace and quiet? Daphne Greengrass gracefully entered the small compartment. All her pure-blood charm glimmered about her, making her glow smartly. Her dark green eyes brightened when they landed on Izar and a pleased smirk crossed her flawless face. "I'm afraid Harrison wants to be alone today, Greengrass," Draco commented snidely. His silver eyes studied Daphne's growing smile and the way her attention was absorbed on Izar. "I didn't know you were acquainted with Harrison." He sounded jealous, wary. And it was purely because Draco thought he had Izar to himself. Izar knew the two didn't get along very well. They tolerated each other, yes, but they never socialized with one another. Malfoy thought Daphne was too outspoken for a pure-blood witch and Daphne shared Izar's opinion on Draco. He was simply a pampered boy who had yet to really grow up. Her short blonde hair fell into her face as she turned to Draco, sizing him up. Izar just picked his book up from his lap, already bored with the two blonds. "Some of us actually have common sense to see past the faade Izar puts forth." "If you don't mind," Izar drawled loudly, catching the two Slytherins' attention. "I'd like to read up on a few things. Your added noise certainly isn't helping me concentrate." Daphne turned away from Malfoy, her attention once again on her prize. "I actually came to sit with you today, Izar. I haven't seen you all summer except the Ministry ball." Noting Izar's goaded expression, she continued smoothly. "I even brought something to read." Izar raised his eyebrows, evidently amused. "Clearly educational, I suppose?" The girl never read but she passed her classes fairly well from pure talent. Daphne preferred glamour and gossip over studying, yet she had a bit of a leveled side when she was with Izar. She seemed to find it her mission to try to lure Izar away from the anti-social circles and into her obtrusive circle of high status wizards and witches. She certainly wasn't an airhead, no, if she was, Izar wouldn't be able to associate with her. Instead, Daphne was a powerful witch who enjoyed learning about social rankings. She was all pure-blood, bred beautifully and smartly for her future husband.
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He remembered how they met in second year. She had been in third year, stressing over a parchment that looked a little worse for wear. It was her potions essay she had struggled with the past week. Her eyes had been bloodshot from tension and infuriation as she looked up and noticed his watchful form. She had snapped at him, of course, telling him to look somewhere else or she'd hex him. Something in her frustration softened Izar a bit. He ignored her threats and offered his help. She didn't agree at first, to prideful to accept help, especially from a second year. But she eventually caved in, allowing him to help her. After which, she received full marks for her written essay. Since then, she tried her best never to take advantage of Izar's abundant knowledge. Daphne was a very prideful and independent witch who wanted to do things herself. Unfortunately, instead of leaving Izar alone after he had ignored her continuing presence, she had persisted, resulting in a rather unusual relationship between the two. Eventually, he had come to tolerate her presence. Slightly. "You know me so well," she grinned as her perfectly manicured nails opened the new edition of Witch Weekly. Izar's eyes widened in dismay as he hurriedly looked away from the piece of rubbish and back at his textbook. Malfoy cleared his throat, still standing near the compartment door. Instead of looking awkward, he pulled off a cool demeanor. "I think I'll stay here then," the boy sniffed haughtily, sitting down across from them. "Do you have anything to read then, Harrison? Knowing you, you probably have a book up your arse," Draco intoned lightly. Daphne gave a dismayed sigh. Charcoal-green eyes looked up from his book. He hadn't gotten anywhere in the text, being interrupted too many times to count. Over the top of his book, he studied Draco. The boy had grown over the summer, looking more man than child. He resembled Lucius significantly with the lengthening hair and the expression of cool arrogance dressing his face. Of course, Izar had never met Narcissa Malfoy, the cousin to his father Regulus. But Izar did, however, see a softness around Draco's mouth that Lucius did not harbor. The boy's lips were plumper than thin, showing Black traits. Not only was Draco changing appearance, but his demeanor also cooled. While he was still arrogant, he had dulled somewhat, becoming more observant than self-centered. "I think your reading preferences lies with Daphne's tastes," Izar grinned behind his book, his face all serious for Draco to see. The Malfoy heir glanced at the issue of Witch Weekly and then turned narrowed eyes back to him. "Perhaps you can ask her for something to read. I'm sure she has another issue hiding somewhere."
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Daphne muffled her laugh behind her fingers, the Greengrass Family ring glittering from the suns rays outside. He became somber as he looked at the ring, knowing Draco also had one on his finger. He turned away when Daphne caught his eyes. "Very amusing, Harrison," Draco's lips twisted in grimace. The two boys stared one another down, the secret between them on the forefront of their minds. Izar could just see Malfoy replaying the memory of Bellatrix Lestrange in the corridor to the Dark Lord's manor. Daphne cut in smoothly as the tension started to grow. "I'm eager to see the Durmstrang students," she batted her lashes. "I was only in first year when the Tournament was held in France. The first years had to stay back. But from what I've heard, they are a handsome lot of men." It took Izar a long while to understand what she was speaking of. "The Triwizard Tournament, I had forgotten about that," he commented lightly before turning back to his book to stare unseeingly at it. The Tournament happened every five years. They had resumed the Tournament almost fifty years ago. In fact, Izar was sure this year would be the fiftieth anniversary for the Tournament starting up again. "Don't forget about Beauxbatons," Draco flashed Daphne a smug look. "Now that is a handsome lot of women." "Hardly," she murmured; her eyes on Izar. "Do you think they're anything special, Izar?" He stared at the text on the page, unable to believe he was having this discussion. He would rather be sitting in the Death Chamber with Lily Potter than discussing how handsome women and men were. "Are you going to put your name in the Goblet?" Izar questioned to the two of them, easily changing the subject. Daphne wasn't so impressed by his tactics, but she remained silent on the previous subject. Draco seemed to puff his chest out, his chin raising a ridiculous amount. "Of course I am going to enter." There was something about his tone that made it almost certain he would be chosen as a Champion. Izar stared at the boy; his eyes narrowing as he observed the way the boy held himself. There was no way in hell Izar could see Draco being picked for Hogwarts Champion, but the boy's expression spoke of utmost confidence. Just what exactly was going on with this? Izar's gaze traced the proud flush of pink on Draco's cheeks. "You don't seem too excited," Daphne touched Izar's shoulder. "Are you going to put your name in the Goblet? I think you would make a brilliant Champion." Charcoal-green eyes darkened in irritation. "I just turned fifteen, Daphne, you know that. Of course I'm not going to enter. You need to be at least sixteen." She pouted. "Besides, even
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if I was old enough I would never go near the Tournament." The last thing he wanted was attention. Fame. Interest. Glory. He wasn't like that, thrusting himself into the heat of publicity, expecting fame and glory. Even if it was for a large sum of money, he wouldn't put himself through that just to get his hands on gold. To Izar, it wasn't a Tournament to test your magical ability. Instead, it was a popularity contest to see who would be the next wizard or witch recorded in history. But the more he thought about the positives of the Tournament, the more his hatred for it diminished. He realized he would have so much extra time to research things. While the rest of the school would be celebrating the Tournament and going to the Challenges, he could be alone. Away from everyone. Hmm all the possibilities. He could work on the Dark Mark in more depth and also his Unspeakable project he vowed to complete this school year before returning to work in the summer. Draco snickered, bringing Izar's attention back on him. "Izar is too absorbed in the shadows. He would never enter." The two boys shared a knowing look. "I don't care who the Champion is. As long as the Norwegian Government doesn't win again. Save for one year, when Beauxbatons won, Durmstrang has won all the other Tournaments. Hogwarts- the British Government- has yet to win one since the Tournament reopened fifty years ago." It was true. The three Ministries were rather competitive when it came to the Tournament. The Norwegian Ministry, or in particular, the Norwegian people were ranked the highest with their school of Durmstrang. The France Ministry came to a close second with Beauxbatons Academy. Sadly, the British Ministry was the lowest ranking. Never once winning a Tournament. Out of the three schools, Hogwarts was ranked the lowest when it came to exam scores and competitions. From what Izar read, the Ministers and the high ranking politicians always placed high bets on the Triwizarding Tournament. They grew rather aggressive during the Tournaments and most of the country's high ranking politicians traveled to the school in which the Tournament was being held at. Apparently Britain was hosting the Tournament this year. Izar's fingers twitched and his book dropped to his lap as he realized something. Tom Riddle was a high politician. Only second to that of the Minister. He would most definitely be at Hogwarts for a good remainder of the year. Izar took a deep breath trying to calm himself as his left arm jerked painfully. He had thought he would get a whole year without even seeing the Dark Lord again.
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{Death of Today} Izar, finally alone in a sense, walked up to the castle. His Ravenclaw robes dressed his frame, the blue and bronze tie tight around his collar. He had to admit he was happy to be back at Hogwarts. Anything to be out of the orphanage and away from the Department of Mysteries until his shock lessened over his parentage. He didn't know how long he could have lasted near Lily Potter if he hadn't had Hogwarts to fall back on. The Ravenclaw prodigy all but glided toward a tall column, standing near the shadows to compose himself. His left arm was burning fiercely. Not only the Mark itself, no, but his whole arm. The pain and the swelling were up to his shoulder, revealing the abnormal thickness and redness. It had been a chore for him to put on his robes, and eventually, he had to bend to Draco's offered help. Izar didn't even know if he could successfully pick something up. After all, he hadn't even been able to tie his tie. He moaned softly, setting his hot face against the stone pillar. He wanted the salve the day after he was branded, but he was too uncertain to contact the Dark Lord. How could he when the man made it so easy for Izar to dislike him? One moment, Tom Riddle had empathy and was human, while the next, the man was a closed-off Dark wizard who had no pity for those beneath him. Not only that, but Izar didn't want to bend to the Dark Lord. If he had contacted Tom and asked for the salve he would be admitting his submission. The problem was, with his throbbing and burning arm, he couldn't concentrate. All the things he had wanted to do before school hadn't been accomplished because Izar couldn't focus. It was pathetic on his behalf. Pain-filled eyes watched as the students crowded together, whispering and talking loudly between each other. Their strides were wide as they entered the Great Hall, anxious to see their friends again. And then Izar saw the Durmstrang students filtered through the entry way with the other school, Beauxbatons, entering behind them. He eyed the two foreign schools, wondering why they weren't announced officially anymore. Had Hogwarts grown sour to losing so many years that they didn't introduce Durmstrang and Beauxbatons properly? It was a possibility. One that Izar didn't ponder on long. His teeth clenched and his eyes shut briefly as his arm convulsed again. Would anyone even notice his absence if he didn't attend the Welcoming Feast? No. Opening his eyes, he observed as the students walked past him, not seeing him. Izar
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pushed his back further against the column, watching how invisible he was to the children. Some of their eyes looked at him and swiftly danced away from him as if they hadn't even noticed him. But this is what he liked, wasn't it? To be able to do anything he wanted without notice, without scrutiny. On the train he had been tired of Daphne and Draco's presence, so why was he affected by the students' oblivious nature to him? His eyes caught sight of a few Ministry workers entering through Hogwarts' doors. In the middle of the Britain group stood the tall and charmed politician, Tom Riddle. His cheater glasses were upon his nose and his false brown eyes sparkled along with his coworkers. Before Izar could compose and recover from seeing the Dark Lord again so soon, Riddle's eyes rose from the Ministers to lock on Izar's form in the shadows. Izar gave a heavy sigh, quickly rotating his body to hide behind the pillar as their group passed. He breathed shallowly. If he was so invisible to all the students, then how did a powerful Dark Lord notice him so easily? "Izar," a man called. With his heart in his throat, he looked up at Severus Snape. The man had also noticed him. "Come with me." The potions professor didn't even wait for Izar to collect himself as he swiftly led the way down to the dungeons. Izar pushed himself off the column, following the man. "What is it, sir?" Izar questioned as they neared the man's private offices. "Won't we be missing the Welcoming Feast?" He didn't care if he missed the Welcoming Feast, in actuality, he welcomed the chance to get away from all the noise that was surely to be accompanied with the announcement of the Triwizarding Tournament. Snape didn't answer as he held open his door for Izar to enter. Trustingly, the Ravenclaw entered the private offices, looking around at all the ingredients on the shelves. His usual curiosity involving the chance at observing was absent tonight. He stood there rather vulnerably as Snape walked around him, silent as ever. Charcoal-green eyes caught sight of Snape's expression. The man didn't look too happy. The magic around the man was proof of his unpleasant mood. "You should have owled me or the Dark Lord," Snape's deep baritone voice cut harshly through the silence. "Take your robe off," the man ordered. Izar's shoulders slumped at the command. "I didn't want to" he trailed off as his right hand tried its hardest to pull at the knot on his tie.
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"You didn't want to bend to the Dark Lord, yes, I had my suspicions. However, I am not the Dark Lord and I have possession of the salve. I have been waiting for your owl the past few days, expecting your logical persona to take over and ask me for the salve." Severus gathered a plastic tub of salve from his desk, coming over to Izar. "It appears that, you aren't as intelligent as I thought originally." Izar flashed the man a withering stare, successfully untying his tie. "I didn't want to be a bother." Truth be told, he wanted to find out how to cure the burning himself. But that plan went astray when he realized his fever was preventing him from studying and obtaining knowledge. "A bother," Severus repeated dryly. He sighed impatiently and reached out to assist Izar with taking off his robe. "You, child, are a wonder." A crimson flush spread across the back of Izar's neck as he was undressed by his potions professor. His expression remained neutral as Severus unrolled his left sleeve. A hiss escaped between Izar's teeth as the material brushed his tender skin. "You foolish boy," Snape continued in a softer tone, his face pinched as he studied the fat and pink arm. "You have an infection. Any longer and you could have died." "I wanted to find out myself," Izar snapped viciously, tired of Severus' scolding as if he were a little boy. "I should have been able to find out how to stop the burning. But I couldn't concentrate, not with the burning not with everything" he trailed off, his voice cracking. Tears clouded his vision and he hastily tried to blink them away. Between his parentage and the branding, Izar was having trouble grasping hold of himself and his knowledge. He had failed constructing his invention with the Unspeakables this summer, disappointing Owen Welder and probably the other Unspeakables. He had also failed at trying to dance his way out from getting the Dark Mark from the Dark Lord. He had failed with many things this summer and frankly, he felt like a miserable disappointment. Severus remained silent, opening the salve. The smell of aloe and rosemary hit Izar's smelling senses. Both plants were very well known for their healing properties. But obviously, there was much more to the salve's properties than those two plants. "I'm afraid I'm losing my aptitude," Izar spoke quietly; truly afraid of losing the only power he had control of, the only thing he could be proud of. He needed his smarts, his brains, but quite frankly, this summer it felt as if he went downhill. Severus tutted, applying a generous amount of salve on the pitch black Dark Mark. "One does not lose their intelligence, Izar. Your knowledge only grows with time, it does not diminish." The man never commented on how small Izar sounded or poked fun of the childish fear. Instead, the man sounded as if he understood where Izar was coming from. "You are just going through a difficult time. Your mind is restless, unsettled, it is understandable that it cannot rest long enough to absorb knowledge."
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The Ravenclaw looked back toward Severus, watching the man's bent head as he applied the soothing salve. The man made complete sense and Izar felt somewhat silly for even suggesting he was losing his aptitude. "Do you ever regret it?" He asked slowly, gauging Severus' reaction. Surprisingly, Snape knew exactly what Izar was asking. Did he regret getting the Dark Mark? The man finished applying the salve and turned his back on Izar as he set the top back on the container. "Yes," he said quietly. Izar watched interestedly as Severus walked around his desk and placed the salve in the top drawer. "Every new recruit has regretted obtaining the Dark Mark, if not at least briefly. You are not alone." "Thank you, sir," Izar looked down at his brilliant pink arm, waiting until the salve dried a bit before pulling down his sleeve again. It still burned painfully, yet there was a small relief. However, Izar did not know if the relief was coming from his arm or from the reassurance Severus gave him. "It will take a few days until the swelling goes down and the color to return to normal. We should, most likely, apply the salve once more tomorrow to make certain the infection stays at bay." Severus leaned against the back of his desk, crossing his arms over his chest, surveying Izar with his closed of expression. Nothing ever got past the Legilimens and Izar felt a brief stab of envy. "Is it possible, sir, to discuss the Dark Mark more in depth tomorrow? I'd like to learn more about it. It's functions and properties." He didn't add the fact he wanted to experiment with the Dark Mark, just in case the man was against committing such a crime against their Lord. Surprisingly, Severus gave a small smirk, his eyes knowing as he drank in Izar. "I remember experimenting on the Dark Mark when I first obtained it. I brewed countless of potions in attempt to stop the Mark's affects. Regrettably, I didn't get very far in my studies. If you'd like, after we discuss the Dark Mark, I can give you my notes regarding my brewed potions I created in attempt to stop the Mark's intended purpose." Izar was surprised Snape had admitted to experimenting on the Dark Lord's Mark. "Ithank you, sir, I'd like that very much." Dark eyes swept the length of his body, his expression turning a bit haunted. "I hold nothing against experimenting, Izar. You are a very intelligent child. If anyone can understand the Dark Lord's Dark Mark, I believe it will fall in your hands." Izar offered the man a true smile in return. However small the smile may have been, it was genuine. "Thank you." The potions master gave a curt nod, sweeping toward the door to his private office. "We
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are due at the Great Hall. No doubt the Dark Lord has already noticed both our absences." Izar paled at the calm statement. The Dark Lord wasn't stupid. He would put the two and two together quite easily. Izar just wondered if the Dark Lord would hold his tongue in Hogwarts or act on his temper. Voldemort had specifically said Izar should contact him in order to get the salve. Whatever happened, Izar would try his best to divert the blame onto him and off Snape. It was the least he could do for the man's act of generosity. The two stepped into the dark corridor, Izar's fevered face clashing with the cool atmosphere of the dungeons. He glanced at Snape from the corner of his eye, wondering about the man. Snape was a very intelligent man, especially when it came to potions, and Izar could feel the calm waves of magic coming from Snape. He was also powerful. There had to be a past to the man, a reason he joined the Dark Lord and Izar wanted to know about it all. "Sir?" Izar questioned softly, his voice sounding rather haunted in the corridors. "Did you know Regulus Black?" He vowed he would never bring the subject up himself, but he knew there was something linking Severus Snape with his parentage. The man had known Izar had brewed the heredity potion in his third year. Why did the man never confront Izar about it, especially when it was forbidden to take ingredients from his personal storage? Izar remembered hearing about a few Gryffindor's stealing from Snape's ingredients. The man assigned them detention for three months and took so many points that their House didn't have any hope to win the House Cup. But Snape had stepped aside and remained silent when Izar took ingredients for not only one heredity potion but two. It was a difficult concept to grasp. Either Snape had such a soft spot for Izar that he turned a blind eye on his loss of ingredients or he had known and understood Izar's curiosity involving his parentage. He was guessing it wasn't the first. "I did," Snape's whole demeanor altered. Izar observed the way the man's shoulders grew stiff and his neck muscles strained. Charcoal-green eyes dropped to the man's fingers, watching as they flexed, a gesture usually seen on the man when he wanted to calm his temper. "You knew he was my father, didn't you?" Izar accused coldly. Snape halted and turned to Izar quickly, peering down his nose at the shorter wizard. The taller man appeared angry, almost insulted. "I had my suspicions and only my suspicions. It wasn't until you grew older when those suspicions were confirmed. Had I known from the start, would you have wanted me to tell you?"
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"No," Izar replied with such certainty that Severus' stare softened. "I was just curious if you had known, that's all." Izar gave the man a cool look before he turned and continued to the Great Hall. He wasn't mad that Snape had kept the information a secret. After all, both his parents had fought to keep it a secret. "He is a good man." Snape's voice followed darkly at his heels. Izar turned, his eyes narrowing. "Is?" Snape's chin rose and he remained stone-faced. "I was told Regulus Black was murdered for his act of betrayal to the Dark Lord. Are you trying to convince me otherwise?" He didn't allow the man to confirm or deny the claims. Instead, he continued on with his tirade. "Because I can guarantee, no matter what the answer is, I don't care. He's dead to me. And will forever remain gone." His hands were shaking, he found. He took a deep breath, composing his temper. He didn't want to take his anger out on the potions professor. "Thank you for your assistance, sir, I appreciate your help. But when it comes to him I don't want to speak of it again." He turned and hurried from the dungeons. Regulus Black is dead. It was what he had to keep chanting in his mind in order to stop the feeling of sharp betrayal. {an} Before you ask or assume, no, the Triwizard tasks will NOT be the same as in Canon. Perhaps the third is similar, but the rest will be different and a bit more dangerous. Also, the Champions will be different and, overall, the Tournament will be a bigger deal. As mentioned in the chapters, the Governments/Ministries really get competitive about the Tournament. I'm not a fan of repeating Canon plot lines. However, this Tournament was necessary for the things I have in mind.

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Part I Chapter 8

{NOTE} I apologize for not replying to your reviews for chapter seven. I was really overloaded with school. And this chapter was supposed to come out a long time ago because it was an interlude of sorts. *Sigh* Chapter Eight Izar didn't necessarily sneak in like he had imagined he would. The hall was full to the brim with students and Ministry workers. The French, Norwegian, and Britain Ministry workers somehow squeezed at the head table, the respected Headmasters and Headmistresses of Durmstrang and Beauxbatons also at the head table. At the moment, Headmaster Dumbledore was standing at his golden podium, speaking to the hall. Izar's cheeks grew warm as a few heads turned at the small sound of his entrance. His expression remained neutral as he quickly walked down the few steps and toward the Ravenclaw table. Terry Boot, a fifth year Ravenclaw, had saved him a seat as he had every year. Izar sat down gracefully, hiding himself behind the masses of students. Thankfully, Dumbledore hadn't stopped speaking. He continued on about hosting the other schools and about respect and good sportsmanship. Izar leaned backward a bit, catching sight of Snape entering from the side room. He sat down besides Minerva McGonagal, which happened to be only two chairs away from Tom Riddle. The Dark Lord watched as Severus settled himself and then his brown gaze danced across the hall to Izar. The Dark Lord's expression was just as stoic as Snape's, withholding what he was really feeling. Izar kept his eyes challengingly on the man. Even from his seat, he could feel the Dark Lord's magic. It had a bit of sharp twinges to it, proving that the man wasn't very happy. With both the Dark Lord and Dumbledore together, it was difficult for Izar to control his shuddering. However slight the shivering was, Izar hated that he had relapses from feeling strong auras. Yes, it may have been convenient to sense auras and magic, but it was also problematic. It would take time to get used to both wizards in the same proximity. After all, it took Izar over two years to get accustomed to Hogwarts itself. The castle had magic and it affected Izar just as much as these two wizards together. Briefly, he wondered if Dumbledore was aware of the alternative personality of Tom Riddle.
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Even if the old Headmaster was a bit barmy at times, Izar knew the man was as brilliant as any scholar. There must have been some suspicions, even if the Dark Lord Voldemort hadn't come out to the world officially as of yet. "please welcome Hogwarts' new Defense against the Dark Arts, Professor Sirius Black." Izar snapped his gaze away from Riddle's charmed brown eyes and on to the introduced man. The color washed from Izar's face as he watched a man stand up, give a small wave and a grin to the clapping students. Izar didn't clap. Instead, he sat there, staring at the stranger. Sirius Black. Izar had to jog his memory of the Black Family tree. If he wasn't mistaken, Sirius was Regulus' brother. Which made Sirius Izar's uncle. Izar and Sirius had a few similarities; the dark waves, almost curls, and the grey eyes. Sirius was a very handsome fellow, handsome enough that Izar was sure the man got that compliment many times in his lifetime. And there was the Black casual elegance and the sharp aristocratic features. But other than that, their similarities ended. Sirius was broader, more masculine. He was almost roguish. His grey eyes were darker as well, not as vivid and clear as Izar's. Sirius' eyes skimmed the hall and caught sight of Izar, frozen, among the clapping students. The man faltered, hesitating before he sat. You're an idiot. Izar reprehended himself. He must have looked like a fool sitting there, staring in Sirius Black in misery. Trying to pull off an air of nonchalance, Izar looked away from Sirius and casually up at the enchanted ceiling. The man surely wouldn't recognize Izar, would he? He couldn't look that much like the man's brother. Sirius Black probably hesitated because he had been taken aback by a student staring at him in such an imprudent way. Grabbing the goblet near his plate, Izar turned away from the head table and took a large swig, successfully hiding himself. "Professor Black has taken a year off from Auror work to teach the students here at Hogwarts. I expect you all to be welcoming to him. He has a great abundance of knowledge in his field." Dumbledore continued. "Now, the moment you have all been waiting for, the feast." As the words left his mouth, the table in front of Izar sprang with all sorts of foods. Pleased murmurs swept through the hall as the students all tucked in. Izar found his eyes dancing toward the glittering Triwizard trophy and the wooden Goblet of Fire. He must have missed the announcement on both objects, not at all disappointed with the result. He already read about the Tournament and he knew only sixteen year olds and up could participate. The Tournament of Glory. That was all Izar thought on the Tournament. All
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the hype over it was for nothing. "Did you have a good summer?" Terry Boot asked softly, his tone almost drowned out by the rest of the hall. After piling a few mashed potatoes on his plate, Izar spared Boot a quick glance. Terry and he had gotten along fairly well ever since they were Sorted together. However, neither of them talked very much, both enjoying each other's silence. Terry was a smart wizard, like many of the Ravenclaws, yet he hadn't been nominated to skip a year like Izar had. The half-blood wizard peered back at Izar with intelligent blue eyes, his sandy brown hair falling in his face. Apparently Draco Malfoy wasn't the only one who had grown this summer. Izar looked down, away from Boot. He felt as if he was at a standstill when it came to physical aging. Everyone around him was maturing and he still felt as if he were a young boy. "Brilliant summer," Izar responded ironically. His left arm hung awkwardly at his side as he played with his potatoes with his right hand. "And yours? Did you get the summer reading completed?" "I did, I would ask you the same, but I already know the answer to that." Terry offered him a small, tart smile before going to his dinner once again, silent. Izar paused, glancing at the boy sideways. Boot seemed a bit more lethargic today, if not bitter. "Do you really know the answer to that?" Izar prodded; interested to know why Terry's attitude had turned sour over the summer. Normally, the boy was soft-spoken and never had a bad bone in his body. Blue eyes remained stubbornly on his plate. "I do know the answer, Izar. You skipped a year. It would only seem obvious that you've finished your summer homework in order to get a good footing on the new year. Wouldn't want to be bumped back down to your rightful level, would you?" Ah. That was it. Terry was feeling envious that Izar had successfully skipped a year. There was never a time that someone was jealous of Izar. This was the first time anyone had expressed envy for something Izar held. "My rightful level?" Izar repeated dubiously. Their conversation was a bit muffled with the loud chatter around the Great Hall. The Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students were adding to the noise, heightening the volume in the Hall. "You think I belong in fifth year?" Terry gave a sigh, his expression twisting in frustration. "I didn't say that, Izar," the boy stabbed the sausage on his plate. "Admittedly, I think you're a smart wizard. But then again, every Ravenclaw is smart. We just haven't witnessed any proof that you should be considered for skipping a grade." We.
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Izar looked around the table, catching a few eyes of the Ravenclaws. The Ravenclaw table was unusually quiet tonight. They usually weren't as riled up as the Hufflepuffs and Gryffindors, but enough to rise in volume against the Slytherins. Tonight, though, the older students in particular, where quiet, listening in. His eyes caught those of Granger's. The Mudblood's expression held no doubt, only curiosity. He sniffed, looking back down at his plate. Let them think he wasn't capable of skipping a year. It wasn't like him to raise his hand obnoxiously in class and interrupt the professor when they made a mistake in their lectures. He wasn't one to brag and he wasn't one to boast. "You need to prove yourself a bit more, Izar, that's all we are saying. Bring some recognition to the Ravenclaw House if you really are declared a 'true prodigy'." Boot murmured quietly, his tone turning mocking at the latter part. "Believe what you want, Boot," Izar replied sharply, his voice heightening in volume for the others to hear. "I will not change my mannerisms just because my House wants recognition." Charcoal-green eyes tried to meet every one of the Ravenclaw students. "If they want to be recognized, they can use their own remarkable intelligence." Izar set down his fork calmly, sitting up. "Regrettably, if their intelligence is a reflection of tonight, it's a pity they will never be acknowledged." With that, he stood from the Ravenclaw table, slightly ashamed to call it his House. Keeping his chin held high, he swept from the Great Hall. Escaping the hot and loud Hall put a slight relief in Izar. But with the solitude, a stark loneliness accompanied. He wandered up to the Ravenclaw tower, his path lightened by the dimmed torches on the walls. The farther he climbed, the more he realized that he wasn't tormented by loneliness, but by a sense of loss. Was it possible to feel lost when you knew exactly where you were? Why, then, did he feel as if he were rooted in place as time passed around him? Why did he feel as if he was tumbling downhill and there was no solid root to hold on to? There was nothing stopping his downward climb and he was afraid to reach the bottom. Had he already reached the bottom? His arm throbbed painfully and he paused on the staircase, his face crumbling in pain. He allowed himself to slump against the banister, aware that no one was around to see his moment of weakness. Placing his face in his right hand, he breathed painfully, aware of the tears that wanted to spill. Izar had once vowed to himself that he would never need anyone, no friends, no help, but at what point did he reach where he needed to accept the help around him?
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He was now owned by another. The Mark on his arm was proof enough. He didn't so much mind the cause he was supporting, no; he didn't mind the extinction of Muggles. But he did mind having a constant reminder of his lack of ownership over his own actions. And then there was his House. Never before did he have a problem with Ravenclaw. It had been his home, his shelter away from the Slytherins who looked down their noses at his impure blood. He had always felt welcomed in the Ravenclaw home. But now that he was offered a chance to succeed, his Housemates were blinded with their own envy and discrimination. Just because he wasn't well known the poster child for Ravenclaw, he was pinned as a fake, as an embarrassment. Not only were the Mark and his House an issue, but so was his downward spiral in his experiments, in his knowledge. Granted, the majority of his summer work at the Ministry consisted of Time Turners, but he had a good week and a half on his own experiments. It had failed considerably. He had failed. Severus had confirmed that Izar had a lot on his plate, hence the reason why he couldn't concentrate. If that was the case, Izar had to cleanse himself of these foolish worries. Knowledge was everything to him. If he didn't have his scholar ability, he felt as if he didn't have anything at all. The first issue he needed to hurdle over was his House. Did it really matter what they thought of him? Izar straightened up from the stairs, trying to calm his raising vision as the thought on the question. No, it didn't matter what they thought of him. Izar had faced bigger betrayals, much larger than a few children being envious of him. In fact, he should take this situation with his House in stride. He had acknowledged earlier that no one had ever been jealous of him. Shouldn't he be proud that there was now something to hold over other students' heads? Decidedly, he would never boast about his increase in grade levels, but standing there, on the stairs, he realized he could finally feel confident, proud. Izar grinned tightly, his eyes too dark to really reflect contentment. The issue with his House was calmly washed away from his mind, lifting a bit of the weight from Izar. Dimly, he realized he was mediating, clearing his mind like an Occlumens would do. But there would always be that one issue he couldn't meditate on. And that was his parentage. Izar wanted to keep that whole issue dead. He had spent the most vulnerable of years alone without any guardian. Now that he was fifteen, he had gotten past the dependant stage. He was independent now and would remain so the rest of his life. A parent wouldn't make a difference in his life now. It was only an added burden, one that Izar couldn't deal with especially if it was from Lily Potter.
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He scoffed, looking down at his enlarged arm. And then there was Regulus. Severus Snape had, perhaps, let it slip that Regulus may be alive. But did the man truly let it slip? Izar thought the potions master was too smart to allow such a thing to slip past his lips. Was he trying to push Izar towards Regulus? Was there some deeper mystery revolving around Regulus? Obviously, if Regulus was alive when the Dark Lord believed him dead, it was a mystery. Students' voices were heard around the castle as they poured from the Great Hall. He winced, wondering how long time had really passed, standing there in the dark staircase. Izar leaned over the stairs, his eyes watching as the students filed out. Even from where he stood, he could see the excitement in their bodies, their shoulders strung with exhilaration at being back at Hogwarts. And the added bonus of the Tournament put a flush on their cheeks and a gleam in their eye. He realized then, that he needed to put the past behind him and look toward the future. Yes he was poor, alone, and discriminated against. But frankly, all Izar could care about was his future that had to bring better things. With that on the forefront of his mind, Izar threw back his shoulders and climbed down the stairs, away from the Ravenclaw common room. His steps were quick, hoping he wasn't too late. "Izar," Boot called as he passed. Izar ignored the Ravenclaw, quickly climbing down the last staircase. Once his foot hit the bottom step, his eyes quickly danced across the entry way, bypassing many of the Durmstrang, Beauxbatons, and Hogwarts students until he came across the tall figure of Tom Riddle. With a deep breath, Izar crossed the hall. Riddle was on his way out the castle, no doubt going home with the rest of the politicians until he returned tomorrow. But Izar wanted him now. He needed to bend his neck to the man just this once, just this one time in order to get relief from the burning pain that had yet to subside. He also had his suspicions on the Mark, and if the Dark Lord's actions tonight proved his suspicions right, Izar would dive head first into researching the Mark. "Mr. Riddle," Izar called out, his heart in his throat when he realized he might have been too late to catch the man. It would be another night of restless sleep that involved waking up in cold sweat because he rolled over on his left arm. His concentration in his classes would be horrendous tomorrow morning. And he needed to be fully alert this year. However, his voice was too quiet in the expansive hall. There were just too many students in his way between the Dark Lord and himself. Yet, somehow, Riddle paused in his retreat. The man looked over his shoulder, his eyes
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immediately locking on Izar despite the countless of students between the two. The Ravenclaw took a step back, flabbergasted that the man had heard him. How? Even Izar had felt his voice become drowned out by the chatter in the hall. A tall student blocked his vision. Izar growled, hating his short height. He dodged to the side, searching for Riddle. The man was no where to be seen. "Fuck," he whispered, dismayed angry. His eyes ran a clean sweep toward the exit, just to make sure Riddle wasn't standing near the doors. But the man wasn't in sight, probably already have left. He turned; ready to go to Snape once again for a Dreamless Sleep potion. At least that would knock him out a bit tonight. His arm may not even wake him up. But as soon as he turned, he was met with the tall form of Tom Riddle. The man appeared right behind him. "Language, Mr. Harrison," Riddle smirked, revealing his startling white teeth. Izar took a calming breath, trying to steady his racing heart. The man had appeared so suddenly. Instead of voicing his shock, he schooled his expression, intent not to appear too submissive. "I was wondering, sir, if I could speak to you privately?" Riddle's charm was gone and he gave a sharp nod. The charmed brown eyes glanced once around the hall before he placed his hand on Izar's shoulder, steering him away from the chatter and into the shadows. "I had wanted to speak to you and Severus anyway. However, my plans changed when I witnessed you leaving the Great Hall early." It couldn't bode well. Izar allowed the Dark Lord to lead him by the back of his neck down to the dungeons. It was the same path he took not even an hour ago. Only this time, it seemed like an endless walk. Riddle remained silent and his magic wasn't much of a comfort. It lashed around him in silent waves, vibrating Izar's insides. He knew facing the Dark Lord when he was angry was a possibility and he had prepared for it. But he wasn't prepared for the sharp shocks along the base of his neck with the Dark Lord's bare touch. The shocks didn't hurt very much; it was more a pleasurable shock. He was reminded he had felt them before, always when he touched the man's skin. Eventually, Riddle dropped his hand in order to knock on Severus' door. As if expecting them, the door opened silently. Severus was standing stiffly behind his desk, watching them with dark eyes. Izar entered behind Tom, shutting the door to his doom. Almost immediately, Riddle took his wand out, waving it. Bright silvery magic escaped from his wand, looking similar to small snakes as they slithered up and down the walls, sealing it
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in privacy wards. Without so much as a pause, Tom flicked his wand toward Severus. Izar watched as the man went down to his knees, his expression twisting in pain. How could a silent spell be so painful? It shouldn't have surprised Izar that Riddle could cast nonverbal spells. And it wouldn't surprise him if Riddle could even do wandless magic. Izar got his own taste of the nonverbal spell as Riddle engulfed him with the spell. Like Severus, Izar went down to his knees, unable to support his body weight as the pain washed through his body. It wasn't the Cruciatus curse, not only would it be detected in Hogwarts, but the pain wasn't as intense as Izar had read curse pinched his nerves, making his body tremble and move uncontrollably. Before he could really debate on the exact hex, it was lifted from him. He breathed a sigh of relief, staying in a relaxing position on the ground in order to settle his nerves. In addition, it wouldn't do well to stand in the presence of the Dark Lord, especially when he was less than pleased with him. "I specifically told the both of you Mr. Harrison would come to me for the salve. What gives you the right to go behind my back and give the boy the salve, Severus?" Voldemort hissed darkly, his step slow and calculating as he walked over to the potions master. From Izar's position on the floor, he watched as Riddle's black cloak swept charmingly to and fro with each stride he took. Izar was almost positive that if Voldemort wasn't under his politician glamour, he would appear twice as frightening. Even so, the crimson eyes bled through the brown, clashing strikingly with the incredibly pale skin. Riddle's expression was masked and cold, yet his magic and verbal tone spoke words of his austere displeasure. "The fault does not lie with him, My Lord," Izar interrupted softly before Severus could speak. Riddle turned sharply, his eyes zeroing in on Izar's, searching. "I was the one who asked Professor Snape for the salve." From the corner of his eye, Izar felt the black eyes boring into the side of his head, assessing him. Izar remained looking away from the potions master. They were both in submissive, passive positions, both of their pride wounded. It would be best if they could avoid eye contact and not make their meek positions even more humiliating. Riddle made a disgusted noise in the back of his throat. Even from his position on the floor, Izar knew the man didn't believe a word he spoke. Instead, Riddle seemed disgusted that Izar would take the blame. "Even so, Severus should have refused your plea. He heard my order at the initiation." Riddle hissed, narrowing his eyes down on the kneeling form of Izar. "Take your robe off. Quickly." Blinking past the surprise at the sudden command, Izar struggled with his robes. The hex from the Dark Lord made his body on edge and shaky. It didn't help that his left hand was
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ablaze with pain; reminding him of the reason he approached the Dark Lord in the first place. Luckily, he struggled past it and untied the knot to his tie before shedding his outer robe. By the time he was finished, Riddle was crouched down besides him, the cheater glasses on his nose still in place. It was a bit surprising that the Dark Lord would lower himself. Izar would have thought the man would have at least stayed standing, showing his dominance over both Severus and Izar. With surprisingly gentle hands, Riddle took hold of Izar's white sleeve and slowly rolled up the material. His arm was revealed and Izar could sense Riddle's magic swiftly turn darker. The young wizard shuddered, trying to control his shaking at being so close to the powerfully potent magic and its every-changing dispositions. "You fool," Voldemort hissed sharply, his eyes now completely crimson as he looked up at Izar. "You are a fool." The man repeated, looking back down at his arm. Izar refused to blush. But like most things, it was difficult to control and he could feel his flush creep up the back of his neck and the tops of his ears. Luckily, he was sure his face was already red from his fever, so it wouldn't be evident that he was affected by the Dark Lord's comment. Izar was not a fool. "You are too prideful for your own good," Voldemort whispered, his fingers tightening around Izar's swollen arm. The Ravenclaw gave a whimper, closing his eyes and looking away in shame. "It is rare, but there are a few cases in which a wizard's body rejects the Mark, and in turn, the salve. I have to personally remove the infection from their system but only if they are smart enough to ask. Otherwise, they end up losing their arm." Izar's eyes widened. He turned to look at Riddle, watching as the Dark Lord studied his arm closely. "Surely I won't have to lose my arm," Izar breathed, his eyes a bit wide as Riddle looked up at him. "Surely, you will, alas," Riddle spoke calmly, his tone showing nothing short of unsympathetic remorse. "However," Voldemort continued; a wicked gleam in his eyes. "There is a remedy, one that can be easily taken care of on one condition." Izar glanced shyly at Severus. The man was looking down, almost bored at his current position. But Izar knew the man was listening closely. "On what condition?" Izar asked slowly, already fearing the answer. Cold fingers splayed the length of his throat and the Dark Lord tipped Izar's head back ever so slightly. The man's eyes were bright with an unidentified emotion as they danced across Izar's delicate features. "You'll have to ask me, plead." The long fingernails scraped Izar's neck, careful not to break the skin this time. "Bend that pretty little neck of yours, Mr. Harrison." In short, the Dark Lord wanted Izar to submit, to become submissive to him.
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If it was any other pain, any hex or curse, Izar could have suffered it in silence. He had to admit, living in the orphanage for the better part of his year, had increased his pain tolerance. He broke many bones and sliced many parts of his skin open. Eventually, he had come to handle the pain. But this was entirely different. It was affecting his whole body, and in turn, his mind. His mind was the most precious thing Izar held dear. "I" he started off hesitantly. He had never asked for help before. It was difficult coming from his mouth. Luckily, the Dark Lord's expression was neither eager nor arrogant. Instead, the man looked expectant and a bit peeved. "My Lord, could you please heal my arm?" Izar spoke to the ground near Voldemort's kneeling form. The man tsked, his fingers grasping a hold of Izar's chin. "Look in my eyes." Crimson eyes held Izar' stare, not allowing the younger to look away. "I'm not only doing this out of my own pleasure, Izar, I also want you to accept help. You have gone too long without anyone assisting you. It's time for you to accept help from your betters." My betters. Izar scowled. "Am I really accepting help if it was forced on me?" Instead of being angry, like Izar had braced himself for, the Dark Lord's lips quirked once, before his expression bore impatience. "I will never ask for assistance after this," Izar vowed heatedly. He was aware of Snape tensing in the corner of the room, but he couldn't look away from Voldemort. The man looked less than pleased. "My Lord, please, could you heal my arm?" Voldemort released his jaw in a rather forceful matter, taking Izar's arm once again. With sharp eyes, Izar drank in the man's proceedings. This could either confirm Izar's suspicions or create new questions of how the Mark worked. Izar's eyes grew wide as he watched the Dark Lord press his wand sharply against the Dark Mark. Izar gave a closed-mouth moan, his brows furrowing in pain. He needed to stay conscious. No matter the pain, he needed to see this. And just like that, without any spoken words, without any Latin-based charms, his arm slowly began to heal itself. Izar watched as his fingers turned back to his normal size and the revitalizing feeling tingled up his arm at a slow, but steady pace. He gave a pleased laugh, feeling a bit light-headed with all the magic washing through him. His body rocked forward involuntary and he found himself breathing in Voldemort's robes. No matter how hard he tried to push himself away from the Dark Lord, he found his body paralyzed, almost if his muscles turned to goo. So, instead, he closed his eyes, taking in man's masculine and spicy scent. His arm it felt so good. Izar hoped his wasn't drooling. It was kind of hard not to when his whole body was slack.
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A shuffling was heard from across the room where Snape was. "I can handle a fifteen-year-old child, Severus," the Dark Lord's voice spoke irritably. A hand wrapped itself around Izar's back, pushing him more securely against the Dark Lord. Izar closed his eyes, rather comfortable in the man's arms despite his usual disagreement when it came to physical touch. Unexpectedly, hissing tickled his ear and Izar stiffened as much as his body would allow it. He had forgotten, somewhere, he read that Tom Marvolo Riddle was a Parseltongue, the Slytherin heir. It wasn't publicized very often, at least not by Riddle's supports. His critics, however, seemed to squeeze that bit of information in the papers as much as possible, just to remind the readers that the seemingly middle-aged politician could have an evil streak. They were right all along. But Izar had always been curious what it would be like to hear Parseltongue. And he finally got what he wanted. The hissing started off irate, perhaps a bit reprimanding. And then it softened into something of a croon that made the hairs on the back of Izar's neck stand up. Merlin, was this really happening? Izar wanted nothing more than to blush, maybe back away. He wasn't prepared for the pleasant shivers making their way down his spine. Merlin, he was such a bloody pansy today. Luckily, it ended quickly and Izar found himself being lowered to the ground gently. He opened his eyes, a confused frown on his lips when he realized his arm was no longer burning and throbbing, but his muscles were still unusable. "You should be able to move within a few minutes," the Dark Lord informed, slowly getting to his feet in one graceful motion. "Your" Izar started; his tongue heavy. "Wand" Voldemort looked highly amused. "My wand, yes, Mr. Harrison, this is my wand." The man's long fingers caressed his wand before he placed it up his sleeve. It was the man's wand core that connected all the Death Eaters' Marks together. It wasn't a potion, or any spell, it was the man's core. Izar gave a laugh, but with his slack mouth, it came out as more of a giggle. He didn't care how ridiculous he sounded. He already made a fool of himself plenty of times in the course of one day. My, how far he'd fallen. The only bright side of today was that his suspicions were confirmed. The only problem? He needed to find out what the man's wand core was. And Izar knew better than to ask the Dark Lord. It was a private issue for some wizards and it would be seen as disrespectful on Izar's behalf to ask his Master.
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As his body began to gain feeling, he slowly sat up and studied his arm. It was back to normal. There was only a slight burn and tingle from his Mark and Izar had a suspicion it was because of Voldemort's proximity. "Thank you," he muttered softly. "You can do one thing for me, Mr. Harrison," Voldemort leaned forward, grasping Izar's chin in his hands and bringing his gaze onto his own. "Study hard this year. I want Dumbledore to regret not moving you to seventh year like you should have been. Understood?" "Yes sir," Izar gave a sharp nod, watching as Voldemort dropped his jaw and made his way to the door. No one had ever expected him to do well in school. No one ever showed a concern. But something about the man's command made Izar unsettled. There was something much deeper going on here. {Death of Today} "Are you going to place my name in the Goblet, father? Or did you want me to do so?" A boy questioned. His tone held a bit of coldness to it and a lot of arrogance. His cool blue eyes looked at his tall father between a fall of dark hair. The man in question, the Norwegian Minister, gave his son a smile. It wasn't a welcoming smile and anyone who would have seen it would have shrunk away. "I will, my son," the Minister stood up. "We will destroy the British government again this year. Riddle, in particular, won't stand a chance." The smile turned into a deep sneer as he thought of the British Undersecretary to the Minister. That fool bet enough money to rival a family's life savings on this Tournament, foolishly vowing that the British would crush the Norwegians this Tournament. The Norwegian Minister remembered the egotistical gleam in Riddle's eyes as he placed his bet. Riddle had something up his sleeve this Tournament. And the Norwegian Minister would play right back. It was cut throat, this Tournament. And he wouldn't be played as a fool, especially by Riddle. {Note} Next chapter should definitely pick up some speed. You've all gotten a taste of the Izar's background. The plot should continue onward. Some of you pointed out that it was going a bit slow. It could possibly going slow, yes. However, it's an AU and because of this, you need to gouge the characters' personalities and their history.
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Don't worry about Izar, he's allowed some vulnerbility and break-down once in awhile, is he not? He going through a lot right now. He'll be back to his normal self next chapter.

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Part I Chapter 9

READER: Durmstrang is in Bulgaria, so it should be the Bulgarian ministry not the Norwegian. Just in case you wanted to know. Actually, that is your own opinion. Durmstrang is unplotted and its location is unknown. There are websites that predict that Durmstrang is in Bulgaria, yes, but those are just *predictions*. There are other websites, like Harry Potter Wiki, that say the "school is located in northern Scandinavia, in the northernmost regions of either Sweden or Norway". Just because Viktor Krum was Bulgarian doesn't necessarily mean Durmstrang is *in* Bulgarian. Hopefully that clears up some confusion for the rest of you as well. That comes to my next announcement. I know the French and Norwegians have accents. However, I am not going to write their accents in dialogue. Chapter Nine The Great Hall was abuzz as the students spoke quickly and louder than usual. Daphne sniffed, sneering at her fellow classmates at their obnoxious behavior. Honestly, there were limits to showing your excitement for an event and this was clearly over the line. Once her classmates caught her disproving stare, they quieted, glancing solemnly at each other. Sometimes, she wondered why she even bothered to keep up pretenses. Her father, Merlin bless him, always expected Daphne to show proper pure-blood edict when in public. She loved her father with everything she had, but at times, she grew tired representing the long and old line of Greengrass. Because her mother and father hadn't conceived a male heir, the pressure of continuing on the Family name landed with Daphne. Her dark green gaze nonchalantly looked down the Slytherin table at her younger sister, Astoria. Jealousy licked at Daphne when she watched her fourteen-year-old sibling. Astoria was a very beautiful young lady. Her blond hair was more platinum than Daphne's golden blond. Her eyes were a stunning shade of blue while Daphne's were a dark, almost moldy green. Astoria had more of a natural beauty to her. Daphne had to work on her appearance. But most of all, Daphne was jealous of her younger sister simply because she could have fun. There were no pure-blood expectations on her. Their father pampered and spoiled Astoria and he let her unwind and be herself in public as long as she did not make a fool of their Family name.

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And she didn't have to marry into a pure-blood family simply because Daphne was the eldest, the one who needed to marry a respectful family. Despite all this, Daphne admittedly loved Astoria and felt immensely protective over her. Daphne turned away from Astoria as she laughed with her friends and Daphne found her gaze directed on the Ravenclaw table. Sometimes, she wished Izar Harrison could be a pure-blood wizard. Even as she looked at the Ravenclaw table, she knew she wouldn't see the boy. The Ravenclaw, despite it only being three days after they arrived at school, was in the library. It shouldn't have surprised her. In fact, it didn't surprise her. Instead, it worried her. Even Daphne could see the stress weighing down the Ravenclaw's shoulders. He never showed it, of course, but Daphne was very observant when it came to her little Ravenclaw. The voices across the Great Hall dimmed significantly, and if possible, so did the burning candles. All eyes were on the Goblet, holding their breath as the flames turned a blinding white-blue. It was almost hard to look at with all the candles dimmed. Daphne sat up, intrigued. Malfoy claimed he would be the Hogwarts Champion; in fact, he went so far to brag to the rest of the Slytherins about how he would bring pride to their House. Daphne didn't find anything impressive of the young Malfoy's claims. In fact, she would bet Malfoy Senior would be less than happy if he knew his heir was acting so pompous and obvious. "It is almost time," Dumbledore swept from the head table, his hand outstretched toward the Goblet. Daphne held her breath as the flames turned a vivid red before a piece of parchment shot from the Goblet. It spiraled in the air, every pair of eyes watching its smoky path. Dumbledore snatched it from the air before it could descend too low. His eyes squinted as he read the small piece of parchment, probably enjoying the way every student and politician leaned forward, holding their breath. Daphne could have sworn he saw the old man's lips twitch. "The Durmstrang Champion is Lukas Steinar!" Daphne watched as a tall, thin boy stood up from a group of Durmstrang students. Her eyes judged him, intrigued. He was very attractive. Silky black hair fell in his bright eyes, the boy exuded coolness. Definitely not as beautiful as Izar, but there was definitely competition. And to make matters even more appealing, he was the Norwegian Minister's son. And pure-blood. Daphne watched as he took the small bit of parchment from Dumbledore and disappeared in one of the side doors after a clasp on the back from both his father and Headmaster
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Karkaroff. "The Beauxbatons Champion is Cyprien Beaumont!" Surprisingly, it was a male Beauxbatons Champion. Daphne sat back, both pleased and irritated. She was pleased, simply because she didn't think any of the Beauxbatons girls were remotely important enough to be so publicized, yet, Daphne had hoped a female had been chosen for at least one school. There was always the Hogwarts Champion. If Malfoy didn't get it, that was. She watched the redhead, Cyprien, enter the side chamber. Seeing him, she found herself changing her earlier opinion about redheads. Usually, when she thought about redheads, her mind would spring up with the image of a Weasley. It was distasteful. Before Daphne could really observe Cyprien, the flames turned red once again and the last piece of parchment shot out. "The Hogwarts Champion is" Everyone sat forward, Draco, almost landing in his dinner, looked as smug as the albino peacocks his family kept around their manor. Daphne observed her nails despite the lack of decent lighting. Was it just her, or were her nails getting a bit stubby? "Izar Harrison?" Her eyes went wide, and her mouth opened before she could remember that Greengrass' don't look like a fish under water. Did the Headmaster really just say what she thought he had? But there was no way he could have uttered the name she thought he had. Most of the students and staff members leaned forward even more, their faces twisting in incoherence. They hadn't heard either. The man had spoken it so softly. "Izar Harrison!" The Headmaster shouted loudly, causing the Hall to lean backward from the mere volume. Dumbledore turned to the Ravenclaw table and the rest of the heads followed suit when they didn't know where else to look. There weren't many people who knew who Izar Harrison was. And because of that, there weren't many who knew he was underage. Daphne covered her mouth with her hand, a pleased laugh escaping her. Oh, this was just too good. What made it even greater was Malfoy's flabbergasted look. Daphne wished that annoying Gryffindor was around with his camera. Or better yet, Rita Skeeter, the woman waiting in the Trophy chamber with the Champions.
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The Ravenclaw table was in uproar as they looked around for the Champion. Daphne rolled her eyes. Izar needed to start telling people where he was going. The boy could be kidnapped from school and no one would know, simply because Izar kept to himself too often. She sniffed, standing up from the Slytherin tables. All eyes turned to her. She kept her face cool. "Izar's in the library, Headmaster," she drawled, lifting her chin. There were snickers and whispers that spread across the Hall. What Champion, who put his name in the Goblet, would be in the library when they were about to announce the winners? It was outrageous. Little did they know that Izar had not put his name in the Goblet. Even Daphne wasn't thick enough to believe that. But it did leave the question of who did. Who was cruel enough to put in another's name? Especially another who wanted nothing to do with the Tournament? Dumbledore gave a sharp nod, his face twisting into understanding. It was if the man should have known that was where Izar was. "Will you go collect him, Ms. Greengrass, and tell him to meet us in the Trophy Room?" She nodded, keeping her cool as she swept from the Great Hall. Izar wasn't going to like this at all. And Daphne was looking forward to it. {Death of Today} Izar pushed the parchment away from him, grinning as he realized he had already finished the essay for Charms which was due in next weeks time. It was relatively easy enough and Izar was a bit disappointed that it hadn't challenged him like he was looking forward to. Hopefully Defense Against the Dark Arts would be a bit more difficult. Even if the material wouldn't challenge Izar, the professor would. Tomorrow was his first class with Sirius Black and Izar knew he would have to work hard at showing his indifference with the professor.

But presently, he was done with his homework, and now he had extra time to look into the Dark Mark. He had already searched the Eruditio, the gift Riddle gave him, to see if there were any spells to cast to determine a wizards' wand core. The information in the Eruditio was very limited. There were a few potions one could brew to find the properties of one's wand, bu Why, in Merlin's name, would someone create a useless potion? Obviously, if you had the wand in your possession, finding out the core and wood type would be simple. It didn't help a wizard who had to find out a Dark Lord's wand properties. Izar was more than sure Voldemort wouldn't lend his wand. No matter how favored Izar was, no one was trusted and favored enough to hold and possess the Dark Lord's wand. It was pathetic.
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And the few spells inside the book contained the same guidelines. He needed to hold the wand in order to find out what the properties were. So, Izar had played with the idea of asking Ollivander, the old man who had helped Izar find his wand. Though, there were issues and concerns Izar had come up with. No two wands were the same. No matter if they shared the same core, they weren't the same. Because of this, Izar realized that even if he did gain knowledge of Voldemort's wand core, it would still be difficult to manipulate the Dark Mark. It may be easier, yes, but there were doubts. He needed to determine the type of wood Voldemort had as well. The day Izar had been healed; he caught a glimpse of a lighter wood that could, perhaps be yew, maple, or even balsa. It was frustrating. Izar tapped his own wand on the table, eyeing the eleven inch Indian rosewood. His own wand had a hair of a Thestral. It would be rather ironic if Voldemort had the same, but Izar doubted it. And then there was the question if Izar needed the same creature who donated its feather, hair, or heartstring. It would probably make things a bit more realistic in terms of manipulating the Mark, but thinking about searching for the exact animal seemed impossible. It gave him a migraine. He would need to ask Ollivander. Though, Izar had his suspicions that the wand maker would probably not disclose private information on a wizards' wand properties, at least, not over owl. "Izar!" He flinched, his wand clattering on the table. The ceremony of announcing the Champions couldn't be finished already, could it? He had been looking forward to his time alone in the library. But of course, things never worked out for him, did they? "Yes, Daphne?" he replied softly, looking coolly up at the blond. She had a wicked grin on her face, he noticed. She would probably start spewing gossip of who the Champions were, and quite frankly, Izar wasn't in the mood to hear it. "If you've come to," "Dumbledore wants to meet you in the Trophy Room. Now." She said quickly, grabbing Izar by the arm and hauling him up. He blinked. Granted, she was shorter than him, probably the only girl shorter than him, but she was so strong for such a little thing. "I need my things," he batted her persistent hands away as he gathered his things. "What did Headmaster Dumbledore want to discuss with
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me?" He shot the smug girl a look, frowning. "Isn't he supposed to be meeting with the Champions to discuss the First Task? What does my attendance have to do with the Tournament?" "Do you have to ask so many questions, Izar?" she hooked her finger onto his sleeve, pulling him out of the library as soon as he shouldered his bag. "Not everything in life needs to be studied so" her face screwed up rather cutely. "So provisionally..." Charcoal-green eyes narrowed. "My, my, Daphne, 'provisionally' is a big word for you. Do you even know what it means? I would suggest 'analytically' is the better word for what you had in mind, but I'll give you credit for trying to impress me with your exceptional vocabulary. " She threw him a nasty look before letting his sleeve go. Whatever she was about to say next, Izar knew he wasn't going to like it. Her expression said it all. "You're Hogwarts' Champion." "Excuse me?" Izar chuckled, finding it rather humorous. "What did you say?" Crossing her arms over her chest, she stared at him evenly. "I'm not joking around with you, Izar; your name was pulled out of the Goblet. Dumbledore wants you in the Trophy Room." When he realized she wasn't fooling around with him, Izar turned his heel and quickly walked to the Trophy Room, leaving Daphne alone in the corridor. This couldn't be. He didn't put his name in the Goblet; there wasn't any chance of him putting it in himself. The age-line restricted him from crossing it. Not only that, but he wasn't remotely interested in the Tournament. The very thought of competing set Izar's teeth on edge. He ran a hand through his hair, probably disordering it more than it already was. Izar opened the door to the Trophy Room, swallowing thickly before walking down the stairs. Already, he could hear the arguing from the chamber. They were arguing about him. Izar paused, unsure if he really wanted to go down there. They actually thought he put his name in the Goblet. How amusing was that? It was the last thing he ever wanted to do and hopefully Dumbledore knew a way to get him out of the Tournament. But Izar knew it was null and void trying to back out of the Tournament. "If anyone can successfully cross Albus' age restriction line, it would be Mr. Harrison," professor McGonagal's voice floated up the stairs. "The boy is a pure genius." "But a fifteen year old? Surely there is something a little fishy about his status of a Champion." The voice that spoke was that of a Norwegian, Izar noted. His thick accent was a stark contrast to the British voices. "I'm sure someone tampered with the Goblet. And I don't
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think we should have the boy competing." The man, Izar thought to be the Minister of Norway, sounded as if he were accusing someone of setting Izar up. At least someone was on his side. "Or," a female French woman interrupted the tension. Izar knew it was Madame Maxime, the Headmistress of Beauxbatons. "As Minerva has explained earlier, the boy could have done it himself. Apparently he is smart enough to do so. Surely he wants glory, fame" "The boy does not strike me as someone who searches for attention," the grim and deep baritone voice of Severus interrupted. "Then why wasn't he at supper?" Maxime questioned. "I'm sure he was too guilty to face his wrongdoings." "Or" Izar drawled as he stepped off the last stair and into the fire-lit chamber. All heads turned to him. "I could have been in the library finishing up my Charms essay," he shrugged. "But I suppose your theory sounds so much more impressive." Izar noted the whole group was in the Trophy Room. The Headmasters and Headmistress, the Ministers of each country, and a few professors. There was also one Undersecretary of the Minister, Tom Riddle. The Dark Lord stood among the group, looking oddly normal. But Izar knew he was anything but normal. Every time the man moved, he demanded attention. Even under a glamour the man exuded presence. Tonight, though, he seemed oddly passive, choosing not to voice his opinions. "Izar," Dumbledore swept forward, his brows furrowing in concern. He held up a strong hand, halting a blond woman with her camera man from approaching Izar. "Not yet, Rita," Dumbledore commanded sharply. Rita Skeeter. Izar withheld a grimace, trying his best to remain impassive at the moment. Dumbledore opened his mouth, most likely to demand if Izar had put his name in the Goblet, but he was interrupted. "This is the boy?" Maxime demanded, looking down a far way in order to properly look at Izar. "He looks no older than thirteen." Izar flinched, this time, sneering. "If we are judging age by height, Madame, you must be pushing," a hand closed around his shoulder, cutting him off before he could insult a very prominent figure in the French world. Izar refused to look down in shame, but he did glance at Snape, silently thanking the man for shutting him up. "A Slytherin," Rita exclaimed excitedly as she looked between Severus Snape and Izar. After all, what other student would be comfortable enough in Professor Snape's presence? "There hasn't been a Slytherin Champion for over thirty years."
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"Yes," Izar drawled. "Because the raven on my school robes resembles a serpent exceptionally well." He spoke dryly, staring at the woman as if she were thick. Rita cleared her throat, finally noting his Ravenclaw robes. She sniffed, looking away as if she hadn't heard Izar's remark. A hand steered him away from both Snape and Rita. Izar found himself looking up into the concerned face of Albus Dumbledore. The old Headmaster had bent his spine a bit so he could meet Izar's eyes more comfortably. "Did you put your name in the Goblet, Izar?" Dumbledore had pulled Izar away, yet it wasn't far enough to obscure his conversation from the others. "No, Headmaster, I would never put my name in that Goblet. The very idea of the Tournament turns me off." A few snorts were heard from the spectators, but Izar paid them no heed. His eyes were looked on Dumbledore's soft blue eyes. The man hadn't accused him, instead, he had asked an honest question. The Headmaster gave a soft smile, standing straight once again. "Do you have any idea who would put your name in the Goblet? Any suspicions?" "Perhaps an older Ravenclaw," Izar muttered, realizing before it was too late that it probably wasn't the best thing to say. But if he had to think of someone who would put his name in the Goblet, it would be the older Ravenclaws. Wasn't it only two days ago when they expressed Izar should bring glory to their House? Dumbledore raised his brows, looking truly surprised. "Why would your own House want to put you in danger?" Izar looked away, his gaze directed at the many trophies in the room. "Izar," the man gently persuaded. "We've had a few disagreements, that's all," Izar supplied quickly. "I'd say let the boy compete," a new voice, rivaling the Norwegian Minister's accent, spoke up. Izar turned, his eyes immediately drawn to the tall brunette across the room. The tall teen had Durmstrang school robes on, looking far too haughty in Izar's opinion. The Durmstrang student's eyes were roaming Izar, a twitch to his lips. If the student wiped the arrogant smirk off his face, Izar believed he would have looked halfway decent. Except for the hair. While it may have been every female's envy- silky and straight, it did cover one of his blue eyes into what he might have thought was fashionable. Izar didn't think it was remotely intriguing. Izar knew the boy was the Durmstrang Champion and behind him, the tall redhead, was the Beauxbatons Champion. The redhead appeared a lot kinder, a bit friendlier as he offered Izar a small smile. "After all," the Durmstrang student continued, scoffing. "If it comes down to it, I don't even think he'd be able to reach the Trophy."
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Izar bristled, his eyes narrowing into slits. When it came to his height, he grew a bit sensitive. "Is this coming from the boy who can't see past the hair in his face?" Instead of stamping his foot and looking insulted, the Durmstrang students' eyes grow wide before narrowing in consideration. It was almost if he enjoyed Izar's retort. A light smile played the boy's face as he drank in the sight of Izar, memorizing and observing. "I'm afraid, no matter the consequences, Mr.," Riddle began, motioning with his hand toward Izar as if he'd forgotten his name. Izar couldn't help himself. The man was brilliant at acting the politician. "Izar Harrison," McGonagal supplied, casting a look at Riddle over her spectacles. "Yes, Mr. Harrison is entitled to compete, no matter his age of 'thirteen'. Once his name is pulled from the Goblet, he becomes constrained to participate in the Tournament until the last Task." Riddle flashed Izar an almost disgusted grimace, turning into a straight-backed politician. "It's a pity this had to happen. If we find evidence that you placed your own name in the Goblet, I can assure you, boy, you will face some serious consequences. There were many people relying on Britain succeeding this time around." His words were so real and so well versed, Izar found it hard not to believe the man. But just how did the Dark Lord feel about Izar's participation in the Tournament? Was the man truly disappointed that Izar's name was called? It was difficult to tell, and Izar knew he wouldn't know the man's true feelings for quite some time. Next to a silent Karkaroff, the Norwegian Minister looked just as bemused as Izar, if a bit suspicious. "Now, now, Mr. Riddle," Dumbledore placed himself in front of Izar, cutting off Riddle's stare. "Mr. Harrison is just as guilty as the rest of us. There is no certainty as who placed his name in the Goblet. I can only hope you will support Izar instead of slighting him." If Dumbledore was suspicious of Tom Riddle's true identity of a Dark Lord, then the old Headmaster would know Tom's dislike for Muggle-borns. Dumbledore, in turn, would believe that Riddle was disgusted with Izar because he was Muggle-born. Izar thought it was rather brilliant on the Dark Lord's behalf. His position of a Death Eater probably wouldn't cross Dumbledore's mind. "Gather around," Rita took control of the situation, motioning the Champions near the fire hearth. "We will need a photograph for tomorrow's story. Of course, we'll take more photos at the Wand Weighing ceremony, but we must tease our readers." She appeared all but tickled as she debated on the perfect pose for all three Champions. Wand Weighing ceremony Izar mused for a moment, ignoring the Durmstrang Champion's stare.
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"Harrison could stand on the chair over there. At least then, he may be as tall as us. But that's only a rough estimate." The Norwegian boy grinned down at Izar, a mocking look upon his face. Izar threw the chair in question a look before crossing the room. He was aware of the others' surprise at him following the Durmstrang's order, but he ignored them in favor of sitting down. The chair looked similar to a throne and Izar did his best to settle richly in it. With an arrogant swipe of his leg, he crossed his legs. "Or maybe, you two can situate yourself around me." He grounded out smugly. He flashed the Durmstrang boy a smirk. Originally, he had been horrified in participating in such a Tournament. But seeing the Durmstrang boy, Izar realized how fun it could be trouncing on the boy's arrogance. Just because he was Hogwarts' Champion, didn't necessarily mean he had to be in the limelight all the time, did it? But then he remembered his projects he wanted to complete before the year was over. Immediately, he became a bit disheartened. Maybe stepping on the Durmstrang boy wouldn't be as fun as it sounded. Not when he had so much to balance on his plate. This year was going to be chaos. {Death of Today} Tapered fingers unrolled the Prophet as his free hand went to grab his cup of tea. Pale grey eyes caught a glimpse at the front page, snorting when he read the headline. So it appeared as if the Triwizard would be taking place again this year, this time at Hogwarts. Vivid charcoal eyes danced across the photo of the three Champions, uninterested, yet curious at the same time. It was always amusing to see if he recognized familiar wizarding names he went to school with. It seemed like ages ago, but it was only sixteen years. His gaze immediately zeroed in on the boy in the middle. His heart thumped once before it sped up to dangerous levels. His left hand collided shakily with the tea cup, sending the fragile porcelain clattering to the ground. It broke in pieces, sending hot liquid everywhere. "Kreacher!" He yelled hoarsely, a sign that he didn't use his voice very often. His feet were burning from the spilt tea, but he hardly noticed as he clutched the Prophet closer to him. He was trembling. Thick grief washed over him. "Damnit, Lily!" He threw the Prophet down, and in a fit of rage, he brought back his arm and pushed all the porcelain dishes off the table, growling in fury. "Master Regulus, sirs," Kreacher whimpered, backing away as he appeared in the room.
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Regulus gave a deep whimper, falling to his chair and covering his vulnerable face with his hands. No matter what he thought about Lily before, no matter how much Regulus suffered for the betrayal almost fifteen years ago, it would never compare to this, this betrayal. Not when a child was involved. His child. "We leave for Britain, Kreacher," Regulus pulled himself together, his eyes hard. Reluctantly, he stared down at the Prophet, his eyes almost obsessively drinking in the boy. His name, rather ironically, was Izar. Izar was the star in the constellation of Botes, conveniently located in the same constellation as the star Arcturus. There were three generations of Arcturus' in the Black family. Not only that, but Regulus' middle name was Arcturus. The surname really itched him the wrong way. Harrison. Izar Harrison. Regulus raked his fingers through his hair, his teeth on edge. 'An orphan, a Muggle-born orphan' the paper read. What in Merlin's name was Lily playing at? "Britain, Master Regulus?" Kreacher repeated, his ears falling. "But the Dark Lord, Masters," "It doesn't matter," Regulus snapped a bit too harshly. "Pack my things. We're leaving as soon as possible."

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Part I Chapter 10

Chapter Ten Izar dipped his head toward his textbook, not meeting any of the curious eyes. It was difficult to come to terms with being noticed. The only time Izar had ever been noticed was in his younger years at the Muggle orphanage. And the attention he got then was less than positive. He would always be teased and bullied because Louis had targeted him as his own personal toy. The Muggle had all but made Izar's life a living hell. And the other kids seemed to gain courage enough to follow in Louis' footsteps, simply because Izar was always small for his age. However, the attention he was getting now was of a different kind. The students had never heard of him. They were curious. Even more so when the word spread that he was underage to compete. The rumors were outrageous, as was the undying gossip and giggles. Izar even had to skip breakfast because he didn't want anything to do with the gossip. His stomach was completely empty and he realized he hadn't eaten anything since yesterday at lunch. Izar didn't know when he would be able to eat his next meal. The thought of going to lunch in the crowded Great Hall set his stomach in a sea of anxiety. After he had met the group yesterday in the Trophy Room, he had made his way to the Ravenclaw Common Room. On his arrival, there were countless of Ravenclaws waiting up for him, eager to find out how he'd gotten past the age restriction line. Without a word, Izar had swept right past them and closed himself in his bed, curtains drawn for the rest of the night. He didn't know who put his name in the Goblet. And he also knew that it was impossible to track down who did. He already had enough on his plate this term; he didn't have any time to figure out who targeted him. Who would have thought he would be a nobody and then turn into a somebody in the time span of a few hours? Izar was currently sitting in the DADA classroom, waiting for Professor Black to enter. The rest of the students were buzzing about the Tournament, throwing glances across the room as if he'd jump up and join them. Unlikely. If anything, he'd rather chuck his book at them than hear any more of their wild assumptions. Izar snorted, burying his face into the textbook as he caught sight of Sirius Black gliding
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into the room. The man had his shoulders swept back and his chest inflated in front of him. It looked as if the man had cast an inflatable spell to his torso before he came into class. "Good morning class," Sirius started a bit darkly. Situating his book so Izar could watch Sirius comfortably and still appear reading, he allowed his eyes to wash the length of Sirius' body. Because he was closer in class than he was in the Great Hall, Izar noted the mischievous lines around Sirius' face. But more disturbingly, the man's good humor lines seemed to have dulled over time. It was almost if Sirius was once a young man full of humor and radiance and then something came along to turn his ways around. The older man seemed to have a bit of shadow to him, a similar shadow Lily Potter carried. Izar shook himself, not willing to think on his mother. But then again, this was his uncle standing not even ten feet from him; an uncle that didn't even know his only nephew existed. Sirius walked behind his desk, looking down on at a roll of parchment. "I will call your names, please state that you are present," his black feathered quill dipped in his inkwell before he started roll call. Interestingly, Sirius Black seemed to have a bit of a alternative personality disorder. The man all but jumped excitedly as he recognized a student's surname. He then started questioning the student in question about their parents or relatives. Izar observed as Anna Beth Tully, a sixth year Hufflepuff, blushed and replied to Sirius' eager questions. Apparently, after a bit more digging, Sirius claimed he had gone to school with both her mother and father. Izar raised an eyebrow, watching Sirius closely. The man's personality was hard to judge. There was a child within Sirius, but there was also a dark, brooding adult, an adult that saw a lot and experienced a bit of pain. And then there were also the conflicting personalities of a gentle and caring adult and a mischievous child who could, in all actuality, be a little bastard with a cruel streak. It was just Izar's perception. He usually judged characters correctly, and Sirius, so far, was the most troubling. Of course, there could be the excuse of the Black line. The Blacks interbred quite frequently. Their incest bonding could have affected Sirius Black more than the man let on. "Izar Harrison," Sirius' voice was dim, a large difference from his previous tone. Charcoal-green eyes focused sharply on the man's turned face. Sirius wouldn't look up from the parchment like he did every other student. Instead, Izar noticed his fingers tightening at the side of the desk and the stubborn clench in the jaw line. Oh, the man wanted, almost needed to look at Izar. The Ravenclaw could see how badly Sirius wanted to
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fixate his stare on Izar. "Here, Professor Black," Izar drawled, smirking. Sirius breathed heavily, giving in and looking at Izar from the corner of his eye. By Sirius' actions, Izar knew the man had a hunch of his parentage. In fact, the man all but appeared to have seen a ghost. His lips were tense, turning white around the mouth. The charcoal eyes of his were dilated and narrowed. Nostrils flaring, Sirius turned back to his desk, staring blankly at the parchment before continuing the roll call. Izar looked away, swiftly noting Granger's observance. He flashed her a cool look before turning back to his book. She was an annoying Mudblood who stuck her nose into other people's business too often. He had watched her from afar throughout the years. She didn't have many friends, if any at all. Like Izar, she preferred books to socializing, but she also preferred the spotlight whereas Izar preferred the shadows. "I've glanced over the coursework of your previous professors," Sirius walked back around his desk, leaning on the piece of furniture. "While they have all covered the material adequately, there is one area you will all need work on. It's an area; I believe, as an Auror, is very important for any witch and wizard." Izar shut his book, interested to hear what the man would say. "Dueling." Izar glowered, his mood dimming. Dueling wasn't his strong point. He had never participated in a duel before. Well, that was a lie. He had once, and it had turned out horribly. Whereas Izar could ace any verbal, written, or hands on exam, he always had trouble competing with dueling. He was too analytical to think on his feet. When it was time for him to cast a spell, his mind gave him a long list of possibilities and Izar had to go through each one and recite the affects of each curse and hex. It was ridiculous. And as a result, dueling was something Izar tried his best to avoid. "We will be doing mostly hands on work in this class. To prepare you, I'd like for you to read the first two chapter of your textbook. In there, you will find the formal etiquette and traditions one needs to abide with in formal dueling. There will be a five foot essay due next class period." Groans were heard throughout the class, at least on the Hufflepuff side. Sirius grinned, chuckling. "I'm just kidding," his chuckle died down when the Ravenclaws blinked dully at him. The man cleared his throat. "There will be no homework assigned. But I expect you all to read. You may do the reading for the rest of the class period in the library. Or you can just save it all until the last moment like I used to." The Auror moved down the aisle of students, heading towards the exit. "Dismissed."
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He was out the door before any student had the chance to stand up. The class remained seated, whispering amongst each other of the odd proceedings. There was hardly a time a professor let out a class early, almost an hour early, and left before the students. Izar thought it rather amusing. He had driven the older wizard away. Hopefully Izar would see a bit more balls from his uncle later on in the semester. While it was satisfying watching Sirius shift uncomfortably, it was also nice to see some family resemblance when it came to character. "Are you related to Professor Black?" It was Granger. She leaned over his desk to whisper it to him. Izar found himself first distracted by her two large front teeth, then her obnoxious inquisitive look about her. "We both have dark hair, a pale complexion, and a penis. If you think that is all that is required to be related to Professor Black, I'm afraid you have more than half of Hogwarts to interrogate. However, I'm sure they will be more eager to speak with you." Izar packed his things, ignoring Granger's flush on her cheeks. She was probably all ruffled because he had dared to speak the word 'penis' around a female. Before he could leave, she stopped him again. "Izar," she said breathlessly. "I've noticed you skipping meals its not good for a growing boy to skip meals. Especially if said boy is declared the Hogwarts Champion." Before Izar could let loose the acidic comment on his tongue, she continued. Leaning closer, she looked around and lowered her voice. "Right beneath the Great Hall, there is a portrait of a bowl of fruit. Tickle the pear and you will find yourself presently surprised." It was if she were rehearsing a riddle. She even offered him a mystifying smile before leaving the classroom. Izar stood stiffly, wondering if he should brush her germs off his robes or follow her advice. He did both. {Death of Today} Izar, It pains me to write to you so informally, so surreptitiously, when all I want to do is speak to you unreservedly... But I need to see you, face to face, child. I know you are smart enough not to trust a meager letter, so I will agree to meet you halfway in order to quell your suspicions. We can meet in a public place, preferably the Hogs Head. You have a Hogsmeade trip next
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weekend, is that correct? All you need to do is enter the Hogs Head. I will approach you personally. You have nothing to be suspicious of; I will do you no harm, never. Desperately awaiting your arrival at the Hogs Head, R. Izar clutched the torn and worn piece of paper, grimacing at the stone wall across from him. He had received it a few days ago; in fact, he received it the day of Sirius Black's first class. A good week had gone by since then and this weekends' Hogsmeade trip was already here. Tomorrow would be the day of their Hogsmeade trip. Izar had his suspicions of who had sent this letter. And he was far from pleased. Regulus Arcturus Black, the 'proclaimed' dead wizard who betrayed Lord Voldemort. So, why was Regulus contacting Izar now? He knew why. Because both his name and photograph were in the papers not too long ago. He was declared 'noticeable' now by the population of Hogwarts, and no doubt, by the public eye. Regulus must have taken notice and felt the need to contact Izar, his bastard son. Did the man want to get on good terms now that Izar would bring fame to the family name? After all, Izar could never be a respectful Black because his mother was a Mudblood witch. Or did he think Izar could somehow help him get out of Voldemort's fury of betraying him? He lifted his lip, clenching his teeth together in distaste. He would like nothing better than to stand Regulus up. But his curiosity was at its highest. He had to quench his interest. But no matter what happened, Izar refused to accept Regulus. "Izar!" Izar pocketed the letter, keeping still when he felt Daphne make her way down the corridor. For a good week, Izar had been able to stay in the shadows, distancing himself from all the attention. Thanks to Granger, he had found the kitchens and had not starved. He would have been dead by now, of starvation, simply because he refused to enter the Great Hall at meal times. Too many wizards wanted to befriend him and pat him on the back. It was disquieting. Earlier, when he had been declared, he thought it wouldn't be too bad. He had lied to himself wholly that day. He hated this attention. And he wanted nothing more than to be back in the shadows, the unknown Ravenclaw boy. "You've been avoiding me too long, boy," the short witch complained heatedly. Her nostrils were flared, an added indicator of her resentment. "I'm not going to take it anymore, do you understand me?"
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Izar glanced down, meeting her dark green gaze. "Yes ma'am," he replied impassively, used to her ridiculous demands. Her lips twitched and her hands fell on to her hips. "I am honestly amazed at how you can disappear so easily. If you actually had someone to look after you, like me, you would give them a heart attack at your long periods of absences. The only reason I knew you were alive is because we have a few classes together. And then you just leave as soon as we're dismissed." She sounded crestfallen, and Izar couldn't help but to grin. "You aren't at any of the meals and you aren't in the corridors after classes." "I apologize," he replied, not really remorseful. "I'm just not enjoying the attention. I'd rather stay out of that attention." She reached forward, looping her arm into his rather forcibly. She pulled him away from the wall and the two walked down the corridor, arm in arm. "You're going to eventually have to step out of the shadows, Izar. You are going to be a grown man soon, one that will need to interact with others, politically. I need to work on that with you, train you." Izar withheld a snort; however, he did nothing to hide the amused smirk. "Just because I'm Hogwarts Champion, doesn't mean I'm all of a sudden a dancing politician, Daphne." She glowered angrily. "I'm not just talking about this Tournament, Izar. You're almost going to graduate. And you'll be on your own then. You'll have a job to do. What will you do if you work in the Ministry? You must have dancing etiquette. However do you think you will keep your job position amongst the pure-blood vultures?" He wasn't planning on working in the main sector of the Ministry. Little did Daphne know that Izar already had his dream job in the bottom layers of the Ministry, the Unspeakables. He didn't plan on doing anything else. The only difference he wanted to make with his job was actually producing useful experiments to the wizarding population. Thinking about it made Izar hope Owen, the Head of the Unspeakables, wouldn't make Izar do Time Turners again this upcoming summer. "I don't know if I can handle more of your social circles, Daphne. The last thing I want to be discussing is Pansy Parkinson's choice in hair clip." She flashed him a fathoming look. "We've never discussed things like that, Izar." "Ah yes," Izar nodded. "Obviously, my lack of remembrance on the social parties is a painful reflection of the lack of interest I hold for thosethings." "You're hopeless," Daphne sniffed, pushing back her blond locks with her free hand. "Someday, I will get you to enjoy dancing. You'll be just as good as any pure-blood male." Izar gave a hum, disinterested.
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Before they could merge with a busy corridor, Daphne paused, holding Izar back with her. With her right arm still looped with Izar's, she dug through her book bag at her side. "I made something, or, designed something for the students of Hogwarts. More specifically, I designed them with you in mind." She pulled out a deep blue armband. On the armband, beautifully calligraphy spelt out Support Izar Harrison. Before Izar could comment, the words changed again, spelling out, Support Hogwarts. "They are meant to be worn on your forearm. The Slytherins, particularly, started the trend of wearing them on their left forearm." She gave him a meaningful look as she handed him the armband. Now that they stood in a lighter part of the corridor, Izar could see that Daphne had her own armband on, clutching her left forearm. "I thought it would be a decent idea if you have to reveal a bit of skin during one of the Tasks. You never know what could happen; you always need to be prepared." Izar took the band, feeling a bit touched. And he never felt sentimental. "You know?" He fingered the silky armband, staring at the calligraphy. "Of course I know," she whispered quietly. "I was there when you were Marked. Most of the Hogwarts' students where in the back, having been presented with the nickel masks, but I could spot you miles away. The Dark Lord was all but glowing as he Marked you." Her lips twitched and her eyes grew excited. "He favors you, you know. Most of the Death Eaters are envious." Izar snorted, putting the armband in his bag. He would most definitely wear the armband underneath his robes. It would cover the Dark Mark from peering eyes. Despite the fact the Dark Lord Voldemort was not yet widely known to the world, it wasn't something to be advertising. "I'm serious, Izar. You should be careful. Many of the students who are Death Eaters have been rather vocal about why the Dark Lord would favor a" she trailed off, her usual cool faade slipping. "They want to know why he favors a Mudblood?" Izar provided. "It's wrong of them not to do their research before passing judgment," she pouted, brushing Izar's robes affectionately. "Have you ever thought they were the ones to put your name in the Goblet?" "A jealous Slytherin that wanted me out of the way? Perhaps," Izar mused. In all actuality, that sounded rather believable. "But I'm not favored by the Dark Lord. Besides getting the silver mask first, it doesn't mean he necessarily 'favors' me." "Whatever you say, Izar," she smoothed her hands down the front of his robes before turning. "You should be getting to the Wand Weighing ceremony. I'm sure the Norwegian
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Champion is feeling rather arrogant at your disappearance from human society." Her eyes narrowed. "You do know that Lukas Steinar is the son of the Norwegian Minister, don't you?" "I'll let the topic of you knowing my schedule drop. For now." Izar averted the subject away from Lukas, simply because, no, he hadn't known Lukas was the Norwegian Minister's son. Daphne would never let Izar forget his ignorance if she knew. "I'm expecting you to sit with me at dinner tonight," she called after him as he hurriedly swept away from the darkened corridor. Izar didn't have the heart to tell her he wouldn't be attending dinner tonight. He would avoid the public eye as long as possible. He glanced at the old pocket watch he stole from one of the Muggle children at the orphanage and cursed. He was a bit late. But he was only a few paces away from the classroom that the ceremony was taking place at. Still, if Tom Riddle would be there, Izar was sure the man would chew his ear off later. His Dark Mark had been burning lately, as if the man was displeased with Izar. No matter how much Izar thought on it, he couldn't remember doing anything that would upset the Dark Lord. Finally reaching the classroom, Izar opened the door, blinking at how small the room was. Most the desks were pushed to the sides of the room, creating a bit of space in the middle. A few desks were pushed together, with six chairs behind them. Six chairs for the judges. All of them were present, their eyes turned to Izar as he entered. The Ravenclaw quietly shut the door behind him, eyeing the two Champions and Rita Skeeter and her photographer, Bozo. But more importantly, Izar kept his attention on the silver haired man in the corner. Ollivander. "Mr. Harrison," Dumbledore stood up, a warm smile on his face as he ushered Izar deeper into the room. The man was wearing a set of mauve robes with small crescent moons on them. Izar found himself rather amused by the old man. "Headmaster," Izar greeted lazily, his eyes watching as one of the moons on Dumbledore's robes grew arms and waved. "I like your robes, very ingenious." The man all but beamed, his eyes twinkling behind his half-moon spectacles. "Thank you, my boy." The Headmaster paused before leaning down to murmur in Izar's ear. "If you'd like, I can give you the name of my tailor." Izar's Dark Mark burned rather fiercely, but he remained neutral in the eyes of Dumbledore. "Perhaps later, Headmaster," Izar conceded as he glanced at the Dark Lord beyond Dumbledore. Tom Riddle wasn't looking at Izar; only, he had his attention on a few papers before him.
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"Now that we are all present," Dumbledore continued after ushering Izar to a seat before the judges. Izar sat stiffly next to Lukas, ignoring the boy's observance. "I'd like you all to meet the judges this year. For Hogwarts, we have both myself and Mr. Tom Riddle, the Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic. Regrettably, Cornelius Fudge won't be able to take his place as a Tournament judge. He has many projects to take care at the Ministry." Izar withheld an ironic laugh at that. He was sure Fudge had been manipulated by the Dark Lord to step aside as a judge and allow his Undersecretary to perform the act instead. Riddle nodded at the Champions, his eyes dancing briefly over Izar before turning away nonchalantly. The Dark Lord was upset about something. And Izar was utterly clueless to what it could be. He had his suspicions, but there was no way his uncertainties could be confirmed. "For Durmstrang, we have Headmaster Karkaroff and Minister Bjrn Steinar." Bjrn Steinar looked very similar to his son. They both pulled off a cool nonchalance and an air of importance. Bjrn had brown hair, instead of Lukas' black, and he also shared his son's piercing blue eyes. He wasn't as attractive as his son; instead, it was his charisma that made him noticeable. Izar didn't like him. Perhaps it was because he didn't care for Lukas, but no matter what it was; Izar wasn't going to put his trust in the Norwegian Minister. "And lastly, for Beauxbatons, we have Headmistress Maxime and Minister Serge Roux." The two French individuals looked rather amusing sitting together. While Maxime was incredibly tall and rather large, Minister Roux was a smaller man, both in height and weight. He wore heavy glasses and his long grey hair was tied at the nape of his neck. He looked bored sitting at the table, and he didn't offer the students a nod like the others had. Instead, he looked at Dumbledore, silently asking when this would all be over. Izar took a liking to him. "Rita Skeeter has been assigned to cover the Tournament this year. She will be overseeing the Weighing of the Wands." "And hopefully some photos," Rita announced eagerly, winking rather suggestively toward Izar. "The camera is picky about who it loves, and it is rather favorable on one of the young Champions." Eyes turned to Izar and he remained sitting forward, almost bored, and taking a leaf from Roux's book. He would be damned if he allowed Rita near him with her camera. Dumbledore cleared his throat, motioning for Ollivander to come forth. "Anything for you, Rita," Dumbledore agreed airily, placing his hand on the eerie looking Ollivander. "And may I present you all with the expert in wand making, Mr. Ollivander? He will be seeing to your wands today to make sure they are working properly for the Tournament." Blue eyes landed on the redheaded Beauxbatons Champion. "Mr. Beaumont, why don't you go first?"
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Izar watched the proceedings in inquisitiveness. Ollivander seemed to have a sixth sense when it came to wands. He was able to tell the length, the wood, and the core even if he hadn't been the one to craft the wand itself. It was intriguing and Izar felt a bit of hope with his problems. Ollivander must know what Tom Riddle's wand is. After all, Izar was sure Riddle got his wand at Ollivanders when he was a young boy. Cyprien Beaumont had a Veela hair core and Lukas Steinar, the Durmstrang Champion, had a Dragon heartstring core. It suited the Durmstrang Champion quite well, actually. Izar shared a heated look with Lukas as the boy sat back down. "Izar," Dumbledore motioned forward, his eyebrows heightened in interest. Rising from his chair, Izar approached Ollivander, vividly remembering his first encounter with the man at the age of eleven. "Ah, Mr. Harrison," Ollivander seemed a bit more enthusiastic as he reached for Izar's wand. "I remember this particular wand very well. An eleven inch Indian rosewood, a hair of a rather stubborn and prideful Thestral." Izar refused to react when he felt Riddle's mocking eyes on him. Ollivander's silver eyes studied Izar, a small smile spreading across the older man's lips. "I will say the same thing I said to you five years ago, Mr. Harrison. Your wand is remarkably unyielding and destined for very great things." The wand maker flicked Izar's wand, sending wine spitting from the top. Dumbledore clapped merrily, thanking Ollivander. Before Izar could comprehend, everyone stood up and starting moving just as Ollivander was out the door. For being an older man, the wand maker could move fast. Rita was gathering everyone around for a photograph and Izar quickly slipped in the background before traveling out the door. "Just where did that boy go?" Rita's voice followed Izar's heels as he hurriedly climbed the bit of stairs. "Mr. Ollivander!" Izar yelled after the wand maker. The silver haired man paused, turning and eyeing Izar with curiosity as the Ravenclaw came to a stop before him. "Please, this may sound odd, but I was curious to know if you remembered every wand you ever sold?" "Of course, my boy," Ollivander smiled mysteriously. "Every wand is ingrained in my mind. I always spend quality time with each wand before I sell it." Izar wished he could have been talking to Ollivander under different circumstances. The man was fascinating and probably knew a great deal about wand cores. Perhaps Izar could discuss this situation in more depth if he found himself stuck on the Dark Mark. "Could you, perhaps, recall Tom Marvolo Riddle's wand core? I'm curious to know if his wand core is as talented as his character."
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Ollivander's face darkened and his smile was forced. "I'm sorry, Mr. Harrison, but I'm afraid Mr. Riddle has asked for my word of confidentiality regarding his wand." The man frowned. "Odd, he just asked me to keep it private today, just before the ceremony started." Izar turned cold. Voldemort couldn't possibly know Izar was searching for his wand core, could he? "I thanks anyway, Mr. Ollivander," Izar spoke without really hearing himself. He turned, wondering where to go from here. "Izar," a voice rang from the top of the stairs. Feeling his pulse begin to rise, charcoal-green eyes slowly looked up, locking eyes with sparkling charmed brown. Voldemort's lips were twitching as motioned Izar forward with a beckoning finger. "Come back inside, we must take one photo together, you, Headmaster Dumbledore, and I." Feeling rather defeated at the moment, Izar gradually walked up the stairs. As his fingers brushed the wrinkled parchment in his pocket, he grew even more disheartened. Things had to look up eventually. Didn't they? {Notes} Next chapter will be one of my favorites ;) You'll get to see the Regulus/Izar confrontation and a Voldemort/Izar confrontation. I hope to get that out sooner rather than later because I have this whole weekend and Monday to write. I also didn't get around to responding to most of your reviews for last chapter. I apologize. Hopefully this time around I will get back to you. Just know that I read each and every one of them and am thankful for you guys for reading. Also, sorry for the mistakes. It's late and I wanted to get the chapter out tonight.

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Part I Chapter 11

I lied. I said I would respond to your reviews for chapter ten. But I think I'll give you all the same review reply in form of another chapter. ;) Thanks to those of you who've read and reviewed. You made me get another chapter out so quickly. Chapter Eleven Hogsmeade was just like it was every time Izar went. Crowded, busy, and full of rude people. This was exactly why Izar avoided Hogsmeade trips. His hood was drawn, covering his features as he swam through the crowd toward the Hogs Head. It anyone recognized him, he would have drawn attention and there would, most likely, be a few students following him to the Hogs Head. Students or even adults. He hissed at the large woman as she elbowed him in the stomach. "Tuck your elbows in you when you waddle, you atrocious woman!" Izar growled, earning a sharp look from the witch. He ducked beneath the crowd and finally made it to the dusty and frayed footstep of the Hogs Head. He was here, but was he ready? Finding his reluctance ridiculous, Izar opened the door to the Hogs Head, listening to the familiar squeak it issued. He had been at the Hogs Head a few times before, finding an odd getaway within the old pub. Yes, the customers were rather dodgy, but that was good. Most students ran away from the pub as fast as they could. No rowdy students would be in here. Aberforth Dumbledore was standing behind the counter, his sunken eyes watching Izar as he took off his hood. Once Izar's face was revealed, Aberforth allowed a small grin to cross his usually cranky features. But Aberforth wasn't the only one pleased to see him. A man sitting next to the door cooed vulgarly, his vile eyes tracing over Izar compulsively. "'lo, poppet," the man whispered for only Izar to hear after chuckling. Looking sideways at the man slumped over a mug of alcohol, Izar found his attention on the man's smile. His teeth were rotten and his lips were chapped, the only feature Izar could see beneath the hood. "Hello Aberforth," Izar greeted softly, pushing past the bum and walking gracefully toward the vacant bar. He refused to look at the rest of the bars' occupants, too silly to face his father. He would let Regulus approach him, not the other way around. Izar tried to avoid brushing his only decent cloak on the ground. The floor was so filthy; it appeared as if the pub was built upon the earth itself. With the back of his hand, he wiped off
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the dust and dirt from the stool before settling down. "Izar," Aberforth grunted, his hands busy wiping down a mug that had seen better days. Izar watched the movement of the dirty rag as it swung back and forth. "I heard you got yourself a bit of glory," the man mumbled something along the lines. It was a bit difficult to hear him past the heavy beard. "Yes," Izar drawled. "Eternal glory." The man's bright blue eyes rivaled his older brother's as he assessed Izar. "Not too happy about the selection, I suppose?" Izar offered the man a small grin. "What gave it away?" Aberforth gave a grunt, taking his polished, or, semi-polished mug, and poured a bit of butterscotch colored liquid in the mug. "Why don't you have a butterbeer, on me?" The older man slid the mug across the bar top, the liquid sloshing over the lip as Izar stopped it with the palm of his hand. He stared at the vaguely dirty mug, a bit surprised. Aberforth wasn't very well known for allowing free drinks to be passed around. "No, no, I can pay for it" he trailed off uncertainly, his hands going to his pockets. He knew he didn't have any money on him. Hell, when did he have money on him? "Don't be silly," Aberforth growled, taking out another dirty glass to polish it. His rag was full of holes and evidence of the past dirty mugs. Izar had to remember that Madame Promfrey could cure upset stomachs if he ever caught something from drinking out of dirty glassware. "When you win your Tournament earnings you can pay me back in threefold." Izar leaned forward, sipping on the foam at the top. It warmed his throat and eventually his body as it went down. He knew the first sip or two would probably be the only he would enjoy. Because he felt someone approach him from behind. {Death of Today} The photographs in the paper didn't do him any justice at all. Regulus eyed Izar beneath his hood as his hand curled around his mug. The rings on his fingers tapped the glass and he leaned forward, hungry at the sight of his son. Instead of approaching Izar right away, he decided he would study his son from afar. He noted rather quickly that Izar looked similar to him when he was that age. Rather, Izar held a lot of Black qualities. Despite their similar appearance at the young age of fifteen, Regulus found Izar far more flawless and beautiful. While Regulus had been a bit awkward and had many flaws, Izar all but glowed. Their hair was similar; both inky black and waves that seemed to curl at the edges. Izar
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had the sharp Black facial appearance, the aristocratic features with the prominent cheekbones and the delicate and sharp jaw line. A straight nose was faultlessly situated over full lips. And the eyes even from Regulus' position, he could see the shape was all Lily's. Almond shaped eyes, with a bit of vivid green crushed inside charcoal, his color. By no means would Regulus say his son was feminine. It would be an insult to both himself and Izar. Instead, he would label Izar as a very stunning aristocrat. As far as Izar's petite body stature went, Regulus had once been small for his age as well. He hit a growing spurt far later than his male classmates at the old age of eighteen. Was it selfish of Regulus to be pleased that Izar took after him more than he did Lily? No. He had every right to feel proud at that fact. Izar even had the Black family grace. And from Regulus' location, he could hear the dry, cynical tone of his son. It wasn't something Regulus would have expected from someone with Izar's attractiveness. He would have thought, at least, that Izar would have a confident, if not arrogant tone. He was amused to note his son's tone mimicked Severus Snape quite well. There was a lot of his son that he didn't know about. Hell, he didn't know anything about Izar. Lily must have had to raise him. But then why was his surname 'Harrison'? Why did Izar wear robes that appeared as if they were second hand? And trainers that looked rather beaten up? He took note of Izar's robes, noting the Ravenclaw colors. At first, Regulus experienced a quick twang of disappointment that Izar wasn't a Slytherin like the rest of his family. But his disappointment vanished when he thought back of how respected Ravenclaw was, how brilliant they were. Both Lily and Regulus could have done superb in Ravenclaw. After all, they both turned out to be Unspeakables, if only for a short time on Regulus' part. Regulus stood up abruptly when he noticed the sleazebag near the door approach Izar from behind. It had been many years since Regulus had interacted with people in general. He just hoped he would appear a bit dynamic with his son. He didn't want to disappoint or seem as rough as he felt. {Death of Today} Izar expected Regulus to come up from behind him. He did not expect the cold and greasy hand lingering on the back of his neck and the foul smell of unwashed body to encompass him. If this was Regulus, Izar would turn his heel from the pub and never look back. His eyes flashed as he eyed the man pushing up close beside him. Luckily, it wasn't Regulus. Unluckily, it was the man who had been by the door, the very same one who had greeted him with a perverted smile. "Back up, Gorgon, he's only a school boy," Aberforth
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growled, his own face twisting with aversion. Gorgon, the distorted man, wheezed and he pressed closer to Izar. He reached forward, running a finger down Izar's impassive face. "I just wanted to see if he wanted a bit of fun, Ab. Nothing to worry your head over." Oily eyes turned to Izar, who was gazing jadedly back at the man. "What do you say, pet," Gorgon leaned forward, his tongue licking his lips. "Want a bit of a 'toss?" Gorgon's head was taken rather brutally by a hand. Before the man could comprehend the situation, his forehead was slammed viciously on to the bar. A bit of blood splattered on Izar and the counter as Gorgon slumped to the ground, out cold. Izar caught sight of the flashy heirloom ring on his savior's hand and knew instantly that it was Regulus Black. Izar gave a deep sigh, trying to cover up his anxiety at finally meeting the man. He wiped a bit of blood from his sleeve, mourning the stain on his decent robe. Finally, after gathering himself, he looked up at Regulus, finding himself gazing into the haunted eyes of his father. Izar had never seen another who shared his vivid eyes, but sitting there, he finally met the man who passed the color down to him. The pale and vivid charcoal clashed eerily with Regulus. "Well," Izar started off a bit darkly. "At least you don't smell like body odor, but a bit of grooming wouldn't hurt." One word that really fit Regulus was rough and wayward. The man probably was an aristocrat under all that facial hair, but Izar was distracted by the distrustful way Regulus carried himself and the haunted look on his face. The goatee wasn't at all bad looking. It was short, but it clashed with Regulus' high cheekbones and refined features. And one thing Izar did learn from Daphne was that aristocrats didn't look good with facial hair. She would probably be chasing Regulus around with a razor spell if she was here, gasping at the mere waste Regulus' good features were going through underneath the facial hair. Regulus' grim lips gave a bit of a grin as he stroked his goatee. On his index and middle finger, a ring flashed back at Izar. "I usually don't grow a beard or allow my hair to grow long, but it disguises me a bit." His voice was unused, Izar noted. His own voice grew raspy when he didn't talk to many people for a long period of time. "You mean people will mistake you for your brother." It was true. Despite the fact Regulus was more of a member of the aristocracy and had a smaller chest and shoulder span, he did appear a bit like Sirius with all the hair. The hair fell to his shoulders in tight waves; the same length Sirius wore it. Regulus abruptly took Izar's face in his hands and leaned forward to kiss him on the forehead. The man then took Izar in his arms, clutching him to his chest. "I cannot make
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myself shake hands with a son I have forever lost." Regulus whispered harshly in Izar's ear. "Forgive me, my child." This was going against everything Izar had imagined. He would have thought Regulus would appear healthy and smug. He would have thought Regulus would start off with a formal handshake or nothing at all. He didn't expect to see a man who looked as if he had been on the run, or in hiding, and he certainly didn't expect his first hug to be from his long-lost father. Izar sat there stiffly, unsure of the strange feeling in the pit of his stomach. "Then you must forgive me for not trusting you yet," Izar murmured back, feeling Regulus slowly pull away. Regulus' face was impassive as he ushered Izar off the stool, away from prying eyes. "You must have heard about me," Regulus started the conversation as soon as they settled at the table in the corner. Izar sat rigidly, wishing he had brought his butterbeer with him. "You didn't react as I thought you would when I called you 'son'. Lily must have told you then." Regulus' face darkened and a smile crossed his face. The smile wasn't comforting in the least, revealing another side of the man that Izar had yet to see. It was a dark, cruel side, very familiar in Bellatrix's face. "I can only imagine the lies she spread about me. I wonder why you even bothered to meet me here." He then looked around the pub, an almost frantic look on his face when he thought Lily would spring out with Dumbledore, or perhaps, Voldemort. Izar sat back against the chair, frowning at the roughed up table before looking back up at Regulus. The man really didn't know. Anything. With a bitter smile, Izar leaned forward. "Lily didn't raise me. In fact, I have never talked to her." Izar lied, just a small lie. He scowled. "I was raised in a filthy Muggle orphanage." Regulus' expression crumbled into weariness and he ran a hand down his face, in order to hide the vulnerability, or in order to give himself comfort. Charcoal eyes opened, pinning Izar with a passionate look. "Then how did you know about her? About me?" Regulus gave a sigh. "I don't understand why she did this" Izar ignored the last bit, glaring at the stubbed candle in the middle of the table. "I was thirteen when I brewed a heredity potion." He grinned humorlessly. "I wanted to find my Muggle parents, perhaps track down their path, see if they were still living. Imagine my surprise when I found out someone put a block on my lineage. No matter how many times I brewed that potion, I realized that either my father or mother was magical and they didn't want me to find out about them." His eyes pinned Regulus with a stare. "I stopped caring who my parents were when I believed my father was just a pure-blood wizard who laid with a Muggle. He must have been embarrassed about his bastard son and gave him away to a Muggle orphanage after erasing my lineage. Rather ironic that it turned out that was the case."
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Regulus slammed his fists on the table, easily knocking down the candle that stood between them. With a dangerous glint in his eye, Regulus leaned forward, his lips drawn into a sneer. "That is not what happened, damnit." He breathed deeply through his nose before reaching forward to take Izar's hand with his own. "You must know that I had no knowledge of your existence. She lied, she betrayed, she was and is a cruel bitch. The only reason I found you is because of the Prophet. Your picture you look similar to me when I was a boy. And your age fit exactly" "Where were you?" Izar asked bitterly. "Everyone thinks you're dead. Lord Voldemort thinks you're dead. How can you fool them?" Regulus looked around the pub before pulling up his left sleeve. Izar's eyes widened when he witnessed Regulus' blemish-free skin. "I'm not a Death Eater," Regulus whispered quietly. "My family was very loyal to the Dark Lord and I did many favors for him and his cause as a young boy. I was never Marked right away. He didn't Mark children still in Hogwarts." Regulus' face clouded with the past memories. "I betrayed him, yes, but that is another story entirely, a story Lily participated in just as much as I. Severus Snape was ordered to kill me. After all, the Dark Lord was too important to kill a lowly wizard himself." Izar sucked in a breath, realizing. "Professor Snape betrayed the Dark Lord's order? He made everyone believe he killed you and allowed you to run? Is he really disloyal to the Dark Lord?" Regulus eyed him a bit suspiciously. "Severus is still loyal to the Dark Lord. However, he and I shared a friendship that surpassed even his loyalty to the Dark Lord. He made me promise to stay away from Britain and never show my face again. I moved to one of the Black estates in Russia and closed all other Black properties around Britain. But I can't possibly stay away when I have found I have a son. A son who was raised by Muggles." Regulus sneered, his eyes flashing. "Even if I am not wanted by the Ministry, I cannot show my face because Severus would be in great danger." Regulus sat back, his eyes focused intensely on Izar as the Ravenclaw tried to sink in all the information offered to him. "But what I want to know," Regulus continued softly, a slight protective bite in his tone. "Is how you found out about Lily and me if your lineage was blocked?" Izar knew it would come down to this. It was better if Regulus knew now than later. It already seemed as if the man had his suspicions. "My second cousin had the decency to provide me with the information. She told me she witnessed your pathetic affair with Lily" Regulus' eyes narrowed and he leaned forward, his jaw clenched. "And how did you get in contact with Bellatrix? The last I knew, she was wanted for questioning by the Ministry and chose to stay in hiding." Charcoal eyes glanced at Izar's left arm. "How did you get in contact with her, Izar?"
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"Do you even have to ask if you already know?" Izar spat bitterly. "I'm claimed by the Dark Lord. I met her during my initiation not even a month ago. It was there were she rubbed it in my face that I hadnot only a mother who lived but also a father." Regulus gave a bitter laugh. "The Dark Lord is Marking rather young, isn't he? He must be feeling a bit pinched with the lack of followers." Izar remained silent, feeling a slight twinge in his Mark. His eyes glanced outside, through the foggy and dirty windows. It was there where he saw the Dark Lord approaching the Hogs Head. Bloody hell. Izar quickly turned to Regulus. "I think you should go back to Russia. I am loyal to the Dark Lord, Regulus, but I will commit this one act of betrayal because I have a bit of fondness for Severus Snape and a grudging respect for you. I appreciate your attempt to include me in your life, but I don't need you or Lily. I have raised myself since a mere child, I can handle myself." Regulus shook his head, his face stubborn. Right then, Izar saw himself in the man. "I cannot do that, Izar." Izar stood up. He reached across the table at Regulus, pulling forward the man's hood. He covered the man's features, feeling as if he were parting ties with his ideal image of a father. "Then you would be risking not only your own life, but Severus' and mine as well." Izar allowed his fingers to linger on Regulus' cheek just for a moment before pulling away. A hand gripped his wrist, holding him back. "You are my child," "I'm doing this for your own safety bow your head and don't get up to follow me." Izar pleaded softly. Regulus frowned, but his fingers let Izar go. Izar crossed the room to the bar just as the door opened to the pub. If possible, the atmosphere in the pub grew considerably darker and a bit colder. Izar sat on the bar stool, glancing behind his shoulder and noticing instantly that the Dark Lord did not have his glamour up. The man's magic all but screamed gleefully as it wrapped icily around the wizards in the pub. The men hugged their alcohol closer, hunching in on themselves and avoiding eye contact with the stranger who had just entered. Izar didn't think he could ever get used to the Dark Lord's magic. It sent exhilarating thrills down his back, reminding him that he was associating with a Master of deceit and power a man that did not form bonds with anyone and instead used people in his own personal game of chess. It probably thrilled many Death Eaters, hence the reason they followed such a cruel and ruthless man. They believed he could bring them the same power and fame Voldemort held himself.
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Izar wasn't a fool to believe all that. He followed Voldemort because of the man's cause. And because he enjoyed watching Voldemort play his game. He was a bit curious to know what Regulus had done to betray the Dark Lord if the man hadn't even been a Death Eater. But Izar knew when to ask and when to listen. He would not give any inclination to the Dark Lord that he was thinking about Regulus. In fact, Izar attempted to clear his mind of the meeting with his father as best he could. He sent a silent prayer to Merlin, hoping Regulus would go by undetected. From the corner of his eye, Izar watched as the black cloak of Voldemort leaned against the pub counter, barely a few feet away. Izar cupped his hands around the lukewarm butterbeer, trying to keep his eyes away from the Dark Lord. It was difficult, especially because he felt the red eyes roaming the side of his face. The man chuckled darkly as Izar's lips twitched into a grin. "How much for the room above? I only need an hour at the most." Voldemort's voice, a bit different from his politician voice, came out in a polite, but menacing hiss. Aberforth looked between Izar and the Dark Lord, his expression reading nonchalance. "One Galleon," Aberforth's eyebrows rose as he watched the Dark Lord take out his velvet money pouch and slide a golden Galleon on the bar. The pub owner took the Galleon, biting on it once before taking out a key from his pocket and presenting it to the Dark Lord. Izar set his mug down as he felt the cool touch of the Dark Lord on the back of his neck. "You, child, are going to accompany me." Sliding off his stool, Izar followed the Dark Lord's tall frame out the pub and into the closed space of the stairwell. Before he disappeared, he could feel Regulus' eyes trail after him. Don't think about that "Why am I not surprised to find you here?" Voldemort started. Izar didn't comment, he only watched as the Dark Lord fit the key in the rusty lock and opened the door. No good could come out of this visit, Izar wasn't dense. Once the door slammed shut and locked behind them, Voldemort turned, lowering his hood. As Izar predicted, the Dark Lord's glamour was down, revealing his flawless pale skin and brilliant red eyes. His straight black hair was tied to the nape of his neck, bringing attention to his cheekbones. "I want you to get on your knees," Voldemort's voice was no longer amused, only cold. Izar expected as much after his Mark had been burning ever since last week. The man was angry, and apparently, Izar would find out why shortly. He went down to his knees, finding it difficult to stop his mind from thinking of the dirt and
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dust staining his robes. But now shouldn't be the time to think of such things, not when Voldemort was angry. Izar bent his back as well, knowing that the Dark Lord didn't just want Izar on his knees. He wanted a formal bow and Izar would get in position before the man could ask. "This is meant to remind you that you are submissive to me." The Dark Lord's polished boots were in front of Izar's face. He closed his eyes, trying to picture himself somewhere other than here. "Sometimes, I can't help but to think that you believe you have footing over me." "I never think that, My Lord," Izar replied passively. He wondered where the Dark Lord got that notion. "Even so, I want you to stay in this position until I tell you to get up." The man was sadistic. Izar's jaw clenched as he imagined himself in a log cabin in the mountains. He was just doing yoga in the early morning, away from everyone who made his head hurt. He was miles, upon miles away from all his problems. "I can't think of any reason for you to doubt my standings, My Lord. I have done nothing," "Exactly." The man replied shortly. "You have done nothing." Izar frowned, placing his forehead on the dusty ground. "Then forgive me, My Lord." A chuckle was heard and Voldemort shifted until he was crouching down in front of Izar. His long fingered hand swept through Izar's hair, tugging lightly on the strands. "Do you even know what you are asking forgiveness for, Izar?" "No," Izar muttered, glaring at the floor in front of him. The Dark Lord always seemed to have a multiple personality disorder. Perhaps worse off than Sirius Black. "Look up at me, Izar," Voldemort commanded. Offering the ground another glare, Izar cleared his face as he lifted his head, staring at the Dark Lord in the eye. The man smirked, reaching out to brush his thumb across Izar's forehead, wiping the dust that settled there. "I have to admit, Izar, that if things would have turned out differently for me, I would have been a lot like you. Shadows, skipping meals in order to avoid attention, absorbing knowledge instead of socializing and if things would have turned out differently for you, I wouldn't have cared that you are doing these things." Izar had a hunch he knew this was going. And he did not like it. "Alas, things couldn't be that way for me. I had a goal in mind, a goal to become a very influential politician and a powerful Dark Lord. I couldn't become one with the shadows and allow time to pass souselessly." Izar hated the hand on his face, clutching him so
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possessively. "I want you to start following in my footsteps. At least attend meals in the Great Hall, you foolish boy. Do you have any idea how you are portraying Britain by hiding? You are representing Hogwarts poorly." "I am not hiding," "Silence," Voldemort hissed, his fingers clutching Izar's jaw tightly. "Whatever you'd like to call it, you are hiding away when I want you thrust into the public eye. If you were any other wizard, I wouldn't care of your habits. However, you are a wizard I want people to take note of. I want you to start showing your face around the school and I want you to start socializing. Not only because you are Champion of Hogwarts, but also for your future. As I stated earlier, I want you to follow in my footsteps. You are to become a prominent figure in the political world. A force many wizards will become wary of and respectful of." "But My Lord, I wish to remain an Unspeakable." Split-crimson eyes narrowed and the fingers tightened. "The last I remembered, the Mark on your arm symbolizes your loyalty to me and not the Ministry, correct?" He didn't wait for Izar to reply. "You will be, what I want you to be." "As My Lord requests it," Izar hissed cynically. Voldemort laughed, his fingers dropping from Izar's jaw before he stood up. "I always enjoy your sharp tongue, Izar. And while it needs to be watched carefully around me, I do find good humor in it at times." The man walked over to the dirt-caked window, staring out. "Experimenting is where your pleasure lies, Izar, I will not pull you away from your enjoyment. However, I will also expect you to be known throughout Britain by important wizarding circles." Izar gave a light sigh, feeling a bit better that the Dark Lord wasn't going to demand his absence with the Unspeakables. "I understand what you want of me, My Lord, yet, I am not good at speaking." He watched as Voldemort turned from the window and back to him. "I hate people." The Dark Lord looked highly amused at Izar. "Do you think I enjoy people, little one?" Dark eyebrows rose. "You are a Black; Blacks are bred to dance politically." Izar glowered deeply at the Dark Lord. "I apologize," Voldemort continued, not at all remorseful. "I promised I wouldn't mention that, didn't I?" "It looks as if you'd forgotten," Izar replied scornfully. The man had promised, at his initiation, that he wouldn't mention Izar being a Black. Apparently the man found humor in the situation instead, much to Izar's pleasure. The Dark Lord waved his hand dismissingly. "You can start slowly; engage your classmates in conversation. Think of it as a game, you enjoy mind games, don't you, Izar? Find their weakness, and exploit them, learn everything there is to know of them. Play with them." It
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sounded less than entertaining to Izar and Voldemort read his expression easily. "I will help you through it. There won't be much time this year, I will bring you to the Ministry gatherings after this year." "After this year?" Izar repeated suspiciously. "You're planning to come out, aren't you? You're going to reveal to the world that there is a Dark Lord Voldemort, correct?" He was still bent in his bow and Voldemort was cruel enough to keep Izar in that position. "Lord Voldemort is going to announce himself, yes. Tom Riddle, on the other hand, is still going to continue just being a politician." The man withheld anymore clues or hints as to when he would step out to the world and Izar knew better than to pester. "You may stand." Izar calmly stood up, brushing off the dust on his robes. His joints cracked from being in a kneeling position too long. "There is another reason I brought you up here," Voldemort walked forward, almost a bounce in his step. Izar narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "I have a project for you." The man started to circle Izar predatorily. "It will take your mind off other" Voldemort paused, raising his wand. Izar's eyes narrowed on the object, feeling himself jolt at the sight of his current obsession. "Disobedient projects you have in that mind of yours." And to make the situation worse, Voldemort set his wand against Izar's cheek, slowly drawing it down the Ravenclaw's jaw line. That man was a bloody bastard. Izar tried not to think of the wand on his cheek, glaring into the taunting crimson eyes of Voldemort. It was settled then. The Dark Lord, somehow, knew of Izar's plan to find out his wand core. Briefly, Izar wondered how long Voldemort would torture him if he were to reach out and grab the man's wand. It was just one little spell and Izar would know the core. "What project do you have in mind for me, My Lord?" Izar asked shortly, sniffing and trying to pretend the wand didn't mean anything to him. "I want a portkey." Voldemort removed his wand with one last sharp tap against Izar's cheek. "Not so much a portkey, but I want this device, this invention you invent, to be small and undetectable. I want it to be able to stick to another object, a bigger object someone can grab hold of." "So basically, you want small portkey to attach to something that can't be made into a portkey?" Izar questioned, a bit bemused. "Exactly," Voldemort gave a sharp nod. "It will be, in all honesty, like a portkey. However, I want it to be small and to be able to stick onto things. I also want it to be a timer of sorts. I want this portkey to transport to its desired location with a touch of a hand. But the hand won't be touching this small portkey." "You know," Izar drawled. "This would be a lot easier if you just told me the situation you're
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going to use it with." He shut up as the Dark Lord sent him a warning stare. "It will be used during raids. For example, if I was in the Ministry, I would touch your invention. It would portkey me away to a location where my Death Eaters await. I want this portkey to be able to transport all said army back to the Ministry without them having to touch the portkey. After all, how could my whole army crowd around and touch a portkey? It wouldn't be possible." "I see," Izar nodded; his mind racing. It would be relatively easy, he would just need to shrink a portkey and make it a self-timer as it transported a group of living beings within a radius. "There are restrictions, of course. How big would you like the radius to be? How long would you like the timer for? Will the Death Eaters be in position before the portkey arrives? And the location? Where would you like it to be set for?" Voldemort's lips quirked. "The radius should be large enough to transport the Death Eaters. But for this portkey, I will only expect a five meter radius. As for the timer, lets set it for twenty seconds, no more, no less. The location? Please make it possible for me to set the location." His eyes took in Izar. "Do you think you can handle this? If not, I can ask another," "No," Izar interrupted quickly, insulted. "I can do it just fine." The Dark Lord nodded. "I meant no insult, I was only curious if you could complete the project with the Tournament hanging over your head as well." Izar gave a dry shrug. "If I find myself short on time, I will come to you, My Lord, and inform you. But I believe I can complete it before Christmas holidays." He lifted his chin confidently, enjoying the pleased look crossing the Dark Lord's face. "Good," Voldemort motioned toward the door. "I will let you go. Enjoy the rest of your Hogsmeade visit." Izar gave a stiff bow at his waist before turning to the door. Before he could safely make it out, Voldemort's voice stopped him. "By the way, Izar, who was that man you were speaking with at the pub earlier?" Izar knew his heart stopped just then. "W-what man, My Lord?" He regained his voice easily, even if he had faltered at the beginning. "That man with the hood... I believe he was out cold near your stool when I arrived." Izar turned back around, relieved. His expression remained schooled as he looked at the equally expressionless Voldemort. Before he could speak, the man continued. "Who did you think I was speaking of? Certainly you didn't think I would be asking after the man in the corner with the Black family ring on his finger, yes?"
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After a moment of composing his reactions, Izar looked away from the red eyes, snorting. "That was Sirius Black, actually," he murmured in a bit of repugnance. "I thought it would benefit me if I asked him to help me with dueling this year. A bit of one on one action, I mean, because I'm not too good at it. I thought, with the Tournament and all, I would need a bit more help." He stumbled, clearly, but he showed no signs that he had struggled. Voldemort gave an interested sound in his throat, his eyebrows shooting up. The red eyes surveying him showed no yielding. Izar knew the man didn't believe him. "Dueling, hmm?" Voldemort continued to humor him. "That is a rather smart move on your part, especially with what you need to do in the Second Task." Although Voldemort was playing with Izar, and humoring him, the Ravenclaw wondered how the man knew it was Regulus he was speaking with earlier. Izar nodded, realizing he wasn't breathing. At the moment, Voldemort didn't appear angry about the lie Izar made about Regulus, but the Dark Lord was schooling his features and his magic quite expertly. It made Izar wonder if Voldemort knew it was Regulus in the pub or if the man just had his suspicious. The Dark Lord had his hands clasped behind his back, blinking at Izar. "Well then, I suppose you should go finish your discussion with Professor Black and set up a schedule with him." Izar nodded again, stupidly, as he opened the door to leave. With a cautious step, he made it safely out the door and into the hallway without a hex to his back. He paused, turning back to look at the Dark Lord. The man was still standing motionless, smiling thinly at Izar. Without wasting another moment, Izar turned and fled from the room, hoping he wouldn't be feeling a Cruciatus curse at his back. As he made it down to the lobby, he thankfully noticed Regulus was no where in sight. The only problem? Izar would need to actually ask Sirius Black for assistance with dueling. And he should probably beg Severus Snape to help him with Occlumency. But then again, Voldemort once admitted that he didn't enter one's mind gently. He entered minds painfully and Izar hadn't felt anything, not even a tickle, enter his mind. Izar had a hunch that the man was just that good. No one could hide anything from the Dark Lord. Well, Severus Snape was an exception. After all, he was able to fake Regulus' death without Voldemort being none the wisest. Or was he?

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Part I Chapter 12

{Side Note} Lukas and Bjrn Steinar- I have changed their surname to Stokke after someone, so nicely, mentioned that Steinar was a first name. I apologize. I am not a Norwegian. I will be going back to change their names at a later date. It's incredibly late here. I just wanted to get this chapter out. Why the delay for this chapter? Finals. Finals are coming up this week and professors decided to drown us with last minute projects and exams. That is why this chapter is late. Hopefully I can update next weekend. After all, it's my first weekend of winter break ;) Chapter Twelve "Mr. Harrison," Sirius attempted to give a smile, but it came out as a grimace. "Come in," the man stepped aside, inviting a still shell-shocked Izar to enter. He had just come from Hogs Head. And Sirius was his first stop. The Defense professor shut the door behind him, clearing his throat and walking stiffly to his desk. Izar stood laboriously, wondering why the hell he was here again. "Professor," Izar started, reminding himself that this was needed. He not only needed to keep appearances up with the lie he told Voldemort, which, by the way, didn't work very well, but he also needed to step his ability up in the art of dueling. "I was wondering if you could assist me with dueling." Sirius sat behind his desk, his face expressionless. "We plan to work on dueling the rest of the term, Mr. Harrison." Izar studied his uncle, pleased to note the man had finally gotten himself under control within the week they first met. "Actually, professor, I needed extra help in dueling. Perhaps a one on one tutorage. If it's any trouble, I can ask someone else to assist me." Grey eyes looked up at him. "That won't be necessary; I am here to help my students." Sirius offered a true smile. It dipped into a curious frown. "Is your wand, perhaps, a Thestral core?" Izar frowned, taken off guard. "Yes, professor." He didn't see any problem telling the man this. After all, it would be published in the Prophet eventually. Rita had taken notes at the Weighing of the Wand ceremony yesterday. Sirius nodded as if Izar's answer was all he needed in solving a big mystery. "I have a Thestral wand core, as did my brother and my parents before me." Charcoal eyes studied
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Izar's expression, trying to gouge any clues. "It ran in the Black family. Even my cousin has a Thestral wand core." Izar gave an interested nod, trying to appear jaded on the outside. Yet, he was a bit interested. The whole lot of Black family had Thestral cores? It was very intriguing. Perhaps Izar could find out if wand cores did run in families and then research or ask Ollivander what Riddle's ancestor's had as their core. "Ollivander once joked that the he would need to reserve a whole Thestral just for the generations of Blacks." Sirius chuckled darkly as his hands played with his black feathered quill, yet his eyes were drinking in Izar almost fervently. "Do wand cores usually run in families, sir?" Izar questioned, pretending he had no idea why Sirius Black was gossiping about the Black family. Sirius raised his eyebrows, turning the question around in his head. "No, but the Blacks are an exception to that case." Izar's eyes dropped to Sirius' fingers, searching for a Black ring. Even if a member of the family wasn't declared the 'heir' of the family, they would still receive a ring with the family crest. Sirius' fingers were naked. Izar thought it was a pity. Sirius was Light, yet he could be a rather useful ally to the Dark. "When would you like to schedule our lessons?" Sirius skillfully averted Izar's gaze away from his fingers and back on his face. "It's a pity you don't play Quidditch. Even if it was cancelled this year for the Tournament, I'm sure you would have made an excellent Seeker. My brother, Regulus, was a Seeker once," "You know, sir, you aren't very subtle." Izar drawled, too tired to play ignorant with Sirius Black. Maybe the man wouldn't be a very good ally to the Dark after all, not if he was as subtle as a bull in a China shop. "If you want to ask me something then ask, don't try to use your feeble manipulation on me. It doesn't work very well for Gryffindors like you." Sirius had the decency to look a bit abashed. "Are you related to him?" He asked softly. "Related to whom?" Charcoal eyes looked up at him, tired. "My brother," Sirius whispered, a bit brokenly. Izar stared at the man sitting across from him, noticing how much toll this was taking on Sirius. Hopefully Regulus was on his way back to his safe home in Russia. If that was the case, Voldemort wouldn't be able to really prove his suspicions that Regulus was alive. It also meant that Snape wouldn't be in danger and Izar could go back to being oblivious about his parentage. He was willing to throw away the prospect of a father if it meant keeping parties alive.
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Because even Izar would admit to himself, Regulus was a very captivating man. He was smart and dangerous, and already protective. Izar was ashamed to admit that his hopes at having a father had soared in the Hog's Head. But Izar had raised himself his whole life. He didn't need a man who had baggage, who hadn't even bothered to sniff his trail of the woman he had slept with, just in case they became pregnant. And Izar still hadn't heard the full story of Regulus' betrayal and Lily's betrayal. "No," Izar lied. "Both my mother and father were Muggles. They died in a car crash when I was five years old. I still remember them, actually. I looked a lot like my mother." Instead of relieved, as Izar thought Sirius would be, the man actually looked disappointed. His quill snapped in half and he gazed unblinkingly at the parchment in front of him. "I apologize; it was silly of me to ask. Regulus died when he just graduated from Hogwarts. He wouldn't have had any children at such a young age. But you look very similar to him" and me Izar tried to offer Sirius a sympathetic smile, but it came out horribly. Sirius cleared his throat again, sitting up. "We better squeeze in a time for you. I know you have the Tournament that takes up most your time, but I'm sure we can schedule a night or two during the week." Sirius grabbed his agenda and flipped through the days. "Do Wednesdays and Fridays sound alright?" Grey eyes looked up at Izar. "Around seven?" "Seven sounds perfect," Izar nodded, his fingers subconsciously playing with the hem of his sleeves. "Thanks again for helping me with dueling, professor." Sirius nodded, his face still carved of grief. "I've noticed, in class this week, that you have trouble with dueling. I thought you of all people would excel in dueling. However, I do see the ability you harbor. You just think too much. You overanalyze your next move when it should be second nature. You have decent reflexes and the spells you do cast are very advanced and appropriate for the situation." Sirius paused, cocking his head. "What goes through your mind when you duel? What are you thinking?" Izar looked above Sirius' head at the bookcase. "My mind gives me a list of certain spells and hexes I can cast. I have to go through each one and analyze their affects before I can cast one." It was a bit embarrassing to admit it, especially when Sirius had noticed Izar's lack of dueling skills. The man chuckled, adding a bit of insult to injury. "I suppose many people would be envious of that." Sirius stood up, leaning his hands on the desk as he gazed at Izar. "You should speak the first spell that your mind gives you instead of making a mental list of them in your head."
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"The first spell?" Izar repeated a bit horrified. "But there could be other hexes that may be better suited for the duel than the first spell thought of." "There is no right or wrong answer in dueling, Izar. It's about reflexes and speed. You can cast the tickling charm at your opponent throughout the course of the duel and still come out as the victor as long as you have speed and logic. But with you, you have a wider variety of spells. You have the reflexes; you just need to think on your feet." Sirius smiled. "I'll work with you on it. There is no need to worry; you'll be a top dueler within no time." Izar allowed a thin smile to cross his face. "Thank you again, Professor." He backed up from the desk under the watchful gaze of Sirius. "I'll see you this Wednesday then." "Tuesday, in class," Sirius corrected, a haunted smile gracing his bearded face. Izar was vividly reminded of Regulus just then. "Tuesday," Izar nodded sharply and left the classroom. It was a great effort on his behalf not to look back and meet the contemplative eyes of his uncle. {Death of Today} Izar took a deep breath as he approached the Great Hall for dinner. The students should all be back from the Hogsmeade trip, filling their sugar-coated bellies with a decent and balanced meal Hogwarts had to offer. He paused outside the door, his fingers brushing across the aged-old wood. Voldemort had all but threatened Izar today about attending school meals, to actually show his face andand socialize. Izar shuddered, rolling his eyes in the back of his head. He hated speaking. He hated people. And although Izar had heard Voldemort just fine today, he would make the Dark Lord pull Izar by the ear in order to make him a dancing politician. He could handle a few students, but there was no way in hell he would turn out like those men and women he had glowered at during his first Ministry ball. This would be his first public appearance since his name was called from the Goblet, save for classes. Daphne had reassured Izar that there were students who supported him, but he found it hard to believe. After all, no one even knew who he was. He stepped out from the shadows and cautiously entered the Great Hall. He did his best to set his shoulders and raise his chin without looking like a bloody egotistical pure-blood. The few students who did take note of his presence weren't kind enough to keep it to themselves. They leaned over to whisper to their neighbors, spreading a wildfire of rumors and gossip around the Hall. Izar snorted, his steps slow and calculated as he passed the eager Ravenclaw table and made his way to the Slytherins. From the corner of his eye, he saw a few Durmstrang and Beauxbatons students littered around the hall. Hopefully Lukas,
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the Durmstrang Champion, wouldn't be at the Slytherin table. It wasn't against the rules for Hogwarts students to sit with the other Houses and it wasn't frowned upon it just wasn't practiced very often. Especially another table paired with Slytherins. Slytherins usually kept to themselves and the Ravenclaw, Gryffindors, and Hufflepuffs respected that distance. But Izar was still wary around his own House. And they would do nothing but hammer him with questions tonight. Slytherins would be more reserved, even if they were curious. They would keep most their curiosity contained underneath a knowing smirk. Izar sometimes felt as if he were meant to be Sorted into Slytherin. While it was an option, he believed Ravenclaw got him where he was today. "Izar," a breathless whisper crossed the hall. A petite blond stood up, a smile crossing her poised features. Daphne looked stunning as ever, even when she was dressed in her plain Slytherin robes. She always carried herself with dignity and grace. A selfless smile creased the corners of her green eyes as she walked around the Slytherin table and greeted Izar with her arm. Izar looped her arm in his, allowing her to lead him to the Slytherin table. The Snakes gazed at him coolly, if appreciatively, a blue band across a few of their forearms declaring their support for him. How very flattering. Izar sat down with the Slytherins, his Ravenclaw blue robes clashing among the sea of green. He glanced up at the Head Table, meeting eyes with an approved Dark Lord. Voldemort raised his goblet to Izar and sipped, all the while keeping his gaze on him. Izar looked away, feeling irked. Of course the Dark Lord would be pleased Izar was here, especially with the Slytherin table, his House. No matter if Severus Snape was declared the Head of House for the Slytherins, Voldemort would always hold more sway over the students than the potion master did. Izar could already see the looks the students were flashing the Dark Lord. Their gazes were full of admiration and desperation, hoping to be noticed by Voldemort. They were pitiable in Izar's eyes. They would never be noticed by Voldemort. Did they not understand that? They were lowly wizards for the Dark Lord's amusement; they were numbers, just a mere figure on a field, whether that was the chessboard or battlefield. They weren't held in favor of the Dark Lord. Especially if they were the third tier to his circle. Even if they were granted with a gold mask, an inner circle position, they would still be considered a mere amusement. Granted, they would be noticed considerably more than the third tier, and perhaps that's what they just wanted. Notice. Izar had to put himself in their position. Even if he enjoyed the shadows, he was confident enough with himself to admit that he was thrilled whenever the Dark Lord gave him attention. If he was one of the students, of the third tier, he would
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also desire Voldemort's attention. It was pathetic. But that was also what made a powerful and influential Dark Lord. One had to be noticeable and lusted after. And a Dark Lord also had to be smart and all knowing. Izar swallowed, staring down at his empty plate. He just prayed to Merlin that the Dark Lord was just suspicious of Regulus' presence and not confident. Things would be hell if Voldemort knew. However, Voldemort could be just sitting there, enjoying the game he was playing with Izar. Charcoal-green eyes glanced back up at Voldemort, watching as the Dark Lord gave another gleeful smile. It was far from comforting and all horrifying. "He seems oddly happy tonight," Daphne observed their interaction. "He was peeved for most the week as of late." She rubbed her left forearm inconspicuously. Izar caught the action, still wondering at Daphne's status as a Death Eater. It shouldn't have surprised him. Her father was a very wealthy and influential man and no doubt a follower to the Dark Lord. Izar caught a few hostile stares from the Slytherins. He raised and eyebrow at them, not at all threatened. "Don't pay any attention to them," Daphne patted Izar's arm comfortingly while throwing poisonous looks at her classmates. "They're just jealous that he pays attention to true talent." She announced loud enough for most the Slytherins to hear. They turned away, their attention on their meal in front of them. Izar noted they were the ones who didn't have an armband supporting him. He sensed a spark of magic and turned toward the flicker, locking eyes with stormy grey. Draco was sitting a few spots away, his left arm free of the band. Izar usually didn't sense a very strong aura from Draco, but tonight was a bit more noticeable. He was angry and that's what made his magic stir the air. Despite his hostility, his face was completely frozen. Distinctively, Izar remembered the blonde had wanted to be declared Hogwarts' Champion. Daphne piled vegetables on his plate, he hardly noticed as he focused on Draco. "I didn't put my name in the Goblet," he said quietly. Why did he think he owed an explanation to Draco, his distant cousin? Draco's eyes narrowed and he stiffly turned his shoulder on Izar. "It was meant to be me." A haughty look passed his features. "You are overrated. There is nothing special about you." "I could say the same about you," Izar hissed back. A few Slytherins snickered, their expressions varying from disinterest despite their eavesdropping to naked impressiveness.
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What did they think? He needed Daphne to pick his fights for him? He lifted his chin, eyeing Draco warily. Draco sniffed, standing up abruptly and sending his goblet sprawling with the back of his hand. It echoed across the Slytherin table, its contents spraying across Izar and the neighboring Slytherins. They made noises of disagreement, glaring at Draco, but it was nothing compared to the raw hurt and anger across Draco's face. The boy was furious, utterly. The Malfoy heir's nostrils flared and his eyes dilated with anger. "Toujours Pur," Draco hissed, his cheeks flushed. "Toujours Pur," he repeated again, his French flawless and thick. Izar stiffed, fluent himself in French and knowing exactly what it stood for. "It means 'Always Pure'." Draco's smile twisted humorlessly. Izar noted the dark circles under the boy's eyes. He also noticed Sirius making an appearance in the Great Hall. The man was about to sit, but the familiar French translation no doubt rang through his mind. The Ravenclaw stiffened, his joints taut. Surely Draco wouldn't Draco laughed. "It's the Black family motto. Always Pure. And do you know what? That will never apply to you." Izar shook his head, not in answer, but a warning for Draco to shut up. "You're a filthy mudblood." Voices of agreement danced across part of the Slytherin table, consisting of most the older Slytherins. Despite the fact that Draco continued on a quieter voice, there were others who overheard him. "I have no idea why my father and he kiss your arse. But you will always, always be dirty. You will never be pure and respected because you are vile. You are scum. It doesn't matter who your father," Izar was up within seconds despite Daphne's hold on his arm. Magic probably would have been more efficient and quicker, but he didn't trust himself with his wand. A Dark curse would have come out, and Izar didn't want to deal with those consequences. It took him one step on the Slytherin dinner table before he lunged off. Draco's eyes widened as Izar collided with him, sending them both to the ground. The Hall exploded with noise of excitement, mainly from the Gryffindor table. The Slytherins remained seated and quiet, their shoulders stiff. Despite some of the students' support for Izar, they wouldn't interfere. Slytherins stayed united in public. And if they couldn't all decide on one side, they would remain neutral. "Shut up," Izar hissed, lying on top of Draco. He held the boy by the shoulders with a vice-like grip. Looking down at Draco, he observed again how emotionally unstable the boy appeared. The blonde's eyes were deranged and exhausted, confused and irate. Draco must have been going through something something big to act out in public like this. Malfoys would never create a scene. "You promised you wouldn't say anything." Izar murmured, trying to calm the boy. "I don't mind jabs at my blood status, but don't you ever mention anything about my parents." He got a fist in the face as a response.
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Izar moaned, feeling his nose crack. While his eyes were shut from shock and pain, another fist caught his jaw, sending him backward, off Draco. Izar angrily pushed away the pain, all too familiar with physical torture and took his own crack at Draco. The blonde boy's punches were weak and soft; surely the boy didn't have any experience in fighting like a Muggle. Izar was able to slam his knuckles into Draco's face, mainly near his eye and one directly at his nose. The crack was pleasing to Izar as it took away the tension he was feeling. They were pulled apart after anymore throws could be aimed. Hagrid picked a bloody Draco up, hauling him out the hall. Izar caught sight of Draco's face before he turned. The stormy grey eyes had looked back at the Head Table before the boy paled dramatically. It was then that Izar knew Draco understood the full consequences of his actions. Izar glanced back to where Draco had looked, realizing the boy's devastation. Tom Riddle, the politician, sat at the Head Table. His index finger traced the rim of his goblet as his eyes gazed at them from beneath his cheater glasses. There was no smile upon his face, not even a cruel smile; the man's expression was a frightening calm. Izar swallowed; his own chill crawling down his back as he turned away. "Follow me, Mr. Harrison. To the Hospital Wing with the both of you before you two are properly punished." Professor McGonagal stated primly, her hand clawed at his shoulder, leading the way out the chattering Great Hall. Izar was sure Draco and he would be getting a visit from the Dark Lord later on tonight. This incident surely wasn't what the Dark Lord had wanted from Izar's first public appearance in the Great Hall. {Death of Today} After receiving the issued punishment of two weeks of detention and one hundred points from both Slytherin and Ravenclaw, Izar and Draco sat on the two beds in silence. Madame Promfrey had both given them Skele-Gro for their broken noses and issued a warning that they were to stay overnight. It was rather convenient for the Dark Lord to visit, which is what had them both wide awake, even if it was close to ten at night. They were the only two in the Hospital Wing beside a first year boy who had eaten too many pumpkin pastries at dinner. He was at the opposite end of the room, far from both Draco and Izar. "I apologize," Draco said stiffly, breaking the still night. "Looking back on it now, I realize my actions were horribly Muggle and graceless." Izar rolled his eyes upward, his fingers clutching the sheets to his bed. He would have loved to be anywhere but here. "In all honestly, I have been going through a lot this past week. But I should have never acted so immaturely in public. You had every right to shut me up with a fist no matter how Muggle that was of you." Draco said snidely.
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"It was either my fist or the new hex I read about in my textbook," Izar snapped just as hauntingly. "I found a decent spell to transform your internal organs into parasites that consume you from the inside out." Even in the dark, Izar could feel the flinch from Draco. "I would have never done it, you know," Draco quickly said. "I would have never said Regulus was," "That's enough," Izar snapped, interrupting Draco before he had a chance to complete his sentence. "You said enough at the hall tonight for even Crabbe and Goyle's thick mind to understand that I was related to the Black family." Izar hoped that wasn't true. However, Draco had repeated the Black family motto more than once and claimed Izar would never fit into that motto. Despite his nonchalance at having a father, or a family, the boy's words had stung, albeit a small amount. He realized he probably wouldn't fit into the Black family expectations. He would never be pure enough. In fact, Izar wondered if he was the first Half-blood born into the Black family. "If they ask, I'll say it was a reference to my family. After all, my mother was born a Black." Draco replied. Izar could tell from the boy's tone that Draco wasn't all that sorry. The blonde was just sorry for acting out in public. He was sorry for getting caught. "I told you I didn't enter my name in the Goblet," Izar spoke slowly, as if speaking to a little boy. "I don't understand what made you turn so cold against me." Not that he was complaining, certainly, but he was a bit bemused by Draco's sudden change of attitude. Wasn't it just on the train, heading to Hogwarts, that Draco wanted to turn a new leaf and befriend Izar? He even seemed possessive of Izar when Daphne showed up to the compartment, having already put a claim on him. "I know you didn't," Draco snapped. "I was told I was going to be Hogwarts Champion. How could," The boy shut up as a face emerged from the shadows. As Izar predicted, Voldemort all but appeared with the shadows, his body still cast in darkness. Only a bit of his face was revealed and it wasn't pleased. "My Lord," Draco whispered hoarsely almost too quiet for Izar to hear. "I'm sorry." The Malfoy heir added quickly. "Please, forgive my mistakes, I beg of you." Draco sat up, his body bending forward in bed until he was in a bit of a bow. "This is the second time today we meet on ill terms, Mr. Harrison," Voldemort completely bypassed Draco, stepping a bit more into the candlelight on the table between the two beds. Despite the ignorance from the man, Draco stayed in his bow. "I trust you realize how pathetic you appeared today? Leapingoff tables and throwing fists to a fellow Death Eater?"
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Izar's lips thinned. "I don't mind a bit of competition among my ranks, Izar, I do, however, mind the mere mockery you made of yourself." Izar realized he couldn't keep challenging Voldemort with his stare. Instead, he looked down at his lap, giving a tight nod. "I understand, My Lord. I should have handled the situation more maturely." "Be that as it may, the first Task is in two weeks. The Champions and their respected Ministers, or, in your case, Undersecretary, will be meeting for a formal luncheon before the Task. I expect you to not only be on your best behavior, but I would like you to impress me. Jumping off tables and acting like a Muggle hellion will only fuel my suspicions that you need to receive etiquette lessons from Rubeus Hagrid." With his head bowed, Izar smirked at the dry and cynical tone of the Dark Lord. It was difficult picturing the half-giant giving etiquette lessons, especially after watching the man blow his nose on the table cloth at meals and spill his mead down the front of his tatty jacket. Because the Dark Lord was cracking a joke during his tirade proved the man wasn't very angry with Izar. It was Draco his fury was set on. However, formal luncheons were just as much as a punishment. Izar knew very little about formal mannerisms during a luncheon. He would have to brush up on the etiquette. "By the time the luncheon arrives, My Lord, I will be sure to have a stick up my arse. Surely, only then, I will fit in with the rest." It was a bold comment on his behalf, but Izar was testing the waters with the Dark Lord. If what Daphne said was true, that the Dark Lord favored Izar, then Izar wanted to see how far he could push the Dark Lord. He knew tonight was especially a risky night to do so, especially when he was already on thin ice with the man about Regulus, but Izar's intuition said that he had room for a bold comment. Just one comment. Draco's head turned so fast, the boy's neck made a cracking sound. Izar could feel the boy's horrified eyes on him. "Be sure that you do that," Voldemort hissed quietly, a slight twitch to his lips. "If you need assistance, I should hope you come to me." Izar's eyes widened comically and he had to hide his expression from the Dark Lord. His cheeks gave a slight burn before he willed away his shock. The man had bloody retaliated. He had comeback with his own retort; one that Izar had never thought would come out of the man's mouth. But it had. And it hadn't sounded awkward and hesitant, it had sounded so silky and confident, making the dirty innuendo sound quite innocent. "As for you, Mr. Malfoy," Voldemort continued without a pause. The atmosphere in the room dimmed considerably, the flame from the candle flickering just slightly. "You created such a distasteful performance this evening, terribly melodramatic. One that I'm sure your father will be pleased to hear about. To think, his son's mannerisms dip even below that of a
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Half-blood raised by Muggles in an orphanage." Here, Izar scowled. Voldemort's expression was carved from stone as he gazed distastefully down at the hunched form of Draco. "After I leave, I expect you to kneel on the ground tonight and thank whatever god or goddess you worship that you are coddled within the safety of Hogwarts' wards." The Dark Lord's voice turned cold, putting Izar on edge. He swallowed, his head bowed as he tried not to let Voldemort's icy aura affect him. "You would be under my wand for disobeying my orders of keeping Izar's parentage a secret. The next time you open your mouth of the Black family, your tongue will be severed from your mouth." There was no bluff in that vow. "Y-yes, My Lord," Draco whispered, his body shaking. "Your jealousy is unbecoming; you were not picked as the Champion for a reason, boy. Your actions tonight are proof enough. You cannot handle difficult situations levelheadedly." Charmed brown eyes averted from Draco's hunched form to Izar's watchful gaze. "I hope to see better composure from you, Mr. Harrison." Izar gave a sharp nod, his mouth sealed. Voldemort gave the two one last parting stare before merging into the shadows, leaving as quietly as he came in. Draco gave a sniff, his face turned away from Izar as he slid off his bed. The boy prayed that night on the cold ground. {Death of Today} A stomach growled in the cold dungeons, echoing across the room. Severus grimaced, his mind pulled away from his work. Casting a tempus charm, he cursed when he realized he had missed dinner by more than a couple hours. Vanishing the time, Severus stood from his stool, making certain to keep the stirring rod circling clockwise in the murky green potion. It was a simple Pepperup Potion. Madame Promfrey was running low on a few potions in her stock cabinet and Severus took today, a Hogsmeade day, to replenish those potions. He wasn't one to skip meals. His body relied on nutrient to keep him sharp and in play. Skipping meals wouldn't contribute to his potion skills or his Occlumency and Legilimency defenses from the Dark Lord and Albus Dumbledore. But admittedly, there were times he enjoyed absorbing himself in his potions, glad to be away from human interaction and children. His back stiffened when he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand. Onyx eyes raised
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from the counter to discreetly stare at the potion jars and vials in front of him. They reflected the scene of the room back at him, revealing a hooded figure standing near his open doorway. At first, he assumed it was the Dark Lord. His potion stained fingers danced lightly across his left forearm before dropping. The Dark Lord was too smart to be walking through Hogwarts with a hood drawn. And the figure reflected in his potion jars was far too short and compact to be the Dark Lord. "Can I help you?" Severus drawled silkily, turning slowly, calmly. His wand was inches away from him on the table, available for use if needed. "Can you help an old friend, Severus? Yet again?" The voice was hoarse and scratchy, rough and unused. Nimble fingers pulled down the hood, revealing a grim smile. Severus' eyes widened a fraction. "Regulus?" his heart gave a profound thump at seeing the man again. It had been years, too long. Far too long. He recovered quickly, his sneer deepening. "Looking a bit rough, are we?" Regulus chuckled, his vivid charcoal eyes drinking Severus in. "Izar said almost exactly the same thing. I still marvel at how much he turned out like you." The grim smile darkened a bit more, almost if the man was displeased that his son had turned out like another. The two were remarkably alike, Regulus and Severus. It was how they got along so well. Severus would never tell him such. It pleased him that Regulus grew upset by the fact that Izar had mirrored him in personality. "You went so far as to speak with him?" Severus' eyebrows rose. "I would have thought you would just gaze from afar." "He's my son," Regulus responded hoarsely, passionately. Severus issued a heavy sigh, motioning for Regulus to enter. His stained fingernails glared back at him and he grabbed a rag, trying in vain to wash away years' worth of stains. He tried to convince himself it wasn't because of Regulus' presence. "Shut the door behind you. Quickly. The Dark Lord is in the castle today." The door slammed shut. {Notes} You'll see Severus' and Regulus' conversation next chapter ;) Thanks to all of you who reviewed last chapter. Also- I know you probably don't need Skele-Gro for broken noses, there is a spell to fix that. However, it is late and I also wanted Draco and Izar together when Voldemort came. *SO* I used Skele-Gro. There is no reason to review and tell me they wouldn't use Skele-Gro for broken noses.

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Part I Chapter 13

There is so much information that Severus and Regulus need to talk about. Because of this, there is no way I can get through it all in this chapter. Some of you will grumble because there is information left out on Regulus' past with Lily. And his past with Severus. It will come eventually. By the way, I'm keeping Lukas' surname as Steinar Thanks for the reviews last chapter. Chapter Thirteen "You're a fool for coming here, Hogwarts especially. You'll not only put yourself at risk, but both Izar and myself." Severus cast a silencing charm around the room, making certain they were as protected as they could be at Hogwarts with a Dark Lord roaming the halls. "Odd," Regulus remarked shortly, his lithe form walking down the aisle of cauldrons. He studied the golden cauldron for a long moment. "That's what Izar said as well." Vivid charcoal eyes narrowed on Snape's stiff form. "Surely you're not corrupting my son, Severus. I'm beginning to feel as if my presence is not wanted here." "Then you are right to assume so," Severus quipped dryly. He turned his back on Regulus, observing the mint green potion bubbling below his nose. His fingers caressed the glass stirring rod, satisfied to watch as it stopped and continued counter-clockwise. "I would have thought," Regulus began again, not at all affected by Snape's demeanor. "That Izar would have at least feigned interest and intrigue at my presence. He confessed to me that he had once believed himself as a filthy Mudblood. I would have liked to see morewarmth on his behalf at having a willing father, a pure-blood father." Regulus drawled. "Of course, I will assume blood status doesn't mean much on his behalf. These modern times we live in are not like they used to be." Snape released a long sigh, his tapered fingers tracing over the book of potion text without seeing it. "Izar," he started. "Is an exceedingly independent wizard, Regulus. He's also intelligent. He knows you betrayed the Dark Lord and I assume you informed him of my involvement with your escape?" Onyx eyes noted the sharp nod the Black wizard gave as an affirmative. "Then he was right to distant himself and tell you to leave." Snape closed his book with a snap before turning to observe a silent Regulus. He knew the man was far too dominant, far too stubborn, to remain in hiding, to take the advice of his son
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and his old friend. The man was most likely silent because he was thinking of ways to get around the Dark Lord. It was not possible. Not again. "You know I always wanted a son a child." Regulus murmured darkly, his lips thinned. "Yes," Snape drawled dryly. "I know all too well." He turned his back on Regulus to observe the potion, his jaw set. "Severus," Regulus' tone dropped unhappily. Severus, despising the man's pitiful tone, whirled around, his nostrils flaring. "I will help you with your problem, Black. But by no means will I discuss the past or the ghastly relationship you had with Lily Evans." He was a bit taken aback when he realized Regulus had grown considerably during his stay away from Britain. The last time Severus had seen Regulus was fifteen years ago. The man had just turned eighteen when he left Britain, a lot shorter than he was now. Now, Regulus' piercing eyes were level with his own. It irked Severus that the man had grown. While the long fifteen years had been hard on the two men, Regulus somehow seemed to have lost his boyishness and embraced manhood. Surely Severus had changed just as well, only the long hours of potion making turning him yellow and greasy, while the life of a fugitive had made Regulus a lot paler and harsher. "I will give you my assistance, my help," Severus continued softly, his fury at the past still raw on his mind. Why was reliving the past so painful? Seeing Regulus again, without the guarantee that he'll see him again, was already agonizing. "Go back to Russia." Charcoal eyes blinked. "That is your help," Regulus growled. It wasn't a question, only a numb acceptance. "That is the only help I am willing to give you," Snape agreed. "If you do not hold my life in high regard, think of Izar's freedom. The Dark Lord will surely use this, your sudden appearance, against him as blackmail. I can only imagine the things he'll make Izar agree to." Regulus turned away, his stare directed at the large wall of potion ingredients. "You are correct as always, Severus. Leaving Britain would be the most logical answer. It would keep my loved ones safe, both Izar and" charcoal eyes turned back to him. "You. However, I am sick of hiding. The long years have left me deranged and I am too selfish of my son to let him go. There has to be a way to come back into the limelight without the Dark Lord going after Izar and yourself." "There is no way," Severus argued hotly. "The Dark Lord knows all. I would be extremely surprised if he hasn't already picked up on your presence here." Severus pushed off from the
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desk and crossed the room slowly. His mind was racing with possibilities of a safe passage for Regulus. "I am not wanted by the Ministry." Regulus uttered calmly. "The Dark Lord is the bloody Ministry." Severus hissed ardently. "While you were away, the Dark Lord has made his way up the political ladder to the Undersecretary of the Minister. I'm sure he would have enough power to have reasons to convict you into Azkaban." Regulus chuckled ironically, his face contorting into a sardonic expression. "He" the man paused, his lips thinning and his eyes alighting. Severus knew the man well enough to know he had just thought of an idea. "How favored is Izar to the Dark Lord?" Snape's eyebrows rose at the sudden question. "Whatever makes you think Izar is worthy enough for the Dark Lord's notice?" Regulus threw Severus an exasperated look. "The boy was barely fifteen when he was Marked." Regulus began to pace, his fingers raking through his long hair. Severus noted the length, not at all impressed by it. "I met Izar at the Hogs Head today. The Dark Lord entered not too long after, bringing Izar upstairs with him. Surely a low ranking Death Eater wouldn't be pulled aside privately." A sudden realization crossed Regulus' features. "The Dark Lord knew Izar was a Black, didn't he?" Snape shook his head. "You jump to conclusions, the Dark Lord is all knowing, yes, but I can confidently say he did not suspect Izar's parentage. Nevertheless, you are right to assume he favors Izar." Severus paused, his lips twisting into a grimace. "Is it sexual?" Regulus' tone dimmed quite significantly, his eyes following suit. Snape opened his mouth, ready to give a harsh retort, but he faltered before trying again. "It may," he replied softly. "Yet, the Dark Lord doesn't make a habit of bedding his followers, especially one as young as Izar. And even if he did, he doesn't favor them like he does Izar. I've seen a bit of evidence that it is sexual, but I think his favoritism is based on Izar's intelligence. The boy is a prodigy, even I will agree on that." "If it's sexual" Regulus trailed off, his face etched in a dangerous light. "You cannot be sure," Severus replied calmly. "You had an idea to cover your hide, did you not?" He smoothly turned the subject away from such a ominous topic. And as predicted, it took Regulus' mind off his son's status as the Dark Lord's pet. The lithe man grinned darkly, his earlier threat gone. "I'm going to approach the Dark Lord." Severus blinked, sneering down his nose at the man as if he were one of his students. "That is, perhaps the most illogical thing I have ever heard coming from your mouth." His eyes
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narrowed. "Perchance, all those years living with your house elf took a calamitous turn on your own intelligence." "It's the most reasonable option I have left," Regulus defended himself, his teeth snapping into a threatening snarl. Black took a long stride across the room, stopping inches from Severus. "Lily." The name brought back the past, getting under Severus' skin. He could see the sheer abhorrence in Regulus' eyes as he spoke of her. "She blackmailed me with the threat of losing my child. It it may work with the Dark Lord if he favors Izar. Surely he wouldn't kill those Izar holds dear, correct? I have a considerably large amount of political power not only the Britain Wizengamot but other countries as well. My chair is still open; the Black chair is still open. I have a ridiculous amount of money at his disposal and I have many properties across the world." "All that will not blind the Dark Lord to the fact you had betrayed him!" "I wasn't Marked at that time. She, Evans, told me about an artifact the Dark Lord holds dear. It wasn't even there when I arrived at Bellatrix's vault, when I got caught. There are many twists I can play with my story. The Dark Lord isn't known for his merciful deeds, but he's known for his manipulations. He can use my position as the Head of the Black family to his own advantage." Regulus seemed confident and Snape wouldn't question. While Regulus had been caught for his betrayal, Severus, still, to this day, didn't understand what had happened. He wouldn't dig and he wouldn't ask. It would put him in an even worse position. "If you are willing to choose committing your life under his servitude over living your life in Russia, than by all means, go for it." Severus caressed the Dark Mark through his robes, a grim smile on his face. "You are willing to sacrifice your life for a boy who doesn't want anything to do with you." Regulus' shoulders slumped, his face crumbling into despair. "I need more time with him," the man whispered. "I saw a bit of hope from him today. As you've commented to me before, he's trying to distance himself from me because he wants to protect us." "You are making a mistake," Severus hissed softly. "Perhaps I am," Regulus smiled gravely. "But I need to protect my son. Izar may like to think he's independent, but he can't handle the world without someone to trust. When he grows older, there will be people who discriminate against him because he's a Muggle-born and there will be people who mistrust him because he's a Black. There is also my fanatical great grandfather and the curse Cygnus' Curse. What if he's inherited the gift? I need to be with him." "He's showed no signs of being able to see spirits," Regulus interrupted Snape. "It doesn't matter. We will only know for sure if he's near a source of death, particularly, the Veil." The man paused, charcoal eyes studying Severus.
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"One of the side-effects is magic sensitivity. Do you know if he's magic sensitive?" "I do not know," Severus admitted. "While I have watched over him throughout his years at Hogwarts, I am not particularly close to the boy. Admittedly, I wasn't aware he was your son until his third year." Severus looked toward the door, his lips thinning. "Do you have a place to stay tonight?" Regulus cocked an eyebrow while an arrogant smirk made its way across his face. Severus stared, seeing the ghost of the familiar eighteen-year-old Slytherin in Regulus and also seeing bits of Izar in that smirk. "Are you trying to get rid of me, Severus? "Yes," Severus murmured dryly. "I have a Pepperup Potion that needs to be completed tomorrow." Charcoal eyes danced across Severus' face before narrowing in on the cauldron. "I know you're frustrated with me and my decision of coming out of hiding. I understand I'm putting everyone at risk, but I can promise you, I will not allow harm to come to either you or Izar over my behalf. I want to straighten things out with my son, my family, and with you, Severus." Snape turned away, infuriated. The man was suicidal. But Regulus was also smart. If anyone could worm their way out of a hole this big, it would be the Head of the Black family. Regulus was raised by his family to manipulate things to his favor. He was a true Slytherin and Severus could see no fault to Regulus when he focused. There were times, however, when Regulus resembled his brother in terms of taking things a bit too lightly. There were several sides to Regulus. And Severus had been blessed by seeing all of them. During school, during his young years of observing and hearing about pure-blooded families, Severus had been especially interested in the Blacks. He had heard of their insanity and duel personalities and their long-line of interbred families. While his school rival was a Black, he knew Sirius wasn't considered a true Black. It was during his second year when he fixatedly watched as Regulus Black was Sorted. Severus could still think back and vividly remember Regulus all but glide to the Slytherin table with his nose in the air. From that day forward, Severus had watched in envy as the pure-bloods held themselves gracefully and importantly. No matter how often half-bloods tried, or even Muggleborns, they could never mimic that grace the pure-bloods held. During his later years, he had come to hate pure-bloods. Oddly enough, he could never tear his interest away from Regulus. The man was always there. There was always something that drew people to the Blacks. And it was the same with Regulus' son. No matter if Izar was tainted with Evan's blood, the Black gene was far too dominant in the boy to allow the mudblood seep through.
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But despite Regulus' good nature at times, Severus knew there was a cruel side to Regulus just as well. There was the manipulation and the darkness, especially toward people Regulus did not know or like. And there was also the brutal side Severus rarely saw, but whenever he witnessed it, he had truthfully admitted he was both impressed and anxious. A cold hand covered his. Severus stiffened, looking down at the ring-clad hand covering his before meeting eyes with intense gaze of Regulus. "You deserve so much better, Severus. I hope to bring you a bit moreradiance in your life." For a moment's hesitation, Severus delighted in the warmth and passion Regulus ignited within him. But he only allowed one moment before scowling deeply. "Have you been reciting poetic briefs with your house elf, Black?" He ripped his hand away, grimacing at the knowing smirk crossing Black's face. He turned away, grasping the stirring rod and taking it out of the mint green potion. "When do you plan on approaching the Dark Lord?" There was no response. Severus looked up, his eyes searching his rooms before landing on the partly open door. "Merlin have mercy on that foolish idiot," Severus murmured softly, his fingers itching the Dark Mark on his left forearm. "If not for me, then do it for his son." {Death of Today} Izar lifted the microscopic lens to his eye and directed his attention to the small chip on his finger. The portkey the Dark Lord had asked for was all but complete. It had taken a good week and a half to work on before he could safely say that it was functional. At first, it had taken a bit of work getting all the charms to coexist after it was shrunk. His first attempt at the portkey had ended up in an explosion. He had constructed the portkey perfectly; however, after he shrank it because Voldemort wanted it minuscule the whole portkey had exploded. Izar lost his eyebrows and eyelashes and had to drag his feet to Madame Promfrey to help re-grow them. While in the hospital wing, as Madame Promfrey was lecturing him about explosive magics and unsupervised experiments, Izar had realized his mistake. By shrinking the portkey, he had decreased the area of spell work he had created, thus, he had unintentionally merged the spells together, clashing them violently. The spells he placed on the portkey had reacted violently with each other. In turn, Izar could either create Voldemort's portkey while it was shrunken or he could place a cushioning charm on the portkey after each spell he cast. Logically, it was the latter he chose. He couldn't work with something so small and diminutive. Instead, he layered and weaved cushioning charms in the spell work. As he shrunk the portkey, the cushioning charms stayed in place, not allowing the spells to clash together again.
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Izar admired his work, a light and rare smile playing his lips. "Beautiful work," a voice murmured appreciatively behind him. Izar frowned before looking up into the eyes of Lukas Steinar. The Durmstrang Champion grinned at him, his periwinkle blue eyes searching Izar. "If I remember correctly, the library is where students study." Izar started scathingly, his charcoal-green eyes zeroing in on Lukas' books. "The alcove near the Ravenclaw Common Room is not a location usually sought after." Lukas gave a crooked smile. "What if I said I wasn't looking to study but looking for you?" His eyes surveyed Izar from head to toe in one slow, agonizing sweep. "I could say the same about you, you know. What are you tinkering with here, in the dark?" Izar gave a snort. He looked away from the tall Durmstrang student and took out a pair of tweezers. Slowly, he took the chip from his finger and set the portkey inside a case. Snapping it shut, he threw an observant Steinar a look. "This is my alcove," Izar whispered darkly. He had found the niche in his second year. It was a small loft-like room that sat above in the ceiling near the Ravenclaw Common Rooms. A set of hidden stairs led to the small room Izar currently sat at. It was darkened inside, lit only by a few lanterns Izar set up around the room. The back of a portrait took up most the room. Instead of seeing the back of a canvas, the portrait was sort of a two-way mirror. Izar could see the spiral staircase students climbed up to get to the Ravenclaw tower, but they couldn't see him. It was his place to get away when the library grew too crowded. And of lately, it was his place to work on the Dark Lord's project. Lukas wouldn't be able to comprehend what Izar was working on. The boy had just seen a small chip; he wouldn't come remotely close and realize it was for the Dark Lord. "Yes, I've heard," Lukas tittered. The brunette sat down across from Izar at the small table. "I asked what you were doing in here. What was that chip you were working on?" Izar blinked, giving a scowl. "You ask too many questions for a boy who isn't welcome anywhere near me." "That's fair," Lukas conceded softly, leaning back in the chair and crossing his legs arrogantly. "But I have missed your endearing presence. You just started attending meals last week and while I enjoyed your little fiasco with the blonde Malfoy, I find myself missing our competitive one-on-one banter." Izar shook his head, hiding a grin as he gathered his books. His textbooks were strewn across the stone ground, making his work area look too cluttered and disorganized for his
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liking. It had been a week and a half since his argument with Draco. Since that day, the blonde had stayed far away from Izar as possible. It wasn't as if Izar cared any for the boy's actions, he was just suspicious. At first, he had thought his own House, the Ravenclaw House, had placed his name in the Goblet. His uncertainties grew when Daphne pointed out that half the Slytherin House was jealous of Izar's position in Voldemort's eyes. It had made sense then, the Slytherins must have wanted Izar to prove himself or to get killed and out of Voldemort's sights. But after the qualm with Malfoy Izar's lips thinned as he stared unseeingly at his messenger bag. Draco had gone on about things not going as planned and how it was supposed to be him. To anyone, it would have sounded like Malfoy was just frustrated that the Goblet hadn't chosen him that it should have. But there was more to Draco's anger. The boy had been physically and emotionally ill over it. After the scene, Izar's suspicions had turned to the Dark Lord and Lucius Malfoy. Those two wizards must have known Izar would be picked as Champion. It was originally meant to be Draco, but somehow, the two felt it better to pick him. It would make a lot more sense. Draco had been disgusted that his father and the Dark Lord favored Izar. It would explain Draco's burst of confidence on the train to Hogwarts in the beginning of the year. The blonde had been pleased that the Dark Lord had picked him for such an important task. It would have come as a huge blow and insult when Izar was picked instead. If there was a way, Izar would gladly transfer his status as a Champion onto Draco. If he put himself in Draco's shoes, he would be just as hurt that his father hadn't told him he wasn't going to be Champion. But that still didn't explain why Voldemort entered him in the Tournament. And why the man hadn't told him about it. It made him angry. And he had never been angry at the Dark Lord before, not like this. Lukas cleared his throat, silently telling Izar that he had taken too long to respond. Izar closed his messenger bag up and leveled an expectant Lukas with a look. "I pity the poor soul you batted your lashes at in order to get my whereabouts." The boy looked tickled at his response. "A Mudblood, Granger, I believe her name was. And they say Ravenclaw's are the smart ones of the school. She didn't even know she was being manipulated." Lukas tisked, his eyes dropping to the royal blue and bronze robes Izar wore. "Should I judge every Durmstrang student as a royal pain in the arse just because you are
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one?" Izar asked sweetly. Lukas chuckled lowly, leaning forward in his chair in order to peer deeply at Izar. "I can tell Granger isn't very well-rounded. She's a Mudblood. In fact, I'm pretty good at judging blood statuses." Lukas cocked a fine black eyebrow. "You're not a Mudblood like you say you are." Izar gave a slow hiss, standing up abruptly. "Is there a reason you came up here?" Lukas remained calm, sitting. "I've noticed that your Undersecretary, Tom Riddle, isn't very close with you. He looks at you as I would look at Granger." Lukas placed his hand on his chin, pensive. "He hasn't told you about the First Task, has he?" "Of course he hasn't," Izar replied shortly. "That would be cheating, wouldn't it?" "Cheating," Lukas repeated with a wry grin on his face. "I suppose that would be cheating, yes, if our Ministers haven't already told Cyprien Beaumont and I. We already know the challenge that is approaching tomorrow. How fair is that?" Izar hid his anger skillfully and gazed at Lukas in boredom. Voldemort hadn't told him about the First Task. While the Dark Lord had commented on dueling being a large part of the Second Task, he never once hinted at the First. "Are you going to tell me what it is?" Izar questioned. Lukas stood up; his books and bag in hand. He took an advancing step forward, reaching out to trail his fingers across Izar's supple cheek. "Now that would be cheating, wouldn't it?" The boy leaned forward, his hot breath hitting Izar's face. Izar stood stiffly, his face indifferent. "I came up here to wish you good luck tomorrow. We'll see each other at the luncheon tomorrow, but I won't have the opportunity to wish you luck so personally." Lukas quirked one last grin as his fingers lingered across Izar's cheek before the boy disappeared down the stairs. Izar stood rigidly in the center of his alcove. Why did he feel as if nothing ever went right in his life? Why were adults always abusing his trust? Why were children always mocking and full of disrespect? Why did he have to feel so alone when he wanted to be alone? Charcoal-green eyes were cold and bitter as they stared unblinkingly at the wall across from him. The lanterns flickered out, leaving him in the dark. {Notes} Sorry it's not a well written and long chapter. I'm not in a very good mood right
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now; personal life issues always affect my writing. Anyway, I wanted to have a small chapter (a small briefing) before the big luncheon and First Tournament. That will be next chapter, which I want to have up before the end of the weekend. As a Christmas gift? Perhaps. Ps: Things will pick up, trust me. Perhaps next chapter things will pick up speed. There is just so much that needs to happen, I'm only trying to slowly introduce them. Have a Merry Christmas. Or for some of you, have a Happy Holiday.

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Part I Chapter 14

{Notes} This chapter got away from me. I promised some of you the Task and the luncheon in this chapter. I'm sorry to say the luncheon won't happen this chapter. And most of the Tournament. Blame it on Voldemort, Regulus, and Izar for talking so much. Don't worry though. There will be another luncheon that takes place before each Task. Thank you so much for your reviews last chapter ;) Chapter Fourteen Regulus stroked his short goatee while his opposite hand raked through his newly cut hair. Severus and Izar would approve, most definitely. His new robes were stiff and restricting, but they were donned with the royal color of blue, a political stance for regime and also for peace. The Black family crest was stitched on his chest, large enough for anyone looking to take notice. There were a few Ministry workers who had paused and stared, the Black family not heard of very often in these modern times. Regulus was here to change that. The Blacks were the longest line of pure-bloods and political leaders in the history of the wizarding world. It was time to take their stance at the top once again. There was only one hurdle to get through before Regulus could claim his spot in the Ministry. "I'm here to see Undersecretary Tom Riddle," Regulus drawled carelessly toward the woman at the front desk. She peered at him over her thick-framed spectacles, her murky brown eyes taking him in amusedly. "Mr. Riddle is very busy today, I'm afraid you'll have to make an appointment and come back at a later date." She sniffed at Regulus and grabbed an agenda with her long talon-like nails. "Next month is the next available time," "I'm afraid that won't do," Regulus whispered darkly, straightening up in a domineering position. He towered over her sitting form, making certain he was all she could see. He caught the woman's gaze and held it intensely. She stiffened in her chair, her fingers trembling just slightly on her agenda. Nervously, she licked her lips when she noticed the Black family crest on his robes. "There must be a short time available today now" he pushed softly.

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"Let him in, Roberta." A sinister voice simpered from the end of the hallway. Regulus looked up, catching sight of the glamoured Dark Lord. The politician was leaning against his doorframe, his expression less than pleased. Regulus found his heart beginning to act up as soon as he saw the man standing across from him. Regulus had told himself meeting at the Ministry wouldn't be as difficult as seeing the Dark Lord in his true form outside public eyes. But all that seemed to be silly as he was faced with the same amount of fear as he would any different scenario. He had forgotten how easily the Dark Lord could strike fear in any man. He had forgotten the pure and potent charisma the man carried. Regulus flashed Roberta one last look before walking stiffly down the hallway. There were desks lined up on either side of Riddle's closed-off office housing busy wizards and witches. They barely spared him a glance. After all, Regulus Black disappeared fifteen years ago. They wouldn't have recognized him. Riddle took a step back, opening the door for Regulus. He stepped inside the office, knowing as soon as the door shut, his fate would be sealed. The Dark Lord shut the door, brushing past Regulus and standing behind his desk. Silence was never a good sign of the man's anger. Especially when the man had his head bowed and his hands braced on the desk before him. Regulus went down to one knee. Tightening his left hand into a fist, he brought up his arm and placed his pulse point right between his eyes. "Forgive me, My Lord. I have betrayed and wronged you every possible way. I give you my freedom, I give you my will and soul as means as forgiveness." His position on the floor was practiced in the olden days; the days the pure-bloods were respected the days they practiced their dances. His posture was meant to show vulnerability and respect to a higher ranking wizard. And he knew Voldemort would recognize the posture, despite the fact the man was not of royal blood. He didn't raise his eyes from the floor to survey the Dark Lord's reaction. "You have wronged me greatly," Voldemort hissed, fury lacing his tone. "And for what means? All for your Mudblood wench?" Regulus closed his eyes, controlling his temper. The Dark Lord didn't seem surprised that Regulus was alive. That only meant the man had known he was alive. Severus had been correct. "Forgive me, My Lord. But my betrayal was committed for what the Mudblood was carrying at the time. I committed my act of treachery for the son I was led to believe she was carrying." The Dark Lord chuckled. It was not at all comforting and it sent goose bumps down
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Regulus' spine. "You are either smart or rather foolish for confronting me here, Black. You know I cannot do what I so rightfully deserve to do." The Cruciatus curse. If Regulus was lucky. There were much harsher and painful curses the Dark Lord had up his sleeves. And that, in its self, is why Regulus approached the Dark Lord at the Ministry. "I could bring you away from here," Voldemort continued. Regulus stayed hunched in his position, but he listened as the Dark Lord move around the desk to approach him. "Only there could I enjoy your screams for the crime you have committed. You are rather sly, Regulus, to confront me so boldly. You know your son means a great deal to me, no?" Regulus chanced a quick glance up, swallowing when he was met with passionate red. The man was angry if he allowed his glamour to falter around his eyes. "I do, My Lord," Regulus admitted. Severus once told him the Dark Lord knew everything and he sensed every lie. Regulus would not dig himself any deeper then he already was. "And you assumed I wouldn't kill you in order to stay in good graces with Izar, correct?" Regulus struggled to breathe past the block in his throat. "Have I assumed wrongly, My Lord?" It was an incredibly foolish thing to say. It was too smart, too biting at a time like this. Cold fingers grasped his jaw, breaking his stance. "I see where Izar gets his smart tongue; however, I will not permit it coming from you like I do him." Voldemort tightened his hold on Regulus, a deep sneer. "We have many things to continue discussing, Black. Luckily for you, I have a luncheon to attend with your son. I do not have time for this." The man stood up, throwing Regulus' face aside as if it were trash. "The next time we speak, you will be getting your punishment even if it is death. Izar will most definitely be present during that time. I believe he needs an explanation of your wrongdoings as much as I." It was understandable and something he wouldn't argue against. His son did need to know what transpired all those nights ago. He stayed on the ground, knowing humility enough to stay until the Dark Lord told him to move. "By the way," the tone in the man's voice turned cold, chilling Regulus. "What do you think of this?" Regulus looked up, bemused as he stared at the ring in the velvet ring box. His eyes shot to the Dark Lord's, confused at the possessive gleam in his eyes. "I don't understand, who is it for?" His eyes went to the Dark Lord's hands, realizing a similar ring was on the man's finger. Only, the Dark Lord's was much simpler a silver ring with a Celtic design. The one in the box, however, was a pitch black ring. It contained an engraved Celtic design within its black titanium metal.
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Regulus' stomach dropped and turned cold. He recognized the ring from many pure-blooded families. "No!" Regulus hissed, fury blinding him once he realized what the magical ring was and its intended purpose. "Leave Izar out of this! This is between you and I, not him. He's fifteen." Voldemort chuckled, snapping the case shut with a loud snap and placing it in his pocket. He seemed more than pleased with Regulus' reaction. "The more you open your mouth, Black, the longer you stay under the Crucio." Crimson eyes narrowed gleefully. "Izar has everything to do with this. I want you to be punished. And from what I've gathered," Voldemort cocked his head to the side, a taunting smirk on his face. "You'll do anything to keep Izar out of trouble. I think having your son suffer is a decent punishment for you. You will remember your betrayal every time you see him." Regulus sat, stunned. A hand patted his head. "I will be keeping in touch with you for our next meeting," Voldemort buttoned up an outer cloak, pleased with himself. "You may show yourself out when you're ready to leave." With that, the man exited his office, the ring case in hand. Regulus' face crumbled as he placed his face in his hands. {Death of Today} "You look very handsome," Daphne persisted yet again as he made his way up to the third floor. Her hands continued to pry at his robes, picking and smoothing down the fabric. She pretended to spy a piece of hair. Stopping him in his tracks, she pinched the hair off his robes, pulling it off his fabric. Izar sighed. "You're a mother hen," Izar exclaimed tiredly, pushing her hands away as she came at his robes again. "Everything will go fine, Daphne. I wore neutral robes, I read up on the etiquette for political luncheons and no matter what someone says, I couldn't care a less." Mossy green eyes flashed up at him. "You told me what the Dark Lord said, Izar. He wants you to make a good impression." A sly grin stretched her flawlessly painted lips. "He also wants you to be a force in the political world, if I remember correctly. Just goes to show he has big plans for you." Izar withheld another sigh, turning his gaze to the ceiling instead. He was beginning to believe he had made a mistake by telling Daphne what the Dark Lord had said at Hog's Head. He thought she could help him but he was a fool to believe Daphne would just help him. She mothered him instead, nitpicking on the littlest mistake he made at dinner. She even went as far to rub it in his face that she had been right all along.
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"No," Izar drawled. "It just goes to show that he wants his Death Eaters to be influential wizards in the wizarding world, Daphne. It doesn't mean he has big plans for me," Izar spoke quietly, lowering his eyes back on her smug expression. "If neutral wizards find out that influential wizards were following a rising Dark Lord, they'd most certainly consider joining the cause. That is why the Dark Lord wants all of us to succeed." She tisked, shrugging. "I just think he's sees the brilliant politician that I see in you. You'd make a brilliant dancer." Izar frowned as he side-stepped further into the corridor, giving them more privacy as a few students passed. "Are you daft?" She glowered at him, her bottom lip seemingly curling into a pout. "I hate socializing." "You do enjoy the shadows, Izar, yes, but whomever said you couldn't do both?" Sniffing, the blond witch adjusted her own robes, gazing slyly at Izar. "Do you like the robes I purchased for you?" Izar snorted, looking down at the black robes. They were simple, yet they were new. He had never owned new robes before. His pocket change was never enough to afford robes that weren't second hand. "They're very nice," Izar admitted softly. There was a Hogwarts crest near his shoulder, declaring his loyalty to Hogwarts and not just Ravenclaw. "Thank you for the robes, I will pay you back as soon as I get the money." "Nonsense," Daphne hissed. "They weren't particularly expensive." She paused, a manipulative light in her eye. "Dress robes, on the other hand, can be a bit spendy" Charcoal-green eyes narrowed into slits. "What are you getting at, Daphne?" She reached forward, trailing a well manicured red nail along his collar. A wicked smile marred her cool features. "The Yule Ball is approaching, Izar. I was wondering if I could accompany you." Her expression crumbled into mock hurt. "I know its tradition for the wizard to ask the witch, but when have I ever acted like the submissive maiden?" "You truly are one of a kind," Izar conceded. She looked expectant. He breathed heavily through his nose as he controlled his voice into a sickly sweet sort of tone. "I would be most honored, Ms. Greengrass, if you could accompany me to the Yule Ball." Green eyes brightened. "I'd be delighted to, Izar," she gave a predatory smile. "I know just the robes to get you." She trailed off as a large figure cast a shadow across them both. Izar looked up, spotting Tom Riddle. The man's cheater glasses reflected off the corridor's torches, veiling his expression. Izar pursed his lips at the sight of the man, not at all impressed by the Dark Lord at the moment. Daphne, on the other hand, flushed a light crimson and awkwardly curtsied. The Dark Lord chuckled lowly. Whether it was from Daphne or Izar's reaction, he didn't
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know, nor care. "Ms. Greengrass," Riddle greeted silkily, causing the blush to rise in Daphne's cheeks. Izar was disgusted. He had never seen Daphne look so weak? The blond gave a light laugh, bordering on a giggle. No. Izar had never seen Daphne act so much like a bloody girl. Certainly, there were times in which Daphne read Witch Weekly, obsessed over her nails and hair, and appreciated appearances more than magical talent. But Daphne never blushed and giggled like a brainless twit. "Undersecretary Riddle, it's an honor to see you again," she did one of her pure-blooded gestures with her head, greeting the man properly. Izar turned away, brooding darkly. He ignored Daphne's disproved stare directed at the side of his head. He didn't care if he was acting childish or immature. He couldn't look at the Dark Lord after knowing the man had willingly put his name in the Goblet without notice, without authorization. Despite his anger, Izar knew he couldn't hate the man for such a thing. The Dark Lord does not ask his followers for permission. The man doesn't share his plans with his servants either. Especially a fifteen-year-old wizard. Izar just thought he was closer to the Dark Lord then that. "I'm afraid I must cut our meeting short, Ms. Greengrass. Izar and I are expected in the lounge." A cold hand snaked around Izar's shoulder before curling around his neck in a tight grip. A spark of magic passed between the two at the contact before Izar was pulled away from Daphne and down the corridor. Izar was forced to glide with Voldemort, more aware of the hand then what was healthy. "I can't help but to think you're angry at me, Izar," Voldemort mused. "But that certainly cannot be the case, can it?" "Of course not," Izar spoke dryly. "How could someone get angry with your majesty?" Voldemort did not smile. The man's rampant magic should have been Izar's first clue to his mood. The man's hand on his neck was the second. He was angry. And it was making his Mark burn faintly. Rather suddenly, Voldemort pulled Izar down an unused side corridor. At proof of the corridor's lack of traffic, their feet left footprints in the thick layer of dust, revealing the trail down the darkened corridor. Voldemort let go of Izar's neck in favor of pushing him roughly against the stone wall. Izar gasped quietly. He had never imagined the Dark Lord using physical dominance on him. He hit the back of his head against the stone wall, leaving him dizzy for just a moment. Blinking to clear his vision, he eyed Voldemort's face as it loomed before him. The man was
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white from both rage and a bit of excitement. "We have only a few minutes before the luncheon begins. And in that time, we will strike up a very sensitive agreement. I want you to listen very carefully to me." Voldemort's long fingers curled around Izar's collar, holding him in place against the wall as the Ravenclaw tried to straighten up. "A man visited me today at the Ministry, in my office. Can you imagine who would willingly seek me out?" "I can't imagine anyone willingly doing so, no," Izar spoke scathingly, wary of how the Dark Lord was currently treating him. They were in public, in Hogwarts. Surely the man wouldn't do something too sadistic. Riddle was speaking softly, an indication that he was less than pleased. For the life of him, Izar couldn't remember doing something that would make the man this angry. "Odd," Voldemort cocked his head to the side. "It was Regulus Black." Izar knew he had stopped breathing. His skin turned cold and he tried his hardest to remain impassive. He had thought Regulus had gone back to Russia. But Voldemort's charmed eyes were slowly clouding with crimson as he peered down his nose at Izar, mere proof that he wasn't lying. Izar looked for any trace of a bluff, wondering if this was trap to get him to confess that Regulus was alive. He couldn't find any. The man was serious. Voldemort released his collar, taking a confident step back. "He begged me to forgive him today. You should know, Izar, that I don't forgive betrayal and I'm not particularly fond of forgiving those who lie to me." He was speaking about Izar now. Somehow, they started off discussing Regulus and Voldemort twisted the blame onto Izar. "You knew I was lying then," Izar growled. "You knew all along that Regulus was alive. When I lied to you about meeting Regulus that day at the Hog's Head, I figured that simple, small lie wouldn't be worth a grain of salt. Not only because you seemed to have known, but I had thought Regulus would return to hiding. I did not know he would confront you." "It does not matter," Voldemort hissed, his face contorting into a rage. "The day you took my Mark, I expected complete and utter loyalty from you. I put my trust in you," "You don't trust anybody. Don't make me out as a fool," Izar whispered darkly. "For you to trust me, it would require you to tell me why you entered my name in the Goblet instead of Draco. It would require you to tell me the First Task like the other Ministers told their Champion." The Dark Lord gave a wicked smile. "Getting a little off topic, Izar? Tell me, how long has this been eating away at you?" The man didn't wait for Izar to answer. "You are mine. I am your Master. If I wish to enter your name in the Goblet, I have ever right to do so. I do not
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have an obligation to tell you my reasons." An eyebrow arched. "As far as the First Task, I am more than confident you can handle yourself without the Task being presented to you on a silver platter. I want you to prove yourself to me. I want to see if you are the wizard I believe you to be." Izar stayed slumped against the wall despite the fact that Voldemort had released his collar. His suspicions were proved right. Voldemort had entered his name in the Goblet. And he also acknowledged the fact that no matter how favored he was, Izar would always be below Voldemort. The man had every right to enter his name in the Goblet and not inform Izar. It was simply a matter of ownership. "I can already tell you I'm not that person you believe me to be," Izar spoke slowly, as if trying to conjure up the correct wording. "I am not that wizard you wish me to be. I am Izar Harrison, the boy who was raised by Muggles. I will never be Izar Black, a pure-blood political dancer." Voldemort narrowed his eyes before leaning in close. His nose was inches from Izar's cheek and his lips brushed lightly across his ear. "You will be whatever I believe you to be." Izar fumed. "But that is not what I have pulled you aside to discuss." The Dark Lord leaned back, taking hold of Izar's chin. He was forced to meet the man's eyes. "As I have said before, I do not forgive lying and betrayal. Your father will be dead before tomorrow's sunrise." Izar furrowed his brows, angry tears prickling his eyes. He saw only absolute honesty in Voldemort's expression. The man really was going to kill Regulus. "There is something you could do, however, to stop my hand," the man continued calmly. "What?" Izar questioned; a deep feeling of dread in his stomach. Voldemort pulled back completely, taking out a small box. To Izar, it appeared like a small jewelry box. His assumptions were correct as he studied the ring sitting inside. It appeared to be black titanium, a very handsome ring. "All you need to do is put this on your finger. Granted, I will still have to punish your father, but you will have my word that he will survive." Charcoal-green eyes quickly looked up at the Dark Lord, stunned. "E-excuse me?" He stuttered, something he hadn't done in what seemed like forever. Not since he was a child being threatened by his Muggle tormentor, Louis. He regained his dignity and narrowed his eyes on the man. "You planned this all even before Regulus came along, didn't you?" He had no idea what the ring was. It was magical, that much was certain as Izar felt the bit of magic coming from the ring. There were multiple of magical rings in the wizarding world, originating from the pure-bloods. There were too many for Izar to remember. He really hadn't been that interested in the subject. After all, he would have never thought he would be subjected to one.
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"Perhaps," Voldemort conceded. "The decision is yours to make. Either you put the ring on, and allow your father his chance of glory, or you refuse and subject your father to death. It's a simple choice, really." "What does it do?" Izar demanded hastily, taking quick notice of the ring on Riddle's hand. The man had almost a replica of same ring on his middle finger, only his was silver. "That is where you must take a risk. I will not tell you what it does. After you put the ring on your finger, you have every right to go look it up. You'll find the information in a textbook. But you must decide now." Voldemort raised his eyebrows, his ivory hand still holding the box out to Izar. Even Izar could see the absolute mercilessness in Voldemort's eyes. Considering Voldemort possessed a similar ring, it was obviously linked to the man himself. It had to do with loyalty, possibly truthfulness. It could also be a punishment that put Izar through pain, both emotional and physical. He doubted the latter. Judging from Voldemort's expression, this ring was already planned before Regulus had come in the picture. But now, with Regulus' appearance, Voldemort finally had something to blackmail Izar with. If he placed that ring on his finger, would he be destined for a lifetime of telling the truth to his Master? The possibilities of the ring were endless. He couldn't deny his growing uncertainty for Regulus. It was difficult to pinpoint what he wanted to feel for the man. Dislike because the man thought he could waltz up to Voldemort and expect both Izar and Snape to get off safely? Or respect that the man actually faced his demons just to stay here in Britain? For him "The luncheon will begin shortly, Izar. Quickly." The man was becoming inpatient. Izar closed his eyes, breathing heavily through his nose, calming himself. He hated not knowing what the ring's properties were. He was oblivious to the fate he was choosing. It wasn't very fair. But then again, life wasn't fair. He had gotten used to that long ago. "Which finger?" it came out raspy and small. "Your left hand, middle finger." Voldemort took the ring out of the box, ready to place the ring on Izar. "If I place this ring on my finger, you will spare both Regulus and Professor Snape, correct?" Voldemort took Izar's wrist, pulling the younger closer. Izar stumbled, reaching out and steadying himself on Voldemort's arm. "Rather Slytherin of you, Mr. Harrison, I am impressed. Nonetheless, I will concede and guarantee that both their lives will be spared." The man didn't wait for anymore disruptions.
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The ring was on Izar's finger, sealing both his fate and his father's. Izar stared at the onyx ring, watching as it shrunk to fit him tightly. He felt the magic grow and expand, seemingly stretching between both himself and the Dark Lord. It would have made him feel better if he knew he could experiment with the ring. But even Izar knew magical rings were one of the most binding rituals in the magical world. "Don't look so forlorn, there are worse things." Voldemort murmured softly, brushing past Izar and slowly down the corridor. "When you do find out the ring's properties I would like for you to approach me. We will need to discuss a few things." Izar remained silent, following behind Voldemort. He felt bound and chained. He glared at the Dark Lord's back. Now, more than ever, he felt more determined to figure out the Dark Mark. With the portkey finished, Izar had more time to commit himself to the wand core. Voldemort did not need to know Izar was finished with the portkey. The man would just assign another project to distract Izar. {Death of Today} The luncheon had been uneventful. Izar had been rather subdued during the gathering. He ate his food properly, he used his etiquette and he made polite conversation. Other then that, he remained silent, looking down at his plate and trying to pretend he was anywhere but there. Tom Riddle, on the other hand, seemed to make up for Izar's silence. The man was sickly polite, trading cutting remarks with Bjrn Steinar, the Norwegian Minister. Their insults were always coated sweetly with an under layer of maliciousness. Even in Izar's mood, he marveled at the Dark Lord's flawless conversational talent. The man was a dangerous dancer. After the luncheon had concluded, all Izar had wanted to do was race to the library and research the ring. But the First Task was scheduled conveniently right after their meeting. Izar was currently situated inside the tent with the other Champions. His lithe frame was dressed in blue and bronze robes, signifying both Hogwarts and Ravenclaw. The other Champions were wearing their own robes for the Task. Cyprien Beaumont and Lukas Steinar paced back and forth, their fingers brushing their wands for reassurance. Izar lounged on his chair, grinning predatorily as he watched Lukas closely. He adjusted
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his leather glove, wondering why the judges had given them each a pair. "No smart comments from you, Lukas? My, my you must be quite worried." Izar murmured cheerfully. Cyprien, the redheaded Beauxbatons Champion, grinned at Izar before continuing to pace. Lukas, on the other hand, stopped short, his blue eyes flashing. Before the boy could respond, the judges entered the tent. Their eyes appraised the three Champions, making sure they were dressed and decent. Dumbledore was in the lead, his long beard swaying back and forth. Behind the six judges, the sound of cheering was heard. It appeared as if all the fans were in the stands of the Quidditch pitch, awaiting the Task. Izar stood slowly. His eyes briefly taking in Riddle. The politician gazed back at him stoically, his face inexpressive. "Gather around," Dumbledore invited the three Champions. Izar made his way over, ignoring Lukas as the boy brushed past his shoulder harshly. Dumbledore curled his hand around Izar's bicep, brining him close. The four stood in a tight circle with the five judges circled around close by. "Each of you will draw a parchment," Dumbledore dropped his arm from Izar's shoulder in favor of pulling out three small scrolls of parchment. Each scroll had a golden ribbon tied around its middle. "On the parchment, you will find a number at the top. Your number represents the order in which you three will compete." The man paused. "For your first Task, each of you will be entering the Forbidden Forest. You will only be accompanied by your wand and your roll of parchment." Izar took the offered scroll, slowly unrolling it to see a number three at the top. His lips thinned before his eyes traced over the list of objects on the parchment. "On your parchment, you will find a list of items. It is your job to navigate your way through the forest in order to find and collect all the listed items. Points will be rewarded for each item collected and the amount of time it takes you to complete your hunt. The shorter amount of time will increase your chances of obtaining more points." Dumbledore gazed at the three wizards over his spectacles. "The Forbidden Forest is extremely dangerous. You will be rewarded points for each object obtained. If you find yourself unable to continue, there is still a chance you may succeed over your rivals." Izar stared at the list, feeling his nerves settle just a bit. He knew all the items. Granted, he had never entered the forest before, but he had a general idea of where most of the plants and herbs favored to grow. "You will also be allowed your bag and vials," Minister Steinar approached. He handed each of the Champions a sack with a few glass vials inside. "This is not just a scavenger hunt, boys," the man barked, continuing. "In the forest you will be confronted with beasts and horrors alike." His eyes dropped on Izar, a malevolent smile spreading across his lips.
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Izar narrowed his eyes, raising his parchment and looking it over once again. "You will enter the forest five minutes apart. Each of you will be timed separately." Dumbledore ushered the group with his hand. "Who is first?" Cyprien straightened, revealing his parchment with the number one at the top. "Then by all means, Mr. Beaumont, please accompany me out of the tent," Dumbledore then led the redhead out the tent. Madame Maxime and Minister Serge Roux followed the Beauxbatons Champion outside. Loud cries from the students and fans erupted across the pitch at Cyprien's appearance. Their cheers echoed eerily across the tent, leaving Izar a bit anxious.

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Part I Chapter 15

{Notes} Again, I have not responded to your reviews this time around. But just know I appreciate you all for reviewing. Also, big thanks to Cateria for translating some of my sentences in Norwegian. ;) Chapter Fifteen They were assigned to gather an aconite, a puffapod, one Ashwinder egg, a bubotuber, a hellebore, one toad stomach, three flobberworms, and lastly, the critical head of the runespoor. Izar eyed the last request, his unease rising a bit. A runespoor was a very striking serpent and a very dangerous serpent. The runespoor had three heads, one dreamer, the other planner, and lastly, the critical head. The critical head of the runespoor had the most dangerous venom and the cruelest of teeth. "They'll treat you well," a voice murmured deeply next to him. Izar looked up, eyeing the Dark Lord. Tom Riddle was dressed in blue robes and a bit of bronze coloring. He was supporting Izar, clearly, but it was very subtle. One would have to look hard at Riddle to really comprehend the small signs of his robes. After all, Izar couldn't remember Riddle wearing anything but black, green, silver, and the occasional brown and red. "Treat me well?" Izar questioned, frowning. Earlier, Izar had assured himself he wouldn't speak freely with the man until he found out what the ring on his finger meant, what his fate was sealed with. However, it was difficult to ignore the Dark Lord, especially when the man approached him. "The serpents," Riddle concluded lazily. He was standing close to Izar, yet he was facing forward, away from Izar's curious eyes. Lukas, Karkaroff, and Bjrn were huddled in a small circle, whispering to one another over the list of items. It would only be a matter of minutes before Dumbledore would approach the tent again, gathering Lukas for his turn to enter the forest. They seemed fretful, whispering heatedly with one another. Their eyes kept dancing across the tent at a satisfied and pleased Riddle. "Han er en ormmunn, far," Lukas whispered in Norwegian, his own tongue, before glancing
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unhappily at Riddle. "Han manipulerte ganske sikkert turneringen for sikre sine egne interesser." Headmaster Karkaroff stayed oddly quiet. Izar noticed he tried to avoid looking at Riddle and his body was positioned slightly away from Lukas and Bjrn. "Ta det med ro, Lukas, han og hans representant skal f det de fortjener," Bjrn gave a lipless smile toward Izar before ushering his son closer to the tent with a hand to the shoulder. They left Karkaroff to stand awkwardly by himself, yet Izar could still here them. "Gutten er bare femten. Selv om han er smart s har han ikke en sjanse stilt opp mot ordentlig erfaring. Gutten er en lesehest, ingen ordentlig trollmann." Riddle straightened at the last bit, a malicious expression tracing his features. He inclined his body closer to Izar while still keeping his face nonchalant. "They know you're a snake speaker as well," Izar pointed out unnecessarily. The Dark Lord could understand Norwegian and Izar could comprehend more than half of what they said, the same with French and German. "They think you picked the items on the list they think you manipulated the Tournament. Did you?" The tension around the Dark Lord was slowly dissipating the more Izar spoke. Charmed brown eyes finally met Izar's gaze. "I did," Riddle offered a vindictive smirk. "And despite your earlier anger at me for not mentioning the Task, I did take the initiative to speak to the serpents of the forest. They will all but bow down to you as you pass through." Izar was flabbergasted and a bit insulted. "What" he paused, eyes narrowing. "I can take care of myself. I thought you wanted me to prove myself to you? Surely the most difficult item to collect would be the runespoor serpent." Riddle remained silent, watching through attentive eyes as Dumbledore stepped inside the tent to user Lukas outside. The screams grew once again in volume, reminding Izar he only had five minutes left to spare. "Serpents are my territory, Izar. I don't intend for you to struggle against something that I can disperse. You will face other dangers inside the forest. I wouldn't want you to come away with venom poisoning, something I could have prevented." Izar pushed himself off the chair he was leaning against and walked closer to the exit to the tent. He was angry at the Dark Lord. "I wanted a fair competition," he muttered darkly. "Is that so?" Riddle questioned lightly, amusement clearly in his voice. "Were you not the one who demanded to know why I didn't tell you what the First Task was?" Izar felt the tips of his ears go red. The man did have a point. "That was wrong of me," Izar muttered. "You were right not to tell me." He listened as the Dark Lord approached him from behind. Despite the man's silent approach, Izar could sense Riddle's magic slowly growing closer. A hand snaked out and
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curled around his jaw, turning him to meet the man's eyes. "I want you to forget everything today, Izar. Forget about your father, the ring, and the fact that you are my Death Eater. All that should be a mere distant memory in comparison to the task." The man paused. "Try your hardest and you will succeed." The man patted his cheek a bit roughly, causing Izar's cheek to burn in its wake. He glowered at a smirking Dark Lord. "Izar?" Izar turned, catching periwinkle blue eyes. "Are you ready?" Izar looked at his leather gloves. In his left hand, he clutched both the sack of vials and the roll of items. In his right hand, he already had his wand out and ready. "I am, Headmaster," Izar gave a quick nod, slowly looking back up at the smiling man. Dumbledore chuckled lightly, motioning Izar forward with his hand. "Then follow me, dear boy." Izar followed the instruction, quick enough to catch the guarded look Dumbledore sent Riddle over his head. Izar remained oblivious, his face not betraying his amusement. He was right to assume Dumbledore would be suspicious of Riddle. It made Izar wonder how much it irked the old man knowing that a Dark Lord was courting his students and walking the halls of Hogwarts. The Headmaster had no say over the matter, especially because Riddle was so high up on the political field. With a deep breath, Izar escaped the tent, only to walk on the grassy Quidditch pitch. He had only attended Quidditch matches in his first year. The sport never interested him, not as much as the next Potions or Charms essay did. But he had always wondered what the stands looked like from the Quidditch player's perspective. His curiosity was sated as countless of students stood up at his arrival, cheering. Izar found it difficult to look around without feeling flattered. He hated feeling so bloody sentimental, but it was hard not to when most the population of Hogwarts was showing their support for him. Students raised their left arms, revealing the blue bands across their forearms. And it wasn't only students in the stands; there were also parents and older adults standing amongst the crowd. Izar offered a small smirk, keeping his chin held high as much as he could. He took comfort in the fact that Dumbledore's tall form towered over him. But it wasn't really a positive when the man insisted on keeping Izar in the limelight. It was easy to spot the Durmstrang and Beauxbatons fans. Not only did their school uniforms clash against the others, but their sitting forms were a sore thumb compared to the others on their feet. Izar ran his eyes around the fans, not able to distinguish any features from the men and women. They were too far up for him. His eyes took in the three large screens hanging for all the pitch to see. Dread filled his
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stomach when he realized that there were small cameras following each of the Champions. Each Champion had their name underneath the screen, the amount of time they were in the forest for, and the number of items they collected. It appeared as if Cyprien was in the lead, already gathering four out of the ten objects. "You didn't tell me we would be followed by a bloody wizarding camera," Izar murmured to Riddle as the man stopped next to him. Riddle all but smiled at the stands. The third screen was blank, ready to follow Izar when he entered the forest. As if sensing his utter excitement at being watched, a small device flew across the pitch right in front of his face. Izar frowned, taking a step back as he surveyed the creature the device. He distinctively remembered reading about the device. It was called a Watchful. It appeared remarkably like a Snitch the Quidditch players used to catch in the games. Only, it had one large eyeball. Izar swallowed, sneering as his image appeared on the screen. "Ignore it," Riddle whispered softly. "You'd better not allow it to distract you." And Izar was smart enough to hear the warning in Riddle's tone. "Sonorus," Dumbledore pointed his wand to his throat, his voice becoming deafening in volume. "Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present you with the Hogwarts Champion, Mr. Izar Harrison." The cheers heightened once again, making Izar feel ill. "Smile," Riddle whispered in an irritated hiss. His command was far too quiet for the sonorus charm to pick up. "Bloody child, smile." Izar swallowed his bile and gave a twisted smile. The smile was just as comforting as the stare he was receiving from both Tom Riddle and the Norwegian Minister, Bjrn Steinar. Izar offered a small wave, hoping that it made up for his lack of a politician smile. Riddle caught his eyes before turning away. An amused smirk pulled at the corner of his lips. Dumbledore chuckled; patting Izar's shoulder like one would do a small child. "Mr. Harrison will receive the same list of items as the other two Champions, with the same rules involved. Let us wish Izar good luck." Dumbledore removed his hand from Izar's shoulder as he flung his wand in the air. A loud snap echoed across the pitch as an image of the Hogwarts crest materialized in thin air. "Begin!" Izar flinched, blinking, before turning to run. His timer started to churn, the flashing numbers mocking Izar as he sprinted across the pitch toward the forest. All the while, the moving eye followed at his heels.
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He entered the forest in record time, his breath coming through his nose in short huffs. It was understandable that he paused before entering the trees. After all, ever since he was a student, he was always advised never to enter the forest. Only this time, he was expected to. "Lumos," his wand tip lightened in the dark atmosphere of the forest. The early October air was a bit chilly, especially in a place that the sun doesn't reach very often. He came to a stop near the entrance of the forest, his gaze on the ground. It would seem sensible if the bubotubers were nested near the edge of the forest. They generally enjoyed the warm sun when they slept and wiggled beneath the ground during the night when they were active in the rituals of mating and consuming soil. Izar grimaced as he walked along the forest floor, hoping to see a sign of the nesting area. He ignored the Watchful as much as possible. He tried not to think of the hundreds of people watching his every move. It just made him distracted. And Voldemort most definitely would not want him distracted. Up ahead, Izar caught sight of upturned soil. There they were. Bubotubers. Sitting vertically in the soil, they appeared like a patch of mushrooms. Their tails were slowly wiggling back and forth in the setting sun, a sign of their deep slumber. Izar walked softly toward their nesting area, gathering one of the vials from his sack. Thinking of his fortune at the leather gloves, he pinched one of the bubotubers and withdrew it from the soil. It squirmed and Izar quickly placed it in one of his vials before it could shoot pus from its many sacs. He grimaced as he held the vial close to his face, watching as it shivered from the cold. Disgusting creatures but useful for skin acne. "First item recovered; bubotuber." Izar turned, staring at the Watchful as it dully announced his first gathered item. It spoke also. Howconvenient. His eyes went past the Watchful toward the tall bush behind it. He perked up, quickly standing and making his way over to the familiar brush. It quivered as Izar approached and he all but purred in excitement. It was a Flutterby bush. Oh, sweet Merlin. He leaned closer to the bush, watching in fascination as the leaves twitched and fluttered. They were an important ingredient in Felix Felicis, liquid luck. Izar had no need for the potion, but he had always been interested in brewing it. And it would cost a pretty penny He stood up stiffly, staring at the leaves. It wasn't on his list of required items, but Charcoal-green eyes glanced at the fluttering Watchful as it stared at him. Really now he understood why this Task would be so difficult. Throwing a Ravenclaw in an area with so many rare and valuable ingredients was just torture. Especially when it wasn't on his list. Izar huffed, reaching out to cut a stem of the Flutterby bush. He quickly placed it in his sack, walking away.
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"Unidentified item," the Watchful spoke monotonously. "Oh, hush," Izar growled, swiftly walking deeper into the forest. {Death of Today} Izar scrambled from the murky pond, brushing the dripping water from his face. He grimaced at the horrible smell, wondering how the hell toads could move that quickly. "Ninth item recovered; toad stomach." The Watchful blinked at Izar lazily as the boy shook himself of the muddy water. Eight minutes passed since he entered the forest and all he needed was the runespoor head. A few minutes ago, he heard a loud ringing across the forest. The Watchful following him had announced that the Beauxbatons Champion, Cyprien, had reached the pitch first. Izar imagined the boy would have been there quicker if it wasn't for the serpents and the long trek back to the pitch. After all the running and sprinting Izar had done, he assumed he was just as far from the pitch as Cyprien had been. So far, there hadn't been any creatures to block his path. The Centaur Izar stumbled across dismissed him as a mere child with no threat. The Centaur warned Izar not to continue further into the forest, for terrible things would transpire. Izar had nodded sincerely and disregarded the warning. After all, runespoors and the aconite were known to be in the deepest depths of forests. Since the warning, Izar felt unsettled. He didn't believe in the Centaur's warning, no, but he was feeling a bit uncomfortable. It could have just been the Watchful following him. But no matter what it was, he wouldn't lower his wand despite his knuckles being sore and locked. His hair was sticking up in every which direction, the ends curling uncontrollably with the moisture it was receiving. His clothes were ripped and burned from the Ashwinder's eggs. Despite Riddle's reassurance that they would all but bow down before him, Izar still encountered a problem with the mothers guarding their nests. At the Ashwinder's nest, he had also encountered Lukas. The two didn't trade any comments, mindful of the fans watching. In fact, there had been a couple of times in which Lukas had been conveniently nearby wherever Izar went. Izar was happy to know the boy looked just as worse off as himself. Croak Izar turned toward the pond, his wand light giving him enough leeway to see a group of toads staring at him from their lily pads. Izar grimaced as their throats expanded into sacs before croaking again. They were angry at him for taking away one of their own.
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Croak. Izar looked down, his eyes wide as he saw the fat toad on his shoe. "Move you foolish creature," Izar hissed, disgusted. He kicked his foot, sending the fat creature flying. A loud plop was heard as it landed in the pond. Just then, a pinching-sort of sound issued behind Izar. He froze, staring at the pond before slowly turning. As feared, an Acromantula stood behind Izar, its pinchers clicking together in excitement. Its eight eyes gleamed back at Izar from the light of his wand. "You don't want me," Izar reasoned with it, grinning nervously as he saw another Acromantula fall behind the one closer to Izar. "I meanreally," he pinched his arm. "I don't have enough flesh, clearly." "Clearly, you'd be enough for some of us." The creature growled, its pinchers clicking. Another three scampered across the light of his wand and Izar realized that he might have gone too far into the forest. "You're right of course," Izar nodded, the grip on his wand becoming unbearably tight. He knew a spell for one Acromantula, but it wasn't enough for a whole army of them. "You can't have too many humans wondering around the middle of the forest, no?" He took a step backward and was more than aware of the other Acromantulas behind him. How could he have let himself be circled? It was foolish of him to be so oblivious of his surroundings like this. The Acromantula tapped its pinchers one last time before lunging. "Arania Exumai!" Izar whipped his wand across his body as he blasted the spider back into oblivion. It was meant to kill large bred spiders, Acromantulas especially. Izar turned and fled, his brain working overtime. Sirius had worked with him this past week with dueling. The first thing on his mind right "Cendere," Izar whispered, his wand making small circles. Above his head, a small ring of fire erupted. "Cendere," he murmured again, the fire growing. Behind him, he could hear the tapping feet of the running Acromantula. The sound made the hairs on the back of his neck stand in apprehension. "Cendere." The fire grew, intensifying. It was similar to that of a thick rope as it connected to his wand. Izar stopped running, dropping his sack of vials and items as he readied himself into a defensive stance. The spiders came at him from all angles, closing him in. His arm swung around his body as he whipped the fiery rope around him. It created a wide circle around him, keeping the spiders at bay. The fire struck a few of the Acromantulas, the ones dense enough to try to enter past the perimeter he set up. They screamed, hunching backward, but staying nearby. Even they knew he would shortly tire of circling the fire. And
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when that happened, their meal would be defenseless and weak. Izar breathed heavily through his mouth as he conjured up his next plan of action. The only thing Acromantulas were afraid of were Basilisks. And there was a spell to conjure a Basilisk, but it was considered Dark among many textbooks. The Basilisk would be conjured for only a few hours, if not minutes, depending on how much magic one used. After which, they would banish. But it was long enough for Izar. He only needed to chase off the spiders. He was only cautious of the spectators watching. Dark magic was not forbidden, only the Unforgivables, yet the art was still looked down upon by many Light wizards. He had no other choice. Izar swirled the fire another time around, concentrating on the long incantation. Surely he only had one chance to do it right. He was sure he remembered the incantation. "Inferorum animas" Izar started weakly. "Basilisk." His wand trembled, turning almost unbearably hot. A strong wind ruffled his hair as his fire extinguished and another, much larger object, moved around him. His eyes closed, knowing full well that the Basilisk's gaze would affect him just like a real one. However, instead of the gaze killing him, it would only petrify him if he looked at it in the eye. He didn't need to worry about the venom; after all, he was the one who conjured the serpent. The conjured Basilisk would not attack its caster. Izar threw his wand hand out, pointing it toward the surrounding Acromantulas. A soothing hiss escaped the Basilisk's mouth as it lunged excitingly. The ground trembled as the spiders scurried away from the Basilisk. Risking it, Izar cracked open an eye, watching as the Basilisk moved deeper into the forest, chasing the frightened spiders. He made a mental note not to go that direction. He breathed deeply, calming himself. The forest was at a stand still, even the toads moved under water at the sight of the conjured Basilisk. His hands were shaking as bent low to retrieve his fallen items. Only a runespoor was left to gather. That wasn't so hardnot if Riddle had spoken with them. And after which, he would have to venture his way back to Hogwarts' grounds before he could safely say he succeeded in the Task. Izar stiffened as his magic sparked. He felt another source of magic approaching him from behind. It wasn't a strong source of magic, just a small bit of detection. Possibly an animal or maybe Lukas, again. With his wand at the ready, he turned, only to be greeted with a face-full of glowing powder. He spluttered, the powder going up his nose and his mouth and eyes. He tried to wipe it away but his arm stiffened and feel uselessly to his side. And then the pain started.
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A high-pitched scream escaped his lips before everything swam and swirled. {Death of Today} Severus sat stiffly near the judge's panel, watching the proceedings through a critical eye. The Dark Lord was just as obsessive as he watched the screen further to the right. Izar was doing brilliantly, Severus would grudgingly admit. While the Beauxbatons Champion had already made it back, he had started ten minutes before Izar and five minutes before the Durmstrang boy. Both boys were still in the forest and both of them were nearly finished. Severus sat back as he watched the proceedings with Izar and the Acromantulas. As the boy battled the spiders, Severus noticed the grace the boy possessed, an elegance many wizards would envy. It was inherited through the Black family tree and Izar's slight stature only heightened the noticeable poise. Surprisingly, Izar was holding his own for a boy of merely fifteen. Onyx eyes tore away from the screen and watched the audience. They were ensnared, their faces expectant as they watched the battle. He bypassed them, hoping to catch a familiar face. Yet, it was impossible to look for him. If the man was smart enough, he'd be far away from the Tournament today. But what if Regulus had already spoken to the Dark Lord? Severus casually looked sideways at the Undersecretary. The man, dressed in the rare colors of navy blue and bronzed accents, was laid back as he observed the screen. His thin glasses reflected back the image of Izar conjuring fire as means of a shield. Severus frowned, turning away. Riddle was the only wizard, with the exception of Dumbledore, that he feared. The man was far too brilliant at mind games to be healthy. He hid his true feelings behind a mask so strong, Severus could only dream of seeing beneath. It was the same with the man's intentions. Murmurs spread throughout the pitch. Severus looked up; catching sight of the Basilisk Izar just conjured. It was a Dark spell and Severus knew there would be questions surrounding the boy's knowledge at such a spell. It was terribly advanced and not in the Hogwarts' curriculum. Severus smirked, a bit proud of the child. From the corner of his eye, he observed the Dark Lord as the man was all but tickled. More yells erupted through the audience as Lukas Steinar's screen blinked out. It was normal for the device to blink, but never this long. Severus leaned forward in his seat, a bit unsettled. Drinking in the sight of Izar, he watched as the boy slowly turned. The screen blinked out just as they heard a scream. Severus stood, quickly exiting the stands. The potions master met the Dark Lord at the
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judges table as soon as the man stood up. As predicted, Riddle's face was clear of any concern, of any emotion. "Do not interfere," Bjrn Steinar snarled, his teeth snapping into a snarl. "The Watchful is known to malfunction at times. Surely, Dumbledore, you will not permit Undersecretary Riddle to enter the forest and interrupt the Task." Dumbledore stood, along with French Minister Roux. "You heard the scream, Bjrn, don't assume you did not." Roux declared, almost bored. "Let us enter and see for ourselves. If everything is well, we will leave the situation as it was." Riddle hadn't waited for the French Minister's words. The Dark Lord was already across the pitch and close to the entrance of the forest. The man's cloak flew out around his tall frame, exaggerating his strides. Severus was on his heels, a bit concerned. "Surely you don't think it was Izar?" he questioned lightly. Master and servant were ahead of the others by a long distance. Behind them, they heard Dumbledore call for order and for the students to stay in their seats until further notice. "No, I do not think it was Izar," the Dark Lord issued softly. Severus nodded tightly. "I know it was him. Quickly, Severus, do try to keep up." Onyx eyes widened a fraction as they searched the Dark Lord's expressionless face. The man was all but gliding through the woods in a pace that forced Severus to jog. The Dark Lord had no strain on his face, no inclination that his legs were being stretched to their maximum. Severus also took note in the man's lack of wand. It was, most definitely, inside the man's sleeve, but it wasn't out in his hand, directing them in a Point Me spell. It was if the Dark Lord knew where Izar was. Behind them, they heard the other judges scrambling to keep up. They were no where near as silent as Severus and the Dark Lord. It took a good five minutes to hunt through the forest. Severus found himself trying to stop his heavy breathing when he noticed the Dark Lord not making a sound. But before he could continue to follow the Dark Lord, he stepped on something uneven. Pausing, he moved his lightened wand to his foot, observing the Watchful beneath the sole of his heel. Its eye was torn out of its socket, clearly damaged. "Severus, quickly," the Dark Lord murmured through the darkened forest. Severus looked around, not seeing the man at first glance. Upon closer inspection, he caught sight of a kneeling figure. Severus rushed forward, the sound of feverish whimpers sounding at the base of Riddle's knees. "What do you think it is? I can't say I recognize it, but if I knew it by name, I would be familiar." Riddle continued, his face peering closer to the glowing purple powder scattered across Izar's face.
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Severus stopped in his tracks, horrified. "My L," he cleared his throat, a slight flush on his ears for making the mistake of the man's title in public. "Mr. Riddle, please, move away quickly and do not inhale suddenly." Surprisingly, the Dark Lord backed away, however slightly. Severus kneeled down, his eyes wide. He was subconsciously aware of the approaching figures. "What is it Severus?" Dumbledore questioned, his face etched of concern as Izar issued a louder moan. The boy's eyes were wide and his lips were moving in silent screams. A few moans and yelps escaped the throat and they slowly began to grow louder with the presence of more wizards. Severus observed the boy's pupils. They were completely dilated, a sign that the dust was working its curse. Angrily, Severus waved his wand over Izar's face, banishing the glowing purple dust. "Devil's Venenum," Severus shook his head. "It's a form of Alihotsy, a powder that causes hysteria. Only, the Devil's Venenum causes mind hallucinations until the brain shuts down completely. It's inhaled through the nose and mouth." "Is there anyway to stop it?" Dumbledore exclaimed, a somber expression crossing his normally jolly features. "Surely Madame Promfrey," "No magic," Severus replied harshly. "The victim only gets worse if magic is cast on the body. The dust thrives off magic, giving it strength to eat the mind faster. Only the victim's own magic can try to eat away the curse. It's cured by natural causes, Headmaster. If Izar is strong enough, he may be able to fight it. Otherwise, he may become brain damaged, or worse, die." Dumbledore paled, his eyes widening. He shut his mouth into a thin line, a dark expression crossing his face. "All of you, out." He motioned his hand at the other surrounding judges. "There's been an attack, an unjust attack toward one of the Champions. Dismiss the spectators, and postpone any questions until further notice." The judges stood in place, their stunned eyes examining Izar as the boy twitched harshly on the floor. "Now!" With Dumbledore's strong order, the judges reluctantly trekked back to the castle, leaving Severus alone with Dumbledore and Riddle. "Is there anyway this could have happened by a plant or an animal, Severus?" Riddle spoke darkly. "Or was this intentional?" Why did the man have to ask what he already knew? Severus' hands lay uselessly on Izar's shoulders. The boy was trembling beneath his hands and Severus felt worthless. He tore his eyes away from Riddle, already too unsettled with the situation to put himself through the Dark Lord's cruel stare. "Intentional, unfortunately. Devil's Venenum originates in northwest Asia. It is not native to these lands." Severus replied softly, furrowing his brows at Izar as the boy whimpered pathetically. "We will speak of the incident when we get Izar to the castle," Dumbledore spoke softly.
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"Severus, will you carry Izar?" "Stop," Riddle ordered sharply, causing Severus to pause. His hands were underneath Izar's back, ready to scoop him up. Izar issued a line of distressed whimpers. "What if" Riddle cast a distrustful glance at Dumbledore. "What if the boy is magic sensitive? Surely Hogwarts' magic would be the same as casting magic on him, correct?" Severus froze, an icy sensation gripping his chest. "Magic sensitive?" Severus repeated numbly. His fingers shook and he was forced to let go of Izar. He stood up, backing away. "If that is the case," he flashed a look at the Dark Lord. "Then we have a far more serious issue at hand than originally thought." "His Muggle orphanage," Dumbledore spoke up quickly. "We can transport him to his orphanage. Only there, will he find salvation from magic and magical beings." "I do not think so," Riddle hissed passionately. "They will throw him aside like a sack of rubbish. He will not receive the care he needs." Dumbledore's face split into a dangerous leer. Severus took another step back, mindful of the growing magic around him. If he was aware of the magic, then Izar most certainly was. The boy's cries grew louder as the magic increased. "Do not allow your prejudice for Muggles to cloud your judgment, Tom. This is a boy's life we are speaking of," "I'm more than aware of that, Dumbledore." Riddle spat back, his wand in his hand. "Allow me to bring him somewhere free of magic. My father's home." A sneer upturned Riddle's distinguished features. "I will bring Mr. Harrison to my late father's home. There is no magic there." Dumbledore hesitated. "There is no one to take proper care of him," Again, the Dark Lord interrupted. "I will, of course. I know certain spells that are able to remove my magic for a brief period of time. He will be well looked after." Riddle already lifted Izar in his arms, cradling the boy with more care than Severus would have ever thought possible. Dumbledore remained silent. "Can Izar's body take an apparation?" Riddle questioned coolly, his face free of any impatience or distress. However, even in the light of Severus' wand, he noticed Riddle's crimson eyes breaking through the charmed brown. The man was only angry and Dumbledore was far too observant not to notice the eyes as well. "It's the only way to transport him, yes," Severus gave a sharp nod, not believing his own words. The boy would be affected by the apparation, no doubt. Severus wondered why the Dark Lord was risking so much for Izar. Granted, there would
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be political gain from this incident. The public would be in favor of the man when they found out he selflessly nursed an ill boy back to life. But what of Dumbledore's thoughts? With a sharp nod, Riddle apparated out of sight. Dumbledore stood, his posture oddly defeated. "Why do I feel as if I sent Mr. Harrison to his own death?" the old man questioned despairingly. Dumbledore rubbed his face with long, thin fingers. "It is impossible to believe that Tom could care enough for someone to live as a Muggle for a few hours, let alone days. Impossible to believe," the man repeated disconsolately. Severus remained silent, his own thoughts running too far to comprehend.

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Part I Chapter 16

{Notes} Bah. I don't like this chapter *grumbles* It is one of the longest I've written, though. Enjoy. Chapter Sixteen "They're pink," Izar spoke, startled. "I knew it all along. The spiders, they're pink." He waited, knowing that his companion would be most interested in this observation. His companion, the silly one next to his bed. Izar didn't have to turn to know he was there. "Is that so?" "So," Izar snickered. "They're dancing with a Basilisk. Really how strange is that?" "I would say it's unheard of, very strange," the voice agreed dryly. A cold hand ran through his wet locks, brushing them away from his face. Izar blinked at the vision of the spiders and turned to his bedside companion. A smile was already across his face, eager to know what his companion would look like next. Every time he looked at his friend, the man would appear different each time. There were times in which his companion had painted lips and glowing pink eyes. There were other times his companion had fangs and horns and there were times, like now, where he appeared like a normal human being. "Dumbledore," Izar slurred, staring at the man with the long beard next to him. "You don't have your glasses," Izar reached out toward the companion's face, wondering when Dumbledore started to wear black. His finger was intercepted by hands that appeared strangely like frog feet. "I am not Dumbledore," his companion spoke, irritated. Izar snickered, pausing, before gasping. "No" his eyes watched as Dumbledore sneered before morphing into a toad head. "You're a bloody toad!" "I beg your pardon?" His companion questioned dangerously. Izar eyed the long black hair coming from the toad's head and stared at it quizzically. "When did toads grow fur? I never read about such a spectacle" The toad's eyes turned upward in exasperation. "Who knew you had such an overactive imagination, love?" The toad leaned closer, gently taking Izar's face in his flippers and
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placing cold lips to his forehead. Only, it wasn't as disgusting as Izar thought it would be. It felt like real lips, cold lips, but real nonetheless. "Go to sleep, Izar." Izar felt his eyelids begin to droop and he caught blazing crimson eyes before he blinked off into oblivion. "Tom" Izar whispered hoarsely, dozing off. "Don't let the toads kill me." "Never." {Death of Today} All Izar could remember were colorful visions and hot and cold. He was never comfortable and he was never without a vision of dancing animals and talking toads. He had dreams that he and Voldemort got matching robes, robes that looked suspiciously like the one's Dumbledore wore at the Weighing of the Wand ceremony. Waving moons and all. After what felt like ages, Izar opened his eyes, happy to be grounded into real life. There were no Basilisks dancing with Acromantulas and more importantly, there were no waving moons. Izar breathed deeply through his nose and let it out slowly through his mouth. He blinked once again, studying his surroundings. It was horribly dark and dingy, a far cry from Hogwarts' infirmary. The bronze bedposts were rusty and covered full of soot. The heavy drapes were pulled across the window, blocking any sunlight that wished to glimpse through. Leisurely, Izar sat up, his head spinning just a bit. Beside the bed, he eyed the basin and cloth. He remembered his forehead being washed and soothing hands reassuring him. Without meaning to, he flushed at the tips of his ears as he recalled bits and pieces of Voldemort nearby. So the Dark Lord had been taking care of him. But why here? He just prayed, to whatever god, that he hadn't said or done anything too horribly. Izar's bare feet touched the wood floor as he shakily stood from bed. A simple black cloak dressed his frame and he wondered at the mere size of it. It pooled to the ground and the arms lengthened past his hands by a couple of inches. It must have been the Dark Lord's. Charcoal-green eyes looked interestedly at his fingers, observing quickly that the ring the Dark Lord had given him was absent from his middle finger. Odd Izar furrowed his brows and slowly walked out the door to his room. He used the wall as support as he slowly shuffled down the long corridor. The hallway was just as dingy as the room he woke up in. It would be impossible to see if it wasn't for the few candles mounted on the walls. He eyed the oil painting above his head, taking in the appearance of the subject. A shock of dark hair and aristocratic features met his scrutiny. That arrogant smirk looked oddly familiar
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"My father," a voice whispered in the shadows. Izar stiffened suddenly, a wash of cold sweat beading across his forehead at the shock. His eyes searched for the figure he knew to be nearby, but could only see a faint outline of the Dark Lord in the shadows. He couldn't even sense the man's magic it made Izar on edge as he tried to remember what happened. Izar cleared his throat, well too aware that he, himself, was clearly visible to the man's eyes from the light of the candle. "Your father?" Izar questioned; his voice hoarse. He turned to look back up at the painting, too afraid to admit that Voldemort looked remarkably like the man. If he admitted it out loud, the Dark Lord would most likely hex Izar back into bed. "The Muggle father you killed when you were sixteen?" A sinister chuckle issued from the cloaked figure. "The very same," the man conceded. "Good memory." Izar stared up at Riddle Senior, trying to gather the courage to just ask. Surely the man wouldn't bite off his head. "What happened, My Lord?" Izar sighed softly, turning away from the smirking portrait and toward a man that was no doubt giving a mirrored smirk similar to that of his late father. "In the Tournament? Why am I here in your late father's home?" And why are you hiding yourself? "A good question, Izar, one I'm sure you can answer yourself. Think. Severus was the only one amongst your Headmaster and I to figure out what the substance was that affected you, but I'm sure, my little prodigy, that you can figure it out just as quick as he could." Izar grinned lightly at the term 'my little prodigy' but forced himself to put his mind back on track. "I remember getting finished with battling the Acromantulas" "Rather brilliantly, may I add?" Voldemort interrupted softly, praising him. Izar's chest warmed at the praise. "Thank you, sir." His Dark Mark tinged pleasantly and Izar cleared his throat once again. "I was crouching to get my bag of vials and then I remembered feeling a magical source approach me from behind." "Because of your magical sensitivity," Voldemort reasoned with Izar. "Tell me, child, would you remember the magic you encountered if you were faced with it again?" "No," Izar shook his head, certain. "The magic I sense varies by intensity, not by magical signature I'm afraid. Dumbledore and you are more powerful amongst many, and that affects me more than others. I can also tell someone's mood by their magic. If you're angry, I can feel your magic mirroring your emotions." "Incredible," the man remarked. "But it's a pity you wouldn't identify your attacker." Voldemort's voice came out icy. "Please, continue."
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Izar gave a light shrug as his mind flashed back toward the Tournament. "I turned to get a face full of dust, a lavender colored dust." His brows furrowed and he tried to remember. "It was glowing, I remember that. I breathed it in because I was about to cast a curse to the attacker behind me. And after thatnothing." Izar paused before he looked up at Voldemort, eager. "The Watchful, surely you all," "Your Watchful was manipulated and attacked. Rather conveniently, Lukas Steinar's Watchful blinked out moments before your own. We did not see anything worth mentioning." "The dust," Izar continued; his mind racing. "I've read about this sort of thing before." The side-affects were hallucinations and fever. The dust itself was purple and glowing, a rare magical color amongst plants. With the exception of "Devils Venenum," Izar exclaimed, his eyes widening. "It would explain the hallucinations and why I was brought here, to a Muggle residence." He hesitated. "If I had never told you I was magic sensitive, I would be," "Dead." The hairs on Izar's neck stood at the man's sharp tone. "And your lack of magic? The Muggle friendly atmosphere would explain why my ring is missing. Only you would be able to take if off" "And it will be going back on as soon as you are healthy." Voldemort left no room for argument. "As far as my magical core goes, you are probably aware of the various spells involved to removing one's magic. I bottled it up and hid it among the house under multiple of protection spells. Becoming Muggle was the only option I had to watch over you." Izar remained silent. He knew how important magic was to Voldemort and he was truly grateful that the man had taken him under his wing. But Izar was also curious. It burned him to know Voldemort's reasoning. Surely he didn't impress Voldemort that much with his magical power. After all, Voldemort first saw Izar at the Ministry ball during the summer. The man had been oblivious to the fact that Izar had been an Unspeakable and a prodigy. So what, exactly, drew the man to Izar? The man claimed it was the way Izar held himself. And he also claimed it was something else, something he wouldn't tell Izar then. What was it? "I hope you don't mind if I absorb my magic," Voldemort spoke, interrupting Izar's train of thoughts. "You seem better. The dust is out of your system. If you find yourself seeing hallucinating, don't hesitate to inform me and I will remove my magic as quick as possible. In the meantime, I want you to get back to bed. You need to sleep."
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Izar's sharp eyes watched as Voldemort stayed within the shadows, careful not to expose his face to Izar. It was uncanny. Could the man have been hiding something else under his glamour? Something Izar has yet to see? Rather ironic, to have a glamour underneath a glamour, yet also worrisome. Izar nodded; turning and shuffling back to his room. He paused before entering, keeping his back turned to the Dark Lord. "Thank you," Izar whispered. "For looking after me and not bringing me to the orphanage." "Think nothing of it," Voldemort murmured in understanding. Only the Dark Lord would understand Izar's fear of returning to the orphanage without prior knowledge. The man's voice was slowly becoming distant as he moved down the corridor. "At any rate, it was rather amusing to listen to you babble. It kept me most entertained." Izar's eyes widened as he hurried inside the bedroom and onto his bed. Surely he hadn't said too many things? As his mind raced, Izar found himself falling asleep despite his refusal to surrender to slumber. Before he fell asleep, he felt a burst of magic wash through the house. A light smile played his lips as he was comforted by the Dark Lord's magic. Odd the more he thought about it, the more he realized that he was conscious to someone's different magical signature. Or, at least Voldemort's. {Death of Today} "Don't look so gloom," Voldemort chided softly that afternoon at dinner. Izar sat across from the man, staring at his plate of food. Izar straightened in his seat, trying to burry away his sour emotions. He had been thinking about countless of issues that afternoon in bed. Voldemort had ordered Izar in bed all day. What else could Izar do but to think? It wasn't good for him to sit and dwell, especially because he began thinking of things he wanted to avoid; such as the ring now presently on his finger, Regulus, the Task, the Dark Mark, and the Dark Lord's secrecy. It was a bloody mess. Issuing a light sigh, Izar blinked over at the Prophet which sat in the middle of the table. "I'm in last place, aren't I?" His eyes rose from the paper, just slightly, to glance at a scrutinizing Dark Lord. "How many points behind am I from the others?" Voldemort gave him a long, searching stare. The man knew Izar's mind was not preoccupied with the Tournament's status. Nonetheless, he answered brusquely. "Each Champion was rewarded ten points for each item recovered. Each minute the Champion
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lasted in the Task, the judges took off one point from their score. Cyprien Beaumont is in the lead with eighty five points, Lukas Steinar received eighty points and you received seventy." Voldemort read off from the paper in front of him. Izar grimaced. "And how did they determine my score if I didn't finish?" "You had nine items in your bag at the time of the attack, which would have given you ninety points. However, like the other Champions, they needed to subtract the time lapse. They estimated you would have taken twenty minutes if you hadn't gone to search for the runespoors. They were rather generous. It also took the Durmstrang boy twenty minutes to complete his Task." Izar offered a snort. "And the next Task has to do with dueling? Brilliant," Izar quipped sardonically. How would he bloody win the Tournament if he couldn't even duel? "Your confidence is utterly remarkable," Voldemort stated. His tone was just as dry as Izar's was. "From what I've gathered, you are doing very well with Professor Black." Crimson eyes taunted Izar. The Ravenclaw was more aware of the ring on his finger than ever. "He's told you?" Izar questioned, surprised. He wouldn't have thought Sirius Black would willingly speak to Tom Riddle; even if it was just the politician. His uncle was a bit dense at times, but Izar was sure he was just as suspicious of Riddle as Dumbledore was. After all, Sirius was close to the Headmaster. Surely the two shared their deepest, darkest secrets That was laugh worthy. "No," Voldemort chuckled lightly, the laugh not sounding comforting. "I've been watching your lessons with him." He said, as if it were an everyday occurrence. Izar swallowed, looking down at his plate to hide his horror. "Have you?" Izar asked calmly, no sign of his dismay in his tone. He wouldn't even ask how the man was observing the lessons when Izar had never been prone to his presence. "Naturally," the man drawled. Naturally. Right. Izar studied the man through lowered lashes. The attack happened yesterday in the afternoon. All through yesterday and last night, Izar struggled through visions and hallucinations. Today was spent in bed under the watchful eye of Voldemort. The man wanted Izar to get used to his magic and watch for any signs of a relapse. It hadn't happened. Today, Voldemort appeared like his Dark Lord persona. Izar had thought it was the man's
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true appearance, but after the night before, he wondered what else the man was hiding. Black hair, pale skin, bright crimson eyes, and a thin body wasn't that what his appearance really looked like? The man was immortal, forever frozen at the young age of thirty? What was there to hide? The man looked up from his plate of dinner, catching Izar's inspection. Izar straightened, clearing his throat. "You're a celebrity," Izar commented lazily as he stared down at the Prophet. He was well aware of the taunting smirk crossing Voldemort's lips at his sudden change in topic. From across the table, Izar studied the photo of Tom Riddle, the politician, smiling charmingly at the crowd right before Izar's Task. Izar was pictured next to the man, looking utterly uncomfortable at the attention. He grimaced at his smile, wondering where the hell Riddle learned how to smile so brilliantly. "They think you are a Saint for taking me in and nursing me back to health." Izar looked up at the Prophet, observing the Dark Lord as the man sipped at his tea. Red eyes danced merrily as they eyed Izar across the table. "They have no business knowing I took you away, only to have my wicked way with you," the Dark Lord offered a malevolent smirk before his eyes fell on Izar's plate. "Eat." Izar's chest tightened with the man's remark, not nave enough to miss the truth to the man's comment. There was something there in the obvious remark, almost a seductive promise. Izar stared down at his plate, wondering why his belly felt both hot and sickened. He couldn't bearoused at the thought of the Dark Lord's promise, could he? However shameful he felt, he couldn't deny the mere excitement at the thought of the Dark Lord touching him intimately. Sex was never the forefront of Izar's mind like it was the rest of his classmates. He never had time to wonder what it would be like to have fun in that way. It never interested him. But somehow he got a tight sensation in his stomach at the thought of having the Dark Lord close enough to place his lips on his neck, or having the man's skillful fingers linger across his skin. It was sort of like a sick thrill. But Izar was also sickened. The man most likely did this to his other followers. He played with their minds and feelings, igniting a longing in his Death Eaters that made his followers only crave more. Little did they know they would never receive that intimate touch they craved so badly. That's how the Dark Lord played. He was vicious enough to make his followers crave attention, and in turn, they would be unreservedly loyal as he took them for granted. Izar had to remember that he was favored, yes, but he also had to remember that he was only fifteen. The Dark Lord would most certainly not be interested in him sexually. It was just a game to him. Not only would Voldemort be looked down upon by many of his followers for bedding a declared 'Mudblood' who happened to be a schoolboy, but Izar would also refuse any advances from the older man.
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Yes, he shamefully admitted he would be thrilled. But he was too logical to accept a sexual relationship with a bloody Dark Lord. Izar was fiercely independent. He was already reminded of his enslavement to the Dark Lord through the Dark Mark and the bloody ring on his finger. Just thinking of allowing the man more leeway over his freedom in terms of sex would put Izar over the edge. He would never do it. And that, he was certain. "What's on your mind?" Voldemort taunted, sipping at his tea and searching Izar's expression from over the rim of his cup. "Nothing," Izar spoke impassively, his face closed off entirely. He was angry with himself for falling for the Dark Lord's mind games. "I only wondered at your political gain for taking me in. A mere child, the poor, unfortunate orphan who was thrown into the Tournament by mistake and Undersecretary Riddle comes to the rescue as he nurtures the poor boy back to life at the risk of his own magic, his own vulnerability." Izar stabbed his potato. "My you must be the bee's knees of many women." A lipless smile curled Voldemort's lips and the man looked absolutely delighted. "Bee's knees, Izar? My poor child, you must be affected by the Headmaster's close proximity. Soon, I fear, you may be sucking on lemon drops and engaging Muggles in a well-mannered conversation." Izar was sickened at the imagery that entitled. "But you are correct, to some extent," Voldemort agreed. "I need to look appealing to the public. It took me many years to get to where I am today. I need to keep up appearances with my spectators." Izar gave a sharp nod. It was about appearances. And it was all about possessions. "However, that doesn't mean I took you in just because of my image. You needed someone who took your safety seriously. You wouldn't find such concern with filthy Muggles." Voldemort's lip curled in disgust as his eyes focused elsewhere. "Who do you think did it?" Izar asked innocently. "The Devil's Venenum is native only to Asia. It wasn't as if a bloody plant apparated from Asia to walk up behind me to scatter the dust." Voldemort gave a deep hum, his gaze on the paper in front of him. "I wouldn't know who attacked you." Izar blinked, losing his appetite. The man knew something, perhaps everything, and he wasn't sharing it with him. "Is that so?" Izar drawled, motivated. "And when, exactly, are you planning to come out to the public, My Lord? Surely, with this Tournament, you have
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something in mind, something flashy and devastating." Voldemort's crimson eyes shot up to Izar. A cool calm washed his features. "Mind your tongue." The man may have been calm, yet his eyes were far from laid back. They pierced right through Izar's core. His jaw clenched before he continued quietly. "I think I have a right to know your plans, My Lord, after all, they involve me. Someone wants to get back at you, don't they? They didn't want to attack me yesterday; they just wanted to get at you. Somehow, they know you entered my name into the Goblet and they think they can get at you through me." Voldemort continued to gaze at Izar blankly. No words were said and Izar already knew he had stepped over the boundaries. He slumped back against his chair, his lips sealed. He knew he pushed a bit too far and he was suffering because of it. The Dark Mark on his left forearm was a steady burn of pain and the crimson eyes staring at him was just as uncomfortable. "As I have told you before," Voldemort began softly, controlling his rage beautifully. "I don't need to tell you anything. I am your Master and you are my follower. Any plans I make do not need to be passed through your approval. Do you understand me?" "Yes, My Lord," Izar responded quietly, lowering his eyes in submission. The Dark Lord's chair gave a stiffened groan as the man stood. With slow and calculated strides, Voldemort leisurely approached Izar. The Ravenclaw was rigid and he flinched as a cool finger brushed his cheek. Voldemort tsked disapprovingly at his flinch, before quickly grabbing a good hold of Izar's jaw. The familiar shock at their contact ran the length of Izar's skin, but he was too familiar with it to react outwardly. He was turned to forcibly meet Voldemort's gaze. He stared into the crimson eyes, realizing that the man's pupils were split. Funny, he remembered reading about the causes of split pupils before. It was true that excessive Dark Magic caused one's eyes to turn red, but the Arts never disfigured the pupils. What, exactly, did he read about? He had forgotten. It seemed trivial at the time he was reading it. "Don't assume you are mere bait, child. It is an insult to me if you believe I don't take your safety seriously." The Dark Lord's rage was slowly dissipating. The burn in Izar's Mark was all but a small twinge. "Truthfully, I entered your name in the Goblet because I believed, and still do so, that you are the only wizard at Hogwarts who can stand a chance against the French and Norwegians." Izar sat stiffly as Voldemort's opposite hand reached out to run through his hair. Had he not just thought of the scenario of the man's wandering hands? It was just as Izar thought it would be. Thrilling. Yet his face was emotionless as Voldemort's tapered fingers tugged at his hair in almost an
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affectionate gesture. "You will remain oblivious to my plans for the Tournament. I want your head to be focused on the Tasks, not on the plot behind the scenes." The man, for good measure, tapped Izar's temple. Suddenly, Riddle dropped his hands from Izar's face before he leaned closer, his breath tickling Izar's ear. "You will be avenged for yesterday's attack. I promise you that." As Riddle pulled back, Izar was greeted with a chilling smile. "Now, finish your dinner. After which, we will return to Hogwarts." The man swept from the room, leaving Izar alone. He sat there, frozen. Why did he feel as if he just got manipulated? He frowned, blinking. The man was trying to pull him away from thinking about the Tournament. It proved Izar's suspicions correct that Riddle knew everything transpiring. The man was all knowing. So why couldn't Izar be told? Why did he always feel torn for what he felt about the Dark Lord? The man was bloody perplexing. Izar respected the man, even more so for what the Dark Lord did for him these last few days, but there were other times he hated the man. If he was so favored by the Dark Lord, why couldn't he know of the events happening around him? There were just so many things he was in the dark about. When would he be trusted enough to learn of his own bloody life? His eyes fell on his middle finger, studying the black titanium ring he still didn't know the properties to. Sighing noisily, he placed his face in his open hand. Sometimes he wondered why the hell he was putting himself through all this. {Death of Today} "He recovered magnificently," Riddle chorused delightfully in front of the reporters. Izar blinked as the bulbs from the cameras flashed. A possessive hand curled around his shoulders, bringing him close to the taller body beside him. He thought he was going to vomit at Riddle's feet from the man's sugary tone of voice and that god awful smile. "It took Mr. Harrison only two days to recover, from what I thought would take a good week. It just goes to show how determined this young man is." Riddle tightened his hold on Izar, almost hugging him close. It was possibly a warning for Izar to smile or it could have been Riddle's show of affection to the press. Izar remembered viewing his smile in the Daily Prophet and decided he would settle with a soft smirk instead. They all talked at once, Rita Skeeter among the group. She looked irritated at the many wizards talking over her. Izar watched her in amusement as one of the other reporters'
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elbows flew in her direction. White curls sprang from her pins and her glasses were knocked askew as she tried to avoid the flying elbow. They were all an amusing sort of group. He could see why Riddle found it entertaining to play with them. One of the men's voices raised above all the others as he thrust his wand in front of Izar's face. "And you, Mr. Harrison, what is your take on the attack?" Izar blinked, his expression easily controlled. Voldemort had warned him on the way to Hogwarts not to speak of the attack. If he did so, do it vaguely. Talking about the attack would have to be done by a more skilled dancer in the political field and Voldemort told Izar, straightforwardly, that he was not a dancer as of yet. The reporters' voices died down, their eager quills dancing in their fingers as they awaited Izar's comment. "I'm going to try to put the events of the attack behind me in favor of focusing on the Second Task. I'm just very thankful of Senior Undersecretary Riddle for looking after me in my vulnerable state. I cannot, truly, express my gratitude for his excellent and professional care." Sarcasm was just dripping from his voice and he knew Voldemort would pick up on it just as easily as Izar delivered it. The man chuckled, his fingers digging into Izar's shoulder. "And who, Mr. Harrison, in your opinion, do you think is behind this attack?" "I think Mr. Harrison has had enough excitement for one day, ladies and gentlemen," a voice rumbled its way through the crowd. Izar caught sight of the vibrant yellow robes of Dumbledore. Next to him, he heard Voldemort give an almost inaudible hiss. Hearing the hiss, Izar couldn't help but to compare it to the mother Ashwinder as she guarded her nest. They were all standing in front of the gates of Hogwarts. The press wasn't allowed to enter the immediate grounds of Hogwarts without permission. So, they did the next best thing and waited outside the gates for Riddle and Izar to arrive. Dumbledore had just exited the gates, his eyes directed on Izar. Izar tried to hide his horrified shiver. Seeing the Headmaster's robes reminded him of his hallucinations. It made it worse that there were a few, happy wasps flying about at the hems of his robes. Izar would have nightmares, surely. Dumbledore always looked so merry, no matter his mood. Izar supposed it was similar to Riddle's mask. Only, Riddle had an eerie calm or fake politeness and Dumbledore was always cheerful. "I'm sure Mr. Riddle will be happy to stay behind and answer a few of your questions."
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The Headmaster reached over and gently guided Izar with a hand to his shoulder. He didn't get far. Riddle kept his hold on Izar, not allowing Dumbledore to drag Izar away from him. Izar watched as a sinister smile crossed Riddle's face before he finally let Izar go. Being a toy between the two powerful wizards was never a good thing. Izar walked with Dumbledore to the gates of Hogwarts with a funny feeling in his chest. He glanced behind him, searching Riddle as the man was cornered with the press. Dumbledore must have done that on purpose. He purposely suggested Riddle stay behind why? "Are you feeling better, Mr. Harrison?" Dumbledore questioned lowly as they walked up to the castle doors. It was dark outside, almost after dinner. Many of the windows to the castle were lightened, giving it an at ease feeling. "Truly, I feel fine. Hehe did a decent job," Izar spoke, a bit irritated with the arm still on his shoulder. He had never encountered a manipulative Dumbledore before. He had always heard the man liked to pull strings, but Izar had never experienced it personally. Looking at the man's weathered face and twinkling blue eyes, Izar could easily see Dumbledore as being an incredibly skilled manipulator. The man came off as innocent and kind, a man whom someone sought after to place their trust in. "I would have thought your recovery would have taken longer," the Headmaster continued as they entered the castle. Its magic and warmth nudged at Izar, relaxing him. "Are you certain you are better?" Izar took a deep breath, smelling the odor of rich meats and freshly baked bread. The sound of dishes clashing further down the hall signified that dinner was still being served. "If you're trying to hint that Undersecretary Riddle was just eager to absorb his magic again, no, that wasn't the case. He waited to place his magic back until I was decent enough to taste magic once again." Dumbledore blinked; a deep frown on his lips before he smiled. "That's not I was hinting at, my boy. I just wanted to make sure you were one hundred percent," the man patted his shoulder as he led him down an opposite corridor. "Where are we going, Headmaster?" Izar asked suspiciously. They were entering the corridor near the Trophy room, not too far from the Great Hall. "I'm afraid we must make a quick stop with the other judges, Mr. Harrison. They are concerned with your wellbeing and they also want to bring up a much needed topic about the Tournament." Dumbledore's strides widened and Izar tried to keep up without looking too ungraceful. "Surely you want the other judges there?" Izar demanded softly. "Mr. Riddle is back with the press," "Here we are," Dumbledore opened the door to a small, unused classroom. Izar looked at
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the man's small smile before entering the room reluctantly. It was small, most definitely. Madame Maxime and Headmaster Karkaroff were sitting toward the back of the room, their expressions clearly revealing they didn't want to be there. The French Minister, Serge Roux, looked just as bored, but also a bit intrigued as he sat near the empty chair in the front. And then there was a pacing Minister Steinar. Bjrn stopped moving as soon as Izar entered, a murderous expression crossing his face. Izar was unimpressed. He flashed the judges a cool look before walking toward the single chair. It was faced toward the room, toward the judges, so he assumed it was for this interrogating. He sat down arrogantly, raising his eyebrows at the adults as if he had other places to go. Dumbledore shut the door, his face solemn. "May I just express that we are happy to have you, Mr. Harrison? It's good to see you healthy," Dumbledore started, the ever crowd pleaser. Izar gave a small hum, less than tickled. "Get on with it, Dumbledore, we don't have all night," Karkaroff growled, his rotting teeth flashing in a grimace. "Question the boy and get it over with." Minister Steinar glowered across the room at the Durmstrang Headmaster. "We've set up this meeting to question you about your motives, boy," Steinar continued despondently. "That was very advanced magic you conjured during the First Task, Dark magic, but also very advanced." Izar nodded, blank. "Yes, sir," he responded dully. "Is that all?" Steinar's lip lifted in distaste. "Of course not, you insolent," "Minister Steinar," Dumbledore interrupted calmly. He raised his bushy eyebrows toward the Norwegian Minister before coolly turning to Izar. He grabbed two textbooks on the table near the door just on his way toward Izar. Charcoal-green eyes examined the books in his hands, not close enough to catch what they were. "We don't wish to intimidate or accuse you too strongly, Izar." Here, the French Minister snorted. "My book!" Izar exclaimed in fury once he caught sight of the old leather tome. "What are you doing with my possessions? Or more importantly, why did you go through my things?" In Dumbledore's hands was his book, the Eruditio, the very same one Voldemort had given him for his fifteenth birthday. "You see, Albus, he even admits it," Bjrn's hand flicked through the air in disgust. "He framed my son." "Excuse me?" Izar questioned icily.
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"A Durmstrang student found this book in Lukas Steinar's cabin, Izar." Dumbledore handed the other textbook to Izar. Izar stared at it uncomprehendingly. "I've never seen this book before," Izar declared. He flipped quickly through the crinkled pages, noticing it was a Dark Arts book. "And as much as you'd like to accuse me, I've never read it before either." He paused, considering. "However, I wouldn't mind reading it I hardly come across a true Dark Arts book," "Liar." Minster Steinar hissed. "Said Durmstrang student was afraid to go to Minister Steinar with the book, so they approached me with it. I looked over it and noticed a very peculiar observation." Dumbledore flipped through the pages until he came to a section where the corner of a page was bent. Izar grimaced. He hated it when individuals mutated books like that. Dumbledore creased open the book, revealing it to Izar. The Ravenclaw had to squint in order to see the article on the Devil's Venenum. Someone used a lot of ink as they circled the article, a clear sign they had been interested in it. Izar felt the shift of magic. The temperature dropped a few degrees creating small goose bumps on Izar's arms. His eyes caught sight of the door quietly opening to emit the Dark Lord. No one noticed his entrance and Izar wasn't going to point him out. "A student found this in Lukas' room," Izar reasoned. "Someone had clearly circled the section about the Devil's Venenum," Izar gave a small chuckle. "And you're accusing me of what exactly? Isn't it obvious that it was Lukas who had this book in his possession and had circled the section himself?" "Not necessarily," Dumbledore started before Bjrn could interrupt. The Headmaster flipped a few more pages until he came upon another marked page. He revealed it to Izar. The Ravenclaw's heart skipped a beat. "The same spell you conjured during the Task is circled as well, faintly this time, yet it is still marked. The Inferorum animas, Izar. The very same spell you produced." Indeed the page he was looking at was the Inferorum animas. A faint ink mark circled the passage, looking worn and studied. Izar felt the Dark Lord stalk the outermost part of the classroom. Judging from the darkening of Dumbledore's face, the Headmaster was aware of Tom's presence as well. Izar was just relieved that the man was here. "That isn't all," Steinar murmured passionately. "Dumbledore went through your things," "Minister, I will continue on from here, thank you." Dumbledore's voice was sharp, reprimanding. Blue eyes turned back to a silent Izar. "After seeing this textbook and hearing Lukas' oath that it was not his book, I thought it best for all parties to look through your
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personal belongings. As a Headmaster, I have every right to do so. I did not invade your privacy; I only glanced over your books. I stumbled across this one in particular," here, Dumbledore held up the Eruditio. Izar didn't understand why Dumbledore thought the book was important to the topic at hand. The book Voldemort gave him was very functional. The pages would be blank until the reader wished to study a topic. He or she would then tap their wand over the pages. And only then would the pages begin to fill with ink at the subject at hand. By all reasonable means, the Eruditio's pages should be blank. "Open it, Mr. Harrison." Dumbledore's face was grave as he passed the book over to Izar. Izar studied the Headmaster a moment before opening the tome. The pages were blank, as he expected, only, the book opened suddenly to the middle. Izar frowned as he spotted the clear pack of purple dust. His fingers pinched the outermost corner of the baggy and he pulled it up to his face. Inside the small bag was the same purple dust he got in his face during the First Task. Devil's Venenum. "I" Izar scoffed. "I don't understand. I carry this book everywhere, surely someone could have planted it," "Lies," Steinar hissed. Behind him, the other judges looked surprised and a bit upset. "What the bloody hell do you think I did? Scatter the dust across my own bloody face?" Izar snapped, angry.

"That's exactly what you did," Bjrn smiled excitingly. "You want to frame my son, to kick him out of this Tournament. You destroyed his Watchful before your own to create suspicion that it was Lukas who had committed the crime. And in turn, his own classmates become suspicious of him and took the initiative to look in his room. They conveniently found the book you placed in his school bag, the very same book that had the Devil's Venenum circled inside. By all means, it looks as if Lukas was the one to commit the crime. But you didn't count on the chance that Dumbledore would find the evidence in your belongings that you were the one to scatter the dust across your own being in order to frame another Champion. A Cha A loud clapping sounded throughout the room before anyone could fire back. "My, Minister, that is a good theory," Riddle's voice purred. "Indulge me, please, how long did it take for you to come up with it? Surely your thick mind couldn't have come up with it by your lonesome." Bjrn's face turned brick red with anger. "What are you doing here? You weren't invited." Riddle opened his mouth in mock surprise, glancing about the room. "I see my Champion in here, who happens to be a minor, without his mentor. Why shouldn't I be invited?"
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"Mr. Harrison is the Hogwarts Champion, Mr. Riddle," Dumbledore rumbled. "My attendance is all that was needed." Despite the seriousness in the situation, Izar couldn't help but to smirk. Dumbledore, the old fool, actually had some gonads. It was a rather brilliant remark to make against the seemingly arrogant Tom Riddle. Just how will Riddle take it? From the corner of his eye, Izar watched as Riddle's eyebrows rose mockingly. "Yes, but he's also Britain's Champion. Forgive me, but you only run a section of Hogwarts, not Britain as a whole. I am in charge of Britain." Izar resisted the urge to chuckle. Doing so would show his favoritism to the conversation. It was better to remain neutral. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but that description lies with the title of the Minister, Mr. Riddle, not the Undersecretary." Dumbledore replied steely. Across the room, Minister Roux coughed politely in his hand, his heavy glasses veiling the amusement crossing his features. Voldemort stared Roux down before turning his gaze back on Dumbledore. A cruel, lipless smile stretched his lips. "For now," the man promised silkily. "But we aren't here to speak of personal matters; we're here to listen to Minister Steinar's marvelous scheme with rapt attention. Please, continue Bjrn. So sorry to take away your moment in the spotlight, you were right in the middle of the big climax, too. Pity," the man tisked. Izar snickered. Red in the face, Bjrn rounded on Izar, pointing a finger at him. "I bet you're in conspiracy with your Undersecretary, isn't that right boy? He placed your name in the Goblet. I know it." Bjrn turned to the group of judges. "Oh, for the love of Merlin," Minister Roux exclaimed at the change of topic. "We are discussing the use of Devil's Venenum, not pointing fingers at who entered whom in the Tournament. I'm sure, Mr. Steinar, that we can find some conspiracy of who put your son's name in the Goblet." Steinar huffed through his nose, ignoring Roux. "Riddle placed this boy's name in the Goblet because they had everything planned out already. Riddle couldn't stand another year of Britain being the lowest ranking school, the lowest ranking nation. So he configured a plan to set up the Norwegians. Because clearly, we are the superior school, the biggest threat to them." Steinar puffed out his chest, pride all but glowing across his features. "Clearly?" The French Minister stood up. It was the most active Izar had ever seen the man. "And just how do you figure that?" Bjrn flashed the French Minister a snarl. "French," the man spat out as if it were vile. "Thank your god that this incident transpired when it did. Otherwise, you wouldn't be in first
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place at the moment." Roux flushed; his French accent thickening. "You dare? We, the French, do not need to create a conspiracy just to cover up the fact that we have lost a match. No, that lies with the Norwegians." Izar sat back, observing the quarrel. Both Madame Maxime and Headmasters Karkaroff and Dumbledore were standing toward the back of the room, away from the argument. Izar realized then that this Tournament was only political. It was no longer about getting to know other students in other nations; it was about bragging rights to the politicians. It was also personal, very personal. He looked up at Riddle, noticing the man already watching him. Judging from the haughtiness coming from Riddle, Izar assumed the man had intended for this to happen. Riddle winked at Izar before holding out his hand. Bemused, Izar looked at his lap, noticing the Eruditio. He grabbed the leather tome and passed it to the Dark Lord. The Undersecretary took the book before opening it up to the packet of Devil's Venenum. He eyed the substance thoughtfully before placing it in his pocket. Long fingers tapped his pocket The man smirked, brushing his fingers tenderly across the back of Izar's neck. He stiffened at the contact, an odd feeling tightening his stomach. "If I may interrupt," Riddle started, silencing the two bickering men. All eyes turned to the tallest man in the room. The fingers dropped from Izar's neck as Riddle took a step forward. "Considering we are not getting anywhere with the subject at hand, I think we should dismiss this meeting. There is no hard evidence. A student or an adult could have placed the Devil's Venenum in Mr. Harrison's book. As he said before, he carries it around everywhere." Minister Bjrn Steinar seethed. "As far as your Champion goes, Mr. Steinar, it could have been the same scenario. We don't have any idea why someone would want to create such an upset. This situation, however, does call for a closer eye on our students' safety." "You are correct, Mr. Riddle," Dumbledore stepped forward, the wasps on his robes buzzing merrily. Izar eyed them distrustfully. "Let us disband until further evidence is collected." It was almost like a race to get out of the classroom. Madame Maxime scrambled out first, ducking her head before she crossed the exit. Minister Roux left shortly after with Headmaster Karkaroff and Dumbledore at his heels. Minister Steinar hesitated, his handsome features contorting fiercely. "I'm watching you two," the man whispered threateningly. Riddle just smiled pleasantly. "You will not get at my son." The man left in a swirl of robes.
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"A rather enjoyable evening," Izar observed as soon as the judges had escaped. Riddle chuckled softly in agreement. The man's hand reached toward him again, only this time, Izar knew he wasn't asking for the book. Hesitating, just momentarily, he placed his own hand in Riddle's. The man curled his fingers around Izar's hand before assisting him in standing. As Izar stood, he was more than aware of the larger hand still holding his. "You need to get a good nights rest," Riddle ordered. "And I expect you come to me if you start to relapse. Though," the man began, a light smile playing his face. "I wouldn't be surprised if you had nightmares over Dumbledore's most recent robes. The man's garments seemed to be your favored hallucinations at my Muggle father's home. That and toads." Izar grinned, glad to note he wasn't the only one who was disturbed by the old man's robes. Riddle dropped Izar's hands in favor of reaching up toward Izar's hair. He tugged at a stray curl. "I enjoyed our time together," he purred. "I only wished it could have been on less serious terms." "I'll try not to poison myself beforehand, I suppose." Izar spoke mockingly, a bit affected by the man's proximity. "We can't have them figuring out our plan, can we?" Riddle dropped his hand, a lethal smile appearing on his face. Izar was taken aback at the true wickedness behind it. Charmed brown eyes gleamed excitingly behind Riddle's glasses as the man tapped Izar's cheek. "No, we can't have that." With one last light tap to his cheek, Riddle swept from the room as silently as he had entered. Izar stared at the spot where Riddle had once stood. Merlin.

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Part I Chapter 17

{Notes} Thanks for all of your reviews last chapter. In form of a review-reply, here is the next chapter Chapter Seventeen It was finally quiet in the halls as he lazily walked toward Professor Black's classroom. After dinner was study time for the majority of the castle, and luckily, Black's classroom was far away from the boisterous Gryffindors and Hufflepuffs. He had a headache from today's constant blabbering. Izar had hoped today, the day after he arrived back at Hogwarts, would have been a day back into his routine. He had classes, something that would take him away from all his problems. How foolish he had been The students hadn't shut up about the attack. They had been bright eyed as they stared at Izar in the halls, enamored at the very sight of his presence. But they just didn't stop there. They approached him and asked him what it was like to be in Undersecretary Riddle's care, what it was like in the forest, who he thought attacked him. It was a list of endless questions and luckily, Daphne had been at his side for the majority of the day. She had calmed him whenever he wanted to flee and she had also warded off the students who weren't deserved enough to be by him. He had also caught sight of two students throughout the day that had been a constant ache to his side. Draco and Granger. With the blonde boy, Izar would always catch the boy gazing at him from across the hall or classroom with a bit of yearning. Whenever Draco noticed Izar watching, he had looked away, a steadfast frown on his face. Izar also didn't miss the envious stares Daphne was getting from his cousin, either. And then there was Granger. She was just as bad as Draco. The Mudblood was silently watching him, observing him with her upturned nose. If anyone didn't have any business in his personal life, it was her. Izar knew that look in her eyes. She thought she knew everything happening around her, as if it were obvious. Izar had once worn that expression earlier in his years. But that was before he realized life wasn't cut into black and white. Izar was happy to have a one-on-one session with his dear uncle. Sirius wasn't entirely as bad as Izar imagined the man to be. His uncle was usually quiet and collected, teaching Izar remarkably well. Other times, the man tried to issue a sly joke that Izar blinked at dully, not
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amused. The man had left the issue with Regulus alone ever since Izar had denied any claim to the Black family. However, his uncle continued to stare at Izar with a dazed expression on his face. It was all irritating. He came to a stop in front of the DADA classroom and paused. He wondered if Voldemort was here today. The man had bluntly claimed he had watched his interactions with Sirius before. Surely the man had better things to do today than to watch Izar fall flat on his face at dueling? Or, at least Izar hoped so. Raising his knuckles, he paused to eye his left hand. Because classes resumed so quickly, Izar had yet to read about the ring. He planned to do it right after his private lesson with Sirius. But until he did so, he decided to wear a fingerless leather glove on his left hand. The glove had just the right amount of material to hide the ring from prying eyes. He wouldn't have bothersome children ask after it. Blowing hot air through his mouth, he knocked irritably. "Come in," Sirius called distractively from the other side. Izar entered the classroom, noticing another figure sitting with Sirius behind his desk. For a moment, Izar had trouble distinguishing between Sirius and the guest. The other guest was smaller and had shorter hair. Perhaps that was why Izar had trouble realizing it was Regulus. The man looked a lot cleaner cut far more worthy of the Head of Black family of aristocrats then the last time Izar had seen him. Sitting next to Sirius, Izar saw even more differences and fewer similarities. Izar hissed between his teeth, feeling something coil in his chest at the sight of his father. There had been too many things happening to really think about the consequences of taking Voldemort's bribe, by sparing a man he didn't even know. A part of Izar knew he had avoided thinking of Regulus for a long while just because he hadn't wanted to think of his brash decision to save his life. A man who had never bothered to enter his life before. He didn't know you existed Izar shook his head, turning his back on both Sirius and Regulus. He was about to make it out the door until it slammed shut in his face. "Izar," Regulus called after him, a hint of desperation. Izar stayed rigidly in place. Behind him, the sound of someone approaching him met his ears. From the poised and refined steps, Izar assumed it was Regulus. Sirius had more of an arrogant swagger and a rough step. Warm hands took him by the shoulders, turning him around.
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Izar was engulfed in a strong embrace. His head was forced to stay in place as Regulus kissed his temple before pushing Izar's forehead into his shoulder. He was weak to accept such a personal greeting, but somehow, Regulus' touch was his undoing. Hating himself, he found his body unconsciously leaning into Regulus. The man only tightened his hold in return. "I'm so glad you're alright," the man murmured into his ear, his arms still tight around Izar. With one last squeeze, Regulus stepped back, keeping his hands on Izar's shoulders. His vivid charcoal eyes studied Izar, looking for any disfigurements. "I have to express my delight over your performance the other day. You were magnificent." Regulus smiled smugly. "I only wished it hadn't ended so unpleasantly." Izar attempted a smile; it came out as a grimace. Over Regulus' shoulder, he eyed Sirius. The man was surprisingly cool and collected for finding out his younger brother was alive. The man winked at Izar as he caught his eyes. Izar looked away, toward the students' empty desks. "Does Professor Snape know you went to Voldemort?" Izar questioned softly, too quietly for Sirius to hear. Regulus' hands slid from Izar's shoulders. The moment of joy was washed heavily from his expression. "He does." Charcoal eyes dropped to Izar's hand. Regulus paled; his body stiff. "I he found my weakness and he exploited it as skillfully as any Dark Lord could. Izar, my son, you did not need to take the ring. I would have gladly suffered," "I don't want to talk about it," Izar snapped coldly. He curled his left hand further up in his sleeve. "You know about the ring? He told you?" Izar accused. Regulus looked truly abashed. "He did. I only feel worse that you accepted his bribe." "I spared your life," Izar hissed coolly. "He was going to kill you otherwise." Warm hands gently touched his cheeks. "And I am forever in your debt because of your sacrifice, Izar. I never intended for my actions fifteen years ago to be turned on to you, the most innocent one out of all of us involved. It was almost if he was waiting for a chance to blackmail you with the ring. I would have thought, by going to him directly, that it would spare both you and Severus. He already knew about my survival those many years ago. He was just waiting patiently for me to approach him." Regulus explained quietly. Sirius stood up, crossing the room. Regulus must have noticed, for he quickly asked. "Do you know what the ring does? Did you tell you?" "No," Izar ripped his face from Regulus' hands. He was being harsh on Regulus, he knew, but he was too weighed down by everything to care. Regulus reluctantly kept his hands away from Izar. His face was just as haunted as it was the day Izar saw him in Hog's Head. He knew the man was carrying the guilt of his actions. And Izar also knew Regulus believed it was his fault Izar had the ring.
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At the present, Izar was too on edge to convince him otherwise. "I've come here to talk to you about Lily," Regulus started once Sirius was in earshot. "I am slowly growing influence in the Ministry again. And the Black properties are being reopened for our use once you have decided to publicly declare me as your father." Regulus informed. For our use. Izar turned his head away, feeling his heart contrast. Everything was going too fast. He felt lightheaded. But Regulus continued, not noticing Izar's lack of control. "I came here to speak to Sirius. I told him about discovering you as my son and about Lily's involvement." "I don't even know about all that," Izar informed, a bit insulted. "I thought Sirius was friends with Lily and James Potter. Why would you go to him?" Izar had thought, obviously wrongly, that Sirius and Regulus never got along. Apparently, something in the past had changed their relationship. "I was," Sirius spoke for Regulus while his father favored watching him in worry. The man's eyebrows creased in concern. Was Izar not hiding his emotions well enough? Or was Regulus just good at reading people? "There were some issues," "We will speak of that later," Regulus interrupted softly. "I need to tell you about Lily, Izar. She's moving about. I have been informed that Lily has been in the shadows for nearly fifteen years, not very dynamic in the social light. With whispers of my return, she has gotten more active. I fear as if she will try to do something to split us up." Izar chuckled, his head spinning. "I apologize," he backed up. It was getting difficult to breathe. Why? Why was his body acting this way? "I can't do this right now. I really can't." Sirius made a move to stop Izar, but Regulus' jewel-clad hand stopped him. His father's eyes were full of distress as Izar turned away. Without hesitating, Izar opened the door and escaped Sirius' classroom. Already, the flush on his cheeks cooled and his heart rate slowed. He realized that he was pushing his body to its maximum. It wasn't necessarily his body, it was more his mind taking the beating his emotions. The Dark Mark, the portkey Voldemort ordered, the wand core, the political Tournament, extra dueling work, the hallucinations, the ring, Regulus, and now Lily and other members of the Black family it was too much right now. Izar slumped against the wall outside the library, staring across the hall in a sort of daze. Perhaps he was so ill at ease because he never had to concentrate on anything but
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schoolwork for most his life. He never had any social commitments, any expectations. And this year had come at him so fast and so heavy, he was struggling to juggle everything at once. His eyes unwillingly dropped to his left hand. He couldn't see the ring under his glove, but his memory was branded with its image. He was also vividly reminded of Regulus' guilt-stricken face. Izar was always very skilled at reading people and he knew Regulus was extremely torn up about Izar taking the ring. As much as Izar wanted to blame his father about his fate, he couldn't find any fault in Regulus' actions. Voldemort had already known Regulus was alive. If Regulus had chosen to do something cunning behind the scenes, before he approached the Dark Lord, he would have just angered Voldemort even more with waiting. The man had known Izar lied to him that day in the Hogs Head. And just as Regulus pointed out this evening, it was almost if Voldemort were looking for something to blackmail Izar with. It was if the man already had the ring on his mind before Regulus stumbled back into Britain. Even if Izar had refused to take the ring to spare Regulus' and Severus' life, he was more than certain he would eventually have the ring on his finger. Voldemort would have just used another blackmail tactic. For some unexplained reason, Voldemort needed this ring on Izar's finger. But why? A part of Izar wanted to go back to Sirius office to hear Regulus out. The man was truly trying to understand and help Izar. He knew that. But he was still having difficulty wrapping his mind around having someone in charge of him. He was used to living alone. And he didn't know if he could handle hearing about Lily and about their past at the moment. Not until he learned to control everything around him. "Izar?" A voice questioned cautiously. Through the fall of his dark hair, Izar looked up at Daphne. The small girl was on her tiptoes, leaning forward to peer into his face. "Is everything alright?" "No," Izar murmured quietly. He pushed off the wall, trying to rearrange his expression into a cold indifference. "But it will be." She offered a small smile, reaching out to rub his arm with her manicured nails. "You know you can always come to me." Izar nodded in response. She laughed. "Something tells me you wouldn't come to me anyway. You'd rather brood in the dark." "Obviously," Izar responded shortly. Before he could say anything more, his eyes caught sight of a small group behind Daphne. There were Slytherins standing together, some seventh year and others in sixth. They were talking quietly amongst each other, looking truly distressed. Daphne turned, searching for what caught his attention, before turning back.
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The Greengrass heir sighed, her face troubled. "I need to ask something of you, Izar. But I will completely understand if you don't want to do it. If I were in your place I would refuse," "What?" Izar asked shortly, too uptight to listen to Daphne beat around the bush. The blond witch's lips thinned before she stepped closer to Izar. She placed her hands on his arms to steady herself. "I'm going to guess you haven't read the paper recently? Surprisingly, when you get past the first five pages there is news other then the Tournament." "Is that so?" She sent him a warning look. "Apparently," she glanced behind her shoulder at the group. A few of the Slytherins didn't look happy she was talking with him. But there were a few that were perked up, waiting for his reaction. "Theodore Nott's father was recently sentenced to two years in Azkaban. He's sick, Izar, Nott's father. He won't last a week in Azkaban, let alone two years." Tears clung to Daphne's green eyes. "Theodore is pretty upset right now. He lost his mother when he was only four years old. He's close to his father, really close." Izar looked again at the group of students, noticing the tallest and thinnest boy amongst them. His eyes were on Izar, desperate and angry. "He's requested me to ask you" Daphne paused, searching for the right words. "He wants help to break his father out of Azkaban?" Izar guessed, scoffing a bit. Azkaban was impossible to break in, much less with a group of school children. "No," Daphne scolded. "He wants you to help him extract revenge. It appears that a Mudblood, Cory Appleton, ratted out Theodore's father. He informed the Ministry that Mr. Nott had a few illegal items in his house, illegal dark artifacts that weren't registered with the Ministry. Undersecretary Riddle tried his hardest to get Mr. Nott off free, but the evidence was all there. The best our Lord could do was reduce his sentence from five years to two." Izar gave a light sigh. "What does Nott plan to do?" "Kill," Daphne muttered softly. "I don't blame him," she defended the boy ardently. "Appleton is an old Mudblood who takes pleasure in putting away innocent men and women. Mr. Nott had those artifacts in his basement for decades. Most of them belonged to either the Dark Lord or Nott's ancestors. He never touched them. And now, with his terminal illness, he's sent to a death prison that will kill him within a week." The girl was getting far too emotional for Izar's liking. "This is reckless," Izar finally spoke. "The Dark Lord, if he finds out" Izar paused,
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realizing. "That's why Nott wants me to accompany him, isn't it? He thinks, because the Dark Lord apparently favors me that he will get off painlessly." Daphne gave a quiet growl. "That's not it at all. Amazingly, the Slytherins who aren't jealous of you or hate you because of your blood status actually look up to you because the Dark Lord thinks highly of you. They believe you're his successor of sorts. They want you near them. Nott especially." Theodore walked over, the rest of the Slytherins staying behind. Izar eyed the Slytherin as he came closer. The boy was tall and lanky with features that would be similar to that of a rabbit. His eyes were large, almond-shaped like Izar's, and a small, pointed nose sat above an equally small mouth. Izar spied two large teeth in the front of his mouth. They weren't as large as Granger's, but they were larger than average. His blue eyes were dull and the white's of his eyes were red from what Izar would assume were tears. The boy held himself straight, like any typical pure-blood. "I never formally introduced myself," Theodore's voice was strong, lacking any emotional torment he carried. "I'm Theodore Nott; it's a pleasure to finally meet you properly, Izar." The boy held out his hand, revealing a large family ring on his pinky. Izar withheld a sigh before he shook hands with the boy. "Are you sure you want to do this?" Izar questioned the boy quietly. It wouldn't do to have the Slytherins behind them to overhear. Nott would be insulted. "Did you think over this with a clear head?" Nott's brow furrowed as the lurking emotion took over. "I want to avenge my father," it came breathlessly, thick with passion. No tears escaped Theodore's eyes, but tears would have only watered down the burning need in his gaze. "I will do it with, or without your help. I only wish for you to come along with me." "He needs someone to accompany him with a level head. We need this as quick and clean as possible and you're the one to help us with that." Daphne pointed out logically. "You're the most mature wizard amongst the student population, Izar. We need you to come with us, if only to reign the more rowdy ones." She hinted at, looking over her shoulder at the older Slytherins. Izar knew if Voldemort found out, the man would be furious. Izar had only caught glimpses at the man's fury, but he knew better than to ignite that fury. "Gather your Death Eater robes," Izar whispered. "Meet me back here at the library with your robes in your messenger bags. From there, we will walk toward the Forbidden Forest in order to apparate." He paused. "Where, exactly, is Applegate's home?" "Near Diagon Alley, actually," Daphne responded for Nott. Izar nodded sharply, his mind racing as he watched the Slytherins slither off toward the
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dungeons. Near Diagon Alley. Izar looked at his ring before hurrying into the library. He just needed a few minutes to look up the ring. It was eating away at his mind, a constant burden on his shoulders. Finding a secluded table, Izar brought out the Eruditio. His fingers shook as he flipped open the book, his wand trailing along the blank pages. "Magical rings or ritual rings," he intoned. As his wand washed over the blank book, ink magically began to spill across the gold-dusted pages. He sat down and waited impatiently as the book began spilling its secrets. Once it seemed to have stopped, Izar quickly flipped through the pages, looking at each ring and passing on it when it wasn't the match to the band on his finger. Finally, about the middle of the textbook, he stumbled across a picture of his ring and its partner, Voldemort's. Izar's eyes widened briefly at the mere amount of information. The text went into detail of the ring's history, explaining that it was used quite frequently since medieval times and was continued throughout modern times. The Celtic ring has many uses among pure-bloods and their families. The majority of the time, the Celtic band is used on mentor and heir. It is not to be mistaken for uses inside a true family. Should the caster wish to declare a child, outside his family, as his heir, the Celtic ring would act as a connecter. The caster dons the silver Celtic band and presents his heir with the black titanium band. There are many enchantments the caster can manipulate with the Celtic bands; some of said enchantments can cause almost a reliance on the heirs' behalf. The Ministry of Magic, for many years, has expressed their beliefs that Celtic rings should be prohibited in the wizarding world due to the mere controlling nature. Unfortunately, Celtic rings have been in pure-blood families for over centuries, it would be impossible to confiscate such an accepted item. The Celtic ring, while Dark in many aspects, can also be a positive occurrence. Families who cannot produce heirs use these bands to formally adopt children into their family. Overtime, the Celtic ring can be adjusted to transfer some of the mentor's physical and chemical signature into their heir. Within a few years, the heir could be mistaken for his true son. While the Celtic rings are used primarily for mentor and heir, it is also used between betrothed couples of pure-blood race. Pure-blooded females practice virtue among the wizarding world. It is expected of them to remain pure until the night of their bonding ceremony with their joined husband. The Celtic ring prohibits sexual exchange until the night of Izar shut the book, a grimace on his mouth. Voldemort lured Izar to become his heir? Wasn't the man immortal?
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It didn't make much sense and Izar now understood why Voldemort wanted Izar to approach him after he found out the rings' function. According to the text, the caster, which happened to be Voldemort, could manipulate the ring to do what he wanted. Transferring DNA and personality traits were among the things Voldemort could accomplish through his ring. And there was also a connection the man would be able to put into affect as well, a connection that could leave Izar dependent on him. There was a wide variety of things the rings could do, if Voldemort so wished them. And even if Izar did approach the man about the rings, would he even get the full truth? Would he find out what manipulations Voldemort set the rings to do? So far, Izar didn't feel any different. He didn't feel anymore dependent on the man then usual. And he couldn't see any physical differences in his appearance. But Izar was certain Riddle wouldn't use the ring to make Izar grow physically similar to himself. There was no gain to that. However, he could see Riddle using the ring to transfer some of his personality onto Izar. If Riddle was serious about Izar becoming his heir, the man would want Izar to be more socially graceful, a political dancer. Izar gave a sigh, his hands rubbing his face tiredly. If tonight worked out well enough, he would go to Riddle tomorrow. The man usually hung around Hogwarts a few hours during the day before leaving at night. Tonight, he wouldn't let himself dwell over the uses of the rings. There were just too many possibilities. For all he knew, Voldemort could be using the rings just as a political symbol. Near Diagon Alley. Daphne's voice echoed through his head. Charcoal-green eyes looked tiredly at his wand. Ollivander's was in Diagon Alley. And the large ledger Ollivander kept his records in was in Diagon Alley. Izar sat up, feeling a bit smug with himself. Voldemort could see through lies. Yes. Perhaps even more so with their connecting rings. But the Dark Lord wouldn't be able to sense half truths, could he? If they were caught outside the castle, Voldemort would demand where they had gone. Izar could truthfully say he had helped Nott with his revenge. But who said he had to tell Voldemort that he had also gone to Ollivanders? It was the perfect solution. Izar could find out what Voldemort's wand core was without the man knowing. And in turn, he could work on the Dark Mark in the privacy of his own rooms. He would have all the information he needed. The other children didn't have to know where he was going. And they didn't have to know he was using their own escapade as means to get one up on Voldemort. A lazy smirk stretched across Izar's face as he stood up, throwing his books in his bag. He needed to go to the Ravenclaw Common Room to get his Death Eater robes. Before he left,
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however, a form stepped in his way. "I want to come with you," Draco informed; a stubborn lift to his chin. Izar blinked. It didn't surprise him that Draco knew about Nott's plan of revenge. The Slytherins were a rather close knit group of classmates. They stuck together and they kept their secrets woven into their own House, no where else. Izar was just a bit surprised that Draco wanted to accompany the group. After all, Nott was a bit of a loner in the Slytherin House. He didn't feel the need to trail after Draco like the others did. "And I would also like to apologize for my outburst that night at dinner a few weeks ago. It was entirely uncalled for, very tactless." Izar scoffed. "You already apologized to me in the hospital wing, Malfoy." "No," Draco shook his head, a serious expression settling his features. "I didn't mean what I said that day at the hospital wing. Seeing you in danger this past Task, it made me realize that you had no say over the matter. They forced you into this Tournament." The blonde boy offered a light smirk. "And I also realized I wouldn't have enjoyed the hallucinations from the Devil's Venenum. SoI'm glad it was you." Izar rolled his eyes upward in aggravation. Trust Draco Malfoy to come up with an apology that dripped of arrogance. "Accepted," Izar conceded bitterly. What else could he do? Malfoy would stalk him through the halls of Hogwarts, persisting if Izar didn't accept the apology. There was another part of Izar, albeit a small part, that held a bit of pity for Draco. He realized the boy always tried his hardest to make his father proud. To have his father so callously throw away his son's dream at the Tournament was a bit pitiful. "Get your robes, then," Izar continued. Draco lifted the top of his bag, a nickel Death Eater's mask already tucked inside. The boy's eyes gleamed wickedly, excitingly. Izar was vividly reminded of Lucius Malfoy. {Death of Today} The cold mask felt heavy against his face. Izar had never put on the Death Eater's mask before and it proved difficult to get used to. His eyes could easily see through the eyes sockets, it was just complicated to feel something weighing his face down. He slithered between the shops of Diagon Alley. It was late enough where the shops were closing and the storekeepers were going home. Izar had to remind himself to transfigure all their Death Eater robes into something a bit less conspicuous, just in case they were caught
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by a professor coming back to the school. Books were always a good idea to turn the robes into. That way, if a professor searched their bags, they wouldn't see a Death Eater mask staring them straight in the face. Izar had forbid all the Slytherins to accompany them. Instead, he allowed Nott to pick two others along with Draco and Daphne. The boy had picked two seventh year Slytherins, Peregrine Derrick and Lucian Bole. A wise and mature choice. Nott wasn't particularly close to the two, but they were decent wizards and not as rowdy as the others. Or so, he assumed. Because Derrick and Bole were the only two who could apparate, as of present, they had to side-long apparate with Draco, Daphne, and Izar. Draco had stubbornly resisted, stating that he knew how to apparate. Izar had sent one stare his cousin's way and Draco reluctantly held on to Bole's arm. It had taken two trips, for Bole and Derrick couldn't side-long apparate with two people at once. The five Slytherins were on the outskirts of Diagon Alley, hopefully waiting patiently for him. From their position, they couldn't see his whereabouts. And Izar wanted to keep it that way. He was crouched next to Ollivander's watching silently as the wand maker stepped outside his shop. A merry tone whistled past his moistened lips as he waved his wand, locking his shop. It was a simple locking charm; one Izar could easily get past. He wondered at that, but considered that Ollivander really didn't have anything one was interested to steal, with the exception of an illegal unregistered wand. Ollivander paused in his retreat down the street, his shoulders becoming stiff. Slowly, the white haired man turned toward Izar. The Ravenclaw ducked behind the corner, leaning his head against the cold stone. He didn't allow himself to breathe until he heard the whistling resume and the footsteps waking further down the street. Cautiously, Izar poked his head around the corner, searching the streets. Nightfall had drowned the streets in pitch black. Only a few street lanterns were lit, not enough to cast decent light down the shops' fronts. Izar crawled toward the front of Ollivanders. His wand was already drawn as he spotted the glowing shade of wards near the foot of the door. His wand caressed the wards almost lovingly. He cooed at the well laid wards, not surprised to find a ward underneath a simple locking charm. It was expected that Ollivander would be decent at spell work; after all, he nurtured wands for a living. But Izar slowly unwound it, layer by layer. With the tip of his wand, Izar flicked the top layer of the ward. The torn layer of the ward floated in the air, rivaling the appearance of a recently blown out candle. The smoke wisps disappeared within seconds, only to be joined by the second layer of the ward.
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Izar's lips caressed the Latin incantation to reverse the wards. It was relatively simple to him, but to others, it would prove difficult. He just had a love for all magic, every form of it and all its properties. Perhaps that's why he excelled so well in school. He treated every magical signature as if it were precious and rare, both Dark and Light magic. Of course, it could also be because he was magic sensitive. Finally, the ward dulled before dissolving. With a simple wave of his wand, Izar unlocked the door. It creaked open and Izar scrambled inside. The inside of the shop was just as he remembered it in his first year. The gentle hum of the wands was a constant comfort to Izar. Because he was magic sensitive, he could feel the wands and their intensity of magic. The wands which carried a brighter magical aura were further back in the store, probably where Voldemort received his wand. And exactly where Izar got his. He sat on an old stool in front of the ledger and flipped through the pages. The information of all wands purchased was organized by last name. Izar paused on the 'Black' surnames. As Sirius had stated already, the true Blacks all had Thestral wand cores. He stared at Regulus' name, imaging his own name right below his fathers. But his was under the name of 'Harrison', a surname Izar wondered how he received. Was it the orphanage? Quickly paging past the B's, he flipped toward the R's. His eyes danced across the text until he came to the name Thomas Marvolo Riddle. A wide smile curled the corners of his lips as he read the wand. Length; 13", wood; Yew, core: phoenix feather. "Phoenix feather," Izar murmured; a twitch to his lips. "Who would have thought the Dark Lord had such a Light creature as his wand core?" He looked around the dusty and old wand shop. The magical tape measure whined and twitched on the table next to him. The more Izar thought about it, the more he realized a phoenix feather fit the man. The Dark Lord was immortal and powerful in his own right. Like a phoenix, if the Dark Lord 'died', he would only be reborn because of his immortality. He looked back down at the old ledger, frowning when he read what was in the parenthesis next to Riddle's core. (Fawks Albus' bird) Izar sat back, surprised. Could it really be this easy? Charcoal-green eyes looked back down at the ledger. He noted the ink. Riddle's wand data was written in slightly worn out
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ink, as if it had been written fifty years ago. However, 'Fawks' looked as if it had been written just recently. Almost if the man had known Izar would have ventured in his shop. Izar stared at the page, lost in thought. Ollivander didn't strike Izar as a Dark wizard. But then again, he wasn't exactly Light either. Izar assumed the man was just absorbed so much into his work it was all about knowledge and wandlore. The man was fascinated with what his wands could do given to the right wizard, whether said wizard was Light or Dark. Izar truly believed the man was just happy Izar took such a liking toward wandlore, so happy that he would be happy to assist him. Flicking his wand through the air lazily, Izar startled when a wand box on the desk tremble at the action. Twirling his wand again, the box shook closer to Izar. Narrowing his eyes, Izar cautiously reached out to touch the box. Nothing happened. Thinning his lips, he took the lid off, only to reveal a holly wand. The top of the lid detailed the wand as a phoenix feather, eleven inches. More specifically, Ollivander's writing labeled the phoenix feather as, Albus' bird, with recently spilled ink. "You old man," Izar chuckled, pleased. "You knew" He was looking at the brother to Voldemort's wand. And for the first time in years, Izar felt truly happy. Something finally went right and painless. He curled his fingers around the wand, taking it out of the box. Instantly, he felt warm. The warmth washed through his body, making him feel more aware, more alive, then ever before. It was the same feeling he got from his current wand four years ago. Could it be possible to have two wands destined for one wizard? This wand felt so right to him, so precise. It was almost as comfortable as his Thestral wand, only a bit more alien in his hand. Izar was sure he could become just as comfortable with it as his Thestral. He wondered Looking at his fingerless glove that hid the ring, he wondered if he was always meant for this wand, or if it was just recently. What if the ring Voldemort presented to him was the cause for the wand's acceptance to Izar? After all, the ring had the possibility to pass along personality traits Izar sighed, eyeing the wand. He then looked at the ledger and then to the ink pot. Quickly tucking the brother to Voldemort's wand in his pocket, he leaned forward and took Ollivander's quill. Next to Riddle's data, he scrawled the words, I owe you. Jumping off the stool, he crossed the store before shutting the door. Placing the wards back into place, Izar ran down the streets, knowing he had made the others wait long enough.

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Part I Chapter 18

Chapter Eighteen "This is the house?" Bole questioned from beneath his nickel-brushed mask. "You're one hundred percent certain this is Appleton's home?" The six Death Eaters were crouched outside Appleton's lightened home. Each of the student had on a nickel death mask, save for the smallest male figure in the middle. Izar's eyes flashed from beneath his silver mask, a warning toward Bole. "Theodore already expressed his certainty that this is the old Mudblood's home," he stated softly. "Who knew the old rot had such a decent home?" Peregrine Derrick contemplated. "It's because he gets fat off the Ministry's money for sacking Dark wizards," Nott responded softly, his eyes full of emotion behind his mask. "Let's go in." Just as Theodore was about to lead the group inside, Izar felt his Mark burn. He hissed, grabbing Theodore's cloak to pull him back. All five set of eyes turned expectantly in his direction. "Didn't you feel it?" "Feel what?" Daphne whispered, sending a quick glance toward Appleton's home. "The Dark Mark," Izar spat, irritated. Children. Were they really that oblivious to the things around them? Their focus was on the excitement, the thrill of a kill of possible torture. This was, perhaps, their first time taking someone's life. And they were clouded because of it. Thankfully they hadn't brought the other Slytherins, the more riled ones. "I felt it burn." Their attention seemed to come into focus suddenly at the mention of their Master. They became somber and still. "I didn't feel it burn," Nott injected quietly. "Me neither," Derrick's deep voice rumbled. The rest of the Slytherin's nodded in agreement. Only Draco seemed a bit subdue as his crouched form leaned closer to Izar. Whenever Draco was among equals, his loud mouth seemed to become more controlled. Perhaps it was due to one of his father's many painful lessons during his childhood days. "Perhaps you're just paranoid he'll catch us."

"Oh," Izar began sinisterly, a cruel smile stretching. "I'm not paranoid he'll find out. I know he'll find out. You honestly think the Dark Lord can be bettered by schoolboys? And girls?" he adde Her mossy green eyes clouded with uncertainty. "Perhaps it is best if we wait to do this,
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Nott. Izar is right. The Dark Lord will be beyond furious if he finds out. I don't know if I'm ready to feel one of his Cruciatus curses. My father says they're horrible. It takes days to recover." Draco nodded in silent agreement, his cold grey eyes catching Izar's. "Fine," Nott spat. "You five stay here. Let me go inside myself. He's an old Mudblood. Our Lord should be pleased we're following his beliefs." "Don't be an idiot," Izar growled, tugging Nott back once again as he lunged forward. "You think you can just barge in there and announce your arrogant presence? No." Izar barked. "There are wards in place around the house. You wouldn't even get a few feet without being blocked. And there is a great amount of magic coming from his house. Even more so then the surrounding houses." The older Slytherin, Bole, looked at him quizzically with his washed out blue eyes. "How do you know all that?" He looked around at the other houses on the block. They were only a few blocks away from Diagon Alley. "I can't feel any of the magic coming from the houses." Izar withheld a sigh. "No, but I can," he interrupted before they could all agree. "We need a plan of action before just barging inside. What if Appleton has a family? What if he has visitors? We need to surround the perimeter before entering. Well, scratch that," Izar contemplated. "We need to de-ward the house before entering." "Oi? And who the bloody hell is going to de-ward the house? Warding is barely touched at the end of seventh year, let alone de-warding." Derrick growled. "Careful," Izar whispered venomously. "Your knickers are starting to twist up your bloody arse." "Izar," Daphne exclaimed, flustered. Next to Izar, Draco snickered quietly. "We aren't going to get anywhere if we keep arguing. Izar is correct, naturally. He can de-ward the property and we need to surround the perimeter before entering. If I remember correctly, Nott and Derrick both expressed their respect for Izar's intelligence. Why don't the two of you prove you are better wizards and make good on your remarks? He's our leader." Derrick had the audacity to look a bit ashamed. "Appleton doesn't have a family," Nott growled. "He lives alone." "Right," Izar sneered. "Derrick, Bole, and Daphne will enter through the back. Draco and Nott, you are with me in the front." Just as the three were about to leave, Izar sighed once again. "Wait until I get the wards down." They sat back, their eyes clearly showing their embarrassment. He turned toward the wards, not very impressed with their structure. They were put up sloppily and lazily, as if the caster hadn't even cared about the magic. He always pitied
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magic when it wasn't used to its full potential. With his wand, he snuck closer to the wards and began to unweave it like he'd done at Ollivander's. Someone crawled next to him. "How do you do that? Can you see it?" It was Draco. It was a pity he couldn't see what unique colors the wards were giving off every time a layer was removed. "Yes," Izar responded distractedly. "I suppose you could say I'm sensitive to magic." "What does it look like? Magic, I mean." Izar paused in his workings. "It's not very noticeable," he responded before returning to his task. He was aware of Draco deflating next to him in disappointment. The boy must have thought things had to be bright and flashy to be beautiful. "It's calm, most the time." He remembered Voldemort's magic when it was angry. When magic was angry, it was far from calm. "Lazy, I suppose is the best word for it. It looks a bit like smoke or fog. Sometimes it's a distinguishable color; other times there are a few particles that rival the appearance of dust. These particles sometimes glitter, like dew in the morning light. They travel incredibly slow through the magic." He responded fondly. He wished he could see everyone's aura, but his sight was only limited to the strong wizards or the magical objects that had a lot of magic to it. Draco was an unnerving quiet. After he whisked away a layer of the ward, Izar glanced at his cousin. The blonde boy was staring at Izar with an unreadable expression. "What?" Izar demanded. The Malfoy heir shrugged, turning back to the lightened house. "I've never seen you smile like that before, that's all." Izar snorted. "I have a bloody mask on my face, Malfoy. You can't even see my mouth." "No," Draco whispered. "But I can see your eyes." Izar tugged the last layer of the ward, leaving Draco's comment in the air. "It's down," he turned to the other Death Eaters, motioning them forward. "I don't know if he has a sensor that tells him if the wards are down, so we'd better hurry." The three Slytherins ran toward the back of the home while Nott took position with Draco and Izar. Theodore was breathing heavily through his mask and Izar contemplated on the boy's emotional wellbeing. The adrenaline even made Izar's heart race, yes, but his breathing was still and calm. It just went to prove that Theodore was far too emotional to think wisely of his actions. What happened with his father was unfortunate, very unfortunate. And while
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Izar didn't blame the boy for wanting revenge, Izar was inclined to disagree with the boy's timing. Now wasn't the time to extract revenge. But what did Izar know? It wasn't his father, it wasn't his life. The boy would kill Appleton no matter if he was accompanied by his classmates or not. Izar just chose to come along to make it as safe as he could. Still His head cocked to the side as he studied the house they were steadily approaching. Somehow, this house was emitting more magic than the other houses on the block. It was true that this was a magical community, but this house for some reason it made him uncertain. The Dark Mark gave a sharp burn and Izar hissed, placing his hand over his Mark. Next to him, Draco did the same, his eyes widening almost comically. A whimper escaped the blonde. "He's angry. No, he's bloody furious." Nott flashed a look at Draco over his shoulder. "I need to do this. I need to avenge my father." With that, Nott led the way up the stairs to the door. Izar was glad to hang back, his wand up and ready. Through his mask, Izar watched Nott slash his wand through the air, destroying the door in front of him. So much for subtlety. They entered the lightened house. The foyer in front of them had a fireplace roaring and an alcohol cart parked neatly next to a bar. Izar's sharp eyes noticed the half drunken brandy near the empty armchair. There was a pair of slippers at the foot of the leather chair and a paper spread out on the coffee table. Even from here, Izar could see the pages turned to an article about an inmate in Azkaban. Mr. Nott. "Do you reckon he's upstairs?" Derrick questioned as his group entered from the back. The five Slytherins looked upstairs, conversing quietly with one another. Izar just hoped they wouldn't use their real names when speaking to each other. While they whispered on a plan of action, Izar's lips thinned as he took another closer look about the empty room. A bookshelf stood in the corner of the room. The books on display put Izar on edge. All the books were of Light magic, high Light. The books wouldn't have one bit of mention of the Dark Arts in them, almost if they were made for small children, innocent children. Izar caught sight of the Animagus books.
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"He's an Animagus," Izar reasoned softly. The Slytherins turned to him. "That's how he spots the Dark Artifacts in the houses. He must be a beetle or small insect of some sort to crawl into the properties." "That filthy Mudblood," Nott spat, his eyes deranged behind his mask. "Let's go upstairs." Izar, his wand still up and raised, walked toward the fireplace. His eyes were sharp as he searched for any sort of insect. Upon nearing the armchair, he caught movement in the slipper. A small beetle crawled quickly inside the cotton blue slipper, hoping not to be seen. "No," Izar stopped the group from walking upstairs. "Izar," Izar turned; his eyes wide and angry. "You do not use our names, you foolish idiot." Appleton needed to die now. If it wasn't guaranteed before, it certainly was now. Izar sighed, wondering why there were so many idiots in the wizarding world. Honestly, using one's name in the enemy's house when they were under cover? "Homorpus!" He pointed his wand at the slipper, watching as a golden light surrounded the item. Shortly, the slipper bulged widely before the man's head could no longer fit inside. Within seconds, a short and stout man sat against the armchair, his beady eyes narrowed angrily. Izar kept his wand extended, pointed straight between the man's eyes. If he had to compare this man to something, it most certainly would be a beetle. The man's upper and lower body sort of blended together in a wide bulge. The man was fat, having no curves or definition. He was sort of a like a round ball with an even smaller round head. A heavy beard grew on the man's face, his lips almost hidden amongst all the hair. Equally bushy eyebrows poked out from his thick glasses. "You little runts," the man growled, his rotten teeth snapping together in a fierce scowl. "You really think you're going to get away with this?" Nott stumbled from the stairs, pushing everyone aside as his bright eyes zeroed in on his prey. His wand shook as he pointed it at Appleton. Izar gladly stepped backward, his opposite hand grabbing the wand Appleton was leaning toward. They wouldn't want the man to reach his wand and then disapparate. The old man looked into Izar's eyes and scowled again. "You smart arse, little bastard," Appleton barked. "I bet you think you're pretty special? You're nothing but a worthless piece of shit." Izar ignored the insult, oddly amused at the vocabulary the old man possessed. "Shut up," Nott growled, thrusting his wand closer toward Appleton's face. "You're just as worthless."
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Izar raised his eyebrows. The boy was having trouble controlling himself and his emotions. There were tears in Theodore's eyes as he finally stood face to face with his father's reason he was in Azkaban. The Slytherins on the stairs slowly walked down, their posture eager. The two seventh year Slytherins, especially, had their wands at the ready, pointed at Appleton. This was pathetic. They didn't have enough time to take rounds, torturing Appleton. They needed to act fast and leave fast. "Kill him," Izar ordered Nott coldly. "Don't play with your food." "Says you," Derrick spat. "I bet you're sympathetic toward him because he's like you, a Mudblood." Izar sighed tiredly. "Kill him," he repeated. "We don't know if he called for help before we came in." Charcoal-green eyes assessed the brandy and the paper's article on Nott's father. "Though he was celebrating" he mused to himself. Draco shifted closer to him, his eyes on the scene in front of him. His wand was slightly lowered, yet high enough to defend himself. Izar realized Malfoy wasn't going to participate in the torture and killing of Appleton. Good. Daphne, standing across from him, was a gorgeous statue. Her eyes were unreadable as she watched Theodore and Appleton closely. Her posture was a clear sign she did not wish to participate. That just left Derrick and Bole. The two seventh years were all but hopping on their feet, excitement clouding their expressions. They were blind to the world around them. "You're Nott's kid, aren't you?" Appleton poked, guessing correctly. He laughed harshly. "Here with your little friends in cute uniforms. You won't do it." The man called Nott's bluff and Izar had to agree full heartedly. Despite Theodore's drive to get revenge on his father's imprisonment, he was too emotional and confused to strike the killing blow. "Crucio," Nott shook. The spell barely tickled Appleton. Izar observed the old man as he lost his breath, a bit of pain tightening his features. But there was no screaming, no pleading to be killed like Voldemort's curse caused. "Crucio," Derrick took over, eager. This time, the man screamed. "He's mine!" Nott howled. He pushed Derrick away, successfully breaking the spell on Appleton. "You promised we could have our fun," Derrick argued back. "Both Bole and I." Bole nodded next to Derrick, his fingers caressing his wand. They were both foolish. Again, they were using their true names. Despite the fact that Appleton would be killed tonight,
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something could occur between that time to issue Appleton's escape. And the man would escape with most their names. Thus, putting them in trouble with both the law and Voldemort. "You two will have more than enough time to claim your own prey with the Dark Lord's rise to power." Izar reasoned with them softly. "Let our friend have his revenge." Derrick and Bole both glowered at Izar, yet they stood down when they realized the truth in his words. When the Dark Lord came out to the public, they would have more than enough Mudbloods and Muggles to play with. "He's going to kill us," Draco whispered next to Izar. "If not the Dark Lord, then my father." The blonde was rubbing his burning Mark through his sleeve. "Then why did you accompany us?" Izar demanded softly. Nott cast another Cruciatus curse, finally gaining some courage. Appleton gave a grunt, his breathing hard and labored. "To keep you safe," Draco declared before turning away. "Do you feel that?" The boy asked as his back stiffened. "I feel eyes on me." Izar kept quiet. If he agreed with Draco, the boy would become hysterical. He not only felt eyes on him, he felt a shift in the atmosphere. He felt an intensity of magic. The man had alerted the Ministry as soon as he felt the wards drop "Kill him," Izar ordered again sharply, his wand averting from Appleton to Nott as means as motivation. "Quickly, the Ministry is here." He tried to keep out the desperation in his voice but judging from Daphne's shaking form, he supposed he failed. Nott's eyes widened and he froze. They all froze. "Viscerare," Izar pointed his wand toward Appleton. The heart attack curse engulfed the fat man before Appleton could even register the quick attack. The man choked, his hands going to his chest before he slumped to the ground, shuddering. His purple lips were visible to Izar as he stared down at his first kill. "We have to hurry. The back door." It was Slytherin survival mode. Izar had heard rumors that Slytherins were cowards in the face of danger. They saved their own hide and ran. But this was the first time Izar had seen it so personally. The two older Slytherins pushed the others out of the way as they sprinted toward the back door. As soon as they were all out the house, they heard the cracks of apparation inside the foyer where they once were. A blue-clad Auror lunged at them, his hex already spitting from his wand. Izar dodged the spell as it shot past his ear, heating the skin in its wake. Izar's heart began to beat wildly as he watched the scene up ahead. The two older Slytherin's grabbed hold of the first person they came in contact with. Bole caught Daphne
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around the waist and Derrick curled his hand around Theodore's robe. And then they both disapparated, leaving Izar and Draco by themselves. Draco gave a loud outcry of disapproval. Izar curled his hand around Draco's arm, forcing the boy to hurry. "Run," Izar urged sharply. He had picked the backdoor as their escape because it was the least covered when he felt them arrive. But now, he could feel them closing in on them from behind. "Diagon Alley," Izar panted, pushing his legs to their limit. "We can break into one of the shops and use their Floo unless you know how to disapparate." After all, the boy had boosted that he knew how to apparate before they arrived here. Izar was calling his bluff. While Izar had read about the strategy of apparating and disapparating, he had never done it himself. And he knew, in his distressed mood, he would most likely splinch both himself and Draco on his first try. His cousin shook his head frantically, proving that he had lied about his knowledge in the art. Izar withheld a snort at that. It was like Draco to bluff about something he did not know how to do. The blonde almost stumbled on his feet as he dodged a spell coming at his back. Izar risked a look over his shoulder and grimaced at what he saw. There was a heavy number of Aurors coming after them. "We're going to die," Draco panted, hysterical. Izar laughed, delighted. He felt a bit light. He had never been in a life-threatening situation before, unless he counted the Acromantulas during the First Task. But having this thrill, this sort of excitement at the situation, felt kind of good. He blamed it on the insanity with the Black genes. From the whispers he'd heard, Bellatrix was the same way in battle, only, a bit more extreme. Izar curled his arm around Draco, tugging him to a sharp turn. A spell exploded the brick right where their heads were once situated. They were near Diagon Alley and the Aurors were fast approaching. Their spells were getting more desperate as they aimed it at their backs. And yet the spells suddenly stopped and in its place, cracks of disapparation where heard. Izar stopped, forcing Draco to stop with him. They were in between two houses, just outside of Diagon Alley. "They know where we're headed." A few Aurors who hadn't apparated sprinted toward their hesitating forms. Izar struggled to think of what to do next. "Help me." Izar demanded as he raised his wand, determination licking at his skin. One of the Aurors advanced quickly, their stance pure grace as they slashed their wand through the air. A red hex shot their way and Izar watched it in a cold calm. Sirius had
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taught him to remain calm and collected. Things usually seemed to go slower if his emotions were calm. "Protego," he whispered, his wand swirling lazily about him. His shield projected the curse successfully, but he had to worry about the next two coming in his direction. He ducked one of them and pulled up another shield for the other. Behind him, he could hear Draco frantically scream out spells. The boy liked to brag to his classmates about his skill in dueling, yet Izar knew even he was better than his cousin. The boy might have been decent at dueling in a non-threatening situation, but he was worthless when it came to the real thing. "Start a shield. Keep reinforcing it," Izar informed coolly as he crouched at Draco's feet. It was time to experiment with the spells he had created. A cold smirk curled his lips as he wiggled the tip of his wand on the floor. "What the bloody hell are you doing?" Draco exclaimed. "Abrumpo," Izar whispered his own incantation he practiced many times in the privacy in his dorm room. The spell came out in a long, glowing line. He wiggled his wand again, watching in glee as the spell took shape of what appeared to be a long, glowing worm. He motioned toward the Aurors with a flick of his wand. The glowing red curse slithered quickly toward the group of wizards, its path drawn out thanks to Izar. Izar watched, intrigued, as his spell easily wiggled away from the curses the Aurors cast at it. The Abrumpo was far too quick for humans' reflexes. The spell came in contact with its victim. The Auror yelped, falling to the ground as his foot was severed from his body. The spell, sadly, disappeared, but the blood was forever as it stained the ground. "They're coming at us from behind," Draco fretted. "They're surrounding us." "Keep reinforcing the shield," Izar informed, knowing he and Draco had lost. There was no way out of this. There were just too many. He heard Draco struggling to keep his sobs silent. The boy's determination to keep the shields up helped the tears stay dry. "Don't let them take your honor, Draco," Izar spoke softly, strongly. "Protego," Draco tried again, reinforcing their shield as disarming charms flew at them quicker. "Reducto," Izar called softly. One of the shop's bay windows shattered at Izar's command. Before the glass could shower across the Aurors, Izar flicked his wand again, setting the glass on fire. He quickened the glass' descent, sending the shards at the Aurors at top speed. Some of the Aurors blocked the glass expertly, while others were too slow in their guard. Shards pierced at them, imbedding into the thick flesh.
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Their shield was starting to fall due to the Aurors' attack from behind them. Izar caught sight of a movement in the alleyway next to him. He turned quickly, spying a Death Eater's mask slowly escaping the shadows. At first, he thought it was either Derrick or Bole coming back to apparate them away. But their masks were nickel. The Death Eater in the alleyway had a gold mask covering their features. It was a Death Eater from Voldemort's inner circle. Izar almost gave a delirious laugh as he saw multiple Death Eaters escape from the shadows around the alleyway. They took the Aurors' off guard as they attacked viciously. The Aurors didn't know what hit them as they were faced with enemies who were sufficient with the Dark Arts. A first ranked Death Eater came running toward them, blocking a few curses as they flew in his direction. Judging from the man's magic and black eyes, Izar knew it was Snape. And judging from the man's blazing eyes "Now you can say we're going to die." Izar whispered to Draco. Abruptly, Snape took Izar around the collar, hauling him none too gently in the air. The man's eyes were weapons in themselves as they pinned Izar with a lethal stare. "You are in unsubstantial trouble, Mr. Harrison." Burning onyx eyes then turned to Draco, grabbing the blonde by the collar as well. "You also, Mr. Malfoy." The last thing Izar observed before being pulled into side-along apparation was an Auror getting a nasty hex to her face. Izar could have sworn Snape continued to reprimand them sharply, even in the middle of the apparation. His voice came out wrapped and slow as they were squeezed through time and space. Sadly, when they were dropped violently to the floor, they weren't on the cool grounds of Hogwarts, but the cold and hard ground of marble? Izar struggled to sit up without vomiting over the clean and glossy floors. His vision spun wildly at the apparation. He didn't get a chance to recover before Snape grabbed him once again, hauling him up by the collar and spinning him as they swept from the room. Izar struggled to keep up with the long strides of his professor while keeping his vomit down. Draco, on the other hand, didn't fair so well. Through Izar's spinning vision, he heard the boy gag and retch. "I take pity on you, Mr. Malfoy, if you're already weakened. The Dark Lord's wrath will leave you favoring these apparation trips ten folds over." Izar wondered at Snape's strength of all but carrying two male teenagers. The man must find practice on poor students' ears as he catches them out of bed after curfew.
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He struggled to pull away and study his surroundings, but Snape kept a steady hold. His eyes couldn't take anything in; they were forced to remain blurry and unfocused. All the while, Izar felt them approaching the raging magic further down the hall. He knew exactly where the magic led "My Lord," Snape's tone dropped passively. "We have recovered both insolent simpletons successfully." "Oh, bloody hell," Draco whispered, voicing Izar's own thoughts. "Good." The hairs on Izar's neck stood on end before he was ferociously shoved back to the ground. He lay there, frozen, before blinking open his eyes. He saw his reflection on the floors and he took a long moment to stare at himself. All he saw was the silver death mask and his exhausted, yet emotional eyes. "Leave us, Severus." The man must have bowed and left, for Izar could hear the man's robes billowing out from behind him. Izar kept stubbornly still, trying to calm himself. "Someone, please, enlighten me with a reasonable explanation to your irresponsible and ridiculous actions." The Dark Lord hissed out. His voice was calm, but Izar was no fool. He could feel the man's magic lash out about him, stinging his face with the bitterness of it. No one spoke. "Now." The man barked. "We we went to Appleton's home." Izar cocked an eyebrow when he heard the unmistakable voice of Peregrine Derrick. He turned his neck slightly, taking in the room for the first time. He saw everyone on their forearms and knees before the Dark Lord, every head bowed. Bole was there, along with Derrick, Nott, Daphne, and of course, Draco. They were all trembling before Voldemort. Izar was sure he would have been too if he wasn't forcing himself to calm. Izar couldn't bear to look at the Dark Lord. Instead, he turned his head back to the floor. "That is rather obvious, Derrick. Why did you go to the man's home? What was possibly going through your heads at the time?" "My father," Nott whispered brokenly. "I wanted revenge for my father's imprisonment." "Ah," Voldemort agreed. "And did you, Nott, by chance, realize the extent of your actions? Did you by chance, ever think of your scheme affecting me? You have forced my hand early. I have carefully planned out my regime to the public, only for it to be thwarted by my very own followers." Silence.
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"Crucio." Izar tensed, but relaxed when he heard Nott scream. The scream was horrible. It was high pitched and horrific. There really was no other way to describe it. It was ghastly to listen to. Izar could almost hear the desperation coming from Nott, a desperation that clearly pointed the boy's favor in death rather than experiencing the pain. It had to have been at least a minute or two before it ended. Izar's ears were ringing with the intensity of the boy's screams. He wondered if the screams affected Voldemort or if he got used to them over time. There was the option of the man being pleased by the sound. Izar wouldn't put it past the Dark Lord to take joy in the earsplitting screams. As the spell ended, Izar could hear Nott's quiet whimpers and dry sobs which wheezed past his lips. "I would like to know if you succeeded in your scheme, Nott," Voldemort continued on a casual note, as if he hadn't just tortured the bloody hell out of the boy. "Did you extract that desired revenge on the man who sent your father to prison? How did you do it?" "N-noIzar" Izar cursed mentally. He had hoped, wistfully, that he would get by without speaking. "He couldn't go through with it, My Lord," Izar began quietly. "But the man, Appleton, already knew a few of our names. So I was forced to kill him in Nott's place." Izar paused for a moment. He supposed he should just continue on with the rest. Voldemort would never get the full story out of these blundering idiots. "Just as he died, the Ministry arrived. Apparently, Cory Appleton had informed the Ministry of our arrival as soon as he felt the wards drop. We got out of the house just before Derrick and Bole disapparated with Daphne and Nott." "And?" "Draco and I fended for ourselves until the others came to help, My Lord, that's all." Voldemort gave a fascinated sound in the back of his throat. It was all mocking of course. "I am most pleased with you, Bole, Derrick," Voldemort spoke silkily. "You amaze me at your sense of allegiance. Both of you are in your seventh years and yet you run, with a tail between your legs, leaving behind a fifteen-year-old and a sixteen-year-old to fend for themselves against a fleet of Aurors." "My Lord," Bole exclaimed. "I had thought that Malfoy knew how to apparate. He claimed he knew how earlier, so I would have thought he could escape. And Harrison the know-it-all Mudblo," Izar rolled his eyes upward. When would they learn that didn't bother him?
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"Crucio." Voldemort chuckled merrily along with Bole's screams. "I enjoy when you dig yourself deeper in your own grave. I also find this situation tiresome." He kept the hex on Bole as he continued. The screams didn't distract him. "You have all committed an act of disloyalty. All acts of terror, raids, or schemes that involve Death Eater masks and robes should be authorized by me and only me." He took the curse off and Bole gave a delirious cry. "None of you had the authorization to plan your own attack. Doing so again will result in a much harsher punishment, death most likely. You should all know that you're in my disfavor. You'll learn, with time, that being in my disfavor is very unfortunate on your behalf. When I am feeling a bit unsettled and ill ease, I feel the need to take my anger out on Muggles or Mudbloods. Thankfully, when I don't have any of those around, I use my list of disfavorables." Disfavorables it wasn't even a bloody word. Draco whimpered next to Izar, a painfully obvious sign of his fright. "For example, I'm feeling rather bothered at the moment. Who is on my list of disfavors again?" The man was all but murmuring to himself in a gleeful manner, knowing all to well he was mentally torturing all the students at his feet. "Ah, yes, Derrick is one of my disfavorables." The man tisked. "Crucio." So far, Draco, Daphne, and Izar were the only one's who hadn't been gifted with Voldemort's punishment. Would the Dark Lord give their punishment out tonight? Or make them wait agonizingly for it? Once Derrick's punishment was lifted, Voldemort continued. "Your father was of first ranking in my circle, Nott." Voldemort hissed. "Do you not believe I would want revenge myself? Revenge tastes sweeter when you wait and plan it out to the very last drop of blood. Now I can never get that revenge I so rightfully deserve. I had even planned for you to accompany me." Nott sniffled. Even Izar could feel the boy's body twitch from the after affects of Voldemort's spell. "All of you, get out of my sight." Voldemort stood up, dismissing them with a disgusted hiss. "Your Head of House should be waiting for you. I can assure you, he has all your punishments planned out, even yours, Mr. Harrison." "Yes, My Lord." The students chorused at once. Izar stood from the floor, steadying himself before walking toward the doors. He eyed the two oldest students as they stumbled. They tried their best to walk straight, without falling, but their knees and legs shook uncontrollably. Nott wasn't so lucky. He stood, only to fall back to the floor, twitching. Surprisingly, Draco was the one to assist him. "Izar," the Dark Lord called. "Stay behind a moment."
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Daphne's exhausted eyes met his before he turned slowly. Throughout the whole meeting, Izar had yet to look at Voldemort. It appeared as if his luck was about to change. He didn't understand why he was so afraid to look at Voldemort. Perhaps it was because no. it was because he didn't want to see the utter disappointment in the crimson eyes. When had he begun to care so much about the Dark Lord's feelings towards his actions? Was it the ring? Or had he begun to care for the Dark Lord more than he let on? His fingers subconsciously patted his robes, feeling the brother to Voldemort's wand inside. It was still in his pocket and it was also the highlight to this evening. Although, he would readily admit that listening to Bole and Derrick scream hysterically was just as high up there. "Come. Closer." Izar finally looked up at the Dark Lord. The room they were in was large and white. Columns decorated the sides of the rooms, leading up toward a pedestal-like platform where the Dark Lord stood. The room looked like a ballroom perhaps, with a platform for guests to get something to eat. Only, instead of food today, a single chair sat on the platform. Voldemort's chair. Izar kept his eyes away from Voldemort, but moved forward. He came to a stop at the foot of the platform and was about to go to his knees until Voldemort stopped him. "No, closer. Come up here, next to my chair. Kneel." The man sat back on his chair, expectant. Izar held his breath as he took the step up on the platform before kneeling right next to Voldemort's legs. "My Lord?" Izar questioned softly. He didn't want to sound too submissive, but he knew he was already on thin ice with the man. Voldemort leaned forward, both his hands flattening against Izar's neck. The Ravenclaw stiffened as he felt the fingers dance across his skin before curling around the edge of his mask. Voldemort pulled his mask off, revealing his features. "I had to see if it was really you underneath that mask," the man sounded amused. "So quiet and submissive tonight, my child." Charcoal-green eyes finally locked with crimson. He allowed his stubbornness to shine through, already noticing the Dark Lord's growing smirk at his actions. "I am on your list of unfavorables, My Lord. I didn't want to take my chances. You were handing out your Crucios rather freely tonight. Best if I keep my comments to myself." Voldemort chuckled. His long fingernails scratched Izar across the chin before taking hold of his jaw and holding him in place. "I find myself torn over your involvement with Nott and his reckless
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scheme." The smirk on Voldemort's face faltered. "On one hand, I am delighted you're taking a more active part in social life, the Death Eaters included. You were, no doubt, the leader of this attack tonight. Your leadership is looked highly upon by me." Izar's jaw clenched, mindful of Voldemort's hold on his chin. "On the other hand, I am disappointed in you. I would have thought you would take action against his nave plans at revenge. I would have thought you would realize my distaste for such a" the man paused, his face contorting disgracefully. "It did not please me when I heard of your disappearance with the rest of them." "However," the man continued, losing his disappointed expression and transforming it into the expression Izar was familiar with; a taunting, amused sort of expression. "There is another side to what I feel over your involvement." The Dark Lord leaned forward dangerously close. "I'm suspicious of you and your reasons for doing this." Crimson eyes were ablaze as he stared into Izar's innocent gaze. "I can force my way inside your head and find out exactly why you went with them. But how can I spoil the fun? I enjoy this game we play together. It is only a matter of time before I discover your intentions, by then; you would have made your next move." Izar's lips twisted into a smirk and he gave a light chuckle, pleased significantly. His pulse was racing from the dance he was playing with the Dark Lord to the stare and touch he was receiving from the man. "My Lord, you have no reason to be suspicious." Daringly, he reached out his left hand and curled it around the man's outstretched wrist. It was the first time Izar had ever initiated contact. "I, on the other hand, have every reason to be suspicious of your intentions." Crimson eyes narrowed thoughtfully before they turned to Izar's left hand. More specifically, the middle finger the ring was settled on. Voldemort hissed excitingly, turning his gaze back on Izar. "The ring, of course," a cruel smirk lifted his lip. "How could I have forgotten?" He hadn't forgotten. It was all in his smirk, in his eyes. The man was too bloody arrogant. Voldemort frowned and with his opposite hand, he plucked at the leather material on Izar's hand. "A pity you cover it. I will allow you to hide it from the public now, but shortly, I will not allow my rightful claim to be shielded." Izar's heart skipped a beat. "Tell me, Izar, what do you think the ring involves?" Izar found himself confused by the predatory stare he was receiving. This intimacy this wasn't right was it? "My Lord," a voice announced from the doorway. Izar dropped his hand quickly from the Dark Lord's wrist, shying away from the man. Voldemort sighed, exasperated, before turning to Lucius Malfoy. "Yes?" He drawled lazily.
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"Have you succeeded?" Not only was Lucius Malfoy in the doorway, but a few of the other first ranking Death Eaters entered inside the room. Their gold masks reflected off the glossy marble tiles they stood upon. Izar eyed the group of Death Eaters, quickly donning his mask back on. There were a few silver masks scattered throughout the inner circle, proving that Voldemort had wanted more than just his inner ranks present during the Auror attack. All the Death Eaters stood a distance away from the Dark Lord, careful to show their submission in their posture. Bellatrix, however, was grinning madly in the corner, her onyx eyes on Izar. "A few Aurors dead and wounded, others got away." Lucius informed softly. His grey eyes danced across Izar before turning back to the Dark Lord. "As for our side, I'm happy to say only a few were wounded, none were captured or killed." "Excellent," Voldemort praised silkily. "Isn't that so, Izar?" Izar bowed his head. "Very much so, My Lord." Snickers were heard throughout the hall and Izar wondered what the hell was so amusing. Voldemort patted him on the head, his fingers digging a bit too deep as they caressed his scalp. "Go find Severus, Izar, you should get back to Hogwarts. Or that old coot might notice your disappearance." Izar scrambled away from the Dark Lord as fast as he could while still appearing graceful. With his head held high, he made his way to the exit. Bellatrix caught his eye, chuckling as she caressed her wand to her lips. "How's daddy dearest?" Not at all afraid of her, he met her gaze, staring her down as he passed. "Careful now, Bellatrix," the Dark Lord warned softly. "I'm certain Izar could give you a run for your money." Bellatrix cackled at Izar's retreating footsteps. He hurried from the room, catching sight of Professor Snape and the other students at the end of the hall.

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Part I Chapter 19

{Notes} Lots and lots of talking in the chapter. Well, on Regulus' part anyway. This whole chapter is dedicated to the past events at least Regulus' side of it. ALSO: A lot of people asked why the Death Eaters laughed when Izar responded to Voldemort's question (in last chapter): Well, they merely think Voldemort was mocking Izar when he asked him for his opinion. I mean, when was the last time the Dark Lord asked one of his Death Eater's for their honesty opinion- if he wasn't mocking about it? So they laughed, as they always do when they think Voldemort needs someone to back his 'joke' up. Chapter Nineteen "This is horrible," a voice whimpered. It echoed across the small room, almost repeating in Izar's ears. "Oh Merlin's beard, this is horrible." "Will you please shut the bloody hell up?" Izar snapped. "That's all you've been saying for the past hour." He stared at Draco from across the bathroom, wondering why he had to be paired with the blonde haired Slytherin. Snape assigned them cleaning duty on the first floor bathroom. For the past two weeks, it had been closed due to 'malfunctions', only to be waiting for Izar and Draco to clean it for their detention. "I swear, Izar," Draco gasped pathetically as he scrubbed a stubborn part underneath the toilet. Without magic. With just a small soapy sponge. "My fingers are starting to look like prunes." The boy shuddered, his face permanently contorted into a scowl. Izar scoffed, scrubbing near the sinks. He was positive Snape had spelled the bathroom to be even more horrendous than it really was. Mold was scattered throughout the bathroom, dirt, lint, hair and juices Izar really didn't want to look at or think about. "Get used to it," Izar drawled. He felt a source of magic approach him from behind and he knew all to well it was Tom Riddle. "Besides, that's what they're going to look like in a few years." Draco gave a gripe, pausing to dry his fingers off again. The expensive shoes clicked on the floor as the man made his way inside. Izar was turned away from the door, hidden behind the many number of sinks. He could almost taste Riddle's amusement from across the room. "My, who would have thought you boys were so good at cleaning?" Riddle mused. Izar watched as Draco paled, struggling to try to regain a bit of pure-blood self-respect as he adjusted his posture.
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"It makes me wonder if I should have you two clean my torture chambers. They need a good scrubbing." Izar sat up from the sinks, nearly avoiding the bottom of the pipe before he threw the man a smirk. As soon as he sat up, Riddle's eyes were zeroed onto him, giving him full attention. Izar knew his hair was in disarray and his muggle clothes were torn and dirty. He didn't care. "Scrubbing? Scrubbing what? The dust because it hasn't been used in forever?" Riddle looked satisfied at Izar's comment while Draco flushed, too disconcerted at Izar's sharp tongue to react properly. "Yes, I suppose you're right. But it would be nice to clean them before my invited guests take residence inside." "Care to share who they are?" Izar perked up when he noticed Riddle was truthfully planning on capturing a few guests for torture. However, Izar knew the man probably didn't have real torture chambers. Riddle was too sadistic and cruel to extend the torture. Something told him that Riddle favored unbearable torture for a few minutes before getting bored and ending it. "No," Riddle drawled, leaning against a cleanly scrubbed wall as he observed Izar. "But I will be happy to tell you when they're in my care." His eyes swept toward a silent and observing Draco. "Tell me, what are the other's doing as punishment?" Draco tensed when he realized Riddle had addressed the question to him. Izar withheld a laugh. The boy was absolutely terrified of the Dark Lord. The Malfoy heir tried to hide it as he spoke to the toilet. "Bole and Derrick have to clean the Owlery with their bare hands and a toothbrush," Draco grimaced. "For a month." Izar scowled, wondering why the two seventh years got off so easily. Yes, the Owlery was very expansive and it would probably give them blisters and sore knees, but it seemed lax. "I think I'd rather be cleaning animal dung than human dung," he observed softly as he wiped a bit of flesh colored stain from underneath the sink. Draco gave him a look that clearly stated he'd rather not do any of the cleaning. "Greengrass has to clean all the girls' lavatories on first and second floor for three weeks and Nott" Draco trailed off, grinning. "Nott gets to spend the day with the big oaf Hagrid picking bubotubers in the Forbidden Forest. And tomorrow he has to spend it with Professor Sprout, squeezing the pus from the bubotubers." Izar sneered as he remembered the First Task and the bubotuber he had to search for. They were vile creatures. He paused near a stubborn stain on the ground. Cautiously, he moved his sponge over the blob. It hissed at him before slowly starting to inch away. He sighed. The day after their excursion, the papers had been in outrage. Izar remembered glimpsing at the front page of the students' subscribed Prophet, catching a quick shot of the Death Eaters and Aurors. The journalists pinpointed it to a terrorist group. They had yet to really
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get it right. Voldemort hadn't accompanied the Death Eaters during the raid simply because he wanted to keep his rise silent until he wanted it written in the papers. Until then, the Death Eaters would disappear into the background again. Eventually, the public's fears would subside, making them comfortable again. After all, Britain hasn't seen any Dark wizards' revolt since Gellert Grindelwald was in power so many years ago. Cory Appleton's death was noted in the Prophet. Killed by the heart attack curse from one of the 'terrorists'. Izar wondered if the Death Eaters were insulted that they were labeled so wrongly. "Charming," Riddle conceded. "While I agree you two need to serve your punishment, I also believe you have done quite satisfactory so far." The man's wand poked from beneath his sleeve. With a flick of his wand, the bathroom was spotless. Izar blinked and Draco almost fainted with relief. "I need your presence, Mr. Harrison. Come." The man didn't wait as he swept from the bathroom. Izar slapped his sponge in the garbage, pausing. He was tired. He didn't think he could do any more dances with the man today. He peered into the mirror, staring at the dried soapy suds along his jaw line and his wild hair. The ends were curled more than normal today with the wet environment, making him look like a bloody ponce. He had ripped jeans on and his worn Muggle sneakers. His long sleeve shirt was torn at the hems, completing his look. Yes, he looked remarkably well Turning, he walked from the room, ignoring the stunned and thrilled Draco still sitting next to the toilet. "Careful Malfoy, people may start to think that's where you belong." The Malfoy heir scrambled up, tripping over his long cloak in the process. Izar stepped out into the hall, glancing around for the Dark Lord. Most the students were at Hogsmeade this weekend, leaving the halls an uncanny calm. A sudden movement caught his attention and his neck snapped quickly to watch a cloak disappear around the corner. Izar followed it, his torn soles sounding awkward on the floors. He didn't necessarily need the cloak to know where Riddle was going. All he needed to do was follow the magical signature. They were walking down to the dungeons. Izar kept a good distance from Riddle, watching the man's perfect posture from the back. The man commented on Izar's posture as self-hate and confidence if that were even possible. But Izar admired Riddle's walk. It wasn't so much a swagger; however, it was arrogant and confident. And yet, there was a bit of danger to it. As if he walked with the Dark cloaked about him. Even if Riddle had his political glamour up, Izar could still see the Dark Lord hiding at the surface.
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Izar watched Riddle enter Professor Snape's personal chambers. Hesitating, just briefly, he walked closer. The door was ajar and he could see Snape sitting rigidly on a leather couch. The potions master's face was etched of worn lines, bringing attention to the aging along his mouth and eyes. "Come in, Izar, shut the door behind you." Riddle's voice commanded softly from inside the room. Izar stepped inside, giving a double take when he noticed Regulus in attendance. His father was sitting on the opposite couch to Snape, his posture just as stiff as the Slytherin Head of House. The man's charcoal eyes all but glowed eerily as they washed over his sons' body. Every time Izar saw Regulus, the man always looked at him closely, almost as if he couldn't believe Izar actually existed. Riddle swooped from the shadows as soon as the door shut, his hand motioning Izar to the seat beside his father. "Sit." Knowing better then to argue, Izar's heavy legs gave out near his father. He had a feeling he knew what this was about. But was he ready? Yes. He believed he was. "Regrettably, I am not here today to punish you, Regulus and Severus. Instead, I'm here to give you my full attention. Your punishment will come at a later date when there aren't any wards to interfere." Riddle's cloak brushed the floor as he made his way toward the fireplace. "Izar, especially, has just as much right as I to hear this mesmerizing story of you and the Mudblood." Izar swallowed, controlling his features before turning his body toward Regulus. The man had been in the castle a lot lately. Was it because of Sirius or Izar's eyes danced toward Snape, wondering. Was it because of Professor Snape? The man was oddly uptight, his eyes anywhere but on Regulus. While Regulus was not wanted by the Ministry, he was believed dead. Had Regulus already gone to the Ministry to declare his continued existence? His father had mentioned something about straightening things out at the Ministry that day of Appleton's murder, in Sirius' office. But Izar hadn't been healthy enough to really listen to the man and he hadn't thought to ask. And now that Voldemort knew Regulus was alive, the man would be able to walk freely among the wizarding world. So why was he wasting his time at Hogwarts? "May I have permission to speak freely to my son, My Lord?" Regulus questioned the Dark Lord. Riddle, in answer, cocked his head in answer. Across the room, Professor Snape was a bit grey, as if he didn't want to hear the past being re-written. "It's a rather simple and clean cut story," Regulus started. His eyes were on Izar's face
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before he turned his own body toward his son. It appeared as if Regulus preferred to talk to Izar then the Dark Lord. "Lily, during her days at Hogwarts, was a charming, beautiful, and very smart girl." Severus nodded curtly in agreement. Izar raised an eyebrow before looking back at Regulus. "When I arrived at Hogwarts, I was a year beneath both Severus and Lily. She was Gryffindor and Severus and I were Slytherins. Sirius and James Potter, along with a few other friends, were in Lily's year all Gryffindors of course. James Potter's group tormented Severus relentlessly. Before coming to Hogwarts, my parents bred me well. I was to hate Light, Muggles and Mudbloods, and Gryffindors alike. I wanted to appease them, especially because I found favor in their disappointment in Sirius for being Sorted into Gryffindor." Regulus paused, smiling softly toward Izar. "And when I finally came to Hogwarts, I hated them all even more for tormenting Severus so cruelly. He was, after all, one of my own Snakes I took an instant liking to him and tried to protect him as much as I could. You remind me of him at times, Izar. Severus, he just wanted to be left alone. Kids can be so cruel. And I hated my brother for the idiot he was." Regulus trailed off, a solemn expression crossing his face. Izar spied Snape's impassiveness and sharp features. What Regulus said was understandable. Izar could see Snape being teased relentlessly by children during his Hogwarts days. To Izar, Snape was strong, aloof and mystifying probably as a child too. And children didn't look too highly upon loners at school. "Because of my relationship with Severus, I was introduced to Lily Evans the Mudblood James Potter relentlessly flirted with and all but claimed for himself. Apparently Severus and Lily met in their earlier years, before Hogwarts. They were raised in the same Muggle neighborhood and became friends. And throughout the years at Hogwarts, they still met in private to study and speak with one another. It took a great deal of trust for Severus to tell me about Lily. After all, the Black family is notorious for despising anything Muggle. I reluctantly decided to meet Lily" Regulus looked disgusted with himself. "And I became smitten with her." Izar shifted uncomfortably. He could never imagine being smitten with a Mudblood. They were bred too close to Muggles, the very thing he hated. "I know what you're thinking, my son," Regulus flashed a smile. "I felt the same. Only, she was brilliant. Her mind, at least. She had a mind I could relate to. We spent hours debating over the right and wrongs of Dark Arts and the different properties to Charms and Transfiguration spells. We were the top of our classes its no wonder you turned out to have a prodigy mind, Izar. You were bred between two smart people. While Lily and I weren't prodigies, we did have intelligence with magic." "You're going off tangent, Black," Snape drawled, his eyes on the fire before him.
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Regulus, his eyes still on Izar, smiled thinly at Snape's tone. "Lily had a bit of Slytherin cunning to her as well. I was besotted, completely engrossed with her. But of course, I was afraid of what my parents would say. This was around the time they disowned Sirius." "Disowned?" Izar raised his eyebrows. "Why?" Regulus' charcoal eyes glanced at the silent Dark Lord. "He was too involved with the Potters and he renounced the Dark Lord's ways. So, he ran to live with the Potters the day of his disownment. Keeping this in mind, I was determined to keep my fascination with Lily a secret. It wasn't until her seventh year and my sixth year that she returned my feelings, albeit distantly. There were rumors going around that she was involved with James Potter." Regulus looked ashamed with himself. "This is where I became the fool that led to my current position, Izar. Please I was young and blinded by a love that wasn't healthy. I was stupid." Izar looked down at the hand that laid itself on his knee. He knew the man was asking for Izar's understanding. Izar could almost feel the man's embarrassment for what he was about to say. "I'm sure you aren't the man you were fifteen years ago," Izar responded truthfully. The man had learned the hard way for his mistakes. "I'm sure fifteen years in hiding was enough time for you to realize your mistakes." Regulus smiled, his fingers tightening on Izar's knee. "Thank you." Snape eyed the two from his chair, the firelight exaggerating the sharp angles to his face. "I think you can resume the story from your seventh year," Snape commented. "The part about your withdraws." "Must you make this harder then it is, Severus?" Regulus demanded softly. "I know my mistakes. I have apologized to you already." Izar raised an eyebrow between the two. Something a bit more was going on then Regulus and Severus were letting on. The two were bickering with one another as if Izar and Voldemort weren't even in the room. The Ravenclaw looked over his shoulder at Riddle, eyeing the man who stood near the shadows. Half his face was covered with darkness, the other, visible side of his face, was eyeing the proceedings jadedly. Regulus hissed beneath his breath as he turned back to Izar. "During my seventh year, I found myself missing Lily and Severus considerably. They had graduated the year before me. While I was at school, Severus became a Death Eater and a member of the Order of the Phoenix." Izar chuckled lowly. "Order of the Phoenix?" "The Order of the Phoenix is Dumbledore's group, a secret organization that defends against the Dark forces." Snape answered for him quietly. "I became a double spy for the Dark Lord."
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Izar found this extremely entertaining. He twisted his head around toward the Dark Lord. The man looked as if he were struggling to conceal a grin as he gazed back at Izar. "So basically, the Order is Dumbledore's version of the Death Eaters?" "Naturally," Riddle's voice intoned from the shadows. Izar turned back to Regulus, catching the man's assessment of his interaction with the Dark Lord. Regulus calmly continued. "My seventh year was the year I also got a personal invitation to work at the Ministry of Magic, in the Department of Mysteries." "You became an Unspeakable?" Izar whispered. What were the odds? Having both parents as Unspeakables when he, himself, hadn't known that at the time he accepted his own invitation to their department. "I did," Regulus gave a sharp nod. "I accepted the job as soon as I found out it was in the same Department as Lily. I worked in the," "Death Chamber," Izar guessed ironically. "Izar," Riddle started lazily. "Is an Unspeakable as well." Izar flashed the Dark Lord a scowl. He hadn't wanted to tell Regulus. Or Snape for that matter. He wanted the knowledge of his Unspeakable status strictly between Voldemort, Dumbledore, and the others who worked there. But he supposed Regulus would have found out eventually. Regulus froze, his cold charcoal eyes becoming even colder. "Already? My, our times have changed, reigning mere children into slavery." The Head of Black looked at Voldemort pointedly. "What Chamber do you work in?" He asked to Izar. "I don't," Izar reluctantly began. "I started last year and they assigned me to Time-Turner duty all summer." His mind brought him back to those endless projects. He was hopeful that he wouldn't have to go through all that again this upcoming summer. "But, like you, I'm interested in the Death Chamber." "You haven't seen the Chamber yourself, have you?" Regulus asked coldly. Reading Izar's expression, the man took Izar by the shoulders. "You saw her, didn't you? Your own mother works there; you must have encountered her there. But you told me at Hog's Head that you never encountered her before." "I lied," Izar spoke just as coldly as his father's eyes shown. "What was I supposed to say? My own mother ignored the very sight of me? Pretended as if she had never met me before?" Izar asked bitterly. "Not that I minded of course, she abandoned me at a Muggle orphanage. She did seem rather excited to drag me down to the Veil, though." He remembered her odd insistence that he help her. He had agreed, simply because the Veil. To this day, he still held a great admiration to the archway. It's beauty its mystery A glass lamp next to Regulus shattered and the hands on Izar's shoulders grew tighter.
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"She didn't," he spat cruelly. Izar kept his features cool, but he felt his chest coil in a bit of fear. He had never seen this side of Regulus before. And quite frankly, Izar never thought his father had a cruel bone to his body. He thought Regulus was just bred to worship the Dark and hate Muggles, but seeing the man's mere hate twist his features was a slap in the face. His father was Dark. Izar was thrilled to see this side to Regulus. It made him eager to know what Regulus was capable of doing on the battlefield. Regulus' eyes were normally vivid, especially framed by dark lashes. But when he was angry, they all but glowed. "That Mudblood bitch," Regulus growled, leaning closer to Izar. "What happened there? That day? When you were near the Veil, what transpired? Of course you heard voices; even if you hadn't seen death you would have heard the voices. The Blacks are rather sensitive to death, but did anything else happen? It's very important that you speak the truth, Izar." The man was speaking quickly, fanatically. As if he knew of the events that had happened. "No," Izar lied softly, his body stiff in Regulus' strong hold. "Just as you said, all I heard were voices." Regulus looked relieved. "He's lying, impish child," Voldemort tisked disapprovingly, his eyes observing him from the shadows. Regulus' eyes widened. And as quickly as his anger came, it was gone, replaced by cool shock. Izar pulled himself away from his father's hold, turning to seethe at the Dark Lord. He ignored his father's alarmed and dismayed eyes on him. It made him feel intimidated. "Whose bloody side are you on, anyway?" Izar demanded toward the Dark Lord. He was unnerved by both Snape's and Regulus' close inspection. "You're both on my list of 'unfavorables'," the Dark Lord teased delightfully. Izar scoffed. There was that bloody word again. "I'm just curious to know where this conversation is heading." "No where," Regulus interrupted, his face turning to stone. "This conversation is closed. You heard voices beyond the Veil, that's all you say?" Regulus nodded at Izar before the Ravenclaw could respond. "Good. I trust your word, Izar." Both Izar's and Voldemort's eyes narrowed into slits at the sudden change from Regulus. Further along the room, Snape shook his head at Regulus' actions. The potions master was just as obvious to Regulus' sudden change in direction. Izar was curious, but he didn't want everyone in the room knowing why the Veil was so
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special. And he didn't want to tell anyone about what had transpired there with Lily. Something told him Regulus didn't want the Dark Lord overhearing. But the Dark Lord's interested had been piqued. And there was no averting his attention. Nonetheless, Voldemort remained silent. He sunk back into the shadows, surprising Izar with his submission. Why? There was the possibility that the Dark Lord didn't want to sound as if he were begging Regulus to indulge. The Dark Lord did not beg. But he demanded. Why couldn't Riddle just demand Regulus to tell him? Threaten him? Something told Izar that Riddle enjoyed the game of finding out for himself. "With Severus leading his own life and Lily starting her own, I was left to finish my last year of Hogwarts." Regulus continued calmly, slowly sitting back down. Izar was sharp enough to note the tight tension in Regulus' posture. The man was not yet over the Veil incident. "With my obsession with Lily, I began to distance myself from the things that truly mattered." Here, Regulus looked at Snape. The potions master avoided eye contact skillfully without it looking practiced. "By the time I graduated, I ran to Lily despite Severus' warnings." Izar continued to watch the potions master. "Severus told me I should be cautious around Lily. He said she had changed in the course of the year. She had joined the Order and she started to meet with Albus Dumbledore more often. Severus claimed Lily was somehow manipulated. I couldn't believe him." Regulus shook his head. "I thought he wanted Lily for myself how wrong I was." The man's voice turned miserable and Izar noticed the tension. His lip curled into a smirk. Did he sense romance? Between no "A few days after working with Lily, I had noticed a difference. There was a part of me that wanted to leave her as my obsession started to diminish. But, she tried to convince me otherwise. She claimed she was relieved to finally see me after a year. She was also on a brief separation with Potter and before I knew it, one thing led to the other and long story short, you were conceived in the Death Chamber." Izar hissed, his face twisting in disgust. "I may forgive you for being such an idiot, but I will not listen to that." Regulus chuckled, grinning. "You, my child, are a blessing. Don't ever think you were not welcome on my behalf. I cannot speak for Lily of course." Regulus lost the joy in his expression. "Her manipulations started the day I began working with her. She had me on her hook as soon as I walked through those doors. I can't believe she would use both herself
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and me so carelessly." "What are you talking about?" Izar demanded, bemused by Regulus' ramblings. "She used you to get to me, or more specifically, to get to the Dark Lord," here, Regulus looked uncomfortable. "She knew I always wanted a family. I wanted a son, especially, and she used that to her advantage." Regulus blinked, his expression turning sour. "She also knew my family worshipped the Dark and the Dark Lord Voldemort. Although, at the time, I wasn't Marked, she knew I was interested in joining." There was a pause and Izar wondered if Regulus was uncomfortable recounting this in front of the Dark Lord.

"She came to me one day, gloom and depressed. It was that day she told me she was pregnant with our child. I was ecstatic, naturally. Only, she wasn't. She expressed her fears of my involvement with the Dark Lord. How could we raise a baby safely with such a cruel and vici "How did you feel about that?" Izar asked. Regulus gave a bitter smile. "I'm Dark, Izar. I will always be Dark. But I would gladly give up my ways in order to keep you safe. And that's how she lured me to search for" he trailed off, his eyes searching the Dark Lord's form in the shadows. "You may continue. I trust Izar," Voldemort persuaded. "And I'm certain Severus already knows." Trust. What an amusing word coming from the Dark Lord. "She convinced me to search for the Dark Lord's Horcrux in Bellatrix's vault at Gringotts. At the time, I did not know its significance." Izar sat forward, immediately intrigued. "Horcrux," Izar whispered in awe. Snape frowned, not comprehending. Apparently the man did not know about the facts of Regulus' betrayal. "A Horcrux," Izar repeated for his professor. "Is an object one uses to store part of his soul. Said wizard tears a part of his soul and places it in a chosen item, like a piece of jewelry, for example. If his physical body 'dies', he is never truly dead if he has a Horcrux grounded here on earth. It's really Dark magic" He paused when he noticed three sets of disproving eyes watching him. "What?" Izar demanded a bit flustered. "Where did you get your hands on a book like that?" Regulus questioned softly with a hint of threat. "You're only fifteen." Izar looked upward in frustration. When would they understand he wasn't like the average fifteen-year-old? When would they realize he had raised himself throughout the years?
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"I would like to know that as well," Professor Snape requested silkily. "A book in the Restricted Section," Izar spoke coolly. "It was only a small section, just a brief mention of it." He defended himself. "You were saying?" He put the attention on Regulus once again. "Lily made you search for the Dark Lord's Horcrux in Bellatrix's vault. I'm assuming, because you were the Heir of the Black Family, that you had access to the rest of the family's vaults. And rather conveniently, Bellatrix caught you in the act and told the Dark Lord, who in turn, realized you were searching for his most valued possession." Regulus nodded, his eyes silently telling Izar they hadn't forgotten about the book he read on Horcruxes. Izar knew then, that Regulus would be a difficult parent to fool. The man didn't forget things easily. "Yes, in short. It wasn't until Bellatrix caught me when I realized the significance of the items I was searching for. Lily admitted it to me that it was one of the Dark Lord's seven Horcruxes." Izar blinked before snickering. Seven Horcruxes? That was impossible. Well, for Voldemort it was. If the Dark Lord had truly split his soul seven times over, the man would be insane. Why did Dumbledore believe Voldemort had seven Horcruxes? Didn't the Headmaster know Voldemort would be a maddening idiot if his soul was split so many times? Well the more Izar thought about it, the more he believed that Dumbledore had no idea about Horcruxes. The man would believe Voldemort was Dark because of the Horcruxes. He may believe Voldemort got his cruel nature, such as killing and torturing, because of his Horcruxes. Dumbledore may know just a briefing about the Dark artifacts, but he probably didn't understand the Dark like Izar did. Or maybe it was also because Voldemort wanted Dumbledore to believe he had seven Horcruxes? Izar looked across the room at the Dark Lord. The man placed a finger to his lips, his eyes alight. It was settled then. Voldemort wanted his enemies to believe he had seven Horcruxes. Perhaps he even wanted a few selected followers to whisper about it behind his back. Izar wouldn't be surprised if the Dark Lord had no Horcruxes. But then what was keeping the man immortal? Unless he wasn't immortal "I became furious with Lily when she told me what the significance of the item was," Regulus started off again, casting a suspicious glance at Izar. "I told her I couldn't help her any longer, that I couldn't betray the Dark Lord again. It was then when she broke down crying." Regulus smiled at the ghost of his memory. "Through her tears she confessed that she had manipulated me on Dumbledore's persuasion. She told me she wasn't carrying a child and that it had all been a lie." Izar grimaced.
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"She lied, of course, about the part of her not carrying my child. But I hadn't known that then. I had been so betrayed by someone I trusted, I ran. My life was in ruins. The man I always wanted to follow was hunting me down and I had no place to turn. Severus came to me, my last chance at hope, only to tell me he was sent to kill me. At first, I had thought he would do it but he told me to run as far as I could as he staged my death"

Regulus shook his head, his eyes to the ground. "I lost fifteen years because of her. I lost fifteen important years of my sons' life because of her. She put you through a Muggle orphanage." Regulus shook his head again, peering at Izar through heavy locks of dark hair. "I don "It's almost as if she felt guilty," Izar commented pensively. Regulus had a point. Why didn't Lily keep him? Perhaps use him for the Light and glamour him as James'? "Remorse," Voldemort agreed silkily. "Lily Potter will never feel remorse for what she did." Snape stood up calmly. "There may have been a brief moment of uncertainty, of the old Lily Evans, when she heard Regulus was killed because of her actions. That is, perhaps, the reason she placed Izar in an orphanage. She couldn't tolerate to see the reminder of what she did to Regulus everyday, throughout life." The professor paused and he began to pace. "Lily Potter was never seen in public pregnant. I believe she hid it from her husband as I know she hid it from Dumbledore. The Headmaster didn't know how Lily blackmailed Regulus into looking for the Horcrux. Looking back now, I realized she disappeared the month Izar was born, only to return despondent and miserable. The Order meetings began to grow sparser and Lily simply disappeared. The old crowd of Potter's began to break apart and his marriage with Lily, clearly, is less than satisfactory." "You do not think she is remorseful?" Izar questioned again. It sounded as if the woman felt torn for what she had done. But still it didn't matter "It doesn't matter," Regulus spat. "What she did is unforgivable. If she was truly remorseful, Izar, she would have looked you in the eye and told you she was your mother. She would have gone back to the orphanage to raise you properly. Instead, she's too cowardly to face her faults, and instead, wants to remain hidden." Regulus held up a finger, grinning bitterly. "But let's not forget that she's starting to become more active. She's heard that I'm alive. Let's see how she plays now." Izar remained silent. He had to be truthful and admit that it was a relief to hear what had happened all those years ago. It was also a bit disappointing to hear he had been used as blackmail for his father's involvement with Voldemort's attempted downfall. But it helped him understand Regulus better. As much as he hated feeling it, he felt compassion and sympathy for his father. Regulus had always wanted him. At least the man claimed so. And Regulus had sacrificed
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his standings and beliefs for him. Regulus had a life here in Britain and he had to leave it all behind because he had placed trust in the wrong person, because he had held out hope for a family. Fifteen years in a home in Russia, forever secluded, would drive Izar for revenge. He wondered, briefly, if Regulus would claim his rightful revenge over Lily. Oddly enough, Izar couldn't find himself worried for his mother's life. "My Lord," Regulus whispered, breaking the silence. "I want to express my gratitude for your mercy. I know I do not deserve it after what I've done." He didn't. And Izar was astonished that the Dark Lord kept the man alive. With the exception of the ring. His voice hissed maliciously. Regulus was alive because of the ring on his finger. Voldemort finally slithered from the shadows, a cruel smile on his face. "You have your son to thank for that, Black." Regulus' head was bowed. "I do owe you a Crucio, however, one I hope you are able to struggle through. But that is neither here nor there. You will be given a proper initiative into the Death Eater ranks when the time allows it. Something tells me your forearm should be bare these upcoming months." Izar raised and eyebrow toward the Dark Lord. "You think the Ministry will interrogate Regulus?" Charmed brown eyes averted from Regulus to Izar. "I'm only sure." Izar stiffened. If gossip spread that Regulus was alive, Lily may become anxious and want to exploit Regulus as a Death Eater a follower of the Dark. "But they don't even know what they're looking for. The Ministry or the Aurors, if they see the Dark Mark on his forearm they may just think it's a tattoo. There is no Lord Voldemort in the public yet, no Death Eaters." "Oh, my child," Voldemort hissed. "Dumbledore will find a way to convict your father if there is a Dark Mark on his arm, trust me." Izar settled, taking the man's word for it. The Dark Lord stood before him. Long fingernails traced the outline of his face almost affectionately. "Meet me near the library after you're finished here. We have a few things we need to discuss. Privately." The man cast a pointed stare at a cynical Regulus. The man was put off by Voldemort's proximity. "Yes, My Lord," Izar agreed lightly. He watched Riddle as he elegantly swept from the room. Professor Snape stood up with a sharp nod. "I will leave you two in private." Onyx eyes lingered on Regulus before he swept toward an adjoining room. Izar watched after the man in delight. Though, his amusement
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died down when he realized he was alone, with his father. It had never happened before. They were always pressed for time or they always had people surrounding them. "I'm happy to see you're taking this well," Regulus started off casually. "I was afraid to tell you, afraid to push you. But the Dark Lord insisted we speak today." Izar shook his head. "I wanted to hear about your past. It's horrible, what she did to you." Regulus gave a thin smile, his eyes eerily vivid in the darkened room. "I could have avoided the situation skillfully if I hadn't allowed my emotions to run me. If I had listened to Severus, we wouldn't be in this position but that's just it. If I hadn't been the idiot I was, you wouldn't be here, Izar. If I was given the option of reliving my mistakes, I'm afraid I would follow down the same path." Izar looked away, flustered with the sentimental declaration. He hated himself for feeling the warmth in his chest at Regulus' statement. "I think I would have been here, perhaps not me, but another version of myself. After all, you always said you wanted a family." Regulus chuckled, pleased. "I'm afraid Lily was the only woman I looked at sexually, Izar." His father offered a bit of a coy smile. "There would have been no other children." Surprise crossed Izar's mind. He had thought he saw something between Regulus and Severus, but to hear his father so bluntly confess his preferences took Izar aback. Gay men, gay relationships, weren't looked highly upon in the wizarding world. It wasn't unheard of, most certainly not. And there were same-sex couples. But among pure-bloods, it was rare. Unless it was practiced from behind the scenes. Izar was sure there were plenty of gay pure-bloods who tiptoed behind closed doors. "Professor Snape?" Izar didn't even know why he was bloody asking. Or why he even cared. Regulus sighed, looking at the closed door Snape disappeared through. "I'll let you know when I find out," charcoal eyes turned back to Izar. "I've hurt him far beyond repairing. I don't know if he'll ever open up to me again. I can't say that I blame him." Izar nodded once before turning his attention back to the floor. The rich colors from the Persian rug were highlighted from the flame of the fire. Next to him, he felt Regulus shift closer, the room suddenly turning serious. "Izar," Regulus murmured quietly. "I need to know what happened at the Department of Mysteries, with the Veil. Did Lily witness what transpired? I didn't press the subject with the others here because it is strictly between us Blacks. A Black family secret if you will." Izar had an inner dilemma. Should he confide in his father? Could he trust Regulus? "I understand if you don't want to tell me," Regulus continued, albeit poignant. "I respect the distance you want to put between us. Pushing you into something you don't want to do is
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the last thing I intend," "I touched it," Izar whispered before the man could continue. "I touched the Veil. It should have pulled me inside, through the other side, but it didn't. I was able to pull back. Nonetheless, it gave me black skin where I touched it, but the color disappeared within a day. And yes, Lily witnessed it." Izar stared down at his fingers, remembering the mere thrill he got from touching the silky Veil. Regulus exhaled noisily, burying his face in his hands. "And you're magic sensitive, correct?" The voice was dull, as if he already knew the answer. "Don't sound too pleased," Izar drawled. His father raked his fingernails through his freshly cut hair before looking up at Izar. "It's rather ironic that the first half-blood Heir of Black would also possess Cygnus' Curse. I don't know if Cygnus would be amused or disgusted" Regulus trailed off thoughtfully. "Knowing him, it would probably be both." Izar sat there, staring at the man blankly. Regulus sat up, cracking his neck before observing Izar. "I know you want to know what I'm speaking of, Izar. And while I desperately wish to tell you, I know you have too many things happening right now. If I told you, you would become distracted and perhaps overwhelmed. I cannot put you through that just now. Perhaps soon." Izar gave a tight nod. He understood Regulus' reasoning. On the contrary, while curious, Izar was starting to feel overwhelmed with everything. This Cygnus' Curse was another mystery that needed to be added to his long list of riddles. "There is another thing I'd like to ask you," Regulus rotated his body on the couch. His lithe frame was easily flexible as he curled a leg underneath his body. Despite the awkward position, the man made it look completely poised. "Sirius and I were speaking of you the other day. He made me see things from your point of view. You were raised in an orphanage; it must have been a bad experience for you to come out hating Muggles instead of loving them." Regulus paused. "Having a harsh childhood without someone to turn to must have been difficult for you, Izar." Izar couldn't believe he was feeling so expressive over the topic at hand. He thought he put the past behind him. He tried to hide how much the topic affected him, but perhaps Regulus saw his shaking hands. "You've probably grown accustomed to taking care of yourself. And maybe you don't trust adults at all." Regulus reached over and curled his hand over Izar's trembling fingers. Izar made sure he had his face turned away. He didn't need the man to see his eyes, the most vulnerable part of his body. "But I'd still like to ask you if you could trust me. I'd like to be a central figure in your life, someone you can turn to with your problem, for help, anything."
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Regulus chuckled lowly, lightening the tension in the room. His hand was still curled over Izar's. "Perhaps I'm being entirely sentimental over asking this, but I'd like to be your father, Izar. I want to get to know you as my son." Izar found himself unable to conjure up any negatives toward Regulus. He wanted to find an excuse in order to decline the man's request. But he came up shorthanded. Why was this so difficult for Izar? Even as a young boy he had accepted his hell of a childhood and sworn off friends and anything of the sort. He promised himself he wouldn't accept help from anyone. He wanted to be cold, cynical toward everyone in his life. But Regulus Charcoal-green eyes looked at Regulus sideways. Was it acceptable if he let just one person in? The very same person who had risked his life for a child that he didn't even know? That hadn't even been born yet? The man was everything Izar wanted in an ideal father. The man was also flawed, not perfect. "I'd like that," Izar found himself saying. Merlin. He was such a bloody sap. He cleared his throat, trying to regain the control he had let slip. "However," Izar began quickly. "I'd rather not take this public. Not yet." "Time is something I have on my side, Izar." Regulus informed, his hand squeezing Izar's one last time before letting go. "I have your acceptance, that's all I need." {Notes} Hopefully Izar wasn't too out of character in this chapter. I tried my *hardest* to write him as cold as I could. Next chapter, you'll get to find out what you all are so eager to learn. The ring. And why Voldemort is intrigued by a mere fifteen-year-old.

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Part I Chapter 20

Chapter Twenty "Did you enjoy the heartfelt discussion with your father?" Riddle questioned; a mocking smirk to his mouth. Izar threw the politician a look as he walked down the corridor. The man was standing casually outside the library, waiting for Izar to approach him. The majority of the students were at Hogsmeade, leaving the castle an eerie calm. "I think you could use a heartfelt conversation, Mr. Riddle. You may not be as snarky." "I rely on being snarky," Riddle smirked, his arm stretching toward Izar as he came closer. The cold hand placed itself on Izar's shoulder, a claiming sort of gesture. "I understand you have just been handed a great deal of information involving your parents' past. But I hope you are stable and sharp enough to converse with me. We have many things we need to discuss. Some topics can be heavy and I want your full attention." Izar was becoming wary at the all but cryptic warnings. With Riddle's hand on his back, he was being led past the library and toward the entrance of the school. "Do I have your full attention, Izar? Or should I continue this discussion at a later date?" Riddle raised his eyebrows in question. Izar mentally scoffed. Like hell he'd put off this conversation. He had his suspicions of what they would discuss and it would help him get answers to some of the heavy questions he was carrying around. "I'm sharp," Izar responded quietly. Their footsteps were in sync as they walked toward the Hogwarts' grounds. "Good," Riddle took his hand off Izar's back, pausing before pulling his wand out. Izar controlled himself from tensing. After all, he already knew Voldemort wouldn't do anything drastic inside Hogwarts. With a quick flick of his wand, Izar's torn and ratty shirt was transfigured into a thick cloak. "We're going outside for this discussion. Come." Again, the man commanded his obedience as they swept from the grand entrance way, out into the brisk afternoon. Izar's brows furrowed at the sudden brightness of October's sun. It took him a long while to get his eyes adjusted from his long stay down in the dungeons. As soon as he was able to look up without squinting, his side was taken once again by the dominant hand of politician Riddle.
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Izar stiffened. He was getting particularly good at not flinching from contact. His childhood didn't consist of any positive caresses or touches but Izar prided himself for withstanding physical contact recently. With Regulus, the man seemed to favor hugging Izar and kissing his forehead in greeting. With Daphne, the girl always touched his arm and made him escort her around the castle at times. Even Draco touched him on occasion. But all of their touches were normal. With Riddle, Izar felt his heart skip a beat at every bit of contact. And he was always so conscious of Riddle's touches, it was utterly ridiculous. Was he really this starved for the Dark Lord's attention? Was he like a dog waiting hungrily for his master's approving touch? Izar liked to think he wasn't, but for some reason, he was just hypersensitive to the man. Perhaps it was his magic? "How is the portkey coming along?" Riddle started off airily. "Decent," Izar replied uneasily. "I'm almost finished with it. I just need to test it out myself to see if it works correctly." "Already?" Riddle raised his eyebrows in praise. "Very well done, my child." Izar looked away, hiding the pleased flush to his cheeks. "It wasn't very difficult, My Lord. I," "You can take a compliment, Izar, can you not?" The Dark Lord intoned lightly as he led Izar further down the grounds of Hogwarts. It was a part of the castle where not many students visited. They had to loop around a few towers, escaping the students' route as some trudged back from Hogsmeade. "Thank you," Izar spoke confidently, not at all meekly like he had before. Silence washed between them as they made their way toward a small pond. It was more of a marsh then anything and Izar's worn Muggle sneakers were soaked as he ventured close to the marsh's shore. Each step was a strong suction as both the water and ground sucked his foot deep before spitting it back out as he moved forward. The grass was flattened near the flooded marsh, appearing like green noodles in a brown broth. It smelt distinctly like water lilies and mud, not very pleasant and not exactly revolting either. Otherwise, the marsh was a fragment of beauty in simpler terms. The grass that hadn't been bowed over with the weight of water stood abnormally tall around the perimeter of the marsh, shielding the two wizards as they crept closer. There were weeds inside the marsh itself, raging in different colors from crimson red to simple beige. A few lily pads sat clumped together. And while most of them were just a mossy green, some were gifted with hosting a vibrant purple flower on top.
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And some lily pads were cursed with carrying a damned toad. Izar eyed them distastefully as their black beady eyes turned to him, croaking unpleasantly. Riddle's hand led him closer to the marsh, through a tall curtain of grasses. Izar thought the man would lead him into the middle of the marsh, judging from the water now reaching above his ankles, but as Riddle pulled back the weeds, Izar spotted a garden of boulders. It was a bed of large rocks, sitting close to the middle of the marsh. It was disclosed from prying eyes and Izar felt both uncertain and thrilled to be somewhere so private with such a powerful and dangerous man. The hand slipped from his side, leaving him standing rigidly. "I used to come here when I was a schoolboy," Riddle declared as he skillfully stepped over a floating lily pad and gracefully sat upon a boulder. He played off a picture of elegance as he patted the stone next to him, inviting Izar to sit. "At night, when the other students went to bed, I would escape out here when I grew too agitated. Much like you, I despised the children here. I was an old soul, perhaps not as old as you, yourself, but I could barely stand their presence at times." Izar hesitated, his feet still sunk inside the marsh next to the boulders. He had never seen Riddlerelaxed. It was foreign to him and he drank up the sight as much as he could without being too obvious. But even if the man appeared relaxed and serene, there was still that air about him that warned many people this man was not safe. Riddle's lips curled upward and he turned to look at Izar. "Do you not feel comfortable enough to sit next to me? Or do you enjoy the feel of water seeping into your shoes?" Izar blinked and calmly sat down next to the man. Unhappily, he eyed the damage done to his shoes. They weren't the picture of perfection before, but now, mud caked the outside and his socks were soaked. The man tisked, waving his wand over Izar's shoes. "Are you not a wizard, Mr. Harrison?" Instantly, his shoes dried, looking newer than ever before. "I don't specialize in cleaning charms, actually," Izar responded, a bit sheepishly. "I was never interested in reading about them." Silence descended again. Izar stared at the calm marsh. It was actually quite peaceful when he got past the croaking toads. "No doubt you are wondering why I brought you here." Izar remained quiet, not inclined to interrupt when it wasn't necessary. "You have stumbled across several mysteries, riddles, and puzzles regarding me, and you." Charmed brown eyes turned to Izar. "You have all the clues in your hand, Izar. I'm certain, if you piece them together, you can figure out the answers to many of your most pressing questions."
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Izar looked down at his ring and then up at the Dark Lord with uncertainty. With a stern expression, Voldemort's lips thinned. "Don't you think if I hadn't wanted you to find out my secrets, that I would have given you so many hints?" Izar shook his head shortly before turning away from the Dark Lord's overbearing presence. Why was he frightened of finding out the secrets to the Dark Lord? He had expressed so much curiosity "I think," Riddle started again. "That you're subconsciously trying to avoid figuring it out because your mind already knows what it's about. You're just afraid to admit it." "I just don't understand why you're allowing me to figure out your secrets. You're the Dark Lord, I'm the Death Eater. Is it not proper to keep my nose out of your business? Should you not be happy I'm not snooping?" Riddle chuckled. "My business is your business, Izar. Especially when it relates to this." Izar frowned at that. His stomach was twisting unpleasantly. "To what, exactly?" The Dark Lord sighed, irritated. "I want you to think on your questions concerning me. You have all the dots, Izar, connect them." The man hissed out. "I brought you here because I want you in my presence when you figure it out. Surely, if you were alone, you'd come to the wrong conclusion about my motives." Izar frowned again, turning his body away from the man slightly as he stared unseeingly at the small marsh. "No," Voldemort ridiculed. "Think out loud. I enjoy seeing how your mind works." Unsettled with the eyes on the back of his head, Izar slowly began. "I" he looked into the water, willingly his frozen mind to think. "Er" "Eloquent," Riddle scolded. "You make me unsettled, I can't think when you're bloody hovering," Izar remarked dryly. "Good," Riddle's hands touched the back of his neck, igniting the usual spark between them. Izar's jaw clenched. The man leaned over and whispered into his ear. "You're getting closer." "Your hands," Izar began suddenly as his mind began to race. It was becoming easier to think when he got over the initial uncertainty of Riddle hovering so closely. The man was just excited, as he always was when he played with Izar. "Whenever we touch, there is a spark of some sort, like magic passing between us, I think." He paused. "That's a question I have, or, have had for a long while now. Just like why you're immortal. How are you immortal?"
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He waited for the man to respond. The fingers had dropped from his neck a while ago. Izar turned to look at Riddle over his shoulder. The man just smiled thinly, a stubborn glint to his eye. Right. The man wouldn't answer Izar. He wanted him to think it through himself. "I can't and will never believe you have seven Horcruxes," Izar started quietly, as if there were others overhearing. "But there is the possibility you could have one and that Regulus really was on the right path to destroy you. But, that couldn't be. You would have hunted him down and killed him otherwise." Izar's eyes stared at the murky water near the boulders, wondering. Whenever he began thinking, his mind was lost in its own world and nothing could distract him until he found his answer. "The ring, Izar." Riddle's voice floated through his mind. "What is the purpose of my ring?" "Mentor and heir," Izar whispered. "You want to declare me as your heir." Silence. Until a pleased and alien laugh sounded from Riddle. "You amuse me, child. So wise and old for your age, yet you are so innocent and naive. It's a pity my touch will all but tarnish and taint you horribly. That will be oddly pleasing to me." With the feeling of unsettlement rising, Izar looked up at Riddle. The man was smirking gleefully. "While I intend to use the ring as a political sign that you are my heir, yes, that is not my entire purpose for the ring." Izar's ears grew warm and he knew Voldemort noticed. He shifted away from the Dark Lord, his pulse quickening. "Child," it was a horrible word that came from Voldemort's lips. "Don't call me that." Izar spat. "If you think I'm nothing but a child, why would you want my virginity?" "It's an endearment," Voldemort replied as if it were rather common sense. "Unless you prefer 'pet'?" Izar lifted his lip, actually snarling at the man. "I take that as a 'no'," the man continued. "I would have to agree. It's rather tactless and disquieting." "Why?" Izar demanded again. "Why would you want to secure my" Izar sighed, his stomach in tight coils. He didn't understand the odd pleasing sensation that was just as strong as the disgust he was feeling. "Why indeed," Riddle sang softly. "Continue on with your mindless ramblings, it may answer your questions." "Why? Because you want to torment me. You find a sick pleasure to make me submit to you."
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Riddle's face shadowed darkly and Izar found his throat closing in fear of the man. "I find that observation rather sick, Mr. Harrison. While I desire your virginity, my goal in life is not to violate a boy who is merely fifteen." Riddle flashed his teeth at Izar. "That is the whole purpose of the rings. I want to keep your virginity, pure, and untouched until later. Until both you and I are ready to commit to that next stage in our relationship." The man mocked the word as if it were silly. "I have no plans to sleep with you when you are all but fifteen." Izar felt rather foolish for accusing the man of being a pedophile. While it was a shock that the man wanted him for sexual purposes, there had to be a reason. The Dark Lord was the classification of grace and intelligence. He wouldn't stoop so low to vie for a fifteen-year-old wizard's virginity. It had to be for a good reason. And then it all made sense Izar's eyes widened briefly, before he looked up at the Dark Lord. "Why would someone secure virginity?" Izar didn't wait for the man to respond, his words coming together quick. "Because they are a magical creature, securing their mates purity." Izar was faint, but he continued. "It makes sense. You're pupils the Dark Arts do not manipulate the pupil into slits like yours. Some creatures in the magical world have split pupils. And when we touch physically, the spark is a sign of equal souls. It makes sense. You're immortal because of your status as a creature, not because of the Horcruxes. You don't want anyone to find out because it will give away your weaknesses to your enemies. You'd rather them believe you have Horcruxes." Izar sat there, his mind reeling. "That's why you were so interested in me at the Ministry ball last summer, because you knew then, that I was your mate. And it's why you hid yourself back at your father's home. You couldn't use magic to disguise yourself from me, or creature-persona, so you hid in the shadows instead." He remembered at his Death Eater initiation when Voldemort's fingernail had nicked his skin. The man then continued to lick the blood. "You're a vampire, one of the only immortal creatures out there" Riddle tapped Izar's chin, bringing his gaze back onto the man. "You're partly right," Riddle conceded. "I am a 'magical creature', yes, but I'm not a vampire. I'm something a bit more superior to the vampire I hope." Izar reluctantly agreed. Vampires were known for their immortality but also for their lack of self control around humans. Voldemort was far too in control of himself. The man was the definition of patience. And when he was angry, he was controlled even then. Essentially, Voldemort didn't even
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come across as a creature. The man was too skilled in humanity and control that the mere thought of the Dark Lord as a creature was slightly laughable. Whatever the man was, Izar was afraid to find out. "Then what are you?" Izar's question came out faint. He tried not to think about what this meant for him. Him, being a mate to the Dark Lord. It was "That is one riddle you will not solve today, Izar. Or in your books. I'm afraid my kind is not found in any textbook." The man paused, his eyes piercing straight through Izar's core. "You're angry with me, I know." Izar attempted to turn, but the hand on his chin stopped him. He was angry, he was furious and lost uncertain and also a bit pleased. It was a mess and he didn't know what, exactly, to think about these circumstances. The ring on his finger felt hot and possessive. He felt like a mere possession to the Dark Lord. It had been pleasing to be in the Dark Lord's favor, but now, how much of it was because he was the man's mate? "You're a very independent being, Izar," Riddle's voice was oddly consoling. "By no means do I intend to take that away." "I'm bound to you," Izar whispered passionately. "How can you not think you take away my independence when it's already lost and rightfully claimed by you?" The man looked pleased with himself at the comment, but sobered promptly. "Just because I may have your virginity, does not mean I have your spirit. Can you now understand why I wanted you in my presence when you found this out? Look at you, going off the deep end." He tisked. "This will change nothing." The man reassured, his hands still a controlling factor on Izar's face. "Don't think I'm any less intrigued by you because you are my mate. You're a very gifted wizard and I can truthfully admit that I'm pleased Fate has set me up with such a superior wizard. You surpass my expectations" Izar stared at the man before him. He hated that the Dark Lord was so understanding at this time. Why couldn't the man be his snarky self and make Izar's hate for him grow? "The ring on your finger is meant as a security of your virginity, yes, but it's also to protect the both of us. It is very important you keep this revelation silent, Izar. You are the only one who knows of my status as magical creature and it will stay that way; for both your safety and mine. Our romantic relationship is also to be kept behind the scenes. If anyone were to question the time we spend together, we use the Celtic bands as answer." Voldemort's spidery fingers caressed Izar's middle finger were the ring sat. "To the public, you are my heir. In private, you are my mate." The man issued a pause before his voice turned cold. "I hesitated at using the Celtic bands at all. Even if you are my heir, there will still be a target on you. But it is needed as an explanation if there are too many questions involving our time spent together. I'd rather word get out that you are my heir and not my
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mate. Until the time is right, keep the ring hidden." The man's fingers tightened on Izar's hand, his brown eyes intense. "There was also the option of never telling you. I could have kept you as a low ranking Death Eater and never paid you any heed. Only then, no one would be the wisest." A predatory smile crossed his lips. "But I find myself too selfish and possessive to pass that off." Izar scoffed, his neck allowing his head to bow. "I hate you" the boy murmured brokenly. But he had listened to the man's warnings and explanations. He now understood the meaning behind the Celtic bands. It was to secure their public appearances. As Voldemort stated already, the public would see them as mentor and heir. Magical creatures were rather possessive of their mates. And a death of a mate was devastating. It would be best, for both their sakes, to keep their status of mates secret. Even from Regulus. The Dark Lord chuckled darkly, taking Izar by the cheeks once again. "I don't believe you," the man all but sang smugly. "It's the thought of answering to someone, to being bound, is what you hate. Do you not believe I feel the same?" He never thought of that. Izar was sure Voldemort saw him as a vulnerability. The man was just as independent as Izar was, if not more, surely he couldn't like answering to a fifteen-year-old. Izar smirked at that. This bond was two ways. Riddle's eyes traced his smirk, answering it with one of his own. "As I have stated before, this will change nothing, at least not now. You need time to think of all this before I pursue you sexually." Izar paled and the Dark Lord chuckled breathlessly. The Ravenclaw knew Voldemort found pleasure in torturing Izar like that. "You are able to act indifferently about this when we leave here, yes? Or should I obliviate you?" Izar narrowed his eyes, insulted. "You know as well as I that I won't become a blushing maiden, batting my eyelashes at you in bloody public." Izar paused; pleased he was able to act indifferent. Inside, though, he was trembling. "I can't say that I'd do that in private, either." Riddle leaned closer, his eyes sparkling crazily. Izar stopped breathing. Surely the man wouldn't kiss him? However, he found himself unable to stop his body from moving closer to the man, only, the Dark Lord pulled back, smug. "I thought so," the man murmured to himself, as if confirming a silent theory. Voldemort stood up, his fingers caressing Izar's cheek before dropping to his side. Izar stayed frozen in distress.
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"The ring has other added positives," Riddle purred, towering over Izar. "Dumbledore, for example, wouldn't be able to enter your mind and see this information. You also won't be able to speak of it to anyone, with the exception of me. You'll find your tongue tied painfully if you try to do so." Charcoal-green eyes watched the man's face clear impassively before he began to make his way out the marsh. "You're leaving?" Izar asked before he could stop himself. The man turned to look at Izar over his shoulder. "Was there something else you'd like to say, child?" Izar spluttered, offended. But then he understood what Riddle was trying to do. Thisthis information it didn't change anything between them. Not in public, anyway. Turning his eyes back on the Dark Lord, Izar shook his head. He was taken aback when the man's eyes swept agonizingly slow over the length of Izar's body before turning away again. Sitting on the boulder, Izar brought his legs up to his chest, curling his arms around them for added comfort. Placing his chin on the top of his knees, he listened as the Dark Lord made his way out of the marsh. He needed time alone to think this over before going back to the school. The first thing he felt was resentment over the whole issue. It was just as Riddle said, he was independent. With Regulus today, Izar had acknowledge the fact that he could let someone in and still be independent, he could still be the same person even if he acknowledged Regulus as his father. What was saying that he couldn't do the same with Lord Voldemort? His logic over the situation kicked in when he realized that Voldemort was just as affected as himself. Obviously, the Dark Lord would find it difficult to be with someone romantically. Izar knew the man found it worthless to show emotion. But Izar was also thankful that the man was lenient today. Riddle could have been cold and dominating as he explained his ownership over Izar today. Yet, the Undersecretary had done the opposite. He showed he had humanity beneath that manipulating faade. The man had understood what Izar was feeling and tried to explain the wrongs of his thinking. It was almost hard to believe that the man was so perceptive and understanding. Izar would have liked to believe this was all a hoax. That it was some sort of manipulation the man was scheming up. But Izar was smart enough to realize the signs. Everything connected. It all made sense. And then he also considered another strong emotion that accompanied this situation. Lust.
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His face burned as hot as his stomach as he acknowledged the sensation. He wouldn't admit to anyone that he found the thought of the Dark Lord touching him thrilling. Even simple touches aroused a deep sensation inside Izar. The tension between them was always so strong. But Izar was also logical enough to realize he wasn't ready for the man's physical advances. Not yet. But perhaps soon, when he was more comfortable with himself and his sexuality. And when he wasn't bloody frightened over the thought of it. Although, the most comforting thing about this mess was that things would be the same. Voldemort was a bloody Dark Lord. He wasn't a lover and he wasn't a sappy gentleman who whispered sweet poetic lines in his ear. Izar shivered in disgust at the mere imagery. Izar and Voldemort were both males. They were both Dark and a bit cynical, cunning, and sarcastic. Truthfully, they were also quite right bastards toward one another and to others. Fate couldn't have fit two souls so right for each other anymore then she already had. There would still be underhanded manipulations on each other's part. Voldemort enjoyed dancing with Izar too much and Izar the same. It would be exactly the same; only, they would share a much deeper connection with one another that no one would be able to come close to. Was it wrong of Izar to be smug about being close to the Dark Lord? A sort of closeness that none of the other Death Eaters could even imagine? Granted, Izar knew he would have to prove himself more to the Dark Lord in order to be taken seriously. But there was just something pleasing to be the Dark Lord's only. Magical creatures mated for life. Infidelity was unheard of, especially on the creature's behalf. "Your mind is going in the opposite direction it should be, Izar," he scolded himself, grimacing. This situation should have affected him more than it did. Instead, he was seeing bloody positives to this situation. It shouldn't matter what Izar was to the Dark Lord. It shouldn't matter that he was more important than the Death Eaters. What mattered was that he was the Dark Lord's mate. And in turn, he could get away with things a lot easier. Such as manipulating the Dark Mark. Izar brushed his jaw along the tops of his knees, smirking subconsciously at the croaking toad without really seeing it. As the time increased with him sitting in silence, he became unsettled. His smirk trembled before it fell into a profound frown. The after-affects of basking in Riddle's overpowering proximity were gradually leaving him the longer Riddle was gone from the boulder next to him. Izar's thrill was always at its strongest when Riddle was close by. Now though, the positives of the situation tarnished and he was washed with the strongest
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emotion he felt over the information uncovered. Uncertainty. {Notes} I was so uptight about this chapter. I still am. I debated on revealing this information so soon. But then again, it's chapter twenty. I think you all deserved a little revelation to some of the mysteries. I'm also not a huge fan of creature!Voldemort, but I hope I can make him as believable as possible. I couldn't see this Voldemort, my Voldemort, pursue a fifteen-year-old without a good reason.

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Part I Chapter 21

{NOTE} As warning, I am not going to follow the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire timeline. I don't know when I'll be updating next. School is starting. Chapter Twenty One It was rather silly of him, but he did it anyway. He avoided both Tom Riddle and thinking of their status as mates like the plague. Considering Izar had successfully avoided Riddle for a good month, Izar considered he was getting rather good at avoiding. Unless, Riddle found his actions amusing and decided to humor Izar. In the Great Hall, if the politicians were present during a meal, Izar kept his eyes firmly on his plate or on whomever he was speaking to during the time. Usually Daphne. She was thrilled with his sudden involvement in her conversations and Draco was often seen sneering at her exuberance. Izar rarely sat at the Ravenclaw table. The times he did sit at his table, he avoided the classmates who had mocked him earlier in the year about moving up a grade. Boot especially. He supposed he was holding grudges he didn't really care. Classes were going smoothly, more than smoothly. He was bored beyond what was healthy. He passed his exams with full marks, the same with his essays and assignments. In his free time, he studied magic. He had invented a few spells already, but he wanted to extend his list of invented hexes and charms. The process to create a spell wasn't as simple as coming up with a Latin phrase. No, one needed to nurture the magic and birth it. It was a long process, one that Izar found himself capable of putting himself through during the schooldays. There was one spell, in particular, that he was working on. It had taken him a full three weeks, every night for two hours, before he successfully constructed it. He had yet to try it on his enemies and he was a bit leery. It was his most dangerous one so far. But he had confidence. Every night, in the safety of his bed curtains, he would take out the brother to Voldemort's wand and stare at it. He didn't dare experiment on his Dark Mark here, at the school. A few weeks ago, Izar had probed the Dark Mark with his newly acquainted wand. He knew then,
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that there were barriers around the Mark, barriers that consisted of the Darkest of magic. He would need to experiment with the Mark during Christmas holidays in a place that all but embraced the Dark Arts. Which, apparently, he would be spending the holiday at the Malfoy Manor. According to Regulus, at least. His father wrote to him, explaining that Narcissa and Lucius would like to have both of them over for the holidays. Supposedly, several Death Eaters would also be staying at the Malfoy Manor for a few nights. It was somewhat of a tradition, apparently. Izar wondered at Regulus' attendance. The man wasn't even an official Death Eater as of yet, let alone a first ranking one. Thankfully, both Narcissa and Lucius knew of Izar's parentage. There would not be any acting when it was just the Malfoy family around. Despite having to deal with the Death Eaters, Izar was eager to manipulate the Dark Mark. He had the highest confidence. He also had an excitement he hadn't harbored in a long while. And admittedly, he also found himself looking forward to spending some time with Regulus. "I'm not wearing these," Izar hissed out, taking one look at himself in the mirror before fleeing from the reflection. "I look like a bloody flop." Draco snickered. The Malfoy heir was lying down on Izar's bed in the Ravenclaw Tower. His posture was relaxed as he buried his face in Izar's pillow to hide his laugh. Both wizards were clothed in elegant dress robes. The Yule Ball was starting in a matter of minutes and Izar had yet to leave the tower. He knew what waited for him when he escaped the security of the Ravenclaw Common Room. An upset Daphne and a school full of hormonal teenagers, withheld from dancing because their Hogwarts Champion had yet to show up. Apparently, the three Champions had to open the start at the Yule Ball at eight o'clock. Draco sat up, finally taking a good look at the robes. His face fell and he swallowed with what Izar thought was difficulty. "You look good." Izar's eyes narrowed into slits and his anger heightened. "You aren't supposed to agree with anything Daphne agrees on." The Greengrass heir had picked out his robes. Because Izar was a fool, he hadn't looked at them before she had ordered. In fact, she had even attempted to show them to him, but he brushed her away, not really caring about bloody robes. And because of his mistake, he had to wear these to the Ball. "You're right," Draco stood up, his hair just brushing the tops of his shoulders. "You look like a bloody flop."
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Izar's lips thinned and he wondered how much trouble he would get into if he transfigured the robes black. The Malfoy heir blinked before laughing again. This time, his laugh was cool and collected, a Malfoy-sort of laugh. "I honestly never thought you of all people would complain about your attire. Honestly, Izar, they look exactly like mine." Draco motioned toward his own robes. They were green and silver, not surprising Izar in the least. "You're just uncomfortable because you've never worn something that doesn't have rips and holes on it." The boy was right, Izar had to concede. It wasn't necessary to get worked up over clothes, only witches and petty pure-bloods like Malfoy got uptight over their garments. His eyes swept the length of the expensive fabric. He supposed he was uncomfortable because they were so expensive andwellnoticeable. That was one thing he didn't enjoy being. Noticeable. The robes were form fitting, something Izar had to get used to as well. And they were white and gold. Two colors he hadn't imagined himself wearing. They also happened to be the colors of the Greengrass family. Before Izar could issue his own retort, the door to his room opened abruptly. The two students quickly turned to look at the man eyeing them in suspicion. Sirius. His uncle's eyes narrowed on Draco's proximity to Izar. "What are you two doing in here?" The man questioned distrustfully as if he expected them to be rolling on the ground, naked. Izar scoffed. The man had occasional bouts of insanity and lunacy. Even when Izar was in lessons with the man, Sirius would break off into a mysterious grin and comment on something completely off topic. But Izar couldn't complain. The many weeks and private lessons with his Auror uncle were paying off. He was getting quite skilled in the art, even taking down Sirius a couple times. "Having hot, sweaty love, professor," Izar drawled dryly as he made his way casually to the door. Sirius grimaced and Izar completely missed the redness creep up on Draco's neck. The older Black cleared his throat, reaching forward and guiding Izar out the room with a hand to his shoulder. "Well, at least you're quick about it." The man responded lightly, causing Izar to scowl. "Minerva is quite frantic she doesn't have her Champion down there to start the Ball. Nice robes by the way." The man said in all seriousness. Behind them, Draco snickered. Izar ignored him in favor of staring at Daphne as soon as he exited the Ravenclaw Tower. She was waiting outside the Ravenclaw Common Rooms, looking exasperated but also "You look gorgeous," Izar spoke truthfully. He wasn't like the other wizards who stuttered
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out their compliments to their date. Perhaps it was because he was, supposedly, gay. But looking at Daphne, Izar wondered who the hell Tom Riddle was. Daphne was an incredibly short witch, even shorter than Izar. But her body didn't look awkwardly proportioned with a gown. Instead, it flattered her. It was black with a few gold accents across her waist and her straps were made of tiny gold pearls. Her short blond hair was curled into a sort of messy updo with a gold headband accenting the color of her hair. She smiled, her irritation dissolving when she caught sight of him. Daphne wasn't known for wearing a lot of makeup and tonight, she only accented her features, making her look classical and stunning. "I could say the same about you," she teased before sighing. "Your hair. You couldn't have done anything with it, Izar?" What did she expect him to do with it? Put a bloody headband in it like hers? "I washed it," he replied grumpily. Flashing him a look, Daphne grabbed his arm. He noted her nails were painted a toxic crimson her toxic crimson. They looked sharp and they felt sharp as she pulled his head down to run her fingers through his scalp. "I change my mind. It always looks adorable with the random curls and waves." Izar forced himself not to flush when Sirius stalked past, laughing at his misfortune. "Daphne," he scolded, pushing her hands away and taking her arm. He paused when he noticed her bare forearm. "How" "Makeup, silly, all the girls use concealer to cover it." Further up ahead, Izar caught sight of Draco reluctantly taking hold of Pansy Parkinson's arm, his expression nothing short of misery. Pansy also had a bare arm. Izar pondered. Concealing charms didn't work very well on the Dark Mark. It was if the Dark Lord made it so the Concealing Charm just absorbed right into the Mark. Perhaps he should get a bottle of concealer from Daphne. At least until he manipulated the Mark successfully. He quickly dropped that idea when he thought of his dorm mates seeing makeup in his possession. "I hope you've been taking your dancing lessons these past two weeks," Daphne warned darkly. Her expression spoke of pain if he displeased her. "If you make a fool out of me, Harrison, you'll get this heel up your arse by the end of tonight." She had heels on, Izar noted distastefully. With heels on, she was about eyelevel with him. "I'm afraid I didn't have time to take the lessons," Izar lied skillfully.
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The Ravenclaws had offered lessons to anyone interested. And Izar had reluctantly signed up for a few. He had never danced before but as he practiced, he found himself adapting to the art easily. He blamed it on the Black genes, after centuries of dancing in the family; Izar would most likely inherit some of their skills. In addition, he found dancing a fluid and graceful art, something he'd always excelled at. She looked up at him, bothered. "You're not serious?" Before Izar could respond, a frantic McGonagall came swooping over to him, taking him by the shoulder. She was surprisingly strong for an older woman. "Mr. Harrison, you're late," she replied tartly as if he hadn't already known. Ahead, the hall was empty save for the two other Champions and their dates. Lukas cast a cool stare at him before facing forward, his arm entwined with his Durmstrang date. Cyprien offered a small, amused smile before quietly speaking to his date in French. The Great Hall was full of fourth year students and up, just waiting for them to start the Yule Ball. Izar thought it was oddly amusing. Perhaps he should have stalled a bit longer "Off you go," McGonagall ushered Lukas inside and the rest followed. The hall was decorated in a winter wonderland. Enchanted snow fell from the ceiling, only to disappear before they reached the cohabitants' heads. Izar was used to seeing the tall Christmas tree in the Great Hall. But every year, he was amazed by the sheer size of it. It appeared as if every inch was covered with a glittery ordainment or a soft flamed candle. During study hall, he always watched the students group together and help Professor Flitwick organize the decorations. Izar ignored the students on either side of him as he escorted Daphne down the aisle. Polite clapping resonated off the hall's walls, a small and meaningless way to celebrate the Champions. Up ahead, Izar tried to avoid the sight of the professors and politicians. Tonight, Izar knew he probably wouldn't be able to avoid Undersecretary Tom Riddle, but he would try his damnest. Daphne and Izar finally reached the dance floor. She was nervous, he noted. She tried to hide it behind a smile, but Izar could see the strain in her eyes. Izar placed his hand on her hip and curled his other hand in hers. "You're nervous I'm going to step on your feet, aren't you?" he whispered gleefully. "I probably will, sorry in advance." He wondered if she was regretting her decision to accompany him to the ball yet. He enjoyed torturing her like this, especially such a silly topic. Above her head, he eyed Severus Snape. The man was standing stiffly among his coworkers, a perfect scowl twisting his lips. Izar chuckled. The man looked as if he wanted to be anywhere but here.
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Onyx eyes met his and the scowl softened to some extent. Izar couldn't help but to idolize the potions professor. He saw many similarities between himself and the man, especially their childhoods and days at Hogwarts. Izar knew the man was proficient in the Dark Arts and he also knew Snape created spells. Creating spells wasn't easy. It resulted in many deaths and injury. Only wizards who showed in depth knowledge in magic and Latin succeeded. Izar made a mental note to give the professor's notes back on the Dark Mark. He snapped out of his musings when the music began. Daphne was all but shaking in his arms as he swirled them gracefully on the dance floor, perfectly in sync with the music. He couldn't help but to grin at her startled look. "You bastard," she scowled lightly. "You can dance. Who would have thought the socially awkward Izar Harrison could dance like any other wizard?" "Of course," Izar drawled. "You wouldn't truly think that I would humiliate the both of us, do you?" He scoffed mockingly. "To think of humiliating the heir of Greengrass family it would be simply outrageous." She was silent for a moment, her face reflecting her excitement at his behavior. "You're smiling." Her painted lips creased into her own smile. "Am I?" Izar contemplated sweetly before twirling them away from Lukas and his date. The Durmstrang boy glowered at Izar over the top of his date's head. It should have bothered Izar that he was the spotlight for so many eyes, but he found himself oddly calm tonight. Even his robes were becoming less of an obstacle to get over. "People might start to wonder if you took something before the dance. You never smile. For all I know, you could be Professor Snape's long-lost son. At least, that's the rumor going around." She laughed lightly, not realizing how close she was to coming to the truth. "Did you take something, Izar? Knowing you, you snuck a wild mushroom in your dorm to settle your nerves at being center of attention." "Where do you come up with these things?" The students and professors slowly entered onto the dance floor. It soon began to grow too crowded to practice formal dancing, so Izar was forced to dance with Daphne slowly, in small steps. Next to him, he saw Dumbledore and McGonagall pass. He couldn't help but to stare horrifyingly at the Headmaster's robes. Small gingerbread men danced at the hems and blistering snow changed his robes from blue to white. The man caught him staring and winked. "Would you like the name of my tailor, my boy?" McGonagall rolled her eyes upwards, sweeping the older man away before Izar had a chance to reply.
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Thank Merlin. Daphne placed her arms around Izar's neck, forcing him to put his hands on her waist. Her eyes were averted away from Izar and toward her sister. Izar knew Daphne harbored a bit of jealousy toward her younger sister, yet he also knew she loved Astoria deeply. It was an odd relationship, but one Izar knew all about from Daphne's inconsequential mutterings. "You have no reason to be jealous," Izar consoled her. Mossy green eyes shot to Izar, a light blush on her cheeks for getting caught staring. "I'm not jealous, Izar. She's my sister." Her eyes shuffled back toward Astoria. "Do you think she's pretty?" Izar gave a mental sigh, wondering why the hell he had to be having this petty conversation. Nonetheless, he supposed inflating Daphne's ego was a very important conversation to the Greengrass heir. Reluctantly, he looked at the youngest Greengrass. Astoria looked remarkably like Daphne. He didn't understand why the girl in his arms was so insecure. "Truthfully?" Izar asked, turning back to Daphne. The girl nodded sharply. "You're more beautiful." She gazed at him suspiciously before smiling softly. "Thank you." He spun them so he was facing the crowd. His eyes were attracted to Filch, the Squib caretaker. The man was holding his cat up to his chest, extending one of the poor animal's arms out in a small waltz-like pose. The man hummed the music, rocking his hips to the beat. Izar's eyes took in the man behind Filch, cursing himself at his slip. Riddle stood next to both Filch and Snape, his eyes directed on Izar. Izar couldn't distinguish any emotion coming from the man. None at all. "That's Airi Roux, Minister Roux's most recent wife. Apparently, they got engaged just a few months ago. She works at the apothecary in France near the Ministry of Magic. From what daddy says, she can give Snape a run for his money." Izar tore his eyes away from Riddle and toward the woman Daphne was speaking of. The French Minister, Serge Roux, was dancing with a tall Asian woman. She looked several years his junior with a curtain of thick black hair down her back. With heels, she was at least a foot taller than Serge. The Minister smiled thinly at his wife, his eyes hidden behind the thick frames on his face. "Married for money?" Izar questioned. "No," Daphne shook her head. "Surprisingly not. Minister Roux's first wife, his son's mother, divorced him just weeks before Roux proposed to Airi. It's rumored that Minister Roux was having an affair with Airi when he was still married to his wife. She's also the daughter to a very influential man in France. Her mother was Asian and her father was
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French. A very beautiful couple, and Airi is the product of their joining." Izar gave a laugh. "Where do hear all this?" Daphne gave a secretive smile. "If you danced correctly, like I do, you'll hear all these secrets." "Or rumors," Izar muttered lightly. "And that is the gorgeous Kristine Steinar, Minister Steinar's wife." He was turned by Daphne's hands to stare at Lukas' mother. Daphne had been correct in labeling Mrs. Steinar as gorgeous. She was tall and blond with very distinct features. Despite the fact that Lukas had inherited his father's black hair, he inherited his appearance from his mother. Both Kristine and Bjrn were a handsome couple, robed with the finest fabric and the optimum jewels. "Any gossip about her?" Izar inquired, amused. Daphne seemed to hold a liking to Kristine, for she glowered at Izar. "No, only, she's a very hardcore politic like her husband. She's very competitive and enjoys finding out everything she can about her enemies and exploiting them. She cheated out Bjrn's intended wife for his hand in marriage. His original fianc died of food poisoning." Daphne grinned gleefully. "She's my idol. Every woman should be just as dangerous." Izar felt himself grin despite himself. Daphne had no reason to yearn to become like Kristine Steinar because Izar was sure she would turn out to be quite the conniver. "If you must know," Daphne continued. "My father was the one who told me about the foreigners. He's expressed an interest in meeting you, Izar." Through her black lashes she gazed up at him hopefully. "Malfoy tells me his father invited you to the manor this Christmas. Tell me you've accepted?" "I have," Izar gave a nod. "And I suppose you want me to meet your father?" He didn't know much about Mr. Greengrass, only he was one of Voldemort's first ranking Death Eaters. And Daphne was smitten with him. She was, in all terms, a 'daddy's little girl'. "Naturally," Daphne smiled. The slow music came to a slow finish before a more upbeat song began. Izar paled, horrified. Daphne, sensing Izar's immobility, sighed before pulling him off the dance floor. "I'm thirsty," she batted her lashes at him. Izar noticed she turned her back on an approaching male. He smirked, wondering if Daphne really was thirsty or if she didn't want to deal with the courageous Hufflepuff coming to ask her for a dance. A young Gryffindor student, assigned to serve drinks, handed them a requested cup of
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punch. Daphne took hers and gulped it down greedily. Izar eyed the Gryffindor boy distastefully. The student looked a bit off. He brought his cup to his nose and sniffed at it hesitantly. Just as he thought, it was spiked with alcohol. Before he could confront the Gryffindor student, Daphne pulled him away by the arm, toward a secluded table. Izar looked over his shoulder at the Gryffindor boy, narrowing his eyes. Didn't the professors put a ward or spell over the liquids in order to stop hormonal teenagers from spiking the punch? The Gryffindor boy showed absolutely no emotion as he stared back at Izar. "Don't drink the punch," Izar started as he turned back around. Daphne gazed up at him innocently, an empty cup in her hand. "Forget it," Izar sighed. He would make sure Daphne was accompanied properly back to her dorm without pubescent children groping her. One cup wouldn't hurt. As soon as they sat down, Draco came striding over, his eyes all but crazed. "Merlin," the boy started, sitting right between Daphne and Izar without invitation. "This is the worst sort of dance." "I think it was the partner you brought with you," Izar murmured lightly. Above Draco's head, he watched Daphne shift away from the Malfoy heir. Her face spoke the words she couldn't. Izar wondered why the two were so against socializing with one another but thought it was a bit entertaining. It helped Izar if he wanted to escape one of their presences. All he had to do was mention Draco or Daphne to the other and they would close up. "Parkinson," Draco spat, looking over his shoulder for good measure. "She's almost as bad as Greengrass" The boy went on complaining about the Parkinson girl. Izar tuned him out, as he did quite frequently. His eyes swept the darkened Hall, catching sight of Cyprien, the Beauxbatons Champion, arguing quietly with Lukas Steinar. "I'm going to go dance, Izar. Are you going to join me?" Daphne questioned as she stood up abruptly. Her tone suggested she was minutes away from cursing Malfoy as the boy continued to rant about Pansy. Izar shook his head, distracted as he watched Lukas grab Cyprien around the collar and quietly whisper to the redhead. To anyone else, it wouldn't look very threatening, only casual. But Izar sat forward, interested. Cyprien sighed, pushing Lukas away before escaping the boy's presence and making his way over toward Izar.
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"Izar," Cyprien greeted lightly as he made his way over. The Beauxbatons Champion sat down next to him before leaning over to whisper in his ear. "Don't drink the punch." His voice shook a bit, as if he were uncertain he should be telling him this. Izar looked up at the table, reaching for his cup, only to find it gone. He frowned before quickly grasping Daphne's empty cup and sniffing it. It didn't stink of the alcohol he smelt earlier. It didn't stink like his cup had. "Where is my cup?" He demanded toward Draco. The Malfoy's cool grey eyes were suspiciously directed at Cyprien before turning to Izar. "Greengrass took it with her," he didn't say anymore, smart enough to realize there was something unfolding before his eyes. Izar turned back to Cyprien. "Why?" He looked back to where Lukas was, finding the Durmstrang boy conveniently absent of his previous position. Charcoal-green eyes turned back to Cyprien, studying the boy's impassive expression. "Did someone spike it with alcohol?" Cyprien scoffed lightly, his French accent strong. "Rumor has it; there was Vesania in your cup " Izar froze. Vesania is a very potent leaf that disintegrates in liquids. It rapidly spreads through the body after multiplying in black goo in the stomach. The black toxic slime makes its way up to the brain before it destroys it. And rather conveniently, its scent takes a familiarity with that of faint alcohol. His eyes flew open. "Daphne," Izar cried, standing up abruptly from his table, sending his chair clattering to the ground. The sound alerted many students and Izar rushed toward the dance floor. Behind him, he could hear Draco calling for the professors that were about to escape the hall. "Professor Snape! Izar," His heart was in his throat as he pushed a couple out of his way as they just stood there. They yelled as they fell to the floor, but Izar hardly noticed as he struggled to push himself through the thick crowd of dancing students. They were all laughing and moving, making Izar feel as if he were moving slowly through a terrible nightmare. His body got pushed and shoved and he struggled to withhold a scream of rage. Instead, he shot his wand in the air, issuing an earsplitting bang. The students all cried out, hands going to their ears. The music stopped playing and bodies stopped moving.
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Izar pushed his way to the front, finally catching sight of Daphne. She stared at him unseeingly from a group of Slytherin girls before the cup slipped from her fingers. She reached blindly for her sister before collapsing heavily to the ground. He was too late. He was too bloody late. Izar raced forward, his wand flicking toward the spilt drink, nonverbally setting it on fire. Screams issued through the crowd, both at the pool of fire and Daphne's sudden collapsed form. Astoria Greengrass had her hands to her mouth in shock as she kneeled next to her sister. "What happened?" Ignoring her desperate question, Izar pointed his wand at Daphne. "Eructo." He dived to the floor the same moment the spell activated. His hands shook as he carefully maneuvered Daphne's head to the side as she began to forcibly vomit. Black goo was ejected out of her stomach in a steady heave. Izar was distinctively aware of the professors stopping before him, assessing the scene, but he was too focused on Daphne's shaking form to acknowledge them. Izar cast the Eructo spell again, this time, nonverbal. Her stomach was forced to heave once more. The black goo was in fewer amounts this time, but still present. Snape kneeled next to Izar, his wand out and tracing circles near Daphne's head. With the wand movements still continuing, his onyx eyes appraised Izar. "Very quick thinking on your behalf, Mr. Harrison, well done." Izar was too dazed at Daphne's sudden attack to respond coherently. He just settled for a sharp nod. "She needs to go to the Hospital Wing, quickly. There may be more in her system." Snape spoke to Dumbledore this time. The man levitated Daphne's body after finishing the spell to her head. Strong hands grabbed him and hauled him up off the floor. "Are you alright, Izar?" It was Sirius, holding him up firmly. Ignoring his uncle, Izar's cold charcoal-green eyes watched as Snape and Dumbledore raced off to the Hospital Wing with Daphne in tow. He then began searching the hall for him. Lukas snuck outside the hall, catching Izar's eyes before disappearing around the corner. Izar's shock was replaced with rage as he tore from Sirius' grasp and ran after the Durmstrang boy. He found it easy and quicker when he ran after Steinar than he found it searching for Daphne. Perhaps it was because rage made things quick, too quickly for him to grasp. And fear and desperation made things go by painfully slow.
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The students he left behind in the Hall were gossiping quite loudly, exclaiming amongst each other. He didn't find he cared what they thought. Just as long as he got his revenge. Further down the corridor, Lukas' frosty blue eyes widened when he caught sight of Izar's pursuit. "Du er gal!" The boy shouted in Norwegian before sprinting around a corner. He had his wand out and determination had crossed his handsome features. And yet, he did not stop to defend himself. He ran. He was guilty. "You haven't seen insane yet, Steinar," Izar hissed, racing through the maze of the dark corridors, waiting to cast until he got a good shot at Lukas' running form. He didn't make it that far. As he ran down the halls of Hogwarts, far from the Great Hall, arms quickly shot out and enclosed around his waist, lifting him cleanly off the ground. Izar struggled, the thirst for revenge on the tip of his tongue. He couldn't stop now. But despite the thinness of the arms, they were too strong to break through. "You will do something you regret, stop this foolishness." It was Riddle. And in a red-haze, Izar pointed the tip of his wand to Riddle's neck as he twisted around. The pure threat that entered Riddle's eyes at the touch of Izar's wand made the Ravenclaw slowly come back to this world. Fear in the pit of his stomach. "Child" Riddle purred dangerously. "Try it if you so wish to. You may be favored, by you are not that favored." Izar deflated, his body hanging limply from Riddle's hold. He slowly pulled back his wand, pointing it down at the floor, away from the Dark Lord. "I apologize," Izar said stiffly. Briefly, he wondered if any of the other Death Eaters lived to tell their story of pointing their wand directly at the Dark Lord's neck. Probably not. The younger wizard was set down on the ground, but the hand on his shoulder assured Izar that he wouldn't be moving anytime soon. As he was grounded in reality, his sharp mind finally came into play. It was rather stupid of him to fly down the halls of corridors, revenge on his mind. It was too brash and public. And there was also that small voice in the back of his head that pointed out Lukas could be innocent in this whole situation. He didn't know all the facts yet. Patience. It was a virtue. "You aren't known for your temper," Riddle contemplated next to him. His fingers dug into Izar's shoulder as the two slowly walked back to the main parts of the castle. Behind them, Lukas was gone, either rushing deeper into the depths of Hogwarts or making a turn to get back to the main parts. "In fact, I have noted your cool head during situations most wizards would snap from. Please enlighten me why this situation is so different?"
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He stopped, causing the Dark Lord to pause as well. "That cup was meant for me. Daphne she could have died. That's what made it different." Izar didn't understand what Riddle was hinting at. How could the man not realize what was so important about this situation? "Tell me," Riddle leaned closer, his eyes purely mocking. "Do you love her?" Izar pulled back, angry at both himself and Riddle. This situation callously reminded him that the Dark Lord didn't care about his followers and Daphne. The Dark Lord's followers were just pawns and puppets. Mere items of amusement. Izar had known that. Why did he assume Voldemort had all of a sudden gone soft for Daphne and this situation? Just because Izar held Daphne in higher regards then most people, didn't mean the Dark Lord did. He was foolish. His head bowed as he tried to control himself. He would receive no pity from Riddle tonight. Not that Izar wanted nor needed pity, but an understanding for his flash for revenge would have been pleasant. "No," Izar lifted his chin, staring at the Dark Lord in the eye. "I don't love her." He spoke truthfully, coldly. But tonight's events made Izar realize that he did care for Daphne, albeit just a bit. It was true that she talked his ear off at times. She annoyed him with her lack of interest in learning and reading. Her feminine practices always repulsed him. However, she was also amusing and she wasn't self-centered like most the children here. She understood duty and family. And she was also innocent in this attack. Riddle gave a lipless smile before straightening up. An odd glint entered the man's eyes and Izar was reminded with the fact that Riddle knew about the Tournament's doing. "Do you know who did this?" Izar demanded softly, his voice echoing just faintly in the dark, empty corridor. The tall man cocked his head. "I have my suspicions," he spoke darkly before walking down the corridor again. "Who?" Izar asked calmly. Instead, he was cursing the Dark Lord. Just by the way the man held himself, Izar had a feeling Voldemort knew exactly who was behind all this. He was just keeping it to himself, watching it all unfold before he attacked with his own scheme. "The same one that poisoned you in the First Task." "If I'm not mistaken," Izar drawled, eyes narrowing. "Your answer is not a question to my 'who', but rather another mystifying counter."
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As they reached the main entrance, Izar quickly blended in with the sea of students. He left Riddle behind, not at all caring how disrespectful it was. He was angry with the man. Voldemort knew something going on beneath the scenes and he wouldn't enlighten Izar. If he needed anymore persuasion that things would be the same between himself and Voldemort after finding out their mate status, all he needed to do was look at this situation. Voldemort treated him no different. It was both a blessing and a curse at times. Izar cut through the sea of students and made his way down the corridor that would lead him to the Hospital Wing. How could Voldemort know who was behind the attacks and not tell Izar? Unless He stumbled as he walked, but continued on. What if Dumbledore and Steinar had been right earlier on this year? What if Voldemort was behind these attacks, in order to assure the Norwegians and French did not win this Tournament? It sounded petty, and extremely unrealistic, but Voldemort was vicious enough to go through with it. But why would he put Izar at risk if he was his mate? It didn't make any sense at all. He felt knot twist his stomach when he thought of an explanation. What if everything as of late had been a lie? There was a possibility that Voldemort had known Izar had been Regulus' bastard child at the Ministry Ball this summer. And that's when the scheme started. Voldemort had fed Izar the lie about being mates, only for Izar to put a semi-balance of trust in the Dark Lord. Meanwhile, Riddle was planning on destroying Regulus by killing Izar in the Tournament. All the while, framing the Norwegians and possibly the French, to ensure Britain's 'win'. Izar knew it was outrageous. But it was a plan he could see Riddle creating. It played with everybody's emotions and trust and it was remarkably well thought out, until the last detail. Izar couldn't and wouldn't believe it. He knew it wasn't the Dark Lord who was behind these attacks. But it still left a sour taste in his mouth. And his stomach. "Mr. Harrison," Dumbledore called further down the corridor. He had a few students surrounding him; Lukas Steinar, Cyprien Beaumont, and that young Gryffindor who was handing out the cups of punch. "This is Mr. Colin Creevey, a fifth year Gryffindor," Dumbledore started, placing his hand on the shaken boy. The group was standing in front of the closed doors of the Hospital Wing. Izar shied away from Riddle as the man came striding behind him. He ignored the curious look he received from the man and instead surveyed Creevey. He distinctively remembered Colin from his
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lessons when he was in the lower grade levels. The boy was a Mudblood, and as annoying as Granger herself. His sharp eyes took in the boy's pale face and trembling body. The mere emotion in the boy's eyes was a far cry to the impassive one's he saw at the dance. "The Imperius Curse," Izar whispered. "He was under the Imperius, wasn't he, Headmaster?" He came to a stop near the group, eyeing the closed doors leading into the Hospital Wing. "He was," Dumbledore replied solemnly. He looked at Riddle over his glasses and then proceeded to observe Minister Steinar as the man stalked forward. "Apparently, someone placed Mr. Creevey under the Imperius. Mr. Steinar here," Dumbledore nodded toward the quiet Durmstrang boy. Lukas kept his eyes trailed on Izar. "Claimed he had seen Mr. Creevey crush the leaves of the Vesania in your cup and proceed to give it to you." Izar sighed softly, looking down the long, dark corridor before turning a cold stare on Lukas. "Why didn't you tell me yourself, then?" he demanded sharply. Before Dumbledore could reply, Lukas interjected. "I didn't really care about you. I suppose my morals won out in the end. I told Beaumont to tell you. After all, you'd believe him more than you would myself. He argued, exclaiming he didn't want to get involved in a mere prank. But he eventually told you. A few seconds too late." Here, frosty eyes turned to a guilty Cyprien. The redhead scowled, turning to Izar. "I have no reason to trust Steinar. Had I known there really was Vesania in your drink, I wouldn't have put up a struggle." Izar nodded sharply. He wondered, briefly, if they were speaking the truth. "Do you have any idea who is behind it?" Izar asked numbly. "Or" Izar started spitefully, looking at Minister Steinar. "Do you somehow think I was the one to curse Creevey and poison myself again? I suppose you'll find another book in Lukas' belongings that has the Vesania text circled. And in turn, you will proceed to find the Vesania leaves in my book bag." Steinar lifted his lip. "It's very plausible." Dumbledore held up a hand, his magic growing. "That is enough." Sharp blue eyes no longer twinkled and the gingerbread men on his robes ran inside their home to hide. "I had no intention to put the blame on you, Mr. Harrison. I do not believe you are behind these attacks." Dumbledore took a step closer to Izar. His eyes were all but glowing. "These attacks are becoming far too bold. They have put other students in danger, in my own school. I will not allow anymore harm to come to my students." Dumbledore looked at Minister Steinar and Riddle. "That is a promise." Izar sat down on the chairs outside the Hospital Wing. "All of you are dismissed, go," Dumbledore shooed everyone with a wave of his hand. "Mr. Creevey, you should go to Madame Promfrey for examination. Perhaps a night in the
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Hospital Wing will do you some good." The Champions soon left and the politicians reluctantly followed. Riddle was the last to leave. Izar completely ignored the man in favor of staring at the closed doors to the Hospital Wing. Even though he wasn't looking at the Dark Lord, he was consciously aware of everything the man did. Riddle issued a low chuckle before walking away. It made Izar's skin tingle with the mere promise that this wasn't over. Surprisingly, Dumbledore sat next to him, patting his knee. Izar turned, studying the man. "I think Ms. Greengrass will recover nicely, Mr. Harrison." He watched a few gingerbread men peek out from their home before slowly beginning to dance once more. "I know," Izar attempted a grin. "She can be rather stubborn at times." The two lapsed into silence. Dumbledore kept glancing down the darkened corridor as if he knew someone was hovering close by. Izar wouldn't be surprised if Riddle was nearby. The man was rather overprotective of him whenever Dumbledore was close. "Is there anything you wish to tell me, Mr. Harrison?" Dumbledore questioned softly. The tone he used on Izar was that of a sorrowful grandfather. Charcoal-green eyes turned, studying the inviting expression across the old man's features. Was this how his mother was manipulated? Did she want to trust Dumbledore with her secrets, hoping he would help her and guide her? Izar briefly wondered who would be the cruelest manipulator. Would it be Voldemort, the Dark Lord who was rather sinister and sneaky at his manipulations? Whenever the Dark Lord manipulated, his victim realized it after the proceedings were complete. And when Voldemort's victim finally came to the realization that they had been manipulated, they would feel the wash of overwhelming devastation and grief. Or would it be Dumbledore, an old man whose manipulations were silent and undetected? His voice would lull a sense of comfort and security but they were laced with manipulations. He snared his victims by being friendly. And if his victim were to believe they were being fooled, Dumbledore would look hurt and give every good excuse why they weren't being played. After all, how could someone as good and holly be so cruel? It was all for the greater good. The greater good of the Light. "No, there is nothing," Izar shook his head. "If there was, I would be sure to tell you, Headmaster." The man's glasses glittered from the torch's flame as he smiled. Before he could respond, the doors to the Hospital Wing opened. Izar stood up, watching as Snape exited the Wing. The man looked between Dumbledore and Izar, his lips thinning. "How is she?" Izar questioned after Daphne.
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"Stable," Snape replied coolly. "She's in a self-healing coma. Her brain is trying to recover from the shock and touch of the Vesania. Her father and sister are inside with her." Snape paused, his eyes sweeping the length of Izar. "As I told them, you were rather quick and intelligent to extract the poison from her stomach before it could reach her bloodstream. Good work, Mr. Harrison." Izar looked down, relieved. "Thank you, professor." "Thank you, Severus," Dumbledore nodded gratefully. "You do the school a great service." Snape didn't reply. He only gave a sharp nod before gliding down to the dungeons. "Enjoy the rest of your night, Mr. Harrison." An old, wrinkled hand patted his shoulder before the Headmaster swept inside the Hospital Wing, no doubt to reassure Mr. Greengrass that everything was being 'looked after'. Taking one last look at the closed doors, Izar slowly made his way to the Ravenclaw Common Rooms. He felt better. There was a chance Daphne wouldn't wake up normal, yes, but Snape had reassured Izar that he had gotten the majority out of her stomach before it could spread. Right before the staircases, the torches flickered out, dosing him in the dark. Izar quickly turned when he thought he saw a figure nearby. The air felt like Riddle's magic and his shoulders grew stiff as he felt the powerful eyes on him. "I will see you during the holidays, Mr. Black." The man whispered in his ear before cold lips brushed the sensitive skin of his neck. Izar turned toward the man, intent to demand the man's motives. But there was no one there.

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Part I Chapter 22

I had this chapter written early. It's shorter than usual, regrettably, and nothing much is going on, but it sets up for the next chapter which will be Voldemort/Izar's first 'real' interaction among the Death Eaters. Thanks for the reviews last chapter. Enjoy. Chapter Twenty Two Izar had his trunk packed and ready for the holiday. Because he had an hour to spare before the students would board the train, he decided he would visit Daphne in the Hospital Wing. After which, he would proceed down to the dungeons to speak with Snape and return the man's material. Izar exited the Ravenclaw Common Room and immediately noticed a change in atmosphere. There was nothing dangerous happening; instead, the change was quiet, almost too quiet. Adjusting the leather binder full of notes written in Professor Snape's handwriting, Izar quickly walked down the moving staircase. A Ravenclaw was walking up the opposite direction and openly stared. Izar flashed the boy a deep sneer, causing the Ravenclaw's ears to turn red before hurriedly looking away. "Idiot," Izar muttered in distaste as he leaped from the stairs, arriving on the third floor landing. As it happened, the Ravenclaw boy, a measly second year, wasn't the only one who was open about their observation of him. Izar wondered if it had to do with the Yule Ball incident. Daphne had gained consciousness the day after the Ball, groggy, but completely healthy. Her mind had been in decent shape, as sharp or as sharp as it could be with Daphne. That was only yesterday. Surely rumors had spread that the Greengrass heir had awoken and was fine? A group of three fourth year Slytherins looked up from the paper they were reading, catching his eye before bending over themselves, whispering. "Half-blood bastard," the boldest of them spat before hurriedly sweeping the opposite direction. Izar's eyes zeroed in on the paper in one of the Slytherin's hands. Swallowing, Izar caught
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sight of his picture on the front. He was too far to read what lies and stories were spread about him this week. But the words they whispered Half-blood bastard. Izar looked around, a bit frantic when other students turned away from him, as if they harbored a secret. It couldn't be could it? Izar thought Regulus vowed to keep their parentage a secret. Was it Snape then? Riddle? Sirius? Entering the Hospital Wing, he quickly shut the doors behind him. He could see Daphne further down in one of the beds, sipping on a goblet. As he approached, she took notice and coldly turned her head away. "What did I do now?" Izar demanded as he came to a stop by her bed. Tears clung to her eyes, but she refused to let them fall as she narrowed her sights on Izar. "Why did you lie to me? Why didn't you tell me?" "I couldn't tell you if I didn't even know myself," Izar drawled. "What are you blabbering about?" She sniffed lightly, pointing to her bedside. He turned to look, his earlier suspicions confirmed as he read the headline above his picture. Izar Harrison-Black? "Rita Skeeter," Izar read out loud. "She wrote the damn article, of course she over exaggerates things just a bit." He added sarcastically. One look from Daphne proved the girl did not believe him. "Regulus is my father," Izar murmured darkly. "I just found out, Daphne. I couldn't have told you." "She says your mother is Lily Potter." "'Mother' is gong a bit too far, but yes, she delivered me." Izar reluctantly admitted. "And who is Skeeter's bloody source?" Betrayed mossy green eyes looked at him in the eye. "Lily." Izar issued an angry sigh, seeing red. The ghost of Regulus' words crossed his mind. She's stirring. With whispers of my return, she has gotten more active. I fear as if she will try to do something to split us up. "And?" Izar asked softly. "What is the main issue behind the article?" He didn't want to touch it. It was vile and most likely containing all lies. Daphne gave her own sigh, almost as if she didn't want to speak to Izar, but willing to gossip. "It's a horrible article, really," she started darkly. "Lily claims that she put you up for adoption after a 'less-than-wise-affair'. Lily said she felt manipulated and violated. It didn't say rape in the article, but Skeeter was leaning toward that as she wooed her readers. Lily
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then continued claiming Regulus was dabbling deep into the Dark Arts like many of the Blacks before him." Izar's jaw clenched. He could have sworn his tooth cracked. Not only was Lily spinning lies, but she was disgracing the Black family along with it. "What else?" It came out short and cold, causing Daphne to start. She blinked uncertainly at him, looking down to avoid eye contact with him. Her hands were curled into fists, her knuckles white. "Well, Lily said she feared for your life. Even with news that Regulus was murdered, she didn't believe he was gone forever. As a result, she put you in the orphanage to protect your identity. She claimed she was afraid to keep you because it would paint a target on you, attracting both Regulus' killers and the more deranged members of the Black family. But now, with the Tournament and your publicity, she knows Regulus has taken notice." Daphne gave a long pause, her eyes narrowing. "Apparently, the Prophet claims Regulus was declared 'living' by the Ministry just a few weeks prior to this article." Izar couldn't believe it. He laughed. Daphne wiggled deeper into her sheets, her face pale. "She's lying." Izar declared fiercely. "And she wants the wizarding world to take pity on her. But she won't be able to get Regulus," Izar shook his head, confident. "He's far more influenced then she is in the political scene." The article was meant to cover her own arse when word got out that Izar was Regulus' son. She had taken the first step; she had spun her story first in order to look good to the public. How else could she explain her reasons of placing Izar in the orphanage? She claimed it was to keep him safe from Regulus' supposed killers and the more deranged members of the Black. How ingenious. He supposed she also hid her pregnancy to protect him. "You met him then," Daphne whispered softly, as if she wanted to walk carefully around Izar. "Regulus? My father claimed he betrayed the Dark Lord years ago. And that he was supposed to be dead." "Your father knows nothing," Izar hissed a bit too harshly. He felt a bit guilty when Daphne flinched at his tone. Softening his expression into a cool mask of indifference, he continued. "What happened between the Dark Lord and Regulus is between the two of them." He added quietly, far too soft for anyone to overhear. Why was he defending Regulus so passionately? Izar knew Regulus could defend himself. But somehow, if felt as if Izar was being insulted when his father was. "You're a Black," Daphne continued, as if she hadn't heard anything remotely important.
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Her eyes were a bit dazed as she looked at Izar. "And not just any Black. You're the Black heir, the direct heir to the family." Izar turned his back to her, walking out the room. He couldn't deal with her idolized and crazed ramblings. Not now. "I'm glad you feel better," he called over his shoulder. "I need to see Professor Snape." He ignored her as she called after him. As he quickly swept from the Hospital Wing, he met the stares head on. His chin was lifted and his shoulders were strengthened with confidence. Let them talk. The children didn't understand the things around them. If they took a 'gossip' columnist's article seriously, then he had every right to disregard them and their opinions. They couldn't think for themselves. And quite frankly, Izar was confident in his father to straighten things out and point the finger in Lily's direction within a few days. And if Rita bloody Skeeter came to him, Izar would speak his mind, albeit calmly and poised. It wouldn't do to have the public seem him affected by this article. If they saw him angry, they would mostly likely think they could get to him easily. A few Slytherin's snickered at his back, and Izar smirked. Let them laugh. Raising his knuckles, he knocked on the potions master's doors. "Enter." The man's silky and cold voice called from inside. Izar entered the dark and damp room. His eyes took a moment to adjust to the darkness before he shut the door behind him, closing off any form of light. For a few moments, he watched the potions professor dance from one cauldron to the next, his nose almost touching the liquid inside as he sniffed the product. His nimble fingers stirred the solutions in precise circles as his lips mouthed the number of clockwise stirs he needed to complete. In the darkened room, Snape appeared to be that of an elegant bat. Only his sharp features, lightened by the small flames, gave away the fact that he was human. Izar's nerves settled in the malodorous and thick room. He inhaled, his eyes fluttering closed for just a mere second. "The antidote for the Swelling Solution and" Izar paused, inhaling. "And a Blood-Replenishing Potion." Snape didn't startle at Izar's sudden presence; instead, the man leaned down to turn the flame on low. "Good morning, Mister dare I say it, Black?" The man finally turned around abruptly, his dark eyes reducing into fathomless holes in the already darkened room. He scoffed. Of course Snape had read the article already. "Whatever keeps you sane,
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professor," Izar murmured. The corner of Snape's mouth lifted as he slowly approached Izar. "What do I owe this pleasure?" As he asked, his gaze landed on the leather-bound book in Izar's hands. Snape raised his eyebrows. "Have you already trialed through my notes?" Izar opened the book, his eyes on the perfect calligraphy of Snape. The man had written good trial and error potions for trying to eliminate and manipulate the Dark Mark. "You had some very interesting theories, professor. I can't express my utter amazement at some of your potion inventions." Izar began. His eyes were full of stars for the man's brilliant mind. "But I believe I have found my solution to the Dark Mark. Not in potion form." Izar snapped the binder shut and offered it to Snape. The man paused for a brief moment before taking the notes back from Izar. "You believe you have found the solution? But you aren't certain?" "No," Izar started softly. "I'm more than certain." Shapely eyebrows heightened. "Enlighten me." Izar contemplated. Should he tell Snape? The man had tried for years to manipulate the Dark Mark, only to be distracted with his teachings to finish his experiments. Surely the man wouldn't go to the Dark Lord with the information. "Can I trust you?" Izar asked quietly. "You aren't so faithful to the Dark Lord that you'd go to him with this." It wasn't so much a question then a statement. The man, after all, had done his own betrayal to the Dark Lord throughout the years. Snape gave a lipless smile. "I find no harm in experimenting, Mr. Black. Your mind is always curious. I can only help but to sate it." Izar nodded sharply. Snape was an Occlumens; the man's mind would be just as protected. "I've been reading," he started off. Snape raised another eyebrow, not surprised with that remark. Izar smirked before continuing. "I came across the Protean Charm. As you know, the Protean Charm links several objects together for a common purpose." Snape's face was impassive. "I theorized that the Dark Lord uses a form of the Protean Charm to link all the Death Eaters together by the Dark Mark. But" Izar trailed off, a smirk twitching the corner of his mouth. "What, exactly, is the common factor to each Dark Mark?" "The Dark Lord," Snape supplied. "Yes and no," Izar continued. "The Dark Lord commands the Dark Marks. But what, specifically, does he use to command those Dark Marks?"
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Onyx eyes gleamed. "His wand." Izar smiled. "Yes. He uses the Protean Charm entwined with his own spell he invented, 'Morsmordre'. The Dark Lord is the only wizard who brands his Death Eaters, or more specifically, his wand is the only wand that creates the Dark Marks on their arms. The wand, in turn, links them all together for a common purpose. He uses this wand to cause pain through the Mark." "It is ingenious," Snape murmured, his expression focused elsewhere. "It's his own invented spell, but his wand is the item, or object, he uses to influence the Marks." Snape then turned back to Izar. "And what do you purpose? A sort of curse-breaker?" Izar cocked his head to the side, forlorn. "That would be far more logical than my brash actions," he concluded. "Instead, I went the easier path and decided to find out exactly what the Dark Lord's wand core was. And the type of wood his wand has." Snape's lips twitched. "And how did you go about that?" The Ravenclaw shrugged. "I broke into Ollivanders." Onyx eyes looked down disapprovingly at Izar. "But," Izar continued silkily. "I obtained something much more valuable than just mere information. I was able to acquire the brother to his wand. It shares the exact same core as his own." Snape swept past Izar, slowly pacing. His expression was knotted. "Did you attempt to manipulate the Mark as of yet?" "No," Izar subconsciously rubbed the Dark Mark through his robes. "Every time I hold his wand, though, I can feel the ward around the Mark. It's not very surprising. He invented the spell himself. He was smart enough to put a ward up. It's very Dark. But I believe, with the brother to his wand, I can disband the ward. But I decided I should wait until the holidays, when I'm in the Malfoy Manor, just in case something were to happen" He trailed off when he saw the dark expression on his professor's face. The man was still pacing, thinking deeply. "What?" Izar demanded spitefully. He had an inkling he knew what the man was thinking. "While I applaud you for uncovering the properties of the Dark Mark, you've overstepped some expansive boundaries. If the Dark Lord were ever to find out you have stolen such information not only personal information, but also stolen the brother to his wand, he will be far from entertained. I should also express my concerns with the ward he has constructed around the Dark Mark. I wouldn't put it past the man to make the ward unattainable to break," "You sound like Regulus," Izar pointed out, put off by the man's thinkings.
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Snape turned to him. "Perhaps you need my added supervision when your father is not here. Regulus will not be pleased if he hears of this." "I need your assistance if I need it, sir, not supervision. Regulus, while he's my father, cannot run what I do." He broke off as Snape took him by the shoulders. His expression mirrored Izar's; determination. "Most wizards struggle with the fact that they are branded and owned by the Dark Lord. It is a price to pay for following the man. It is especially difficult to those who are independent. I think breaking the ward over the Dark Mark will not go well." Izar frowned at his professor. "If I wasn't Regulus' son," he started off softly. "Would you still discourage me from doing this?" Snape, his hands still on Izar's shoulders, hesitated. His eyes were eye level with Izar and he continued to gaze into them. "I can only express my concerns, Mr. Black. And I will continue to do so. However, I understand your thirst for succeeding in this area of magic. I cannot stop you. I can only provide my services if you shall need them." Izar nodded, pleased. "Will you be at the Malfoy Manor this holiday, sir?" "I do not believe so, no," Snape removed his hands and slowly walked back to his cauldrons. "I'd like you there," Izar spoke crisply. He walked up to the counter behind Snape. His fingers lightly played with the cold leather of Snape's folder of notes. Through his lashes, he gouged for Snape's reaction as he continued silkily. "And I think Regulus would as well." Snape's shoulders stiffened and he looked at Izar over his shoulder, spying the Ravenclaw's impish expression. The man's mouth twisted into a grimace. "Get out of here, you insolent child." Izar smirked as he turned from the potions room. "Little brats," the man continued spitefully as he continued to throw himself in his works. "I can say the same about denial-harboring adults," Izar called out softly, shutting the door before the man could throw a hex. {Death of Today} "I can just feel your excitement from here, Izar," Draco drawled. "You look as if you're heading to your own funeral." Izar looked over at Draco, not amused. "Perhaps I am," he murmured as the limousine came to a stop in front of a large manor. It really was spectacular, Izar would readily admit. It was immense with arches and small towers at each corner. The gardens, even from the car, were exotic and well taken care of. Even his orphanage wasn't half the size as the Malfoy Manor. There were several dozen children that lived there, and yet, only three
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Malfoy's lived in their castle. "Come on," Draco stepped from the limousine. Izar reluctantly stepped out from the luxurious car. Lucius and Narcissa were not at the platform when they arrived at King's Cross. Draco informed Izar that they were busy seeing to their guests. When Izar had asked just how many guests were there, Draco had smiled softly and exclaimed "Just a few," Izar commented dryly as he witnessed a group of children running around the front of the manor and disappearing around the back. "Just a few," Draco repeated smugly. Suddenly, he took hold of Izar's wrist and ran toward the wrought-iron gates. Izar stiffened as they continued to run full speed toward the gates. But then he realized there must have been a charm on it, allowing a selected number of people to go through them. As predicted, they crossed the gate barrier as if the iron were merely smoke. Draco turned, a grin to his face, only to frown in irritation when he spotted Izar's less than thrilled expression. "You know, it's not fun that you know so much about magic. Who would have thought, a Muggle raised orphan would know so much" Draco kept his hand locked around Izar's wrist as he pulled the younger boy forward. Izar observed the domineering manor as they approached closer. It was a handsome built manor, one that had a bit of a gothic flair to its architecture. When they walked up the perfectly structured steps and into the manor, Izar could only blink. He was overwhelmed by the amount of richery and design put in place in the Malfoy Manor. The front entrance way was full of silk tapestry and mighty portraits. Everywhere he looked, there was something to see and observe. His naturally curious mind had trouble noting all the objects and textures littered about. The floors were dark wood, glossy and scratch free. Persian and other expensive rugs decorated the floors and there were a few stone pillars structured throughout the gothic-themed manor. Gold brushed candle holders stretched high as their candles dripped of burning wax. The frames of the portraits were gold and flawless as they glimmered and gleamed. Oil lamps were in place, even their simple structure didn't seem so simple in the manor. Even the walls had decorative carvings into their dark wood. It was awe-inspiring. As they entered deeper into the manor, Izar took note of the many marble fireplaces burning away. Their mantles were expansive and broad, the sheer size intimidating a short Izar. "Now you're amazed," Draco commented smugly. "It is rather a sight to behold, isn't it?"
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Gilt mirrors and ornate furniture dressed the rooms. "It is beautiful," Izar agreed. "Thank you, Mr. Black," a masculine voice approached them from behind. Izar turned, observing Lucius Malfoy as the man gracefully made his way from the depths of the manor. Izar hadn't even gotten past the front rooms and he was already impressed by the manor. Further down the many corridors, he could hear the voices of wizards and witches. Lucius' state of dress could rival that of the manor. It looked as if the man had walked out from the manor's walls. His ice-blonde hair fell past his shoulders and his equally cold eyes washed the length of Izar's body. "However," the man drawled pleasantly. "I'm only certain the Black Manors can uphold their name to the Malfoy Manor." Draco dropped Izar's wrist as his father neared. Lucius caught the gesture and raised a fine eyebrow. Izar gave a small bow at the waist. "Mr. Malfoy, thank you for inviting me to your home this holiday." "No need to be so formal, my boy," Lucius purred. His walking stick switched hands as he stretched out his right hand in greeting toward Izar. "It is only a pleasure that you could make it. Your father also" The man added as an after thought, just to be polite. Izar looked at the hand, noting the family ring on his finger. He thought it amusing, how rich the Malfoy's were. They all but dripped of money and gold. And they were not bashful in showing off their wealth. He shook the hand, marveling at Lucius' tight grip. Izar prided himself with shaking hands firmly, but certainly not that firmly. The man gave a predatory smile at Izar before turning his attention on his son. "Draco," the man greeted coolly. His hand landed on Draco's shoulder, a way of greeting his son. Izar noted how much the two looked alike. Both were pale and blonde and they shared the pointed features. "I trust you are well?" Izar observed their formal greeting. He wondered what Lucius would think if the man knew Regulus favored hugging as greeting. "And you had trouble pinpointing the boy as a Black, Lucius? My, you must be slipping." Turning, Izar watched a tall, elegant woman enter the room. She carried herself similar to that of Daphne; poised, elegant, and very feminine. Izar also noted the Black features and guessed that this was Narcissa Malfoy ne Black. Lucius gave a light grimace at her retort, watching as she set her eyes on Izar. "Forgive me for already stating what you've likely heard before, Izar, but you look remarkably like the Blacks." She took his hand in both of hers, giving it a reassuring squeeze. Her eyes caught Lucius' over his head. "Though, perhaps it's just a gift among the Blacks to distinguish each other among the crowd. It seems as if other lines lack that observation." She teased her
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husband. "Now, Narcissa, the boys just arrived." Lucius scolded softly. "Surely you don't want to give Izar a wrong impression of our marriage?" Draco and Izar shared a look, the blonde boy rolling his eyes upward. Narcissa chose not to respond. Instead, she continued to Draco and gave the boy a quick hug despite her son's reluctance at the gesture. Hugs. It must be a Black trait as well. "The Dark Lord is out back," Lucius started, his eyes focused specifically on Izar. "Surely you wish to greet him?" Izar felt his stomach coil at the thought of socializing with the Dark Lord. Couldn't he just avoid the man for eternity? The thought of speaking to Riddle when Izar felt so distrustful of the man, was not comforting. Though he supposed that if there were people around, Izar could easily act as a loyal Death Eater. There was no intimacy, no personal discussions, with so many observers. Narcissa tisked. "They need to eat first, Lucius." "There is food out back," Lucius countered, his hand on Izar's shoulder. "The Dark Lord has asked me to bring Izar to him once he arrives." Bloody wonderful. Izar could hardly contain his tremendous excitement at dancing with the man in public, with all his Death Eaters sur