July 8, 1992, 3:00 PM, Adam’s Room, Grimmauld Place
I winced and rolled my shoulder a few times, trying to get the kinks out to no avail. It seemed that this would be a pain that would persist for at least another hour before subsiding.
“My own fault.” I murmured as I turned towards the next page of my homework. If I had dodged instead of trying to block, I would have had that fight.
Sirius, I was beginning to realize, was an absolute monster when it came to dueling; I had thought that my own battles against those of Grindelwald’s Order had given me the measure of what the adult wizard or witch were capable of, but Sirius was something else entirely.
Even as out of touch as he was, Sirius was easily on the same level of Ai Xiu, the witch who’d quite literally fought several opponents at once— and beat them. I couldn’t say if he could beat her or Vanessa, since I had never actually seen either witch fight at their fullest.
I did, however, realize that he would at least be able to hold his own. The way he moved was with such grace that it made me draw eerie parallels to Vanessa’s own flow of motion.
Was this a trait that all ancient families ended up inheriting? No, that didn’t make any sense; Clan Zhenya allowed outsiders to join, and from the way that Vanessa was talking, such secrets were ones that any worthy applicant could obtain.
Could this strange grace be something that was imposed on members of a House or Clan by way of secret spells or even possibly… rituals?
I knew those existed, partly from Voldemort’s resurrection in canon, as well as quite a few passages I’d read in the books I’d pilfered from the Restricted Section, way back when.
It was something I would have to look into.
Yet another thing to do— after I finish all of this homework, of course. I thought, my eyes roving over the contents of my table. I’d made some decent time, all things considered, but I still had at least six more things of homework to go through before I was done.
I was suddenly wishing I took it all with me to the orphanage, but I knew that would raise some incredibly awkward questions with either Jenny or the matron, had I been caught doing them.
Jenny… I thought, but quickly shook my head. It wouldn’t do for me to lose focus now. I took a breath and tackled my Astronomy homework again with a vengeance. I went at it like a machine, only taking breaks to refresh myself with a drink.
Before too long, I wrote my final words for the day before setting the homework to the right on top of my stack of Charms homework.
“Two down.” I said, feeling both pleased and annoyed. “Five quadrillion to go.”
I rolled my neck a few times before stretching and leaning back in my chair with a yawn. Maybe a nap? Nah, just need to walk for a bit, stretch my legs.
My eyes moved to the back of the desk, where Flitwick’s letter sat unobtrusively. I had intended on reading it on the night of the day that Sirius had given to me, but I ended up forgetting.
There was far too much for me to get used to. Settling in took a decent while, I suppose. I thought as I finally took a letter opener and unsealed the thing. I noticed a few bits of parchment within, and so I looked through them until I found what I assumed to be the first letter of the lot.
I began to read:
Dear Mr. Clarke,
I hope that you are enjoying a well-deserved summer break; I know that the events which took place at the end of the year have weighed heavily on your mind, but perhaps some time away from all of that is exactly what’s needed for the mind and body to fully heal?
But, I digress.
The main reason I am writing to you today, Mr. Clarke, is to inform you that, as a soon-to-be Third Year, I will need to know which Elective Classes you will be taking. As you know, you are taking our eight core classes at Hogwarts School, but by your Third Year, you are given the opportunity of taking on several Electives of your choosing.
I know I do not truly need to say this, but please make your decision very carefully, as you will be studying these classes for the rest of your time at Hogwarts.
Enclosed within this letter is the list of the offered classes, as well as a basic explanation on what each of the courses entails. I trust that you will read them with the same care and thoughtfulness you’ve shown in everything you do.
Once again, I do hope you take the time to enjoy your summer vacation. If anyone deserves it, it is you, Mr. Clarke.
Professor Filius Flitwick
Head of Ravenclaw House
“Huh.” I said and re-read through the letter a few times before setting it back down on the desk. “Electives, huh?”
That question’s one that’s been in the making for a while. I thought and took a seat again, leaning forward on my elbows to seriously consider my options.
I pulled the list of courses out of the envelope again and read through them, muttering to myself as I did so.
“Muggle Studies… Definitely not.” I said. “I know everything there is to know about that topic a thousand times over.”
Especially considering my future knowledge. I thought. Even if the corporations of this world aren’t the same as the ones in my homeworld— which I doubt is the case since I’ve seen brand names like Apple and Microsoft mentioned in advertisements— things would likely progress much the same way. The miniaturization of technology is likely already being studied by scientists everywhere.
And from what I understood from the seventh book, the Muggle Studies Professor of the time, Charity Burbage, ran a pretty tight ship when it came to knowledge about the Muggles. While it likely wouldn’t be anywhere near as effective as immersion would, I didn’t doubt the class was a necessary one for wizards hoping to interact with Muggles more.
Still, considering the fact that I’ve already lived over three decades in Muggle society, I didn’t really need to take this course.
So, what did that leave?
I could choose Care of Magical Creatures, I supposed, but it would be pointless to do so.
Helping Hagrid with his work had given me access to the man himself. Say what you will about Rubeus ‘I shouldn’t have said that’ Hagrid, but the man was a veritable fount of knowledge when it came to that particular subject, as well as many others.
That, on top of my own independent studies, made taking the course a pointless endeavor for me. I didn’t need a grade on a piece of paper to tell me that I was learning something, after all.
This only left me with three courses to choose two from: Arithmancy, The Study of Ancient Runes, and Divination.
Sure as shit ain’t touching Divination. I thought, though my eyes still scrunched with displeasure at the thought of taking Ancient Runes. Not that I really want to go through a language class, either…
If Runes were as they’d been depicted in fanon, I might’ve been more excited. The thought of being able to carve a few symbols in a piece of wood or metal and imbue it with magical energy honestly sounded badass.
The applications of such magic were beyond count. As far as I could tell, though, the Ancient Runes I would be studying were just a language in which many of the old books were written. They were still very useful, of course; being able to access ancient knowledge could lead to many different discoveries, after all.
Wizards from the old times got up to some crazy shit. Just look at good old Herpo, inventor of the Basilisk and the Horcrux.
Anyway, it seemed that Arithmancy and Ancient Runes were the only two classes which I could derive the most use out of. Learning the properties of magical numbers, as well as having the ability to read older books…
Grindelwald had some books written in runes, didn’t he? I thought, nodding to myself before another thought occurred. And House Black’s Library— I think I spied a few books written in runes there, as well.
“Yep.” I said and checked the two boxes that would decide the remainder of my Hogwarts education, choosing Arithmancy and Ancient Runes. “I guess these were the only realistic choices…”
“Adam?” I heard Harry’s voice coming from the door. “Who are you talking to?”
I winced and sent the boy a bit of an awkward look. “Sorry, old habit; I tend to talk to myself a lot.”
“Oh, okay…” He said and left it at that, but I could tell that there was something bothering him.
“What’s up?” I said and got up to greet him. “Everything all right?”
“Oh, yes.” Harry nodded in response. “I guess I’m just bored.”
“Hi, ‘just bored’.” I said. “I’m—”
“I swear if you finish that sentence.” Harry warned me, sending me a glare. “I’ll hex you.”
I paused to stare at him for just long enough to make him think I wasn’t going to finish before sending him an impish look.
“—Adam. Nice to meet you, ‘just bored’.” I continued as if he hadn’t said anything, making Harry’s glare deepen.
I truly am an evil bastard.
“That’s not even funny, Adam.”
“You say that.” I said, wiggling my finger at him. “But deep down inside, you know you’re smiling.”
Harry only continued to stare with those same, annoyed green eyes of his. “Must be so deep that I don’t even see it anymore.”
I shook my head in mock disappointment. Everyone’s a critic.
“Anyway, I was about to have something to eat.” I said, putting my chair back under the table as I walked toward Harry. “Hungry?”
“A little.” Harry said, shrugging. He didn’t seem pleased by my choice of activity. It was then that I realized that the kid just wanted to hang out, not eat.
I’m an idiot. I thought, resisting the urge to palm my face in realization. I guess I’ve been more distant than I’d originally intended.
“We’ll play something together afterward.” I said. “I promise.”
The following nod that came from Harry was so enthusiastic that I started to feel bad on the way down to the kitchen. Was I focusing too much on improving as a wizard?
It all seemed strangely unfair to me; would I, in my quest to keep myself and anyone close to me safe, end up pushing away the same people I sought to protect?
With every passing day, I was starting to understand the predicament that Harry and the others— especially Hermione— had been in at the end of the school year.
After everything is said and done. I thought as we entered the kitchen, where we saw Sirius looking around the pantry. These people are my friends. Technically family, now.
“Oh.” Sirius said, finally noticing our presence. “Hey, you two. I haven’t started making any food yet. Honestly, don’t know what to make today. What’re you feeling like?”
“Uh…” I said and looked at Harry, who shrugged.
“Pasta?” I suggested.
Sirius snorted and shook his head. “We had that yesterday, kid.”
“Let’s have some more? Can’t go wrong with pasta, can you?” I said, squinting. “Plus it’s easy to make.”
“True.” Sirius said, though he shook his head. “But I think— well, Lily and James would kill me if I wasn’t taking care of Harry properly. Never met your own parents, Adam, but they’d probably want me to feed you properly too, I think.”
“I suppose you make a good point.” I said and frowned. “Fine; got any chicken?”
“No. At least, I don’t think so.” Sirius said, though he frowned. “Kreacher!”
A pop, and then an angry greeting. “Yes, Master?”
Sirius turned to his House Elf. “Do we have some chicken in storage?”
“Preferably chicken breasts!”
Kreacher only nodded, though he glared up at Sirius.
“Bring What Adam requested here.” Sirius said, glaring back. Kreacher’s only response was to Disapparate with a crack.
I frowned, knowing that the two had a bad history together— to say nothing of Kreacher’s own trauma— but forced myself to ask the question, anyway. “What’s the deal between you and the Elf?”
Sirius didn’t answer as he turned back to me. “Kreacher is… He is loyal to my parents, and my brother Regulus and what they liked to call ‘the old way’.”
Harry sent Sirius an inquisitive look, but I spoke before he could. “Oh, okay. So, ‘death to all Blood-Traitors and filthy Mudbloods’, then?”
Sirius gave me a sharp look, but nodded.
“Adam…” Harry said, warning me, though he knew it was a lost cause getting me to stop saying that.
I raised my hands. “Yeah, yeah. Evil word, I know.”
Kreacher reappeared with a pop, placed a large bowl full of chicken breasts on the table, and then popped away without another word.
“There we go.” Sirius said, gesturing at the chicken. “What did you want me to make?”
I joined him at the table, sending him a curious look. “Let me and Harry make food, this time. It’s pretty simple.”
“You won’t mind if I just watch, then?” Sirius said, and I nodded.
Guy probably wanted to make sure I didn’t burn the kitchen down or something, so I smiled a little. “Salad or chips?”
“Salad or chips?” I repeated.
“Which one do I want?”
“No, which one are you going to make first? Since you offered your help…” My smile turned into a full blown grin as I began to sweep through the pantry. I swiped a few basic spices here and there, sniffing a few containers to make sure I had the right things on hand.
When I looked next, I saw both Sirius and Harry just peeling potatoes and chatting away. The two were smiling.
Good. I nodded and went to work.
The meal we ended up having was as good as I remembered it from my old life.
July 8, 1992, 6:00 PM, Training Ground, Phoenix’ Roost
Voldemort resisted the urge to scoff at the wizard standing before him as he launched a series of spells at Voldemort, hoping to overwhelm him with a blazing fast combination.
Well, it would have been blazing fast for a novice, Voldemort mused as he raised his wand and shielded against half of the spells before purposefully taking one of the more harmless jinxes on the elbow and pretending to be pushed back. To the Dark Lord, his opponent might as well have been a snail, for that was how fast he was moving.
Voldemort blasted away two more spells heading towards him and replied in kind, sending a blue spell that gouged the earth around his opponent before the other forced the debris onto him.
He luxuriated in his foe’s pained cries for a moment before thrusting his wand forward and ending the duel with a Stunning Charm.
Voldemort watched the jet of red light strike his foe in the chest, sending him falling bonelessly to the earth, completely unconscious. He hadn’t used a spell as simple as a Stunning Charm in a long time— a very long time.
Is this the extent of Grindelwald’s forces’ magical prowess? Voldemort thought as he took a few long, labored breaths, pretending he was tired for appearances’ sake. If so, then they will need far more training than they have now if they wish to take my Death Eaters on.
To be fair, of course, Voldemort never expected the lowly recruits to be able to challenge him in any way, but this particular one’s performance seemed especially bad.
“Very well done, Mr. Marco.” The officer in charge of training this batch of recruits, a man by the name of Strontel, said as he took a few steps forward into the training ground. He glared down at the unconscious wizard and barked out his next order. “You, and you. Take Mr. Clancy to the infirmary— I saw a few cuts that might have struck a little too deep. The rest of you, training’s over for the day. You can go. Except you, Mr. Marco; I’d like to have a word.”
There was a chorus of ‘yes, sir’s before everyone left the premises.
As Voldemort’s foe was being taken away, Strontel moved towards Lord Voldemort, giving him a nod.
“What did you wish to talk about, sir?” Voldemort said, making sure to sound somewhat tired, but not so much that he’d be looked down upon.
To get people’s trust and respect, they needed to feel that you were someone they could rely on, but not someone who would be using them as a stepping stone.
It was an old truth Voldemort had learned in his youth, and he’d become a master at maintaining the perfect visage of someone who could be trusted above all others.
“You have changed since the last time I’ve seen you, Mr. Marco.” Strontel said. “I almost don’t recognize you now.”
Voldemort pretended to look confused, wondering if his cover had been already blown.
Are they aware of my deception? Voldemort thought before discarding that thought. There had been no indication of anyone sending him an even remotely suspicious look. If anything, people seemed to either dismiss him or look on with approval at his new attitude among the forces.
“Thought you were lazy as can be; a layabout riding in the coattails of wizards and witches greater than yourself— far greater than you could have ever hoped to become.” Strontel said before shaking his head. “But it seems that whatever happened on that mission of yours has kindled a fire in you.”
Ah. So that’s what this is. He thought as he quickly dipped into his old memories. I suppose my host was quite lazy and pathetic, all things considered.
Deep within the recesses of his borrowed body, the Dark Lord heard his host wailing in agony and felt himself smile slightly in the real world, even as he drove a psychic spike into his captive again and again until he went silent once more.
“You could say that, sir.” Voldemort said, giving the man a solemn nod. “It was certainly an eye-opening experience for me. Coming to terms with all that happened…”
“Quite.” Strontel said, placing an awkward hand on Voldemort’s shoulder. “In any case, it is good to see that one of the recruits is shaping up to be a good, respectable officer of the order. About time, if you ask me. Still, keep up the good work, and I’ll see about having you assigned to my squadron, when the day finally comes.”
“I’ll do my best, sir.” Voldemort said, giving him a nod.
That seemed to be enough, he realized as the man let go of his shoulder and turned away. “Very good, Mr. Marco. That will be all. Dismissed.”
Voldemort turned and left without another word, heading towards the building so that he could get a quick bite to eat and think about his next move.
He entered the large mansion proper, once again taking note of all of the security forces standing by and confirming his previous calculations.
There are three guards stationed on every floor of the building, with five groups of four patrolling the premises regularly. The guards rotate their shifts every six hours. Patrols are randomized, but there are only so many paths to take for it to be truly random.
Security was very extensive, and all guards, no matter where they were posted, seemed to keep a very close watch over their leader’s office whenever they could.
Now, he understood that it was necessary to protect the leader; after all, he was the head of the entire order, and its face, besides. Voldemort had been the face of his Death Eaters, once upon a time as well, and so he understood the need to be guarded against attacks from within and without.
Yet, these guards did not follow Grindelwald personally.
When the man left the premises— and Voldemort had already seen him do it twice— not one of those guards followed him, but his own right-hand wizards.
No, the other guards remained on site, continuing to keep watch over his office.
They were guarding something, and judging from his host’s memories and his own witnessing of Grindelwald’s far younger appearance, Voldemort had an inkling as to the nature of the object in question.
A Philosopher’s Stone. Lord Voldemort thought with anticipation as he entered the main hall, plastering a pleasant, charming smile onto his face as he used to do when he was young. Or something of equal power, at the very least. Enough to restore Grindelwald’s youth. Something with that kind of energy could perhaps restore my own body.
And he wouldn’t rest until he got it for himself.