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A Disquieting Meeting

September 6, 1992, 5:30 PM, Greenhouses, Hogwarts Castle

Draco Malfoy

The Sun hung low in the sky, casting a warm golden glow across the Hogwarts grounds. Draco Malfoy found himself standing near the edge of the Black Lake, peering out from behind a gnarled tree, still searching for the elusive Ravenclaw boy.

His earlier pursuit had led him to the edges of the Forbidden Forest, but he had lost sight of his target in the labyrinth of trees and shadows.

What in Merlin’s name is he up to? Draco thought to himself, not for the first time that day. He let out a light sigh, turning back to the school grounds after not seeing a single sign of him. He was determined to pick up the boy’s trail once more.

The lake’s gentle waves lapped against the shore, and a soft breeze rustled through the grass, carrying the earthy smell of dying leaves from the nearby gardens.

His frustration mounted with each passing moment. He had to find the Ravenclaw and uncover the secrets that lay behind his presence at Grindelwald’s facility, but the boy didn’t make it easy for Draco. He seemed to be a master of evasion, skilled in the art of staying hidden.

As he waited, his mind raced with thoughts of what could be so important about this particular Ravenclaw.

As the boy himself put it, he was a Mudblood; what could Grindelwald want with him? Were the two working on something clandestine? Was Clarke’s prodigy status truly so special that it warranted someone like Grindelwald’s attention? Whatever it was, Draco was determined to find out.

Suddenly, movement caught his eye on the opposite side of the lake. There, among the willow trees, he glimpsed a flash of blue. It was him— How’d he get all the way over there? When?

Draco’s heart quickened as he approached the boy once again, and he crouched behind a large bush, making sure he remained hidden from view. Clarke was engaged in an animated conversation with a fellow blonde haired student, seemingly carefree and unaware of being followed.

One of the first year Ravenclaws? Draco thought in mild confusion as he beheld the girl’s odd necklace. Why’s she wearing butterbeer caps? Is she barmy?

Still, Draco smoothed his own confused features and forced himself to watch, biding his time. Soon, the conversation came to an end and his target eventually moved on, heading toward the Greenhouses.

Draco sprang into action, his determination renewed. I won’t lose you this time!

He followed at a distance, using the Greenhouses’ tall glass walls as cover. Inside, he could see the Ravenclaw boy engaging with Longbottom, the most cowardly Gryffindor he’d ever met.

What could Clarke possibly have to talk about with that pathetic excuse for a Pureblood? Draco thought, incredulous. Yet, whatever they were discussing seemed to captivate the Longbottom boy’s attention, making Draco strangely curious.

No. He thought to himself. I have to be patient.

Once the conversation ended, Adam exited the Greenhouse, leaving Draco to contemplate his next move. As the afternoon wore on, the light began to fade, casting longer shadows across the school grounds. Draco decided to be more cautious in his pursuit.

Soon, it would be time to confront him. Draco just had to find the right moment, that was all.

He kept a careful eye on the Ravenclaw from a safe distance, tracking him as he moved from one place to another. At times, the boy seemed to be heading toward the Ravenclaw Common Room, but just when Draco thought he had figured out the destination, Clarke would suddenly change course or even double back, leading Draco on another intricate dance of hide-and-seek.

The chase continued, leading them through the castle’s many halls, up and down staircases, and even up into the Astronomy Tower. Draco’s determination remained unyielding, and he refused to let the Ravenclaw slip through his fingers again.

He won’t be able to leave the top! He realized with anticipation. Only one way back.

Reaching the top of the Astronomy tower, Draco saw the Sun beginning to set on the horizon, bathing Hogwarts in hues of pink and orange.

He also realized that the Ravenclaw was nowhere to be seen.

“…” Draco resisted the urge to shout. The boy had once again managed to evade him. The frustration boiled within Draco, but he knew he couldn’t give up. The mystery of the Ravenclaw boy had become an obsession, and Draco was determined to unravel it, no matter how long it took.

No, he just needed to gather his thoughts together and find this Merlin-damned nuisance before he truly lost his—

“So, Draco, are you getting tired yet?” Adam’s voice came from behind him.

Draco let out a very manly yell— and don’t you dare try to argue with him on that— as he jumped backwards, drawing his wand in a jerky motion as he leveled it towards Adam Clarke, only to find himself face to face with an oncoming jet of scarlet light…

The Disarming Charm shot forth like a serpent, aiming to wrest Draco’s wand from his grasp, but Draco was ready for it. Reacting on instinct, he tightened his grip on his wand and, with a burst of adrenaline, partially deflected the Disarming Charm. Though the spell’s force was great, it wasn’t enough to completely overpower the resolute young wizard.

His feet slipped on the smooth stone floor, and he stumbled backward, his heart pounding in his chest. The sound of his rapid breaths mingled with the faint echo of the Charm that had narrowly missed its mark.

He glared at the spell’s caster even as the boy gave him an impressed look.

“Impressive.” Adam Clarke said as he took a few steps forward. “You’ve improved, Malfoy. Last year, that would have probably knocked you flat on the floor.”

Draco didn’t say anything for a long moment, instead choosing to take Adam’s appearance in. Clarke’s mismatched eyes, snow and obsidian, seemed to pierce through Draco, causing a shiver to run down the boy’s spine. 

For a moment, neither boy said anything, the tension between them palpable. Draco tried to muster a sneer, attempting to regain some semblance of composure, but it wavered in the face of Clarke’s intense gaze.

“What’s the matter, Malfoy?” Adam said, his voice calm but laced with dangerous amusement. “Was that all you had?”

Draco’s jaw tightened, feeling his pride wounded. He was used to being the one who delivered cutting remarks, not the other way around.

“I haven’t even begun to try.” Draco retorted, hoping his words would sound more confident than he felt.

Adam raised an eyebrow, not buying into Draco’s bravado. “Is that so? You seem to be quite bothered by my presence right now.”

Draco tried to suppress his discomfort, but he knew he couldn’t hide it from someone as perceptive as the one before him. Growing up, he’d quickly become used to dealing with rivals and enemies, but there was something different about this Ravenclaw. Clarke’s complete lack of fear and decorum always threw Draco for a loop.

It wasn’t like with Potter, who always seemed a little wary and, dare he say, afraid of him. No, Adam genuinely did not fear him. Whether it was because of a belief in his own superiority or in Draco’s character, he didn’t know— doesn’t stop it from being so maddening.

Their standoff continued for a few more seconds before Adam broke the silence again. “You know, Malfoy, you could have just sent me a letter if you wanted to talk.”

“Ingenious plan.” Malfoy said automatically, shaking his head as he saw Adam lower his wand. “Except everyone around you will be asking questions.”

Adam tilted his head. “It’s not exactly impossible for a twelve year old to be receiving mail from anonymous sources.”

“Things can be traced back, mail confiscated.”

“The lessons of your father, I presume?” Adam said, not waiting for Draco to confirm. “He isn’t wrong; when you’re in that line of work, I’d assume enemies will do anything to get the upper hand. But we’re twelve. If someone is snooping on mail coming to me, prodigy or not, then I would say the entire fabric of society has unraveled. Wouldn’t you agree?”

“I guess so.” Draco said, conceding the point but finding that it didn’t really change his mind. He lowered his wand. “Better safe than sorry, Clarke.”

“Words to live by.” Adam said, getting a little smile. “Shouldn’t you be calling me ‘Black’?”

Draco bristled, causing Adam to hide his smile. “Okay, okay. I get it; touchy subject. Your mother is a Black, isn’t she?”

The boy shook his head, pinning Clarke with a glare. “Yes, but you can stop trying to change the topic. We have something to discuss, you see.”

Clarke sighed.

“I suppose we do.” Adam said and moved ahead of the boy, towards the edge. 

Draco followed him, taking a moment to stare out at the view ahead, his platinum blond hair ruffled by the cool breeze that swept through the castle walls. His sharp, gray eyes were fixed on the horizon, where the sun was slowly beginning its descent, splashing the world with its final moments of radiance for the day.

As they looked upon the vast expanse below, the courtyard and the Forbidden Forest came alive with shadows stretching and intertwining like a moving canvas. The Quidditch Pitch was still and quiet, awaiting its first match when the other schools arrived. The Black Lake shimmered in the distance, its waters reflecting the colors of the sky like a mirror.

Yet, none of this was able to calm the raging storm of curiosity and apprehension within the boy. Draco knew full well that he was toying with forces far beyond his ability, and it scared the daylight out of him.

“You’re scared.” Adam said simply, in the usual way that he did.

“…” Draco didn’t deign to answer such a statement.

“You don’t have to say anything.” Adam said, throwing him a glance. “I am, too. We’ve found ourselves in a strange situation.”

“Grindelwald.” Draco said quietly.

“That’s part of it.” Adam confirmed with a nod. “I wasn’t there by choice, if you were wondering.”


“I was taken. They kidnapped me from the orphanage while I was waiting for my official status to be finalized.” He said, shrugging. “Spent two weeks at Phoenix’ Roost. They were trying to convince me to join their cause— whatever it is.”

Draco stayed quiet for a long while, unsure of what he could possibly say to something like that.

“And… Did you join them?” Draco finally tried.

“Hah. No.” Adam said, shaking his head. “We’ve been f— well I guess we’re not friends, but I think you’ve gotten a pretty good read on me over the last year; do you think I’d bow down to anyone else like that?”

“No.” Draco said, his lip curling at the very thought of his own will being suborned. “I wouldn’t, either.”

Adam looked at him, as if to gauge the weight of his words. His gaze seemed to move above Draco’s head, as if he was confirming something to himself. “You’re telling the truth. Huh. You’ve changed.”

Draco frowned, irritation circling within his body. “What’s that supposed to mean, Clarke?”

“You’ve gotten more backbone— it’s a good thing.” Adam said, making sure to add that last part. “Means you won’t agree with people so easily just because you want to please them.”

“Hmph.” Draco said, turning his nose up. “And what makes you think I should be paying attention to anything you say, then?”

“Because I’m smart. Obviously.” Adam said as if it explained everything. “And because I make good points. You wouldn’t be here, otherwise.”

Draco pursed his lip again. The Mudblood was testing his nerves.

“Maybe I come here to amuse myself by watching you flail around, trying to explain your Mudblood nonsense to me.” Draco said.

“Then you must have a lot of time on your hands if you believe it to be so worthless that you would spend it with someone who spews ‘Mudblood nonsense’, as you put it.”

“Hm.” Malfoy smirked at that. “Touché.”

The two boys shared in that infinitesimal moment of hostile camaraderie before Adam spoke again. “But honestly, aside from a lot of training and idle chatting, I didn’t really do all that much at Grindelwald’s camp.”

“Surely you were privy to their plans?”

“Not a single one.” Adam said, waving his words away. “I’ve met some of their key members, to be sure; I’ve gotten a feel for how they fight, and how they’re teaching their recruits.”

Now, that’s valuable information. Draco thought and pressed ahead. “And?”

“And I fear for any Wizarding Government trying to oppose them.” Adam said, causing a chill to go through Draco’s spine. “I don’t really know how the Aurors are trained, but seeing them consistently fail last year doesn’t really fill me with confidence as to their chances against Grindelwald’s order— or any other organization for that matter.”

“The Aurors are being trained.” Draco said and saw Clarke’s face flash in surprise. “Surprised? The Minister does not like Grindelwald at all— in fact, I’d go as far as to say that he hates the man.”

“Truly?” Adam said and got a nod for his trouble. “Hm. I’d just assumed that was all political play from Fudge.”

“Some of it is, of course.” Draco allowed himself to shrug as he watched the students below slowly milling their way back to the Castle proper in the hopes of avoiding punishment by staying up too late. “My father says that exaggeration is always necessary when it comes to addressing the population.”

“He’s pretty wise politically.” Adam said, though Draco could tell that the boy didn’t want to say it. “I suppose it comes with the job.”

“Yes.” Was all Draco said in response.

Another silence fell upon them, and Draco was happy to leave it at that.

“This year…” Adam said, and Draco turned to see the boy’s face set in an expression shifting between unease and determination. “All of the other schools are coming for the tournament, leaving everyone blind to any moves Grindelwald is making in the background. That’s not even talking about other threats arising…”

Other threats? Draco thought in confusion as Adam stared down at the burns on his arm. “Who?”

“I believe your father calls him The Dark Lord.”

Draco’s jaw tightened. “That’s… Everyone says he was done in by Potter.”

“Then who do you think gave me these burns?” Adam lifted his sleeve, showing him a small hint of the horrific scars running all the way up to his elbow.

“Quirrell did… Didn’t he?” Draco said, gesturing at the boy and doing his best not to stare directly at them. He hated seeing disgusting things. “Everyone knows that.”

“Yes, technically, it was Quirrell.” Adam said. “But someone else was in that body, with him. Do you know what Possession is?”

Draco shook his head, and so Adam continued. “Read up on it, when you have the time. You’ll understand why Quirrell’s classroom smelled— reeked— like garlic, and why he kept his head covered all the time.”

Before Draco could respond, Adam turned away and left, leaving Draco to grapple with his conflicting emotions as he stared out at the beautiful landscape.

He had never expected this encounter to unfold this way.

The Dark Lord…?


September 6, 1992, 10:30 PM, Salisbury Plain, Wiltshire, England

The Moon, a pale crescent, hung low amidst a sea of stars, casting a soft, ethereal glow upon the open plain. A gentle, cool breeze whispered through the grassy meadows, its touch carrying subtle traces of the scent of wildflowers.

The grass rustled softly underfoot as unseen creatures moved through the darkness, adding to the mystical ambiance of the night. Every so often, the call of a distant night bird echoed across the expanse, blending harmoniously with the enchanting atmosphere.

A moment later, there was a light pop in the air, and a figure appeared, crunching the grass beneath its boots and causing all of the wildlife to scatter in all directions. The new arrival raised his wand to the air, lighting it up with a thought. Like the first pebble heralding an avalanche, a few more pops sounded in the air, with new figures appearing.

All of the wizards turned to the one in the center, with the first arrival addressing him. “All seems to be clear, Mr. Grindelwald. Not a soul for miles.”

“So it would seem.” Gellert Grindelwald said, keeping his voice low and soft so as not to attract any attention. “Still, one can never be too careful. Misters Johnson and Peterson, maintain a perimeter patrol.”

“Yes, Sir.” The two men said before disappearing.

“The rest of you, maintain a smaller perimeter around us.” Gellert said before gesturing ahead of him. “Matthias.”

“Yes.” Matthias Auer said as he looked in the same direction. “I see it.” 

Even in this low light and from this distance, the distant silhouettes of ancient stone monoliths stood tall and proud, remnants of a forgotten time. Their stoic presence gave an eerie and mysterious aura to the plain.

“The Stonehenge.” Matthias said, though the expression on his face spoke of doubt.

“Patience, my friend.” Grindelwald said.

“Of course.” Matthias said, smoothing his features over with some effort.

Gellert could not blame him. The Stonehenge; it was examined by wizards and witches over the course of centuries and found only to be a curious set of rocks placed atop each other.

The prevailing assumption around it was that a rather mischievous wizard, who had been somewhat knowledgeable on the topic of rituals and Arithmancy, had placed the stones to trick Muggles into thinking something of note occurred there. Wizards, of course, after a cursory look, would realize that there was not a trace of magic in the air, but they could not dismantle the place as it had taken deep root within the world’s psyche.

The Wizarding governments can ill afford to keep their own people in check, but an effort of Obliviation which erases the memory of Stonehenge from the collective Muggle world’s minds? Gellert shook his head in amusement. It is folly to even attempt it.

So, the Wizards had left this place as an unexplainable curiosity to the Muggles.

And yet… Gellert thought. My premonitions have never led me astray.

“Let us proceed carefully.” He ended up saying.

“Of course.” Matthias said and they slowly made their way to the monoliths.

The two men stood side by side within the marred circle of Stonehenge, the ancient stones rising silently around them like sentinels of forgotten wisdom. The moon cast a gentle glow over the site, illuminating its mysterious allure. Matthias, though skeptical, remained respectful, trying to appreciate the historical significance of the place.

“Stonehenge has an air of timelessness about it.” Matthias remarked, his voice kept hushed as Gellert kept looking for a sign of… Well, anything. “It’s astonishing to think that these stones have stood here for thousands of years without any aid from magic.”

“There used to be more.” Gellert disagreed, gesturing ahead to where a few depressions in the earth could be seen. “Whether they were taken, or whether nature claimed them is all up in the air.”

“And yet.” Matthias’ skepticism returned. “This place is still only a curiosity. Our preliminary detection spells did not find anything out of the ordinary— just a series of stones arranged in a curious circle. A historical curiosity, true, but a curiosity all the same.”

“So it would seem, yes.” Gellert said, smiling as he found what he was looking for. “However, some forms of magic are simply beyond the awareness of even our best and brightest. Watch.”

He reached forward with both his hand and mind, grasping the swirling soul threads in the air. The entire area began to pulse like the beating of a heart.

“This is…” Matthias said, eyes wide with surprise until Gellert let go, returning the area to its previous quiet.

“Do you see now?”

Matthias nodded as if he couldn’t quite understand what it was he had sensed. Gellert supposed that it was only natural to be confused. Here was something that transcended the realm of ordinary comprehension, even for wizards and witches.

“There is indeed something very peculiar here.” Matthias admitted, his skepticism all but gone. “But what is it? Is it alive— was that the beat of something’s heart?”

“Of a sort.” Grindelwald said as he regarded his friend with a thoughtful expression. “There is old magic at play here, magic beyond what most are familiar with.”

“Old magic…?” Matthias said, eyebrows furrowed in thought as he approached one of the monoliths, placing a gentle hand upon its cool, stone surface. “I don’t understand.”

“It is only natural.” Gellert said, as he followed down the considerable length of the soul thread to a random point in the earth. “Even I do not fully grasp the nature of this place.”

This is not a soul thread of fate. Gellert thought as he moved his gaze over the long thread, seeing how each end was fused to the other in an almost seamless way. All of these are… the souls of the dead, bound to this land.

“There is great magic here.” He said as he placed his hand upon the earth. “This was indeed a ritual site, my senses confirm it.”

“And yet we did not find any of the usual signs.” Matthias said, now beyond impressed. “Whoever has done this must have been the genius of the generation.”

“Without a doubt.” Gellert said, closing his eyes for a moment as he sent a sliver of his will down the earth, as if he was reaching for something. “Hidden for centuries, only to be seen in my visions… Fated to occur.”

Matthias stayed quiet, the weight of Gellert’s words striking deep to his core.

Gellert got back up, pushing the dirt off of his hands for a few moments before turning to his comrade. “This place… I believe it serves as a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms.”

Matthias licked his lips, trying to grasp the concept. “You mean it’s a sort of magical focal point?”

“Something like that…” Grindelwald confirmed.

“Those attuned to such magic can feel its presence and draw upon its gentle currents.” Matthias said. “Is that what you have done?”

“Ah, you’ve read Ritualism In All Its Forms.” Gellert said, pleased with Matthias’ studiousness. “You’d be right, that is indeed what I’ve done. Though this is not quite the same, the magic at work here seems to behave in much the same manner.”

“Then…” Matthias said as he stared down at the spot where Grindelwald had placed his hand, seeing the earth begin to shift. “What is it?”

“As I said before, it is a pathway into another realm.” Grindelwald said as the ground beneath their feet began to depress into the ground, gradually taking the form of a long stairway leading into pitch black. “Another world.”

“Another world…?” Matthias said, gulping as he took an almost involuntary step forward, only to be stopped by Grindelwald.

“No.” Gellert said, shaking his head with a smile. He knelt down once more and, with an effort of will, closed the entrance back up. The compulsion faded away, and Matthias took in a sharp breath. “We will not be venturing down there, just yet.”

He gave Gellert a look of gratitude before he spoke again.

“…Yes, yes.” Matthias said, taking a deep breath as he got a hold of himself. “Of course, my apologies for moving without thinking.”

“There is nothing to forgive, my friend.” Gellert said. “The fault is my own: magic of this caliber is far too subtle for most Occlumens to perceive.”

“And I suppose I will be undergoing the relevant training?” Matthias said with a sardonic look.

“Naturally.” Gellert said.

Matthias gave the man a strained, but determined smile. “I do not relish this particular challenge, but your will is my own; anything for the cause.”

“Yes.” Gellert said, casting an almost hungry look at the unassuming bit of earth before them. Anything to find the Abyss once again.

And when he did, he would sever the threads controlling his fate, once and for all.

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