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Hell and Back

Story: Hell and Back Storylink: http://www.fanfiction.net/s/5454064/1/ Category: Harry Potter + Death Note Crossover Genre: Fantasy/Horror Author: esama Authorlink: http://www.fanfiction.net/u/1137344/ Last updated: 06/15/2010 Words: 49514 Rating: T Status: In Progress Content: Chapter 1 to 8 of 8 chapters Source: FanFiction.net Summary: Voldemort breaks him, Dursleys abandon him, Watari picks him up, Dumbledore calls him back, and L
makes it all worth it. Harry Potter Death Note crossover, drabble series, dark-ish, slash-ish and spoiler-ish.

*Chapter 1*: Horrible Boy


Hell and Back
1. Horrible Boy He was like broken goods. That was all Petunia could think about the child she had discovered on her doorsteps and greeted with her scream. This little boy, this Harry James Potter, the only child of her now, suddenly, brutally, dead sister, was broken goods. Damaged, not quite right. He might've been perfect upon birth - because Lily wouldn't, couldn't give birth to any way flawed child but maybe he had been damaged somewhere along the way. In day to day wear and tear. Upon delivery from Lily's house to hers. It helped some not to think the child as a child at all, but a product. Harry didn't feel or sound or act like a one year and three months old child he was supposed to be, after all. He was too quiet. His eyes knew too much - the eyes were wrong, they were false. They were the same emerald green, almond shaped eyes she had always envied in her sister, and they were just not right. Sometimes, when she looked at them just so - or didn't and caught them from the corner of her eyes - they didn't look like green at all. Sometimes it looked like the colours had been reversed and instead of green, they were red. In comparison to her lively Dudley, Harry was unbearably still. He didn't trash, he didn't squirm, didn't crawl, didn't play. He was silent too; never cried or wailed, he didn't make any noise of all. Petunia had to make up a schedule to take care of his needs, to change his diaper, to feed him, to wash him, because the boy never let know that he needed something. He was more like a doll than a child, and if he hadn't been warm and looking at her, she would've thought he wasn't alive at all. For a long while, she thought he was about to die. No normal child was so quiet, so still. There was something terribly wrong with him and one day she would take him from his crib and find that he was no longer breathing. Vernon thought so too, in fact Vernon was almost relieved by the idea. He didn't want one like Harry in his house after all. And neither, really, did Petunia. But it never happened. Harry persisted, almost stubbornly, and weeks went by. Then, all of sudden, he was no longer still. He was on his feet, walking. Not much after that, he spoke. "Hungry," was the first word. "Bathroom," was the next. Suddenly, Petunia didn't need to care of him at all, and it unnerved her to no end. 2. Hundred Bodies Harry dreams of people dying. Of flashes of green light and blood running down the chin of a feral man who grins up to him and calls him his lord and master. He dreams of burning houses, crying children and people decapitated, mutilated, their arms and legs cut. He dreams of screams and curses and accusations, endless conversations over the cooling corpses, the mockery and the plans. He dreams of his servants, gathering around him, begging him. He dreams of laughter, cool and maniacal, like cackle of a lunatic. And he dreams of people dying. 3. Hinting Boldly The atmosphere in the Dursley house is always strained by the time Harry is three years old. He is a very smart three year old and can see it so very easily, so clearly. The way his Aunt never looks at him in the eyes and the way she never touches him, never to brush his hair or tug his clothes in place or hug him like she does with Dudley. Dudley leaves his presence when he gets too close and he isn't allowed to sit in the kitchen table - if he has touched one of Dudley's toys, Dudley will never touch it again. Uncle Vernon lifted his hand to hit him once, he remembers it very clearly, but the hit never landed. He hasn't talked or acknowledged Harry in any way since. He makes them feel bad, he can tell. It's not that they don't like him. It's like they can't. They can't stand to be too near, can't stand to look at him, barely can stand to talk to him. That's why he sleeps in the cupboard, because he makes them see nightmares - the same "nightmares" he sees. They don't want to be close to him because he feels bad to them. He doesn't blame them. He is a smart three year old, he knows they would try if they could and they can't, they really can't. And besides, he feels bad to himself too.

4. Hide Behind Aunt Petunia starts working in local grocery store when Harry is four years old. She says it's because they're thinking of moving, of getting a bigger house, of of something. He knows it's because she can't stand it anymore, being so near day in and day out. Because of that, she gets a job and arrangers day care for Harry and Dudley. At first the kids at the day care centre are nice; they even let him play with them. They don't even care about his too big clothing or messy hair. He enjoys it for as long as it lasts, growing fond of little straw dolls they make in the craft's hour, and the lullabies they sing before naptime - even if he never sleeps. But eventually he starts unnerving them too. They whisper about him and so do the caretakers. They don't like his hair; it's too messy, too long, too black. They don't like his skin, too pale. His eyes are the worse. Too wide. The colour's wrong. He stares too much. He stares at everything. He tries not to care. He's a mature four year old, he knows the effect he has on people, it's not their fault. He plays with the straw doll he made in the corner of the play ground where he won't bother anyone and let's his hair fall to his eyes. Maybe, if he plays like normal kids and doesn't touch the other toys, he won't be so scary to the others. Maybe if he would stop brushing his hair aside, his eyes would stop bothering people. He rather doubts it. 5. Hands Bound Four years now, Vernon thinks to himself with frown while looking outside. Harry, five years old now, is playing in the back yard, making more of his straw dolls out of the weeds growing in Petunia's flower beds. For four years, the boy had been living with them, under Vernon's roof, under the stairs, eating from his table, using Dudley's old clothing. True, it could've been worse. The boy was quiet and somewhat obedient, never rouse his voice and was always very calm but he was odd. Freakish. Like hail and blizzard during a sunny day. The man shivers slightly, narrowing his eyes. He would've loved to throw the kid out years ago, but it had been impossible. That man, that old crackpot from their world, had threatened them in that letter. And despite everything, Vernon wasn't a stupid man, and Petunia wasn't a stupid woman. They knew that against the things those people could do, they were weak. They could throw Harry away, leave him at the streets, in front of a police station, in steps of some orphanage but those people would find out about it in a flash. Vernon and Petunia had never been daring enough to try to see how they would retaliate if they would do it. Outside in the back yard, Harry holds his new doll up, against the light. His hand seems small, peaking out from the sleeve of his too big jumper and he seems tiny in his baggy clothes. As he admires the doll he has made, turning it in his hand, his messy hair falling to his eyes, Vernon clutches the windowsill in his hands and grimaces. He knows Harry. For the boy it wouldn't matter if they would abandon him - he was so strange that he wouldn't care either way. He would probably just shrug his skinny shoulders and take it all on stride - that was the way he had always been. And Vernon would've loved to do it, he truly would've the boy was ruining their life with his mere presence. But he couldn't. They couldn't. Not yet. 6. Handcuffs Broken They were elated. Harry eyed them from the side half curiously, his hair falling to his eyes - eyes which he now was forced to hold wide open because they were getting blurry and he couldn't see right. Poor eyesight didn't matter that moment, though; what mattered was the delight Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia were apparently feeling. "You're going away then?" he asks. They look at him with surprise but don't answer. He nods at them, because he doesn't need explanation. He has seen their plan long time coming. "Where will I go?" "We're going to leave you to an orphanage," Petunia says, and for the first time in a long, long while, she's looking at his face. "We checked it beforehand; it's a nice place not far from here, just on the other side of town. They're going to take good care of you there."

Harry nods in understanding, though he doesn't particularly care either way. He's already six and can cook, do laundry, he can shop if necessary and he can clean. He can count in his head and has already read every book in the house. He can take care of himself. He doesn't need anyone. But he appreciates the sentiment. "I won't see you again," he says, certain of it. "Not if we can do something about it," Vernon nods in agreement and, surprisingly enough, crouches down to meet Harry's eyes. "I can't say I like you much, Potter. You're a freak and have been like ghost haunting this house ever since they dropped you to our doorsteps, but I'll say this. Take care of yourself. And make sure no one can control you." Harry blinks and nods. He knows what he means. Take care of himself so that no one will again bother the Dursleys with his wellbeing. Never let anyone make decisions for him, the way they had been done so far, the way that had ended him in the Dursleys unwilling care. "That rotten old man has been forcing our hand for five years now," Petunia murmurs darkly while heading off to pack. "No more. Never again" Harry nods again, vaguely aware of what they were talking about, whom they were talking about. Idly he traces his steps back to his cupboard and gets his latest doll, bundling up his clothes and taking his favourite books from Dursleys' shelves. They wouldn't mind. They never read them anyway. Finally, because he wasn't sure if his new home would have any, he takes the last half empty jam jar from the fridge, before sitting down to wait. Hour later, the Dursleys leave him to the doorsteps of the orphanage. He knows that little later, they would be boarding a plane. He didn't mind. He never minded. He was weird, freakish and odd. He could only feel jealous that his family, at least, could get away from it. 7. History Beheld Harry likes the orphanage. He hardly even notices how the kids around him quickly pull away from him and how the caretakers give him little less food than they give to the other kids. The orphanage has two things which makes it better place than the Dursleys. First, it has a yard full of grass and hay and weeds and he can make endless amounts of straw dolls. And second, it has not only library but it held classes - and he could go to school. When he is reading and learning and thinking, he can't hear the whispers in the back of his mind, doesn't see the endless red behind his eyes - forgets that he is a freak. He twiddles a doll in his hand and turns a page, memorising anything new he can. He likes history in particular. They're like stories, except true, and even if there is rarely a plot line or main characters, that's alright. They're detailed and complicated stories and he likes those best. By the time he notices that no one talks to him and that he is sitting in his own, empty table during dinner time, and that the other beds are so far away from his own, it has been like that for a while. He is once more the weird outcast no one wants to approach. But he is already used to that, it happened with the Dursleys, in the day care centre, so it was only natural that it would happen here too. 8. Homework Boycott He likes school, and hates the teachers. He likes learning, but the teachers blame him for it. They say that he's cheating. That he is reading the answers from somewhere. That he is using a calculator. That you can't count big numbers in your head. They push him to the back of the class and never pick him even when he holds his hand up with the right answer on the tip of his tongue. When he answers every question in the test correct, they take him to the principal's office and he's given detention for cheating. He stops making effort not much after and brings his own books to the classes. While the others in the class are learning how to add and subtract, he's learning physics and studying chemistry and reading more history. The teachers glower at him, but never say a thing about it. Especially not after they start being wrong and he starts being right - about everything. 9. Heavy Boon Harry has always seen them. Letters and numbers hovering upon a person's head, writing their name and what he in the beginning thought was just random bunch of numbers. For a long time he thought that everyone could see them. When

the Dursleys had taught him otherwise, he had chalked it as being one of those things which were unique to him. Like memories of a war he had never seen, acquaintances he had met, enemies he had never had and people he had never killed. One more thing to make him weird. It doesn't make sense in the beginning, though. What's the point in seeing someone's name like that, and what was the point of the random numbers? He can learn a person's name through introductions just as easily. But then he meets a man who calls him self one thing and the name upon his head is different, and maybe it makes a little sense. This way, at least, he can tell whether people are being lying to him about who they are or not. The numbers start making sense when, after watching how the numbers trickled down from the usual eight digits to seven and then to six until going rabidly from five to four to two and vanishing all together, Harry witnessed one of the girls in the orphanage dying of pneumonia. 10. Hesitation Beforehand Harry has been in the orphanage for almost a year when it stops being an interesting place. By that time he has read majority of the interesting books and gotten utterly tired of the teachers of the school he goes to - they never actually taught anything to him. Only one he actually liked there was the librarian, a middle aged old man who ordered him books from other libraries and arranged odd entertainment for him like logic puzzles, tests and such when he got bored. That is why the man's appearance, for him, is a relief. The man introduces himself as Watari, but Harry can see it's not his name - and of course, instead of playing by the man's rules, he addresses him by his real name. This seems to both intrigue and bother the man, but doesn't stop the man from asking him questions and offering him new solutions. How long had he been in the orphanage, what were his hobbies, what did he like to read, his school records were abysmal, why was that and if that is boring, what if he would exchange to another, more suitable orphanage? "The Wammy's House is meant for intelligent, gifted children like yourself," the man says, eying Harry thoughtfully. "I believe you would be more at home in there." He speaks lengthily about the orphanage, about the students, about the classes, about the hobbies, about the events. Harry would have his own room, he could learn whatever he chose. Harry listens half interestedly, not sure what to think of it, but certain it would be more suitable than the current orphanage. "What if I'm weird?" he asks, thinking about the way people drew away from me. "What if people don't like me?" The man doesn't understand what he means and instead of answering right, he smiles and assureds that he would fit in that there would be more kids like him there, that he would be able to make friends. Harry wonders if that was right, suspects that it wasn't but in the end didn't care. The place he had stayed so far was boring and the school he was going through didn't teach anything. "Can I have jam at the Wammy's House?" he asks. The orphanage never had jam. "You can have all the jam you want." It wasn't much of a decision really. x I wasn't going to continue this, but I like the idea too much to quit while I'm ahead - and some expressed mild interest towards this, so who am I to stop? Still, I encourage you to treat this story as half dead animal, ready to kick the bucket any moment. That way you might avoid dissapointment. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 2*: Bad Habit


Hell and Back
11. Bad Habit He isn't introduced to people right away in Wammy's House - and the man who brought him in tells him not to tell his name. "This is a very special sort of orphanage," he says. "Before you make the decision about whether you want everyone to know you here for who you are, don't say your name." The other kids seemed to have taken it to the heart. There is a boy called A there, another called Dee, he meet pair of twin girls called Tinker and Tailor of all things, and so on. Most of the kids have odd names, usually no last name at all and the names they went by weren't their real names. For the first time, Harry's ability of seeing people's true names made perfect sense. A was actually Andrew Ainsworth, Dee was actually Devon Edward Edison, Tinker and Tailor were Tasha and Tanya Petrov, and so forth. For a moment Harry isn't sure which name to use. He doesn't care for the fake names, but the kids don't want to go by their real names he would've preferred to use the real names, but isn't sure how the new orphanage's caretakers would take that. Would they beat him for it, kick him out? And they were expecting him to pick a fake name for himself so that they could call him something. He doesn't see the point. He likes honesty. "It's because they don't want loose ends," a boy going by the name of L explains without looking up from his book. "When we leave this place, they don't want us to be tied here." "Why is that so important?" "Because we will be important people. Ties to place like this will hinder us," the boy answers and looks up. He has a messy hair and wide eyes with flatly staring pupils. He reminds Harry oddly of himself, down to the ill fitting clothing and awkward behaviour. The other's posture was much worse than Harry's though, cupboard or no cupboard. "And if we go bad, the Wammy's House doesn't want to be connected to us." Harry got the impression that if the kids of Wammy's House would go bad, they would go bad in massive ways. They were all geniuses of some sort there. A man could only turn into a mad man, but genius could do some serious damage with his insanity, after all. The impact they could make was enormous, good or bad. He didn't care about that, though. He didn't even believe in good or bad. He had seen too much blood in his dreams to believe in it. There were only instincts and urges and those who could manipulate others better than some. Nothing more, nothing less. In house of geniuses and fake names, what was he? Awkward, wrong boy with ability to see more than people usually saw - ability see beyond lies and life. "Beyond," he murmurs and likes it. It was certainly better than picking something that started with letter H. 12. Bothersome House It's not surprising that he ends up alone once more. It's not exactly that the other kids avoid him this time around, though. It's that the entire orphanage by all appearances is full of very solitary children. A is too shy to socialise, Tinker and Tailor prefer the company of each other, Dee rather buries himself in his books than bothers with other people, L does whatever it is he usually does, and so forth. Aside from the first days when they were slightly curious of Harry, or Beyond as they call him, they mostly ignore him. Harry doesn't mind it, it's actually welcome change. The kids and the teachers - because Wammy's House doesn't have caretakers, only teachers - don't whisper about him or circle around him to avoid touching him. They don't stare at him or avoid him, exactly. They're just indifferent of him, they don't bother making any opinions of him - he doesn't matter to them, in the exact same way they don't matter to him. And, at first, he likes that. The teachers themselves are cool and professional - nothing like the caretakers of the last orphanage who had either been patronisingly nice or jaded and thus easily irritated. These teachers just do their job, and Harry certainly prefers that to being babied. He also likes the fact that during health inspection, they mention nothing about under nourishment or bad eating habits and when his poor eye sight is brought to light they don't even mention glasses, just schedule a surgery

for him. In Wammy's House, there are no real classrooms or such, but there are lessons. They are all private lessons held oneon-one and it feels more like private tutoring than schooling. Harry likes that, though. He learns more than he had before, and he gets to choose what he wants to learn. And if the fact that he studies crime and murder and anatomy and history of war and such bothers his teachers, they never say anything about it. He also likes the library of Wammy's House and the fact that they make sure there is always a full jar of jam in the fridge for him. The yard of Wammy's House is so meticulously well taken care off that there are no weeds to play with, but Roger, the head of the house, specially orders him some fine quality hay to play with. They don't call his dolls just dolls in the house, though. They call them Wara Ningyo - habit started by Dee who read about similar dolls in one of his books. But in the end, there is something just as wrong about Wammy's House as there was about Harry. The house was big, magnificent, he could do almost anything he wished there, but something about it was off. Maybe it was the way they were being taught and trained for some future greatness or some position, maybe it was the fact that they were given so much freedom despite the fact that they were young - all the while being sheltered and protected to the point of imprisonment - maybe it was that the teachers in the house all wanted something from them. He wasn't sure. But the house felt odd. But he didn't care. It felt good to be in a place that fit him so well - and at the same time, so very poorly. 13. By Himself Harry pokes the doll sitting in the ground beside him, his ankles folded and his shoulders hunched. He feels weird - like back in the Dursleys when he still lived in a cupboard and learned how to care of himself so that he doesn't have to bother Aunt Petunia with it. Like there's someone hovering behind his back, like his stomach is empty and like the colours of the world are all wrong. Like there was a big hole inside his chest, filled with stuff that didn't belong there. It was easy to ignore in the previous orphanage. He could listen and watch the other kids or the caretakers or read something to occupy himself. It was usually easy to ignore in Wammy's House too, he could read something or have a lesson or something like that. But the teachers weren't there and the library was closed and he couldn't even watch the other kids because they weren't there either. The kitchen was closed too and he couldn't get any jam though that would've helped. It was the middle of the night now and there was nothing there to occupy himself - notching except his newest Wara Ningyo which he had just finished, but which doesn't offer much entertainment. While holding it up and tugging on the yarn he had used to tie it, he frowns. Usually the dolls were enough to make things stop bothering him. Was he growing up from them? Would he soon stop making them all together - like Tailor who no longer carried her stuffed toy with her? "Beyond?" quiet voice interrupts his thoughts and he looks up to see one of his many orphanage-mates - and, most likely, the most interesting one of the lot. "You cannot sleep either?" "I could sleep if I wanted to," Harry answers, tilting his head a little to listen to the words closely, trying to catch an echo. Beyond. He likes it, it fits him, but oddly enough it hasn't sunken in yet - he isn't familiar with it yet. How odd. Like not being familiar with a heart beat. "I'm not insomniac." L hunches his shoulders, not in defence or any other expression of emotion, but as a way of dropping his hair to shield his eyes from the nearest source of light so that he can take Harry in to the fullest. Harry knows the action well. He uses it as well. "Nightmares perhaps?" No. Not nightmares, not quite memories either. Harry looks away, tugging on the straw arms of his doll, and wonders. There is no correct wording for it, no way of describing. All he can really think or say that it's wrong. Inside him there is wrongness. Maybe it's an illness. More probably it was some form of madness, break, remnant of a wound from times before Dursleys, but after Potters. A scar deeper than the one his bangs hide on his forehead. "I don't get nightmares," he just answers, turning his eyes to the doll and tugging its arms again. They have never really

been nightmares. You fear nightmares, after all. He has long since gotten used to the blood and dead bodies. L doesn't answer, maybe he doesn't know how to, or maybe he sees it as waste of effort. He steps closer for a moment, crouching down beside the other orphan and looking at the straw doll. "You make lot of them. Yet I only ever see you with couple, never more than four. Why not?" Harry tugs the dolls arms off and drops them to the floor. "They don't last," he answers. L doesn't understand. The look he gives Harry is thoughtful and ponderous, almost analytic, and Harry, Beyond, can tell that the thought process going through his mind is that never ending linear tree, endlessly branching multitude of theories, nothing ruled out. It's what makes L brilliant - the fact that he thinks so much, so many theories and solutions in one sitting. But still still he doesn't get it. And eventually he stands up again, leaving the other orphan sitting alone. Beyond looks down to the pieces of Wara Ningyo, and thinks of broken bodies. 14. Bloody Homicide They celebrated few things in the Wammy's House. Christmas and Easter were the main celebrations with random birthdays, make belief birthdays and of course every time someone rouses a few steps in the IQ ladder, the endless unspoken race for the seat of the best among them. One of the celebrations which weren't celebrated was Halloween. Beyond, who was revelling in his new anonymity and in the ties his chosen name cut off, is rather curious about that. Is it because it's more pagan like than rest of the holidays, or why? It is never really addressed, but aside from bowl of black and orange candies which sat on the kitchen table for the day, there are no celebrations, nothing to mark the day anyway special. Not even though L had been born that day - fact which Beyond isn't supposed to know, but in the end there are lot of things he isn't supposed to know and still does. Beyond celebrates the day, though. He makes two dolls, drawing letter J to one and letter L to other. Then he makes a smaller one, a baby Wara Ningyo, with letter H on it. A fourth doll is made from especially dark straw and letter V is drawn to it. V doll tears J and L apart and H doll breaks V doll, leaving all the pieces scattered across the ground. "Scene from the past?" L, who had been watching, asks, biting his thumb in thought. "Who knows," Beyond asks, ripping the baby H doll's chest until the letter is unrecognisable and drawing the letter B into it's place in the ragged hole in the doll's chest. He shows the doll to L, noticing that L seems to make the connection immediately. "Perfect transformation." "I wouldn't quite put it into those words," the other murmurs, crouching down to examine the doll. "It looks painful." Beyond laughs. 15. Betting High Beyond doesn't much care for the IQ race. He has the mind for it and to be honest if he really tried, he'd be the second best in the orphanage. But he doesn't care about competing - not when the competition itself shows so many of the cards you're holding. What he does like is the side effects of the competition. L lives in the nicest room in the entire house because he's at the top, he gets the best toys, he always gets whatever food he wants, he can do pretty much what he wants, can study what he wants, and if it's his word against another orphan's, L is always right. In the meanwhile, the boy with lowest IQ whose chosen name is Veil, lives in a simple room, gets to use the computers of the so called classroom, he eats the same food as rest, he gets taught only if the teachers aren't busy with someone else and no one really listens to him. Beyond is pretty sure that the reason why Veil's numbers are so low is because the boy is going to commit suicide before his twelfth birthday. He doesn't much care about Veil one way or another, but it is interesting to see how the atmosphere in Wammy's House had turned the lot of them into little monsters. It seems easy enough on the surface, but

it really isn't. The teachers are casual but the expectations are high, too high. No one, not even L, is exempt from the race. Except of course he is, his IQ is astronomical. And of course there is Beyond who didn't care one way or another. Still, though Veil's upcoming death loomed upon him in unforgiving digits, steadily ticking out and marking his death in just one year's time, the pressure is highest near the top - with the second and third best. The second best in the house is poor shy A who can't really take the pressure and hides away from the students and teachers alike. The third is Tinker who tries to pretend that her sister's jealousy doesn't touch her, who tries to be unaffected but can't. They are the closest to nervous breakdown in the entire house, except from Veil who really isn't handling the bottom position too well. Beyond watches this from afar and makes mental notes, amused by the whole thing. Wammy's House is practically murdering the kids in front of his eyes in slow agonising death of over pressure. He can tell. A is going to die pretty young, though not quite as young as Veil but still long before his twentieth birthday, and Tinker is slowly loosing her spark of genius with machinery. It is a miracle L hasn't been affected - but then again, maybe he has been. It would explain a whole lot. Beyond would've felt content right there, at the sideline, at the sweet anonymity of position of seventh best, if it hadn't been for L. L, it turned out, is watching the race too, but the view is different from the top, or so it seemed. Whatever motivated L in it, Beyond doesn't really know or care, but one day the top IQ walks up to him. "Come on, Beyond," he says before taking Beyond's hand and taking him to a brand new IQ test. B takes the position as the third best of the orphanage - third best because he didn't care to be the second best and really, it was going be so much fun watching how to teachers would badger A to top him in everything and thus push the sensitive boy further towards paranoia. And, he finds, the third best turns out to be interesting position to watch the orphanage from otherwise too. There he sees easily how Tinker falls back, and into depression, how A tries to get a few steps ahead of him desperately all the whilst wishing he didn't need to, and how L realises he hadn't really helped matters at all The orphanage is driving them all mad. Beyond watches and laughs, and starts betting on who would break first. 16. Burned Heaven It is a "selection day". There had been a similar day in Beyond's previous orphanage, but the meaning had been very, very different there. The situation is similar. Back there a couple came to the orphanage, looking for a kid to adopt. Lot of talks and discussions were included, the parents chatted with the kids who looked suitable to them whilst ignoring the ones like Beyond, and in the end, if one got lucky, one of the orphans would be taken away and to a better life - one with a family. In the previous orphanage, this had been a blessed day, the sort of filled with hope when all the kids tried to look better and act better than they actually were, in hopes of getting away. Beyond never had because he had always known he wouldn't get chosen, but he had watched it all from the side with mild curiosity and memorised the looks of disappointment from those orphans who hadn't been chosen. In Wammy's House, the "selection day" is a different matter all together. The situation is the same, but the substance is completely different. In Wammy's House "selection day" means that one of them has failed and would be kicked out. The couple in question is a high class politician and his wife. They look pleasant enough but the kids shy away from them like they are carrying plague. As Roger shows them around, he never introduces the children to them, doesn't even let them talk to them - in general it's nothing like in the last orphanage is involved. There is no use, after all. In Wammy's House, there is no selection, no choosing, the parents don't get to pick who looked nice to them. No, they are there for one kid. The one the orphanage has given up on. "It's cruel," A mumbles as they watch crying Veil being led away from the orphanage by his new parents. Beyond doesn't know whether he agrees with that or not. Veil gets away from the pressure of Wammy's House and his parents get a highly intelligent child - not a genius, but Veil still had gotten to the orphanage for a reason. But Beyond

also knows that tomorrow another kid would be holding the bottom position, tomorrow another would pick Veil's shame. And, of course, before the year would be over, Veil would die one way or another, probably by his own hand. Maybe it is a little cruel. "That's humanity for you," he answers. 17. Brute Humanity It takes some time to realise it, but Beyond had finally figured out all the things which were wrong with Wammy's House and why the place felt wrong. IQ race, high expectations, cold teachers who pushed their students to better achievements and lower mental stability and endless competition between orphans all that was just a side effect of the real thing. In the end, Wammy's House isn't orphanage at all. It is a factory. And the kids are the products. In the end it is so painfully obvious he feels slightly ashamed it took him so long to get it, but once the realisation does come, he is forced to dismiss its importance. Everyone already knows. They look at L and A and now B and they realise the whole thing fully. Wammy's House is an orphanage which makes unfathomable geniuses for whatever purpose they needed one for. It was as simple as that. L is the perfect product - brilliant and emotionless, willing to learn and study and memorise endlessly, willing to ceaselessly get better and better without much care for himself or his own stability. L will never fit in with society, but he will never have to. A and Beyond, or B as they had started calling him, are the failed products the orphanage is still hoping to make use off. A is slowly getting more and more unstable as time goes by, flickering between shyness and outright paranoia, but he will have his uses. And everyone knows what B is like and thus doubt that he'd amount to what the orphanage wishes he would, but he still has his potential. The orphanage was still trying because they were still good resources and it didn't want to waste them. Of course, it doesn't look like that from the surface. It looks incredible, brilliant - a house of intelligent children who are able to learn and do pretty much whatever they want to. Some of the children are still in that belief - or pretending that is all there is to it. Some of them use a sort of self conflicted ignorance as a shield against the orphanage's true, hostile air. Others are pretending that it doesn't matter to them, those who are away from the top and still a safe distance way from the bottom. The rest deal it with however they could. "This place suits you," L says one night when neither of them sleep - one can't and other doesn't want to. "You seem to be enjoying yourself." The words would've sounded like accusation if L hadn't spoken them in such a thoughtful voice. Beyond grins. The kids all deal with the hostile atmosphere however they could. But some, like Beyond, didn't need to. "What about you?" he asks instead of answering. What does the stellar product of Wammy's House factory think? L doesn't answer for a while, eying the dark room around them with expressionless, flatly staring eyes that don't seem to see anything but in reality saw and memorised details normal people didn't even notice. "I suppose this place suits me too," he answered before wandering off with shoulders hunched and thumb nail between his teeth. Beyond supposed that was the only proof one really needed of L's mental state. Somehow, it made him like the other boy a little more. 18. Blazing Hearth Time in Wammy's House is a strange thing. It is measured and calculated and chopped to bits and they learned about all the ways of keeping track of it, with or without clocks. But all the same, one loses track of it. The place is just timeless. Weeks, months, seasons and years doesn't really matter when the goal in life is to be a little smarter than in the day before. Thus, it is and isn't surprised when Beyond realises that he's celebrating his eleventh birthday and has been in Wammy's House for four years. Eleven years old. Just about the right age for miracles and fantasies. Despite knowing all about it, Beyond hasn't really given any of it much of a thought. It hasn't really mattered to him, not

at Dursleys, not at the first orphanage and certainly not here, where there were more important things to consider. Now, with ten years under his belt since last meeting with that world and intelligence of which neither Voldemort nor Harry Potter alone could've even dream off, he thinks oddly. He thinks of magic and he thinks of thieves and tricksters. He thinks of wizards and cheating and using crutches. He thinks of magical world and thinks of waste, ruin and uselessness. Without a purpose, it's all without a proper purpose in his mind. The only reason all if existed was because it did, and though existence for the sake of existing was pretty much all anyone could say of anything, it was such a waste. There is a world of miracles hidden behind the fire in every fireplace, and it doesn't have a meaning. At least in the brutal house of intelligence, they have a goal - one Beyond happily ignores, but it is still there, it is substantial in its insubstantial way. What do magicians have? Same as everyone else in the world. Life, progeny, death. An animal's life. In Wammy's House he has the future. Beyond throws a new log into the fireplace and stares, wondering if reliving a life of a magician would bear a meaning. In his mind he had already done it and he had done it with style - been there, done that, got a kingdom's ruins for it. To do it again would serve little meaning, except to perhaps quench a flickering curiosity and rekindle old grudges that weren't even his to begin with. In the dark living room he makes a new Wara Ningyo and draws the letters AD into it. As he throws it into the fireplace, he wonders how to give something so pointless a meaning. 19. Beneficial Honesty The kids in Wammy's House got often odd letters, packages and what not. Dee got them almost daily due to the fact that he was in sort of employment of several organisations, Tinker and Tailor ordered so much stuff that their packages were brought in by trucks. L probably would've gotten dozens of letters per day if he hadn't preferred the use of computers, phones and general digital communication to physical one. Over half of the orphanages kids are either in employment or are aiding who knew what organisations, so it's part of daily life. So, when the letter comes, no one is neither curious about why Beyond gets it nor why it is made of parchment. Or if they are curious, they hide it well - it's against the unspoken rules to interfere with the business of others after all. Just as L doesn't stick his nose in Dee's math proofs and Tinker doesn't toy with L's computers, no one even looks up while Beyond reads the letter. It's a very short read, though, and the letter is burned afterwards. Aside from list of slightly newer books, there was nothing new in it. Where to go from there is still a bit open, though. For the first time in his life, Beyond is painfully aware of how indecisive he is. He usually likes - loves even - the fact that nothing really moves him. Being able to take part of things that held no emotional, sentimental or any other sort of value for him was interesting but now it proves problematic. It leads him, for the first time in his life, to actively seek another's advice. "Do you think Wammy's House offers something?" Beyond asks from L, whose room he had broke in deftly in the middle of the night. If L is irritated to see him there, he doesn't show it - neither does he show any emotional reaction to reality that Beyond had effectively broken the lock in his door. "Yes," he simply answers from the floor where he is sitting in front of a computer. "Don't you?" "No," Beyond says honestly while crawling towards the other orphan in all fours. "Well, amusement maybe." "Education," L counters. "I could learn the things I learn here in a public library, as could you," the other snorts, looking over L's shoulder to the computer screen to see that L had already pulled up a screen saver to hide his work. He snorts again. "You can live anywhere. You can get toys and tools anywhere. You can get food anywhere. If you're smart enough to get it. So what does Wammy's House offer?" "Opportunity," L answers, now looking at him studiously. "You think you could get something better somewhere else, Beyond?"

"Hmm" That is a good question actually. Hogwarts offers Beyond nothing he already didn't have, or couldn't get on his own. He had the Potter vaults, simple test would give him access to them, and Diagon Alley would be his source of anything magical he would desire. Hogwarts itself was nothing. And in the same time, it's something. "I don't know," Beyond finally says, and feels a bit irked about it. L seems to understand - but it's L, he probably has already thought up all possible reasons why they're having this conversation and figured what he's really being asked. "Can you test it?" he asks. Beyond blinks with surprise. Test it? Test it? He starts laughing, leaning forward so that his face is close to L's. While the other just stares back at him blankly, unwilling to be perturbed, Beyond grins. "You're brilliant L," he breathes, smacking a wet kiss to the other boy's cheek before heading off and leaving slightly frowning L behind. Really. If Hogwarts proves out to be boring who says he can't come back? 20. Back Here Beyond has never taken part in this particular privilege before, but he is slightly amused by the fact that Wammy's House chauffeurs its residents around wherever they wished to go. The other orphans enjoyed the privilege occasionally, Tinker for one headed out often to find her materials and L sometimes headed off to do who knew what. Of course, the kids at bottom had no such privileges, but whenever the kids at the top wanted to go somewhere, they got there in the orphanage limousine. Beyond finds it hilarious that he uses it for the first time to get to Charing Cross Road. "Do you wish me to wait for you, Beyond?" Watari asks while opening the door for the messy haired, wide eyed boy. If he is curious about why Beyond is there, he doesn't express it, and for all the world to see he is nothing but a very smartly dressed driver of a very messy boy. Beyond considers it before shaking his head. "No need," he says while standing up. He glances down to himself, to his ill fitting jeans, to his black jumper, to the worn sneakers he rarely used, and grins. Just to annoy the other boy he had some time ago started mimicking L's habit of wearing strictly comfortable clothing, and now it would serve him in very interesting ways. He looks like a muggle - a penniless, worthless, pitiful muggle. It's perfect. "It's okay Watari," the boy says, dismissing the man with a wave of his hand. "This might take a while, so I'll just get back on my own." With that said he turns to the Leaky Cauldron's entrance and heads towards it with a predatory grin on his face and much suffered Wara Ningyo twisted in his fingers. He had an everlasting first impression to make. x The half dead animal is still at it! Quick, get a stick, let's poke it! Thanks for the support, you creeps, I love you all. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 3*: Happy Bastard


Hell and Back
21. Happy Bastard The nostalgia doesn't hit him before he is past the slightly crowded Leaky Cauldron and given entrance to the alley itself by rather confused looking innkeeper. Beyond has known, remembered, reminisced it all before, of course, but to be there in person is different. The smells, the sounds, the sights they are like breath of old and half forgotten, something he hasn't even stopped to think at sterile Privet Drive or in the two orphanages. He can't really say the first breath smells good though. In his memories he sees Diagon Alley in two ways. As it was and as it could've been, and when he thinks of it from purely new, Wammy's House induced perspective, he can't really see much glory in either angle. The place is stale. Has been for well over fifty years, well over it. But everything has its purpose. His visit to Gringotts is short and brutal and he finds Goblins to be more to his liking than he previously thought based on his memories. Their abruptness and rudeness is refreshing to him in comparison to what Voldemort had felt of them. Why wizards seemed to so dislike them, he had no idea anymore. They were quick and precise in what they did - unlike some muggles in charge of other people's money. Wizards really didn't know how to appreciate a good thing. With hand still dribbling blood after the vicious blood test and some gold in his pocket, he braves the Diagon Alley itself. First in line of business is a wand. Ollivander's store hasn't much changed, except for the fact that it is a little bit dustier than it had been "the last time around" and it isn't run by the same person. Though that maybe hadn't changed - he just knows the truth this way around. "Ah yes," the man says. "I thought I'd be seeing you soon, Harry Potter." "Ah no," Beyond answers with a cruel smile. "You didn't think you'd see me, Guntram Gregorovitch." Some spluttering and awkward explanations and unspoken suspicions later, he gets his wand - blackthorn with phoenix's feather - with discount. Though he acts like it, he doesn't really care that the Gregorovitch family had apparently taken over the Ollivander business when the last Ollivander had died seventy years earlier and were hiding it from the rest of the world - though interesting, it is hardly relevant to him. He appreciates the blackmail material, though. With a new wand and tight grip on a man's livelihood and secrets, he heads off. He gets his robes, trunk and course books from second hand stores - as new things didn't suit his image. With the robes tucked away in the shrunken trunk, he directs his steps to where he really wants to go - Flourish and Blots. Half of his remaining gold is spent there, under the confused eyes of the manager who sees him skip the beginner books and load his basket with the more difficult - and more interesting - stuff. "What about the first year books?" the man asks. "Already got those," Beyond grins. "Ring 'em up, Edward." In the house of fake identities it was easy to forget how much fun it is to just unnerve people. After a quick visit to few other stores, like a place where he could get a pitifully old fashioned though very accurate telescope, and another where he got some writing materials and third where he got his potions supplies and of course handful of other shops where he could get what he really found interesting, he heads back to Leaky Cauldron. With his things safely shrunken in his pockets, he orders a cup of tea, loads it with sugar, and perches himself at the counter to wait. "Yeh must be 'Arry," his guide to the life of wizards greets him half an hour later, giving him a slightly puzzled look as Beyond apparently doesn't meet his expectations. "Well, ne'er mind, I hope I'ven't kept yeh waitin' fer too long. Come right this way, and I'll show yeh around the alley." The looks the shop keepers and the Gringotts' goblins give him are priceless.

22. Hospitable Behaviour Watari is probably a little confused when he drives Beyond to King's Cross in the first of September, especially when Beyond says that he'd be coming back for Christmas, but naturally he doesn't show it and doesn't ask any questions. The situation is odd, but in Wammy's House it was hardly the strangest thing that happened - and Beyond gets the feel that the man is slightly relieved that the boy has finally found his "goal" in life, something he had always lacked. Either way, Beyond doesn't much care. He is too concentrated on the following journey, so their goodbye is swift and indifferent. His introductions in the train however are nothing but. "Want a hand there? Oy, Fred! Come 'ere, let's help the scary looking firstie to train." The red haired twins are much like their deceased uncles, Fabian and Gideon. Beyond can still remember the irritating wizards, how long it had taken to make them stay down. These two are just as loud. What is most interesting about these twins is the fact that they seemed to have switched names somewhere along the way and Beyond isn't sure if it's intentional or not. "One of you is going to die in six years," Beyond says as way of thanking the two for revealing his identity to half of the platform, before heading off to find a compartment. "Anyone sitting here? Everywhere else is full Are you really Harry Potter? And you really have the you know where Voldemort" The red haired boy reminds Beyond of someone. He can't quite put his finger around it, but it irritates him just enough. "Oh, I remember it all," Beyond gushes with impish little grin while pulling his legs to his chest, his sneakers abandoned on the floor. As the red haired boy leans closer, avid looking expression on his face, Beyond continues excitedly. "My mum, she let out this little croak. You know, when Voldemort killed her. With the killing curse. She kinda fell to the floor, you know, like all limp and croaked. I'm not sure if she broke something when she fell, but she might have" He gives the boy credit for turning interesting shade of green about half minute into the monologue - and still sticking around to hear the rest. "Sorry. Have you seen a toad at all?" asks Frank Longbottom's son - who is not even nearly interesting as his father. "I've lost him! He keeps getting away from me!" "Maybe he doesn't like you," Beyond offers kindly. Strangely enough, the boy doesn't stick around for long afterwards the question soon returns, though. "Has anyone seen a toad? Neville's lost one" the girl's very tone is irritating and so is the way she stand - but she manages to intrigue Beyond just for a moment because her appearance doesn't bring with her any memories. Then he realises what it means about her and loses his interest again. "We already told him we haven't seen the toad," Ron says. "Frog leg?" Beyond offers a still wiggling chocolate frog leg to the girl. She gives him a strange look for a moment before politely excusing herself, saying that she should continue looking for the toad. "Happy hunting," Beyond waves the leg after her. "You don't like people much, do you?" Ron asks flatly. "No, not at all, I love people," Beyond disagrees, biting into the chocolate absently. "They're quite fascinating." Draco Malfoy is the pinnacle of all the flashback inducing little magicians. He is like a carbon copy of his father. "You'll soon find that some wizarding families are much better than others," he says, painstakingly trying not to look down on him. Beyond can't decide whether he wants to see the smarmy expression and behaviour break, or just see the boy break all together. He can't quite decide the same about anyone else he has met so far, actually.

Eventually the joyride ends and they arrive to Hogwarts. "Firs'-years, firs'-years here! All right there, Harry?" "Just lovely," Beyond answers while distractedly slapping the stolen rat squirming in his pocket to try and make it behave. The straw doll in his free hand is already breaking apart and he is starting to regret not bringing jam with him. 23. Half Blood Potter is a freak. That is just about all Draco can think of the famous Boy Who Lived. He can't help it. It's the messy hair, falling to the freak's face but failing to hide the blank stare in his equally blank eyes - it's like no-one's home and they didn't even leave the lights on. The eyes are creepy, pupils blown wide open like he had been abusing potions or something. It's unnerving - and definitely not how he had imagined the Boy Who Lived to be. Though, if he was fair, his expectations might've been ridiculously high. After all the stories and fables and ballads made about the so called vanquished of the Dark Lord, Draco had half expected Potter to ride to Hogwarts on a white steed, wearing a silver armour or something. Snorting softly to himself, Draco clanged at the black haired "hero" who stood among the crowd of first years with his shoulders hunched in despicable posture. The Boy Who Lived looked like a human gargoyle. Having heard about the sorting from his father, Draco didn't bother to listen to the explanation off it, merely kept eying his fellow students. It was very pitiable punch in his eyes. Half bloods mostly, with too many mudbloods and over half of the purebloods he either knew personally - or they were blood traitors. The level of Hogwarts really had gone down, just like his father had said. At least in his father's time, majority had been pure. They start calling names. Draco is, naturally, made Slytherin immediately and without hesitation - good thing too, had that hat touched his head he would've had to spend the entire night washing the leech out of his hair. Taking his rightful position in the Slytherin table, Draco sits back and waits to see where the freak of a Boy Who Lived would go. Majority said Gryffindor. Few optimists voted on Ravenclaw. Rest bet on Hufflepuff - some joked about Slytherin, but no one ever took it seriously. It was Potter after all. When Potter's name is called, the gargoyle-like-boy of course makes a scene, acting as if he hadn't heard himself being called until the deputy has to repeat herself. Draco growls with irritation as some of the student body laugh. Attention whore, he thinks, watching intently as Potter slouches towards the chair like lacking human spine altogether. There he sits on the stool - on his feet, crouching down like a retard. More people laugh and as the hat sinks to his head, almost down to his nose, Potter grins in an unnervingly childish way. He looks utterly idiotic. Then silence. The grin widens on Potter's face, going slowly from childish to maniac until he looks like a split pumpkin. How he can smile like that without showing teeth, Draco doesn't even want to know. But it is unsettling. The hat was taking long too. That means that it was trying to decide between two houses - or, thought Draco doubts it, Potter is actually capable of conversing with the hat and is arguing against its choices. "SLYTHERIN!" the hat finally screeches out. Silence falls before first confused and then slightly more enthusiastic applause starts from the Slytherin house which, against all odds, had gotten the most famous wizard of their generation - and probably few generations back and forth too. And if there is opportunity echoing in the applause, along with plans and strategies, only Slytherins can hear them. Draco later swears he didn't join on principle, but his expression speaks against him When slightly befuddled deputy takes the hat off from Potter's head, the shadows makes the blank green eyes seem almost red. 24. Holding Breath Beyond can't sleep. Hogwarts is too full of memories, they're bouncing off the walls and inside his head endlessly, and for the first time in a long while, he cannot sleep. The floor is too familiar, the ceiling, the walls, the carpets and the curtains around the four poster beds; everything is so goddamned nostalgic. He remembers his first night, his second year, his prefect badge, his first murder, his head boy badge and his followers; the plotting and the maniac dreams, he remembers it all. And none of it is his.

Beyond has always known that he is insane, but for the first time he actually feels it too. Feels like crawling into a corner on all fours would help, like hiding underneath a bed would block it all out, like holding his head and rocking himself to oblivion would actually work. He feels trapped in a circle that's trapped within his skull, feels like he's repeating the same motions over and over and expecting different results, like there were two separate people inside him, fighting ceaselessly all the while making horrible, messy love to one another. There is a political, aesthetic debate going inside him in middle of a mindless orgy in a blood bath. He hates himself and himself hates him, there's two of him, three of him, more and more. And they all loathe him, and one another, and themselves, loathe their very existence, loathe his blood, his parentage, his lineage, his tutelage, everything, anything Beyond feels like screaming, but he doesn't, he isn't that weak. He lived with this before; he lived with this for ten years. He isn't weak enough to shatter now, when thing's are getting interesting. He won't give in, he doesn't even crawl under his bed covers, doesn't move. Stillness is agonising and helps, because he remembers, remembers, remembers remembers a greater human being than Voldemort and Harry combined. And L would be still. L would not scream, would not beg or whine or whimper, he wouldn't rock himself to sleep, he wouldn't do anything. He would stare at the madness until the madness would have no choice but to stare back at him and get itself reflected from L's ever staring eyes. No one would even know something was going on in L's head because he would be so bloody still. L would be still. And hating him for it helps Beyond a little. 25. Hello, Brother Everyone is shocked about it. The Gryffindor common room is full of whispers about it all evening, for one. Harry Potter, according to them doesn't belong in Slytherin. Ron silently disagrees. He is not only unsurprised that Harry Potter was sorted where he was, but he is relieved about it. Ron knows, after forcing himself to spend the train ride to Hogwarts in the same compartment as the boy, that he wouldn't have been able to take it if Potter had slept in the same dormitory as him. It isn't just the odd behaviour or the eyes - though they seem to make everyone anxious. It's just something about Potter rubs him the wrong way. The whole croaking mum tale might have something to do with it, though as creepy as it had been, there had been something disturbingly enthralling in the way Potter had told it, which made it possibly even more unsettling. It's disturbing enough that Ron quickly decides he doesn't even like Scabbers when he realises that the rat vanished just after he met Potter. Still, he isn't really sad when, in the few classes Gryffindors share with Slytherins, he finds that Potter isn't exactly well liked even among his own house. He understands that it's not harassment or abuse or anything like that, though - it's the same with the snakes as it is with the rest of the school. Potter creeps them out too. The snakes neither laugh at him nor cheer for him when he has a tongue slashing with Snape - even Snape seems to back down a little under the too amused grin and too open eyes, soon opting to ignore Potter instead of antagonising him, as all aggression against Potter was apparently met with disturbing enthusiasm. By the time Slytherins and Gryffindors have a joined Defence Against the Dark Arts class, the students in silver and green are giving their odd housemate a wide berth. When Potter sits in the back, the Slytherins go to sit in the front and not one of them willingly pairs with him. In the end, Potter is left sitting alone because the Gryffindors don't wish to work with him either. By the look of the grins he gives them all, it's a gesture Potter won't be soon forgetting. That, however, doesn't bother Ron as much as the way Potter keeps staring at Quirrell the whole duration of the class. 26. Hope's Backhand Hogwarts is full of dead people. And that didn't include only the ghosts. Everywhere Beyond looks, he sees oddly short life spans. Snape will die in half dozen years, as will great amount of the students - and Dumbledore won't even live that long, fact which Beyond celebrates by breaking into the kitchens and stealing some disgusting pumpkin jam. Curious, he keeps looking, finding more and more dead people walking. Some in Hogwarts had longer, some shorter lives, but a whole lot of them were going to die in exact same year - some even exact same day.

There is a war coming, and only Beyond can see the timers ticking away on top of so many lives. He doesn't much care, though. It's curious, interesting, but not really important. Not with Quirinus Quirrell there, with his little friend. Beyond can see them both, two names hovering atop the teacher's head, facing different directions like watching each other's backs. One of the names has expiration date coming up relatively soon. Another, judging by the lack of it, has already passed it. It's almost fascinating how little he likes having around another bit of the same soul that had driven Harry beyond. It's the first time he actually starts to wonder if he can affect the death dates. He doesn't wonder for long, though. He doesn't need to. He simply decides to find out. 27. Halted Brilliance Harry Potter is a genius - and scares her like no one else ever had. It is almost funny, that, because it is her housemates that make Hermione cry, not Harry Potter. She doesn't think it's fair. All she does is try. She's always been good at studying; things come easily for her - though not without hefty amount of work, but when work is a delight, then success is easy. She knows it's not like that with most kids - she saw it in her last school too - so she wants to help them here. She can, after all, so why not? It's a good and right thing to do, to help those who couldn't do it by themselves Why did that make her a Know-It-All, why did that make her a "bloody menace"? Was it really so wrong to try help others, was it some sort of crime, were they really supposed to all work alone, was team work somehow forbidden, or what was it? Even after few hours in solitude of a deserted bathroom and some doses of usually healing tears, she can't come with an answer. Her classmates hadn't been this bad in her muggle school. They hadn't been exactly friendly, but they had never really said it out loud like that. Pulling her knees to her chest in the same way Potter does - the way that gets him yelled by McGonagall and Snape to sit properly in classroom and Great hall - she wonders. She wonders about herself and about brilliant people. Did Potter have similar worries? She thought about the boy and decided against it. Whatever moved the boy, peer pressure wasn't it - he revelled in peer pressure if his behaviour was to be believed. Maybe Potter was brilliant. Genius. He knew everything in every class and was never seen with a course book except in classes. He hardly put effort into his work and it was always perfect - fact which the teachers oddly enough weren't happy about. Had he too been like her, once? Maybe he too had tried to help. And no one had wanted it. They had bullied him too - and eventually he had turned out like he had? No, she decides. She's learned too many things, read too many books, seen too many documents to believe in that. It takes something special to make a person like Harry Potter - something truly sinister. No one speaks of it, of course, but they all still knew it. Harry Potter lived in an orphanage despite the fact that originally he had lived with his relatives. Something had happened something had ruined the Boy Who Lived. And now he was just too creepy for anyone to even try to help him heal. Hermione shudders at that thought before wiping her nose and looking up determinately. However bad things are for her, Potter had had it worse. She needs to pull herself together and brace herself. She's smart and she works hard. She can work herself through this, she knows she can. And it's Halloween too. She shouldn't be moping - she should be out there, enjoying the feast. Split second later, she hears the troll. 28. Houdini's Breakout It had been perfect. The whole school in shock, teachers in alarm and rushing about, and a troll of all things rampaging its way through the castle. A loud, huge, ugly troll an excellent diversion. Even if Beyond himself hadn't been behind it, that didn't mean he couln't take advantage of it. He had a feel that the reason he needed a diversion was the source of the diversion anyway, so that worked perfectly as well. Then there had been Severus Snape, getting to his way and telling him to go to the dungeons, distracting him, belaying

him. And, just after Beyond had managed to lose the man, there was the bleeding troll itself, standing across the corridor, dragging a club at its side. And that had been that. Beyond curses stupid followers and idiotic beast keepers in four different languages as he pulls out his wand and takes his revenge against the diversion, pushing all his bent aggression to the curses until the beast falls to the ground, its front ripped raw by the bombardment of spells. He stops for a moment, eying the corpse in wonder. It feels rather nice. Or would've if he hadn't been so annoyed. Beyond laughs more out of frustration than any enjoyment while cutting the corpse of a troll one more time with a low level curse. "Next time, then," he laughs, turning away. "There is always the next time." Some time later the teachers find the corpse - and from a bathroom near by they find Hermione Granger, who for days remains too shaken to be able to explain what had happened. 29. Hanging Behind Neville can't say he much likes Hogwarts. Of course, the fact that he is there is miracle in a way, and he can't stop being grateful for it - because he is, he really is a wizard, being in Hogwarts proves it but Hogwarts isn't anything like he had imagined. His relatives had painted the image of a wonderful place full of magic and wonder and fantastical creatures, and it's not really like that at all. The boys in his dorm are rather mean to him. So were pretty much everyone else except for Hermione Granger, but she was even worse than they were, thanks to her bossy ways. The teachers weren't exactly nice either, except for Flitwick, who had offered extra lessons to him, and Sprout, whose class was the only one Neville enjoyed. The rest, though they were bad and worse and horrible, to put it nicely. But it's the castle itself which is nothing like he imagined. It's a dark place. And maybe the fact that he often is locked out of the dorms when it is dark affects his imaginary, but he can't help it. Hogwarts had seemed to glow golden in all his fantasies. In reality, it was rather dark shade of grey and the firelight does nothing to soften the shades of the shadows. Then there are the ghosts, sucking all the warmth from the air, and the portraits, making it seem like he was watched everywhere, and with Snape and Filch always catching him where he wasn't supposed to be Still, he isn't as scared of the castle as he is of the notion of being inadequate, as Snape often put it. He can hear his classmates laughing behind his back and making sharps comment and the teachers always seem to be looking down on him whilst talking to each other in grave voices. He keeps flinching in near terror - even if it's not him they're talking about, it sure feels like it. It feels like he's reliving the worst days of his childhood, the days when it had failed like he had disappointed everyone and even his ancestors were ashamed of him. Then not much before Christmas, he finds that none of that - neither the people, the ghosts, the castle, none of them compared to one single person inside Hogwarts. It's the one of the most horrifying nights of his life. There had been a Quidditch game and Gryffindor common room had been so full with after game celebration, that he hadn't fit in. He hung back, hoping it to subside until he got lost in the endless secret passages. By the time he gets back, everyone is already gone and he is locked outside again and can't think of the password no matter how long he tries. Eventually, and certainly not for the first time, he ventures out in search of a teacher who would let him in He finds one. Sadly, by the time he does, Quirrell is already unconscious and extremely vexed Harry Potter is standing over the man with what looks like a battle axe in his hand. As Neville watches, the scary Slytherin brings the axe up and then down with a mad grimace, aiming for Quirrell's neck. If the sight hadn't been so utterly, completely unbelievable, Neville would've screamed. He has never been as relieved as he is the moment he sees that the blade hits the already pretty damaged stone floor and not the unconscious man's neck. "Damn it," Potter murmurs irritably, wiping perspiration from his forehead. "I guess I can't do it after all" Then he looks up, to the door way, to Neville, who is frozen and unable to do anything but meet his gaze while shaking like a leaf. Potter raises his eyebrows before giving him almost friendly smile. "Hello, Neville Longbottom," the terrifying boy says sweetly. "You want to take a swing?"

Escape, Neville thinks later, was probably the best answer he could've hoped to give anyway. 30. Home Bound Death is like gravity. One can't make it faster or avoid it when they got too close. It just is. Whether or not it can be bend is still unknown to Beyond, but he rather doubts it. He has two excellent samples about the gravity of death and the information collected from those two examples is more than enough. Example number one; Hermione Granger, age twelve, death date in approximately seventy eight years in the future. Beyond hadn't even known she had been there until he hard heard of it later on, but apparently the girl had been hidden in a bathroom in the very same corridor where Beyond had vented out his emotions towards distractions. Later on, his actions hadn't made sense to him - he wasn't that aggressive in nature and he certainly didn't express his aggressions so crudely. So why had he killed the troll when it would've been easier just to distract it and the sneak away? Theory one; his mental stability is getting worse. Though a valid theory, he doubts that his mental stability could have this sort of effect on his behaviour - and if that is it, he probably wouldn't consider it abnormal. Theory two; he did it unwittingly to save Hermione Granger from her literally untimely death. This theory he likes even less than the first one as it means that he can be controlled without him noticing it at all. However, it is more likely than uncontrolled burst of aggression. Example number two; Quirinus Quirrell, container of a piece of Voldemort, age who-cared, death date in approximately seven months. Beyond had tried, he really had. Quidditch game had been perfect distraction; with majority of the school concentrated to that, it had been ridiculously easy to grab Quirinus - the fact that the man had apparently been "looking for him", helped. But, in the end, the best Beyond had been able to do was to knock the man unconscious and give him a headache with an obliviate. None of his spells or curses had worked; even the conjured axe had proven useless. He was been simply unable to kill the man. Theory one; it is his mental state again, and despite his natural behaviour, he is incapable of such cruelty. Interesting theory and equally ridiculous. Theory two; Quirinus has some sort protection making people unable to harm him. Intriguing, but impossible; there is no protection against Avada Kedavra. Theory three; a person simply cannot be killed before their timer runs out; no matter the means, universe itself makes it impossible. Thus, death is like gravity. It is unstoppable, it is unavoidable, it had its strength and wouldn't be accelerated and apparently it couldn't yet be manufactured artificially. Death is an absolute. And that is absolutely infuriating. Also, rather fascinating. The dilemma of the times of death occupies Beyond's mind all the way from his first attempted murder to the end of the fall semester, and it's with him when he boards Hogwarts express for the second and sixteenth time. Beyond toys with a Wara Ningyo made of transfigured straw and smiles to himself in his deserted, undisturbed compartment. He has had a fun first semester, and Hogwarts hasn't been as boring as he had feared - what more, it has offered him something new, even. It was good to go home, though. He needs the break - as one can only handle the inbred idiocy of his house mates for so long before snapping. Maybe he would ask what L thought of predestined deaths. He has missed the other's input in the last months. x It's still moving! Kill it, kill it! Trying to cram eleven chapters and whole semester in ten drabbles is fun. All those scenes you gotta castrate... Now, some of you seem to be under the impression that Beyond is my creation, but I must inform you that he is an actual canon character from Death Note universe. Here, have some spoilers; BB or Beyond Birthday, is the antagonist of a spin off novel of Death Note, called "Another Note, The Los Angeles BB Murder Cases". The case in question is briefly mentioned in the manga/anime itself by L when Misora Naomi, who plays the main character in Another Note, goes missing. Also, BB was born with the Shinigami Eyes, they're not my addition to this fic and no, Harry/Beyond isn't some mixture of man, wizard and shinigami. He just has the eyes. And, in the novel it is stated that BB cannot kill a person except on the day they are fated to die, so... Also, in original timelines L is born 31 of October 1979, and Harry

is born 31 of July 1980, so canonically L is nine months older than Harry. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 4*: Bent Honour


Hell and Back
31. Bent Honour In perfect world, there is a root, reason and result in everything. Why things happen, what is the purpose and what it will end up. In perfect world everything is nicely organised and nothing goes out of control, nothing steps pass the right lines, nothing, absolutely nothing, damages previously set plans. Albus Dumbledore has known ever since he was four years old that he is not living in a perfect world. This world he lives in is unorganised and outright chaotic at times, and he needs to adapt to it's never ending changes constantly. His father's imprisonment, his family shame, his mother's new strict and slightly loony attitude, his sister's instability, his brother's demands, his mother's death, the care of his sister and all the plan it ruins, the friendship with Gellert, the fall with his brother, death of his sister endless, endless chaos. But he is a man of order, has always been, and he doesn't adapt that well, much to his own irritation. So he makes plans, for every possible turn of event, and has been doing them from since he was barely twenty. If this will happen he shall do this, if that turn will come up he will go that way - if demanding situations will change he will have all the plans ready and will only need to pick up the most suitable one. It doesn't always work. It is hard to predict outcomes like his and Gellert's loss of relationship, or the war, or what happens in them. He was more careful with Tom Riddle than with Gellert, but the boy was sneaky and working with different rules than his old friend and Albus hasn't been able to make all the plans. Gellert started out subtle and worked his way up there, until mass scale war. Tom, Voldemort, starts and ends with little subtlety. But then, he hardly needs to hide himself or be subtle - unlike Gellert, he started out with followers. Gellert had to collect them. It is sometimes impossible to plan ahead in the world of wizards. How can he predict such things as the Prophesy? After it does happen, he can plan from there on, but its appearance itself pulls the rug under him. But he plans; hide their families, prevent any more loss and if the prophesy does come true, where to go from there. If it is young Neville, if it is young Harry, and how to work from there, how to accommodate to their parents and social standing, what to do, what to do He has planned ahead well; he has even taken into account the chance that the chosen boy's parents would die. In Neville's case there is whole slew of relatives to take care of the boy, provide him with love and care and protection But it is not so in Harry's case. Although, perhaps what he has is even better - ignorance which is quite often a underrated bliss bliss which Albus eventually choose to give to the boy when the time to choose comes. In the end it means nothing. He got his reports from Arabella and he knew the boy is wrong. Damaged. Odd. Twisted. And it isn't just his personality but the boy's very being. The boy is wrong. No one likes him, no one can stand him, no one can understand him - he is un-likable as an existence, not just as a person, though even that aspect of him is rather unbecoming. Staring eyes which seem to see and know too much, bad posture, badly maintained appearance otherwise, too messy hair, too big clothing, too thin frame too something, too everything. At times, Arabella reports that the boy doesn't even seem human really, but something trapped in human skin. Albus knew of the Dursleys' escape plans, and made his own to counter. But in the end he decides against interfering with them. The situation isn't helping any of them and despite his many attempts, the blood wards kept falling around the house, as if Lily's protection has already been spent and broken. The boy doesn't have blissful ignorance, he doesn't have loving family, and he doesn't have protection. Nothing has gone according to plan, so Albus decides that he might as well let the situation develop. Then orphanage. Oddly enough, Harry seems to enjoy himself more in there than in the Dursleys. He is incredibly smart boy, so maybe that has something to do with it. Every time Albus goes to check on the boy - who even to him seems incredibly unnerving though he cannot quite figure out why - he is with a book or a straw doll and by all appearances enjoying himself. Albus is still more than glad when the boy is transferred to a better orphanage, one for genius children. Under his secret

surveillance, the boy blooms there. Albus knows he doesn't know everything about what is going on in Wammy's House, but he knows about Beyond - and knows that even whilst Harry Potter hasn't grown up as the innocent, ignorant child he had hoped, he might've even grown up to be something better. And, obviously, something much, much worse. He decides not to give the Invisibility Cloak to the boy. Harry would've appreciated it, but Beyond would probably burn it. 32. Brief Holiday Beyond is back from wherever he has spent the last few months. A school, L knows. It's not a theory, it's a fact, not only because the duration and the date of his departure and return, but because of that little conversation he had with Beyond less than month before he had left. Beyond is going to a private school. A very private school, as even after some research, L still doesn't know where it is or what it teaches or why of all people was going there. By the looks of Roger's and Watari's private computers, they don't know either. They have their theories, but L knows they are false. That, though interesting, isn't in L's mind when he leaves the solitude of his room to witness the other orphan's return. What he is curious to see, is how much the last month's have changed Beyond. Beyond is constantly changing all the while remaining perfectly same, making him one of the most interesting cases of study in Wammy's House. From the moment Beyond joined them, he has been different and he has never been the norm in anything - and though some would've said he is different in a bad way, L disagrees. Beyond is interesting. And seeing what kind of difference would few month's cause, would be fascinating. Beyond comes in the way he left. Shoulders slouched, head bowed, staring up from under his messy hair, somehow looking down and up on people at the same time. He's wearing the same black jumper and the same jeans he wore when he left, even the shoes are same. But he is different. L bites his thump, staring and trying to figure out the cause. It comes to him pretty quickly when Beyond looks up to him, down on him, and gives him a happy little grin - disturbing to some, revealing to L. Before there had been an air of boredom around Beyond. He never studies for a purpose and L had always gotten the impression that Beyond studies to entertain himself. It is in the choices. History, war tactics, strategies never math, literature, chemistry, nor languages - though Beyond is fluent with several. Beyond only studies interesting things - they even ordered several collections of biographies from soldiers, war veterans and such for Beyond to the orphanage library. Though fascinating, it was all goalless. Only entertainment. Then there are to Wara Ningyo which Beyond makes constantly, which he destroys just as steadily. Sometimes Beyond re-acts scenes with them and usually the scenes end with lot of straw thrown around. Simplified theatre; entertainment. The way Beyond watches and studies the space and people around him, like constantly making mental notes one could've interpreted it as paranoia, but Beyond is the least paranoid person L has ever met. Beyond was the sort of person who would grin and laugh and cheer if he would feel a knife in his back. No, he is aware of his surroundings because he usually finds something amusing in them. Again, entertainment. But the look in Beyond's eyes now, the smile they aren't bored anymore. L tugs his lower lip with his thump and returns the smile. Beyond is back only for about two weeks. In that time, he would figure out what is so interesting that it has managed to chase the boredom from the other boy's bottomless eyes. 33. Bleeding Headache Severus Snape had fallen to expectations - and now, in secret, he feels just slightly ashamed for it. Usually he is ready for everything, more adaptive than his employer, usually nothing is good enough to surprise him. But he had had expectations this time; he had held onto a pre-conceived mental image, onto a fixed prospect, a self-painted mirage. And he had believed in his own mental image so strongly that he had even prepared for it. It was all fixed in the mould of James Potter the perfect, arrogant, irritable, idiotic Gryffindor.

But Harry Potter is nothing like James Potter. He isn't perfect, oh no, the boy is very clearly imperfect, flawed and outright deficient as a human being. He is ugly, awkward and socially inept - even more so than Severus himself. He isn't exactly arrogant either - he is self sufficient, easygoing in the way Fenrir Greyback is easygoing, and incredibly indifferent to what people think of him. He isn't irritable - he is uncomfortable, childish, unnerving and sometimes outright scary, but it's somehow impossible to get irritated with him unless that is his goal. He isn't idiotic - he is a genius and despite all attempts from Severus's part, he is not only the top of every class he takes, but it probably would've been the same even if they had advanced him to any other year levels. And he is most definitely not a Gryffindor. And Severus can't feel gleeful for any of it. Potter has no friends, no one likes him, no one can stand him, he would have even less friends than Severus himself had had he would've loved to be able to feel even slightly superior because of that, but he can't. Because Potter doesn't care. Not only does he not care, but he apparently enjoys it. If he hadn't been still so young, Severus would say that Potter was the walking description of a sociopath, a borderline psychopath. It is hard to try and take out his aggressions on someone who would just enjoy the challenge. It is also hard to consider a boy so evil a hero. Potter is still the Boy Who Lived, he still destroyed the Dark Lord, he still ended the war, but Severus wonders how. How? Dumbledore's theories include Lily and protection of mother's love. Severus cannot believe that, not anymore. There is no love in Harry Potter, neither given nor received, there is nothing but gaping pit wearing a horrible smile. Is that it then? Is it so that the Dark Lord hadn't been able to destroy Harry Potter, because the boy is worse than him? Judging by the looks Quirrell gives to Potter when he thinks no one is looking, Severus is starting to believe that the latter might be closer to truth than any other theory he has heard so far. It also makes him certain that he would never be able to take his revenge on James Potter out on his son. Because Harry Potter would not only enjoy it, but he would take it as a challenge and pay back in kind, or worse. 34. Blessed Hymn Beyond has gotten even worse in his absence, A quickly decides after the third best in Wammy's House returns. Beyond has always scared him, because there was the sort of feel around the boy, like he was just waiting for people around him to drop their guard - and with Beyond it was impossible to tell if he would attack by tickling his opponent, or stabbing them. But now, it's worse than that. Beyond is forward in way he wasn't before, pushing ahead ruthlessly when he before just skulked and sneaked around. But Beyond doesn't care for A, and that is a blessing. A isn't stupid, he isn't ignorant and he knows that if Beyond really tried, if he would have a reason to try, A would be no obstacle for him. That is probably exactly why Beyond is behind him; because Beyond knows that he knows and that makes it fun for him. But even so, Beyond doesn't care about A, not the way he cares about L. L, the best of them all, the only kid in Wammy's House worthy of Beyond's attention. L is the one Beyond talks to, L is the one Beyond follows, L is the one Beyond mimics. And he is a good mimic. The two look more and more like twins as more time passes. A has no idea how L can handle it - though as it is L, he probably thinks of the whole thing the same way Beyond does. It's a homage, and in the same time Beyond is braving against L's previously undisturbed personal sphere. A respectful challenge - as respectful as Beyond is probably ever going to get. This new Beyond, though, is slightly more forward than before. He pushes himself immediately to L's side, nudging him and almost rubbing against him like affectionate cat. L is as blas about it as he ever is, but more than that he seems curious. Of course L knows that Beyond is different. It's another challenge to him, no doubt. Beyond however isn't only more forward, but he is less subtle than before. The sneaky little quirks he before used to mockingly appear less threatening are gone. Beyond is, in his way, honest now. And for the first time the entire orphanage knows without any doubt what Beyond thinks of them - or, what he doesn't. A listens to from the side how Beyond badgers L into a debate about destiny and whether people's lives are all predetermined and how L accepts the dare and they fall into complicated discussion over theology and philosophy. He

knows he couldn't match them if he tried. He will try, he will have to, there is no choice, but he already knows he's fallen behind. The one and the three have no need for a two. He makes his way out of the orphanage and to the private chapel and while listening to one of the orphanage's girls practice on the organ, he gives in. Even after months away, Beyond is better. He doesn't even need Wammy's House to be better. He just is, and A knows he cannot catch up, not to mention about keeping up. So he listens to the girl sing a quiet hymn and tries to accept his own failure. 35. Bureaucrat's Hour It is only after his son sends his first letter from Hogwarts that Lucius Malfoy finds out that Harry Potter lives in an orphanage. He is naturally infuriated. This is one of the things he's supposed to know - the Ministry should know and therefore his contacts should've let him known about it years ago. But they hadn't and as far as he knew no one hadn't even heard about it, not before Potter went to Hogwarts and got sorted to Slytherin and happily explained that no, no, he doesn't live with his muggle relatives, they abandoned him to an orphanage when he was six. Draco complains a lot about the Boy Who Lived in his letters. About his personality and appearance and table manners and his clothes - he had even broken his robe open in front and wore it more like a coat than robe, shamelessly showing the muggle clothing underneath. He whines about Potter's academic success - he's the best of everything and he doesn't even study, he has to be cheating, right? Why is Potter such a creep anyway, he's supposed to be the Boy Who Lived, right, the golden hero, right? He's more like failed attempt of making a human like gargoyle than a human at all! Draco supplies him with plenty of interesting information. Not only is Potter a Slytherin, but he's one rightfully. Judging by the easy way he disturbs the mental balance of those around him, he is cunning. Easiest way to beat people is to make them unable to fight, after all. And the boy has ambition - of course, he is at the top of his class already - and a good brain to back him up. Perhaps the so called gargoyle-act is really such an act, making the child's very behaviour a weapon in the race to be the best Potter is nothing like everyone expected and in that he shows a great promise. This sort of child would never make a good light-oriented wizard - but he would probably make an excellent dark wizard. And wouldn't that be a great victory for their Lord, to have a dark Boy Who Lived at their side? Surely the Dark Lord would reward the Death Eater capable of producing such a feat, and turning the weapon that had been hoisted against them, against their enemies? Of course, Potter is the reason for the Dark Lord's destruction, but that could be blamed more on his parents and on Dumbledore, than on the boy himself With that in mind, Lucius starts braving the bureaucracy in order to adopt the poor orphaned Boy Who Lived. 36. Better Half Though it often might seem so, Watari isn't always at Wammy's House. He has other duties and other interests - there are other orphanages he frequently visits and then there is his own trade of choice which often might take weeks and months of his time all at once. However, one would be right in assuming that he is mostly at Wammy's House - and the reason for that isn't exactly difficult to conclude. L and in lesser degree B, because for a while now you cannot have one without the other. L is all he had hoped, all he had dreamed off, when he had set the orphanage all those years ago - he is exactly what he had been aiming for. A tool for a better future and a better world - and he doesn't feel guilty for thinking so because L himself knows it too. L is a way for humanity to fix itself, a way for it to pick the mistakes and become better for it. L is hope. And B, in stark contradiction, is the exact opposite. B, though incredibly brilliant and with capability of analyzing and information gathering only surpassed by L's, will never help anyone willingly. It's not within him and though Watari wishes he could think that the future years would change the boy - B is young, after all, and children change - he knows it will not happen. B is the same he was the day Watari had picked him from his previous orphanage. Though the appearance and the abilities might chance, the essence would remain the same. B was and still is and would always be exactly as he is. To see L and B so close together, sitting next to each other while L tediously cuts pieces of his shortcake and Beyond

licks strawberry jam from his fingers, is to see exactly what is good and what is bad in the world. L; tidy, brilliant, hardworking, honourable and willing to do anything for justice. B; sloppy, cunning, lethargic, indifferent to the point of evil and more interested of his own entertainment than anything else. Truly like two sides of a coin. If Watari hadn't known L so well, he would've told Roger to prohibit the two from spending time together. However, L isn't the sort to pick up someone else's influence and bad manners - unlike Beyond who nowadays is like mirror reflection of L. Also, the fact that Beyond is now going to his mysterious private school - which Watari suspects to be a cover for the fact that Beyond is in reality working somewhere - is already lessening the time they spend together. Although, he cannot deny his worry. Apparently distance had only build the familiarity from Beyond's part. Not only is he more like L in his mannerism than before, but ever since returning for Christmas Holidays, the darker half of the coin hadn't left the other half alone for more than a little while. 37. Business Handle Minerva McGonagall has done many things under the service of Albus Dumbledore. She works as a teacher and in the war she had been a soldier - a darn good one, too. Not only had she sent several Death Eaters to prison but she has survived which couldn't be said for many other fighters of the war. And they had even dared to once say that transfiguration was useless in a war. Hah. She has also seen Albus Dumbledore do many things, some of them good, some of them bad, some of them successful and others less so. And Harry Potter fell into all four categories. Albus has protected the boy over the years well, as he is alive despite the many enemies he has, but leaving him in the Dursleys had been the wrong thing to do. Now the boy lives an orphanage, fact which Minerva hadn't even known before but still thought Albus should do something about at least but a single glance at the boy's school records told that maybe that wasn't the worse thing that happened. Poor young Mr. Potter might not be mentally healthy, he might've grown without love, but by Merlin if he isn't brilliant. One thing Minerva has never done, however, is going undercover. Mostly it was because she cannot act to save her life - literally, the first time she had tried to spy had gone badly to say at least. Secondly it's because her magic is extremely easy to recognise - very few are as talented or as tightly oriented with transfiguration as she is. So, she has never needed to bother with disguises or such, even during the war. She is what she is and that has always been perfectly fine with her. Now Albus has insisted that she takes a muggle appearance - and not just in the way she does whenever she needs to introduce a new muggle born students to magic. No, Albus has given precise instructions, which she tries to follow as well as she can despite her discomfort. The instructions cover everything from attire to hair dressing to make up; even to transportation, until she is wondering how he knows all that when he himself looks nothing like a muggle whenever he tries to. Still, the disguise is a success. She wears the neat suit uncomfortably - thankful that at least Albus hadn't demanded a skirt and instead she could use trousers which didn't bare her legs so openly - but regardless looks perfectly like a wealthy female muggle. The hairdressing is enjoyable she has to admit and she might consider visiting a muggle hair salon again some time, but the makeup is rather irritating. She looks better than she has in years, she knows this, but she also looks very, very muggle. As the driver of the rented limousine informs her that they have arrived and rises to open the door for her - muggles at least knew their chivalry if nothing else - she pushes aside the discomfort she feels towards her attire. As she stands up and looks at the orphanage where Harry Potter resides, she can't help but raise her eyebrows. This mansion before her, with its silver shaded gate, private chapel and what looks like a garden, is most definitely not what she imagines when she thinks of orphanages. But Albus is rarely wrong, so she steps forward. She doesn't even have to wonder how to get inside when a strange flat metal plate in the stone frame of the gate buzzes and male voice asks her business. She answers like Albus told her; that she has something for Beyond - although she has no idea who Beyond is. The male voice asks her to hold and doesn't speak again. Five minutes later, Harry Potter walks up to the gate. He gives her an odd look and smiles and asks what he can do for her - never using her name, only addressing her as professor. Minerva, though confused about the whole thing, answers

like Albus ordered her to, saying that the headmaster had send her, without using the man's name, and handing the parchment envelope from Albus to the boy. Potter reads the letter quickly before smiling in way that makes the teacher shudder. He tells her to tell the headmaster to fix it, as it is his fault and if the word of his precise location has gotten out, the headmaster would pay for it. Then, while Minerva splutters and tries ask the boy if he was actually threatening the greatest wizard of their age, Potter crumbles the letter in his hand, smiles, bids her good day and then abandons her at the gate. 38. Bound Heathen Roger Ruvie cannot say he much likes being the head of the Wammy's House. It's not that there is much to do around the place - the teachers are there to look after the kids so he rarely has to, and in orphanage for the gifted nothing really bad every happens. The kids are too smart to cause a ruckus, too smart to make trouble. All in all, he's barely anything more than an administrator in the Wammy's House. Still, he doesn't like the place, he cannot stand children and had Watari decided to give up his wandering ways, Roger would've gladly left the orphanage to his charge once more. But Watari has a mission and a goal and Roger knows it's more important than his personal likes or dislikes. So he remains at his job, and he is very good at it. He keeps the orphanage secret but connected to right organisations, he accommodates to the children and their needs whatever those may be, he makes sure that the Wammy's House remains the best one of all the ones Watari had set up. And, in the end, he is the one is ultimately morphing the children to fit the futures ahead of them. All but Beyond, who shakes his manipulations, hints, suggestions and carefully placed directions off his back as easily as a duck would've shaken off water. Beyond is a loose case in otherwise carefully maintained house, a bee in a hive who isn't doing its job. When Beyond goes to his mysterious private school, Roger is both elated and infuriated because now he doesn't have to bother with the child but at the same time the further the boy went the harder he is to control. The main problem with Beyond is the fact that he doesn't fit any of the futures Roger came up with and the ones he does fit in, well they aren't exactly the sort of jobs the orphanage wanted to educate it's children for. Unlike perfect L who excels with anything he chooses to pay attention to, Beyond has no suitable skills, or personality, or niche, and the best Roger can actually hope with the boy is that he won't turn out to be a problem in the future. Considering how Beyond seems to be following in L's footsteps, fitting his feet to them as carefully as he can, that might not be as much of a problem as Roger fears, though. In any other orphanage, Beyond's actions could've been taken as jealousy or attempt of irritation, but the children in Wammy's House are too intelligent for such childish tactics. No, Beyond is motivated by something else than bullying. For whatever reason, Beyond has fitted himself to L's shadow. Then Roger sees Beyond dealing with a wealthy looking elder woman who uses code names, and worries once more. Whatever Beyond's private school faade is about, it is nothing good if it brings it's business to their doorsteps. 39. Bitter Hope He rubs his hand over his throat, not for the first time. He can't help it. Ever since that day it has felt like there is a hand constantly on his neck, holding it with strength just little short from strangling him. Quirinus frowns, glancing at his hand before tugging the collar of his robes a bit higher, as if to hide some mark from being seen. It is Potter's doing. Both he and his master are certain of it, though they have next to no idea what had happened. It was a momentarily lapse in plans, to use the opportunity to extract revenge from Potter. With the castle half empty, all the teachers up in the Quidditch pitch and the boy wandering around alone, it was a perfect chance. Attack him, kill him, throw him down the stairs, make it look like accident, no one would question it, question him, poor stuttering professor Quirrell And then he woke up in abandoned classroom with the floor around him looking like someone had tried to dig it with a hoe or possibly something sharper. The headache remained for two days straight and even unicorn blood hadn't been enough to make it subside. Potter had done something, but he still doesn't know for what reason - or why the boy hadn't killed him. And one only needs to glance at Potter's eyes to know that there is certainly no belief of justice or mercy or kindness there to prevent him from committing murder.

Both Quirinus and his master know that Potter is no ordinary child. The aura he emits alone is enough proof of that, but the boy's success in classroom it isn't just that of a smart child. It's the mastery of someone who had long since learned the subjects at hand. Potter walks through Hogwarts with the attitude of someone who has already graduated from it. But how it is possible neither is sure. One theory is that of time travel, that Potter is actually from the future, he really has gone through Hogwarts before and now for some reason has come back but the boy's actions argue against that theory, as does his physical appearance, as neither Quirinus nor his master believe that viable de-aging potions will ever be possible. Body swap theory is equally ridiculous. They have another theory, supported by Potter's placement in Slytherin but neither is willing to consider it seriously. Well, once he would have the Philosopher's Stone, it would no longer matter in either case. 40. Beating Heart When Beyond had left for Hogwarts, there had been no goodbyes. He had merely emptied the fridge of strawberry jam, stolen L's last slice of cheesecake and left, and that had been it. That had been fine with him as he wasn't exactly sentimental, but the months away from Wammy's House had broadened his view of the world - mostly because he now knew how irritating and idiotic magicians actually were - and he appreciates Wammy's House and it's resident in a new way now. So, in the night before his return to Hogwarts, Beyond breaks to L's room once more, not least bit surprised to find the other boy working instead of sleeping. L, used to this by now, doesn't even glance up as Beyond closes the door behind him. The top product of their factory simply keeps working while the other restlessly roams around the room, wondering if he should steal something of L's to take as a memento to Hogwarts. He decides against it. Better not to bring ties from the orphanage to Hogwarts. Just mentioning an orphanage brought him some trouble, after all. Finally, after half an hour of silence, L asks him if he needs something. Beyond doesn't answer, as he doesn't exactly now what he is doing, just that he wants to do it, wants to have this to remember when he returns to Hogwarts where there are only people so far beneath himself - and certainly even further beneath L. He needs to remember L's superiority. It has saved him already once. After a while he sits down behind his better, back against L's back. L doesn't seem least bit surprised, and if he is he'd never show it. Beyond will remember that - and the way L's warmth seeps to him through their shirts. Idly he reaches back over his shoulder and touches the other's neck. L remains still as Beyond feels around and finally presses two fingers to L's pulse point. Closing his eyes, he keeps his fingers there, just listening to the steady beat with his sense of touch. Beyond knows he probably should stop it. L is a helpful and, in a way a comforting existence to have and to know, but only if Beyond doesn't lose himself in it. And L is oddly easy to get lost in; his mannerisms and personality and drive it was all oddly addicting. L is brilliant and eerie and otherworldly in way that puts everything in the wizarding world in shame. And only Beyond knows how to bask in the light. He knows he should stop. But no, not yet, maybe later just a little bit later. By the time L touches his wrist and searches for a vein, their heartbeats are already synchronised. x The half dead animal is still around! I bet it's waiting for 31st and then it will die... or become a zombie. I'm onto you, half dead animal. Your cunning "playing half dead" trick is no longer working on me! Fun chapter to try. Lot of explaining, exposition and not a single word of dialogue. Pairings? Well, there's Beyond and L, obviously, but I suppose wouldn't exactly call their relationship romance... That's about it, though. Edit; Ahahaha, I forgot Grindelwald's name. Oops. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 5*: Haunted Bravery


Hell and Back
41. Haunted Bravery In the middle of the journey back to Hogwarts from the Christmas holidays, Neville leaves the compartment he shares with few students from upper years. Screwing up the courage he had build during the holidays - and all the questions and issues that had haunting him during that time - he heads along the corridor of the train in look for the one person he now fears more than Snape. Harry Potter. He finds Potter sitting in otherwise empty compartment in that odd way of his where he's hugging his knees. Potter looks up to him as he teeters on the edge of the door and as he tries to brave into the nauseating atmosphere that usually surrounds Potter, the Slytherin smiles. "Hello Neville Longbottom," the boy greets him. He is holding a jar of jam in one hand and his fingers are dribbling the red substance. "Jam?" he offers. "Nono thanks," Neville answers before stepping inside and closing the door. Potter raises his eyebrows but says nothing, merely sucks the jam from his fingers and waits for him to continue. "I have something I want to ask from you?" Neville says, trailing away in mild disgust. Even his uncle had better manners than Potter. "Why I want to kill Quirinus Quirrell?" the Slytherin guesses, turning his attention to the jar as he sticks his hand inside and brings out a dribbling handful. "Do I need a reason?" Neville jerks slightly at that. He had thought the matter through during endless sleepless nights. Surely Potter had had a reason, some cause to motivate him. No one would just up and decide that tonight I will try to kill this person, right? Maybe some past offence, maybe they knew each other from before, maybe Quirrell had done something, maybe he and his family had history with Quirrell, something, anything. Everyone needs a reason, and because of that Potter would have one too he hadn't even considered the possibility that there simply wasn't one. "You got to have some reason," Neville demands. Potter snorts softly, licking the jam from his palm. "The thing about reasons is that they're usually excuses," he said. "Motivations are excuses. Maybe I should start jogging to keep up my health; excuse. Maybe I should move to another country to get a better job; excuse. Maybe I should kill my entire family and commit a suicide because things are going bad for us; excuse. Whether or not you do it or not never depends on the reason. Only whether or not you do it." Neville blinks with confusion as Potter scoops up another handful. "Maybe I don't like Quirrell's turban. Or maybe he stepped on my foot. Or maybe I just have overwhelming urge to rid this world of stuttering people," the Slytherin suggest. "Take your pick. It's still going to be just an excuse for you to justify my actions. Don't bother me with them." "So, you just just did it?" Neville asks rather helplessly. "No reason at all?" "There might be one, there mightn't be one," Potter chuckles. "Why do you think that it's any of your business?" "I could report you to the teachers." "Oh, that would be a laugh," the Slytherin laughs standing up and stepping closer. "Do it," he urges, pointing a jamstained finger at him. "Go to Minerva McGonagall. Go to Albus Dumbledore. Tell them. We'll see what they do to Boy Who Lived, so called hero of this rotten little magical world, the best in every class he takes Why, they might even give me a detention. Imagine that!" Neville quivers, he can't help it. The jam in Potter's hand looks like blood. "You're a monster." "I guess that makes you the knight shivering in his shining armour, out here to slay the dragon," the other laughs while returning to his seat and sitting down in his usual crouch. He's still chuckling as Neville turns to leave, little too late to not hear the last words. "You flatter yourself, Neville Longbottom, if you really think you can" 42. Harsh Bond

Beyond finds the mirror in one melancholic night when his mind is too full of nostalgia. Unable to sleep he had wandered the corridors, neither for the first nor the last time, and during that wandering an open door and light coming from inside had attracted his attention. And there it is, standing in middle of the room, a tall mirror which shows him nothing until he's standing with his nose almost against the glass. And even then it doesn't show him his reflection. "I was wondering if your nightly wanderings would lead you here, Harry." Dumbledore finds him there two hours later, still staring at the mirror. Beyond doesn't answer, just lays his hand against the mirror, the motion mimicked by his distorted reflection. The headmaster gives him a look, but doesn't seem too insulted or even bothered about being ignored. "Boy as smart as you should know what this mirror does," he says instead rather conversationally, glancing over the mirror. "The happiest man on earth would be able to use this mirror as normal mirror, as he would see only himself exactly as he is." "Fascinating," Beyond answers distractedly, taking his other hand and tracing his fingers over the mirror's surface. He doesn't need explanation. He already figured the mirror out, from the moment he had seen his distorted reflection. And that was exactly why it was impossible for him to look away. "What of Lucius Malfoy, headmaster?" "I managed to persuade him not to bother with his adoption plans whilst you're in middle of school year," the old man answers cheerfully. "I imagine he might seize the next summer as an opportunity." There is a moment of silence before the elder wizard clears his throat. "Men have wasted away before this mirror, entranced by what they have seen or driven mad, not knowing what it shows is real or even possible." Beyond laughs at the useless warning, and leans in so that he can rest his forehead against the cool glass. His breath doesn't even fog the glass as he stares deeply into L's eyes. "Yeah," he murmurs in choked voice. "I kind of figured that out already." 43. Hell's Backyard If Beyond has to choose a way to die, it would be by fire. He decides this while watching the Game Keepers hut slowly but steadily burn in the evening while the teachers try to wrestle the dragon to the ground. There is something very beautiful about the fire. The ageless history, all the comfort and destruction it has caused. People light candles and fires and heat their food and they lit houses and people on fire, burn them at the stake, they lit their cannon balls in it and let the flames spread across the eternity. Fire is beautiful. It reminds him of L. L is all things fire is. Brilliant and painful, too painful to touch and too alluring to avoid. So many uses, so many purposes, so many benefits and so easily it causes destruction. L, fire Beyond can stared both of them endlessly and never get tired of the tirelessly changing shapes and flickering shades and theories and meanings and goals. The dragon escapes the teachers with a cry and Beyond leaves his spot in the broken wall. Taking out his wand, he conjures a sword before, in homage to one cowardly lion that had almost impressed him, he swings it down and to the dragon's neck. Animals don't have names; don't have counters ticking seconds away to death. They simply die whenever, not in pre-set date. And so the little dragon's head is thrown aside as the limp body falls at Beyond's feet. As the teachers rush at him, demanding to know how he could've done it, did he have any sense of mercy at all, the dragon had been just a baby, they had been in middle of taming it, how could've he had done it, how could've he Beyond stabs the sword through the dragon's little body and leaning to the handle he watches the hut burn. 44. Half-human's Bitterness Beyond can't stop laughing. Not when Filch tries his best to intimidate him, and then leads him to rather enraged Rubeus Hagrid who apparently now bears a grudge towards him for killing his pet dragon. The way he glares and waves his crossbow around, honestly trying to put fear into Beyond? It's almost adorable. It was no wonder it had been so easy for Tom Riddle to set up little Rubeus as the perpetrator of his own crimes. The boy is still chuckling to himself when the shadows of the Forbidden forest close in on them. Chuckling he glances up to the tall, ancient trees and wonders since when it was common practice in Hogwarts associate detention with

mortal danger - but he supposes as far punishments went, this one might even fit the crime. "Cheery place," he chuckles, glancing up to the glowering half-giant and to the man's crossbow. "So," he says conversationally. "Are you going to kill me, Hagrid?" "Don' be an idiot, 'Arry," the man answers gruffly. "We're here looking for something. An unicorn. Something's been killin' them," he motions ahead to the silvery trail they are following. "See that silvery stuff? Unicorn blood, that is" Beyond ignores most of the rest while looking around lazily. Something was hunting down unicorns, huh? There are only so many uses for unicorn blood, one of them was the extension of life which made Quirinus the perpetrator him and his little companion. Beyond has been wondering how the two of them had manage to stay alive as they were, this explains the mystery there. While snickering at the mental image of Quirinus running after unicorns, Beyond takes out his wand. If he was lucky, he might get another chance to test the gravity of death tonight They run into some centaurs, who turn to leave the moment they see Beyond. While Rubeus mutters to himself, wondering what is bothering them, Beyond waves after them cheerfully, mildly curious if it's his past, present or future that chased them away so quickly. Probably all three. Not much after the centaur encounter, Rubeus decides they should split up. Beyond doesn't mind in the least, as he is itching to examine the forest anyway, and is soon heading off by himself, not even bothering to follow the trail of silver in the ground. He can remember certain aspects of the forest from fifty years earlier, but it has changed, the atmosphere is different there are new predators around. "Hello there, professor," Beyond greets Quirinus and Voldemort and idly conjures a medieval morning star. As the cloaked figure jerks back from the half dead unicorn, Beyond is already swinging the weapon with back wide grin. "Fancy seeing you here." The piercing pain in his forehead only makes him more eager to hit something, but the monster before him is faster for his selected weapon. The heavy spiked iron ball of the weapon lands in the unicorn's neck instead, bringing forth a sickening crunch as it does. The unicorn lets out a whine and dies, leaving Beyond with a weapon that is more or less tangled in the animal's hide. As Quirinus turns to him, still cloaked and looking more like wraith than human, Beyond forsakes the too slow and too heavy weapon and goes for his wand instead. Just as the professor's oddly claw-like hands reach for him, he aims the weapon at Quirinus's shoulder, and grins widely before cutting the man's arm clean off with a well mastered spell he had never actually learned. There is a scream and burst of red and Beyond is knocked to the ground as his opponent trashes in pain and then flees. By the time Rubeus finds him, Beyond has laughed himself breathless, the blood on his face has almost dried and the unicorn's corpse is cold. The boy lifts the cut off arm, his trophy, in greeting and chuckles some more at the look on the half-giant's face. 45. Hardly Balanced There are certain things Poppy Pomfrey has learned to expect from children during the time she has worked in Hogwarts. Stupidity; certainly. Recklessness; absolutely. Cruelty; occasionally, sad but true. Children could be a menace onto another. Adults couldn't bully each other and drive each other to depression and rash actions as easily as children could, nor could they make each other so very aware of each other's opinions. Children, especially young adults, were very delicate creatures when it came to mentality and thus easily hurt and even more easily ruined and though not many talked about it, this was true even in Hogwarts. Harry Potter is something she hasn't come to expect from Hogwarts. The superficial examination charms show nothing - mild deficiency with certain vitamins and minerals and slight under nourishment, but the boy isn't under developed or starved She would've encouraged the boy to eat more protein and maybe add a bit more meat and greens to his plate, but that is about it. It's the look in his eyes, the way he sits, the smile on his face - the dried blood flaking off his cheek - that tells her that this is a hardly a healthy child. It's in his records as well. His academic success and magical talents are something to be

proud of, but he is extremely anti-social, honest to the point of cruelty and often seems to enjoy scaring those around him. He was also recorded to respond to hostility with cruel amusement, fact which probably has saved him from being bullied. As proven by the cut off arm, he seems incapable of feeling remorse or guilt, and is also capable of causing serious physical harm without much bother Poppy isn't an expert in psychology. But even she can read the signs, connect the dots and make a simple diagnosis in a case like this. "In any other case I would recommend you to remove him from the school and have the St. Mungo's contact him for mind healing," she says to her employer out of the boy's hearing range. "As far as I can tell, he could be danger to those around him, and probably to himself as well." "In any other case," Dumbledore agrees, looking troubled, before patting her shoulders and walking up to the skinny boy with severe mental disorder. "Harry," the old man speaks as Poppy follows rather nervously. "You know what this is about." The blood stained boy smiles, lifting his hand and nibbling the dried blood under his thumb nail. "It's about the voices in my head, isn't it?" he asks in mockingly childish voice. "I try not to listen to them, I really do, but they're so strong" the act fades to a grin as he tears off a small piece of his thumb nail with his teeth. "It took you a while, though. Considering." "Are you danger to this school and its residents?" the headmaster asks sternly while Poppy tries to make sense of what the boy is saying. "Oh, well that depends," the boy chuckles, licking the thumb. "I imagine I am. But as it is, I can't do much," he sighs almost morosely. "Am I danger? No doubt. Will I kill anyone here" he trails away as Poppy gasps. The boy glances at her almost sympathetically and chuckles. "Well. Only once in a lifetime." "What does that mean?" the headmaster demands to know. "Every person dies once, on their very special day, the day picked out for them from the very start," the boy laughs and shakes his head mockingly as the two elder magicians merely stared at him in confusion. "My dear headmaster, don't you think I would've killed him already if I could?" "Killed who?" Poppy whispers in horror. "He knows," Potter laughs, nodding towards the headmaster, and jumps of the bed. "Suspend me or expel me if you want. But then, I imagine you will have to find another one to take my place, won't you?" As the boy walks away, Poppy looks between his thin, departing figure and the headmaster, who is looking after the boy with an unreadable expression on his face. "Headmaster?" she finally asks nervously. "Tonight Harry battled against a monster that attacked a unicorn, and managed to singe it with a lucky spell," the old wizard says slowly and smiles. "A feat to be congratulated, in fact. Let us leave it at that for now." "Are you sure?" she asks quietly. "What if he what if he hurts the other students?" "I doubt he will," Dumbledore answers, straightening his robes. "Because if you look at it from his perspective where would be the fun in that? Harry might be unstable, but more than that he is ambitious and competitive - and not a single child in this school is a match for him." Poppy frowns. She understands ambitious but none of Potter's records had shown a single sign of the boy being competitive. But if the headmaster was right, they naturally wouldn't. Genius like Potter would not find challenge in their school. "I still do not feel comfortable with this," she finally says. "Can you please at least promise me that someone will keep an eye out for that boy?" Dumbledore chuckles. "Severus has been doing that for a while now," he says and smiles at her. "I hope you will not become prejudiced against Harry for this, Poppy. I know he is different. But despite it, we wish him to feel comfortable and welcome here - because if we turn hostile against him I fear he will turn hostile against us. I trust

you understand?" The matron blinks, only now realising the gravity of the situation. It is Harry Potter - and thus the matter isn't only about school and students. There is more at the stake when Potter is involved. "I understand," she nods. Unstable or not, Potter is still the Boy Who Lived and they want him on their side. Not against them. 46. Hazy Brain Voices in his head. How he wished that simple. How many insane people ever actually heard voices in their heads? Whispers in their minds, echoes behind their consciousness he doubted that it was as popular among the head cases as fiction and television made it seem. Insanity, in his most humble and astute opinion, didn't need a voice. It feels like nothing at first, he hardly notices it, it's not even there. He's aware of it, it's part of him, it is him, half of him, quarter of him, shard of him there, but hardly important. Present but not consciously on top of his priorities, never in the surface of his awareness. He hardly even thought of it. Then he can remember it and feel it. It's like there is wool inside his head, just between his skull and his brain, in place of all those important layers of dura, arachoid and pia mater. And it's expanding, squashing his mind and consciousness and everything else as it did, forcing his brain to be smaller, forcing him think smaller thoughts and remember insignificant things. It doesn't hurt, it's not pleasurable, it's just there, slowly, slowly getting worse, slowly rising the pressure He knows the reason for it too. Reason for that and to why dragon dies so easily and why it was so sweet to cut off a man's arm. Sweet, sweet excuses. He remembers one occasion when he fell to his knees on this corridor. It had been after his first murder. There, in that corner, someone had spoken to him about something important, but all he could recall are the braces, the horrible muggle braces in his teeth. There, on those stairs, he watched how Neville Longbottom had been tripped by Dean Thomas, he had been wondering about death dates then, about how even wizards had them. Someone once used the baluster as a slide, he wonders who it was He trips and remembers the way L smiles and wonders if L's smiles are true or fake. He gets up to his feet and thinks of Severus Snape and Lily Evans and the prophesy and wants to hear the ending. It's like plotline of a story he's living, he can't bear it. He remembers endless slew of followers, how many of them had died, how many of them had killed and wonders how it would've gone, had he been able to see it before but that wasn't him, was it? The room. Blank wall. He had found it in his last year, hadn't he? One, two, three passes. Beyond is the third in the IQ ladder. L is the first. It's fitting, in many ways, because it's fun watching A stumble. Neville stumbles a lot. Why does he always keep thinking of thirteen every time he sees the boy? Thirteen, unlucky number, makes you stumble. L is the first, Beyond is the third; thirteen together. Fitting. Neville is going to die on November the thirteenth in year two thousand and ninety eight. Decent age for a wizard The door opens before him; the room behind it seems blurry. He sees ghosts of the past there, among the endless piles of books and broken furniture and forgotten items. Treasure-trove of hidden failures. Somewhere there it is. Somewhere there is a silver brim of knowledge. Knowledge. Know ledge. Know L edge know L's edge. L, know the edge know the edge, L Beyond takes out his wand when he sees the diadem and casts the spell for Fiendfyre on it. It screams as the flames hit it, and the painless and yet agonising pounding of his head gets worse. In his state it is hard to control the spell and keep it from burning everything else, but somehow he manages, with the letter L bouncing off the wool in his brain like one of L's favourite screensavers, in gothic Cloister Black. And the fire burns the brilliant and deadly fire. Like L. The fire burns the diadem, its hiding place and pile of books beside it before he manages to force it to go out. Beyond drags in a ragged breath full of smoke and laughs through the tears. The soul bits are driving him mental and he has Cloister Black for brains. How fitting. 47. Humming Beast

George frowns at the sound of broken melody echoing in the hall. Looking up from the Marauders Map he tries to find the source of it - a portrait maybe, or perhaps a wandering ghost? There is nothing to be seen and he looks back down to the map, looking for a source. At first he expects to find nothing, because neither ghosts nor portraits show on the map. But then his eyes land on a dot coming closer to him, walking along the side of a corridor near by. Harry James Potter. The Slytherin gargoyle. His frown deepening, he quickly pushes the map into his pocket. Potter. Curious fellow, if one asked him - scary, that was for certain, but curious nonetheless. The rumours flying about the boy, about how he had mutilated the troll on Halloween and how he had something against Quirrell they were fascinating. But not even nearly as fascinating as it was just to see the boy in person. Potter really was like no other wizard he had ever seen, and he had seen enough. "One of you is going to die in six years," the boy said to him and Fred when they met. Neither of them had believed it, they had laughed at it, but later later George had wondered about the look of utter, complete conviction on Potter's face. And the so called gargoyle wasn't exactly known for lying. Making his decision, George heads towards the quiet, broken singing, now certain that it's Potter. He finds the first year Slytherin soon enough. Potter is leaning against a wall, looking oddly drunk, his shoulders even more slouched than usually. " with lilies o'er bedspread is baby's wee bed " the boy sings, his voice lazy and unlike the usual monotone. "lay thee down now and rest may thy slumber be blessed" "Potter," George calls to catch the boy's attention, making the boy look up lazily. He blinks slightly at the blown pupils and the way Potter tilts his head, like having no idea what George was. "If you don't mind, I have something to ask of you." "lay thee down now and rest may thy slumber be blessed" Potter sings, leaning heavily against the wall and nodding his head as his voice trails away. "What did you mean when you said that one of us would die in six years?" The smile widens and the younger boy closes his eyes. He chuckles, continuing to hum the broken tune. "People die," he answers while sliding down the wall to sit on the stone floor, knees pulled against his chest. "On appointed times. One of you has appointment coming in six years. May the second, nineteen ninety eight" he chuckles again. "How can you know?" George demands, because somehow he is absolutely certain that Potter isn't lying. "Are you a seer or something?" Potter laughs, hanging his head. Is he really drunk? "Just see things. Numbers, dates when people die. Counters ticking, ticking away. Tick tock upon their head. Tick tock and you're dead" he chuckles again and glances up to you. "Fred Weasley." George starts. "You mean Fred is going to die?" Potter blinks and throws his head back in barking laugh. "Hah! That's the thing, the thing!" he says triumphantly, pointing at him. "You don't know, do you? George Weasley? Hah! You're Fred. And he is George. And Fred is going to die - but oh, which Fred is it going to be? Which Fred? The real Fred or the fake Fred?" As the Gryffindor eyes him worryingly, confusedly, wondering whether Potter had really gone the deep end, the younger boy struggles himself back to his feet, grinning madly now. He looks at George from underneath his messy hair. "One of you dies twenty second of May, six years from now. But the other, you know the other is going to live to be an old man Tick tock" he leans forward. "Tick tock." "I don't believe you," George grunts, though he can't help the shivers running up and down his spine. "You want proof, then?" Potter asks, tilting his head and looking oddly like a scarecrow as he does it. "Fourth of June, nineteen ninety two look forward to it" the grin splits even wider before Potter staggers past him. Soon his broken melody starts again. " lullaby, and goodnight thy mother's delight" 48. Harassing Baddies

Beyond is bad at backing away from challenge. So, even though being close to the man is making him lose it, he keeps going to defence against the dark arts lessons, and to eat at the great hall even though he knows afterwards he'll end up going down to the kitchen to force the house elves to make him proper strawberry jam and not that horrible pumpkin sludge magicians prefer. Quirinus mysteriously grows back his arm within a single night, but Beyond isn't surprised by that. With little bit of magic, many things were possible, and Voldemort knew most of it. In a pinch, Beyond himself could've whipped up a silver replacement if he had had to. Still, he amuses himself thinking that the pain must be agonising and spends defence classes waving around a miniature toy morning star just for the occasion. Quirinus is a pretty good actor to not show his nerves even for a second - all the while appearing to be the most nervous man of the school, naturally. It's impossible he hasn't noticed the constant surveillance. And Beyond keeps staring, during the classes, during meal times, in the corridors. Staring at the man, at the timer upon his head. The numbers are ticking away slowly He wonders if the man knows and suspects that he probably doesn't. He most likely wouldn't have been so calm and composed if he had known how soon he was going to die so soon The day the numbers drop to four, Beyond really starts stalking the man. He wants to see how it will happen, he wants to see it in person, it's his right after all the times he had failed to accomplish it himself, and all the trouble the man was putting him through. Nine thousand three hundred and eighty nine, eight thousand seven hundred and forty three, seven thousand two hundred and fifty eight the day the numbers drop below three thousand, is the day when Quirinus will die. It's also the day Dumbledore leaves the castle on business. Beyond watches this, watches Quirinus' growing anxiousness and when the man ventures towards the third floor corridor, Beyond is not far behind him. 49. Hollow Battlefield "Surely you must see how similar we are?" Voldemort asks the young boy standing before him. Potter, staring at him with unimpressed eyes, is holding the Philosopher's Stone in between two fingers, almost as if taunting him. They, both him and the so called Boy Who Lived, know that the flimsy way he holds it is nothing but a sham - the boy's crooked, thin, frail figure is nothing but a sham. The loss of an arm and near loss of life at the Forbidden forest are good enough proof of the boy's true strength and true nature. "I grew in an orphanage as well," Voldemort says thought in all honesty he doubts it will have much of an effect. He knows his own kind, and no one can move Potter to do their bidding any easier than they could've moved him. And, in all honesty, he has a feeling that otter would go against people's most dearest and desperate wishes just for the amusement off it. "In a filthy muggle orphanage. Just like you Hogwarts was my salvation Slytherin was my opportunity my chance for new life" The boy smiles, a cold, small, childish and ruthlessly pitying smile, and says nothing. Voldemort growls inside his mind, but keeps at it because if if he can tempt the boy to lower his guard for one moment, then then they could grab the stone from the child's hands. "I could give you a chance as well. We could be great together by my side all your wishes would come true" he goes on while giving Quirrell mental orders, telling the man to wait and to be ready to attack the moment he would give the world. "Join me we could rule together as one" The smile in Potter's lips stretched into a grin. "As one," the boy repeats with a purr. "As one" and then he is laughing, Voldemort can feel the sound sending chills down Quirrell's back but ignores it because this is interesting. Potter keeps on laughing, his eyes wide open, looking positively insane as he does it. The Stone is still dangling between his fingers, glinting temptingly in the firelight, but Potter's wand is just beside it. "You have the best jokes I've ever heard, Tom Riddle! Tell me another one!" Voldemort grits his teeth momentarily. The boy is even less sensible than he had thought. And he still hadn't given up his guard. "Surely you wish to leave your orphanage?" he asks. "Such a place is no good for a hero such as yourself." "Hero?" Potter asks, genuinely surprised before his lips split into wild, toothy grin. "You really think I'm the hero of this tale? Oh, but this is brilliant! You really honestly think that I am the good guy?"

"You attacked us," Quirrell reminds with nervous annoyance. "You tried to kill us!" "And you justified my actions by thinking that I was doing it to rid this world some terrible evil? That I was doing it in name of justice and goodness and all things happy and flowery?" Potter laughs taking a step forward. "You flatter me mercilessly, you do. Good humour and you're a flatterer. The perfect date! Now, do go on, I don't mind" There, while taking a step, Potter's wand hand sways. "SEIZE HIM!" Voldemort screeches and Quirrell is immediately in motion, hastened by panic, pain and all the magic, dark and light alike, surging in his body. Potter doesn't get the chance to cast a spell this time, as Quirrell's hands take ahold of his throat and quickly wrestle him to the stone floor. As dark and twisted as he is, Potter is still a child and no match for a man's strength. Then, through Quirrell's eyes, Voldemort sees it. The look of utter malicious delight in the boy as his mobility and breath are taken away. Instinctively Quirrell holds the frail neck harder and as he does the smile in Potter's lips splits into a full bloodthirsty leer, glorious in it's horridness and completely out of place in the features of a child. Just as Voldemort realises that this isn't just twisted masochism on the boy's part, that something is wrong, that Potter isn't even looking at them but above them it's already too late. Last thing Quirrell feels is a wand tip pressing against his chest, the freezing heat of a green light and then nothing. Voldemort doesn't consider himself exactly fortunate to survive it long enough to hear Potter's horrible, breathless laugh. 50. Hovering Brink What does it do to you, when you kill a piece of yourself? Even if that piece was outside your body. Destroying the diadem had helped and in the same time hadn't, because it hadn't been the source of the problem. The only benefit he had gotten from that deed was the knowledge that it wouldn't come back to bother him later on, and that was about it. Quirinus Quirrell, though the piece in him had been active, and alive in certain way - alive enough to affect him. So, what does it do to you when you kill a piece of yourself? Beyond pulls his robes tighter over his slightly shivering shoulders. He knows the piece of soul that had been inside Quirinus isn't dead - it takes the destruction of a Horcrux to kill it completely - but he still had, for a moment, connected himself to that piece with a killing curse after watching the counter ticking away upon Quirrell's head, three digits and then nothing. And for a moment, he had been high on it, on the connection of Avada Kedavra. He had felt it tighten, like a rope, pulling them little bit closer before it had snapped. Some sort of connection some sort of bond that he had severed. It feels like he has been on drugs for several months, taking them every day, getting adjusted to them, addicted do them, and now he is going through withdrawal symptoms. It feels like his entire body is cold and hot at the same time, and he's shivering and sweating at the same time. It's like someone has drilled a hole into his mind and his thoughts are dribbling out like water. It fees like he is sitting beside a hole to nothingness, just hovering at the brim, ready to fall forward any time. He wants to fall. It seems so nice He shivers again, bowing his head and pushing himself tighter to the corner of his empty compartment onboard the Hogwarts Express. The school is over, miraculously enough he is neither expelled nor arrested - most probably due to Dumbledore's involvement, but he hadn't been paying attention at that time. It didn't matter anyway, the school, its people, classes, teachers, politics, none of it mattered. It is only amusement, a game that had lasted a year, and he has finished the last level. Few more hours few more hours and he'd be home, where he would be safe, where he could close himself into his room and deal with the odd magical withdrawal. Keeping that in mind, he fights the urge to fall into restless unconsciousness and stares at his knees. Few more hours and he'd see L. x The half dead animal has finally died during the write of the next chapter due to unforseen PLOT! I am attempting resurection ritual right now... *Get's a copy of Another Note and starts chanting roman numbers* And before anyone asks, Beyond is singing Brahm's Lullaby. I do believe he is insane. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some

mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 6*: Broken Hold


Hell and Back
51. Broken Hold L is not present when Beyond returns so he doesn't know that the third best of Wammy's House has more or less stolen his room until two days later. "When he came back, he just went up there and stayed there," Roger tells him while accepting L's luggage from Watari to be carried upstairs. "He won't come down even to eat so we've had to taken him food to your room. As far as I can tell all he does is sleep, though, he shouldn't have touched any of your equipment. He knows better." Either way it doesn't matter - L has wiped the hard drive of his computer clean before his departure, there is nothing Beyond could've done with it that would've caused any damage to him, or his work. But he is curious about why Beyond commandeered his room. Beyond has his own room, and it has even slightly more common comforts that L does as L doesn't care that much for chairs and tables. Beyond also has more comfortable bed as the one L very, very rarely uses, has a special mattress which to most is rather uncomfortable. "But he is eating?" Watari asks worriedly. "Not much," Roger admits. "But enough to keep him alive." What a cheery way of putting it. L narrows his eyes before heading up the stairs and towards his room. It doesn't take a genius to figure out something is wrong - though in this case it really could mean anything or nothing at all. Beyond has a complex mind and mood set. Usually he goes through emotional - or emotionless - cycles every now and then, most of which most weren't even aware of, and some which made no sense to anyone but Beyond himself. Then there are the nightmares and the nightly wanderings and the odd scenes of Beyond's past he re-acts with his dolls that could be scenes of history of tragedy or who knew what Either way, Beyond is distorted mentally, so this sort of thing isn't exactly uncommon. Not that it made it any less unhealthy. Especially since, despite all this, Beyond has never seen a psychiatrist or even a psychologist. L is well aware that it's because part of Beyond's brilliance is his mental state. Removing that could remove his edge - and Wammy's House doesn't want that. But it still hardly helps Beyond. L's room is dark and it takes him a moment to adjust his vision to see. Beyond has kept his room clean by the looks of it - there is no straw on the floor which commonly can be found in Beyond's own room, whenever he is there that is. Beyond hasn't moved the furniture either, even the computer's mouse is in exact same position L left it when he had gone. L wonders for a moment whether the other boy had gone through his closet - probably not, it was full of exact replicas of the same outfit after all and hardly interesting for examination. "Beyond?" he calls softly while stepping closer to the bed, where Beyond shows as a lump under the covers. The lump shifts in answer to his voice and the cover is tugged aside to show a messy black head and sharp green eyes showing the signs of sleepless nights. Interesting, L thinks while stepping beside the bed and crouching down so that he's in the same eyelevel as the other boy. Beyond had his sleeping problems but usually he got the necessary amount of rest nonetheless. Now he looked much like L himself - an insomniac. "Your bed's hard," Beyond complains. "Prescription mattress," L explains, looking at his eyes thoughtfully. "You can't sleep?" Beyond answers by pulling the covers over his head and hiding completely again. L blinks at this and frowns. Beyond, though cryptic at times, has never actually refused to talk to him. Especially not recently - or during their most recent encounters and discussions. Frowning, L wonders what to do first, before deciding the obvious, and asking. "What happened?" "Hard to say," the other answers almost sullenly and is quiet for a while before peeking from underneath he covers again. "You know, we're supposed to be children, right?" he asks all of sudden. "Little kids. I'm not even twelve. And

we're like this." "Are you complaining?" L asks with slight disbelief. "Not really. Just stating a fact," the other laughs, closing his eyes and looking oddly pained as he does it. "We're grownups in bodies of little kids. That is a bit twisted, isn't it?" L doesn't know about that. He still considers himself a child in all the ways that are most useful to him - and he takes all advantage and benefit from it. Children learn faster and better than adults, which is why he never really stops studying and accumulating information even though he is already working in his own way. But he can see Beyond's point, because the other hadn't matured at all mentally during the years L has known him. Beyond had learned, but his mindset hadn't really changed. He is like an adult when it comes to that. "I imagine that could cause some problems," L murmurs, wondering how long has Beyond been like that. From before coming to Wammy's House, no doubt. "Is that what's causing this?" "This and that," Beyond chuckles, his hand worming into sight from underneath the covers. It grabs hold of L's wrist and tugs it closer until Beyond can press his nose against the other's palm. "I feel sick, L. But it helps. Being here helps." It's only then that L notices the bruises in the other's neck and the fact that Beyond's face is glazed with perspiration and still, despite that, he is shivering with cold. Beyond's hand feels clammy against his, his finger tips are cold. "Beyond," L murmurs. This isn't sickness. "You need to go see the nurse. You need to see a doctor." "Nothing they can do," the other answers cheerfully and, before L can do anything, turns in the bed taking L's hand with him and forcing the slightly elder boy to follow. L bites back the yelp of surprise out of principle as he is pulled to Beyond's side and just as he opens his mouth to demand to know what the other is doing, Beyond has already wrapped himself around him and pressed his face against L's chest. "You think it would help replacing one sort of insanity with another?" Beyond asks almost dreamily, holding the other in almost ruthlessly tight embrace and while L tries to come up with an answer, he falls asleep. 52. Bought Halo "So you must see my pressing urge to put this situation right?" Lucius tails away, looking expecting. Cornelius Fudge fiddles with the parchment his good friend had given him, seriously considering the proposal. Lucius does have a good point. A child like Harry Potter does not belong in an orphanage - definitely not a muggle orphanage. To think that despite all Albus's assurances, the boy has not been raised by loving relatives but by strangers - Harry Potter of all people! Well, perhaps Dumbledore has a reason he has not told anyone - or, of course, he himself did not know until later, but never the less. The situation is unacceptable. But, no matter what so many thought, Cornelius is not a fool. Despite what so many thought, not just anyone could claim the minister position and he had been given it for a reason. He is well aware of the suspicions surrounding Lucius and his entirely family - as well as many other quite important people. In all honesty, he is also aware of how many think that he is being more or less fooled by the pureblood but Cornelius knew well enough what was going on. And it's not like Lucius has ever even attempted to hide his true colours and opinions - a blind man can see he supported the Dark Lord. But Lucius is an important man. His is one of the last pureblood families of Britain - and more importantly, he is woven so deeply into the hierarchy and economy of the magical world that removing him would have set backs. Not many knew that the Malfoys had their fingers in the potion ingredient industry as well as they were the supporter of the exporting of books and knowledge from abroad - not to mention about other important imports. One didn't get as rich as a Malfoy without skill and work, after all, and the Malfoys had worked hard. To put it in simplest way, Lucius Malfoy, among with few other wealthy businessmen had walked out of Azkaban because removing their families from power would've seriously damaged the economy and Britain's foreign relationships - something Dumbledore and many others had no sense off. And, with the higher ups in ministry, put Cornelius in charge whilst knowing this because, above all, Cornelius is excellent actor and even better businessman. Unlike his

predecessor, he knew how to deal with the likes of Lucius. It was mostly thanks to him Lucius and his friends hadn't taken over the ministry after their master had vanished anyway. Letting Lucius have his way with Harry Potter would've kept the man happy and probably out of trouble for a while - he would've been too busy flaunting the boy and trying to play a good father. But it is Harry Potter, and Cornelius does not feel comfortable using him as a pawn. Not because of the boy's so called fame or status, but because he has heard rumours of Harry Potter. He had relatives in Hogwarts as well, after all. And truly, he rather doubts Lucius would've been able to handle the boy. Or Dumbledore for that matter - to whom Cornelius is still grateful for disrupting Lucius's earlier plans. Cornelius leans back in his chair, eying the list Lucius had made for him. It has nothing on Harry Potter in it. It is a list of the recent donations Lucius has made for the ministry, for St. Mungo's and for several other important establishments - Hogwarts included. Another good reason why keeping the man out of Azkaban had been the right choice to make - in order to maintain a balanced reputation, the man is practically supplying them with quarter of the funds they need run the Ministry smoothly. But Lucius raises important point with it as well. In need, Lucius could maintain his position without his reputation. "I'll raise the subject in the next meeting," Cornelius finally promises, already wondering how work this situation to the Ministry's benefit. 53. Bad Health It is hardly uncommon for kids in an orphanage to get sick - in fact they got sick quite often. Despite the fact that Wammy's House is a very high class orphanage, very sterile and very tidy, the children there get ill at exact same rate as they do in many other orphanages. Mostly it was because the staff makes them get sick. Childhood illnesses after all strengthen the immunity system and thus are an asset in future years. Beyond, however, has never gotten ill despite the orphanage's attempts. His immunity system has always been very active and he has never gotten even the common cold not to mention about chicken pox or such. That is why this illness Beyond returned with is somewhat of a sensation in the house. It, however, changes very little overall - nothing, actually. In the end, it is only temporary ailment that should and does only touch Beyond. It does provide a unique opportunity for Watari, though. Beyond has a complex mentality that always made it difficult for him to approach the boy and relate to him. Beyond is intelligent, indeed and Watari knows how to deal with intelligent children, but the likes of Beyond are not quite in his area of expertise. That was why he had left the boy for Roger mostly, even though Roger too had next to no idea what to do with him. Now, however, Beyond has started something and putting an end to it is more important than their inability to understand the boy. "You will be more comfortable here," Watari says while opening the curtains of Beyond's room and wondering how to approach the matter in his mind. "I was fine in L's room," Beyond answers irritably from his bed, looking at the bedcovers as if unsure if he was supposed to pull them higher or push them off. "It isn't like he ever uses his bed anyway." "Perhaps, but you were disturbing L's work, and despite your bad posture your back would only suffer with L's mattress," the elder man states calmly. "It's best to regain your strength here where you are no doubt more at home." Beyond scoffs, giving him a look while pulling the covers to his chest. "I was more comfortable there," he mutters, and Watari isn't fool enough to not know exactly what he means. It has nothing to do with the room or the bed - it is L Beyond wanted around him. And that that indeed is the problem. Problem that needs to stop before it gets any further but Watari cannot come up with a kind and polite way of saying it. With a sigh he realises that Beyond wouldn't probably appreciate politeness anyway, and decides to simply go ahead. "L is not going to be here always," he says. "He's turning thirteen this year and he has chosen his goal in life, is already working as an off-screen detective for some companies and organisations. Few more years - probably even less - and he will leave Wammy's House for good."

Beyond doesn't answer, merely frowns at the ceiling. "And you are helping neither yourself nor him by your neediness. You disrupt his work and lifestyle selfishly as you bind yourself to him" the old man walks closer to the boy's bed. "And what of the day he leaves? To whose bed will you crawl then?" Beyond's fingers clutch onto the bedspreads tightly. "Get out, Watari," he says quietly. The old man bows his head. "Think about it, Beyond. We don't teach you to be so dependant of others here." "Get out!" the boy growls, turning blazing eyes to him. "Get out!" Watari does as he's told, but not before seeing Beyond throw the bedcovers away in anger and sit up in his bad, eyes fiery and look of uttermost loathing upon his young features. 54. Building Humbug Amelia Bones knows she's good at her job. She is excellent at it, in fact, that is why she has it. And it isn't only that she is a strong fighter or just Auror or great combatant, true as all that may be, it's only small part of the job because in all honesty, there isn't as many dark wizards around as many people think they are, nor are there as many dark artefacts as one could assume. If that was all there was to it, she'd have many, many boring days, and her department would be considerably smaller. But there is more to being an Auror than catching dark wizards. The magical law enforcement department is the back bone of both the ministry and magical Britain because in a way it is unique - there aren't Aurors anywhere in the world except in great Britain, though there are several organisations in several other countries which are by appearances similar. They, however, are more like muggle police and occasionally military. Aurors on other hand are dark wizard catchers. They aren't upholders of the law, they aren't body guards, and they aren't inspectors. The ministry had other departments for those duties. No, the Auror corps was unique because they were trained for the purpose of combating dark magic. And that made them uttermost experts in the whole world when it came to battling dark magic. The leaflet handed out in Hogwarts for starry eyed students dreaming of honourable career never really tells about the real duties of the Auror forces. Each Auror is, in their own way, a teacher and an ambassador, because not only do new Aurors come in for tutelage, but foreign defence experts as well - hit wizards, warlocks and other law officers from aboard come in weekly in search for the special insight knowledge only the Aurors have. And Aurors have it in spades the British history of dark magic and combating it is after all ancient, and each generation to the date has brought forth a new selection of spells in each side. They don't quite make dark magic anywhere on Earth as they do in Britain. One might say that the political envoys went upstairs to meet Fudge, but the real emissaries came downstairs to meet Amelia - because in the end, magical nations aren't ran by law or by politics. They're ran by magic - by the strongest and the most knowledgeable wizards and witches, who knew how to use their strength right. And the Aurors were experts exactly at that. Fudge might meet and make friends and partners with the most influential people, but the strongest, most fearsome ones called Amelia their teacher. And those are the ones magical people truly listen. That is why magical people of Britain are still more willingly listening to a headmaster of a school, than their own minister. That was coincidentally also why certain dark wizards became lords. Even if Voldemort hadn't gathered followers, he still would've gotten them just because of his strength. Amelia knows all this, has learned it all to the point of mastery. She fought against Grindelwald, she fought against Voldemort and in between she had seen the wavelike rises of magic and the descents of politics. In the last ten years they have been going slowly down from the excitement of war into peace - and politics with it - but now she can taste it in the magic. The wave is starting to rise again. Is it Voldemort, whom Dumbledore still swears is not completely gone? Is it Lucius who steadily has gained more and more influence? Or, Amelia thinks while eying the letter from her niece, which she had gotten last winter when a certain Slytherin had scared poor Susan half to death for no apparent reason. Or is it Harry Potter, whose records sing his praises, but who makes people jerk away from himself as if he's carrying a curse?

She wouldn't have even considered it, had it not been for Fudge's sudden suggestion during a meeting, about the possibility of having Potter adopted by a prestigious wizard family. The whole notion was absurdly serious - adoption, to think such matter is even raised in the ministry for magic but it is Harry Potter. For some reason the whole thing makes Amelia think of an odd killer they had caught few years back, who had been using candy canes to stab people. Absurd and deadly serious. It's easy to figure out which prestigious wizard family Fudge was intending to be the boy hero's new happy family. Lucius Malfoy, raising the boy who destroyed his master? Absurd. And so very serious. Taking off the monocle from her eye, Amelia leans back in her chair. A child of Potter's intelligence, in hands of Lucius Malfoy She narrows her eyes. The last war had been a victory for them because in all honesty Voldemort never took it seriously. Oh, it had been terrifying indeed, but if one wanted to a real magical war, one should look through history books and records of Gellert Grindelwald. That had been a war. Voldemort's horror had consisted of mere random acts violence in comparison - horrifying to be sure, but not exactly organised or war-like. If Potter is as intelligent as Amelia's niece and the Hogwarts records believe No. She can't profile a dark lord or his war without having met the one or seen his beliefs and morals in action. Only way to tell what sort of war Potter could make, if given chance or forced into, would be to meet the boy. Anything else would be both futile and insulting and she was better than to draw conclusions without facts. Amelia smiles to herself darkly. She knows she's already drawing conclusions. After all, what sort of person wonders what kind of dark lord could an eleven year old make? But that's her job. She's an Auror. She catches dark wizards. And she's darn good at what she does. Pushing her monocle back on, Amelia decides that maybe this one time she shall do an inspection. She already has a feeling it'll be one to be remembered. 55. Bare Happenstance Despite the fact that Beyond can see exactly when people are going to die to the fraction of a second - he has counted he doesn't believe in fate or destiny. He doesn't believe in higher powers or anything like that. He has never neither prayed nor cursed a god - or gods, whatever - nor does he believe that any person has angels guarding over them. Or demons in his case. He doesn't believe in divination either. All prophesies and predictions can be rendered inert with simple analyzing - most of them are self fulfilling anyway. He believes that things happened just because. That said; people are predictable to the point that makes him sometimes consider himself in odd way a seer. The most predictable person to him is Voldemort for the simple reason that he knows the man like no one else. In blessed light of hindsight, he can pick every predictable action Voldemort has caused, and can vaguely foresee certain events Voldemort might take, no matter which bit of his soul comes around again. It's pretty easy to predict the man if you know two thing. One, Voldemort is centred around Hogwarts because that is where he thinks most magic is, so as long as the castle is under someone else's control, he will come there to try and claim it. And two, Voldemort is, unknown to everyone, extremely superstitious. Because of this, he is obsessed with Halloween, and so that is when he will do something, believing that the day will enhance the chances of success. Another, less known fact is that Voldemort had a fondness of spring - as he considers it the true beginning of a new year - so that is when he will cause most trouble, that's where his plots will end, as homage to the new year. Whatever plot he had in mind, Hogwarts, Halloween and spring is always involved. Unbeknownst to all, Voldemort is rather simple man like that. But the people around Beyond and the people who once were around Voldemort they are quite predictable as well. Lucius for one. Lucius, despite whatever people thought of him, is neither driven by money, power, or control. Lucius is driven by desire to be acknowledged, the urge to be known and remembered, urge to strike an everlasting impression to those around him. It doesn't even need to be good or bad acknowledgement, as long as he has it. Lucius is, after all, wizard still living in his father's shadow.

Ah, Beyond can still remember old Abraxas. Though the Malfoy family had always had a certain reputation and wealth, Abraxas had made them rich. He had whipped up the Malfoy shadow empire by funding certain exports and imports until the family had their rods in almost every cauldron with gold in it. He had been a wizard with business sense to be reckoned with - one Lucius shares to be sure, but Lucius is still second. Abraxas had carved himself to history of British magic by keeping the economy stable through the mess of Grindelwald's war - while other magical nations had plummeted to depression, British isles had flourished thanks to him. Lucius had to join the Death Eaters to top that fame, and he is still paying the price for it - both to the magical world of Britain and to Voldemort to whom he had chained himself. When one takes all that to consideration, Lucius is easy to predict as well. He is moved by acknowledgement which he through money and fame and status. And Beyond - no, Harry Potter - has all that in spades. Well, maybe not money, but he has nation wide fame and status no one has had since Dumbledore had defeated Grindelwald. And, unlike Dumbledore, Harry is, by all appearances in frail position, easily manipulated. Attach the widely known name of Harry Potter to Lucius Malfoy and acknowledgement is assured. "Beyond," Roger speaks from the doorway. "A woman called the Professor is here to see you with a companion calling herself the Chief" Beyond smiles widely. There is no destiny, no fate, no prophesies. But humans are predictable. 56. Baleful Hero "So, is it the prestigious school governor that brings you here?" Potter asks from where he is, lying in his bed, by all appearance under the weather but not willingly offer explanation for it - though it in itself is explanation as to why he had not came to meet them in the gates and instead Minerva and Amelia had been led inside the mansion like orphanage. "I half expected to see him in person could've been fun." The words are accompanied by almost a dreamful smile. Beside Minerva, Amelia raises her eyebrows. "You're as quick as they say," she murmurs while taking a chair from one of the desks and dragging it closer to the bed. "Do I even need to introduce myself?" "Your existence is hardly news to me, chief," the boy smiles crookedly. "And this is not a place for introductions anyway, which is why I'm sure the professor has already instructed you of. But I admit I'm curious about why you're here. Professor is enough to inform me or warn me, after all." "But not to assess you, Beyond," Amelia answers oddly calmly while sitting down and folding her hands. Minerva glances at her before sighing. She knows that look on her old friend's face. Amelia is intrigued by the boy. "Should the so called prestigious school governor get his way in this matter, then I need to know how much damage he could make with you." "With me?" Potter sounds almost delighted. "My, I've been made a puppet already! Do tell, who's holding the strings?" "Well I would put my money on Dumbledore, but I do believe you disagree with me," Amelia murmurs, leaning forward. "Tell me, Beyond. If you had the resources" "Would I end your little society in a mess like the one that made my name so well know? You are quite straight forward, aren't you?" the boy chuckles, leaning back and giving her a look of twisted respect. "Woman after my own heart." "If you would answer the question" "If I would, naturally I would answer it in manner that would shed less discriminating light upon me, wouldn't I?" the boy asks sarcastically. "I would speak of my innocence and express my horror the mere notion of such a horrible concept, right?" he shakes his head. "I admit, messes are interesting to study," he glances at his bookshelves. "But thought of creating one bores me." "Bores you?" Amelia asks with honest surprise. "I suppose there could be some interesting schemes involved, but in all honestly, if I would start one I wouldn't find a worthy adversary," the boy shrugs. "Your world doesn't have enough common sense or intelligence to supply me with

an enemy that would keep me entertained. The headmaster is set in his ways and his schemes are stale, the ministry is too busy trying to keep itself running, and my most terrifying nemesis of the moment well he is no opponent to me now, why on earth would he be one later? So it's not even worth considering. It would offer me nothing." "Power, control, wealth?" Amelia asks with amusement. "You didn't even consider them." "Oh, stereotyping me now? Charming." the boy answers flatly. "You're also insulting me. If I wanted power, control and wealth, I most certainly wouldn't use a war to get it. I wouldn't need to." "Quite confident you are," the chief of Auror corps laughs. "So, followers and power do not interest you. How about terror, then? I've heard you find causing it amusing." "Trust me, I have that covered at the school." Potter grins ferally. "Anything else you might need for your profile of little old me, chief?" "Just one more thing," Amelia shakes her head with honest amusement. "How do you think we should deal with the governor and his proposal? You do know what it is about?" "He is attempting to adopt me, I know," Potter nods and smiles. "I say let him have his fun for now. Then, perhaps, I should come to the ministry or some other place with enough people, and have a polite introductions with the man" his smile widens and turns almost dreamful. "And see if I can make him change his mind." Their meeting doesn't last long after that. Minerva is still slightly unnerved by the whole thing when they are heading back outside and to the limousine, but Amelia seems both satisfied and intrigued by the brief meeting with the Boy Who Lived. "My niece did say that he is quitedislikeable," the woman murmurs as they walked up to the car. "But he exceeded my expectations. Interesting child, that Beyond. Certainly not one would expect of a hero." Minerva snorts. "You should see him at school. He was being practically eloquent with you." "Hmm and what an interesting orphanage he lives in. One which disallows the use of given names I'm more interested about another thing, though," Amelia murmured thoughtfully while sitting down to the limousine. "About how he's gotten so contaminated." "Contaminated?" "The feel around him. Surely you could feel it? His magic is tainted, spoiled. And judging by the feel of it, it has been like that for a long while now." 57. Before Hurt L frowns while looking over the chart made by the orphanage nurse about the process of Beyond's state. Aside from the collapse of the beginning, Beyond had been steadily going first worse, lapsing into high fever, before slowly starting to get better. But he still isn't back to hundred percent neither according to the chart nor by simple superficial estimation. Beyond is still pale, still clammy and every time he tries to stand up he wavers. He's not even fit enough to walk across the room without support. "You're needlessly risking yourself," L murmurs, glancing at the other while Beyond undresses his pyjamas in order to change more suitable clothing to be worn outside. "You're not healthy yet." "Your opinion is duly noted, L," the other answers without even looking at him. "But I have things to do." L narrows his eyes, but doesn't argue. He has good arguments all thought up, but he won't start an argument he can't win - Beyond is too stubborn to argue with at times, and this is one of them. L doesn't even ask what could be so important that Beyond has to stake his very health on it. The other wouldn't answer. "How long will you be gone?" he asks instead. The other glances up from the closet he had been rummaging - and to which he had been leaning onto in order to keep himself from falling over - and snorts. "Is this concern you're showing, L? I'm touched."

L looks away with a frown. He loathes it with passion he never physically shows, but Beyond's mood swings are starting to get to him. The overwhelming friendliness Beyond had shown, in his own way, during Christmas and the rather affectionate greeting in the summer's beginning he had started expecting them. And then Beyond swung around and now is indifferent and cold once more. And to think L had shown sympathy towards Beyond, had honestly looked after him and still did. "Very well," he says, dropping the chart to Beyond's unmade bed. "I'll leave you to it, then." Beyond laughs coldly. "Oh, don't tell me you're insulted, L." He is. And he hates himself for it. "Tell me, Beyond," L glances back to the other. "Whatever happened to the Wara Ningyo? You haven't made a single one this summer." There hadn't been that many around in Christmas either. "I've been bit busy being sick," Beyond sneers at him, though he looks more confused than annoyed. "I see," the other answers. "Well, I wish you good luck with your venture," he says and leaves, for the first time in a while leaving Beyond confused, instead of it happening the other way around as it usually seemed to happen. All these important meetings - one of which happened within orphanage walls which is clearly against the Wammy's House rules - and businesses that couldn't be handled through the internet, the lack of Wara Ningyo and Beyond's mood swings which seem to be worse than before L should be above it, but he can't help himself. He's worried. 58. Behind Highlight For the first time in his life, Draco doubts his father. Usually the man is right about everything and that is something Draco could trust in usually. Usually doesn't involve the gargoyle and the moronic plan of adopting him. Sure, sure. Draco can see how the prospect is tempting. Harry Potter; the Boy Who Lived who is well known, wealthy and has untold amount of power in his grasp. Harry Potter as an ideal was incredible thing - a child with all that fame, all those people hallowing his name, all that faith entrusted upon him Draco would've killed for position like that, anyone would've. But that was before he had spent a year in the same bleeding dormitory with the boy. And Draco can say, without doubt and without remorse, that his father has no idea what he is getting into. And no matter how many times Draco has tried to persuade his father to see reason, to listen to the truth, to realise that it is simply not worth it to even try - because Potter Potter isn't a tool, he isn't an element to be harnessed. He is anarchy. Fate, name, money, Potter has it all and he doesn't give a damn. All Potter really cares was Draco actually had no idea, but he's pretty sure that chaos is somehow included. Potter didn't follow the same base values as rest of the wizarding kind - or even rest of humanity. He didn't have the same instincts or the same values, he didn't care for same goals nor did he have the same emotions. He had no concept of reverence or disrespect, glory or shame, he didn't have single ounce of pride and simple thing called human dignity Potter probably had been born without it. And Draco's father honestly believes that Potter would make a great addition to the family? When he had heard of his father's plans, he had almost asked if the man had gone insane - and that was truly what he had thought. Still did, though he can see his father's motivations. He isn't an idiot after all. And he admits that if his father's visions of future had been even slightly realistic he would've dreamed too. Of Potter, brilliant and dark, at their side, at the side of the Dark Lord, at the head of the wave that conquered the world, brought it to ruin and then resurrected it, greater than ever But he knows Potter too well to fool himself for single minute, and instead he feels sense of foreboding when he follows his father to where they would be meeting their possible new family remember. He hopes he won't need to speak. He's been under Potter's gaze and within the hearing range of his words before - many times. It wasn't a pleasant place to be. More than anything, though, he hopes Potter likes being an orphan. Really, really hopes. "No need to be so worried, Draco. This is bound to go well," his father says while adjusting his collar and walking forward, cane in one hand and wrapped gift in another. "As a smart boy, Harry should see reason soon enough."

For the first time his life, Draco honestly pities his own father. 59. Bare Hello "I know you, Lucius Malfoy," Beyond says in answer to useless introduction while stepping into the seat in the chair offered to him, for a moment standing on it to the onlooker's confusion, before crouching down. Ignoring them, the two males of the Malfoy family, the minister, the other ministry workers, and Amelia Bones whom he's now calling Chief in his head, Beyond reaches for the tea set before him and starts to make himself a cup. "You were born in the year nineteen-fifty-four, as the only child of Abraxas Malfoy and Adelaide Malfoy ne Lestrange who died in childbirth" Without looking up to the growing frown on Lucius's face, Beyond reaches for the sugar and drops a cube in. "Under extreme expectations from your widely known and acknowledged father who expected only nothing less than he did of himself, you went to Hogwarts in year nineteen-sixty-five and were naturally sorted to Slytherin," he continues, and drops another cube. "Immediately reaching the position of the stop student of your year, you continued like so thorough your Hogwarts years, becoming prefect on your fifth year, head boy on your seventh, and eventually graduating with sixteen OWLs and fourteen NEWTs" Lucius opened his mouth, but Beyond spoke before he could get a word through. "After school you naturally worked with your father, never gaining neither his respect, love or understanding and three years after your graduation Abraxas Malfoy died loved, well known and quite rich, leaving you, his only son, as successor of his wealth The odd death was naturally investigated before it was concluded, that Abraxas Malfoy, age mere fifty nine, died of dragon pox" The head of Malfoy family turns slightly pale and his nostrils flare, but Beyond continues on undisturbed. "After your father's untimely death, you continued in his footsteps, inheriting all his business as well as all his worldly possessions, and have maintained the level of wealth and fortune ever since, until marrying a girl from equally wealthy family - not much after which the war against Dark Lord Voldemort started and you fell under the imperious curse" Beyond continues loading the cup with sugar cubes, hardly aware of the looks people are giving it. "Under the imperius curse you commit several atrocities, of which four counts of murder and no less than eighteen serious assaults, two arsons and several raids have been recorded," he continues on and once the cubes no longer breach the tea's surface, he takes a spoon and starts stirring the sugar into the tea. "However few years later you are charged free of all guilt and suspicion and return to normal life to find your wife expecting children and all your worldly possessions still in your possession despite the fact that any reasonable person in control of another with such wealth would've claimed all of that within few first hours" The tea moves sluggishly cup, making grinding noises against the spoon. "After peace is restored and economy is once more stabilised, you continue on your usual way, now raising your first born son and making your way up the ministry and now you are, eleven years after the war, trying to adopt Harry Potter, who supposedly put an end to that war by vanquishing the Dark Lord Voldemort no doubt out of sheer gratitude" Beyond raises the cup to his lips and smiles over it to his so called possible father. Lucius Malfoy is glaring him, Cornelius Fudge is giving him an odd look between shock and amusement, Amelia Bones is trying to smother a snicker, Dolores Umbridge looks enraged and behind them Draco Malfoy has covered his eyes with his hand in something which looks like exasperation. "And here we are," Beyond finishes and takes sip of his liquid sugar. Sighing with gratification, as he is still shaky and really needs the energy, Beyond looks up. The looks in the faces of the others remind me that he had forgotten something, so he quickly smiles and adds; "It's a pleasure to meet you." It is the start of a beautiful fiasco. 60. Brutal Hug L bites his thumb thoughtfully while looking over his room. He knows that he hasn't forgotten anything and that checking would be useless. Everything necessary has been packed and loaded to the car, and if he would've by some off coincidence forgotten something, Watari has probably double checked everything to make sure they had it all. He is ready to leave, once more.

Except he isn't. His hand falls and L pushes it awkwardly to his pocket. Of course he's not leaving for good, not yet, but he might as well be. He has several cases waiting for his arrival, some of which he hadn't even heard of yet, not to mention about the other important learning experiences Watari has no doubt set up for him. A little work filled world tour to see if they can find his limits and in the mean while establish him a reputation. It will take few months, he will unlikely be back before Christmas. And Beyond will be leaving to his private school in less than a month. L narrows his eyes with irritation. That is one loose end he can't let be. It has been irritating him too much already, and he doesn't want to bring the dilemma of Beyond's mood swings with him to the tour - he will have more important things to think of and he doesn't want to get distracted. Making his decision, L turns and leaves his room, for the last time in several months. Instead of heading downstairs where Watari is no doubt waiting for him, he turns towards Beyond's room. Usually he knocks and waits for beyond to open, in the rare times when he visits the other, but this time he does what Beyond does, and picks the lock instead. Beyond looks up from where he's sitting, in the windowsill, and doesn't look surprised in the slightest. But then, these days, Beyond has been guarding his reactions as tightly as L did. "The great detective, visiting my lowly self before parting," the green eyed boy sneers. "I'm honoured." "Beyond," L answers, more of reprimand than greeting, while stepping further into the room and closing - and locking the door behind him. He gives the other a look of consideration, wondering how to approach the subject manner in a way what would make Beyond answer and not just mock him. "I want to know something." "Don't we all," Beyond snorts, turning his eyes to the window again. "Don't you have a plane to catch or something?" "Why did you change your mind?" L asks instead of acknowledging the question. Beyond is quiet for a moment, lifting his hands to rest atop his bend knees. "About what?" "Me." Now the other's mouth stretches into a slow, almost agonizing smile. "I didn't know you are so self-centred, L," he murmurs amusedly. "Oh, but then again the entire Wammy's House does revolve around you, doesn't it? And the way Watari is going, it won't take long before the world follows. Little L at the centre of the earth must be a warm place to be." L frowns mildly. Odd, forward approach hadn't worked? Usually it did. "Answer the question, please." "I don't please," Beyond shrugs, leaning back slightly so that his back rests against the window frame. "You should know that much." "You used to." The other blinks and turns to look at him with slight surprise on his face. "What?" he asks softly. "When you first came to Wammy's house, you weren't like this," L says before he can think the words through. "You were quieter and more likely to stay in the background than join any activity at hand. You didn't bother or tease people intentionally and usually steered away from them so that you wouldn't inconvenience them. You watched, naturally, but that's what people in the background do. You never asked anything, you never held your hand up with the right answer, you never talked unless someone talked to you to not bother others with your presence was your way of pleasing the people around you." For a slightest moment Beyond looks shocked, before he suddenly slides down from the windowsill and walks towards him. "Pretty smart of you," he growls, coming so close that L can smell his breath. "And what made me change my people pleasing ways then, hm?"

The other hesitates. Had Beyond stopped caring? Now, that wasn't it. That was just how it seemed. Beyond hadn't really cared in the beginning - he had been withdrawn but the opinions of others hadn't really mattered that much to him - if it had, he wouldn't have withdrawn, he would've made himself subservient to others. But then "You started caring," he answers. "About what people think of you." Indifferent people don't bother with teasing others, indifferent people didn't care. Beyond did. Before he realises what happened, Beyond has slammed him against the closed door. "Oh really?" the other growls, twisting at L's shirt with his hand. "Profiling me now, huh? Why are everyone profiling me all of sudden? Am I really so predictable that you can bleeding profile me? Who the hell do you think you are L?" L grunts before the pain in the back of his head sparks something within him. In few of the self defence moves Watari has taught him, he grabs Beyond's hands and twists them from him before tacking the other to the floor. Beyond huffs out a pained breath as L presses his knee against his stomach and forces his shoulders against the carpet. "You should ask that of yourself," L mutters, trying to quell the anger inside him. With Beyond now leering up to him like triggering L into physical counterattack had been a victory somehow, it isn't exactly easy. He is too agitated and the pain his back still radiates isn't helping. "Now answer my question! Why did you change your mind about me?" Beyond doesn't answer at first, tense like a bowstring under him, ready to lunge at any moment. Then he relaxes just slightly. "You should know, genius." L growls, pressing his knee deeper into the other's stomach. "Answer me!" "It's because I need you!" Beyond yells back, his eyes blazing before he swallows and forcibly relaxes himself. Then he slaps L's knee, which is resting no doubt painfully on his midriff. "Now get off me!" L blinks and shifts his knee, placing it beside Beyond's hip instead so that he's straddling the boy beneath him. "Need me," he repeats dully. "Idiot. Genius with IQ of miraculous proportions and you're a complete idiot," the other sighs, closing his eyes for a moment before looking up again. "I liked you better before I think," he suddenly says, reaching out awkwardly with L still holding his shoulder, and touching the other's messy hair. "When you didn't give a damn about me. Can't you go back being like that? This side of you it seems so weak." "Explain what you mean by needing me." "Like you need a damned explanation. You can figure it out for yourself - or you should anyway. It's not like its rocked science!" Beyond snorts, his fingers tightening their hold of L's hair as he twists under the other slightly and then throws L off him and to the floor beside him. Before L can get up, Beyond lifts his foot and drops it to other's chest, holding him down. "And that," Beyond growls. "Is the last time you're on top of me, L." L grabs the foot and twists it until Beyond is forced to withdraw it. This time he doesn't give time for follow up attack, but is on his feet quickly; ready to defend himself if Beyond resorts to physical violence again. "Needing me doesn't explain your cold attitude." "Yes it does," Beyond laughs, slowly shifting to his hands and feet, looking oddly like grouching cat as he does it. "Who the hell would want to need you, L?" This time it's L who attacks. It quickly turns into a vicious wrestling match on the floor and partially against the door. It ends when Beyond, true to his vow, ends on top. "Damn it, L," the slightly younger boy growls angrily. "Stop being so easy to rile up!" he reaches for L's throat and for a split of a second L considers yelling for help because it looks like Beyond is going to strangle him, but instead Beyond's hands slip past his neck and around it pulling him into almost painfully tight hug. "Damn it, damn it, damn it" Beyond murmurs, his voice breaking oddly as he presses his face against L's neck. "Damn it" "Beyond?" L whispers. "I need you. Damn it, why do I need you? Why can't I ignore you, why can't you be that person in the sidewalk I don't give a damn about? Why do I need you? Why can't I just hate you?"

L hesitates for a moment before wrapping his arms tightly around the other's bony back and holding Beyond close as he resolves to sobs. "I'm sorry?" he offers awkwardly, twisting the back of Beyond's black jumper in his fingers. "Doesn't help. Idiot, stop being so nice! I hate that, when you're like this. Be like you were before," Beyond murmurs, more or less clawing L's shoulders in desperate attempt to bring him closer. "Be like before. When you didn't give a crap, when you thought I was a nuisance, when the only reason you didn't kick me out of your room was because you didn't care enough to do it yourself. Be like that" L doesn't have the heart to tell that he let Beyond roam his room because it was interesting to watch. It doesn't seem like something the other wants to hear right then. He also doesn't tell that this - the feel of Beyond's nails through the back of his shirt and his tears in his neck - would unlikely make him care any less. "I'll leave today. Next time it will be Christmas," he says instead, awkwardly patting the other's back. Beyond has lost weight. "Maybe it'll help." And maybe things would be less complicated then, maybe they would be clearer Beyond merely snorts condescendingly as answer. x The half dead animal is dead. I shall attempt to attach strings to it and turn it into a marionette. Slightly longer chapter this time, let's say that it's in celebration of L's birthday. And maybe Halloween though this isn't exactly Halloweenish. Oh well. My apologies for possible grammar errors and such. My excuse is being Finnish and beta-intolerant. If you pick some mistakes which bother you, you can point them out and I shall fix them as soon as I can.

*Chapter 7*: Hanging Belief


Hell and Back
61. Hanging Belief Beyond can no longer remember why he started making the Wara Ningyo. He remembers it started in a day care centre but the details have faded away. Dudley had been there, but he couldn't remember this cousin's features or if the other had said something. Had Dudley ever spoken to him anyway? He can't even remember his voice. Of course none of it really even mattered, but beginnings are important and it is irritating him to no end that he can't remember. The dolls grew the represent something else in Wammy's House, though, much like the house, it was all fractured and complicated, layered with meanings over lapping each other. Maybe they are people? Or ideals? The first doll he makes used to be himself. The second was his mother and the third was his father - and the last one was Voldemort and then the dolls were destroyed. Or maybe it was him, Petunia, Dudley and Vernon. But then it changed once more. Now now the first doll is L. The second was Watari, the third was Roger, and the last one, only the last one, is Beyond himself. But even that isn't quite right. Maybe it's L, A, B and and. And who? Certainly not Tinker. Or maybe it's just him, all of him; Harry, Tom, Voldemort and Beyond. They symbolise bodies. Human beings. Individuals. Their memories and ideals and their standing on earth. And then they break. But there is always more there. They mean more than just human beings. They are meanings and excuses, explanations and histories - lessons in anatomy and records of history, prophesies travelling from mouth to mouth. Future events, counters ticking away, deaths coming, flash of green light as the hay scatters across the floor, bloodless, painless death. Quirinus Quirrell. QQ. What a fitting first kill of a future war. In the end, he has no idea what the Wara Ningyo symbolise. He can't even remember why he started making them. But he had stopped somewhere along the way, and he can't remember why. He used to make them daily, sometimes he even made as much as twenty of them per day - and destroyed them as soon as he had made them. But not after last Christmas and he has no idea why not. In the solitude of his locked room, Beyond makes new dolls. He thinks of L and paints letters and numbers to the dolls' chests, tearing the letters off and repainting them until the dolls become so ragged that he makes new ones to replace them. They don't look right. They're missing something. Just like him. 62. Hoax Books Lucius is usually good at controlling himself and his expressions, but ever since the first meeting with Harry Potter he has had hard time suppressing the urge to scowl around the clock. Then, it was understandable, wasn't it? Potter had been very little like he had imagined. When Draco had called the boy a freak and a gargoyle, Lucius had gotten the mental image of the usual wizard oddness like that of Albus Dumbledore and perhaps Alastor Moody, something which often ailed powerful and knowledgeable wizards. He hadn't expected the boy to be so foreign. Shaking his head and not for the first time trying to get the meeting - and the cutting cover stories and barely hidden meanings between the lines the boy had thrown to his face - Lucius looks over the bookstore of Flourish and Blotts. Gilderoy Lockhart is there, giving speeches, autographs and selling signed copies of his many books and photographs. There was a crowd of people in the shop, hanging from his every word and smile and trying to get their insipid questions through the noise. Lucius smiles to himself. Lockhart is one of his many little projects. Lucius owned half of the publishing company that printed Lockhart's books, so every book sold brought him money. Naturally Lucius knows that the books are nothing more than smoke and mirrors, truths redecorated by lies, stolen from more accomplished wizards - he isn't an idiot after all, and as a dark wizard he can spot the many little mistakes in the books. But the books do make good fiction - no matter what was said about Lockhart, the man was still a very good writer. The thought of books lead his thoughts to another recent dilemma and this time he doesn't even bother trying to

suppress his scowl. Who knew where Ministry had gotten the idea, but they were doing more raids than usually, inspecting the houses of wizards with certain reputation to see if they could find some embarrassing objects. He had a feeling Bones was behind it, though the Magical Law Enforcement Department wasn't yet involved, only the Misuse of Muggle Artefacts Department, Experimental Spell Department and few following similar trend. In either way, he had several embarrassing objects in his house and should the ministry come calling, he wouldn't have cover story to fall back to this time. Some of his objects he had managed to sell and the more important ones he had hidden away in places where no one would even know to look from, but there was one thing he had been dying to get rid of for over ten years now. And this gave him the perfect excuse. And what a better place to get rid of a book brimming with dark magic than a bookstore? Lucius looks around the store in search for a perfect person to saddle with the book. He wanted to hand over the book to a Hogwarts student because of the certain particularities about the book. His lord hadn't told him much but he had insinuated on the Chamber of Secrets and the Slytherin's monster. If Lucius could get the book to Hogwarts, and it would do as his lord had told it would, then then maybe one of the obstacles between him and what he wanted would be taken down. If he could get rid of Dumbledore, then adopting Harry Potter should be easier, no matter what the boy thought of the matter. Lucius catches a glimpse of red hair - then another not far from it - and when the entire Weasley family squeezes its way to the store, he starts smiling. Perfect. 63. Hay Beetle Unlike with his so called first year at Hogwarts, Beyond isn't exactly enthusiastic about the second one. He has only barely recovered from the bout of illness Hogwarts and the encounters with his so called nemesis had given him, and despite the unlikelihood of it happening again so soon, he is not looking forward to repeat the experience. However Hogwarts does offer something that he desperately needs in L's absence, and that is distraction. It's hard to stay at Wammy's House without L there. The place seems less like home and more like waiting room without him. So he packs his things and gets ready to leave. Roger gives him the lift to London and to Kings Cross this time, as Watari isn't present, and from the front entrance Beyond heads off towards the secret platform, making sure that Roger isn't foolish enough to follow him before trying the barrier between platforms ten and nine. Only to find a crowd of confused people in front of it, and the barrier blocked. "It was closed when I got there," one Hufflepuff from upper years was saying to another while family of wizards were wondering whether or not they should call for someone. "There'll be a hell to pay of we can't get to the train on time," someone was saying amongst the crowd. "What if we will be late?", "How do we get to Hogwarts then?", "Using Floo powder to get to Hogsmeade maybe?" Not in the mood for amusement, Beyond pushes through the crowd and takes out his wand. After diagnostic charm which reads the blocking magic to be of non-human origins, he dismantles the corners of the blockage before bringing the entire field down. Then, after quick repairing charm to the portal itself to make sure it wouldn't send him to platform nine and two quarters, he pushes his wand into his sleeve and walks right through the barrier, never noticing the looks of utter shock the wizards and witches around him had. Not much later, he has found himself an empty compartment and settled down, unshrinking his trunk to get access to the extra jars of jam he had brought and the bundle of hay. While waiting for the train start to move, he starts making a Wara Ningyo, still trying to remember why he was doing it in the first place. It was starting to bother him, especially since L had thought it was important L. L, L, L Beyond scowls. He wants to forget the other, ignore the memory, ignore the meaning, ignore everything. But he can't. L looks back at him in his mirror and his voice is the echo of his own words. Whenever he sits down it feels like L's there beside him and he's mimicking the other's every move. And he is; he's the mirror reflection, the

mimic, the puppet made in L's image - the Wara Ningyo with the letter L painted to the chest. It was a game at first, became a necessity later and now he can't get rid of it. Beyond has managed to finish his first Wara Ningyo and is wondering who it is this time, when the door to his compartment opens. He looks up, expecting whoever it is to close the door immediately after opening it in search for another place to sit, but it doesn't. And instead of quickly retreating figure of someone who knows better than to suffer his presence, the person stays still, staring at him with owlish wide eyes. "Your compartment is almost empty," the little girl says. "Yes it is," Beyond agrees, looking up and down her. A first year, then, someone who yet doesn't know better. "Can I have half of it?" Weird way of putting it. "Why not," Beyond says. The girl smiles to him in oddly vacant way, before suddenly turning and leaving. He looks after her with mild confusion as the door automatically closes after her, before raising his eyebrows and tilting his head slightly. "What was that?" he murmurs, before shrugging his shoulders and turning his eyes back to the doll. By the time he has finally drawn the letter L to the doll's chest - which in odd way is actually him this time, not L - the girl returns, dragging her trunk behind her. Beyond looks up as she drops the trunk to the floor beside his own and as she pulls the door shut behind her. Then, after giving him a look of consideration, she quickly toes her shoes off and hops to stand on the opposite bench, before crouching down in mimicry of Beyond's position. Beyond can't help but stare. The girl had guts. "This will hurt my ankles in a while," the girl says thoughtfully while settling her hands on top of her knees. Then she looks at him, glancing down to the doll in his hands. "Did you make that? What is it?" "It's called Wara Ningyo," Beyond answers, delighted. No one in Hogwarts has ever asked. "In Japan they're used to curse people." "Oh. Are you trying to curse me?" the girl asks, looking curious. "Huh?" "L," she answers, pointing at the doll. "It's my initial." It's only then Beyond thinks to look up and to her name instead of her owlish, pale eyes. Luna Lovegood, who would die in approximately forty eight years, two months and eighteen days. He frowns slightly at the name. LL. What are the odds of that, just when he tries to not think of L, a girl bearing his initials walks right into his compartment? And not just any girl, but girl as strange as this one? Beyond looks down to the Wara Ningyo in his hand and then up to the girl who is still sitting in mimicry of his crouched position, despite the fact that her knees are now slightly shaking due the strain. Then he looks down to the doll again. What are the odds indeed? He doesn't believe in fate or destiny, but this is a curious coincidence. And maybe even an opportunity to wipe L from his mind. With a small smile, Beyond reaches for the paint brush and dips it in ink, before adding another L to the doll. "Here," he says, handing the doll to the girl. "Can I curse myself now?" little LL asks with fascination while taking the straw doll and turning it in her hands, trying not to touch the wet ink. "How does it work?" "You take a nail and hammer the doll into something solid with it - through the heart if you want a heart attack," Beyond answers, leaning his chin to his knee and watching the girl intently. Curious little creature. "It's muggle superstition though, so I doubt it actually works." "I don't want a heart attack anyway," little LL murmurs before smiling and reaching for her trunk. After moment of

rummaging, she takes out a leather strap and a small satchel. From the satchel she takes out something, handing it to Beyond. "Here. For the doll." Beyond accepts it and while he stares down to the beetle she had given him, the girl wraps the leather strap around the Wara Ningyo's neck, before tying it around hers, and thus makes a necklace out of the doll. "What do you think?" she asks, holding the doll by the straw hands, the painted letters in its chest proudly visible. "Looks fine," Beyond nods, holding the beetle between thumb and forefinger and watching it squirm. No one has ever given him a beetle before and for the first time in a long time he literally has no idea what to do. What do you do with a gift beetle? And for that matter, why does the girl have beetles in a satchel? "What am I supposed to do with this, little LL?" he finally asks. "Keep it, I suppose. And my name is Luna," the girl says almost accusingly. Beyond snorts, turning the beetle a little to see the wiggling legs better. Keep a beetle? "Little LL is fine for you," he decides. 64. Historical Beginning Gilderoy Lockhart was beaming. He can hardly do anything but, being where he is. In Hogwarts! What a turn of events, in more ways than one. Oh, he can still remember being student there, young and bumbling, not all that good - they said nothing good would come of him. And now look at him! One of the most successful, wealthiest wizards of Britain! Certainly one of the more well known ones! His old teachers could take their recommendations of desk jobs and drink them in their teas! Except... of course, there is the nasty business of descending sales. Something about his latest book, it hadn't just struck the same chord with his audience as the previous ones. His publisher did say it was tad too early for an autobiography, but Gilderoy had felt like after all his adventures, he might as well write one now and second later maybe third or fourth when he finally retired. A man couldn't keep on running around the world, looking for stories forever. It was a good book too, the autobiography. Best he ever wrote, if he so says himself. But the sales were mortifying. What was it that made people more interested in the Guide to Household Pests and such than in his autobiography? Wizards and Witches, they have such a peculiar taste at times, not knowing perfection when they saw it. And if they couldn't see it, then he would show them. He had given interviews and signed photographs and talked to the audience, to show them the true worth of his book. And yet it hadn't seemed enough, even with the awards he had won from Witch's Weekly. What a lucky coincidence it had been, when Hogwarts had once more sent out its letters, looking for none other than defence against the dark arts teacher. It was like sign from above, the chance, the opportunity! What a better way to let a nation know his greatness than to show it to their children? And of course, there is that one child. The one who still, with little effort at all, is the most famous little boy in the whole of magical world. Little Harry Potter, no doubt thoroughly confused about himself and what to do in the eye of the nation. All that reputation, in hands of a little boy who knew not what to do with it... It will be the start of a beautiful partnership, Gilderoy is sure of it. He will take the boy under his wing and show the ways of the famous - Harry Potter will be his apprentice. Maybe his next book will even be about all the things he will teach to young Harry Potter, a shining example of parenting for all parents of the world! And then he sees the boy, messy haired skinny thing with bad back, skulking to the Slytherin table. The other kids give him a respectful berth has he sits down, leaving several feet of free space around him. Gilderoy watches with admiration as the sorting goes and the new Slytherins sit to the free space at the table - around Harry Potter, who had no doubt designed it like that. My, the boy had skills already, beaconing the younger ones around himself with the air of protection and guidance! Gilderoy decides to speak with the boy as soon as he can, and in the very next day he finds a break in his schedule and makes sure to cross paths with the boy as Harry Potter is making his way towards the charms classroom. "Harry,

Harry, Harry, there is so much I can teach you," he says kindly. "One day you can make front pages like me! You could be gold, my dear boy, pure gold!" The boy looks at him long and silent - and Gilderoy has to admit, slightly creepy. Gracious, the boy is different when he was only a foot away. Paler than Gilderoy had imagined - and the eyes, goodness, what eyes they were. Flat and lifeless. Fish-like even. "Golden lads and girls all must, as chimney-sweepers, come to dust," the boy says slowly, and walks past him while Gilderoy is trying to figure out what exactly the boy had said. 65. Hasty Beat Ginny bites her lip while leaning onto the corner of a wall. Across the corridor, she can see Harry Potter standing with a little blonde Ravenclaw girl who is fiddling with something in her hands. The redhead glances around to make sure no one is watching her and then turns her eyes to Harry Potter once more. Ron had warned her - Fred and George had too - but she hadn't believed it, not before now. The way Harry Potter is, skinny and awkward and pale - and still oddly dark. Twisted, George had said despite the gasps from the mum, telling him to be nice. Odd, weird, quirky, twisted, wrong. It isn't what Harry Potter is supposed to be, not in her head. All those stories, what had happened to them? What happened to the golden boy from those stories? He is supposed to be strong and kind and welcoming and gentle - and Gryffindor. What is he doing in Slytherin? What is with his hair, what is with his face, his eyes - what is with the slump, or the fingers, spidery, weird fingers? What is with the boy? He isn't supposed to be like this! He isn't supposed to be a freak. The pale blonde girl Harry Potter is with lets out sudden, random shriek of laughter, holding something high above her head in admiration. A straw doll. Ginny frowns as the shriek brings a small, oddly impish smile to Harry Potter's face. What is so funny about the stupid blonde Ravenclaw? She looks like... like a weirdo. With those eyes - and what is with the wand behind her ear? She will lose it like that! What is Harry Potter doing with a girl like that? Ginny bites her lower lip again, frowning even darker. All the upper years she had talked with said that Harry Potter was best left alone. Easier for everyone that he was. It wasn't worth it to even try to talk with him, not to mention about making acquaintances. "He says things no one wants to hear," George said once. "It's just best to steer clear." "He's dangerous," Neville Longbottom said once, and didn't say anything else. Ginny can't really see that, but she sees the strangeness. It's not what she's expected but even though she sees it with her own eyes, the boy of the stories doesn't go anywhere. It's still there, in the back of her mind, brilliant and powerful, and she is disappointed when the reality doesn't match. And no one really understands that. They were satisfied with leaving well enough alone. Even though things should be so much better. Making a face, she turns away from the sight of the black haired Slytherin who is now grinning widely at the wide eyed Ravenclaw. They make her sick. She feels like she ought to scream of kick something or maybe punch someone. Instead, she runs to the Gryffindor tower, where she only barely manages to withhold from kicking a door of the girl's dormitory, and instead just slams it open and shut again. Then she makes her way to her trunk and rummages through it, until she finally finds what she was looking for. She can't really say what she thinks to anyone, they'd just think she's being a silly little girl. Ron and Fred and George all got this annoying, pitying look to their faces when ever she mentioned Harry Potter, and no one else, except for a few first years, were any different. But nothing stops her from writing about it. A diary, after all, would never tell. 66. Hypocrite Beneath Beyond leans back, and watches. Little LL is making her own Wara Ningyo now, using a purple ink to paint letters and numbers to their chest. Hers are different from his. He makes his Wara Ningyo nice and thick, using lot of straw to make them feel more substantial and strong. He likes to make them sturdy, so it feels like something when he breaks them. She, though, makes them long and thin with lanky arms and legs and unnecessarily long heads. He leans his head against the back rest, and almost closes his eyes. Gilderoy Lockhart is still following him, giving insipid advices about popularity, trying to rope Beyond into helping him, following him, listening him. It's almost as

amusing as it is annoying, but Beyond does nothing about it. It doesn't matter. The man is meaningless, useless as a teacher and as a wizard, and it's not worth it even to try and discourage him one way or another. Worthless, meaningless, useless. Why bother when there was no reason? He is getting bored now. L is in his mind more than he likes, and neither little LL or Gilderoy Lockhart are enough of a distraction. He wonders where L is, what country, what city, what is he doing, solving a case, playing a detective. He wonders if L is bored, if he's busy, if he's learning something new, if he's seeing new things. Worst of all, he wonders if L is thinking about him too, if he too is bored without Beyond, if too his wondering is Beyond is learning something new. Beyond isn't. Hogwarts is familiar, dully so, and he finds nothing interesting about it right now. There are new books he hadn't read, and they mean nothing. There are people he hasn't toyed with, and they are meaningless. Minerva McGonagall gives him odd looks, now knowing more about him and still nothing at all, and Beyond doesn't really care. Severus Snape is still watching him, still making estimations and evaluations and whatnot, trying to get under his skin and understand him, and it doesn't move Beyond. Draco Malfoy avoids him, turning pink when ever their eyes meet, no doubt embarrassed about what his father was doing, and it's all so uninteresting. He is bored, bored, bored. B for boredom. And then, suddenly, there is Ginevra Weasley, who would die in fifty nine years - who suddenly has two names above her head, one her own, other too faded to make out, but there, present, beaconing for Beyond, taunting him. He turns, he opens his eyes, and he watches as she walks along the corridor, and eats in the Gryffindor table, as she drags her books with her, and as she runs for classes. It lingers there, red faded letters of three words too faded to read, but there, there. A name on a girl who already had a name, and one without a counter too. The walls begin to whisper hunger and murder and Beyond stops being bored. 67. Her Behalf Luna follows Harry through the castle. People step back as they pass them by and give them looks, but she has learned to ignore them. Whether they are because of him or because of her, she doesn't care anymore. They don't like them and that is all she needs to know. She would've cared, because it just wasn't nice what they were doing, if it wasn't for Harry. Harry was different, special. He was odder than she was, stranger. He sat strangely without a quiver; he spoke strangely and with strange words. His eyes, wide open and always staring, saw everything. He knew everything, or that was what it felt like to her. And that was why he was the way he was. Because he knew everything. No one could know everything and not be strange. Not go insane. She knew she couldn't really understand him. "I'm not stupid, after all - I even went to Ravenclaw," she sings under her breath and smiles. No, she didn't and probably never would understand Harry. He would never let her - never let anyone, really. She didn't mind, though - she didn't even mind it that he treated her at times like she was a lost puppy - because among the entire castle, he was the only one who didn't give her looks, didn't tell her to go sit somewhere else, didn't tug at her hair when she wasn't looking. In the whole castle, only he had told her to follow him. And even if most of the nasty things people said and did to her were because of him, she didn't care. Harry was Harry, it wasn't any more his fault that people liked him than it was her fault that people didn't like her. People were people. Stupid people, good people, smart people, evil people - just people. "Loony Lovegood," one of the girls in her class whispers and her friends giggle around her. "If she's a loony, what am I?" Harry asks with a wide, almost kind smile that makes the girls jump back. They don't answer. No one really does have answer to that one. Luna smiles widely and fiddles with the Wara Ningyo Harry had given her when they had met. People could be mean to her all they wanted. They could look at her weirdly all they wanted. They could even speak about her behind her back. She didn't mind. Because unlike all of them, she could say that Harry Potter was her best friend. And unlike all their best friends, only she had a best friend who made everyone back away.

68. Hoarse Breath Ginny gasps for breath like she was drowning. She feels like she is. The room is spinning around her and her hands are wet all the way up to her wrists, covered with moistness. She breaths in and out, each inhale hitching and each exhale coming out too fast, and she can't draw deep enough breaths, each one leaving her breathless all over again. There is blood in her hands. "It's called hyperventilation," a helpful, amused voice speaks from the shadows and gasping she whirls around to see a pale face in the corner of the abandoned classroom. Harry Potter stares at her, wide eyed and creepy, his smile shining in the darkness too brightly. "When you're too scared or panicked or just under too much duress, your body goes into alarm and you can't breathe right. It can cause symptoms such as numbness, light-headedness, tingling, dizziness, headache, chest pain, slurred speech, nervous laughter, and sometimes unconsciousness." She stumbles backwards and almost falls. The breaths are hurting her throat, shuddering through her like thunder, and she can't speak. "W-what - are - you-" she tries to speak, but the words make it harder for her to breath, and her chest hurts now. "Do you know what the time it is, Ginevra Weasley?" Harry Potter asks, walking closer with his head bent down, and his eyes shining odd, unnatural green in the shadows cast by his messy black hair. "Do you know what you've done? Do you know when? Why? How? Do you even know where you are?" Ginny falls to her knees, almost couching, but that makes breathing harder. Instead she just gasps for breath, starts shining behind her eyelids, making her dizzy and nauseous. She can only glance around and shake her head. The room looks familiar, but she can't remember where in the castle it was, or how she had gotten there. The last thing she remembers... she was in dormitory, getting ready for the Halloween feast, sitting down to write just that to her magical diary. The terrifying boy before her chuckles and kneels beside her. She tries to pull back but she's shaking now with the effort not to pass out. "There is some text written, not far away. With blood," the boy whispers to her ear, grinning and reaching one finger out to dap at her blood stained hands. "You wrote it. You. You killed the school's chickens and took their blood and you wrote to a wall. A neat little threat for all the castle to see, written by you..." She gasps and gasps and gasps while he's laughing as he steps back. "I'm going to have fun, seeing what you will do next, Ginevra Weasley," he says, still laughing as he walks away and leaving her terrified, alone with her stuttering breath and hands covered with dried blood. 69. Harried Brother "You leave her alone!" Ron had a whole plan for this meeting. Ever since Ginny had said that Harry Potter was following her, he had been watching. Ginny had always had a fondness towards the Boy Who Lived, despite the stories her brothers had tried to tell her to weed out the hero image from her head before she did something foolish with it. So, before seeing it with his own eyes, Ron hadn't really believed that Harry Potter would do something like that. The Slytherin simply didn't care about people enough to bother them like that. Maybe few cutting words in passing, cryptic looks and gestures, but he had never been actually interested in anyone. Except maybe for Quirrell, but no one liked to think about that too deeply. But something had apparently changed in Harry Potter. Not only did he have company now - poor Luna Lovegood, whatever she had done to catch Potter's attention, it had to be something special - but he really was following Ginny. And watching her. Long, unnerving stares with that horrible, impish smile that was too smile and somehow inhumane. If Ron hadn't known better, he would've said that Potter was stalking his little sister. Like it wasn't enough that half of the school thought Potter was the heir of Slytherin and had petrified Filch's cat back in Halloween Ron wasn't the only one who had noticed, Fred and George were giving Potter worried looks as well. But because they apparently weren't feeling the inclination to do something about it, Ron decided he did. Except it didn't come out as he planned.

"I can leave who alone?" Potter asks, not looking up from the hay he and the blonde Ravenclaw he was with were bundling up. "My sister! You leave her alone!" Ron snaps back. The Slytherin turns his eyes up and to Ron - wide green eyes, flatly staring just like always. Then he smiled slowly and somehow it reminded Ron of cats and wolves. "And why would I do that?" "Because... because I say so!" The little blonde starts slightly as Potter throws his head back and laughs. Breathless, not quite mocking laughter of someone who was amused beyond all reason and sanity. It goes on and on, turning wheezing towards the end and then starting all over again while Ron stares, shaking with barely contained anger. Unnerving doesn't even begin to cut it. "Stop it!" Ron snarls. "And stop bothering my sister! I'll tell the teachers - I'll tell McGonagall!" Potter just laughs. "Oh, you're almost cute," he says, standing up with the bundle of hay in his arms. "I will not leave your sister alone, Ronald Weasley. Where's the fun in that? Come along, little LL," he adds, turning towards the castle. "Let's get these inside." "Don't you turn your back at me!" Ron roars, stomping after him and grabbing a hold of the other boy's collar. "Ginny's distraught enough with the whole petrified cat thing! She doesn't need you harrowing after her like some sort of demented stalker! Leave her alone, Potter, you hear me?" At the end of the spiel, he is shaking the other by the collar, and Potter is staring at him flatly without a hint of humour in his eyes. The next thing Ron knows, the ground is knocked from beneath him - and suddenly, there is a sneaker-clad foot on his throat, pressing down and making him unable to breathe. Potter stares down to him mercilessly while little Luna Lovegood gasps behind him. "And what?" the black haired boy asks, eyes mocking. "I don't leave her alone and you, what, shake me to death? I would like to see you try," he says, bending down and staring down to Ron's teary eyes while pulling his foot back and letting the Gryffindor breathe again. "An advice to you, Ronald Weasley. Never grab another person if you can't keep your hold. That's only good for getting killed - and next time you grab me, I won't let you off with a warning." The Slytherin straightens his back - which with his usual slouch wasn't much - and smiles almost happily. "There's something interesting going on with little Ginevra Weasley. You might want to ask her about it," he says before turning to the blonde Ravenclaw and then to the castle. The girl hesitates for a moment, giving Ron a look, and then turns to follow Potter. Ron rubs his aching throat and drags a pained breath. Yeah, he had a feeling that wouldn't go so well. 70. Homesick Beast House elves, Beyond finds to his delight, didn't have death dates. They didn't really have names either, not the ones that hovered above their heads. He isn't all that interested about implications - though the concept that only humans have prewritten deaths and real names is rather intriguing. What he is interested in, is the one house-elf before him, quivering in the magically binding ropes Beyond had wrapped him in. Dobby the house elf - who according to his own words only wanted Mister Harry Potter to be safe. Which is why he had tried to drop a stone statue on Beyond's head - not to kill him, never to kill, but injure him grievously enough for him to be sent home. He had even tried to keep Beyond from getting to Hogwarts to that end - because apparently there was something dangerous going on and Mister Harry Potter was in danger. The creature is irritating. Beyond has never really been that fond of house-elves in the first place - they were magical creations, descendants of golems and nothing more - and this particular one is even more irritating than the rest. Beyond is tempted to just deal away with the stuttering, simpering beast, but it seemed like waste of time and resources. He might need a house elf for something sometime in the future and he would hate to look back at this and regret killing something so useful. So instead he turns his wand absently in his hand and wonders how to keep a house elf. Bind his magic completely, turn him into a statue until he was necessary, bind him into a portrait maybe? Or do what he had done with Peter Pettigrew; lock him away in a cage, maybe shrunken as this elf didn't have the benefit of nicely small animagus form?

Decisions, decisions. And somewhere in the castle, Ginevra Weasley is even now getting deeper and deeper into someone else's control, growing more unstable as she did. No one had noticed it yet, of coursed not, not even Ronald Weasley despite Beyond's hint, but he didn't care. It was just about the only real entertainment he had in the castle currently. Except of course the whole heir of Slytherin thing - they weren't that far off, thinking it was him. But even all that wasn't that interesting. Neither really was little LL or Gilderoy Lockhart, of Minerva McGonagall or anyone or anything else. Beyond sighs mournfully, staring at the terrified, wiggling elf whose screams are being muffled by a rolled up sock. Hogwarts just isn't as entertaining as it had been, when Quirinus had been there, making him insane with his mere presence. Ginevra Weasley is a poor substitute. And on top of everything, he really misses L. x I don't think the dead animal marionette works as well as the original, but I'm trying very hard to figure out the strings. Also, I wrote most of it on computer with no spellchecker, so there are probably more typos than usually, my apologies for that.

*Chapter 8*: Boring Hell


Hell and Back
71. Boring Hell It is almost a relief when the fall term ends and Beyond boards the train - little LL following closely behind him. By that time, the castle is echoing with rumours and fright and people are giving him looks, all the time they are giving him looks. Two people, both with muggle blood in their veins, are lying in the hospital wing, petrified and dead to the world, and most of the castle think it's his doing. They whisper about him now, more than usually, giving him sideways glances and hiding their mouth behind their palms, taking steps back away from him. But it's nothing new and it's not even interesting. It should be, but Beyond can't really bring himself to care, to even be amused. Normally he would've taken some measure of pleasure of the situation. He would've taken advantage of it, if nothing else. Making people jump, lean back, hurry away, make their voices stutter and words come to awkward halt there was always some small bit of satisfaction when he managed to make that happen. But not now. Maybe not in a while. It's all too easy. Like it's easy to take little LL and lead her where-ever, it's easy to lead the whole castle astray. They pave their own roads and paths behind him and ahead him, and it would be almost effortless to lead them to those roads that lead them nowhere but misconception and error. Too easy. Like it is easy to sneak up on Ginevra Weasley in those moments when she comes off her black out and realises that once more something has happened, and that she might have something to do with it. Even her terror is boring. "Will you write?" little LL asks as they leave the train at King's Cross. Beyond doesn't answer, merely drags his trunk to the muggle platform where he sits down to wait for Roger to come pick him up. While waiting and staring at people, he wonders if L is there, at the orphanage, if seeing him would change things - if he would stop being so bored again. He doubts it. He has a feeling about what is wrong with him this time, and it doesn't have as much to do with L as it has to do with him. It's a mood swing, his way of seeking balance and calm after the sickness of summer - except it isn't, not quite. It's something else, but he can't wrap his finger around what it is. He feels like he is slipping, like his mind is straying away from him, like there is nothing real enough to hold it in place, and if would drive him mad if he wasn't already. Eventually, Roger comes - little late as always because Beyond wants it that way, wants to make sure there are no Hogwarts students around to see the limousine, that there are none around for Roger to see. It's a little bit of useless paranoia, but it's always best to keep the two worlds separate. Especially with the whole mess with Lucius Malfoy. He wonders for a moment, while sitting in the expensive veiling in the back seat, whether he should do something about that. He knows Lucius Malfoy hadn't given up - it isn't in the man to give up. No, when the man had a goal, he changed tactics whenever one way failed. He changed tactics until one of the worked the way he wanted to, until he either reached his goal or got something even better as result. Beyond decides not to bother with the man. It too doesn't seem interesting enough. The orphanage is as he left it, white and marvellous, and echoing emptiness even when filled with children. Or as filled as the Wammy's House ever is. He looks around and notes that there are new kids, that few of the ones he knew are gone - Tinker and Tailor are gone, off working according to Dee. A is going through therapy, finally, but by the looks of him it hasn't worked well enough. A new boy, Kelly, or Kevin Lloyd, is showing promise, and is already at sixth place Eight, a boy who was formerly the fifth, has now taken Tinker's place as the fourth. Beyond still holds the third place, A the second and L, of course, is unshakable and secure at his first place. L isn't so unshakable when Beyond's eyes finally find him. For a long while, Beyond can do nothing but stare, stare, at L when he sees him, standing at the upper end of the marble staircase, looking down at him. The concept that L is there, that he came out of his room to see Beyond's return, doesn't even register. There are bruises on L's face. The area around his eye is swollen. He has his right arm in a cast. He is using a crutch. Beyond stares wordlessly, horrified for the first time in his life, at badly beaten up L.

72. Bargaining Horde "Two incidents already!" Lucius calls over the table, looking over the Hogwarts board of Governors. "Two petrified students! How long are we going to wait and do nothing - until one shows up dead, until the next one is petrified at the top of a staircase and tumbles down to their death? What will it take to get this board to do something - the death of one of our children? Or are the muggleborns so unimportant that we can sit here and pretend that everything is under control?" There is nothing quite so shaking as a known purist speaking up for mudbloods, Lucius thinks with small amount of satisfaction as he watches his colleagues shift where they sat, looking uneasy. Still, this is not an easy battle. Over half of the board is on Dumbledore's side, and firmly too. Most of them probably owed the old goat some favours; some might've even gotten their positions in the board thanks to Dumbledore. Even the great and powerful Headmaster wasn't beyond surrounding himself with his allies, securing his powerbase with old fashioned bribery. But then, Lucius wouldn't have respected the bastard as much if he hadn't. "Colin Creevey," Lucius spoke, taking a parchment copy of the boy's certificate to Hogwarts. "Eleven years old, a first year student. Has barely seen any magic at all, before it came around and bit him. Brilliant boy, the professors have already marked his talent with charms. Also seems to have a great talent with photography." One board member on his side snorts, but is immediately silenced by his companion. Mudbloods, Lucius thinks shaking his head and throwing the file over the table for anyone to see. They are good for nothing but game pieces. "Justin Finch-Flechley - a borderline genius boy, judging by his records - almost at the top of his year and with little effort. Shows a great promise with Arithmancy, a difficult subject to master. Also noted for his loyalty and people skills, and so far has only friends in Hogwarts," Lucius continues, throwing this file to the table as well. "Both of these two boys now lay in Hospital wing due to no fault of their own - petrified by instigator no one has even tried to catch. What does this tell about Hogwarts and its opinions of our children? And what does it tell about us, that we allow this to continue?" "What do you propose, governor Malfoy?" Madam Longbottom asks, frowning slightly underneath her ridiculous hat. There we go, Lucius thinks with small amount of satisfaction. "The current leadership at Hogwarts is standing still, doing nothing while our children fall under this attack," he says, leaning his palms to the table and eying the people at the table seriously. "Dumbledore, despite all his power and talent, is doing nothing. He did nothing when the rumours started, did nothing when the first child fell under attack, did nothing when the second child fell as well. How many more, three, four, five? If he cannot act to protect the children he has been charged with, then I propose that we put someone in control, who will." "Who?" Longbottom speaks again, narrowing her eyes and adding to the numerous wrinkles on her face. "You?" No, that would complicate things too much. He didn't have the time to play headmaster, and no need for the spotlight and close scrutiny the position put one under. "I was personally thinking that Professor McGonagall, the Deputy Headmistress, would serve well in the position," he said, leaning back. "Her non-prejudice and fairness is well known, as is her strictness. If there is someone good enough to clean up Dumbledore's mess, it's her." There is a surprised silence, before a man on his side speaks carefully. "Not Severus Snape?" No. Severus was more useful were he was, and putting him into the headmaster's position, even if it was possible on such short notice, would send out the wrong image. McGonagall was perfect for the position because she would concentrate onto the school with full commitment - and only to the school. Unlike Dumbledore, she wouldn't even think of using the position in politics or any other sort of meddling. She was too dedicated to fairness, too strict. Never had head for much else. "He doesn't have the necessary experience in governing a school. As the deputy, Minerva McGonagall has it," Lucius says simply, giving the man who had spoke for Severus a mild glare. Then he looks at the other governors to see that some of them were actually agreeing with him - if not for any other reason, then because he had suggested McGonagall and no one else. They had probably expected him to try and promote himself or someone of his friends.

"I agree that Minerva McGonagall does have the necessary qualities. But I think it is tad too soon," another board member speaks up. "I say we give Dumbledore a warning and another chance. If another incident occurs and nothing is done, Dumbledore will be suspended and Minerva McGonagall will be promoted to the position of Acting Headmistress. All in favour?" Lucius smiles and sits back down. Perfect. There would be another incident and Dumbledore would do nothing - after all, he had no idea who or what was behind the attacks. And then, suspension. With that hanging over the man's head, it would be easy to discredit him, especially with the dirt Lucius had managed to gather about the man. And then, with the man's position wavering... then, Harry Potter. 73. Bruised Hero L smothers the urge to wince when Beyond leans forward yet again and reached out to touch his face - the swollen side of it. It's only a slightest touch by the tip of his middle finger, spidery and light and almost not even there, but it still stings against the sore flesh like a jab with a needle. There is a look of horrified wonder on Beyond face, one L can understand very well and which is reassuring him in odd, twisted way he can't quite explain - and doesn't really want to examine in detail. Neither of the two of them has ever really been physically battered. Neither of them has ever broken bones. "It hurts," Beyond more states than asks, and shifts even closer, one hand ghosting over L's broken arm, but not quite touching. The younger boy is shivering like it was him who is wounded, but L says nothing to it. Beyond tilts his head to the side and says nothing more, just follows L's arm up and down with his eyes and his hand, hovering just inch away from the cast. Then Beyond is crouching before him, leaning on one hand while examining L's bandaged leg with another. Just a sprain, no broken bones there, but L doesn't tell him that. He doesn't need to. When Beyond finally looks into his eyes, rather than into the swelling around his other eye, there is a look of utmost understanding on his face - understanding L can't help but believe. The elder boy shakes his head, more to clear his head than in negation, and looks away. When he turns to leave and head to his room, Beyond follows him like a shadow, silent and steady and very, very present. He doesn't tell Beyond about how he got the wounds - doesn't tell him about his first and last whim to see a perpetrator with his own eyes, doesn't tell him about the first and last time he interrogated someone face to face. Doesn't tell about the looks of disbelief he had gotten, or the mocking, or the jeering - or how the instigator, who had been eventually convicted of manslaughter, of three first degree murders, four assaults and an arson, had broken free from his handcuffs and attacked him. The man had been big, taller than any man L has ever seen, and about six times heavier than he is, if not more. Three minutes it had taken for Watari to get the man off him. Two minutes, fifty eight seconds to be exact. Beyond hovers behind him almost eagerly as L slowly lowers himself to the floor in front of his computer, awkward with the crutch. The other's presence is smothering like a heated blanket around his back and shoulders as L reaches forward and turns his computer on. With his primary hand in cast it's not as easy as it usually is, to manipulate the computer and use the keypad, but he manages, slow and cursing the fact that he wasn't as good with his left hand, as he was with his right. But the computer starts, the programs open and the texts and photos display themselves to him another case, among many he is currently working on. Beyond says nothing to the fact that L lets him stay while working. L usually closes all important files when there are people present, only Watari is privy to them. But this time L knows its okay, because Beyond doesn't care about what he is working, probably doesn't even notice it. He is too enthralled by the wounds L has suffered, too deeply delved in his sympathy. It's strange to realise, but no one has ever been as sympathetic towards him as Beyond is. Even Watari, though he has a fondness for L, doesn't have this, will never have this - will never feel like this. Neither, L suspects, will anyone else. No one in the whole world has such sympathy, as Beyond does. And it's only for him. Only for L. The young detective sighs when he feels Beyond inching closer to him. The younger boy's legs stretch to L's sides and his chest comes against L's back and finally his arms come slowly around L's waist, where they clutch with odd urgent

tenderness. L closes his eyes and leans back as he finds himself sitting in Beyond's almost smothering embrace, listening the other's odd, soft croons behind him as he holds him. One could call it comforting. But it wasn't. It was relieving, like hot bath for aching body or cold shower in hot day like deep breath after strangulation. It was almost liberating. Even when Beyond's hold turns so tight that L has trouble breathing, he has never felt quite so free. The closer Beyond got, the more of L's pain was his. 74. Borrowed Heart Watari didn't always truly acknowledge it, but when it comes to parenting, he is out of his depth. He can deal with people. Young people, old people, good people, bad people. That is what he knows. He knows how to guide them, how to lead them, how to manipulate them, how to follow them. Long before he had become an inventor and long before he had started his orphanages, he had been a people person. Children, though, are a different thing. He can teach them, he can show them the way, he can train them. With L, he can do everything L requires, and more - things he doesn't know he requires. Watari even knew to anticipate his needs now. And the more time passes, the more he works as the boy's guard and guardian, the better he gets at it. But he will never be able to empathise with L. L was too young, too brilliant, to strange and too off-beat with him and the rest of the world. Watari can understand the boy but he would never be able to truly feel for him - or comfort him. Which is why, despite his worries about L's and Beyond's less than healthy relationship, he makes no move to separate them this time. L has never been wounded before, aside from the rare cuts and bumps and occasional paper cut - very, very rare paper cut, thanks to the way the boy held things - L has never felt that much pain. And Watari, who has suffered through wars, been shot at and broken more than just bones, can't quite get to his level and teach him to cope, to tell him what to do, how to feel, how to handle it. Watari is too old, too suffered and, in a strange way, too human for that. But Beyond isn't. He, like L, has barely ever been injured and even then in very minor way. The sickness of the summer is the worst physical pain the boy has probably ever experienced. Watari knows for a fact that the boy has had an untouched childhood - he has checked the records and ran the boy through several health examinations to be sure - and he is seventy percent certain that Beyond is going through his "school" without any trouble as well, physical or otherwise. In that, Beyond is much like L. Untouched by pain - except Beyond is different, so very different. Untouched or not, Beyond thrives in agony. And now, pressed to L's side with a gentle hand resting over heavy white cast and another tenderly brushing L's hair back and fleetingly touching the bruised face, Beyond is most likely happiest he has ever been. It is horrifying to Watari - had he been a normal man, he would've been disgusted even, he would've looked away, dragged Beyond away, taken him and locked him up with a psychologist until he was better. But he isn't a normal man. Beyond isn't a normal boy. And L isn't a normal human being. And it is very likely that L has never been held with such tenderness. And Watari cannot take that from him, even knowing that it won't last. Whether L is registering it or not, he is getting something from Beyond that no one has ever given him - comfort and compassion in its purest, rawest form. Beyond, after all, doesn't feel for L the way he feels for other people - or, in fact, the way people usually feel for each other no matter how close they are. Beyond sympathises with L from L's position. He feels for L as if he himself was L. It isn't healthy, no. Both Beyond and L will probably feel the mental effects of it for years to come. Beyond most likely will never get truly over it, no matter what would separate them and what would happen. In any other children, it would've been horrible, perverse even. But they aren't normal children. And as wrong as it is, he is certain that no one ever has or ever would love L as much as Beyond does. So, Watari turns away from them, leaving L in Beyond's hold and instead goes to get them some tea, cake and jam. They look like they can use it. 75. Boxed Hesitation

Luna stares listlessly at the letter in her hands and the carefully wrapped box to which she had been attaching the letter to. It is a little thing. A doll made not from straw, but from sweet smelling herbs, bound into the form of Wara Ningyo with unicorn hair. It had came out really pretty, small purple flowers littering the arms and the torso with golden bells at the head, like odd hair - and the silvery strings of unicorn hair looking like jewellery the herb-doll was wearing. She had been intending to send it to Harry as a Christmas gift. But she hesitates, not knowing if she should. Harry had said nothing about Christmas presents and she isn't sure if he will accept it. He is strange like that, not wanting things that are worth anything. His clothes are all second hand, so are his books, and even the best of Wara Ningyo he made he broke almost immediately after making. Harry doesn't value possessions. Doesn't care for them. And Luna is quite certain he wouldn't be sending her anything. Her hand comes to her chest and touches the old doll there, hanging on a string. The first thing another kid had given her, the Wara Ningyo he had made at the train. She wore it always, almost never taking it off, and it was starting to get ragged. Few of her classmates and dorm mates had laughed at it, but it was still her most valuable possession. Because he had made it. Harry had made it. Of course, Luna has made things for him too. She had made little knickknacks, she had made Wara Ningyo of her own, she had even made a small boat once, which they had taken to the Black Lake. But everything she had given Harry, she had watched him destroy. The knickknacks had been taken apart almost immediately, the Wara Ningyo were always torn into pieces, and Harry had stoned the wooden boat until it had sunken beneath the waves. The only reason she kept at it and didn't feel sad about the things he always broke was because he seemed so happy breaking them. He'd break this carefully made Wara Ningyo too, she knew it. He wouldn't even keep the valuable unicorn hairs that she had bought for the doll. She wasn't really expecting anything else. What worried her though was how he would break the doll. In glee, boredom or, worst of all, anger. Luna sighed, pulling her knees to her chest and eying the small note she had written and sealed into tiny envelope. It said nothing but Merry Christmas inside, not even her name was written in it, because Harry would be able to tell it was her from the handwriting. He'd appreciate the simplicity - he wasn't one for lengthy speeches and excessive explanations. Few words would do. Or better yet, no words at all. But she doesn't dare to send it. She doesn't care if he's indifferent with her, if he doesn't even truly like her and only tolerates her because he's bored. She still doesn't want to make him angry with her. "I'll give it to him in Hogwarts," she decides with a nod. That would be the safest way to go. 76. Bearable Help Beyond leans his chin on L's shoulder, left hand resting against L's stomach, right hand reached to help him. L is awkwardly fiddling with hay in his left hand, clumsy and disoriented. His right hand is barely any use at all, as only his fingertips peek out of the white cast. Still, the elder boy says nothing, doesn't even frown as he bends the hay in his fingers, trying to bring forth a familiar shape. The younger boy sighs, holding the hay in place for L to bind a yarn around the wad. The Wara Ningyo would come out ugly, Beyond knows it. It would be malformed and misshapen, too long arms or legs or oddly shaped torso. And Beyond should be bored, like he was when he had been teaching little LL how to make them. He should be bored and annoyed and irritated. The whole thing should've felt like waste of time. But it didn't matter. It would be perfect because L was making it. And Beyond was so far from boredom, he couldn't even recall what boredom felt like. "You're taking great pleasure in my disability," L notes quietly and Beyond doesn't need to answer. He isn't merely pleased by the situation; he is fascinated by it, enthralled, nearly intoxicated. Seeing and feeling L like this, awkward and clumsy and hurting despite the medication, is euphoric for him. Beyond can almost taste the discomfort on other's skin as he drags his tongue over L's bare neck, making him shiver, and it's lovely, perfectly lovely. "Tell me to go away then," Beyond answers and settles his chin to the other's shoulder again, pulling him a little closer. He knows L won't, because the elder boy has too much pride. He needs the help, he needs practice his dexterity with his left hand, and Beyond is the only one who will help without being asked or told to - he doesn't even do it for some

feeling of duty, not like Watari would've. "Now the legs," Beyond instructs, holding the Wara Ningyo by the head-end so that L can single-handedly separate the bottom end into two separate sections. L does it, accidentally making left leg thicker than the right one, but neither says anything. Not even when the yarn binding the feet comes out a little too loose and starts slipping. "It didn't help, did it?" L asks as they move to the hands. "The months apart." Beyond doesn't bother answering that, merely nuzzles his nose against the other's neck and lazily watches L working with the hay. "It never will, I think," L murmurs after a moment of silence, and shakes his head. With Beyond's help, he binds the arms of the Wara Ningyo and like that the thing is ready. And like Beyond had predicted, it is ugly, nothing like the firm dolls he makes. But then, Beyond has made thousands of them. L has only made one. "Ink," L demands and without a word Beyond reaches for the bottle and the brush he uses to name his dolls. He opens the bottle while L takes the brush into his left hand, and as Beyond holds the doll still, L paints a letter to it. It's a shaky, clumsy letter, and one Beyond did and didn't expect. But then, it's somewhat understandable. Most of the dolls Beyond makes are L. Naturally, L would make a B. "Mine," Beyond murmurs while he takes the finished doll. L doesn't bother to argue with that. 77. Bony Holiday Amelia hums to herself while cleaning her monocle. It has been an interesting year, to say at least. Some new, interesting people in ministry, and in her department. New, promising Aurors to be. Some not so interesting or new ones around the ministry, of course, that happens too. Lot of raids, not too many from her department but enough to keep the ministry busy for a while. New laws, legislations, some of them good, some not so good, most sadly supporting the pureblood agenda, but no one can change the way a world worked so quickly, so it was expected. It will take a lifetime for the pureblood agenda to end, maybe longer. And of course, Lucius Malfoy and the ever continuing quest for Harry Potter. Sipping her whiskey, the Chief of Magical Law Enforcement leans back in her lush arm chair. Harry Potter. Beyond of Wammy's House. She has only met the boy twice, once in the orphanage, second time in the Ministry for the meeting between possible son and father. Still, the boy has not left her thoughts for long, especially not since he still colours the letters from Amelia's niece. Even now Lucius Malfoy is pushing his pieces so that he could claim the king. What he hoped to gain from the checkmate on this board, she has no idea. He should've, after the meeting, realised what a troublesome child Harry Potter is. So intelligent, so knowledgeable and so very intuitive, and didn't give a damn about pretty much anything except his own entertainment. Sure, the boy still has world wide fame and some fortune to his name, but those who are close enough to see him, saw how little weight it all had. So, Lucius Malfoy could be known world wide as the man who adopted Harry Potter. And who was then probably killed by the boy in his sleep. Entertaining the thought for a moment, Amelia smiles to herself. It would've been just desserts for Lucius Malfoy, wouldn't it? Especially after the failed raid. She had been in on that one, working along with Magical Accidents and Catastrophes and Misuse of Muggle Artefacts. And she had been so sure they'd find something - it was the Malfoy family, after all, they had a history of darkness that stretched back generations. There should've been something. But no, there hadn't been. Not even single jinxed spoon. Imagining the little Boy Who Lived wiping the self-satisfied smirk from Lucius Malfoy's face after that was rather satisfying. She snorts softly to herself. Harry Potter could've been piece on a game board, for Lucius Malfoy, for the Ministry, for herself, for Dumbledore. Beyond, though, was the knife that cut welts into the board and made a mess of the game. The boy is a fascinating contradiction of intelligence and indifference but more than that, he is a child easily bored. And if the

concept of becoming a Dark Lord bored the boy Lucius Malfoy, for all his wealth, fame and games, probably couldn't keep the boy entertained long enough to gain anything from him. The man would never be able to gain guardianship over the child, Amelia was hundred percent certain of it. In fact, no one ever would, and there were lot of people whispering in the corners about what a good idea it was. When Lucius would fail - and he would - another would step up as the next possible candidate. Being the father of the Boy Who Lived - or the mother - was a unique position after all. Only one or two people in the world could have that. And just being that, a fame and reputation was secured. Oh, the interviews and photo shoots Amelia chuckles, knowing that had it been any other child - had it even been a slightly different Harry Potter - she would've felt sympathy, she would've felt sorry for the boy, she would've fought harder for his freedom - maybe even pitched in her own adoption papers just to try and make sure the boy wouldn't land in abusive family. But with this child, she is content sitting back and watching. With Beyond, the suspected there was amusement to be had. If one just looked closely enough. "Auntie!" Susan's voice calls from the sitting room. "Come help me with the tree!" "In a moment, sweetie," Amelia answers to her, and lowers her whiskey glass to the table, beside two large parchment envelopes sitting there. They looked inconspicuous enough, just two thick envelopes sealed with the Ministry Seal - no different from hundreds of other envelopes that passed hands in the Ministry daily. But these two were special. She had put them together herself, over the last months. Inside the first envelope, there are all the papers concerning Harry Potter from his birth certificate to the death certificate of his parents, as well as the adoption papers of the Dursley family and papers of the Wammy's house - which had not been easy to get, forcing her to talk with some friends in Scotland Yard. There were several wills included, most still unopened - even she hadn't been able to read them, thanks to magical lock that made the text unreadable to her eyes - as well as the keys to a postal office vault that had been receiving and storing Harry Potter's fan mail from the last twelve years. And the boy had certainly gotten lot of it, none of which had been delivered to the boy himself. Most of the things in the envelope had been buried deep, like the many wills, and Amelia had a feeling that had she not started digging, they would've remained buried. The second envelope, a slightly thicker one, contains every bit of dirt she has been able to dig up of Lucius Malfoy and his family, Voldemort, all the "wrongly accused" Death Eaters who had walked, saying they had been under Imperius Curse, and finally of Dumbledore and his ilk. There was lot of dirt, passed around during the first war and one couldn't say that any of the people involved had suddenly become kind and pure when the war had ended. Amelia can blackmail some dozen people with the things that she has in the envelope. And showing it to anyone, she would be risking confinement to Azkaban for some dozen years, perhaps more. The two envelopes are bound together with golden string that forms a fluffy bow at the top. Tugged underneath the yarn there is a small sliver of parchment, with words To Beyond, from Chief written to it. She hasn't decided whether or not she would mail it or take it to the boy personally, but she's certain of one thing. It was going to be interesting to see what the boy did with the material. Use it or discard it. "Auntie!" Susan calls again, more insistently. "Coming, coming," she calls back, and leaves the envelope to the table. She will deliver it later. 78. Brutal Hunch "With this new plot from Lucius Malfoy, we must be extra cautious, Severus, and keep a sharp eye on the school," Dumbledore says, frowning while staring at nothing in particular. "I have a feeling that should he get his head, thins will only get worse. This Heir of Slytherin business..." Severus says nothing as the older wizard trails away. Heir of Slytherin business. How aptly put. Two students - and one cat - in the hospital wing, stiff as statues, and more are likely to appear every day. School buzzing with rumours and fear. Few students had already been withdrawn by their parents - muggleborns mostly - letters informing the school that they would have extended Christmas holidays, until the perpetrator is caught.

And at the heart of it all; Harry Potter. The likelihood that Harry Potter is the Heir of Slytherin is greater than either of them likes to think. The boy is evil, there is no doubt about that, even if he is of the very indifferent branch of evil. His lack of sympathy for his fellow wizard or witch is well known, even with his new, odd friendship with the Ravenclaw girl. If the boy got the chance to spread this sort of havoc across the school, sending people to hospital while at it... he would. And he would enjoy it. Except it brought forth a very difficult question. Heir of Slytherin indicated a certain... kinship with the Dark Lord. No one can deny that Harry Potter has some of that, some odd likeness with darkness, a certain... affinity. Except it is more than just that, because the boy isn't as much interested in the dark arts, as he is the dark arts. Even if no one has ever seen him use them, the boy was dark in terms of magic and mentality. And no one has any suspicion about whether or not the boy can use dark arts, or knows them. He does. Oh, he does. What Severus can't figure out, though, is why. Potter usually didn't care. He likes to unnerve people, takes great pleasure in stepping on their toes and making them wince. But usually his efforts towards those ends are minimal, using as little time as possible. Sure, his feud with Quirrell is now legendary among the staff - they all have their suspicions about how Quirrell had died, though none of them would ever say it aloud. But Quirrell had housed the Dark Lord, making it personal for the boy - though whether it was personal because the Dark Lord had killed his parents, or because he was a rival, no one really knew. What could Potter possibly have against two muggleborns, both whom he has never had any contact with as far as Severus knows? Most of the students of Hogwarts steer carefully clear of Harry Potter. Even Colin Creevey, despite being a known fan of the Boy Who Lived, had been wise enough to keep his distance. So, why petrify him and Justin Finch-Flechley? Or Filch's cat? What is the point, the gain? Aside from the slight amusement caused by the rumours and panic, Severus can't see why Harry Potter would bother. And if the boy has a reason, he wouldn't have been so bored lately. And by Merlin, has he ever been bored. The last two essays Potter had handed over at Potions had seventeen extra inches, written in tiny writing - and all backwards from last word to first. Severus would've deducted points for the essays' format, if they hadn't been among the best he had ever seen, backwards writing aside. On top of that, Severus is certain that there is some sort of secret message in the essays, an essay within an essay - some words just stood out, except Severus has yet to figure out the code. According to the other teachers, most of the essays are the same. Additionally, the boy was writing his notes in mishmash of four different foreign languages, making it completely illegible for anyone except someone fluent in French, Spanish, German and Italian. And Madam Pince had reported that the boy was studying other languages on the side, reading books written in Latin and Mandarin and ancient form of Gaelic. The boy's intelligence would've been intimidating if there hadn't been so many other reasons to fear the child. If the boy had been behind the Heir of Slytherin business, and doing it for a reason, he would've been more preoccupied with it. There wouldn't have been the need for so many other distractions. Severus frowns at the thought of that and looks at his employer, who seems to be lost in his thoughts. "Do you think Harry Potter is the Heir of Slytherin?" "No, I don't," Dumbledore answers instantly, both reassuring and worrying Severus all at once. "Why not?" the Potions Master asks. "He wouldn't have used the same method so often," the Headmaster answers with certainty. "In fact, I doubt he would've used petrification even once. If he'd attack a person, I imagine he would've done much more damage." Severus blinks and shudders as he realises how right the old man is. Petrification is much too kind for someone like Harry Potter. 79. Breaking Hay L is frustrated. He feels clumsy and useless. During breakfast he spilled his tea and couldn't manage to get a decent bite of his cake without help. His writing is painfully slow and he keeps making typing errors. It either takes him an hour to wash himself, or he needs help. His broken arm is constantly itching and his wrist aches with the lack of exercise. The healing bruises on his face are tingling and itching. And his foot still hurts when ever he accidentally rests his weight on it.

And Beyond is starting to annoy him. The other boy won't leave him alone for a minute, even has once more commandeered L's bed so that he won't be far even in sleep - and if L tries to leave while Beyond is sleeping, the younger boy immediately wakes up and follows. It was... useful in the beginning, to have Beyond there, doing his heavy lifting as it was, but it's starting to smother him, the other boy's constant presence. It's always, always there, and so close too. Too close. Against his skin, all the time. What frustrates him the most is how happy Beyond is about the situation. The other boy is having the time of his life, staring at L. He hasn't given a single glance to anyone else since seeing L, doesn't even notice them when they speak to him, so enthralled he is with L's physical state. L has even noticed Beyond mimicking his injuries, not using his right hand, shying from putting his weight on his left foot... "Leave me alone," comes from his lips before he thinks it through, and Beyond's hand on his hair stills. It's only for a moment, then Beyond continues to brush his hair with his fingers. L frowns. "Stop touching me." "Really, L," the other answers, soft, teasing and somehow cruel. "You should know better." L smothers the urge to grow, and moves away. Yes, sure, he should know better than to expect Beyond to do as he said. Maybe once, yes, Beyond would've. But something's changed - broken - and Beyond doesn't follow orders or requests anymore. Angry with himself, with his wounds, with Beyond, the detective wrenches himself away from the younger boy, and painstakingly pulls himself to his feet by taking support of the crutch. "Don't," he snaps, when Beyond stands up as well and reaches for him again. "Beyond, no. No." Beyond smiles at him, kind and mocking all at once, and steps closer. L winches without being able to stop himself, as the other takes his face between his hands. "Never, L. You hear me? You listening to me? Never." L grimaces and pulls back so quickly he almost falls over. When Beyond takes a step after him, L puts his crutch between them. It's too much. For a while it had been pleasant. In a moment, it might continue to be pleasant. The odd freedom of being understood so completely, so thoroughly, so absolutely he knows that he will miss it. Crave for it, even. But he can't breathe. Can't think right. He's smothered by his disability, and by Beyond's close proximity. He needs his solitude, his freedom to move, to think, to just curl into comfortable crouch and pull his knees to his chest. He can't think , being so immobile. "Leave me," L growls, facing the other's disbelieving smile with an expressionless face. "Or I will not set one foot upon this house next summer." The words make Beyond pause, open his mouth and then close it again as they sink in. For a moment L feels a strange, twisted satisfaction, finally realising that he has something he can hold over Beyond's head - that he has something he can use to force the other's hand. The realisation of that sudden power is almost euphoric - but then Beyond steps back, and the words sink into his mind as well, the full meaning, the full weight. He had said them instinctively, knowing it was the only thing he could ever threaten Beyond with. There is nothing Beyond fears, nothing he wants that anyone else could use. Money means nothing for the boy, he values nothing, needs nothing. He fears nothing as well, he has nothing to loose, there are no loved ones to threaten, and even pain would've never made Beyond move one way or another. L swallows as cold expression comes to the younger boy's face, so much like his own. Beyond reaches one hand and takes hold of L's hair, odd reminder or maybe a rebuke. L bites his lip sharply to swallow the yelp of pain as the fingers tug roughly and then pull away, holding few black strands in their white-knuckled grip. Then, without word, Beyond turns and leaves the room, closing the door silently behind him. Lack of contact with L is very likely the only thing Beyond dreads - because L is something he needs. The idea that someone could need him so much is mortifying for L - and in a horrible way pleasing. The detective wavers where he stands, desperately gripping the crutch for support. Had he threatened to never come back to Wammy's house, he probably would've broken Beyond completely. 80. Bloody Haze

Ginny quivers where she is sitting, back pressed against a corner of empty, dark classroom. The walls seem to lean closer to her, looming around her like disapproving her, looking down on her and finding her wanting. But that is nothing compared to how she feels inside. Hollow, empty and yet full of of something. "Stop it, stop it, stop it," she whispers urgently, pressing her palms against her eyes to try and push the images back, but she can't. She keeps seeing the two boys in the hospital wing, and the words written in blood on the wall. She is blacking out more now, almost every day, loosing minutes here, hours there, waking up in odd places with no memory of getting there. "Stop it, stop it, stop it," she pleads, but the blood in her hands is still there, dripping on her robes, unseen and present. More than that, she is forgetting things. Not just school things, not just dates in history lessons or potion ingredients while Snape looms over her. She keeps forgetting the names of her dorm mates. She can't remember what she got for Christmas last year. Can't recall the date of Ron's birthday, what her mother's maiden name is, what her father had said when she had left for Hogwarts, what Bill did for living, where Charlie is And the longer it goes, the less sure she is about when it started. The other day someone asked her if she and Luna Lovegood were neighbours. She had been struck speechless, not because she can't remember if they were, but because she can't remember where she lives. "Stop it, stop it, stop it," she keeps on whispering, but the diary is still there, sitting in front of her, beaconing her to write some more. x I think I'm getting the hang of this dead-animal-marionette. Sort of. Abusing it seems to work pretty nicely. And L too. My usual apologies for grammar issues, yadda yadda yadda, for more information, read earlier author notes.