Harry Crow

What will happen when a goblin-raised Harry arrives at Hogwarts. A Harry who has received training, already knows the prophecy and has no scar. With the backing of the goblin nation and Hogwarts herself. Complete.

https://www.fanfiction.net/s/8186071/1/Harry-Crow

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72. I Won't Make The Same Mistake Again!

The dark lord was back living in the lap of luxury, exactly where Tom was sure he really belonged. Lord Voldemort had just had a stellar evening, acquiring his new body before dishing out punishments to those of his followers brave enough to return at his command. He then left them lying there while he enjoyed shredding the mind of the ministry witch for information. That information had him pondering his next move, his next move against the ministry and Potter that is. He'd known exactly what else was going to be accomplished on his first evening back.

Lord Voldemort had approached his recovering followers and asked who wanted the pleasure of having their lord stay with them. All had of course begged for the honour, just as he'd already chosen whose house he was going to take over.

On arrival, Peter led his drooling husk of a girlfriend in search of a bedroom in their new home while Tom dismissed Bella and Augustus to do the same. That left the dark lord alone with his familiar and a prostrate host, Edmund Parkinson. He could see the wizard shaking as he lay at his feet and wondered whether it was caused by the after effects of the cruciatus or fear. He would like to think a little of both.

"Tell me again, Parkinson, why your wife and daughter are not here to greet their lord?"

The death eater tried to keep his voice steady as he answered his master. "After I collected my daughter from the express, I made an attempt to end Pansy's betrothal to the Malfoy brat. She threw a tantrum before the disrespectful bitch swore she would disown her family rather than let that happen. I wasn't about to stand for that dishonour against the Parkinson name, so I ejected the little bitch from the family before she could carry out her threat - and then ordered her out of my house. I can only assume she went to her betrothed, and that my wife accompanied her."

"Ah, but Draco is no longer her betrothed, you ejecting her from the family would end that agreement."

"Forgive me, Master, but they have convinced each other that they're in love. Draco would take her in, even though she now has no name. I'm afraid Draco isn't half the man his father was..."

His familiar was coiled over his shoulders and he was affectionately stroking Nagini's head when Tom let his anger show. "Bella made dear Lucius'-s death far too quick. She may have been pressed for time and had very limited options available but I certainly wouldn't have been so merciful as-s to cut his throat and let him bleed to death." The dark lord was now certain Parkinson's shaking was down to fear, he softened his voice to coax the answers he wanted out of his servant. "Your daughter attended Hogwarts-s and is even considered a friend of Potter's-s, tell me everything you know about this boy."

-oOoOo-

"...and that's all we know at the moment."

The Minister felt ill at hearing this news, and took no comfort from the fact that both colleagues he was currently meeting with didn't appear to be coping with this news any better than he was. "It's not much to go on, Amelia."

Amos couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Surely you're not disputing he's back? We now have confirmation from two different sources."

"I'm not disputing that, all I'm saying is we don't have a lot to go on. We don't know where he is, or even if he's in Britain. He summoned his death eaters, how many of them turned up? The only piece of information we do have is that he's back, how does the ministry respond to that? We have no idea of our enemy's location, strength or intentions."

Cornelius let that sink in before reinforcing his point. "Do we really want to blaze what little news we do have all over the country and ruin the holidays for everyone? Commercially speaking, today and tomorrow are two of the busiest shopping days of the year, this news breaking would certainly put and abrupt end to that."

"Are you suggesting we ignore this?"

"Of course not, Amos. What we need is a measured response, a response that allows us to increase security without sending the country into a paralysing panic."

The Minister was looking to his head of the D.M.L.E. for help, Amelia duly obliged. "I think I see what you mean, Cornelius. We have so little information, and using that might tip our hand that we have any information at all. I agree that, at this point, informing the public he's back would be counter-productive. I also agree with Amos that we need to do something. We still have two escaped death eaters on the loose, a perfect excuse to increase security and provide a timely reminder to everyone to be vigilant over the holiday period. Without more information, I really don't know what else we can do."

This left Amos stuttering with indignation. "What about those suspected death eaters who left the ministry, can't we round them up?"

"...and charge them with what? Amos, we let them walk out the ministry, promising no stain on their character. Am I now supposed to send my aurors to arrest them, saying 'by the way, we were lying when we said that'." Amelia then softened her attitude, Amos was not an enemy here. "We don't know how many of them answered Voldemort's summons, I think those who didn't will be the returning dark lord's first priority. There is also the practicalities to consider in rounding them up. I simply don't have the manpower to hit all of the targets at once and an operation that size will surely leak, sending any doubters straight into the arms of Voldemort."

The Minister was left shaking his head. "It's the Carrows all over again. There's a section of our community that knows he's back but not one of them trusts the ministry enough to come to us for help. Augusta Longbottom was right, we need to change that."

He found his two colleagues agreeing, though Amelia took it further. "Once Voldemort makes a move the gloves can come off, that fact changes the entire complexion of the problem. We need to decide though how to deal with those who don't want to rejoin Voldemort?"

The Chief Warlock was beginning to understand the dilemma they faced here. "I think Harry showed us the way, it's all about how we treat the families involved. Knowing my Tabitha and Cedric are safe behind those wards certainly gives me great peace of mind. My Cedric teaches the Nott girl at their extra defence class in Hogwarts, he says she's a lovely young witch. What fate would have awaited that child if Harry hadn't stepped in? If we can protect their families from Voldemort's retribution then we might yet see some of the doubters approaching us."

Those sentiments certainly found approval from Cornelius and Amelia, she though wanted to add another layer to Amos' proposed solution. "Protecting families is fine but we also need to show what happens to those who willingly chose to follow this madman. Their masks hide nothing now, kicking them out the ministry means we now know who at least some of them are. We strip them of any source of respectability, wealth or possessions - and then ensure they're aware we'll take them down hard, and then execute those who survive being captured."

Cornelius was quiet pleased with the initial ideas this impromptu meeting was throwing up but something else just struck him. "I think we need to get Arthur in here, he needs to know in case Voldemort starts attacking muggles. I also want him to contact Ambassador Barchoke, St Mungo's needs warded against death eaters as quickly as possible. I don't give a shit how much it costs, or if it tips our hand that we know he's back, those people need protecting now."

A cold shiver ran down Amelia's back at the mere thought of death eaters attacking the hospital. "The goblins don't have Christmas holidays so they might be able to do it quickly, do you want me to arrange for the staff to be screened as we did inside the ministry?"

This received a positive response from the Minister while Amos was sure the other problem would be solved too. "Once we start fining death eater vaults there will be plenty gold in the coffers to pay for protecting St Mungo's. I'll get Arthur up to speed while Amelia is screening the hospital staff. It should be a safe bet just saying the new wards will be going up over the holiday period."

The minister then looked to his two most senior advisors and asked the question that was at the forefront of his thoughts. "We all remember the last time, are we ready now to end this?"

Knowing the question was really aimed at her, Amelia gave the most honest answer she could. "The ministry is certainly better prepared. While I had hoped for longer, knowing he's back allows us to step up our preparations. If we can act quickly and stop him gathering support then the odds will tip heavily in our favour. His death eaters murdered a lot more victims than he did, they're also no where near as powerful. Taking that threat away should leave us dealing with a small group, I refuse to believe twenty or so wizards and witches that we will make outcasts could ever take over the country."

"...and what about Harry?"

Again Amelia knew she could answer the minister's question honestly, and that the information wouldn't go any further. "Like us, Harry could have used a few more years. That Moody seems almost ready to adopt the four of them should give you some idea of their abilities. I think the ministry needs to concentrate on the death eaters, depriving Voldemort of support and buying Harry time to train. He and his friends are already working four days a week with Moody and Bill Weasley, they would really need to leave Hogwarts to train anymore - not something I would recommend."

She then gave her reasons for cautioning against that action. "The idea of the ministry training four teenage assassins to go after Voldemort is not something that sits comfortably with me. At the moment, all we are doing is augmenting their already established training pattern - at the request of Harry's father. Of course I would bet my ministry pension that this exact same meeting is currently taking place in Kingussie. They might reach a decision there that changes my opinion and our options."

-oOoOo-

Amelia's ministry pension was in no danger. The exact same meeting was taking place in Kingussie, it was only their priorities that were different - very different.

"Listen everyone, I'm pregnant - not ill. I will not be treated like some invalid and be shipped off somewhere to safety - not unless my entire family comes too."

"Mum, I'm a centurion - I can't run away and hide."

"If you're saying Kingussie isn't safe then we all need to hit that island today. If it is safe, then Dan and I shouldn't have a problem staying here while you are both at Hogwarts."

Sirius and Remus were trying not to laugh but it was Tonks who couldn't hide her grin. "She has you there, Harry. Either Kingussie is safe or it isn't, you can't have it both ways."

"Not helping here, Tonks. Kingussie is safe, but not as safe as the island. Nothing and no one can touch them there. I've already lost one set of parents to this mad bastard, I'm not gonna let him take another - along with my unborn brother..."

All could now see how badly they had misread the situation, here was something that clearly terrified Harry. The troubled teen soon had his arms full of both Granger ladies while he sat on the sofa, his father though thought that it might take something a bit more practical to ease his son's fears.

"Harry, I will move into Kingussie when you both return to Hogwarts. I can also have emergency portkeys made that will take you through the Hogwarts wards and bring you both straight home. An emergency signal could see you and Hermione back here in under a minute. Yes the island is safer but please think what you're asking here - a mother to take herself out of danger and leave her children behind. We both know neither Emma or Lily would ever do that."

Harry was currently clinging to the two most important women in his life as if he was never letting go. "What if we didn't go back to Hogwarts? We could stay here and train every day."

It was Emma who moved his head around so Harry was looking directly at her face. "I will not have you both dropping out of school to become my bodyguards. I will have Dan, Barchoke and Dobby here to do that - and also a pistol like the one Alice carries. You already train enough as it is, I simply won't stand for it."

It was Barchoke who again tried to make his son see reason, knowing that his fear was crushing his own dose of logic on this matter. "We don't know where Voldemort is, how many followers he has or what his intentions are. Until we do, then life must go on. It might take him years to build up any sort of organisation and become a threat again, we can't all put our lives on hold waiting to find that out. I guarantee you that, should we discover he intends to attack here, we will all be sitting on the beach within minutes of learning that."

Harry looked to his mate, Hermione's nod indicating she thought this was the best they were going to get. Hermione felt almost as if she was betraying him but had to speak her mind. "Harry, I don't think I could handle any more training than what we do now. Our bodies and magic barely have time to recover as it is before it's time to go again. There's a very good reason this training is usually reserved for witches and witches over seventeen."

He really couldn't disagree with Hermione, All four of them had been looking forward to the break, though they certainly intended to keep up their exercises every morning. "Okay, can we get those portkeys as quickly as possible and an alarm disk added to Hermione's wand holster." He then turned back to face the woman he now thought of as mum. "You send that signal, we'll come running. I need you to promise though that you will set off the alarm if you need us."

She looked at the very serious young man and her equally grave daughter, Emma's heart melted at the anguish she saw reflected back from both of them. "Harry, Hermione, at the first sign of danger our main option would always be to get out of here. If we can't do that, I promise I will send for you both."

Again they had to settle for the best deal they could get. Hermione then turned her attention to Sirius. "Will Pansy and Draco be alright at Malfoy Manor? Voldemort will know exactly where they are so they would be welcome to come here."

"Both are keyed to the floo at Grimmauld, I'll add their mothers too and that should give them an escape route if needed. They are coming here on Christmas day anyway so we can talk with them then. If we're done here, I really need to go and greet the in-laws. Lukas and Moa are portkeying in today, we'll see you all on Christmas Day."

Remus rose to follow his fellow marauder out, he was heading for the Longbottoms to pass on the bad news to the rest of the family. Barchoke was intending on heading back to Gringotts when Tonks stopped him. "You need three portkeys and alarms, they don't leave Hogwarts without me. If you could tie all the portkeys in together that might save some time too."

Barchoke could only smile before nodding in thanks to the young auror, Tonks wasn't finished though, she then turned her attention onto Dan and Emma. "I was about their age just before Voldemort was defeated - and things were really bad then. Breakfast at Hogwarts was always eaten in silence as we waited for the owls to tell us who had lost loved ones the night before. I would have gladly given my right arm to be able to offer my parents the level of protection these two just gave you."

She could see this was opening the Grangers' eyes to just how bad the situation could get, it was to Emma that Tonks aimed her next comment. "I respect your decision, Emma, but this is a matter that certainly isn't over. Situations can change very quickly and there is simply no argument against that island being the safest place for you both. If I could get my mother and father to go, I would send them there too."

Seeing how effective Tonks argument was against Dan and Emma, Harry quickly jumped in. "Your mum and dad would certainly be welcome, Tonks. So would Frank and Alice or Smita and Ramrao. What about Draco and Pansy's mothers - Pauline Nott has a little sister too young for Hogwarts, she and her mother might be targets too."

His mate joined in, knowing her parents were far more likely to leave the country as part of a group who were at risk. "There must be others who are going to be targeted, we need to put our heads together and make a list..."

Dan interrupted his daughter. "I thought we were safe behind these wards, that anyone carrying the dark mark couldn't cross them?"

"Wards are like shields, Dan, hit any shield long enough or hard enough and it will eventually fail." This had Dan looking at Barchoke as if he'd been sold a pig in a poke, the goblin offered him some reassurance of his earlier statement. "That shield being attacked will set off an alarm and still protect you, at least long enough for our warriors to arrive. They would then need to decide the odds they faced and either evacuate the people out of there or stand and fight the attackers. The wards buy you that precious time, the better the wards then the more time you have - ours are simply the best."

Harry agreed with his father but didn't want pride in their wards to negate the advances they had just made in shifting the Grangers point of view toward reaching the decision he and Hermione badly wanted. "While our wards are unquestionably the best, we really don't know just how well they'll perform if Voldemort turns up with a few dozen death eaters and starts trying to bring them down. It's obviously not something you can test until it actually happens. Our entire magical community knows I'm the Baron of Kingussie and we've made no secret of the fact you are both staying here, that might be a target that's just too tempting for Voldemort to resist. You've both already been attacked because of me, I simply don't want that happening again."

Both Hermione and Harry could see that it wouldn't take much more to change dad's mind, mum was always going to be the sticking point. Emma then surprised her children. "We're all going to be together over Christmas and New Year, let's enjoy the holidays and then we'll sit down and talk about this again before you head back to Hogwarts."

Emma knew she'd gotten it right when her arms were suddenly full of two happy teens.

Dan had another question though, this one aimed at Harry. "I understand you being worried about us but aren't you scared, or at least surprised at this madman's return?"

"We always knew he would return one day, that's why I train as hard as I do. Ever since I reentered the magical world, my entire emphasis has been to try to prepare all of us for this happening. I'm not scared because I know Amelia will be hunting down the death eaters and father will be doing his best to see them financially crippled too."

Barchoke couldn't help but stand behind his children and put his hands proudly on their shoulders, only the fact they were still sitting on the sofa meant he didn't have to reach up to do so. "The wards around the ministry had taken away their anonymity, the ministry can then use the actions of the death eaters to destroy any shred of respectability. The Nation will then lawfully snatch their family fortunes right from under them, and that gold will be used by the ministry to aid the death eaters' downfall. The Nation was always going to stand behind Harry, that the ministry has promised to do the same puts us far ahead of any predictions we had for this event eventually happening. We're working very hard to ensure all our children are in as little danger as possible."

This was something they all wanted to hear and Harry used it to further push their agenda. "If he'd returned without those changes being made, we would probably all be heading for our island today. If that had been allowed to happen, all our predictions said it would require nothing short of a miracle to stop Voldemort taking over the country. I'm a warrior with a warrior's training. That training teaches us not to fight against suicidal odds like that, especially for a country that won't support you. Gringotts would have made a strategic withdrawal out of Britain and left its people to deal with the problems of their own making."

This left all three Grangers and the young auror shocked, looking to Barchoke for conformation. The goblin didn't disappoint. "It's easy to forget how far we've come in the last two and a half years. Before Harry attended Hogwarts, The Nation trying to inform the ministry that Voldemort had returned would have needed to be accomplished by the procedures put in place and bound by treaties - a memo through the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. With Lucius Malfoy still at large and death eaters at the highest levels of magical society, what do you think the chances of us being believed would have been? Voldemort would have taken over the ministry and then turned his greedy eyes to us. We would then be faced with the option of fighting a war we couldn't win or withdrawing in the hope of fighting another day. That really is no choice and our decision would not have been a difficult one."

Tonks had no trouble imagining events playing out as Barchoke had described, nor could she cast any doubt on his conclusions - Britain would have fallen to the darkness. Dan's exposure to the magical world also provided him with the knowledge to see the possible outcome Barchoke had just given them as a distinct possibility. He also could see no way in which that happening wouldn't spill over into the totally unprepared muggle world. It would be the Potter Killers magnified by a factor of hundreds, and with no young man to race to their rescue with alternative accommodation it would be a bleak situation.

Emma wasn't interested in looking at the bigger picture. She didn't know if her pregnancy was already affecting her hormones but all the mother could think of was how that would have effected her now growing family. Harry and Hermione found themselves being held tighter by a mother who was now thinking there were worse ways of spending your time than staying on a tropical island.

-oOoOo-

Sirius currently had his hands full with a very happy Moa Hobson, and thinking there were worse ways of starting your day. "Oh Sirius, I'm so happy for you both."

"Thanks Moa, we're pretty pleased about it ourselves. We may have to put off our big announcement though, I just discovered what Dan and Emma wanted to tell those two. I wouldn't want to steal their spotlight."

His wife was delighted for the couple and they quickly decided to wait until New Year's Eve to make their announcement. Like Emma, Henrica wanted her family to know the news first, waiting another week to tell all their friends she and Sirius were going to have a daughter wouldn't exactly be a hardship. Her mother might have a problem with that though, she was already suggesting names for her granddaughter. Lukas was walking around with a grin almost as wide as Sirius', considering they were going to get some Christmas shopping done today then that really was quite an achievement.

-oOoOo-

Getting St Mungo's warded on Christmas Day was certainly an achievement, Amelia had faced very few problems when screening the hospital staff. She supposed a healer's oath to aid those in need would probably prohibit them joining an organisation where they rape, maim and murder for fun.

No, Amelia's biggest problem had been what she herself should do over the festive holidays. She knew Susan was really looking forward to spending Christmas in Kingussie with her friends, but even more so to having them all at her home to celebrate the arrival of the New Year.

While cancelling the event wouldn't raise too many eyebrows, news of the party hadn't exactly been spread all over the ministry, she did know Susan would be bitterly disappointed. Amelia had taken the decision just to act as if everything was normal, even though Susan was well aware a certain madman had returned. The head of the D.M.L.E. had trouble remembering being an age where what dress she was going to wear to her New Year Party was more important than a returning dark lord. Amelia also knew that attitude wouldn't last, war had a way of touching everyone's life, and that's what they would face if they allowed Voldemort time to build up his support.

She almost needed supporting herself as they were led into the new ballroom at the Baron of Kingussie's home, it was simply stunning. Both Amelia and Susan made their way over to the magnificent Christmas tree in the corner of the room, Sirius had invoked Kris Kringle again this year and everyone had quickly confirmed they would participate. The presents would be handed out after dinner, giving their meal time to digest before the dancing began.

Amelia almost choked when she spotted Moody at the party, and watched in disbelief as he slipped a present under the tree. She was mentally calculating just how many spells he would cast on the present he received before deciding it was safe to unwrap.

It was good to see all their friends again and Amelia was now sure she'd made the right decision, watching as Susan practically glowed with excitement and happiness certainly ensured her Christmas would be a happy one. They would face whatever came their way but events like this was what they were fighting for.

-oOoOo-

There wasn't much sign of merriment in the Dursley home, this Christmas wasn't exactly proving to be a happy one. To be honest, apart from the better programs on the telly, it was just like any other day of the year for the Dursleys. The amount of Christmas cards the entire family received this year didn't reach double figures, the Dursley family's social standing in Crawley had reached an all time low. It almost felt as if, instead of their Christmas decorations, there was a red cross painted on the front of their house to warn others of the danger of catching the plague - even the double glazing salesmen and the Jehovah's Witnesses wouldn't knock on their door now.

It was therefore an even greater shock when their locked front door suddenly opened and three strangers walked straight into their home. Petunia may have never set eyes on any of them before but she couldn't mistake the clothing they were wearing.

"FREAKS! Get out of my home..."

The woman who was with the two men moved with the speed of a striking snake, she drew a knife and slashed Petunia's cheek - putting a sudden and permanent end to her tirade.

"Muggle bitch, how dare you even speak to my master. Get down on your knees, now."

Petunia had shot to her feet the second she had spotted the intruders in her home, that someone would actually slash her face in their own living room saw her sinking to her knees in shock. It took several attempts before Vernon could actually prise himself out of his armchair, only for his limbs to then lock as he fell forward onto the floor with a force that almost shook the house.

Dudley saw none of this, his entire being was concentrated on the terrifying bald guy with those horrific red eyes. The obese teen wasn't much of a believer in god, he attended church purely because his parents bribed him with sweets and lunch at a restaurant of his choosing. Dudley fervently believed in the devil though, he really had no other option since he was currently looking right at him. He couldn't explain it but Dudley instinctively knew death had just come calling to their house. It wasn't a conscious decision nor a spell that had him sitting there and doing absolutely nothing, Dudley was simply unable to move a muscle - frozen by fear.

"Thank you, Bella, for that lesson on how these filthy muggles-s should act when in the presence of their betters-s. It would seem their nephew doesn't care for them much either, not even the most basic wards-s on their home. Tell me, how does-s it feel to know he spent millions-s helping strangers-s while leaving you here to fend for yourselves-s?"

Augustus had placed a silencing charm on a body-bound Vernon so it was left to a bleeding Petunia to answer, Dudley certainly had no intention of speaking and drawing attention to himself. "We have no nephew, that boy is no family to us. I wish he'd died along with his parents..."

A lightning fast strike from Bella saw Petunia's other cheek slashed. "You will keep a respectful tongue in your head, talk to my master like that again and I will cut it out."

Petunia was sinking deeper into shock. Part of her knew they wouldn't survive this while another part wept at her blood spilling onto the lounge carpet. It was ruined and they had no spare cash to buy a new one.

"I want you to tell me everything you know about your nephew."

She was about to protest again that she had no nephew but the knife in the crazy bitch's hand changed her mind. "We've only met him once. He attacked our Dudley in town and we went round there to sort him out - they attacked my Vernon..."

Petunia suddenly thought she had a way out of this, give them another target. "The Grangers, it's the Grangers you want to talk to. They know all about him, he even stays there." She quickly supplied the address but giving that information didn't provide the reaction she was hoping for.

"The whole country knows-s that these muggles-s are now living with the Baron of Kingussie in his-s Highland estate, what can you tell me about that?"

Petunia was left shaking her head. "I've never heard of him..."

The knife now slashed across her nose as Bella's temper spiralled out of control, her first bout of morning sickness had honed her usual quick temper until it had an edge as sharp as her blade. "Stupid muggle bitch, your nephew holds that title. Master, perhaps a different sort of persuasion might give us better results?"

There entire purpose for being here tonight was to send a message to Potter, the death of his only living relatives. That they could witness their terror while doing so was just a little Christmas present, a present they intended to enjoy. They were also using methods that Rookwood had pioneered since their escape from Azkaban, keeping their use of magic to a minimum and no dark curses for the ministry to detect.

A nod from his master was all Augustus needed to begin using cutting curses on the fat muggle, he left the silencing charm in place as Petunia's precious husband was soon like her rug - beyond saving.

She had pleaded and begged, earning another couple of slashes but no reprieve for Vernon. Petunia was swearing to every deity she could think of that she knew no more when Voldemort picked up on something she had babbled.

"You swear on the life of your son? We'll just have to test that now, won't we."

That sparked Petunia into life, she threw herself across Dudley. "Not Dudley, please no. Don't kill him, take me, kill me instead. Leave my baby alone..."

"I made that mistake with your sister, I won't make the same mistake again."

Petunia found herself ripped from her son and stuck to the wall, her position affording her the perfect view as this animal slowly cut her beloved son to pieces with his wand. Dudley's tortured screams driving the helpless mother insane.

Voldemort knew the charms they had placed on the house before entering would ensure only those in the house heard the boy's screams, it was now time to finish what they came to do.

"Bella my dear, time to leave your lovely message for our young Mister Potter."

She approached Petunia and ripped the front of her dress apart. Taking her knife she began to carve letters into the muggle's living flesh. Petunia was all out of screams by the time Bella was finished using her body to create her macabre form of artwork. With her husband and son now lying dead it was a relief when that blade finished its work, its last task cutting her throat and finally ending her torment.

As the three murderers left the scene of slaughter, there was no need to cast the dark mark over their evening's work. The muggle festive lights and decorations that surrounded them couldn't possibly pierce the darkness they had just left behind. Bella's message certainly wasn't 'Merry Christmas' but it ensured everyone would know exactly who was responsible for the three mutilated bodies they were leaving in the house behind them.

-oOoOo-

Albus certainly knew who was responsible for the murder of the Dursleys, he didn't even need the 'Potter will die' message that had been carved into Petunia's chest to help him reach that conclusion. His own source had quickly confirmed that Voldemort had returned, and here was an unmissable indicator of his intentions. This was clearly targeted to cause the maximum possible psychological damage to young Harry.

As he put down his newspaper, Albus was finding it difficult to generate any sympathy for the obnoxious muggle family he had argued with all those years ago. He'd warned them in great detail that this outcome was a distinct possibility if they didn't take Harry into their home. They had refused Harry and the blood protection their nephew would have provided. They thought they knew better than Albus Dumbledore, assuming they were safe simply by moving home - and Albus had been proven right.

The Dursleys would never learn it was a mistake not to follow the advice of Albus Dumbledore but others could now reap the benefits of his wisdom from this situation. With Tom's return the entire country would quickly see the error of their ways and the name Albus Dumbledore would shortly be on their lips. Those very same lips would soon be begging for him to return and once more lead the country in the battle against Voldemort.

His plans called for them to suffer a little longer, it wasn't time for him to make his triumphant return to Britain and Hogwarts. Soon - but not quite yet.

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