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Of Lies and Deceit and Hidden Personas

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"I've just realised something," Harry said, the duvet pooling at his hips from where he sat watching Tom get ready.

"What is it?"

"I'm going to be meeting your friend just after I've either A: revealed heavily kept family secrets that he really didn't want to come out in the worst place of all, or B: revealed heavily kept family secrets that even he didn't know about and he's going to find out from us." Harry wrinkled his nose, "There is literally no way this isn't going to be awkward."

Tom shot him a raised eyebrow in the mirror from where he was combing his hair.

"Mhm, and what are you really concerned about?" He wondered, making Harry huff and look away crossing his arms and he did so. Tom rolled his eyes, moving over to run his hands through Harry's hair and tilt his head back so he could look directly in to green. "Well?"

"He is your friend, Tom." Harry complained, "How am I supposed to make a good impression given that I quite happily dumped several secrets in to the open?"

Tom chuckled fondly as he could see Harry's bottom lip starting to jut out, he kissed him lightly and shook his head.

"Just be you," Tom told him, "I am quite certain Theodore will like you for that."

"I suppose it is a bit late to be worrying about it." Harry agreed, pointedly ignoring the swell of pleasure and light blush he had gotten from Tom's certainty. That was happening a lot more recently, he was pretty sure Tom said things like that just to get him to blush. What made it worse was that Harry didn't normally blush at such things, it was more than a little annoying.

"Ever so slightly," Tom agreed amused. "You may wish to try clothes."

"Yeah yeah," He grumbled, dragging himself up and slinking towards the bathroom. "What should I wear?"

"I'm starting to believe you could wear a paper bag and look good." Tom admitted, making Harry snort, "Wear your fitted dark green robe."

"Hm, good choice." Harry's voice was muffled as the water started up and the teen had a relatively quick shower. He came out wrapped in a towel, running his hand through his hair to dry it and heading straight towards his clothes. Harry grinned at Tom's sound of approval when he paired his fitted green robe with a shirt, his black 'hide trousers and the boots he wore the night previously.

"When are we leaving?" Harry asked, doing the final button up on his robe. All of his robes were open front and he usually wore them loose, but he felt he could put a touch more effort in to a true wizard-y appearance to meet Tom's friend.

"We'll have breakfast here and leave after." Tom answered, "Theodore expects up 'this morning'."

"Merlin forbid you be a decent human and give the poor man a time." Harry muttered, and Tom smirked, snagging him by the waist and turning around. "What if we're late? That would be rude, and I don't think that's the best opening to go for."

"Dark Lord." Tom said smugly, and when Harry opened his mouth no doubt to argue he couldn't use that excuse, he added "And Theodore is more than used to it."

Harry rolled his eyes, but a smile was playing around his lips.

"You've been bullying him for too long."

"It was his decision to stick around." Tom pointed out reasonably and Harry conceded he did have a point. "Now will you please calm down. We will not be late, you have nothing to worry about in regards to last night and Theodore, and you look as incredible as usual."

Harry huffed, pressed his head to Tom's shoulder as he focused himself.

"Fine fine," He relented, "We'd better go to breakfast – Dark Lord or not, we're in Cissa's domain."

"You know I completely blame you for the fact that my followers now believe they are entitled to act in such away." Tom told him, leading them from the room.

"It's not all of your followers, it's just the Elite. Besides, you were slowly becoming sane again in the summer anyway." Harry replied and Tom scoffed.

"Please! It's more than that and you know it. Narcissa warned me to take better care of myself only last week; she warned me!" Tom sounded so put out that Harry couldn't help but burst out laughing, he got a look of venom for his troubles but it was worth it.

"That's what happens when people care apparently." Harry said once he had regained himself, "Or when you're not so terrifying that people forget that you are, you know, human."

"I should have kept the snake look." Tom sniffed.

"And gotten all of zero hands on me."

"I suppose there is that." Tom allowed. They walked in to the dining room and greeted the Malfoys and the Lestranges, taking their seats and helping themselves to the food.

"I've already had several letters this morning requesting to break the Act on account of passing out the life debt between you and Izar." Lucius informed him, his tone somewhat amused and Harry smirked.

"As soon as the Wizengamot session is through then they can spill the secrets all they wish." Harry said pleased, "Izar dug his own grave, I just allowed him to stay out of it for a bit longer."

"I cannot begin to describe how happy I am that I got to witness that." Draco sighed pleased, "Obviously, we knew you were just waiting for an opening, but you didn't even ease him in to it."

"It was straight for the throat." Narcissa agreed, and then she gave a dangerous smirk reminding the room that she was born of the House Black, "With no chance of recovery."

"It was brilliant," Bella allowed, "And I suppose I can get over the lack of blood as it was in Cissa's ballroom."

Harry, Draco, Rodolphus and Rabastan laughed as Narcissa gave a prim nod and Tom and Lucius smirked at the woman.

"I won't bother asking if the information is true, his reaction was enough to established that." Lucius mused, "But just where did you find out about his son?"

"It was an accident, actually." Harry said, "And it was more of a certain guess rather than anything confirmed."

"You mean you blurted that out last night when you were guessing if it was true!" Draco exclaimed, "Are you out of your mind?"

"It was more than a guess, Draco." Harry soothed, "I actually met the guy, completely by accident, of course."

"You did?" Tom wondered, quite a bit interested.

"Yes, we were at a circus in America last year on a hunt." Harry replied, "We were taking a break and he was the spitting image of Izar, but younger and blonder. Then, once I found out about Theo Jr, I decided that it was certain."

"Which is another matter entirely." Narcissa said thoughtfully, "Of course, there isn't an issue that there was a blood adoption, however, his severe secrecy makes the situation look entirely worse that it could be."

"The hint about his wife probably didn't help." Rabastan added with a gleeful smirk.

"No, I do not believe it did, even if it is a possibility." Lucius drawled, "My Lord, do you know anything about any of the situations?"

"No, I do not." Tom admitted.

"You are visiting Theodore today, aren't you, My Lord?" Narcissa inquired, "If you do not know, then there is a great chance that he does not know also."

"We are leaving after breakfast where I will be able to speak with Theodore in depth about it." Tom said, "As to if Izar is responsible for his wife's disappearance may have to wait until I speak with him about his breech in your positions."

"Alexandra was a lovely woman, if a bit quiet." Narcissa remembered, "To think he may have killed her – his own wife!"

"Nott's got many things to answer for," Harry pointed out, "That's not all the information I have on him as there are much lighter things, but I didn't want him recovering at all."

"Don't worry, Nott isn't getting up any time soon." Rodolphus chuckled.

"Last night was truly glorious." Draco said pleased, "The uproar that could build because of Bones and the quills is set to be beautiful."

"Oh yes, the Gamps spoke of it, didn't they Harry?" Narcissa confirmed.

"Yes, and I also learned that Umbridge only got an A on her Defence NEWT which means she wasn't really qualified to teach in the first place. Bones is furious and believes she was using compulsions to make sure that it wasn't spoken about by the students, add that together then both Dumbledore and Fudge are going to look particularly worse than they do now."

"And given the fact that Hadrian found that bill signed by Fudge to grant her the use of the Quills…" Lucius let his sentence hang and they all shared somewhat malicious smirks.

"Bones is going to have an aneurism when that's get revealed." Harry said with relish.

"I can picture it."

"Dumbledore is going to try and use the fact that Fudge issued the order and his sycophants will lap it up." Tom mused, "Whether or not Bones allows him to do so is a different matter entirely."

"There is going to be so much surprise in the next session that I would almost guarantee that people will be less than controlled." Draco pointed out, "Bones usually keeps the cauldron simmering so she can retain her position and actually do her job without focus on her and on top of that there are going to be new Houses and so much information."

"Even if she isn't willing to speak up about it, I have no such qualms." Harry stated, "This session is the outing session, this is the one where it's all going to come out to Dumbledore anyway. If I have to speak up about getting my hand carved in to repeatedly and how Dumbledore allowed it to happen then I will. Rita is going to be there anyway, if she has sense, she'll fly out with me after the general rush and we'll get an article out."

"Oh yes, that will be something to read." Narcissa said with a smirk, "I can only imagine the sort of spin dear Rita will put on the session."

"And there's the fact that I intend to give Pettigrew to Hadrian the day after – I can't wait for Dumbledore to try and get out of that one."

"He won't be able to, not when it can be shown he was one of the people giving evidence against Black." Lucius denied.

"Looks very bad for a Chief Warlock, doesn't it?" Harry questioned with a grin, "And you can bet money on the fact that Bones will go after him for that even if she lets the Quills go."

"The old fool really has no idea what's coming to him." Tom said in mock sympathy.

"I can almost hear the outrage over Dumbledore condemning the at the time heir of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black." Bella crowed, "The old bastard deserves nothing less for what he did to Sirius."

Thankfully, only Tom caught Harry's slight flinch at the mention of his Godfather's name, but he completely agreed with her words; Dumbledore deserved that and more.

"I think it's better that Dumbledore won't know about any of this until the Wizengamot session." Draco commented slyly.

"He chose the wrong time to go underground," Lucius agreed with a smirk, "Not that it was all his choice, of course."

"We haven't actually heard anything of Dumbledore all through the holidays, he's-," Harry froze mid-sentence, his eyes going unfocussed as something very startling occurred to him.

"Dear sweet Merlin," He murmured, sitting back in his seat.

"Harry, are you quite alright?" Narcissa wondered, a touch concerned.

"I've just realised something." He told her, "And by Merlin is it going to, if possible, make the upcoming Wizengamot session even better."

"How?" Lucius wondered, his eyebrow raised in scepticism; a feeling mirrored around the whole table.

"We've all been discussing how the speculation surrounding the Blood Quill cover up coming from Bones is only going to make it worse for Dumbledore, and how he's been underground for the entire Yule season so he's going to walk in to a storm the first session back." Harry said.

"Yes, it's going to be a nasty surprise for him to return to." Tom said, sounding very pleased. "Bones and Dumbledore have never seen eye-to-eye and this scandal has not raised his favour in her eyes no doubt."

"Exactly, it's going to be a vicious shock to Dumbledore. Even more so given the fact that Amelia Bones is supposed to be dead."

The entire table stilled and looked at him in an incredulous silence. Harry sat completely unconcerned while waiting for them to respond, he saw Bella's expression slowly morph in to stunned realisation and smirked.

"I killed her." She exclaimed, bewildered.

"When was this?" Draco questioned, astonished.

"And how did we not here of it?" Narcissa wondered.

"But we did." Tom stated, his expression showing mild surprise. "This was months ago, when I issued distraction raids so a few of Harry's and I could move without notice of anyone. Bella appeared in the middle of a battle with aurors and took out Johnson, Vance and apparently Amelia Bones."

"Now that I think about it, I have wondered why we haven't heard anything from Bones given the Dumbledore articles anyway." Lucius said slowly.

"We haven't heard anything because she hasn't been in the Ministry." Harry said excitedly, "It literally occurred to me just then that Bones shouldn't have been in the equation."

"She must have survived and took a step back." Rodolphus mused, "She would have had to gone under extensive healing anyway, I remember the raid now myself and she should have been dead. We left when she fell, however, so she could have been extracted."

"Obviously, we will have to incorporate this in to our plans, but given the fact that she's staunch neutral and no longer head of the DMLE it may not have a great ripple effect on us." Draco put in thoughtfully.

"Better still, according to the Order, which means by extension Dumbledore, Amelia Bones is still very much dead. And I really want to see his face when he sees her again." Harry laughed as the table shared malicious smirks at Dumbledore's expense.

"I have decided that I am attending this Wizengamot session." Narcissa announced, "Given that it is an open session, it wouldn't look out of place for Lady Malfoy to be in appearance. Naomi and I were discussing it last night, and with what I know now I feel as if I really cannot miss it."

"I don't blame you." Harry said, "I didn't realise it was an open session because Draco was worried about not being able attend but that was more to do with overdoing it with the time-turners than not being able to get there. You don't need to worry about that."

"Yeah, Blaise is missing it because with all of the things we're working on at school and we're basically all out he doesn't want to burn out." Draco agreed, "The twins are going to be tripled at least while they monitor everything so Blaise said he's help out there, too."

"That is understandable, messages are going to be flying as soon as any of you step in to the room." Lucius nodded, "Preparation for that is only wise."

"The twins have a whole network set up." Draco told his father, a touch of pride lining his tone, which reminded Harry that Draco had had to sit down and tell his father he was in a relationship with the twins. Harry himself had dragged Tom to stand in the shadows of the room as Draco told his parents about the twins; the sound that emanated from Lucius had Harry crying, and even Tom was reduced to outright laughing at the Malfoy Lord when he had to be led from the room by his dutiful wife. His exclamation of "WeasleysCissa, Weasleys!" echoing in the hall. Harry had stepped out of the shadows in front of a wrung out Draco and helpfully pointed out that the twins were, in fact, Prewetts; the blond's enraged scream followed Harry as he ran away.

"Those two are brilliant," Rabastan said honestly, but then he shuddered, "But by Merlin do they terrify me."

Harry couldn't stop himself snorting at that, laughing the looks of incredulity the Death Eater was getting from everyone other than Draco.

"You are scared of the Weasley twins?" Rodolphus asked his brother, looking as if he was questioning if they were truly related.

"You haven't seen them. They pop up in the library now and then, huddled together over strange books." Rabastan said, his voice grave and his eyes slightly wide, "With wild eyes and feverish expressions and they… whisper things. Odd things. And when they realise someone's there they just give wide toothy grins." He shuddered again. By this point, Harry was giggling helplessly, muffling it my leaning in to Tom, who was shaking slightly with repressed laughter as he listened to his Elite.

"They cannot be that bad, Bastan." Bella scoffed, eyeing him as if he was the one who was slightly insane.

"I have to admit," Narcissa began slowly, "Now that I think about it, those two are … different."

"That's a polite way of saying they're demented." Tom stated with a smirk.

"Hey!" Harry exclaimed outraged, poking him in the arm.

"You cannot even contemplate arguing against that fact." Tom denied.

"I damn well can. They're not demented, thank you very much." Harry informed him primly, "They're deranged."

Tom laughed before he could stop himself and Harry grinned at him as he shook his head.

"Idiot," Tom sighed but it was fond.

"Retreating to our original topic, given our presence in the Wizengamot if there is anyone connected to or in the Order in the public we're going to need to know about it and that's what the twins are going to be monitoring." Harry said, "What our reception will be like when we get back to the castle is debateable, but as long as we're in the castle it won't matter. Now that Dumbledore is officially out of the Headmaster's position, we can do what we like."

"You cannot get in to trouble for attending – all Lords enrolled at Hogwarts have a right to attend any Wizengamot session." Lucius pointed out.

"No, but who on the staff is really on Dumbledore's side and who is not? Having all of us out of the castle prevents us from learning what's been happening with Dumbledore's absence."

"Severus has not spoken of anything severe." Tom said, "Other than him receiving the Deputy placement, of course."

"Yeah, but that's being announced at the opening feast so we don't really need to worry about that."


"We'll have to do what you best, Harry," Draco said with a smirk, which Harry returned.

"Wing it!"

As soon as he had read his friend and Lord's letter regarding his son's ball, Theodore knew that there very well could be an incident at the Malfoy ball. Whether it was because of his son's increasing stupidity or Lord Potter-Black's more than deserved retaliation had yet to be seen. Theodore was absolutely furious with his son, he had warned him on multiple occasions to back away from Potter-Black, but it had become very apparent his words had gone unheeded. Izar's behaviour was unacceptable to the very highest degree: not only was he alienating someone with a greater political power than his own, but he was going against the Dark Lord himself. That was irredeemable.

He had been both looking forward to and dreading his Lord's visit; wondering what he would be discovering of his son's actions and highly interested in finally meeting the Potter-Black Lord. After everything he had heard of the young Lord, and witnessing the effect he had had on his old friend, Theodore was exceedingly intrigued as to what it was about him that managed to capture Marvolo's interest so much. However, all of that was promptly forgotten about when his grandson had floo'd to his home in the middle of the Malfoy ball looking completely stricken, stuttering out that the Dark Lord had sent him. Obviously, Theo couldn't tell him anything that had occurred, but given that he was there told Theodore enough. He had seen to his grandson, gotten him settled for the night and then fixed himself a large drink. Somehow, his blasted boy had managed to get himself publicly ejected from a Yule ball; not just any ball, but the Malfoy family ball. Theodore knew then what had to be done.

Before that, however, he had to speak to someone who could tell him what exactly had taken place. Whatever it was had his poor grandson frozen in a white-faced silence, he didn't touch his breakfast and had retreated to his rooms as soon as acceptable. Theodore could admit that he was feeling slightly ill waiting for his Lord to arrive. Which was why he actually sighed out loud in relief when the wards alerted him to Marvolo's arrival, yet he was slightly confused as only Marvolo registered; did he once again forget to bring Lord Potter-Black? Theodore blinked and made a note to check his wards because he could hear the sound of two voices as his Lord approached. Instantly, Theodore knew exactly why Marvolo had first chosen Potter-Black to have a secret tryst; well built, well dressed, and extremely attractive. And those eyes, so like the Killing Curse; they shone with power. The second thing he noticed was that Marvolo had the young Lord on his arm as if it was the most natural thing in the world and they both looked very comfortable in the position.

"Good morning, Theodore." Marvolo greeted with a nod,

"Good morning, Marvolo." Theodore returned, and then focused on the new comer.

"Allow me to introduce Lord Harry Potter-Black. Harry, this is Theodore Nott Senior."

"It is a pleasure to meet you at last, Lord Potter-Black."

"Harry please," Harry insisted with a small smile, shaking the man's hand, "It's great to finally meet the man Tom speaks so highly of."

Theodore wouldn't have been able to stop his eyebrows from shooting up even if he tried, while he was pleased that his friend openly held him in the same regard and Theodore held him in terms of friendship, he honestly could not believe the name Harry had used. He glanced at his friend who had a look of long held resignation.

"He refuses to call me anything but." Marvolo sighed in exasperation making Harry grin, he reached up and patted Tom's cheek consolingly.

"There there," He soothed mockingly, "This is what happens when you try to kill someone six times and enter them in to a deadly tournament."

Tom shot him a look of utmost disgust much to Harry's, and Theodore's, amusement. Nott could scarcely believe his eyes, never before had he seen anyone treat his friend in such a way – it just wasn't done. Not only that but Marvolo allowed it to happen, amused at the young Lord's actions despite his expression. This visit would be monumentally more interesting if this was usual behaviour; Theodore would get to see just how attached Marvolo was.

"As you can see, I was actually extending you a huge service by keeping him away." Marvolo deadpanned receiving a punch in the arm for his effort and Theodore had to chuckle at that.

"What he means to say is that I have been ridiculously busy else I would have come sooner." Harry corrected, "Also, your home is beautiful and I am very jealous of the stained glass windows."

"Thank you. They were painted by my great-grandmother." Theodore replied, "Please, have a seat. I feel that we have much to discuss."

"That, unfortunately Theodore, is a vast understatement." Marvolo informed him, pulling Harry down next to him on the sofa closest to the window, accepting his tea with a word of thanks; Theodore had chosen the sunroom this morning.

"I feared as much, given my grandson arrived during the Malfoy ball." Theodore acknowledged, not at all reassured when the pair shared a look before turning back to him.

"I first have to ask if you have any Nott family secrets directly involving either Izar or Theodore Jr that you have not confided in me?" Marvolo inquired and Theodore's eyebrow rose slowly, a sinking feeling appearing in his stomach.

"No, I do not."

"That is really not the answer I was hoping for." Harry muttered, grimacing slightly.

"I already knew I would not like what this conversation would reveal, but I am starting to believe I am going to enjoy it even less than first assumed."

"I wrote to you to inform you of the happenings at your son's ball." Marvolo said instead of confirming or denying his friend's words.

"Yes, and I feel I must apologise for the slight and the insult you received whilst in attendance, Harry."

"Thank you, though you may want to hold off on that apology for now." Harry advised and Theodore raised an eyebrow but nodded once.

"I will be perfectly honest with you, Theodore, there isn't a single hope in all of magic's will that can make your son recover from the consequences of his actions." Marvolo said bluntly. Theodore closed his eyes and exhaled slowly, coming from anyone else he would think the words an exaggeration, but coming from his Lord and friend they were damning.

"Tell me it all."

"Izar's first words to Harry once we had sat down for the meal were and I quote 'one cannot help the decline in satisfactory linage for important decisions'. Then he went on to insult his mother's talent, called her a pet and state that Harry had no right to control a pureblood House, let alone two."

Theodore swallowed heavily and thanked his stars he was sitting down because had he been standing he didn't believe his legs would have remained under him; such vicious insults spoken in front of so many others. What was that blasted boy of his thinking? There was literally nothing that could justify his actions, and this was just the beginning; as grievous as the insults were, they wouldn't have gotten him removed from the Malfoy ball. He also knew that, without a doubt, Potter-Black would not have let those insults slide, especially after the slight his son gave at his own ball.

"Your retaliation?" Theodore inquired evenly, steeling himself for whatever was coming. Harry regarding him with a blank expression, his head tilted slightly.

"You are aware, of course, that me and mine are very adept at finding secrets people don't want discovered." Harry said and Theodore nodded.

"Yes, I might feel pity if it wasn't Dumbledore." He commented amused, and Harry smirked before his expression cleared once again.

"I pointed out his continued emphasis on blood, then wondered how much shame and disgust he carried when he thought of his older squib son."

Nott sucked a sharp breath through his teeth before he could help it, eyes widening at the revelation.

"What?" He gasped, shock and disbelief lining his tone, "A squib son, an older squib son?"

"Hm, yes. He didn't react too well. He reacted much worse when I wondered how he dealt with his current son when blood adoption doesn't make 'real' purebloods." Harry continued, as if he was speaking of the weather. Theodore released a wheeze as another wave of shock hit him so closely following the first, he held up a hand to stall the young Lord's words and he took multiple deep breathes to try and calm down.

He wanted to demand answers and rage his denials, but he knew, as much as he knew himself, that Marvolo would not be here confirming Potter-Black's words if he himself was not certain. His son had betrayed their House. While squibs weren't the most accepted within their history, no squib of the House Nott was ever cast out. They tended to be set up and sent away, contracted to other squibs from fellow pureblood Houses in the hopes that they would birth a magical child down the line. Not only that, his son had lied to him about Theodore Jr for sixteen years. His grandson would always be his grandson, but something of this severity should have been told to him no matter what – even if the adoption was after Izar had taken the Lordship. And if both these revelations were not enough, his son had gone and gotten these damning secrets revealed in public at the Malfoy ball.

"I fear to ask what else happened." Theodore admitted, once he had regained himself.

"Izar thought it wise to curse Harry and then lunge across the table to attack him, which escalated into a duel, that he then lost and subsequently ended up tied with a life debt." Marvolo informed him, rounding everything off in one for his friend. He watched the man close his eyes and breathe deeply once again before his usual calm settled, even if it was harder than normal.

"I see," Theodore paused thoughtfully, "I will not lie and say I do not value pure blood, because I do. But it is more due to my respect of family history, and some of the greatest history of our world comes from Pureblood lines. However, I do not believe in casting out or removing squibs from the family. They have the opportunity to do much for our world and for the family."

"I think I like you already." Harry said in delight.

"Also, while I would have greatly preferred not to have such secrets revealed in such a setting, it is nothing but what my son deserves for what he has done." Theodore acknowledged and Harry nodded.

"What do you intend to do with Izar?" Tom asked him and Theodore grimaced.

"His actions betray our House so I will invoke old House Law for punishment." He replied and Harry perked up.

"Are you the Lord Nott now then?"

"Yes, my son has caused too much dishonour to the family. To perform a blood adoption without my consent is inexcusable. Do not mistake, I would have given permission should he have asked, and Theodore Jr will always be my Grandson, but bringing members in to the family is a without the Lord of House knowing is unforgivable. Besides, even if he waited until he was the new Lord, he should have spoken with me. I will be speaking with my Grandson about this as it has breached his contract no doubt, then we shall continue from there."

"I think having you as the Lord Nott will only do good things." Harry said brightly, "Of course, you really can't do worse than Izar so that's a bonus."

"He is a foolish man," Theodore sighed, "Other than blood, have you had any ultercations with him?"

"No, that's the weird thing. Before the summer, I hadn't ever spoken to Izar Nott – I didn't even have a history with your Grandson as he keeps himself mostly out of arguments in school." Harry explained, then he shrugged, "Luna will find out what's going on in his head, and if she doesn't then Tom will."

"I believe once we have established just what it is about you that makes him lose all of his senses we will be able to move forward." Tom mused, "It is pointless in merely punishing him when it appears that he isn't going to stop. Normally, the reminder of social repercussions would have stilled Izar's tongue."

"Especially given that you have openly declared to the Elite that me and mine are with you." Harry added.

"Which is just another thing that I cannot begin to understand." Theodore said shaking his head, "He is going against everything he had ever stood for, and for what exactly? It's one thing to create House incidents, but to betray our sector?"

"He's going to suffer for it currently and in the future. I'm done with whatever restraint I found earlier which means all of mine will be doing the same thing; I gotta fair few Houses and friends backing me." Harry pointed out.

"The ritual will be performed tonight." Theodore decided, "I should have done this after I heard of the open hostility at the Zabini ball, but the last thing I wanted was the next two balls to be focused on House Nott gossip."

"You could not have known it would come to such a situation." Tom reminded him, "Your son's actions are his own."

"That and doing the ritual now instead of previously allows the change to be swallowed up by what's coming to Dumbleodre." Harry pointed out, "Yeah, it's going to be a big thing your return, but people are going to be expecting it given what's happened at the Malfoy ball and are going to be more interested in Dumbledore."

"You are correct, of course." Theodore allowed.

"There's also the fact that no one is going to need to know where your loyalties lie – while they haven't ever been able to arrest you, you are well known as being one of the first Death Eater Elite." Harry added.

"My very first Death Eater actually." Tom told him and Harry's eyebrow winged up.


"I remember him actually designing the mark in the first place." Theodore reminisced, and then looked slyly at the Dark Lord. "Didn't you end up throwing a book the size of your body at Evan Rosier's head at one point, Marvolo?"

Harry snorted as Tom fixed his friend with an unimpressed glower.

"That does not sound like something I would do-,"

"And I'm going to call BS right there." Harry interrupted, "You threw a book at Moony just last week."

"You're misinformed."

"I'm really not."

"Lies and slander." Tom assured, sniffing haughtily.

"Oh Merlin," Harry shook his head grinning, "You are the worst. This is like how you're not a klepto."

"I am not a kleptomaniac!" Tom hissed at him.

"Marvolo, you've been stealing things from people since before you got to Hogwarts." Theodore deadpanned.

"I've seen memory proof that that's true, too, so I don't know who he's trying to convince." Harry said to Theodore with a smirk, "I found his stash so I just get my things back from there."

"You both do realise that I'm the Dark Lord, correct?" Tom wondered affronted, "I am both feared and powerful and you should remember that."

"Yes dear,"

"Of course, Marvolo."

Harry and Theodore spoke in the same tone and shared grins as Tom rolled his eyes skyward.

"I'm being punished." He grumbled, "You two should never have met."

"What was that about doing a favour for your friend?" Harry questioned lightly, snickering as he blocked the stinging hex directed at his face.

"I have been speaking with Theodore about some of your ideas and some of your plans." Tom said in a blatant change of conversation, much to Harry's amusement.

"Yes, and the success of the werewolf sanctuary is commendable." Theodore agreed, going with the change with a smirk, "Do you intend to branch out to other creatures?"

"We do have building plans for vampires, and I believe my sister intends to start more in-depth research on the Dark Elves once we return to the castle." Harry replied, "Of course, my personal attention has been straying to focus on Dumbledore opposed to the creatures. Thankfully, my friends are only too happy to help set things up in the background while I plan for the Wizengamot."

"Plans that you have not felt the need to share." Tom huffed and Harry snorted.

"Please, where would you find your fun if I warned you every time something exciting happened?"

"I might actually have some peace."

"And be bored out of your mind." Harry pointed out, "Besides, with peace you wouldn't have me and then what would you do?"

"Celebrate." Tom deadpanned.

"HEY!" Harry exclaimed outraged and Tom smirked. Harry sniffed and turned his nose up, facing away from the amused Dark Lord. "See if I tell you about my next plan."

"You never tell me anything."

"Well I was going to tell you this once as it involved you, but you can forget that now." Harry informed him primly.

"Since when does my involvement change anything?" Tom questioned, "If anything, you take more pleasure in withholding those plans from me."

"It does you good to not know stuff." Harry decided, "Your ego already has its own gravitational pull."

"I'm going to hurt you." Tom stated, looking very unimpressed. Harry grinned, leaning over to kiss his cheek.

"No you won't."

Tom sighed, sounding exceptionally put out even if there was a smile playing around his lips.

"No, I won't."

Theodore watched the pair's byplay with fascination; Marvolo was well and truly gone for the Potter-Black Lord, and what a sight it was to see. Never before had he seen the man at such ease with another person, Circe, he had never seen the man allow someone to touch him in public before. And yet here Potter-Black was leaning all over him, kissing his cheek, and talking back without so much as blinking. There would be a wedding soon, Theodore just knew it. Marvolo would be an utter fool to not wed someone that fit him so very well – not only that, but Potter-Black wasn't just after a shot of power; he had plenty of his own. It was a brilliant match.

"There are multiple facets of information we have to work with for the Wizengamot and until I actually get there I cannot give an accurate outcome anyway." Harry said, pulling them back on track, "The only thing I can confirm with absolute certainty is that we have enough backing to have the Vote of No Confidence called for Fudge."

"It's on very uneven footing that we continue now, that was has become abundantly clear over the ball season." Theodore mused.

"We must keep the ministry, as poor of a condition it is in, secure for the time being." Tom stated, "We cannot afford for it to fall further in to disarray else we will indeed need to carve out our position."

"Our numbers as a nation would suffer massively if we had to hold an all-out assault on the ministry. We've basically had two back to back wars that have culled us really; I would much prefer to have to keep the battle between Dumbledore and his ilk." Harry pointed out and both Tom and Theodore nodded in agreement.

"The saving grace is that Dumbledore does not have the time to stop what is coming in the upcoming session; Fudge will be removed." Theodore noted.

"I cannot wait to see his face when we all arrive." Harry sighed happily.

"Even more so when you claim my seats as proxy." Tom added and Harry grinned.

"Oh it's going to be a picture."

"Until then we must wait." Theodore pointed out.

"Ugh gross." Harry complained, slumping in to Tom.

"You're such a child." Tom stated amused.

"Yes, I am aware of exactly how childish you find me, my dear Dark Lord." Harry threw back smirking.

"You are a true menace." Tom sighed and Harry scoffed.

"I fit right in with you and yours then, don't I?" Harry replied, "Besides, if I'm a menace then there is enough evidence to suggest you are much worse."

"Dark Lord."

"That excuse is pitiful, especially in front on me and your oldest friend." Harry deadpanned.

"At least I am not the only one he uses that excuse on." Theodore commented with a chuckle.

"Both of you have no respect nor self-preservation." Tom informed them waspishly. "If any from the ranks dared act as you both do…"

"Ah, but we aren't any from the ranks." Theodore pointed out wisely, only to get a vicious glare for is efforts.

"Wow, that's a mean expression." Harry noted, not even blinking when it was turned on him, "Is this some sort of strange withdraw? Torture? Scaring the crap out of people? Books?"

"I hate you." Tom told him.

"Books it is." Harry decided with a grin.

"I really hate you." Tom corrected and Harry laughed.

"I'm a lovely individual I'll have you know." Harry said, "Besides, didn't you want to speak with Theodore about yours and Moony's recent works?"

Tom eyed him for a second before turning back to the future Nott Lord and launching in to a rapid paced discussion about Runes that went over Harry's head in about five minutes. He sat back and watched Tom interact with his oldest friend with a slight smile. It was inherently obvious that the two of them had a solid connection between them and it was clear that it was an actual friendship and not just words. It was nice, Harry thought, to see this part of Tom's life, to be a part of it, and he was struggling to understand why he was feeling like that. Harry shook himself out of his own head when he felt Tom squeeze his waist slightly, leaning up to kiss the man's cheek.

"Remind me to never have you both, Moony and Hermione in a library. Ever." He joked and Tom smirked.

"Theodore and Remus will no doubt get along very well." Tom said surely.

"Ah the famous Remus Lupin; I have heard much about him." Theodore allowed, "He appears very intelligent."

"Oh he is. He also has the same habit of getting lost in books and forgetting the rest of the world." Harry confirmed rolling his eyes fondly.

"Yes, I am familiar with the trait." Theodore said eyes pointed flicking towards Tom, who huffed and stood up.

"Insulted and not even offered lunch. Your manners are slipping Theodore." He informed coldly and swept out of the room.

Harry snorted as Nott chuckled, both rising and following the Dark Lord from the room.

"I feel for you having to deal with him for so long." Harry commiserated to Theodore, pitching his voice to carry far enough for Tom to hear him.

"It's been interesting." Theodore replied politically, but he was smirking.

"The pair of you should have never met; you are both awful." Tom stated with distaste, but Harry could feel amusement and, surprisingly, contentment coming from the man.

"Lied and slander." Theodore repeated Tom's earlier words innocently. Tom looked as if he was contemplating hexing him but refrained from doing so as he took a seat at the dining table.

"I speak the truth. Who was it that almost got us killed because someone couldn't hold their curiosity enough in the Forbidden Forest?" Tom wondered, eyebrow raised and Theodore's expression went sheepish for a second before a haughty expression came to his face.

"That was merely because I was doing my duty as seventh year prefect and trying to aid Elias Diggory."

"Do not try and sell that excuse to me, Theodore, I was with you and I was the one who modified Diggory's memory so he'd back our story." Tom threw back.

"I remember nothing about memory spells." Theodore denied.

"Of course, my mistake. Perhaps you would like to discuss how someone nearly got us expelled by temporarily bringing down the entire planetary model because they couldn't sate their curiosity over the Runes surrounding it?"

"Oh come on! You were equally curious." Theodore complained and Tom smirked, "Not that it matters. Benedict Gamp got the blame and only stayed in school by the scrape of his wand."

"And was the one who made things interesting." Tom said sardonically.

"Dark Lord." Theodore returned snidely and Tom gaped. Harry cracked up laughing at his very real shock from the man while Theodore smugly sipped his drink.

"It's not very nice when it's thrown back at you, is it Tom?" Harry snickered.

"I hate you both."

"This is great. I can't wait to get all the stories of your school years." Harry said in relish.

"I'll personally cut out your tongue if you speak with him." Tom warned Theodore, who held up his hands in defence.

"I would never." He stated in a tone that suggested the exact opposite.

"I don't know why I put up with this treatment." Tom sighed and shook his head.

"Because it makes things interesting. We've been over this." Harry told him primly; Tom flicked his nose.

"Quiet you."

"How about we eat and then retreat to the library." Theodore suggested, "We can continue our earlier discussion."

"Splendid idea, Theodore." Tom said, glancing at Harry as if to make sure he was alright the plan.

"Sounds good, I'm merely an accessory today." The teen responded.

"Then let us eat. Knowing our discussions like I do, I would hate for you both to be late to dinner with dear Narcissa."

Both Tom and Harry nodded seriously at that; Narcissa could be scary.