Shut Up And Multiply, Part One
Sirius Black was feeling distinctly out of his depth.
He didn’t know his godson. Dumbledore had offered to introduce him to Harrybefore, but he’d refused. The boy had never known his parents - thanks toyou, said the voice that even the supposed Philosopher’s Stone hadn’tsilenced - and Sirius hadn’t thought he’d want to meet the man who’d consignedthem to death.
And now here Harry was, and everything was happening so quickly - better thanSirius had thought it would, he’d thought Harry would hate him, but even so…
Sirius burst through the doors of Godric’s Hollow, horror rising inside him.It took him three tries to cast Lumos.
The ceiling had sagged dangerously, and the centre had given way entirely.The room was caked in plaster dust, and a liquid that seemed black as pitch inthe wandlight.
James Potter lay somehow untouched by rubble, his glasses still on, spread-eagled. His wife lay some distance away from him, on top of the collapsedceiling, the splinters of her wand still clutched in broken fingers.
It was easier than it had ever been for Sirius to turn his mind away. Eversince “Quirinus Quirrell” (though as far as Sirius was concerned, if that wasthe man’s real name, his was Elvendork) had used what was apparently thePhilosopher’s Stone on him, he’d felt more whole somehow, and certainmemories were staying at the back of his mind where they belonged. Happierthoughts were coming to him more easily now than they had since beforeAzkaban.
He had thought about what Harry was trying to do now, after that night, in amanner of speaking. He’d wanted to make James’ and Lily’s deaths not havehappened, but he had never really thought that he could do anything afterthe fact.
Harry cast the Patronus Charm, and Sirius felt a surge of pride - it was anextremely advanced spell for an eleven-year-old.
It should have been impossible, but the girl was breathing.
“Vitalis Revelio,” Sirius murmured.
She was alive.
Quirrell was still looking absently at some part of the floor, which had showna cluster of stars, his mind clearly elsewhere.
At that moment, Sirius’s ears popped, and he felt the unmistakable sensationof an Anti-Apparition Jinx failing. He frowned. The Jinx on this place wasonly one-way, so there was no reason for Quirrell to-
The Killing Curse hit Quirrell in the back from point-blank range.
Sirius dived aside in an agile motion, firing curses in an indiscriminate arc.
The bolts bent in mid-air and curved around the figures of two unfamiliarwomen.
The first was dark-haired and pale, wrapped in a heavy black felt cloak of anunrecognisable style. She held no wand, but bore in her hand a dark staff oftwisted wood. Her face was young, but her eyes were deep, dark and old.Despite her physical youth, she gave off an impression of terrible age, anancient quality that whispered of forgotten magic and old curses.
Beside her was a woman who looked just as youthful. She was blonde andwillowy, and held a long and slender wand. Despite her unassuming appearance,the sense of magic about her was strong, and her grey eyes were cold andsharp.
Sirius glanced back towards the altar, and his heart stopped.
His godson, Harry James Potter, lay on the ground. His eyes were open andglassy, his mouth open, glasses askew. He looked almost exactly like JamesPotter had, that night-
“Recognise this one, Perry?” asked the dark-haired figure.
“No. Might as well- ah!”
Sirius roared and loosed a blistering bolt of lightning at the woman, whostepped back and barely caught it on the end of her wand.
The blonde recovered quickly and slashed her own wand.
Sirius staggered backwards, snarling, a chunk of his shielding torn away. Herolled his shoulders and adjusted his grip. He was out of practice, but he hadonce been able to out-duel Mad-Eye two times out of three. Harry’s murdererswould not escape alive.
The dark-haired one paid no attention. She gestured at Quirrell’s body, and awand rose up from it and flew into her hand. A black ribbon tied to itvanished in a flash of flame.
Sirius circled his left hand, and a blue haze arose before him. He dodged leftand brought his wand around in a wide sweep-
The blonde witch clicked her fingers and suddenly Sirius was flat on his back,winded. He sprang to his feet and rolled aside, hurling curses that winked outof existence or splashed harmlessly against shields.
Then the older-seeming witch tapped her staff on the ground and disrupted mostof his wards. Sirius ducked another Killing Curse and barely blocked anunfamiliar brown hex. This was insane, there were barely a dozen wizards inthe entire world on this power level-
His fingers numbed on his wand as he struggled to parry another curse.
He set his teeth. He wasn’t ready to join James and Lily - and Harry, hethought with another burst of guilt - just yet.
“Remembering why we retired, B?” asked the blonde idly. “It’s just no funany more.”
There was a white-blue flash, and Sirius dropped to one knee helplessly, hisresolve gone. It was hopeless. It was almost like trying to fight Dumbledore.
Darkness began to build around the edges of his vision.
He was underwater, and underground, and on fire, and in the sky, and amongstthe stars…
Harry felt a sensation that he recognised from the Cloak of Invisibility, liketouching his wand for the first time, like an inaudible song.
For a single absurd moment, Harry thought he might have been in the afterlife.
Then his brain caught up to him. So this is what a Horcrux feels like.
The adrenaline - well, Harry didn’t have adrenaline any more, but that wasstill what it felt like - was fading away. With a jolt, Harry realised thatthe stars were all around him, all three-hundred and sixty degrees.
May I point out, said Harry’s Inner Slytherin, that we just DIED?
It was difficult to have any sense of immediacy, here amongst the stars.
Professor? Is that you? said Harry in his thoughts. The phrase that came tohim to describe the experience was “thinking loudly”. Harry could sense theHorcrux system now, notice Professor Quirrell’s presence.
I can’t imagine who _else you might have been expecting! There was adefinite sense of agitation in Quirrell’s… thought? _It is imperative that wereturn NOW. I suggest-
I have an idea.
Harry focussed on the inaudible song of the Resurrection Stone in the back ofhis mind, and visualised the scene in Professor Quirrell’s workshop, willinghimself to be present.
Sirius slammed everything he had into the strongest shield he could to blockan area-effect curse.
Sirius! sounded Harry’s voice. Let me in!
JUST DO IT!
It was unmistakably Harry, and even if it wasn’t Sirius didn’t exactly haveanything to lose. He consciously relaxed his defences-
Inhabiting his godfather’s body was a strange experience. He was too tall,and the wand didn’t suit him-
Harry aimed Sirius’ wand at Professor Quirrell’s body, remembered Hermione’sresurrection, and shouted, “Expecto Patronum!”
It felt almost sacrilegious using the Patronus Charm so casually, as acombat tactic, but Harry’s inner models of Alastor Moody and ProfessorQuirrell were glaring at him for that thought.
The magic had flowed from Harry, not Sirius. Interesting, said Ravenclaw,that implies-
SHUT UP, hissed the rest of Harry.
Sirius’s shield fell, and two curses winged towards him.
They burst into rainbow sparks as the Defence Professor rushed forwardsthrough the air like a ghost given form.
Harry pointed Sirius’s wand again, and cast the Patronus Charm at himself.
Harry woke up in his own body. No magic had been lost, that time, but ithadn’t been pleasant. C-L-O-A-K, he signed in his pouch, and drew the Cloak ofInvisibility over himself.
Behind him, discreetly, wards rose up around the altar where Hermione lay.
That seemed… too nice for Professor Quirrell…
A dark-haired witch rolled her eyes. “This one won’t stay dead either, then.”Her accent was ever-so-slightly unusual, not quite identifiable. She lookedyoung, but she had a sort of air of age that felt like some kind of magic…
“You Riddles are like bloody cockroaches,” muttered the blonde, fingering herwand. “Any idea how they’re managing it, B?”
Horror was slowly dawning in Harry.
What am I seeing?
Two powerful Dark witches, young-looking but old-seeming, who showed upimmediately after Professor Quirrell stole the Philosopher’s Stone…
“Of course, one does not survive six centuries without acquiring at least alittle cunning…”
Harry looked over to Sirius Black, who was kneeling down, holding onto hiswand in one hand and his head in the other.
Harry wasn’t convinced that even Professor Quirrell could defeat Baba Yaga andPerenelle Flamel together.
Quirrell whirled in midair, past a barrage of magic, firing Killing Cursesmixed with spells Harry couldn’t recognise in a constant stream. Quirrell’shidden workshop was already blasted to pieces, the wooden walls incinerated orin some cases somehow melted, looking more like old candle wax than wood.The moonlight glowed faintly over the battleground.
Killing Curses flashed against Quirrell time and again, but he paid no mind.The Patronus, Harry realised with a jolt. Professor Quirrell had beenholding the Stone when Harry had cast his spell. Thinking about it, it was oddthat that hadn’t triggered the resonance - although technically, the spellhad been cast at a dead body, and the Stone had rendered it non-magical.
“Expecto Patronum,” Harry murmured once more, and the silver figure burst intoexistence, just in case any stray Killing Curses came towards him or Sirius.
Professor Quirrell jabbed his wand into the sky like a sword, and suddenly allof reality seemed to focus on one point of baleful blue at the end of hiswand.
There was a deep, resounding note, and then the two witches’ shieldssplintered and they were blown backwards onto the grass.
Harry was forcibly reminded once more just how un__balanced the power ladderwas. How does magical power even work?
The blonde - Perenelle, presumably - rolled out of the way of a Killing Curseand loosed a jet of pitch blackness at Professor Quirrell, who dismissed itwith a flick of the hand.
The other witch made a circling motion with her staff, and Harry’s limbs feltsuddenly heavy.
Quirrell plunged out of the sky, but then he seemed to fall faster thangravity would have pulled him, and he slammed into the ground.
The earth burst up around the Defence Professor, throwing Harry off his feetso hard that a Muggle would have broken bones. The altar alone remainedentirely undisturbed, but the ground shuddered and creaked as far around asHarry could see.
_Now he’s just showing off, _muttered Harry’s Inner Critic (which had decidedthat other Tom Riddle copies were fair game).
The earthquake had caught the two witches off-guard, and Quirrell shot back upinto the sky and kept up his pattern of Killing Curses, simultaneously loosingother magic that seemed beyond even them.
The Killing Curse, Professor Quirrell had once told Harry, was amongst themost useful spells in existence, but not the be-all and end-all of duelling.It was invariably lethal and unblockable, true, but it was also extremely easyto dodge, being relatively slow-moving and bright green. Additionally, even ifone happened to be sufficiently indifferent to cast it repeatedly, it wasquite a serious drain on one’s magic.
Even despite this, Quirrell’s newfound immunity to the Killing Curse and“mysterious” powers of flight seemed to be letting him hold his own againstboth witches at the same time.
Baba Yaga and Perenelle spoke the same incantation together, reminding Harryuncomfortably of what the Weasley twins had tried against the troll, andProfessor Quirrell was forced to raise a white circular ward to block it.
In that brief opening, Baba Yaga touched one finger to her arm and hissed“Innervate.”
Harry’s scar burned.
The world flashed sickly yellow, and Professor Quirrell was flicked sharplythrough the air, dipping dangerously before managing to stabilise himself.
That was when Harry saw the most terrifying thing he had ever seen.
Professor Quirrell looked frightened.
Harry turned around.
And Harry realised what a complete idiot he’d been. He’d been in the Horcruxsystem, and hadn’t realised what was missing. Riddles, the blonde woman hadsaid, and she hadn’t been talking about Harry…
Hermione Granger was standing, pointing a bone-white wand at ProfessorQuirrell, smiling widely, her eyes shining, ever-so-faintly, crimson.
The Dark Lord had risen again.
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