Harry Apparated Tom home, dumped the body in his bedroom to “sleep it off,” and went and got Neville to bring him back.
Their Polyjuice wore off and the stinging hex started to wear off with its caster out cold, and both Harry and Neville waited and ate a meal with Mulciber, who was stubbornly silent after Harry crucioed him for asking after his Lord.
“I am your lord right now, don’t question me. He’s napping, and will be down later.” Harry told him.
Neville snorted and said in Parseltongue, //I am your lord now?//
Harry grinned and replied, //It sounded good to me.//
Neville laughed and took off the locket, handing it over. “I should get back to Hermione’s soon.”
“Right after we eat. I will take you and return here to wait for him to wake and we can discuss tonight’s meeting.” Harry agreed.
“I won’t be able to make it.” Neville said.
“You can have a pass on it; you know the news already.” Harry told him. “I’ll make your excuses.”
Neville gave him a smile. “Thanks.”
Tom woke and sat up with a groan.
“Oh, you’re up!” Harry said happily. “It’s been an hour, and you have a letter from the Minister.”
Tom nodded. “I thought I would.” He took the letter Harry handed to him and smiled. “How about a kiss? We’ve ended the war.”
“Um, ew. No.” Harry said. “You still look gross.”
Tom sighed and opened the letter.
“Also, I can’t leave the Mark above Molly’s house now, can I?” Harry asked.
“Not unless you want to incite mass panic, you can’t.” Tom confirmed, reading the letter. “Thank you for your service, I will be by tomorrow to witness the burning of the body, interview with you and Harry Potter if you are willing…” He smiled widely. “And an offer to become an Auror! Oh, this is wonderful!”
Harry scowled. “I don’t want you doing that.” He said grumpily.
“You’re not the boss of me!” Tom said happily.
Harry sat beside him and pushed him back onto the bed, looming over him with a dark look. “Want to bet on that?” He asked.
“You aren’t until you present, my little Prince. And that hasn’t happened yet.” Tom reminded him.
Harry huffed. “I hate that fact.” He muttered.
“I’m sure you do, but I need to get into the Ministry, and this is a perfect opportunity. Besides, I have the duelling robes you gave back when you picked up Gryffindor’s set, so I will be safe. I can take down almost anyone. I will be fine.”
Harry pouted. “I don’t like it.”
“There should be a letter for you at home. You should go get it. But give me a kiss before you leave.” Tom said, pulling Harry down on top of him.
“Urgh! No! I will give you a kiss when I come over tonight for the meeting, but not now! You’re ugly and gross!” He said, struggling.
Tom let him go with a sigh. “I love you, you squeamish little thing.”
“I love you, you disgusting creature.” Harry said with a laugh. “I will see you later. And give you very deep kisses to make up for none now.”
“I will hold you to that.” Tom purred.
Harry raised his wand, shot Tom a wink, and disappeared with a crack.
Tom smiled. “We have created a monster.” He said fondly.
Harry was waiting in the receiving room for his Hopefuls, and the first to come through were the twins. They rushed up to him, fell to their knees, and began bowing to him.
“We’re not worthy!” Fred declared.
“Oh, great and glorious leader, your prank was the stuff of legends!” George continued.
“We bow to you!” They cried together, and Harry laughed.
“Get up. It needed to be done.”
“You’ve pranked the whole world!” Fred said.
“That’s not a small feat!” George added.
Harry laughed. “Well, it needed to be done.”
“But this means no Dark Mark over Molly’s house, doesn’t it?” George asked.
Harry nodded. “’Fraid so.” He confirmed.
“Aw.” George mourned as Draco came through.
Harry turned to him. “Are you going to bow before me, too?” He teased as the blond brushed soot from his robes.
“Not a chance, My Prince. I admire what you did, but I am sure it was all a farce, and probably not your idea, either.” He said, totally unimpressed.
Harry grinned. “Pity.” He said lightly.
“Anyway, where are the others?”
“Coming.” Harry said as Hermione Flooed through, quickly followed by Luna and Theo.
“Not coming.” Harry told him. “He is already aware of the news everyone is getting, and couldn’t make it.”
Lavender came through, and stepped out of the way just in time as Sirius and Remus came through.
“One thing we need to know, though.” Fred said.
“How did you have two Toms there?” George asked.
Harry laughed. “Oh, simple. Polyjuice and a special potion Dad made. It all worked well; don’t you think?”
“Brilliant.” Fred said.
Soon, all of the Hopefuls were there. “Alright, to Riddle Manor. See you there.” Harry said, then Apparated away as the Hopefuls began Flooing over.
He saw Tom standing across the room and rushed to him, throwing his arms around him and giving him the deep kiss he had promised. “There. Feel better?”
“Much.” Tom confirmed.
Harry looked around as his Hopefuls started taking their places. “Everyone here?”
“Yes.” Tom said. “Are you ready for this?”
“Are you?” Harry shot back. “They’re probably going to revolt.”
“I will deal with it if they do.” Tom said evenly.
Tom cleared his throat as the last Hopeful got in line. “Faithful followers; I have an announcement. Most of you have seen the special edition of the Prophet just hours ago. Rumours of my death were reported, and I am here to tell you how we will proceed. I intentionally staged the fight. Now, the name of Tom Riddle the second has been cleared, and Voldemort can be laid to rest. There will be no more raids. There will be no more attacks of any kind. Our tactics are changing. We are going to infiltrate the Ministry, and some of you will be going to Azkaban. I will get you out, I promise, and you will have to accept punishment for your time as Death Eaters, but my aim is to become Minister, and I will be lenient when that happens. You will all be given to others with no record of Death Eater activity, and there will be periodic checks to make sure you are treated well while you serve as servants to who I give you to. I will be careful to make sure there will be no mistreatment, and once you serve your sentence, you will be cleared to continue your lives. All I ask is that you help if you are able to and do not make any trouble for me.” His eyes flashed red. “Because I have no problem making you disappear if you cause me any trouble.” He hissed threateningly.
Most of the Death Eaters flinched.
“We are still a brotherhood, and I will look out for you. Just do not make my job any harder and I will make sure your future is an easy one as much as I can. I am sorry in advance, but those that were already in Azkaban, you must stay hidden unless you want to be recaptured. I am becoming an Auror. This is your only warning.” He added.
The immediate reaction was chaos.
“Silence!” Tom shouted, and everyone quieted. “You may form a queue and we will discuss your concerns in an orderly fashion. One at a time, please. Hopefuls may discuss their future with Harrison after returning to his home. You are dismissed, stay if you wish an audience with me, and I will get to you.”
Harry quickly kissed him. “Have fun.” He whispered.
Tom hummed. “I am going to regret this.”
Harry laughed and headed out of the room with his group. “Head back to Prince Manor and I will talk to you if you have questions. I will still need guards and confidantes, so your situation will not change.”
It was going to be a long night.
“He checks out.” The Unspeakable said, stepping back. “That is He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named.”
Rita Skeeter began writing furiously at that.
“Voldemort. He can’t get back at you if he is dead.” Tom said shortly.
“Er, yes. V-Voldemort.” The Unspeakable stuttered.
“May we burn him now?” Tom asked.
“I want to do it!” Harry said. “You stole my kill, let me do this!”
Tom scoffed. “You destroyed the Horcruxes, that was his way of being immortal, so you did the hard part!” He argued.
Harry pouted. “Together?” He asked.
“Very well, love. On three.”
They counted together and cast Fiendfyre, watching the body burn and then snuffing the flames.
“We’ll scatter the ashes around the country on brooms.” Tom told the Minister. “And then, yes, I will become an Auror.”
“I will not apologize, Harrison; they need me.” He said.
“I know. Be careful.” He said reluctantly.
Fudge smiled widely. “Before you take the ashes, how about that interview?” He asked.
Harry groaned internally, but only smiled outwardly.
“That sounds grand.” Tom said kindly.
Rita came forward, eyes gleaming hungrily.
“This is trash.”
Harry snorted. “She made a big deal about how our love won the day. I liked it.”
Severus snorted. “You would. Now, you are to go to Lovegood’s home for the day.”
“To keep you out of my hair while I get things ready for your party next week. Besides, she is the one who told me to have it early, so she gets to deal with you.” Severus said.
Harry laughed. “Love you too.”
“Going, going.” Harry said as he headed to his room to grab his blank wand.
“It will be a good party.” Luna said dreamily. “But you will like the private party on your actual birthday more.”
Harry’s face flamed. “Luna!” He said, scandalized. “Don’t say things like that!”
“Why not? It is the truth. Blaise and I are getting along well, too. We will probably stay together.”
Harry frowned. “You don’t know?”
Luna shook her head. “No a lot of my future is cloudy, but that’s as it should be. No one should know everything their future holds. It would take all the excitement out of life.” She said sensibly.
“Yes, I suppose.”
“Now, turn around. I’m going to braid your hair.” Luna said, sitting up from where she had been lying in the grass.
Harry smiled and pulled a blade of grass out of her hair. “Alright.” He turned around.
“If you like it, I can teach you a spell to braid it yourself later.” She added.
“I think I’d like that.” Harry said.
Luna began humming, and Harry felt the Dracken in him relax. It seemed to be getting more restless and closer to the surface every passing day.
Harry groaned and rolled over, burying his face in his pillow.
“Come out, My Prince! We have presents!”
The banging on his door intensified, and then a baby’s wail split the air.
“Dammit, guys!” Harry got out of bed, stalked over, and threw his door open. “I’m up. I’ll get a shower and be down soon. Go annoy Dad.”
“Will do, Liege Lord!” George said.
The trio and their babies headed downstairs and Harry headed toward his bathroom, the pounding in his head already abating.
He showered and dressed, then braided his hair and headed down to meet his guests.
Luna beamed at him and Hermione smiled, too.
“You guys are here early.” Harry said, bemused.
“Severus planned a whole day around you.” Sirius told him. “You’re turning sixteen this year, and Luna has already said we needed to give you your actual birthday for privacy, so we assume you will be going through your inheritance. It will be just you and Severus here, so we are going to devote a whole day to celebrating your sixteenth! You deserve it!”
Harry smiled. “I appreciate that.”
“Besides, I brought Nagini over. She has a gift for you this year. You’d best take it now; she doesn’t like to be kept waiting.” Tom told him from his spot at the table.
Harry walked over and noticed a small vial around her neck. “What is it?” He asked, taking it.
“Her venom.” Tom answered. “Severus has tested it and will be telling you the properties later, but she has already said you are allowed to ask for more up to three times per month, and she will provide it as long as it has been a week since she last did. It takes that long for it to replenish.” He grinned. “Perhaps playing around with it will make you a more intuitive brewer.”
“Or I’ll blow the whole house up.” Harry replied. “Still, thanks. I am starting to like brewing more, so it will be interesting to see if I can figure out how to use this.”
//You are happy?// Nagini asked.
//Very. This is neat. You aren’t like any other snake, so this venom is probably one-of-a-kind, and having an unlimited amount will be fun.// Harry said.
Nagini hissed happily, then settled under the table at Tom’s feet.
Harry went and placed the vial of venom in Severus’ liquor cabinet before hurrying back to the room and sitting down.
“Breakfast?” Fred asked.
“Yes.” Harry said, and Severus called the elves, who brought out crepes this time.
“They are strawberry and blackberry.” Harry said, pointing to which one was filled with which fruit. “The blackberry are seedless and very good.” He added.
Draco smiled. “Sounds delicious.”
“Oh, they are.” Harry confirmed.
By dinner time, Harry had had some time alone with each person at the party and had a chat with them each, all of them wishing him a happy birthday when it came and assuring him that no matter what, creature inheritance or not, he was cared for, and , in most cases, was family already.
The twins verbally added the usually-unspoken “I will defer to you,” that everyone except Severus had implied.
Severus had said, “I trust you. Still, talk to me and explain opinions I may not agree with and do me the courtesy of letting me attempt to talk you around. I am still your father, and I love you and want what is best for you.” Which was all Harry could hope for from him. At least he was admitting that he would step down from demanding Harry’s compliance in matters Harry was set on. It was a huge compromise from the man.
Dinner was Harry’s favourite: Shepherd’s Pie. He ate slowly, listening to everyone chatting and grinning at them all in turn.
Afterward, it was time for presents.
Hermione had gotten him a book with a dragon on it that keyed itself to a person’s magical signature and would only open for that person. “It’s for your inheritance. You write down things you notice about your new mindset and anything else new, and it can be a log of how you have changed and what abilities and thoughts you have developed that you can look back on years later and remember the milestones of your journey in life.”
“That sounds useful.”
The twins had given him a bag full of sweets, and a small box that read, “use in private: adult daydream charms.”
Severus looked highly disapproving at that, but let it slide.
Tom had gotten him another correspondence book. “For when you have something to say to me and I am not there. I will check this when I can throughout the day.”
“I wish you were still going to be close to me.” Harry muttered.
Tom smiled. “I know. We will stay in touch, and I will see you as often as I am able.”
Luna and Neville handed over two photo albums.
Neville’s was full of pictures of all of them throughout their days at Hogwarts, a lot of them with Ron and Ginny, and Harry smiled at them wistfully.
“They were good to you once.” Neville said.
Harry nodded. “Yes. And you only got happy times. Thank you.”
Luna’s was drawings. Of Harry, of Fred and George, Tom, the babies… Everyone was there, drawn in beautiful detail.
Harry closed it and nodded to her. “They’re lovely.”
Luna smiled. “I needed to give them to you. You’ll appreciate them most. There’s one in there of your Mum. She was beautiful. I met her in a dream.” She said.
Harry swallowed. “Thank you.”
Severus, Sirius and Remus had gotten him a crystal cauldron.
Harry’s eyes widened. “Woah.”
“You are skilled enough to use it. There is a stirring rod to go with it in my lab. Use proper precautions and follow instructions to the letter. Crystal amplifies. Mistakes will be similarly more explosive.” Severus warned.
Harry nodded. “I’ll be careful with it.”
Lucius handed over his and Narcissa’s gift. It was an old book, written in Parseltongue. “We can’t use this, and thought you might find it useful.”
Harry looked over the table of contents, and found it was a book of Parselmagic spells. “Oh, this will come in handy.” He said excitedly.
Draco was last. “I thought for a long time, trying to decide what to get you;” He said. “I decided on this.” He handed over a brochure. “That is a brochure for a free pet at the pet store on Diagon. It will get you anything they have there, so get whatever you want. Even a phoenix, if one calls to you.”
Harry was shocked. “Thank you. Hedwig won’t be pleased.” He said in amusement.
Draco snorted. “Just don’t get another owl. A kneazle might suit you.” He suggested.
“I’ll have to go and look around.” He said.
“After your inheritance would be best.” Draco suggested. “So you know what will suit your new temperament.”
The rest of the night was spent chatting over cake and ice cream, and Harry soaked up the happy feelings everyone was exuding.
When he finally went to bed, he had a smile on his face and dreamt of flying on wings spread wide.