Lord of Darkness
Confrontations & Followers
***One day ownership will be mine... BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY! ***
"What a lovely night for a moonlit stroll..." As he walked through the dark forest Harry Potter became aware of movement in the clearing directly in front of him. Not wanting to miss any perceived excitement he slowly made his way out of the treeline and spotted what appeared to be a man devouring a Unicorn.
"Such bad table manners."
The figure spun, drawing a wand instantly as it faced the small child.
"Drats, and here I thought that I would be surprised as to your identity. What a shame that it was so obvious."
"Potter, so is this when Albus Dumbledore charges out with the cavalry?"
"Not unless he followed me very quietly, and considering what the man considers fashionable I doubt he would be able to sneak up on a comatose man." This earned a slight chuckle from the teacher, who still cast his gaze around for any suspected ambush. After finding none his silver covered grin turned malicious.
"Quite the mistake you made here boy. Confronting a dangerous monster like myself."
"I am sure that I'll be fine, although the forest is a rather dangerous place..."
"You are a fool. I know all about you Potter. I know that your defeat of The Dark Lord was a fluke, I know that you are just a slightly intelligent first year and nothing more. I know you lack any magical training that would make you a threat to me. You are out of your league."
"Interesting, you claim to know quite a bit about me, and yet I know a few facts concerning you as well."
"Oh? Enlighten me then Potter. What could you possibly know about one such as myself?"
"Well, considering you are drinking Unicorn Blood it appears as though your body is falling apart, probably due to the whole 'host to an evil spiritual parasite' thing. You are constantly muttering to yourself which means you are probably in contact with it, and that it has some consciousness. The pitiful attempt at acting implies that you wish to put everyone at ease. The fact you were the only staff member not present at the Halloween feast would suggest that you are the one who let the Troll into the castle, and you are attempting to achieve immortality through the use of an ancient artifact."
Quirrell stared at the boy slack-jawed. How the hell had he figured out that much about him in only a few months? Even Dumbledore did not seem to be that well informed! Then he realized something.
"The boy... he knows about the stone, make him get it for you!" a voice rasped from behind the professor.
"Oh the Philosopher's Stone? I would love to but... it is such a far walk back to the castle and all..."
"He has it! Make him give it to you!"
The normally stuttering man nodded with a sneer, before raising his wand and firing a bright red curse at the boy, who turned to the side and easily avoided it.
"Now that wasn't very nice." An instance later, and with the slightest of gestures from the boy, everything below the older man's knees exploded in a shower of gore.
Falling to the ground, it took several seconds for the realization of what had just occurred, along with the pain, to reach the man. When it did his screams of agony echoed through the forest.
"Oh come now, surely you have some sort of spell that can regrow those. You might want to do so quickly though, lest you bleed to death."
"Monster? You are the one with a Dark Lord's face attached to the back of your skull yet you call me a monster?"
Harry slowly advanced toward the professor, who began to crawl away in a pathetic attempt to escape. "S-stay back! STAY AWAY FROM ME!"
"Oh come now our duel isn't quite done yet. Surely you have some other spells to use on me? Surely this is not all that you are capable of."
"A pity, well as fun as this has been I find your teaching skills to be sub par. Hopefully your replacement will be more effective."
The screams that echoed through the night scared away even the most dangerous of predators.
"I told you I would return my dear."
"Did you have a nice walk?"
"I did, it was very relaxing."
"Good, now if you don't mind I could use some warmth and cuddling." Hedwig practically demanded, as the boy climbed back into the bed behind her.
"I thought you would never ask."
The Headmaster looked over to the Potion Master, who gestured towards the empty seat at the staff table. Quirrell had not been seen that morning. Following their breakfast the two journeyed to the man's quarters, only to find him missing. A flick of the elder Wizard's wand summoned the other staff members.
"It appears as though one of our own has gone missing. Please search the school until he is found, until then all students will be confined to their dormitories for safety."
Hagrid reported back several hours later, that the body had been found.
"God in Heaven Albus..." Minerva whispered, as she turned away from the horrific scene they had arrived at in the forest.
It was Quirrell, at least part of him. From what Dumbledore could tell the body had been literally torn to pieces by some sort of powerful wild animal. Organs, bones, muscles, skin, and blood covered the ground in a wide area and it was only the fact that they had located part of the man's face that they could even identify the body.
"Hagrid my friend, you know more about what lives in these woods than any of us. What do you think could have done this?"
The man, who was crouching down by the remains nodded slightly. "Looks like an animal Headmaster. Strong and powerful. But ain no animal in these woods that did this. Sure some could, Acromantula be strong enough but... the body ain eaten. Whatever did this ain do it for hunger. He was killed just for the sake of killin, no animal in the forest kill for anything but eating or defense. Also he was strugglin... he was alive when it started."
"It was not a full moon last night, meaning it could not have been a Were either." Snape chimed in from nearby.
"That's not the oddest part though Headmaster."
"What is Hagrid?"
"Only three pairs of tracks. The Unicorn, Quirrells, and... another person. Small, child sized. Ain no other animal tracks. Whatever did this..."
Dumbledore nodded, it was obvious the man had been possessed by Voldemort, but for something to kill him so violently...
"How long are you going to ignore the facts Headmaster?"
Another, this time unofficial, inquiry. Another week of questions, and now Dumbledore found himself looking up a an angry Severus Snape. Just like the last time that they had this conversation.
"I am not ignoring any facts Severus I promise you."
"You are ignoring the fact that Potter is obviously guilty! He stayed behind during the break, he is in Slytherin for a reason, he is manipulative, and he..."
"Had the power to utterly dominate and tear a man possessed by the Dark Lord into pieces without so much as a scratch, and without any of us realizing it? Please Severus I understand you hated James Potter but this is becoming ridiculous. The boy is not a killer."
"And the fact that he was here for the holidays when the murder took place?"
"So were dozen of other students and teachers."
"And the Draco Malfoy incident? Perhaps he even had a hand with what happened concerning the Troll.
"He was with the other Slytherin students at the time Severus... unless you believe he shape shifted into the beast to kill a member of his own house?"
"Minerva claimed he was a prodigy..."
This time Dumbledore did not even try to conceal the eye roll. "Please Severus, you cannot claim the boy to be talented when it suits you and then useless the rest of the time. I do so wish you would leave behind this personal vendetta that you have towards the boy."
"And I wish that you would open your eyes to the fact that the might not be an innocent child."
"Harry we are back!" Draco Malfoy happily exclaimed as he pushed open the doors to their dorm rooms... only to find it empty.
"Uh... Harry?" the boy glanced around to ensure that only his fellow supporters were around, "My Lord?"
Crabbe and Goyle gave two very unuseful shrugs before they went back into the common room. Had Harry left? Had he decided that Hogwarts was not worth his time and simply departed for other purposes?
Before the full impact could fall upon him the blonde heard an odd sound, and let his jaw drop, along with the rest of Slytherin, as the boy-who-lived walked out of a doorway that had materialized below a picture of Salazar himself.
"H-Harry... what is... that!?"
"A good question Mr. Malfoy, I also would like to know why you have not been staying in your dorm room Mr. Potter."
"Oh that is because I found a different room to stay in. Since it is still in the Slytherin quarters it is allowed according to the rules, just like the special rooms that the Prefects are given."
"Wait! Why does Potter get a special room but I have to share with..." one of said Prefects interrupted, earning him a silencing glare from the Potion Master.
"If you can gain access go right ahead, but considering that there is a password..."
"And what is the password Mr. Potter?" Snape inquired, forcing down the annoyance he felt at the boy receiving special treatment despite his best efforts.
Turning the boy hissed at the wall, which promptly opened. "Unless one of you are a Parselmouth..."
The entire Slytherin house stared dumbstruck.
"No? Well then since it is not being used I might as well hm?"
"Stop where you are in the brewing process so that I may grade your work." Severus Snape announced as he began to make his rounds. The Slytherin side was exceptional, as usual, up until Potter and Malfoy's, which was perfect... as usual. "Ten points to Slytherin." he muttered, sure he wasn't convinced of the boy's innocence, but that didn't mean he wouldn't use the boy's outstanding skills to help his house along.
"Ah Mr. Weasley, a barely functional potion once again. Ten points from Gryffindor."
"Because Mr. Weasley, you are supposed to do your own work and not rely on your partner to do it all for you. We both know that it is Ms. Granger's efforts that keep you from failing this class."
The man had already moved on, giving Longbottom a barely passing grade as well for his work. In the meantime Ron sent a nasty glare towards the bookworm, silently blaming her for his misfortune once again.
The girl merely hung her head, her eyes downcast as she tried to stop any tears from appearing.
"Has there been any updates Amelia?"
The woman shook her head, "I am sorry Albus, but so far there does not seem to be any indication as to who murdered your professor. How has the replacement search been?"
"Difficult, no one is looking for a teaching job half-way through the school year. Luckily there are quite a few former students and private tutors who have agreed to help out. Otherwise I do not know what we would do."
"From what I heard Quirrell was a pretty poor teacher to begin with, mix in the fact that the man was possessed..."
"I know Amelia I know. I had a suspicion early on but nothing concrete."
"Next time Headmaster I want to be informed when you start having these suspicions. I am tired of Hogwarts being run as its own country."
"I agree, and I promise that should such a situation arise again I will contact you at the start."
The woman's features softened before giving a nod and departing through the Floo, leaving the elder man to his thoughts.
Whoever had killed the man was obviously powerful enough to overwhelm him without any serious injury. All of the blood had been identified as Quirrell's, and there was no evidence of a duel save for a single spell cast by the professor.
Who could have done such a thing? It resembled an animal attack but if so why was the remains merely thrown about, why were there no tracks as Hagrid had pointed out? Even more distressing was the fact that the Half-Giant had followed the mysterious set of humanoid tracks back to Hogwarts, meaning that a student might have been involved in some way. Luckily the number of students actually at the school during the holidays was very small, meaning that their list of potential suspects was equally small.
Still, they could not go around checking shoe sizes and impressions without a warrant, and there was no chance of them obtaining one for the students without revealing all of the facts. The murder would be easily pushed aside by the fact that Voldemort had managed to infiltrate Hogwarts, and no one would be permitted to interview the suspects.
A child killer, such an idea sent sorrow through the old man's bones as he rose from his desk and strode to the window. Outside a Quidditch match was beginning... perhaps he needed to take a small break to clear his mind.
"Ah heir Longbottom, to what do I owe the honor?"
"I-I..." taking a deep breath the boy seemed to gather what little courage he had. "I want to take you up on your offer. I want to be greater, I want to change."
"Excellent, how have your studies been thus far?"
"B-better, I am still barely passing P-Potions but..."
"Oh don't worry about that, Professor Snape is simple biased towards Slytherin. If you decide to spend more time with us then..."
"I want to! I-I mean I would like to. I don't have any friends in Gryffindor and..."
"Then consider yourself an honorary Slytherin. However, before we go any further there is a rule I would like you to be aware of." the boy paused, his eyes darkening, and Neville swore for a second that the lights flickered. "I do not tolerate any of the blood purity nonsense that is thrown around. The word 'Mudblood' is not acceptable in my presence, nor by those who stand in my presence. Do you understand?"
"O-o-of course. I-I don't use th-that word anyway."
And like that the room brightened once more, and the tension that the overweight boy felt was gone. "Excellent! Then walk with me Neville Longbottom."
"Any reason that Longbottom is with you?"
The other Slytherins paused, waiting for an explanation that was apparently not going to be given. "And that is..."
"I wasn't aware that I owed you an explanation for my actions Blaise."
"O-of course n-not my Lord."
Harry rolled his eyes as the dark-skinned boy began stuttering out for an way to explain the title he had accidentally given the emerald-eyed boy in front of the Gryffindor.
"Yes, apparently they see fit to call me that. I am not quite sure why though."
"Because you are our Lord Harry."
Neville blinked in confusion, before giving a shrug and taking the seat he had been offered.
"Hey Longbottom, you are good in Herbology right?"
"Uh yeah Malfoy, why?"
"I'll trade you, I will get you a decent grade in Potions and you help me raise my Herbology grade one letter."
"Come on move out of the way let me see!"
"Oh please like you need to check the top students..."
"Shut it you prat!"
Draco rolled his eyes as he managed to maneuver past the old bickering students and to the parchment that had just been added to the announcement wall. In the last week, once grades were in, the professors posted a list of the top five students, academically, in every year. Would he be on it? Sure there were smarter students than him in their class but maybe he had made fifth place?
5th Ernie MacMillan
4th Daphne Greengrass
3rd Padma Patil
2nd Hermione Granger
1st Harry Potter
The Malfoy heir's eyes widened. Sure he knew that his Lord was smart but... he didn't realize that he was this smart. From the corner of his eye he noticed that a certain bushy-haired witch had also caught sight of the results, and had froze in shock before turning to hide her tears.
The boy looked up to see a rather downcast Gryffindor standing in front of the table he was working at, "Yes Ms. Granger?"
"I... just wanted to say congratulations... on being first and all."
"Oh, well I appreciate it thank you. I hear you were second, certainly nothing to scoff at considering our competition."
The compliment seemed to brighten the girl's face a bit, before they overheard some snickering from a sixth year Slytherin nearby. "Told you the Mudblood would come seeking a compliment, she is so pathetic..."
The girl fled seconds later, earning more than a few laughs from the other members of the 'House of Cunning'.
Slowly, deliberately, Harry rose from his seat before walking over to where the older boy sat.
"Something you want to say Pott..."
Any further conversation was halted, by the younger boy's hand wrapped around the larger student's throat. "I do not like the term 'Mudblood'. My mother was a Muggleborn and I find your use of that word offensive." the boy calmly explained, while the older thrashed about trying to free himself and breathe once more.
"I am going to make this as simple as possible, for you and everyone else in our House. If you use that word again I will cut off the oxygen to whatever brain cells you might have until your parents find it difficult to tell the difference between you and a rock. Do you understand?"
The choked reply was, apparently, not to the younger child's liking, who promptly tightened his grip, earning a whimper of pain.
"I said, do you understand?"
This time the shaky nod was accepted, and the boy dropped to the ground.
"Good, consider this your first and only warning."
Ronald Weasley was furious. Grades had just been posted and he had ended up in the bottom five of the class. Clearly Granger wasn't helping as much as he thought she would be. The redhead figured that by giving up some of his precious free time to hang around with her she would take the hint and do his homework for him, let him cheat off of her tests, and generally just get him by at school. In return she would actually have a social standing in Gryffindor, besides being an annoying know-it-all.
Seemed as though he was wrong on both ideas. Not only had he continued nearly failing several of his classes, but Hermione had been getting picked on even more than previously. Perhaps it was time to let her know that their 'friendship' wasn't working and that she should seek companionship elsewhere. At least when they weren't in a class he could copy off of her during.
However, this train of thought raised another problem, Neville Longbottom. Sure the boy was another 'failure' at being a Gryffindor in every sense of the word. He was cowardly, weak, poor at magic, and lacked any family to fall back on. Still though he was a Pureblood, and had been sorted into their House, which mean he could have turned his luck around and joined the rest of the 'men'. If only he had enjoyed other masculine topics, like Quidditch. Rather the Longbottom heir was into 'feminine' activities like gardening. What kind of self-respectful boy liked gardening?
Of course both of these 'issues' were dwarfed by the largest problem that Ronald Weasley was raging about. Harry Bloody Potter. He was supposed to have been a Gryffindor like the Weasleys and his own parents. He was supposed to have been Ron's best friend, sharing adventures, fame, glory, girls, and gold. They were supposed to have ruled Hogwarts together.
Instead he went and got himself sorted into the snake pit, and then had done the ultimate betrayal by befriending a Malfoy. Who in their right mind would want to be friends with one of those greasy haired gits?
Ron continued to seethe, ignoring disappointed look from his Head of House and brothers who were well aware of his academic situation.
"Ah Harry my boy, thank you for meeting with us on such short notice."
"Of course sir, you asked to see me concerning the summer?"
"Yes, I wish to apologize to you Harry. I have not been able to check up on your living conditions outside of Hogwarts and I deeply regret that. How have the Dursleys been treating you?"
The boy cocked his head to the side, and Severus Snape felt an odd feeling of unease settle in his stomach, "Dursleys sir?"
"Yes my boy... the Dursleys. Your guardians?"
"Headmaster I have no idea who the 'Dursleys' are but I assure you that they are not my guardians."
"Then where do you live my boy?" Dumbledore's tone sounded almost... desperate. As if he was trying to convince himself that everything was fine regardless of the new facts.
"All Saint's Boy's Orphanage"
The room fell eerily silent as Dumbledore's expression paled. "I... I see. I am very sorry to hear that Harry, you were supposed to be in a loving home, to be taken care of..."
"Well I am taken care of I suppose. I have my own room and everything."
"Yes... yes of course. And you are treated well there?"
"As well as anywhere I suppose. I don't have experience living anywhere besides that and Hogwarts though."
"I see, my most sincere apologies Harry. I will try and remove you from that place as soon as I am able but... you were placed with your Muggle relatives due to the confusion of the war. We did not know who to trust with your life, and little has changed since then. Until we are sure of a place where you can be happy I am afraid I must ask you to..."
"Return to the orphanage? Quite alright Headmaster, I was planning on doing so anyway. If that is all? I need to continue packing for the trip back."
"Of course Harry, I will be in touch I promise."
After the Potter heir departed the old man sagged in his chair, looking as if he had aged another decade or two.
"An orphanage..." Snape whispered in horror several minutes later, both knowing full well the connection that the boy now shared with a former student.
"It does not mean he will follow that path Severus... others have been raised in such environments and turned out perfectly normal."
"Yes, but others were not Parselmouths. Others were not present when not only a student, but a professor were brutally killed. Others were not..."
Snape fell silent instantly, shocked by the rage in the elder Wizard's eyes. "I have told you several times already that we are not going to start this persecution of the boy without any evidence save for coincidence and your own hatreds. I have not seen any signs of darkness in the boy and neither have you except that which you force yourself to see. Let this hatred go Severus, otherwise it will consume you."
"Welcome one and all to the closing ceremonies for another year at Hogwarts!" Dumbledore proclaimed as the entire student body was assembled in the main hall. "It has been a long year for all of us, there have been lessons learned, homework accomplished, friendships created and renewed, love found and lost, along with a good number of House points." the elder wizard paused, allowing for a soft chuckle to echo through the students before his mood switched to a more somber one.
"This year we have lost one of our own. A young life taken far before its time. We shall mourn him, and celebrate his accomplishments for years to come as we hold those dear to us closer than before. Let us never forget that everyone who lives shall die, but not everyone who dies shall live. Let us live everyday to its fullest and never forget that our time in this world is far too short for holding back." With that the man raised his goblet for a toast, followed by the others in attendance.
"I would like you all to join me in the final tally of House Points for this year, and the crowning of the House Championship..." a few seconds later and the banners throughout the great hall changed to those of silver and green with a large snake adorning them. "Slytherin!"
The respectful clapping from the other three houses was easily overshadowed by the roar from the victors.
"My Lord, I hinted to my parents about your living condition and... they did not seem very enthusiastic about meeting you."
Harry chuckled as the Malfoy heir sat down across from him, being joined by Pansy, Blaise, Millicent, and Theodore Nott moments later. "Quite understandable Draco, I was not expecting a red carpet welcome or any such nonsense. Supposedly Dumbledore wishes for me to be removed from the orphanage as well but..."
The boy quirked his head, what the devil was Pansy upset about? "Yes... it is where I live..."
"Why didn't you tell us earlier Harry!? We could have..."
"Could have what?" The boy snarled, his eyes lighting up in a rare show of anger. "Do you believe that you are capable of solving this problem where I am not? Do you think that I would not be capable of living on my own should I so choose to do so?"
"N-no my Lord of course not it is just that... you could stay with one of us..."
This time the laughter that echoed through the carriage sent shivers down the other student's spines. "Oh yes I am sure that your parents would be excited beyond belief to house the boy-who-lived, destroyer of Voldemort in their homes. Honestly how many of your parents have no association with the former Dark Lord?"
Those present looked around nervously, before shaking their heads. When he spoke again Harry's tone was back to its usual joy filled version, "Exactly, but do not despair for me. It will be nice to have a few months to myself after this previous school year. Besides I will see you all before you know it."
"If you feel you need company my Lord... we are only an owl away from you." Millicent emphasized, moving her hand as if to place it comfortingly on his leg, but stopping herself with merely keeping it on her own instead. They all knew what the expectations of Wizarding society was. Upon declaring their loyalties they belonged to him in every sense of the word. However, one did not touch their Lord without being told they may do so.
The summer turned out to be... excruciatingly boring. Sure Harry had enjoyed the first week or so of peace and quiet, considering that everyone at the orphanage ignored or avoided him, but after a while it was just dull.
Luckily Hedwig had decided to revisit her decision on sleeping next to him, which meant extra warmth and comfort at nights and in the early mornings. The second saving grace had been the abundance of letters that his 'followers' had taken upon themselves to write him. Most of them were not-so-subtle hints that he should spend the summer at their residence while others were simply friendly communications.
Draco, for instance, was practically begging him to meet and play Quidditch, a game that the boy-who-lived had observed several times but found no interest in save for the idea of flying.
A few weeks prior to the next school year Harry finally received the letter he had been waiting for. An invitation to join the heir of Longbottom in a trip to Diagon Alley for school shopping. It was finally time to begin cultivating the boy's greatness.
"Greetings heir Longbottom, how has your summer been?"
The blonde, who had slimmed down a bit since the school year, blushed at the introduction before giving a nod. "I have been well, yourself Lord Potter?"
Harry chuckled, "Bored out of my mind, however this does bring up something I wish to speak with you about."
"And what is that?"
"This whole 'Lord' business. I have decided that everyone shall have one free 'declaration' before I begin holding them to their words."
"It means you can call me 'Lord' one time, before I begin recognizing your fealty."
"Do not worry Neville, you are perfectly fine right now. I am certainly not going to take into account previous statements... although it would be fairly interesting to see the Slytherins react to that."
"I doubt much would change, Harry. Most Purebloods know what it means to say such things."
The raven-haired boy gave a thoughtful hum as the duo walked through the alley, ignoring the various stares they received.
"Blimey mate how do you put up with the attention?"
"I mentally picture them all as blood stained corpses."
Neville laughed at the joke, not noticing that his friend appeared completely serious. "Okay, next question, what is it with you and the owl?"
"Hm? Hedwig? She has been my closest companion for my entire life. I cannot imagine life without her."
The snow-white creature seemed to straighten up a bit as she sat on his shoulder at the praise. After retrieving some money for their supplies from Gringotts Harry led his friend to Ollivanders, much to the confusion of the other boy.
"Uh Harry, what are we doing..."
"We are going to be buying you a new wand Neville. The future Longbottom Lord should not be carrying around another person's tool. It needs to be yours not your father's." This is the first step to you achieving your greatness, something we will be working on quite a bit in this upcoming year.
"Ah Mr. Longbottom... and Mr. Potter... I must admit I expected to see both of you here last year. If my memory serves me right you are both second years rather than first."
The blonde glanced over to his friend, a bit confused since he had always seen Harry using a wand during class. "That is correct, however as you can see I already have what I need, we are merely here for my friend Neville. He has been using his father's old wand and while it is very well made it is not for him."
The older man's eyes remained trained on the emerald-green ones of the boy-who-lived even as he nodded in agreement. "Yes... yes you really should have your own. But I am sure that any wand you purchased will not be as useful as one that I can make for you Mr. Potter."
Again the boy waved off his argument, "I have made it through my entire first year without effort using my current solution, I am sure it will suffice. Now for heir Longbottom?"
A hesitant nod answered him, before the wandmaker turned his attention towards the blonde, "Yes yes, well then let us see what we can do. Right or left hand Mr. Longbottom?"
A popping sound gained the boy-who-lived's attention as a House-Elf appeared in his room, earning an startled gasp from a young white-haired girl. For a moment Harry considered moving into a different apartment, perhaps one that went unregistered so he could avoid such rude intrusions.
"Master Harry Potter!"
"And you are..."
"Dobby is Dobby! Master Harry Potter must not return to Hogwarts this year, terrible things are going to happen this year."
"Terrible things you say? Well then I simply must attend. I would not want to miss the fun now would I?"
"No no no no! Master Harry Potter must not go!"
"And if I choose to do so anyway?"
"Dobby... Dobby will stop you, however Dobby must!" The creature glanced over at the young girl for a brief moment, before finding himself magically thrown against a wall.
"I will tell you only one time Dobby. If you so much as contemplate doing something with Hedwig I will end you." Shadows lengthened across the floor, the lights flickering ever so slightly as the boy's own eyes lit up with green flames.
"Dobby is not afraid sir, Dobby is used to death threats. Dobby wants Master Harry Potter to be safe, Dobby wants to protect the great Harry Potter sir."
"Ah, but that is where you are mistaken, death is not the worst outcome to your actions. I will be going to Hogwarts. If you are so insistent upon protecting me then you may do so during the year. Perhaps if you prove your worth I will consider a more permanent solution to your problems and desires."
The House-Elf nodded reluctantly, before being released and popping away a moment later.