Envy Engenders Spite @tararhyme
SPEW's lesser-known Predecessor

Long Author's Note (not the norm): As far as pairings go, I do intend to have them, and while they will play an important part in the plot it won't be all of the plot. Specifically Harmony as asked- I don't want to spoil entirely, but I will say that the cards are on the table. This story is planned in its entirety of part one (22 chapters), and it's only after that things get a little more gritty.

Anyways, to other topics -

The plot, while mixed with the plot of the third book, is unique in that it is also completely different. Yes, Sirius Black is escaped. Yes, Snape is still a Professor. Yes, Remus Lupin is a werewolf. But if it was all the same, we're just re-reading! I may also introduce concepts that are not canon- no, actually, I know I will. Again, sorry if that is troubling, for those who PM'd me about how there was never a kappa in Ottery St. Catchpole. I know. That's mysterious and troubling, isn't it? Then, also, why did they meet Slughorn before sixth year?

I find your lack of faith... disturbing :)

I do want to rehash this is a 'time travel tale', and please, please, if you don't know why something is happening, that's probably for a reason. When you read Harry Potter for the first time, I feel like you didn't know that Snape was in love with Lily or that Tom Riddle was Voldemort or that Peter Pettigrew was a rat Animagus traitor all in the first five chapters. What makes this all funnier is that, it's not my cute lil commenters, it's private messaging.

In due time! In due time!

That said, if you do really wish to discuss your thoughts or just talk to me, of course you can PM me. But it's hard when people just ask "Why did this happen like this?" because if I answered, I just don't think you want to read the story at all. Because in fact, I wouldn't have to write it. I could just sum it up in a little book report instead. This happened because blah blah blah is a villain and blah blah blah happens so blah and blah can go get blah blah, oh and that's because blah isn't dead!

Let's return to the plot-

Antares woke up this morning looking forward to a normal, boring day at work. Just him, a hefty pile of paperwork, and at least three higher ups getting his name wrong before getting down to business. No secret notes or suspicious security briefings. He liked his daily routine.

How wrong he was.

The day had started well enough. He woke up at precisely seven-oh-seven, like he always did (because it was lucky), ate toast with his usual coffee, dressed up smart, and finally apparated to the employees' entrance. Like he did every time, he grimaced at the toilet before stepping in and flushing himself down. He understood the need for secrecy, but why a toilet of all things?

He checked in with security - it was Dill again and my oh my was she a talkative fellow, very inefficient - on his way to the Minister's Wing, and sat down behind his desk at precisely seven forty-five. Official work hours didn't start until eight, but he knew that no one who only did the required minimum got anywhere in the Ministry. Unless, of course, their parents had connections. Antares did not, excluding his brief stint in the Magical Cooperation department. His new position was far more advantageous- even as he did much less. Here, he was privy to... well, everything.

By the time the Minister showed up, Antares had the day's schedule ready and was perched in the chair closest to the Minister's desk.

Antares was the Junior Undersecretary, and while he didn't hold the power of the Senior Undersecretary, he was directly responsible for attending to the Minister. The Senior had their own responsibilities. Minister Fudge looked harried already, and Antares didn't blame him, the DMLE and the GTP were having extraordinary struggle with the Belgian task force breaking simple jurisdiction laws - Brubaker was a menace, and the fact that the famously private French GTP were working with the DMLE over Irish matters was indicative of something happening overseas. The restrictions on non-being and creature travel was affecting the French, they weren't sharing, and they in turn were meddling in Britain while Brubaker bore down on them all.

Belgian menaces.

"Morning, morning," Fudge said offhandedly, parsing through his day's work ahead. "Fensby's claiming a lead on Gringotts, and Cresswell is feeling undermined - yet again, yet again. The man hasn't an ounce of faith, we all want this matter put to rest..." There was a sharp rap on the door. "Oh, that's Dirk now, I would assume. Just like Cresswell, all fired up." He cleared his throat from the mumble, and called "Come in!"

Then, to Antares ultimate displeasure, Crouch walked in.

"Cornelius, a moment, please."

The Minister obliged him. "Barty, good morning. Any news from the French?"

"Not yet, but there's something else."

"Let's sit. Would you like some tea?"

"No time. Take a look at this." He handed Fudge a folder. "Study it before the next Cabinet meeting. It's important. And Cresswell looks ready to boil, he's waiting in drawing room two already. Apparently, I am now an owl. He needs to collect himself, Merlin's sake."

"Of course, of course," Fudge muttered. "Getting to that. Are you sure you can't stay for a cup of tea? There are some things I'd like to-"

"Busy, I'm afraid," Crouch interrupted. "Call my office and we'll set something up tomorrow."

"If you're sure... I'll head off Dirk... now. Right then, thank you, Barty."

Crouch waited until Fudge closed the door behind him before pouncing.

"Mister Gastrell." Antares had worked in the Department of Magical Cooperation for six years, and he didn't think Crouch would've noticed if he'd dropped dead, let alone know his name. "Are you enjoying working for the Minister?"

He cleared his throat. "It's a different environment than the DMC. Very - it's very fast paced."

Crouch's lip twitched, as if he were holding back a smile. Antares doubted it. He'd never seen the man smile. "I can imagine. A shame, really. You did quite well with my department, as I recall."

That was when Antares became convinced he'd become a prop in a power play. It was an open secret that Crouch had been sour for a long time about his ruined chances for the top job in Wizarding Britain after the fiasco involving his son's incarceration (and death). Crouch couldn't be happy about that.

His son had died and all he seemed to care about was rebuilding his reputation. Antares admired the man - he was a true titan in the Ministry - but he wondered at his robotic dedication to the job.

"I've learned a lot from you, sir," Antares said, choosing a diplomatic answer. "It lead me to different-"

"No doubt," Crouch interrupted. "I think it's time we catch up. Talk about... opportunities. When is your lunch break?"

"Um, I usually-"

"Splendid. Meet me in the Atrium at ten. I have a nice place in mind."

What was he supposed to say?

"Of course, sir. Ten sharp. I'll be there."

He couldn't simply refuse one of the most influential people in the Ministry. It was a testament to Crouch's endurance, that after being brought to his knees and his family done for, he still picked himself back up to head the DMC. It wasn't Minister, but it was a lot.

Resigned, Antares cleared his impromptu outing with Minister Fudge who was in drawing room two (Dirk Cresswell was still enraged at Fensby's manoeuvring) and at five-to-ten he left the office. Crouch didn't even try to pretend this was about some fictional lunch when he strode over with all his commanding presence.

"Follow me, Mister Gastrell."

They left the Atrium behind, disappearing into the bowels of the Ministry. In a small room, five men were waiting for them. Antares recognised the Chief Unspeakable and Prevost, Director of Magical Finance. How were they involved in this? And what was 'this', anyway?

"Antares Gastrell. Fudge's Junior Undersecretary. What's he doing here, Barty?" Prevost asked. Antares felt like he was in a strange dream. He'd never been so acknowledged before - it was part of his power. He slipped people's true notice, and sat in a position of relative influence to the Minister but was dismissed as a weak assistant of sorts. He didn't mind that. This sudden attention was unnerving on the other hand.

"He'll be our witness. He's already involved." Well, that was ominous.

Chief Unspeakable gave Crouch an ornate medallion about the size of a galleon. "It will remain active for two hours."

"Thank you."

With that, he left the room.

Antares could have sworn that apparition and portkeys didn't work inside the Ministry. Unless you were an Unspeakable, apparently. Crouch held the medallion out on his palm. The three hooded Unspeakables and Prevost touched it with their index fingers.

"Gastrell!" Crouch snapped.

He reluctantly placed his finger next to the others, dreading what would come next.

The travel itself was fine. This particular portkey was far better balanced than any he'd used before. Their destination, however, was the last place he expected to see when they landed. It was a sheer rock face, overlooking frothy dark waters, and the spray of mist was deflecting by a strange field of shimmering air. He'd never seen the likes of it before. And even more odd was the large, even tile floor they were standing on. There was a thin, long table and fourteen chairs. A side table had a lamp that was on, with a tug-cord. It was muggle. Antares knew this, as a half-blood himself. Totally exposed if not for the magical field around this strange set up, Crouch directed them all to sit on the side of the table with their backs to the rock face, looking at the woods in the far distance.

"Is everything ready?" Crouch asked.

"Checked it twice. All good," said one of the Unspeakables.

"Very well. Take your positions, gentlemen."

Two of the hooded men disapparated. The last one moved to a far corner and disillusioned himself.

"Take a seat, Gastrell. We could be waiting for a while."

Waiting for what? Or whom?

The three of them sat at the large table and waited. No one said anything and minutes passed in silence, broken only by the sound of Crouch's pocket watch whenever he checked the time. After almost half an hour, by Antares' estimation, one of the Unspeakables returned.

"Three targets approaching via forest path."

"Three?" Prevost repeated, bolting from his seat. "We're supposed to just meet Brubaker! Are they looking for trouble?"

"Calm down, Markus," said Crouch. "I wouldn't expect Brubaker to move without security these days. He himself is expecting only me. With guards, perhaps, but certainly not you or Gastrell." He turned to the Unspeakable. "Were you able to identify the companions?"

"Yes. Our lookout in Hogsmeade spotted one right away. It's Boardman."

Crouch's hand clamped down on his colleague's shoulder. Tightly. "You're awfully jumpy today, Markus."

"This isn't my environment, Barty," Prevost hissed. "Boardman? What in hell is Brubaker thinking? The DMLE- "

"I'm sure we'll find out soon enough." Crouch interrupted with slight anger in the corners of his mouth. He turned to the Unspeakable again. "What about the other one?"


Antares saw colour drain from Prevost's face and barely held back a laugh. The prejudice was blatant and he'd personally never held any stock with it. There were bad werewolves as there were always bad men, it was so simple.

"Boardman... and a werewolf?" Crouch asked mildly. "Are you sure? That werewolf?"

Prevost paled further. "No- Barty it's madness - " Antares wasn't following.

"Positive." The Unspeakable spoke over him.

"Tail them until they get here. When they walk in, I want all of you on standby."

"Will do," said the Unspeakable and disapparated again.

Prevost had begun to sweat. He swivelled in his chair and stared at Crouch. "A criminal and a werewolf... What are you playing at, Barty? It seems like you know them. I mean, not just from the newspaper exploits."

"I worked with Boardman, in the Auror Office. Greyback... well, that is a longer matter, is it not?"

Antares filed that bit of information away. Not any werewolf- Fenrir Greyback. A nightmare told to misbehaving children, the bane of worrisome parents... He liked this less and less by the second. When they walked into the open, he really didn't know what to make of this particular trio.

The infamous Brubaker, the frontline defender of the new creature restrictions, was in the middle. He dressed more like a muggle than a wizard. Boardman the high-time scam artist who used to work with Barty Crouch, was dressed in frayed robes and looked quite tired.

On Brubaker's left, Greyback was the exact opposite of Antares' image of a child-slaying werewolf. The strangely friendly ease with which he held himself, and the boyish style he wore contrasted greatly with his numerous crimes against humanity.

Antares couldn't quite work out why he was here.

"Won't you sit down?" Crouch beckoned.

They stepped forward, moving in an almost synchronised manner.

"Who will I be speaking to?" Crouch asked politely.

"Me," Brubaker said. "Good morning, Crouch." His eyes skipped over Gastrell almost involuntarily, that at least was familiar territory for Antares. He was supposed to be blatantly unremarkable. Then he looked at Prevost. "I don't know you."

"Allow me to introduce my colleague, Director Markus Prevost from the Department of Magical Finance."

Antares observed the tense exchange in silent awe. High-ranking Ministry officials and a group of what many would consider Britain's Most Wanted and that-Belgian-prick. They were only missing the Death Eater general Black, recent and first escapee of Azkaban.

"Markus requested to join me today. He's grown disillusioned with the Irish movement as the goblins grow restless."

"You must have been conflicted about this meeting, given how long it took you to respond," said Brubaker. " Your Rufus Scrimgeour was far more sympathetic. What made you choose this, over the complacency your country so favours?"

"I assume you're aware what happened in Diagon Alley yesterday?" Crouch asked.

Greyback spoke. "I was at the... well, I wouldn't say riot, but what may hold for one if the Prophet had been allowed to report on it... uninfluenced." Here, Greyback looked directly at Antares, who was remembering not even a week earlier writing that missive for Minister Fudge. Black took precedence to save face. "Coupled with your escapee problem, it's not shocking it could be deflected. But you know the tale..." Greyback spread his arms as if to say, 'what can you do'. "Truth will out."

"Fudge's refusal of the Belgian restrictions has had quite the wave of effect," Brubaker said, without effort to be delicate. "And his clear indecisiveness made him look weak. Pandering to the GTP regardless of their insinuations is insulting. Now after the Irish affair he still won't see reason - and here we are."

"And here we are," Crouch repeated.

"I expect you to keep your mouth shut, Mister Gastrell," Crouch said, once they were gone.

"Of course, sir."

"Barty... are we really doing this?" Prevost's eyes looked unfocused but his jaw was set in a grim line.

"I should have done this months ago."

"Algernon will want to know," said Prevost. "And what was that about Scrimgeour?"

"You heard Brubaker. He was sympathetic. Wouldn't hurt to find out how far that sympathy goes."

"And Fudge?"

Crouch's next words sent a chill down Antares' spine.

"Some sacrifices... are inevitable."

He held out the Portkey once more, and they vanished from the strange cliff face. The lamp tugged itself out.

It was in a different 1993 when Sirius Black escaped Azkaban, that it provided adequate distraction from a rather complicated piece of legislation.

When Harry Potter blew up his Aunt Marge in Little Whinging shortly after and made a break for it, Minister Fudge immediately and personally deployed a team of Obliviators and Aurors to do damage control that evening. He met Harry Potter in the Leaky Cauldron that very night to ensure the boy would stay put and monitored, and spent the following day working out the arrangement with Albus Dumbledore- who seemed oddly invested but he was always a strange duck- and then arranged for security details on both the Dursley home and Diagon Alley for the duration of Harry's stay after it was decided that the blood wards were unpredictable in regards to Black.

That is to say, Minister Fudge never originally attended the Wizengamot deliberation of the Belgian trade agreement with the ICW.

He'd arranged for his Junior Undersecretary to speak in his leave, if so needed, and Antares did not, because he thought it was too risky and besides- even speaking for the Minister, people didn't notice him as the Junior. The Belgian agreement passed on a hair, and Fudge had been disgruntled for weeks because he felt it too interfering and undermining, but it was what it was. To establish a feeling of control, he micro-managed the Sirius Black matter, and even stationed Dementors at Hogwarts for Harry Potter's return. He also sent Antares away to work in the DMLE, still a paper pusher of course, but he blamed the man for the Belgians getting their way.

There was never an Irish affair of creatures in that 1993... or kappas, for that matter. And Fenrir Greyback had never returned so, so early to British soil, certainly not with Bartemius Crouch's acquiesce.

Things were shifted irreparably.

Ron was not one for fussing, never was. Now, after all he'd seen and done, he appreciated it a little more. He didn't complain at his mum's, well, mothering, and saw its good results much clearer. Ginny had reversed from her state of 'suspiciously pale' to 'slightly anaemic' and Percy was no longer staring blankly about and reciting the order of events. He had managed to seat himself and was absently chewing on a bun placed in front of him by, guess who.

Mum herself was busying about the cabinets looking for a mild flesh-wrap salve. "Can't seem to summon it," she muttered. "Maybe I labeled it... sew up?"

She beamed in delight when she did find her slim vial, labelled a bold skin-wrapping. Ron let her carefully rub it into his face. "Magic fixes near everything, but it's toughest with other magic," she said.

"Think it'll scar?" Ron asked.

"I should think not!" Mum glared at his cheek. "It'll take longer than non-magical wounds, even with skin-wrap, oh I always nickname them differently... I always think it'll help me remember. But it'll be just fine in a couple days. Now I have to see what's been about by the Pond, if you will. Percy, you're well to man the house?"

"Yes, mother." He said blankly. "I mean- yes, of course." He straightened up.

"Alo- " Ron didn't finish that as his mum raised an eyebrow. It was a silly instinct, he knew his mum was a capable witch and it was only a kappa. He was smaller than an adult, only thirteen, and gangly rather than fit. Taken by surprise and with Ginny as it's hostage, it was no wonder it was such a fight. "Right," he said sheepishly.

When Molly Weasley marched back into the Burrow, she was quite disturbed. Fantastical tales were one thing- and it wasn't even that she necessarily didn't believe her kids- it was just truly unnerving to see a Japanese water demon in Southwest England.

She went straight for the Floo and was quite grim until Arthur arrived home for supper. Ginny had recovered her spirit but was unwilling to rehash the event any further. Fred and George were reamed before even saying anything- not that Ron thought they needed it. They'd been more accommodating to Ginny since her first year possession-trauma, he didn't think they'd play on this event too.

Dinner was good, as always, but Ron was waiting for afterwards. He saw the adult-look his parents were exchanging. They would take to the kitchen after washing up, and have a private conversation about the day's events. Ron would know- he'd listened in plenty after his fourth year about the Order.

And he was right- listening in by standing outside the kitchen backdoor, just slightly open for evening air. He had to be careful to not be seen but they were engrossed in the topic. And they'd yet to think they had secrets worth spying in on.

"-of course I've already reported it in since I was in office, but Marjorie even made a note of the exceptionality. If youhadn't confirmed yourself, Molly, well..." His dad was answering.

"You know why I had to floo you right away, what with you say's been going on in the Ministry," his mum was saying. "Here? Near Devon of all places... it's beyond exceptional." There was a pause, a silence.

"Potentially intentional." His dad sighed.

"Oh- Arthur, do you really think?"

"Illegal creature and non-being shipments have been sparking after the new Belgian restrictions, and Marjorie mentioned a similar case of two Wampus in Ireland, just last Tuesday. That riot by Gringotts, Molls, it's disturbing. Not for what- three hundred years?"

Another pause. "Wampus... those are American, aren't they?"

His father sighed, full of discomfort.

"You know the nights didn't just spook us, Molly. This is bigger than Britain." Ron heard his father sit down heavily, and wondered what the 'nights' were. In all his years, short as they were, he'd never heard of kappas in Devon or nights-that-spook. "Fudge may not see it, but to anyone with a hint of self preservation, they'll abandon his sinking ship. He's made a colossal mistake, and the French are shifty, he too quickly forgets what happened in the war. He never should've sided with Delacour on this."

What happened in the last war?

Their voices petered out, too low to hear through the backdoor. Ron leaned up against the rough wood as much as he dared without shifting it and heard faintly, "... yes... the convention opened... all over again..." and nothing more.

Harry watched Vernon Dursley get into his car. He himself would be joining today, because today he was going back to Hogwarts. But his mind was far away from the worries of his life in the wizarding world- for once. Instead he was thinking about the Dursleys. Which was fairly odd, who of their own free will would want to do that? But he was.

His life before turning back time was rampant with magical mysteries and interspersed with miserable Dursleys as more of an afterthought. They didn't help him, but he'd always accepted his lot in life because... well there weren't too many good reasons. He couldn't reason out the hot shame that would trickle down his spine when he thought of the suppressive household. He knew he didn't like them anymore than they liked him, and that was that.

But Harry had moved on from his time with the Dursleys. That life had ran its course and it was disconcerting to return. It was unnatural to force time back, because he wasn't entirely Harry Potter of nineteen ninety-three anymore, but he stood with his soul in that body.

He watched as his Uncle came out of backseat, holding some spare gadgets- probably Dudley's- so that while Harry sat in the backseat he wouldn't do... something.

Harry thought he hated him, but it was worse than that. Hate was easy. Hurt was not. Maybe the Dursleys would never truly 'run their course' with Harry. The cupboard was a much more vivid memory these days, since returning, and he wondered to himself why he felt unable to resist the order of things. Why he was so complacent to the strict degradation of his self in Number Four on Privet Drive.

It was sore, right in his chest, something like reopening a cut.

Harry thought he hated thinking about the Dursleys and buried the worst down again, but it was harder than it'd ever been before. The sad resignation, the snark he'd always used to defend against the vitriol (rightfully so)... it felt a little obvious now. And he didn't know to how even approach his new thoughts on this reality that had been his for so long. It was strange to think of Spinner's End suddenly, and almost wish to be alone in that worn-out home that wasn't his. If anything, he'd commandeered it to avoid Grimmauld and the Burrow, and even Hogwarts.

He rubbed at his chest as his Uncle came back in to deposit Dudley's things, spilling them onto the second armchair.

"Well?" He said to Harry, looking utterly exasperated. "Get your things in the car- if you miss your... train, we won't be keeping you in until next school year."

He nodded, a little sharply, but Harry was generally know to be disrespectful and ungrateful so he knew it would mean little to the man who never saw him at all. His trunk was in his old cupboard, along with all else but Hedwig, and Harry had been clever enough to sneak about his books and extracurricular work in and out since Diagon.

Sure, a lot of the time this felt like drowning (he really hadn't thought enough, never had, but Hermione should've known, we should've planned, oh but that's unfair), but Harry had an underlying surety that he'd never really had.

And Ron. Thank every power in the world he had Ron- the one who had been so easily brought on board to time travel, but the most vehemently against it overall. He'd not once turned on Harry for going through with this, and Harry often wondered how overwhelming it was to be surrounded by family, alive. Maybe Ron was glad to have Harry too, that he wasn't overwhelmed alone, if only in a different way.

Vernon's watchful eye looked for Harry scratching or banging up the car when heaving the trunk in, and huffed when it came away unscathed. Harry was unsure if his Uncle was glad the car was fine, or mad to miss a chance at validating his general moody disposition.

All the thinking of family made him think of Sirius Black, of animagi and apparation, and as he got into the backseat for an awkward hour-long ride he wished he had better foresight. He wished he could get it all right this time- even if he wasn't sure what that meant. Only maybe, Sirius. The Weasleys. Hermione.


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