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Everything Everywhere One Thing at a Time (Harry Potter / Stargate Multicross)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by Karmic Acumen, Sep 20, 2022.

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  1. Threadmarks: Prologue: Dreaming the Good Life
    Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    Author Note: I've finally succumbed to the lure of the guilty pleasure that are multicrossover fanfics. I don't know how far I'll get this one, but it only took me a couple of days to toss this much out, so here we are. This is the only story I don't have a clear endgame planned for, mostly because I'm not sure what all other settings will get involved, or even what all of them will need dimension travel instead of sharing the same world. I haven't seen the latter done well very often. Suggestions are open.

    All crossovers I read happened because some outside deus ex machina made the plot happen. I'm going for the opposite route where the protagonist does it himself.



    Summary: Dreams had always been an escape for Harry Potter, but he was pretty sure that you weren't supposed to dream entire lives all at once. Now what's this whole dimensions malarkey and what does divination have to do with it? (Harry Potter / Stargate Multicross)




    [​IMG]

    Prologue: Dreaming the Good Life

    "-. .-"

    It started with Quidditch.

    More precisely, the night before his first match. Or, well, the entire week leading up to it. Till that point he'd been too high on not getting expelled to realise he should be bloody well falling apart from nerves. But then it finally dawned on him that he was the youngest seeker in a century with barely any training on a team that had been absolutely flattened several years in a row by all the other Houses. Life suddenly became very stressful, and the comments from all and sundry didn't make it any better. Increasingly so the more boastful, boisterous, babbled or begrudging they got. It got so bad that the stress started following him into sleep. So Harry James Potter, like all children chasing their first life's dream in the middle of the hot mess of life known as puberty, went to bed on the eve of the Gryffindor – Slytherin match absolutely convinced that his life was going to end. His despair was total, incontrovertible, inconceivable, absolute!

    It was also perfectly contained and masked by a pretense of dutiful confidence so flawless that it would have passed muster at the Dursleys, even with Marge and her monster there to bite and bark at him, if he did say so himself.

    And so it was that on the night after Halloween of 1991, it was the anguished hopelessness doggedly focused inward with absolute self-control that followed him into sleep.

    The immediate result was the first lucid dream Harry Potter ever remembered having.

    When he woke up the next morning, he was calm and confident and no longer afraid because he'd just spent a whole lifetime flying. The specifics were blurred, he could barely piece together ten minutes' worth of actual memory, and most of it wasn't even on a broom, but the feelings and the experience were etched in him deeper than the scar on his forehead. He went out, played his part and won the game handily despite whoever-it-was trying to murder him in broad daylight. Honestly, it would have been embarrassing if he'd still lost the game with that kind of experience under his belt.

    He didn't say any of that, obviously. He did, however, find it easier to live in the moment now that he'd completely satisfied one of his greatest cravings. Which meant he was loads better at spotting when Hermione's pestering threatened to veer from good-natured to irritating enough for Ron to daydream about throwing the twins at her.

    "Honestly, Harry!" Hermione harrumphed, every bit the girl that had once scolded them for almost getting them killed or, worse, expelled. "You shouldn't egg Ron on, he's in danger of flunking as it is."

    "We're barely half-way through the first term, Hermione," Ron said, probably knowing the next five moves in their chess game by now. "Lighten up, will you?"

    Hermione harrumphed. "Fine. Don't come running to me when you're in danger of being held back a year." Harry almost wanted to laugh. For someone so bad at lying, Hermione sure did it a lot. "And you, Harry, honestly! I know you're smart and talented. If you only applied yourself you'd be an amazing wizard, I know it!"

    "Thanks, Hermione," Harry grinned at how red she turned upon realizing how she'd just insulted him. "But I don't think hand cramps are the answer there."

    Hermione rolled her eyes and went back to going dreadfully over the limit on her potion essay.

    Harry opened his mouth, then closed it. His smile faded from his face. How did you tell your bookworm friend that you weren't applying yourself in school because it was… school? Hermione loved school. Not that Harry disliked school, exactly, he was certainly glad to leave all the pretending to be a dumb and useless delinquent back at St. Grogory's, but…

    But it was school. And not even the best kind of school either. The best professor had the sparsest syllabus. The class he'd been most interested in had a teacher that hated him for no reason. History class was somehow the dullest thing he'd ever suffered in his life even though the teacher was a ghost. The class that should have been the most exciting had a teacher so smelly and useless he gave Harry literal headaches. And the old fairy godmother may as well be a nun for all the wonder she put into her teaching.

    This was supposed to be a world of magic, where you embarked on wonderful adventures of wonder to find yourself, overcame your flaws, surpassed your limits, learned important life-defining wisdom and made your dreams come true. The letter storm proved it, Diagon Alley proved it, Fortesque's Ice Cream proved it, and Hogwarts, oh, Hogwarts definitely proved that was true once. Once.

    You couldn't make ghost haunting into the biggest and dullest disappointment of generation after generation unless something was really rotten in Avalon.

    And that was the rub, wasn't it? Hogwarts was a magical place, but the only reason they were allowed inside it… wasn't. Not in the ways that really mattered. Even his adventure in Quidditch only happened in spite of the school rules.

    Harry blinked and sat back in his armchair, absently feeding his rook to Ron's knight. Could that be it?

    He confronted Malfoy against teacher orders and won a prize, the respect of the other students, and a spot on the House Quidditch team despite never having flown before in his life. McGonagall broke school policy to enroll him a year too early for entirely personal reasons. He and Ron had only managed to save Hermione from the troll because they disobeyed the headmaster's direct orders, and it was the best excitement of his life which earned him a life-long friendship with the brightest witch of their generation. And if there was one thing that connected all those adventures, it was freedom.

    Freedom like he only ever felt in his dream.

    The sounds of the Common Room seemed to fade as he wandered off in his own head. Could that be it? Could it be so easy?

    The answer, it turned out, was hell yes. Time off from classes during Christmas Hols saw him receive the first presents he'd ever gotten, including his Dad's Cloak of Invisibility. Breaking curfew to skulk around the castle let him discover an amazing ancient artefact. The ancient artefact then showed him the faces of his Mum and Dad! For the first time in his life, he knew what his Mum and Dad looked like!

    He got Dumbledore to praise him too, and if that didn't confirm his beliefs about the true point of being at Hogwarts, nothing did.

    It wasn't about the rules. It wasn't about any of that. It wasn't even about school. The only way to fulfill your dreams in this magical world was by going off the beaten path seeking freedom.

    The Third Floor Mystery suddenly beckoned like it never had before.

    Harry's conclusion was admittedly challenged by the dragon debacle. Only briefly though, because the quest was ultimately successful and their failure in the aftermath was just that: their failure. Malfoy further confirmed it: he'd also succeeded in his rule-breaking counter-adventure and then failed in the aftermath. And wouldn't you know it, the result fit the pattern and them some: detention with Hagrid in the Forbidden Forest, which was against school policy (like the seeker thing), mortally perilous (like the broom jinx thing), and resulted in Harry coming face to face with his parents' murderer for the first time (like the parents in the mirror thing), but only after he went off the beaten path in search of freedom (like every other time).

    Freedom was dangerous, sure, but Freedom was also the most wonderful thing ever.

    That night, after being carried on the back of a Centaur who also grasped for freedom, Harry went to bed wondering about magical creatures, Mars, and the future. He had his second lucid dream.

    He woke up with the vague memory of living to the ripe old age of too-senile-to-care after marrying and having three children with Ron's little sister.

    Weird!

    Then life got really weird, which is to say he started living in something of a constant déjà vu up until the moment when Hermione was about to cast Petrificus Totalus.

    "Hey Neville," Harry said idly as Hermione prepared to do violence in the name of their Very Important Quest that no longer beckoned, because it wasn't really freedom if it was dangled in front of you by someone else, was it? "You do realise you're a wizard, right?"

    "I-I know I am! …W-why?"

    "You should be using your wand, not your fists." The previously pasty boy flushed red. "Here, try mine."

    Neville stared at Harry's wand stupidly.

    "Go on. Who knows, it might even work better than yours."

    Neville's flush turned from embarrassed to angry enough at the blatant allusion to take Harry up on his offer.

    There was an awkward silence.

    "I-I didn't know new wands were so much better," Neville said, surprised. "… Locomotor Mortis!"

    Harry side-stepped before Neville even got the second word out, which was good because the flash of spellfire streaked past like a bowshot and tinkled loudly against the wall.

    There was stunned silence.

    "… Bloody hell, mate," Ron gasped. "All this time! Have you just been pretending to be a useless git?"

    "Ron!" Hermione hissed, snapping out of her shock. "And you two, what are you thinking Harry? We'll be caught!"

    "That's fine," Harry said, feeling free from the déjà vu for the first time in over a week. He briefly wondered if this was what being drunk felt like, but immediately recalled that no, it wasn't. He'd been drunk enough times in his dream, the experience was completely different, would not recommend.

    "Harry," Ron whispered, looking worriedly between him and Neville. "We gotta go."

    "We don't, actually." Harry took his wand back from Neville's slack hand and looked at it. Holly and Phoenix Feather, 11 inches, nice and supple. Not broken. Not elder either. He dismissed those vague memories and the questions they raised in favour of the one that actually stayed with him. The best memory. Him and his… wife, he supposed. Them and their children opening Christmas presents. He stared at his wand and remembered how James and Albus and Lily ripped paper and cheered and wrestled over each other's toys until Harry provided them with the best distraction.

    Dreams are true while they last.

    "Expecto Patronum."

    Light. Mist. Prongs emerged from his wand, bright and solid. Sharp breaths came from around him as the stag cantered around the room before stopping in front of him.

    Harry blinked slowly, then brought a hand to his neck and pressed on his Adam's apple. "Albus Dumbledore." His voice came out even deeper and scratchier than he'd hoped. "Tom Riddle is in front of the Mirror this very moment."

    With a flick, Prongs whisked out through the wall.

    Harry Potter spun his wand between his fingers and decided there had to be some manner of holster somewhere or other. Ron, Hermione and Neville stared slack-jawed.

    "Right!" He said brightly. "Back to bed."

    The next day, Dumbledore sadly announced that Professor Quirinus Quirrel had died of a bad reaction while testing the third floor defences. It was all very tragic.

    Griffindor didn't steal the house cup that year, more's the pity.

    But there was no blurb in the Prophet about the Flamels setting their affairs in order either, so overall Harry decided to consider first year a win.
    "-. .-"
    The déjà vu returned when he was having his last talk with Hedwig the night before taking the Hogwarts Express back to Durzkaban. On a whim, he took out a piece of parchment and jotted down a short note. Then he tossed it into the fire and wrote one that hopefully sounded properly posh, that was a thing with the famous, right?
    To the Alchemist Nicolas Flamel

    I am the one who warned Albus Dumbledore about the theft-in-progress. As payment for this minor debt of honour, could I perhaps bother you for some informed advice? I am currently interested in the matter of dreams. Specifically, how to control them. Reading suggestions will suffice.

    Live long and prosper.

    He watched from the window just in case Hedwig started flying in circles, but she didn't. Huh. No owl ward? Maybe they had a PO box or something.

    Welp. Back to Fort Normal.
    "-. .-"​

    To Harry James Potter,

    My first advice is to avoid sending geminio copies when you wish to act incognito – objects created by magic like your parchment fall short of only blood for the purposes of scrying. My regular means have not been able to lock on your current place of residence, but the train ride had you quite exposed.

    My second advice is to consider the color-change charm whenever you send your owl out, especially so far afield. As delightful as she is, she is also very distinctive.

    As to your request, that depends. If your interest arose spontaneously, the Hogwarts library should have abundant material on dream interpretation.

    If you've had lucid dreams before, however, you may have a talent for divination. The Mind Arts can be used to induce lucid dreams, but finding a trustworthy teacher that will not abuse the privilege of seeing your deepest self is the tallest order. That said, the usefulness of Occlumency or Legilimency is actually minimal once the dreaming state has been achieved. Contrary to what some believe, dreams are not a mere product of the mind.

    Ultimately, though, it all comes down to one's ability to keep a clear focus. You would not be the first person to induce lucid dreams just by laying in your bed and deciding it hard enough.

    I do know the means by which you might draw more practical benefits, but they take years to attain, they can only be acquired personally, and they are not entirely lacking in peril, especially for a child of so few years. I will not, however, cheapen your plight, nor pretend ignorance about your prospects. Scrying your location is not the end all of my divinations. You most certainly could benefit from consistent forewarning more than most.

    So. Convince me. For extra credit, convince me before October 8th.
    I will not claim to be the only gatekeeper to the knowledge I offer, but I do promise to never lead you false or use you for my own benefit. As you said, I and my wife owe you a debt.


    ~ Nicolas

    P.S. Should you encounter problems with correspondence, I noticed the far side of the local park has some excellent roosting sites.

    The words jumped off the paper, burst into flames and the smoke turned into a winged gemstone that flew around his head three times before dispersing. When Harry looked back at the blank letter, it was gone and there was an owl treat in its place.

    "Wicked!"

    He fed it to Hedwig. She was most pleased.

    Harry did end up having trouble with his mail, as in he didn't get any from anybody, including his friends who swore up, down and sideways they'd write. He didn't even get a reply to his thank you note containing his valiant first attempt at persuasion. Harry supposed an entire page of "please please please please please" might have overdone it a little, but his joke couldn't have been that bad, right?

    He sent Hedwig out the window and went to the park to send his letter there, feeling weirdly relieved that his door wasn't padlocked to high heavens and he didn't have bars on his window. Must have been something he dreamed. The Dursleys were the one part of Harry's life that had always given him déjà vu, probably because they never changed their treatment of him much to begin with. Harry thought to dispel it (ha!) by taunting Dudley with fake incantations a few times, but that actually made the déjà vu worse, so he stopped. He had much more important things on his mind anyway. Like deciding whether he should risk… whatever the penalty was for doing magic outside school and send a messenger patronus.

    In the end, he decided against it. He wasn't quite that desperate yet, and worse came to worst, he'd meet his friends again at the train station anyway.

    Hedwig came back after a couple of days, tired and letter-less. Harry went to the park to try again.

    There was a long-eared owl waiting for him with a note.
    Mr. Potter,

    A horrible first try. It made Perenelle laugh though, so good job there.

    The owl's name is Eudaimon.

    ~Nicolas

    P.S. Hedwig is not a magpie, but I'm sure she'll find a few lost pounds for you if you ask nicely.

    The letter turned into three owl treats this time. Harry stared at them. Why would Nicolas Flamel tell him to start collecting lost coins? Was this for some mysterious magical ritual of mystery?

    Harry must have passed the payphone half a dozen times that week before he slapped his forehead. "I'm an idiot."

    "Hoot," Hedwig agreed, a pound held in her beak.

    "Glad you agree," Harry said dryly.

    He dialed.

    "Hello?"

    "Hello, is this the Granger residence?"

    "Yes. I am Ian Granger. To whom am I speaking?"

    "I'm Harry Potter, Hermione's friend from school?"

    "Harry Potter! Lad, my daughter's been shedding hair like a cat fretting over you. What's this about not answering your letters?"

    "So she did write!" Harry sunk down the side of the cabin in sheer relief.

    "Sounds like there's things going on here. Let me – Hermione, calm down, I'm just – alright fine, here, take it before you go bald, I swear that girl-"

    "Harry! Harry, is that you?"


    "It's me, Hermione."

    "Oh thank God, and I guess Merlin and Morgana too, what happened, Harry? Didn't you get my letters? I've been going spare with worry, and so has Ron you know!"

    "You are? I mean, of course you are, duh." Oh look, no déjà vu for… quite a while now actually, huh. "Look, I don't know what's been happening but I haven't received any letters from you or Ron. I just wanted to make sure you're alright and, well, let you know I guess."

    "Oh Harry, have you called the post office-wait, what am I saying, these are wizard owls, forget I said that, do you think they have an owlpost office at the ministry?"

    "I don't know?" Harry trailed off. "Anyway, if we can't write I just wanted to say we'll definitely meet again at the station."

    "Or you can call again. Or I'll call you!"

    At the Dursley's? Good luck with that. "I'll call you if something comes up."

    "Oh… Alright Harry. Call whenever you like!"

    Harry swallowed. She didn't want to put him in trouble with his aunt and uncle but didn't want to be insensitive and bring it up. Well, that was alright too. "Great. Thanks, Hermione. Tell Ron I said hi and good luck on your homework."

    "Oh, I finished that the first week home, you haven't? I swear, Harry, you-"

    The call cut off and Harry didn't have any more coins.

    He went home feeling weirdly happy and upset all at once.

    Hedwig scrounged up a few more pounds over the next couple of weeks, but he didn't call Hermione again in case he needed them for an actual emergency. He spent as much time in the park as he could get away with though, even if the risk of Harry Hunting increased each passing day. Dudley wouldn't be afraid of him forever.

    Harry didn't get any closer to persuading Mr. Flamel, but he was fine with that. As far as Harry was concerned, the man had already done more than his share, even though Harry lived in juvenile prison, or near enough anyway. Harry never stopped sending letters though, and he devoured the man's replies like… well, a starving child. Which he kind of was because the Dursleys fed him see-through soups and scraps. Harry wondered what kind of food Mr. Flamel ate. He asked him.

    He got an answer.

    So Harry asked about everything else he could think of too.

    By the time his birthday came around, Harry was forced to conclude that Nicolas Flamel was bloody brilliant. More brilliant than every other person he'd ever met, except maybe Headmaster Dumbledore. He was old, he was young, he liked wearing purple and gold (like royalty!), he knew all sorts of magic, he knew the name and use of every plant, he knew all the alchemy, he knew everything. Harry had no idea that there wasn't a single wolf left in the whole country, but apparently they'd all been eradicated by Irish wolfhounds by the eighteen hundreds, it was crazy!

    Nicolas Flamel's favorite star was the Sun, his favorite food was fried eggs, and his favourite pastime was minding promising young minds so they didn't get themselves desolately despoiled by discombobulation. His words.

    It was the nicest thing anyone ever said to him.

    Sniffle.

    Also, 'Flamel' meant flame, and Nicolas meant 'victory of the people.'

    I don't know if I should feel embarrassed or glad I never cared about where names came from before. Harry had written in his last letter. Compared to you, Harry's a joke. A diminutive of Henry, which apparently means 'home ruler.' Which I'm most certainly not.

    Harry most decidedly wasn't. He couldn't believe he'd gotten a library card just to be disappointed like this. And he couldn't even console himself with the knowledge he'd do better if he did own the house, because it wasn't any achievement to be better than the big, sweaty tub of lard failing to realize that he'd put off the people he was 'entertaining' downstairs the moment Petunia opened the door.

    "Harry Potter must not go back to Hogwarts!"

    What the bloody hell?
    "-. .-"
    There were bars on his window. And a bunch of locks outside his door. And a cat flap so Vernon could feed him like a rabid animal. The déjà vu was back with a vengeance. As if not receiving any letters or gifts for his birthday hadn't done that already.

    Harry briefly wondered if he'd failed to take advantage of some opportunity that Dobby the House Elf represented. Whatever it was. For the life of him, though, Harry hadn't the foggiest what he was supposed to have done. You didn't bargain with crazy, that was just common sense!

    Maybe he should have pretended to comply? Promise to never go back to Hogwarts but go anyway? He'd led whales one through three by the nose about his dangerous magic for months, one lunatic should have been easy!

    "How does Hermione do it?" Harry muttered as the sun set outside his window. "She lies her pants off at a moment's notice and gets away with it even when nobody believes her. And Ron somehow convinced everyone he's so useless that they barely bother trying to force him to do anything unless it's literally their job. Why don't I ever get left alone? This is so stupid!"

    It figured that he wouldn't have his wand anymore when he was finally desperate enough.

    He was about to doze off when a noise wrenched him out. Even though Hedwig was locked in her cage. It was a miracle she was still alive considering that Vernon's whole reason for the locks and bars was to prevent Harry from returning to Hogwarts entirely. Were his books even in one piece? His potions supplies? His wand?

    Harry blearily struggled out of his sheets and blindly reached for his torch when he saw them. Two glowing orange eyes.

    He practically flew across the room and pried open the window. Eudaimon couldn't fit through the bars – Vernon had left less space than even Hedwig could use, and Eudaimon was bigger – but with careful fingers, Harry was able to take the letter. He almost forgot to hide under the blanket before reading it.
    Dear Harry,

    Don't be too easily amazed. Mighty names are a thing of the past, diluted by ego and fashion. Did you know that Alfred used to be the rarest and most remarkable name in all Scandinavia? Alfrid, Aelfrick, they were magical names that infused the bearer with the might of all his great forebears. They were the names of kings. Now they're as common as pimples and not to anyone's betterment. A thousand years ago I'd certainly have given Eudaimon a different name. That aside, you certainly don't live up to your name right now, but don't you think you're putting the blame in the wrong place? No one can be a home ruler without having a home first.

    Be constant. Be patient. Grow strong and wise. Your time will come.

    Happy birthday, little one.

    The words rose from the letter like a Pegasus, and when the paper changed this time, it wasn't to owl treats. It was a beautiful glass globe filled with a shining liquid that glowed emerald. Harry hated the Dursleys in that moment. Because of them, he couldn't even have a good cry.

    There was a note attached.
    Show globes have a most peculiar history, feel free to look it up sometime. It involves treason and ruddy Romans. This one is spelled so muggles won't notice it. If you ever need help and can't write for any reason, hang this outside your window. If you don't have a window, use the porch. If you're walled from the outside completely, break it.

    Harry didn't break it, but he wrote him and then some. Maybe it was the anger, the injustice of it all, maybe he was addled from smothering his own crying and just snapped. Whatever it was, Harry just couldn't hold it in anymore, he needed someone to talk to about… things. Something. Everything!

    He took a biro to write in the smallest hand he could and filled two whole pages, then another two pages, then even more pages until he felt like his head had been scrubbed empty with bleach and sandpaper. He stared blankly at the stack for a while, and only snapped out of his godawful wish to tear them all up when Vernon pounded suddenly on the door. He'd spent the whole night writing. Harry went to and back from the loo and then sat there until Vernon kicked his bowl of soup through the cat flap. He ate it and then sat some more. He looked out the window. Eudaimon was asleep on the sill. Was he under a notice-me-not too? Just how much could that spell do, exactly?

    Harry rolled up his… life's story? Tied it with a shoe lace and gave it to the owl before he could talk himself out of it.

    Then he crashed into bed and tried and failed to fall asleep all day because he was too busy cussing himself out in his own head for blurting out his entire life's story to a man he'd never even seen in person. He agonised over his decision. He agonized all the way to sunset about what he'd do and not do differently if only this wasn't the life he had to live.

    When he finally caught up with the sleep that kept evading him, his mind was worried out and empty. He'd sleep on it, he decided. Dream.

    He dreamed of flying again. Up until he realized he was in a dream.

    Then he decided to dream of everything good he wanted from life because he sure as heck wasn't going to have that back in reality.

    Harry woke up after living to the ripe old age of too-awesome-to-care in a world where he lived a good life with his Mum, Dad, brothers and sister because Voldemort went after Neville instead. He didn't remember most of the dream this time either, but the lifetime of contentment soothed something in him like not even a lifetime of flying did. The one memory that did stay with him was weird though. It was when Dad was dying to a wasting curse he picked up somewhere along the way to preventing Voldemort from coming back. James Potter was on his deathbed giving last words, and when it was Harry's turn, he reached up, pulled him close and murmured something that made absolutely no sense whatsoever.

    I'm half-way gone, son, but the things I can already see... You of all people know better than to live your live by another's words. But just in case you're silly enough to sacrifice that good sense for your dying dad, these words are not for you. They're for the Boy-Who-Lived: The Pottery Is Located at Number Eight Rollright Weald.

    Harry wondered if dream Neville was any less confused about those words than he was.

    Harry wrote everything he could remember down in his ever growing dream journal and then a new letter for Eudaimon to take along when he left. Then he waited. And waited.

    And waited.

    Nicolas didn't reply that day. Or the day after. Or the next.

    But on the fourth, the Grangers drove up to the house to invite Harry to join them on their shopping trip in Diagon Alley.

    "Though we'll surely understand if the lad would rather wait for his proper turn," Ian Granger told uncle Vernon while Harry eavesdropped from his upstairs prison. "The way Hermione tells it, it was quite the magical adventure. If even half of what she said was true, what with giants swinging fire-spitting umbrellas and flying swarms of letters all over the place, I'd wait for the encore myself."

    Vernon was suddenly all too happy to see Harry gone. It was amazing.

    "We got an anonymous owl that you were being kept locked up," Hermione told him in the car. "I can't believe they'd do that to you!"

    Nicolas hadn't abandoned him. He'd gotten help.

    It was only the training in pretend from the Dursleys that allowed Harry to not break out in blubbering gratitude.

    Eudaimon ambushed him in the Leaky Cauldron loo.
    Dear Harry,

    I'm still examining your autobiography. I will follow up on it later, when I've finished my latest student's surprise evaluation. I can, however, tell you that dreams don't typically induce such lasting and fundamental changes as you've described. Have you had any other lucid dreams at all? Alternatively, if you ever come awake but cannot move a muscle, know that you are not actually awake. Sleep paralysis is itself a dream. Remember the difference and it will make all the difference.

    ~Nicolas

    Harry didn't return to 4 Privet Drive that day.
    Dear Nicolas,

    Sorry for unloading on you like that, I regretted it the moment I sent the letter off.

    As for dreams, I actually managed to wake up in one deliberately! It was odd, though, I only controlled it a little while and then it was like I lived another life again, and not the same as the first one either. I don't remember much, except Dad talked to me on his deathbed. And I mean ME me, not dream me. Or not JUST dream me. Here's what he said…

    Harry Potter spent the rest of the summer at Hermione's house, eating three meals a day, catching up on his other correspondence, and waging war against Hermione's incurable bookishness to watch fantasy and science fiction marathons with her parents instead. It was great! Some of the things felt like he'd been looking forward to seeing them forever, even though he'd never even heard about them before. It was strangely fulfilling to get around to them. A few even felt familiar, maybe he'd dreamed about them too? If he did, though, he didn't remember it.

    No so great was that Harry accidentally spilled the beans on the troll incident. Somehow he fast-talked the Grangers out of immediately pulling Hermione from Hogwarts and getting themselves memory-wiped. He wasn't entirely sure how that made them arrange a family get-together with the Weasleys all of a sudden, but the ride to Ottery St. Catchpole in an invisible flying car made it all worth it.

    He met his dream wife there. Well, met again since she'd actually been there when boarding the train the year before. She was a weirdo. Tiny too, not that he had a leg to stand on there, unfortunately.

    Ron was a blast to catch up with, magical homes had so much cool stuff happening all the time! And the twins were pretty cool too once you figured out the trick to them, you just had to refuse every single thing they handed you while keeping a safe distance! Harry nailed them both in the head with live gnomes and they actually praised him for it! The Weasleys were the best!

    It wasn't cool how they immediately assumed they were horsing around when the entrance to the train platform closed in their face and spread them and their luggage all over the train station. Fortunately, Hermione was there to vouch for them when Mister and Missus Weasley came back looking for them, so they didn't get in trouble. Which was annoying because one, Hermione was the only one of the three of them who ever actually lied to any adults, and two, doing as Ron said and taking the flying car to Hogwarts would have been absolutely wicked and Harry would need at least a week to forgive Hermione for talking them out of it.

    He never revealed Nicolas to anyone. He didn't want to. It was okay not to share everything right? That the man he had shared everything with didn't write again for the rest of the summer only cemented his decision.
    "-. .-"
    To my conscientious student,

    I am making an addendum to our agreement: either convince me by October 8th, or solve a challenge I've devised to hopefully assuage your need for adventure in a way that will not get you killed. I do not say this on a whim but because of the contents of your latest dream.

    The challenge is this: uncover the functions and uses of the Fidelius Charm by the date aforementioned. I expect a full essay, including all documented uses and misuses of it, complete with critiques for each and recommendations.

    I will be grading you.

    ~Nicolas.

    Harry was torn between breath-taking relief and annoyance at Nicolas brushing past his heart-stuttering life's confession. Maybe he was still 'examining'? But what even was this nonsense about getting himself killed? It wasn't like Harry ever went of his way to look for danger! Rude!
    To my secret penpal that shouldn't be so mean to me,

    I accept your challenge. Even though I still haven't the foggiest what I'm supposed to be trying to persuade you to tell me.

    Hint hint.

    -Your student who has never gone off looking to get himself killed, thank you very much!

    The library fairly rung with the slam of three massive books dropped unceremoniously on the library table where an unenthusiastic boy was being enthusiastically pestered into doing his homework.

    "Hermione," Harry said while manfully pretending not to notice Ron gaping in horror. "I need your help with a bit of light research."

    Hermione stared, and then smiled brilliantly. They didn't get anywhere that day unfortunately, but the Golden Trio left the library feeling accomplished and determined to leave no cover unturned. Well, most of them were, but two out of three wasn't too bad. Hopefully Ron will find it in his heart to forgive him for this. If not, there were always chocolate frogs.

    Oh look, Neville was getting bullied again.

    Harry bickered Malfoy and his posse on their way and thoughtfully eyed the useless Expelliarmus'ed wand of the Not-Boy-Who-Lived.

    Opportunity!

    "Ron, I need your help with a bit of light vandalism."

    Some things were worth not getting forgiveness for.​
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2023
  2. Mgunh1

    Mgunh1 MONKE

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    This.

    More of this please.

    I'm not sure where the Stargate side comes in, but I am thoroughly enjoying your take on a seer!Harry. It is subtle and not overwhelming the story with some sort of super Harry.
     
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 1: Protagonist – Centered Divination
    Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    The other settings begin to seep into the fabric of reality.

    ===================================

    [​IMG]

    Chapter 1: Protagonist – Centered Divination

    "-. October 1, 1992 .-"​


    The Fidelius Charm was the ultimate way to hide things. Unfortunately, it was also the ultimate way to get away with murder if the single documented use of the charm was anything to go by.

    "This spell sounds amazing, Harry, how did you find out about it?" Hermione excitedly asked as they finished going over their findings during what would probably be their last picnic, the days were getting cold. "Are there any other powerful spells you haven't shared with us? When are you going to explain how you cast the Patronus charm last year? Are you ever going to teach us? I've looked it up you know, it's a spell you're only taught at NEWT level, and even then it's rare to be able to cast it, let alone master it! And now this? Harry, the Fidelius Charm is old magic, really old, and really powerful. It literally makes any location invisible, intangible, unplottable, and soundproof, all with a single spell! You're absolutely sure this is the magic that was protecting your parents' house?"

    "Wow, Hermione," Ron said in fake amazement as he fed Scabbers his fifteenth nut of the afternoon. "Why don't you call me a liar too while you're at it?"

    "Honestly, Ron, have you listened to a word I said? It doesn't make sense, tell him, Harry. Harry, are you listening?"

    Harry wasn't, in fact, listening. He was watching Ron's rat, trying and failing to figure out why it gave him the biggest feeling of déjà vu of all only until its self-imposed quest to chew apart the few books and numerous newspapers stacked haphazardly on the blanket. Harry had had to camp in the forbidden section under his cloak and cast geminio for hours. If Scabbers didn't lay off, Harry might be forced to do something he wouldn't regret.

    Ron scowled. "Maybe he would if you actually explained anything."

    Right, he was being talked about as if he were an inanimate rock again.

    "Fine," Hermione huffed. "It doesn't make sense because the entire Magical World knows where Potter Cottage is now, it's actually a national monument! That should be impossible because the secret keeper is still alive."

    That sparked an entire argument over the spell's nature, purpose, and whether or not it even mattered now that nobody lives there anymore so there's no secret to keep, Hermione, duh. Which sparked an entirely new argument over the spell's wording and how it wouldn't matter if everyone died if the secret was about the place rather than the people living in it, Ronald, obviously.

    "It must have come out at his trial," Hermione concluded, smoothing out her skirt ever so primly. "Everyone would have tuned into the Wizarding Wireless to listen, Sirius Black was You-Know-Who's right-hand man after all."

    The déjà vu came back.

    "Hey Harry," Ron said suddenly. "Didn't you say Hagrid was the one who found you?"

    "… Yes," Harry agreed slowly, seeing the problem now that it had been pointed out. "On Dumbledore's orders…"

    "Who shouldn't have been able to do it!" Ron said triumphantly, not realising this had no bearing on the point being argued over.

    "But that would mean…" Hermione trailed off.

    "That the secret keeper had to have already died." But as soon as he said it, Harry knew it was the wrong conclusion.

    "But he wasn't," Hermione said what they were all thinking. "… Was he? What are we missing?"

    Harry couldn't contain his frustration anymore. "None of this makes any sense!"

    They laid around on the grass until they started shivering from the evening chill.

    "I'll ask dad to find out what he can about Black's trial," Ron announced.

    Harry was grateful. He was doubly grateful Ron volunteered without Harry having to ask him.

    Hermione averted her eyes and began collecting her – was she blushing? "We should take this to Professor Lockhart."

    Harry made a face. "I am not giving that ponce the opportunity to put me on display outside of classes too."

    "Hear hear," Ron agreed.

    "You are both ridiculous."

    "Right back atcha."

    Nicolas was going to grade him a Troll.

    Harry wrote his haphazard essay and sent it anyway.

    Eudaimon found him two days later during his cooldown walk after Quidditch practice. It was one of several habits he'd added to his routine that he did alone, precisely to give the owl a reliable window to drop by without questions asked. He'd only been intruded upon twice. The first time at the end of the first week, when Neville marched up and punched him for 'accidentally' stomping his wand to splinters when Ron 'accidentally' knocked it out of his hand down the stairs. The second time was at the end of the second week, when Neville marched up and apologised for overreacting to what was clearly a favour in hindsight and could Harry please take his money back, what do you mean no?

    The essay came back marked Acceptable.

    Dear Harry,

    Top points for thoroughness, half points for content analysis, minimum for presentation. I suggest taking a break and sleeping on it next time. The best ideas come out of nowhere after you've already thought yourself out. Of course, a borderline grade does mean that I still have concerns, but a deal is a deal.

    Since you beat the deadline, however, I'm offering you the opportunity for extra credit. Solve the following puzzle.

    Halloween is not on Halloween.

    ~Nicolas

    P.S. The Pottery is, indeed, located in the woods eight miles off the stone circle. I did not intrude.

    Harry felt like something had punched all the air out of him. Eudaimon did live up to his name.

    Dear Sir,
    Thank you. You didn't have to.
    ~Harry

    Harry had gotten help on the Fidelius research because he hadn't known how significant it would be to him personally, and Mr. Flamel hadn't told him it couldn't be a group project. He'd even manage to hedge around the topic of why he was interested to begin with. This time, though, it felt wrong to cheat, so he didn't tell Ron and Hermione anything. Even though he may as well be beating his head against the walls for all the progress he made on his own.

    Nicolas turned out to be right, though, as always. The best ideas do come out of nowhere after you've thought yourself out.

    It happened during astronomy class.

    "Lunar calendars!"

    He lost two House points for disturbing the class, but he didn't care. He wrote the letter that very night and snuck out of the tower under his Cloak to send it immediately.

    Dear Professor Flamel,

    It's the calendars, right? The modern Calendar is Solar. The Solar Calendar puts Halloween at the midpoint between the fall equinox and the winter solstice, but even if that's true, it still wouldn't fall on October 31st. But Halloween comes from when we still used the Lunar Calendar. And I tried to figure out where that would go by the old calendar and I don't know, wasn't Samhain New Year's?

    I'm missing something, aren't I?

    Harry James Clueless

    Hopefully he wasn't missing too much because Nearly Headless Nick's deathday party was on the 31st. He hadn't been thinking when he said yes, just wanting Mr. Filch to leave him alone, and he'd skip if he had to, but he'd promised.

    "Harry, mate," Ron told him the next day the moment he sat next to him at breakfast. "Hermione is worried about you. Now, because she's a girl and therefore has no clue about us blokes-"

    "Ron."

    "-I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt. What's up?"

    "… I think I'm ready to teach you the Patronus."

    Ron and Hermione stopped.

    "Correction. I'll try to teach you the Patronus charm. I bet you one galleon that you can't do it."

    "You're on!" Ron said, breadcrumbs flying out of his mouth with the force of his offense. "Can't be that hard if you can do it, can it?"

    "Oh, we have a gambler." He couldn't believe that distraction worked, could he make it better? "Alright, I bet you five galleons you can't even get mist to come out, and a further ten that you won't manage the corporeal version."

    Ron paused mid-shoveling food into his mouth. Always a remarkable achievement. "You know, I can tell that you're just distracting me, but I'll take it."

    "Ron!"

    "Oh look, Harry, Hermione isn't interested, that means we get to spend all the time on it just the two of us."

    Hermione sputtered in outrage. "That… You are the most childish, churlish, insensitive, pigheaded – and yes, Ronald, I can also tell that you're distracting me but I'll take it also, so there!"

    "Damn, Harry, she's onto us, look at her hair standing all on end, it must be magic!"

    It was the first déjà vu in months that didn't feel unnerving. Almost like their talk after the Third Floor Mystery that Failed to Beckon. They talked around Harry back then too, until Ron remembered Tom Riddle's name from the trophy room back during the Midnight Duel that Never Was, and Hermione realised that asking about the Patronus really wasn't going to earn her an answer more believable than 'I learned it in a dream.'

    Eudaimon didn't show up until October 12, but it made up for the delay with Nicolas' longest letter to date, as well as the first package in addition to the transfigured treats that Nicolas had ever sent over.

    "Trolldom," Harry sounded the title. It was a grimoire. "By Johann Bjorngard."

    It was the letter that really made Harry's schoolwork seem paltry.

    My dear student,

    By the old reckoning, today would be the time to hold the harvest festival. This was a time of celebration, where you gathered your harvest, made offerings to appease the spirits, and then got together with everyone within your rooster's screaming distance and feasted like swine for a week to meet the upcoming lean times as fat as possible. This event, Samhain, was bright, crowded, long and worldly. The exact opposite of the conditions necessary for meditating, meeting and communing with the beings of other realms. Put bluntly, no spirits are going to make themselves seen or heard over the whole village partying loud enough to wake the dead. Granted, waking the dead was the whole point, but it also had the risk of a disgruntled draugr or troll coming out from the nearest burial mound or bridge to smash your roof in. Finally, Samhain happened in the week leading up to the last Full Moon of the year, the most auspicious time for large workings of human magic.

    All Hallow's Eve is New Year's Eve, the first New Moon after Samhain, the time of endings and beginnings, when summer gives way to winter, when a year dies and the next is born, when the Oak King dies and the Holly King takes his place. No amount of messing with calendars will ever change the fact that the true end of a year is the death and torpor of living things ushered in by winter. Mystically, it goes far beyond symbolism. It is no small thing for countless planes of same, lower and higher nature to all mirror each other so exactingly and regularly since the dawn of time. The synchronicity of the same recurring transition on such a scale is why we know of the similarity principle to begin with. The ripples caused defy world borders as easily as they defy description.

    The Night of Hallows is also the time when people stay home and observe the passing of the year with their close ones, then rest after their revelry. At most there will be one last bonfire and no travel beyond the village bounds. Only the odd mystic goes out looking for visions and revelations. This has the convenient result that magical beings and creatures can cross over and meet for a revel of their own without pesky humans to crowd them out. Conversely, this is also the time when they are in the best mood of the entire year thanks to gorging on all those aforementioned Samhain offerings. Incidentally, nights of the new moon are the darkest and quietest, and it's a well-known fact that sensory deprivation causes 'hallucinations.'

    The last full moon by the old reckoning falls this year on the twelfth of October. The first new moon of the upcoming New Year falls on October twenty-fifth.

    My deadline was chosen so you have time to prepare for the Yearly Walk. If you decide to undergo this ritual and succeed, you will take the first step on the diviner's path and have your first glimpse of many things, even the future.

    The book accompanying this letter details the instructions. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to follow all the instructions exactly. I would hate for you to go mad or have your face frozen in a rictus for the rest of your life. One can be fixed, the other not so much. Even more troublesome will be if you get cursed or abducted for being such a darling child.

    You have no Beowulf on hand to rip Grendel's arm off, so I advise caution.

    But I believe you can do it.

    ~Nicolas.

    Secret magic wasn't the only thing that defied description. Another thing was Harry's mess of feelings at finally getting everything he ever dreamed of and more from an adult.

    Harry's relationship with the seethingly jealous Hedwig experienced a miraculous recovery due to how much mail-ordering he had her do for the next two weeks. He was less decisive about finding a way out of Hogwarts, mainly because he had no clue where to start. Fortunately, he didn't have to fall back on his last resort of climbing over the walls because the problem solved itself. Fred and George managed to 'accidentally' overhear them talking about the Patronus spell practice. And by overhear, he meant that they heard the name 'Prongs', which culminated in a spirited third-person argument with the Marauders in a certain Map. Knowing an opportunity when he saw one, Harry didn't immediately ask for the return of his Dad's property. Fred and George repaid their 'debt' by informing the Trio of the passage to the Shrieking Shack. Grudgingly, but he'd take it.

    Suspicions abounded of course, including from Ron and Hermione, especially when he pretended a lack of appetite all day on the fated Sunday. The way he tried to avoid looking at fire before giving it up as a bad job didn't help matters. But he didn't tell anyone what he was doing. It was the rules.

    Now how did that recipe for flushing potions go again?

    "-.October 25, 1992 .-"

    At midnight on October 25 of 1992, Harry James Potter snuck invisibly out of Hogwarts, hoped that he hadn't hallucinated the barefoot Ravenclaw girl that skipped around the corner towards the lake, went to the Whomping Willow, pressed the knot near the base to immobilise it, and took the passage to the Shrieking Shack in Hogsmeade while his mind constantly repeated the same chant. Don't speak, don't smile, don't laugh, don't look back. He took off the Cloak and stuffed it in his pocket, checked to make sure his wand was in its holster where nothing could see it, and struck with a fire steel and flint in front of himself to disclaim any connection to the flame of civilization that he'd failed to escape throughout the day. Then he slapped his cheeks, took a few deep breaths, set his face in the blandest mask of everything's fine, and stepped out.

    He had his resolve almost immediately ruined when he saw a man standing in the only spot that the distant Hogsmeade lights reached.

    Tall. Blond hair. Long beard. Robes of gold and purple that made him look like a king. Large pointed blue hat and cloak. The caduceus hung from a silver chain around his neck. Holly staff in one hand. And at his waist hung a stick of black wood, covered in glowing runes.

    What was-

    Nicolas Flamel turned his head towards the Forbidden Forest, acting like he didn't know Harry was standing there about to gasp in happiness and fail the night before it began.

    The disappointment was crushing.

    Then Harry remembered the rules, schooled his expression and began walking.

    He was hard-pressed not to throw himself at the man and hug the night away when Harry passed by and Nicolas automatically turned to match his pace without giving any impression that he even realized Harry was there.

    Barely one minute into the ritual and Harry's mask already wanted to crack with joy, but he wouldn't let it. He wouldn't! He needed this, he was determined to do it, and he'd had years of practice at keeping a straight face at the home of his proverbial evil stepmother, and now look! Mr. Flamel just happened to be in the area! Performing a ritual he hadn't need to bother with for over five hundred years. Going in the same direction that Harry was going without even a hint that he was actually leading the way. He couldn't disappoint him.

    Entering the Forbidden Forest was like crossing into another world. First year's detention may as well have happened on a different planet. The wind stopped, sounds faded, the last lights from the sleepy village and Hogwarts beyond disappeared. Soon the only thing Harry had to navigate by were Nicolas' footsteps, and even those seemed to be fading without actually drifting away at all. With every step, the ground beneath his feet seemed to swallow sound. The trees around him looked like giants tearing at the world with their long gangly arms. With every breath the air felt more and more like weavings made of water and the world around seemed to shiver with some secret magic.

    He'd thought he was brave, but the soul-deep, horrible terror that took hold of him almost proved that wrong when the last natural sounds disappeared, his determination to see this through warring with the existential fear of a lurking predator. With heart-stopping fear he realized that he could no longer hear Nicolas' footsteps. Then he realized he wasn't even hearing his own steps, could barely even feel his own body anymore, like he was dreaming but worse, an out of the body experience with no legs or arms or mouth or eyes and he was going to-

    Nicolas' robe brushed his hand.

    Harry didn't scream.

    Light and sound returned all at once, and it was all Harry could do not to jump or shriek, let alone keep a straight face. It came from above, like a roaring whistle through heaven. He didn't miss a step, didn't stumble despite not seeing where his feet went, and chanced a look. There was still no moon. There was an enormous sphere of crystal taking up half of the sky, and around it the starry black was replaced by a rainbow mist stretching from one horizon to the other, thick and rippling, seeping down through the canopy like vapor. Then Harry saw a meteor streaking like a bolt through where the stars should be, a trail of fire in its wake. It glanced off the sphere wall with nary a sound or flicker. Far behind from whence it came, there was chaos spitting pain out the universe's tearducts. Up until a big grey hammer came out of a vortex and shot a spear right into the evil eye.

    The distant shriek rattled Harry's body that he didn't otherwise feel. He blinked at the ruckus. He wondered if that meteor had really looked like one of those stasis pods from the Grangers' sci fi. He must have imagined it. Because if he didn't imagine it, he had to acknowledge that the hammer looked like a spaceship.

    The crystal sphere rippled out of sight as if sinking into the rainbow ocean. The misty space dispersed along with the echo. For a moment Harry didn't know if he was still walking or where he even was.

    Then the woods went crazy. Pixies began flying every which way, shrieking. Scared and angry ghosts came charging through the trees, chased by the sound of hooves. Fairies dropped out of their path to hide inside flowers that shouldn't exist so late in Fall. The flowers closed around them and took their fairy light for their own. The path ahead became illuminated by hundreds of them, like little lamps, and swarms of fireflies looking for a chance to make his thoughts go fuzzy. Harry stomped on some because he had to look like he didn't notice any of it, even when the little winged ladies flew up to scold him. They scattered and gave him a wide, disdainful berth after the first few almost got knocked aside as if he didn't see them. Somehow he found a game trail, only instead of scared animals there were gnomes running around in a panic from a bunch of gremlin-dwarves. They were arguing over a pair of armored boots, wrestling and beating each other over the head with ridiculously inflated pig bladders wrapped inside their pointed hats while the rest jeered from the sidelines. The one with the bigger nose won the fight just as Harry passed by, prompting the crowd to cackle until fireballs started raining from the sky all over the forest. Sounds of shouts and gunfire, and cannons and falling wood came from the distant woods soon after, mixed with sharp blasts and warhorns cut too short.

    Don't think about it yet, don't think about it.

    The noises followed Harry as his feet brought him to a bog with a narrow hoofpath. The pink light of the flower buds reflected strangely in the little pools of water around him. He walked on, but even without looking he caught glimpses in them. A wide bowl filled with red jelly shaped like flowers. A tree with golden fruit hanging off its boughs. A hole in space with its edges colored like a rainbow's watery reflection. A tunnel of light with stars streaking by.

    A man suddenly burst from the undergrowth ahead of him, large and dressed in metal armor and swinging around a metal staff with lightning mouths at both ends. He saw Harry and opened his mouth, but whatever he wanted to say went to his grave because he was promptly ambushed by the gremlins from earlier. They bashed him over the head and beat him to death in the mud. With his last gasp the man crushed the throat of his killer, so the others laughed and ripped off the symbol on his forehead while their new chief stole the last chief's boots and used his bare hands to pull the man's belly open. A snake shot out of it straight into his mouth. The dwarf gasped and stumbled back with a golden flare in his bulging eyes. The others cried foul and beat him to death too, then ripped the snake from his neck and carried it off to make a belt out of.

    Harry distantly wondered if this was all just a dream after all. He was sure he should have felt some queasiness at that, but he didn't. Only the feeling like the world was a web bending and stretching forward as he walked and pushed through it, calm and collected and easier to keep a straight face with every passing step.

    He passed by the body site without a second glance. A woosh of blue… something burst out from the perfectly round pool he floated face-down in, and then sunk back, leaving behind not a single trace that anything had happened.

    Coming out of the Forbidden Forest was like walking through a curtain of rain onto open plains. The empty fields were swarming with small men carrying bundles of hay, the sounds of sickles and scythes ringing into stones, and mice carrying loads or grain and large cans of beer. Harry somehow managed to pay even them no mind, and Nicolas didn't either. He was with him again, but had he ever been gone? Harry wasn't sure.

    They reached the Hogsmeade cemetery. A man was coming out the iron gates, dressed like a yankey pauper with a backpack as raggedy as the rest of him. He smiled brightly and waved as they passed by. "Dun be so dull, everybody. Its more easy to make friends if you make pepul laff. I'm going to have lots of friends where I go. Please, if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernons grave in the bak yard…"

    The graveyard was empty, except for a hag digging graves, and there were no graves in the lone yard around the single crypt atop the hill when Harry passed by. He didn't go looking for any headstones of Algernons.

    He didn't go off the beaten path on return, but even the village was eerily quiet, the lampposts dark and shutters pulled down on the windows. It was ironic that it was here that Harry almost strayed.

    Nicolas broke off, turning his path closer to the edge of the street and knocked on the wall as he passed it. From inside came an answering laughter, then they were at the next and Nicolas knocked on that too. Then the next, and another, so Harry did the same on his side. Some were happy, some were grumpy, one produced the saddest wail Harry had heard all year. Each knock and answer left Harry feeling more like himself, though it seemed as if he'd never stopped, and the earth and air still felt like the world's heartbeat beneath his feet and its breath cool down his neck.

    I don't sound like this, Harry thought, barely remembering not to frown. But I will? Or I did, in those dreams. The question very belatedly occurred to him. What does make-believe about growing up have to do with divination? With all… this?

    Between one step and the next, Nicolas vanished.

    Harry didn't stumble, but only because his feet were moving on their own at this point. He was back at Hogwarts. He knocked on the gates and they opened silently and easily, welcoming back with open arms. It looked wonderful, sounded peaceful, smelled of dew and felt like home. Harry still didn't see more than one foot in front of him, but somehow he knew exactly where everything was.

    He was home again, but home seemed to want to show him some things too. It was very nice on its part, so Harry took the long way around. Hagrid's house blasted him with a wave of despair when he knocked it in passing. The previously empty stables were filled with strange, skeletal horses with snake-like features and bat-like wings. Two strangely familiar and solid-looking ghosts paced in front of the Whomping Willow while arguing with each other and a third that wasn't there. The lake was a window to some fantastical view of golden pyramids floating in space. He had no idea what to make of any of it anymore. Actually, he didn't know what most of the other bizarre things meant either.

    There's going to be war next year, Harry thought absently as he finally allowed himself to think of everything he'd seen and heard and how Nicolas' book explained it. But not here. Far away. The battle sounds were very far off into the forest. But then how did that… soldier make it to where I was? What did that mean? Who was he? What was he? What was that symbol on his forehead? What was that snake?

    Really, what did any of it mean? What was the vision in the sky? The images in the water? Who was that man coming out of the graveyard, was he even a vision or just some random bloke? What did a stupid man who didn't know where he was or where he was going even symbolise? It had to be Harry's imagination, though he didn't know his imagination was anywhere this creative, in a what the hell is wrong with him kind of way. Nicolas was going to laugh at him, Harry just knew it. And he'd do it all in private while teaching Harry the next useful thing because he was good and kind and went out of his way to make him feel like he mattered.

    At least the rest of the stuff made sense. Battle noise in the forest meant war, busy fields meant good harvest, empty cemetery meant few deaths. Harry thought of that one house. Should he warn them? But he hadn't seen any Grim, did that mean he was wrong? Would it do any good? It had wailed in grief when he knocked on it in passing, that meant death in the family, didn't it? Within a year. Everything he saw would happen in the next year.

    Harry blinked, only now realising he'd reached the doors and had come through the front gates instead of retracing his steps through the willow passage. What… How… Did it really happen?

    The castle doors were ahead of him, open wide in welcome already. There was no Ron or Hermione fretting over his absence. There was no Professor McGonagall waiting with thinned lips to take away fifty points and give him detention. What there was… was the certainty that Harry was back in Hogwarts without feeling like the Forbidden Forest or graveyard or Hogsmeade or any of those other places had been left behind. No farther than the corner of his eye.

    Harry blinked, ignored the phantasms teasing at the edge of his vision and kept walking. And when he passed through the entrance and the doors closed behind him, he knocked on the wall just to see what would happen.

    The Grand Staircase came to life with the light of torches.

    "Students out of bed~ students out of bed down the entrance corridor – why, it's Potty Wee Potter!"

    Harry knew the professors were all in their quarters. He knew the headmaster was sleeping. He knew Filch was moping in the Trophy Room. He knew the Trophy Room was currently on the other side of the castle on the third floor. It was like the Marauder's Map was in his head, the footsteps and names floating here and there. He was one with Hogwarts and Hogwarts was with him.

    "Oh, most think he's barking, the Potty wee lad, But some are more kindly and think he's just sad, But Peevesy knows better and says that he's mad —"

    Harry ignored Peeves all the way to the seventh floor.

    "Oooh, Crackpot's feeling snotty. What is it this time, my fine Potty friend? Hearing voices? Seeing visions? Speaking in --- tongues."

    Ser Cadogan's painting had changed to Harry and Malfoy dueling in front of the entire school. He passed it by just as Malfoy conjured a snake and Harry stupidly lowered his wand in favour of starting to hiss at it like a crazy person.

    "You did it, you smartsed me, wee Potter's the one, and Peeves gone all angry, Ickle firstie Out Of BOUNDS PAST MIDNI-"

    Prongs charged out of the wolfhound's painting and gored Peeves right as the poltergeist was about to jump literally in Harry's face.

    "Nooo, you did it, you bashed me, wee Potter's the one, and Peeves gone mouldy, I just wanted some fuuu-"

    Prongs drove Peeves across the hall and into the painting of roving animals that promptly chased Peeves outside the frame. Harry's walk got him to the next painting just in time to see Lily Potter tie the poltergeist to the largest of the almond trees with conjured chains. Harry would have stopped and who knows what might have happened if not for the wolfhound barking from the other wall. He managed to keep going without stumbling.

    The painting of the elephant showed Hagrid's chicken coop full of dead roosters. The painting of the roaring tiger instead had Ginny Weasley finger-painting on a wall in weirdly thick red ink. The hippo painting was replaced by a young Hagrid pleading with the Head Boy for the life of his pet monster. The monkey in a cage instead showed Hagrid shivering inside, sniffling tearfully. The wolfhound was in the painting right next to it, whining in soundless sympathy. Sinister, gangly demons hovered around them both, the sight enough to make Harry feel like he was freezing. They were almost close enough to slip through Hagrid's bars when Prongs swooped in again and chased them off with warm, brilliant light.

    Then Prongs came out of the painting, landed in Harry's path and shapeshifted into James Potter.

    Harry stumbled to a halt with a gasp. He felt like his eyes were about to pop out of his head.

    The world held its breath.

    James Potter turned away and walked back and forth in front of the bare wall three times.

    Harry breathed sharply as a door grew out of the stone.

    His father's spirit stood by the entrance, watching. Waiting.

    Harry hesitated.

    Then he walked forward like nothing was out of the ordinary and opened the door.

    Dad fell into step like Nicolas had and led the way without leading the way into an endless maze. Old things, new things, trunks and chests and cabinets stacked high enough to disappear into the darkness far above.

    On the first pass Harry was hard-pressed not to turn his head in every direction. On the second, a silk bag and a small silver chest were glowing with ectoplasmic traces of Dad's passage. By the third, Dad's steps had slowed, which meant Harry's had slowed to just enough that he could snatch the items as he passed. Dad gave no sign that he noticed, but on the fourth pass veered down a completely different way than any before.

    That was when Harry finally found out what it took to finally finish his Yearly Walk – the dreaded dead end.

    There was a delicate faceless bust there, with a tiara sitting on its head. It was beautiful. So beautiful that Harry couldn't resist the impulse to reach out and touch it.

    Dad's hand snapped out. It passed through his arm without any resistance, but the wash of cold snapped Harry out of it and made him stagger back, breathing hard, heart frantic with fear. What was that?

    Dad stood in front of him now, watching him. Then he jumped into the diadem.

    An unholy scream shattered the silence, a black cloud burst out of the coronet, and Harry fell to his knees when his scar erupted in the worst pain he had ever felt in his life. He felt like his brain was splitting open, like malice was a tangible thing slithering over his soul as the wraith dragged its way through the air right at him, looking into him to find everything he was afraid or ashamed of, all the way to that first memory he never remembered of his mother pleading and falling to a poison green light and Voldemort was in front of him, reaching-

    The wraith pulled back with a shriek, away into the grip of James Potter with an arm around its neck, away from the golden glow on Harry's skin and the white shimmer along his forearm where his wand glowed with the traces of Dad's ghostly passage, same as the silk bag and silver chest scattered across the floor.

    Harry blinked between one and the next, swaying woozily. "… Wingardium Leviosa." The silk bag lifted off the floor and drunkenly swallowed the tiara. The wraith shrieked as it lost its form. "Wingardium Leviosa." The diadem-in-a-bag dropped inside the lockbox, which he promptly snapped shut. The wraith vanished along with the fear and the darkness.

    Harry collapsed to the floor, gasping for breath as his head pounded and something warm and wet dripped down his forehead to his eyes and nose until he tasted blood. He laid there until… he didn't know. He didn't know how long he was sprawled on the ground in that room that had grown out of the wall.

    There was a chandelier on the ceiling now, dispelling the chamber's gloom. The light was suddenly blocked by Dad learning over him. He didn't look like a ghost at all.

    Harry swallowed and struggled to sit up. Then he froze when he saw his wand held in his father's grasp. When had he dropped it? Wait, how was he holding it? Was... Was he...?

    James Potter looked from his face to the wand and back, tapping it against his palm exactly like Harry imagined a Dad might do when he was about to take his kid's stupidity out of his hide.

    Then his hand moved almost too fast to see. A burst of light shot from the wand at Harry's head. Harry flinched before he could realise he hadn't felt anything. His head snapped back up to glare at Dad accusingly.

    James Potter smirked down at him, dropped the wand to clatter on the floor and... vanished.

    Hogwarts faded from Harry's mind then, until he once more saw, heard, felt, smelled and touched no more than a boy could.

    Harry scrambled for his wand and clutched it to his chest like someone who'd just escaped death. He was never going to drop his wand ever again until he was dead.

    The Room of Hidden Things creaked around him with the sounds of a hundred swaying towers of boxes, trunks and chest full of lost and found spanning hundreds of years all the way back to the castle's founding.

    Harry returned his wand to its holster, wiped the blood off his face with a tea cosy, and spent a few minutes building up his courage to pick up the silver chest. He picked it up. Nothing happened. Suddenly he realized he was exhausted and would probably collapse where he stood if he stopped to think about it.

    He set off back through the winding maze. He didn't know where he was going, but the Room did. Soon he was back at the entrance. Then out of it. He clutched the silver box to his chest while looking around dazedly. The corridor was back to normal. The paintings were back to normal. Hogwarts was back to normal. Harry was back to normal.

    There were no thoughts in his head. His mind was empty.

    He stared down at the silver lockbox containing a silk bag containing a silver diadem containing… a Koschei the Deathless phylactery knockoff? What?

    What the bloody hell was he supposed to do with any of this?

    He stood there until his legs were about to give out.

    Then he walked back and forth three times thinking I need a place to stash this thing until my brain starts working again.

    A door grew out of the wall. There was a… set of rooms inside? He didn't really look at any of it, just the glass case on the far wall. He dragged his feet over and locked the box inside before leaving.

    Miraculously, he made it to his room without anyone, man, beast, portrait or vanished poltergeist being the wiser.

    He stopped in the doorway, staring at Ron's bed.

    Then he blinked and pointedly went to bed. He was done trying to see things he hadn't a hope of understanding anymore today.

    He'd figure out why Ron's rat was possessed by a ghost in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2024
  4. Ghostcraft19

    Ghostcraft19 Not too sore, are you?

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  5. neo417

    neo417 Getting out there.

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    Some of the best storytelling I've read recently. At least as fantastical as harry potter should be.
     
  6. suikofan

    suikofan Not too sore, are you?

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    Saw some of the crossover elements here an Asgardian ship, a Jaffa and Goa'uld, and a war with those pyramid ships. Honestly wonder after so much magic how it'll all fit together. Is Harry partially ascended now like Anubis?

    Nice use of the name Algernon, if Harry was only a bit older or a bit better read he'd know he fucked himself.
     
  7. Threadmarks: Chapter 2: Enemies of the Hair, Beware
    Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    [​IMG]
    Chapter 2: Enemies of the Hair, Beware

    "-. October 26, 1992 .-"
    Harry slept in the next morning, which was not good as it was a Monday. Ron had to wake him up a second time after breakfast (Harry didn't remember the first), then a bleary Boy-Who-Lived was promptly distracted from the confounding sight of the Scabbers-possessing ghost.

    "Mate, what happened to you?" Ron asked. "Was it the twins?"

    "What?"

    "Your hair, mate."

    "What?"

    Harry stumbled to the loo and stared at his reflection. His hair was red. Like his Mum's. No, even redder. Except just as much of a mess as before. It looked like an explosion had gone off.

    Dad did this, Harry thought numbly. Then he was everything but numb. Holy shit, Dad did this – I met my Dad!

    The crazy laughter that took a hold of him made Harry forget about the Curse of the Scabbers Man-Ghost and his classmates looked at him like he was nuts for the rest of the morning.

    "Come on, Mate, relax, it's not so bad," Ron awkwardly reassured him when Harry finished laughing and went back to looking like he'd seen a ghost, which he had. "Tell him, Neville."

    "Harry, why's your hair red?"

    Ron groaned. "That new wand's only made you more useless. Come on, Harry, the twins have a free period so they should still be swindling people down in the Common Room, we'll make them take it off before Charms."

    Fred and George were indeed in the common room. They denied spelling Harry's hair though, and people even started to believe them when nobody up to the seventh years managed to reverse the change.

    "Finite!" "Finite Incantatum!" "Colovaria!" "Colovaria Reverso!" "Blimey, that's some stubborn spellwork, Potter. This calls for experimentation!"

    Thanks a lot, Dad, Harry thought dismally as he and Ron ran late for Charms. Now everyone wants to use me as a guinea pig. Apparently, his Dad could use even stuff his son didn't necessarily mind to throw his life into chaos. At least you didn't give me freckles. Harry stumbled. That's not an invitation!

    Professor Flitwick failed to undo it. Professor Lockhart accidentally made his scalp break out in hives instead. Harry spent the rest of DADA and his free period in the hospital wing, where Madam Pomfrey failed to reverse the change too, eventually giving up and sending him off with a jar of boil-removing paste to mix with his shampoo. That made his boils go away but his hair still insisted on looking like a bright cherry.

    He bemoaned his fate long and woefully in the what-did-all-of-last-night-even-mean letter he sent Nicolas that evening, but he felt completely justified when his condition showed no sign of fading the next day. Or the day after that. Looked like this was one of those Marauder pranks made to last a while.

    Oh well, it's not so bad, Harry told himself. I can live with looking a bit more like Mum for a while. Even without the black hair, I'm still Dad's spitting image.

    Unfortunately, Harry reached that decision only after Hagrid gave him a pep-talk. On Wednesday. Just before Potions class.

    "Potter!' Snape barked in outrage the moment he laid eyes on him. "What is the meaning of this?"

    Here we go. "I'm not sure what you mean, sir." It was even true, so-

    "Five points from Griffindor for your insolence! Ten more for failing to seek help with this unsightly display!" Where was this outrage the last few days during meals? "Finite Incantatem!" Nothing happened. "Oh, not the typical two-bit spellwork, found help from that pair of devils, did you Potter? Colovaria!"

    Snape's wand turned Gryffindor red.

    The class turned silent as the grave.

    "POTTER!" Snape hollered. Literally hollered, flying spittle and everything. "You think this is funny, boy!?" But Harry didn't mean to snicker, it's just- "Fifty points from Gryffindor!"

    Harry gaped in outrage. He couldn't do that! "You can't just-!"

    "Not another word or you'll be in detention by the time you turn thirty! Ten more points for presuming to command Hogwarts staff!"

    If I ever drop my wand again I'll deserve what happens.

    Snape's puce-colored face spasmed hideously one last time before the greasy git forcefully averted his eyes and stalked back to the front of the class. "I'll admit, Potter. I underestimated you. I did not think your mind capable of such targeted mockery."

    Bugger you, Harry seethed. What the hell crawled up your shorts?

    "And what are you all doing standing about? Get to work!"

    Thanks a lot Dad, Harry thought glumly. This isn't a prank on me, it's a prank on Snape!

    The only bright spot in that week when even Ron and Hermione were starting to give him a wide berth (how could they?) was when Eudaimon finally delivered Nicolas' return letter.



    To my overachieving student who is far too short and skinny and is therefore commanded to follow the meal guide I transfigured this letter out of unless you have some heretofore unknown allergy to eggs and milk and meat,

    I will preface this by saying I have focused only on the sights as described by you – while we walked the same path, we did not both see and do all the same things. Not all of them were visions either, as opposed to actual events happening in the various worlds and dimensions that bled through each other and ours, but that is another matter.

    First off, you are right to be sceptical about the 'dwarves' you saw. Those creatures are not dwarves, they are imps. The dvergal are mighty, noble beings that left this world long ago, before the last deluge, before the war against the void pretenders sunk Atlantis beneath the sea, before even the gods left our plane and planet.

    The golden apple trees in the pools sound remarkably like Trees of Life, saplings of the World Tree Yggdrasil. Its physical manifestation occurs very rarely on Mount Kogaion, but saplings have been grown at various times in various places, notably Richat, Asgard, and in the Labyrinth of the Gods in Greece. The red flower-like 'jelly' sounds like ambrosia. I am not sure why you saw these things, seeing as they were consumed or destroyed in the chaos that led to the collapse of the Bronze Age.

    The simpleton coming out of the cemetery was an apparition, but I was able to snag a trace of ectoplasm off him as he passed by. My scryings point towards one Charles Gordon, a muggle yankee who vanished off the face of the earth in 1965. And I do mean vanished, there seems to be no trace of him for magic to track after his disappearance on July 28 that year. It is literally like he disappeared from existence, which admittedly has roused my interest. I am looking into more mundane means, the man did not live so long ago that he wouldn't be survived by some family or acquaintance. I will keep you informed.

    The man you saw mauled to death I'm less certain of. He seemed like a warrior or soldier, but his weapon and garb are unfamiliar to me. Without a clear idea of the symbol on his forehead, I can only speculate. The body-snatching snake is the more concerning thing, as it behaved worryingly like the void pretenders I mentioned earlier. But I know of no account where they burst out of people's bellies, let alone live such base lives as roundworms. And if they were to suddenly return, let alone start a war on this planet this very year, it is an event of such scope that shadows would have been cast long into the past. I and others would have seen signs and visions of it decades ago, and the backdoor they might have used for more subtle infiltration was thrown into the sun millennia past. The pyramids floating in space that you saw in the Hogwarts Lake could potentially be their own an argument, but the pyramid is such a basic and useful shape that literally anyone is liable to adopt it for anything and everything, void-bound or otherwise.

    The events inside Hogwarts are of more immediate concern. The sheer level of response on the part of the Genius Loci is remarkable. I believe this affinity will serve you well even beyond the scope of the Walk itself. However, that you stumbled upon a phylactery, let alone one that made your scar split open before it literally attacked you, is nothing short of alarming. In light of the events of last year – which I will fill in the blanks for next time we meet in person – I think it goes without saying that it must belong to Tom Riddle. Since you managed to secure it, however, I am reluctant to advise its immediate disposal. Not only do you lack the means, but finding out exactly why you reacted the way you did takes precedence over knee-jerk reactions. You should not have been incapacitated, let alone in so gruesome a manner. However, I will not presume to make decisions for you, nor expect you to wait on me when you have Albus and the entire Hogwarts staff on hand. The same goes for the mystery of the haunted rat. The one with first-hand intelligence will do as he thinks right.

    Finally, the crystal sphere has me stumped. Astronomical calculations relative to even the largest estimate for the impacting object indicate a diameter greater than our solar system's entire heliosphere. That is assuming the 'rainbow gas' behaves anything like the void at all, which it most likely doesn't seeing as it literally caught fire. The other objects and events are only more baffling, the symbolism is all over the place. I fear this is one mystery that will rely a great deal on luck to solve. Or perhaps further insight will reveal itself as you reprise the Walk in the future.

    Speaking of which, having witnessed you become such an overachiever, I expect you to observe the Yearly Walk through all of its seven consecutive years. Moreover, having read of everything I didn't get to witness but believe every word of because you are a good and honest lad, I sincerely hope you go past that and round it up at nine.

    I am very proud of you, little one.

    ~Love, Nicolas.



    "Love, Nicolas," Harry murmured, reading the words over and over while huddled behind the curtains of his bed. I am proud of you. The words kept repeating in his mind. Harry sniffled and quietly wiped at his eyes. He'd leave the tiara for later, he decided. Actually, everything except his schoolwork and friends could take a break from him too.

    Dear Nicolas,

    Thanks for all your help. And for being there. And everything. I have no idea what to do with any of this, but thank you.

    Were you serious that we'll meet again? Will it be soon? Because I think I should hold off on the crown thing until then, that thing was nasty and I don't think Dad will come back from the grave to wrestle it a second time. It's pretty safe where it is. I'll definitely tell the Headmaster, but I don't think it's such a good idea to go up to him and say I found Voldemort's phylactery. Wouldn't I sound like a nutter? Why would Voldemort make a phylactery and then leave it in Hogwarts? It's crazy.

    You think you could be there for it? The last time the three of us went volunteering important information, nobody believed us.

    All year.

    Love, Harry.

    There. That didn't make him sound too needy, right? Even if he was totally waffling and really just wanted to meet Mister Flamel so he could touch him and make sure he was real.

    Harry blew his nose and set about reading Nicolas' put-some-meat-on-your-bones guide, already vowing to do everything it said.

    Hilariously, 'everything it said' added up to nearly the same amount of food Ron ate in one sitting. Oh well, attention was inevitable. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, he'd never be allowed to change without everyone and their head of house giving him the side eye.

    Unfortunately, Harry underestimated just how close he was to the end of his temper when Fake Halloween came along. Ironically, being annoyed at his Dad made the anniversary of his parents' death slightly more bearable than the previous year. Unfortunately, he couldn't be at the feast because he'd promised to attend Nearly Headless Nick's Deathday Party. It was every bit the opposite of what he'd hoped. Somehow, he'd neglected to consider that Cuthbert Binns might not be the only disappointing ghost at Hogwarts. And beyond, it turned out. To say nothing of the ambiance.

    Chilly hall, cobwebbed walls, rotten food because apparently the only way ghosts got even a vague impression of taste was when the food was as dead as they were. The only redeeming feature of the 'party' were the severely underequipped chandeliers, because they made it so the only light in the ballroom was the one from the Hogwarts ghosts themselves. That, if nothing else, was properly phantasmic. It still didn't change the fact that the whole event was so dismal and dreary that not just Ron but also Hermione were sending him meaningful looks and inching towards the door.

    Harry might still have kept a stiff upper lip and gotten some mileage out of the ordeal through his talks with the ghosts, because their stories, if nothing else, were quite interesting. But then Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore and his Headless Hunt crashed the party and déjà vu made its unwelcome self known once more.

    "Nick!" roared the party crasher. "How are you? Head still hanging there?" He gave a hearty guffaw and clapped Nearly Headless Nick on the shoulder.

    "Welcome, Patrick," said Nick stiffly. But did not invite him to partake of the… offerings.

    "Live 'uns!" said Sir Patrick, spotting Harry, Hermione and Ron and giving a huge, fake jump of astonishment so that his head fell off again. The crowd howled with laughter.

    "Very amusing," said Nick darkly.

    "Don't mind Nick!" shouted Sir Patrick's head from the floor. "Still upset we won't let him join the Hunt! But I mean to say… look at the fellow…"

    "Says the talking head," Harry said flatly, jarring the entire routine. He turned to Nick. "Did you invite this… qvasimodo?"

    "Qvasimodo!?" Balked the head on the floor.

    "No I did not," Nick said.

    "So he's not here as a guest," Harry said, knocking on the wall to see if... He felt Hogwarts stir around him familiarly, though slow and lumbering compared to before. Like… like it was sleepy. "He's an intruder."

    "An excellent point!" Boasted Sir Patrick's head while his body faced Sir Nicholas. "Won't you invite us to your revelry, old boy? It is only proper!"

    Nick said nothing.

    "Ah, but what would be the point of that tonight?" Sir Patrick's head sniffed loftily as his body finally retrieved him from the floor. "This is the Night of Hallows! No walls or boundaries or claims matter tonight, living or dead!"

    So even ghosts could be ignorant of reality. "No it's not." The memory of the Yearly Walk came to life at the back of his mind and Harry Potter realised he knew what his Mum had done to the poltergeist. He'd known since the moment it happened. He just hadn't known to think about it. Like... Like a memory from a dream he didn't recall until it happened in real life.

    Sir Patrick floundered. "I beg your pardon?"

    "It's not the night of Hallows." Harry said slowly as if talking to a complete dunce, because he might be feeling a bit bloody offended on Sir Nick's behalf right now. "That was last Sunday."

    Ron and Hermione exchanged confused whispers, but the huge, black-armored knight, who was the only headless hunter who didn't have his head with him, separated from the rest of Patrick's posse and landed between Sir Patrick and Sir Nicholas, facing the former with arms crossed.

    Patrick looked shocked.

    That was all the distraction Harry needed to snap his wand out of its holster and swish and jab- "Phantasma Claudo!" A pale white chain burst out of Harry's wand, shooting across the room to smack the ghost in the chest, where it promptly split into four off-shoots that instantly wrapped around and through him.

    "Ah!"

    Harry flicked his wrist and sent the interloper flying. "Laqueus exspiravit." Ectoplasm burst out of Harry's wand, turning into a glowing net of chains that plastered Sir Patrick Delaney-Podmore and his head to the far wall, bound and gagged.

    Harry lowered his wand, looking at his fine work. "Huh. Didn't think that would work." Thanks Hogwarts.

    Hogwarts thrummed at the back of his mind and withdrew with one last scan of its new incorporeal ornament. It felt… definitely sleepy. Best not poke at it too much in the future then, Harry would hate to have his sleep constantly messed with too. Besides, how much longer must places sleep compared to people?

    The Headless Hunt's lone dissenter drifted over. Even headless, the black knight towered over him. The headless horseman then… poked him in the eye.

    "Ouch, cold! Ugh, there's ectoplasm in my eye!" Harry took off his glasses to rub at his eyes. There was a lot of skurge charm in his near future, lovely, and the headless horseman was gone now so he couldn't even complain about it. Harry paused when he put his glasses back on though. There was stuff on his right lens. More ectoplasm. Ectoplasm that spelled words. The Blessed Crow keeps vigil under the White Hill. Harry blinked in confusion, then realized his surroundings had become conspicuously quiet.

    Everyone was staring at him.

    … Shite, he'd just done necromancy, hadn't he? "Sorry, Ron, Hermione, I don't think we'll be making it to the pies. We'll have to hope Fred and George smuggled some into Gryffindor Tower."

    "-. October 31, 1992 .-"
    His distraction worked terribly. Not only did Ron and Hermione not take him up on the transparent attempt to pretend the scene they'd just seen had never happened, his friends both moved to one side of him and kept stubbornly quiet while glancing at each other all the way to Gryffindor Tower. Even more unfortunately, the twins weren't around to bargain treats out of, so no easy distraction from that corner either. Harry was about to head for the unoccupied seats closest to the fireplace when Ron and Hermione very pointedly bracketed him, and marched him upstairs to the second year boys' dormitory and shut the door behind them.

    "Harry," Hermione said decisively while Ron crossed his arms next to her. "We're staging an intervention."

    "A what?"

    "You've been avoiding us," Hermione said as if he hadn't spoken. "You've started wandering around the castle by yourself, you'll only research things that have nothing to do with our lessons, you've been getting more and more distracted in classes, you've even started to eat like Ron-"

    "It's freaky, mate!"

    "- but you've been running ahead of everyone else on practicals and somehow keep pulling powerful spells out of nowhere. First the Patronus charm, and now… whatever that was! Harry, since when have you known magic that can affect ghosts? It's… That's…"

    "It's soul magic, mate," Ron said hesitantly. "Do you know what that means? Hogwarts doesn't teach it, I don't know if there's stuff about it in the restricted section even. We're lucky no other students saw, but what if the ghosts blab? Which they will!"

    "Harry," Hermione said cautiously. "This is bad."

    Thanks a lot, Hermione, it's not like he already knew that or anything.

    "Harry. Mate," Ron hesitated. "Do you have something to tell us?"

    No, Ron, I don't because everybody only ever wants to know everything but they never actually tell me anything! Harry rubbed his face and turned away so he wouldn't explode at them. Why did they have to interrogate him? Did he have to share everything? Wasn't he allowed to keep anything to himself? So he had stuff to deal with, big bloody deal, everyone did! He'd done nothing wrong. There was nothing anyone could say to convince him otherwise. There was…

    There was a ghost possessing Scabbers.

    "Harry, I promise we're not trying to interrogate you," Hermione vowed.

    There was a ghost possessing Scabbers at it was watching them.

    "Really, we're not," Ron hastened to agree. "We're just worried. It's what friends do you know!"

    There was a ghost possessing Scabbers at it was watching them from Ron's bed.

    "Harry," Hermione said slowly. "Does this have anything to do with those letters you've-"

    Harry raised a hand. He hadn't expected to be cornered today, especially about something he was always going to ask Nicolas to share with them anyway, but if it was going to happen. "If we're going to have this talk, we can at least do it in private. Sorry, Mr. Ghost."

    "Harry, what-"

    "Phantasma Claudo." Swish and jab and a pale white chain burst from Harry's wand and wrapped around the ghost on Ron's bed so if he just yanked-

    Scabbers lurched off the bed and transformed mid-squeak into a rat-faced man that – SMASH! – crashed onto the floor of the dormitory in a tangle of sheets and bed curtains.

    Harry Potter, Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley stared in shock at the very human being that was groaning in pain on the floor. They stared even more as the person dazedly climbed to the floor and looked around in confusion. Confusion that vanished almost too quickly and-

    "Bloody hell!" Ron burst. "Who the bloody hell are you!?"

    The Rat-Faced man stared blankly between the three of them and settled his unsettling beady eyes on Harry for several long, tense moments.

    Then he lunged through Ron and Hermione and was out the door before they had finished crashing to the floor in his wake.

    "Oh-ow!" "Ooof!"

    Harry didn't think. He took off after him. "Wait! Stop!" He barely stopped the door from smashing in his face. "STOP! Where are- PHANTASMA CLAUDO!" He nailed the re-transformed rat's uglier ghost half just before it jumped down the stairs, causing the rat to shift mid-leap and lose his footing.

    THUD – THUD – SMASH!

    Rat Face rolled down the stairs and came to a groaning stop at the feet of Peter James who froze mid-way through his practice swish of the warming charm.

    Harry came to a stumbling halt at the top of the winding mahogany staircase, startled to see that the entirety of Gryffindor House seemed to have appeared in the Common room sometime in the past few minutes, but Rat Face was recovering shockingly quickly, what does he do, what does he do now, if one spell worked would the latter do anything- "LAQUEUS EXSPIRAVIT!"

    The blob of ectoplasm splattered over the man's back and quickly wrapped him up in a ghostly net. Unfortunately, the man proved too alive and solid to be at all impeded. He only jumped to his feet faster. "STOP HIM!" Harry yelled, not knowing what else to do. "Don't let him get away!"

    "That's him?" Someone cried, and what-?

    "Is that the one who petrified-look OUT!"

    Rat Face lunged and snatched Peter James's wand. "EVERTE!"

    Woosh – BOOM!

    Everyone between Rat Face and the door was blasted aside.

    Harry rushed down the stairs while the Gryffindors that were still on their feet finally reacted. "Expelliarmus!" "Colloportus!" "Colloshoo!"

    Rat Face ducked away from the disarmer – "Alohomora!" – left his shoes where they stuck and vanished through the portrait hole.

    Harry didn't stop. He shot out after him. "Stop right there – where are-?" He was gone - but his ecto-net wasn't-! "Levicorpus!"

    Fat Rat Face threw himself on the floor with a curse, but the dodge worked and he quickly pushed off and turned the corner towards the staircase.

    "No!" Harry ran faster, he couldn't let him get away- "St-OOF!" Harry turned the corner only to slip on a frozen puddle that hadn't existed and smash into the opposite wall. "Owww- no, wait! Lumos." Harry cast a light on the tip of his wand and ran.

    Harry was about to despair – Rat Face had already reached the staircase, he was a stone's throw from the ground floor! – but though Hogwarts was asleep, it must dream a mean dream because they ended up on the seventh floor of the castle instead.

    "Periculum! Melofors! Obscu-WHOA!" Rat Face ignored the fireworks, silently dispelled the pumpkin head jinx and caught Harry with a tripping jinx just as he cleared the top steps.

    "Ugh!" Harry fell and got up with a snarl. His lungs were burning but he couldn't rest, if he stopped for even a moment he-

    "Levicorpus."

    Harry skid around the corner right in the spellbolt and was promptly yanked upside down by the foot. "Wha-no, no, Fini-"

    "Expelliarmus."

    Harry's wand flew out of his hand and into his.

    "No, help HELP, HE'S ON THE SEV-"

    "Silencio!"

    Shite.

    But the Fat Rat just stared at him weirdly before turning his back and scurrying off to… to the portrait of Godric Gryffindor, what-

    "Starshine."

    Nothing happened.

    "Starshine!" Rat Face hissed at the portrait.

    Godric Gryffindor was unimpressed.

    Rat Face snarled, swiped his wand in Harry's direction "Incarcerous!" and yanked Harry right out of the air even before the ropes wrapped around him. The man caught him in his rough, gnarly, clawed hand and dragged him to stand in front of the portrait and this was the worst time to get a déjà vu-

    "Now you listen to me, Harry dear," Rat Face said in a hideous parody of Missus Weasley mixed with Uncle Vernon. "Any funny business and it'll be your hide. Starshine. When I take off the silencer, you'll say Starshine and nothing else. Got it?"

    Harry nodded quickly.

    "Finite."

    "HELP HEL-!"

    SMACK

    Harry fell to the floor, his face smarting with a rapidly forming bruise. He tried another scream but he'd been silenced again. He moaned soundlessly as Rat Face hauled him back to his feet and pressed the tip of his own wand to his neck. "You get one more shot. Be grateful. It's more than anyone ever gave me. Finite."

    Harry stayed stubbornly silent.

    "Starshine, say it."

    Harry stared in Gryffindor's eyes, not saying a thing.

    Rat Face pressed the wand deeper, then snarled and threw it away, pulled out the other one he stole and hot hot IT BURNS NO STOP-

    "FLIPPENDO!" "DEPRIMO!"

    Rat Face threw Harry at the first spell, dodged the second -

    "Slugulus Eructo!" Came Fred's voice. "Ducklifors!" Came George. "Everte Statum!" "Protego!" "Incarcerous!" "Entomorphis!"

    "Protego – Deprimo – REDUCTO!"

    An armor shattered somewhere, but Harry didn't hear it over the pounding in his head, he'd smacked his head on the floor and didn't have ears for the chaos around him because he hurt and it burned and his face was throbbing and he could smell pork-

    Godric Gryffindor took off his pristine red hat and threw it right at him.

    The Sorting Hat dropped on Harry's Head with a startled curse. "What the – where am I? How did I get here?"

    "Ducklifors!" "Repulso!"

    "Protego – EXPULSO!"

    "YIKES!"

    Rat Man's spell blew up the armor Fred was hiding behind.

    "Potter!" Hissed the Hat. "Can you move?"

    Harry did his best to focus and nodded.

    "You need to get me near your hands. On three, swing your head as hard as you can backwards. One, two, three!"

    Harry threw his head back as hard as he could, then barely managed not to pass out from the stars swimming in front of him.

    "Now, Potter, reach inside me. Hurry!"

    Harry groaned but managed to roll on his side and squirm backwards until he found the hem and finger-crawled his way inside for – was that a knife?

    "That's right, Potter, I knew you could do it, true Gryffindor you are, the truest Gryffindor there is, now cut those ropes!"

    Harry plucked at the handle with his fingers until he finally reached the blade and started rubbing the ropes against the edge.

    "Obscuro!" "Reducto!"

    "LACARNUM INFLAMARE!"

    A giant fireball flew from Rat Man's stolen wand and caught both twins in the edge of its blast.

    "ACK! "OGH – PROTEGO!"

    Harry's bonds snapped.

    "REDUCTO!"

    Fred managed to shield.

    "STUPEFY!"

    George didn't. He flew into the wall and crashed to the ground, still.

    Harry rolled over with a groan and stared in shock at what he was seeing.

    "Stupefy!"

    "Protego!" Fred gasped.

    The clash of spells rang hollowly against the walls.

    "I really didn't want to do this," Rat Man whined, then his voice twisted hideously. "Crucio!"

    "AaaaAAAAAGH!"

    Harry grabbed the hilt, pulled the Sword of Gryffindor out of the Hat and swung it down with all his might.

    "AAAAAAAAGH!"

    The Rat-Faced Man fell back and down as his hand flew off in a violent spray of blood.

    Harry stumbled, wiping at the blood splatter that had blinded him. The world spun around him even with his eyes closed, he felt like just one gasp away from vomiting, and the scream drowned out everything, George's silence, Fred's whimpers, everything but Harry's own heartbeat and the pain.

    "F-Fereul-aagh," Rat Face whimpered as some spell or other sputtered despite that he'd just lost his wand with his hand. "Agh," Rat Face whimpered. "Ah, oh… m-master-" What? "Master, forgive me for I am about to sin, but I have no choice."

    Harry managed to wipe the blood from his eyes just in time to see the Rat Man holding a third wand, pale and dreadfully familiar and aimed to Harry's right.

    At Fred.

    "Avada Kedavra!"

    Harry didn't think. He jumped in the curse's path.

    The world slowed to a crawl.

    "Your bravery is my own," Spoke Godric Gryffindor with his hands laid gently over his as the world almost stopped. "But your technique is not. Observe and learn now the Long Tail Guard of the Dragon." Harry's feet firmed, his back straightened and his arms moved on their own.

    The Sword of Gryffindor cut the Death Curse in half.

    The world exploded. The air blasted out with a gong. The sword flew from his hands and embedded itself in the wall tip-first, ringing sharply, its rubies gone from red to green. And Harry Potter flew back and fell to the ground, rolling to a stop on top of a hard stick he belatedly recognised as his wand.

    He managed to stumble back to his feet at the same time as the Rat Man. Then he just stood there, his mind too blown to muster any thoughts anymore.

    Across from him, the Rat Man stared back just as dumbstruck and something that looked bizarrely like terror.

    Harry's wand moved his arm on its own.

    "AVADA KEDAVRA!"

    "EXPELLIARMUS!"

    The spells met in the middle, two beams of green and red, and Harry heard the barest echo of the most beautiful sound in the world before his spell overpowered Rat Man's and the strongest force of magic Harry Potter had ever mustered slammed the other full in the chest.

    Rat Man crashed into the wall with a sickening crunch, fell down and didn't come up again.

    Harry fell to his knees, clutching his wand and trembling in place, his breaths fast and short, his lungs unable to fill no matter how hard he pulled in.

    The Hogwarts staff finally arrived minutes later, to the sight of George Weasley unconscious, Fred Weasley trembling in agony, and a bruised and beaten Harry Potter sobbing on his knees in relief.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2022
  8. Ghostcraft19

    Ghostcraft19 Not too sore, are you?

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    Why is this soooo amazing
     
  9. SirTinal

    SirTinal Verified TinFoilHat

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    Wow you didn't just take the train off the rails you sent it off a cliff... into the sea.... How does that one quote go... Ahh yeah. You had my curiosity, but now you have my attention
     
  10. Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    I do try.
     
  11. suikofan

    suikofan Not too sore, are you?

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    A strange man who everyone thinks just petrified a cat and left a threat on a wall appears in the Gryffindor dorms. And only Harry and the Weasley twins try to stop him. House of the brave indeed.

    Interesting that Flamel differentiates the Gods and the Void Pretenders. Then again Wizard history dates back pretty far.

    ? is Charles Brown from 1965 Charlie Brown? WTF is this a Harry Potter/SG-1/Peanuts crossover?
     
  12. Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    Oops... the name should have been Charles Gordon. Great, now I have to fix than on four different websites.

    Also, a whole bunch of people tried to cast spells at Pettigrew when he escaped from the common room. Since they weren't so fast on the uptake, Peter and Harry were already out of sight when they ran out after them. After that, the Twins were the only ones with a Marauder's Map, and in the moment they alas did the thing they always did and kept it a secret.
     
  13. suikofan

    suikofan Not too sore, are you?

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    Ooh duh he wanted them to put flowers on Algernon's grave and mispronounced words. Then here Flamel says he disappears aka went away somewhere. Wait Nicholas Flamel is looking into Charles Gordon and Algernon, the most brilliant alchemist to ever be is going to find out muggles made a way to temporarily increase intelligence.
     
  14. Superiorshortness

    Superiorshortness Making the rounds.

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    Wow. This fic is absolutely amazing. Hope to see this continue!!!! I've read thousands of HP fanfictions, but rarely has it been so unique.
     
  15. Threadmarks: Chapter 3: Breaking and Entering Is the Best Metaphor
    Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    A/N: Harry finds out what other parties have been up to.

    He also experiences what happens when potions mix up with accidental magic.

    Also, image resize scripts seem to be borked, so enjoy the huge close-up I guess.


    [​IMG]
    "-. October 31, 1992 .-"
    Harry remembered the aftermath vaguely, even though he was hyperaware while it was happening. Half the professors sputtered in outrage, the other half fretted in concern, the Headmaster took charge of the Rat Man, and Professor McGonagall looked like she'd seen a ghost when she and Professor Flitwick led Harry to the hospital wing with Fred and George floating after them.

    Madam Pomfrey slathered his face in bruise-removing balm, covered him in gauze and bandages, and gave him a calming draught that made him feel a lot less horrid, but then she had to devote herself fully to the twins. George was just tired and scuffed from the bad fall. Apparently, stunners didn't throw people across the room, they just made them faint. It was just George's luck that he was mid-run when it happened. Fred, though, was the worst off. Even with the short exposure, Madam Pomfrey had put him to sleep and was checking every inch of him over to make sure he didn't need a nerve-regrowth potion. The Cruciatus curse was seriously bad news.

    That was about when Ron and Hermione rushed into the hospital wing.

    "Harry, are you alright?" Hermione asked in a rush. "What am I saying, of course you're not, you're in the hospital wing again!"

    "They locked us in!" Ron hissed, looking around as if he thought someone would come to throw them in jail any moment. "They wouldn't let us help, they boxed us in the Common Room and locked the door, even changed the password! Bloody Perfect Percy, always with the good ideas no matter who they put in the hospital – George? The heck are you doing in a hospital bed?"

    Harry flatly and factually summarised the situation. He was thinking a lot more clearly now. Must be the potion.

    Hermione gaped and Ron blanched. "Fred was Crucioed?" He stared at the divider behind which Madam Pomfrey was hard at work. "What? When? Who was that guy?"

    "Peter Pettigrew," George said from the other bed, voice low. "Least that's what the Map called him."

    "Peter Pettigrew," Harry repeated flatly, his mind flashing back to all their research of that night. "As in my parents' friend Peter Pettigrew. 'The man who was supposedly killed by Sirius Black' Peter Pettigrew. Peter Pettigrew the-"

    "Marauder, aye," George grunted, reaching for the bedside counter. "Wormtail Peter. It's sparked a total mess of an argument. Take a look."

    George's weak throw ended with the map on the floor. Ron had to dig under the bed for it and hand it on. Harry took it and opened it. The ink-art of Hogwarts was ripped and bloated while a stag, a rat, a dog and a wolf were falling over each other in a veritable storm of disbelieving and angry speech bubbles.

    "Well, at least you're not petrified," Hermione said, though she didn't sound altogether convinced that was a bright side here.

    "Petrified?" Harry asked in confusion. "Was I supposed to be?" Come to think of it, there was that one upper-year that shouted-

    "We only just found out too, Harry, Filch's cat has been petrified. She was found near the second floor girl's lavatory, hung from a sconce. There was a message left behind too, written in blood on the wall."

    "The Chamber of Secrets has been opened. Enemies of the heir, beware." Ron murmured, looking warily at Madam Pomfrey's shadow on the divider. "It happened while we were at Nick's party. And since we weren't with the rest of the school when the feast broke up, we're the main suspects."

    "Or we were," Hermione valiantly tried to appease Ron's sour face. "But it's abundantly clear now that we weren't responsible."

    Harry didn't say anything about the… probably wrong conclusion. He was too busy being very unnaturally calm while remembering his vision about Ron's sister finger-painting in very thick red 'ink.'

    Noises from the entrance made Harry quickly fold up the parchment and pass it back through Ron to George, who deactivated it with a quick Mischief Managed and hid it under his pillow.

    It was the Hogwarts staff accompanied by the rest of the Weasleys, including Arthur and Molly. They descended on the twins in a veritable storm of anxious mothering. They put more than a token effort to include Harry in it too, even if it only made Harry feel jealous at not having a bedside somebody of his own. Thankfully, the calming drought deadened the feelings.

    "Harry," Dumbledore said when the Weasley huddle was properly clustered around the twins. "I want to know if you're ready to answer questions. Many grave things are unravelling tonight. It grieves me to ask for more of you so soon, but experience has taught me it never serves to let such things lie."

    Harry blinked, raising his head to meet the headmaster's gaze, trying to discern the expression of the eyes behind the half-moon spectacles. Dumbledore's light-blue gaze twinkled, making Harry feel as though he were being X-rayed. Like when he was being watched, except ten times stronger and right in his face. He blinked hard and averted his gaze. The feeling disappeared.

    Harry's bruise throbbed. The inside of this head seemed to be in disarray, as though his brain had just been rattled along with the rest of him by an earthquake. The loving hustle of the Weasley family seemed very far away. Hermione was next to him, earnestly meeting Dumbledore's gaze.

    Finding a trustworthy teacher that will not abuse the privilege of seeing your deepest self is the tallest order.

    The calming draught felt like cotton around his brain. Harry leaned into it. If he didn't, he would scream.

    The one with first-hand intelligence will do as he thinks right.

    "I want to talk to Hermione a bit first, sir."

    The silence hung between them a moment too long. "Very well Harry, but please hurry. There are others vying for your attention and I can keep them away only so long."

    Harry waited for the headmaster to walk to the door. Then he slid out of bed and stood between him and Hermione, not entirely faking the need to wait for his dizzy spell to go away. "Hermione," he whispered just loud enough for Ron to hear too, even though he was understandably focused on his brothers. "Dumbledore reads minds through eye contact."

    Hermione gaped.

    Harry's hand snapped up to cover her mouth before she exploded like she was clearly about to. "I didn't realise until just now." He carefully withdrew his hand and dropped it when Hermione didn't burst with her million questions. "We'll talk. Soon. All three of us. But right now I need you to do something for me. This is important, Hermione, please."

    "Alright Harry," Hermione said worriedly, making to look around Harry to Dumbledore and stopping half-way. "What do you need?"

    "Back in the dorm. In my bed, hanging off the top frame is a glass globe. I need you to break it."

    Hermione's eyes widened. "What, why?"

    "Hermione," Harry clenched both his fists and his teeth. "I can't explain anything right now. I just need you to do it. Take it and smash it, throw it at the ground, I don't care, just make sure it's in pieces before I reach the Headmaster's office, please."

    "Alright, Harry, alright, I'll do it. Is there anything else I can do?"

    "No. Just do it fast."

    "Blimey!" Ron exclaimed hard enough to echo out in the corridor. "I forgot my wand in the common room! Mum, Dad, I gotta get it, it's dangerous to be without one right now!"

    Maybe Harry wasn't the only one grasping for freedom.

    "Oh Ronald," Mrs. Weasley sighed. "When will you stop forgetting every important thing?

    "I'll go with him," Arthur announced. "Come on, Ron."

    "I'll come with you!" Hermione called. "I'll see you later Harry. You should hurry, the Headmaster's waiting!"

    I could hug you both, Harry thought gratefully. Then he frowned with all the self-discernment of drug-induced peace. Why don't I ever do that anyway?

    "Harry?" Dumbledore called. "Are you ready?"

    I don't wanna. "I'm coming."

    The Hospital Wing was a tower accessible from the first floor, while the Headmaster's Office was its own tower on the other side of the castle accessed from the third floor. That meant that they didn't need to pass through the second floor if they took the Grand Staircase, which they did. But Dumbledore led him through the corridor where Filch's cat had been petrified anyway. Harry wouldn't pretend not to appreciate having his curiosity satisfied. The cat was gone, but the writing wasn't. Harry's footsteps splashed in the lingering puddle as they passed by, echoing dully in the hall. The water split ahead of Dumbledore though, not touching him at all.

    One day I'll be able to do that too.

    "Gobbledy Goobers," Dumbledore told the gargoyle, who jumped aside to let them pass.

    The calming potion was already working overtime.

    The spiral staircase spun on its own to raise them up to the office proper, where Dumbledore preceded Harry into the chamber. It was a large circular room with many bookshelves and delicate silver instruments on spindle-legged tables, puffing smoke and whirring. Portraits of previous headmasters and headmistresses dozed in their frames. High above, the ceiling was dominated by a slow winding orrery. And on a perch beside the door stood a bird with crimson feathers on its body, claws and a beak gleaming gold, black eyes, and a golden tail as long as a peacock's. The bird watched Harry with bright interest as he entered.

    "Ah yes, Harry, this is Fawkes, my familiar. You're lucky to see him looking so well, his burning day is coming so he'll be turning ragged and decrepit soon, rather like me really. Fascinating creatures, phoenixes. They can carry immensely heavy loads, their tears have healing powers, and they make highly faithful pets."

    "I'm sure that's all very fascinating, Dumbledore," came the condescending voice of Lucius Malfoy from where he stood further in, because the office was far from empty. "But we should get back to the matter at hand, unless you still need time to come up with excuses for the madhouse you've allowed this school to turn into."

    In addition to Draco's older clone, there was Professor McGonagall, a woman wearing the biggest monocle Harry had ever seen, two aurors, and Snape lurking like a giant bat near the wall next to where Peter Pettigrew was tied unconscious to a chair. The people all turned to look at Harry the moment they saw him.

    "… Hello," Harry said. The calming potion seemed to be losing strength fast, so he turned his attention to the first thing he noticed that wasn't trying to make him feel like a bug under a microscope, which happened to be the fireplace. It was lit. The red and orange flames danced merrily, uncaring of the grave atmosphere in the room.

    "Harry Potter," murmured Malfoy Senior as if Harry hadn't been there to see him provoke Mr. Weasley into a fistfight just a month before. "The hero of the hour."

    Is he related to Snape?

    "Harry, allow me to introduce Madam Amelia Bones, Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and with her are aurors Gawain Robards and Rufus Scrimgeour. She's here to get your testimony of the night's events and then everything can go back to normal. And you know Lucius Malfoy of course. He's here today in his capacity as Chairman of the Hogwarts Board of Governors."

    Harry met the man's eyes before he thought better of it and blinked a few times even though he didn't feel anything from him, pretending exhaustion. Then he spotted who was hiding behind the man. A small, wrinkly, hunched over form. A floppy-eared thing wringing his hands, looking furtively away from him. Dobby the house elf. Harry's brain had never been more conflicted between 'that's cute' and 'get away from me.' It was like a green stop sign.

    I hate fake Halloween.

    "Come now, Harry," Dumbledore called for him to follow, pulling his wand with a wave that materialised a chair out of nowhere. "Here, sit."

    Harry quietly climbed into the chair that Dumbledore conjured. It was comfy. And in the middle of the room. Where everyone could stare at him. Harry didn't remember ever feeling so small and ganged up on. He's messing with me, right? Even during Harry Hunting he could at least run away. It didn't always work, but at least he had the option.

    Madam Bones stepped forward. "Mister Pot-"

    The blaze flared. The fireplace doubled in height. The flames burst up. They turned from red to green.

    Malfoy scowled. "Expecting someone else, Dumbledore?"

    "Not to my-" The fire turned from green to gold. "- Ah. I believe I know who it might be, though I couldn't speculate on the why."

    Sparks flew out of the flames to flick all through the room, alighting on shelves, tables and clothes without going out or catching fire. They're not sparks, Harry realised when one of them managed to somehow miss everyone to land on his sleeve. It's a golden flake of... something.

    With a final surge that made the golden flames shimmer violet, Nicolas Flamel stepped forth in a billow of purple and gold. The caduceus hung from a silver chain around his neck. Hooded robes cast sharp shadows over light skin and eyes that seemed to glow with an inner light. A massive phoenix-embossed grimoire hung from thick twined ropes around his waist, clasped tight with a crow's skull. Holly staff in one hand, its head a gimbal slowly spinning around a glowing gem. At his waist hung a stick of black wood, covered in glowing runes. Tall. Blond hair. And…

    "Nicolas!" Dumbledore rose to stand behind his desk. "This is a most unexpected surprise. To what do we owe the honor? You timing is most curious, I will admit."

    "Albus. Strangers." Nicolas nodded in greeting and then proceeded to walk up to Harry while ignoring everyone else.

    "You cut your beard!" Harry said stupidly. When had he hopped off the chair?

    "Hardly," Nicolas scoffed. "'Tis barely a trim, little one." The man struck the ground with his staff, causing it to morph into a cream-colored wand – was that apple wood? – which he then gave a negligent wave. Harry's chair grew proper-length legs and twice as wide. Nicolas sat down on it and lifted Harry from under the arms to sit next to him.

    Harry literally melted from relief. He was there. Nicolas was there. He was real!

    "Now, let me check you over. One always wants to be at their best for an interrogation."

    "Dumbledore, what is the meaning of this?" Lucius demanded in the background.

    "This is hardly an interrogation, Mr. Flamel," said Madam Bones.

    "A detained felon, a potion master standing by to have his expert opinion recorded for the veritaserum questioning that clearly just took place, the Head of Law Enforcement and two aurors at her side, plus the chief overseer of the venue where today's events took place." Nicolas waved his wand over Harry's body. "All of you gathered together, at ten past ten at night, in the place of power of the leader of the International Confederation of Wizards, around a twelve-year-old child who has been denied all due representation, to say nothing of a grace period or even proper healthcare." Nicolas frowned and waved and flicked and turned his wand a few more times around Harry's head, the tip leaving pale streaks lingering in the air. "And it seems you even timed it so the boy's judgment would still be impaired by a calming potion. How very devious of the Hogwarts leadership and the Ministry both to collude on this." Nicolas sent Dumbledore a disappointed look identical to the one Dumbledore used on students. "I will be instructing Harry here in the right procedure for filing a complaint about that."

    The auror woman visibly rethought what she was planning to say. "A calming potion, you say?" She passed her gimlet eyes to the rest of the room. "It seems certain parties have proven reluctant to part with all relevant information in defiance of law. Rest assured I will address that issue. How long will the potion last?"

    "Madam, if you insist on addressing me as if I was born yesterday, I'd rather you not address me at all."

    Auror Robards scowled and opened his mouth to say… nothing at all because he'd been silenced. How? When? And why was Nicolas upset with her question?

    Nicolas snapped his fingers and a globe of purple light wrapped in white runes shrieked to life in his palm before it disappeared just as quickly, leaving a gold-colored metal ribbon wrapped around his fingers, hand and forearm. "Tsk, wrong artefact." He snapped his fingers a second time, exchanging the ribbon glove for a gold-framed disk that looked like a squished tomato with wrinkles. "Not that either." Snap the third, and now Nicolas was holding a pistol. The man looked at it flatly, then disappeared it up his sleeve, no, don't go, come back! "Right, Hogwarts is one of the funny ones." Nicolas frowned and didn't snap his fingers this time. The globe of light bloomed white and hummed like a pipe organ before fading. "Finally. This will take care of your addled wits, Harry." Nicolas motioned with the golden teaspoon invitingly. "Say 'ah.'"

    Somewhere to the right, Dumbledore breathed in sharply. "Nicolas, what are you-?"

    It didn't taste like anything, but it went down his throat like maple syrup, and the next thing Harry knew, he was having a highly detailed and exceptionally vivid dream as if he was in one of the Hogwarts paintings come to life. Nicolas was leading him around his cluttered laboratory, which was bathed in golden light, and showing exactly how to make the Philosopher's Stone.

    He came back to himself feeling his skin buzzing, full of more energy than he ever remembered feeling, and clear-headed like he never remembered being at all. Harry looked around the room with new eyes, immediately realising he'd been out of it longer than he'd thought. Enough to miss an entire conversation. One that left the woman, the aurors and even Dumbledore dissatisfied. And Snape outraged.

    Nicolas was, as Harry fully expected, the best.

    "Surprising," Nicolas said, watching Harry thoughtfully. "Your hair is still red. I'll add metamorph practice to the plans, just in case."

    Meta-what?

    Madam Bones snapped closed the folder she'd been reading for… however long and handed it to Nicolas with pursed lips. "Everything seems to be in order."

    Harry eyed the paper as it vanished somewhere or other. "What's that?"

    "Oh, just a little something to persuade the not entirely good people here that I'm fully entitled to be your advocate whenever it suits me."

    "Oh." How did he manage that?

    "Please, Mr. Flamel," Madam Bones said curtly. "Your points were raised, made and addressed. Insults become none of us now."

    Flamel eyed her dryly. "The Ministry's hypocrisy is noted." Then ignored her bristling and turned back to Harry. "Harry. I want to use legilimency to pull the memory of the night's events from your mind. Do I have your permission? Please think of any questions or clarifications you might want before you answer. Either way, you don't need to go ahead with the travesty of this interrogation unless you really want to. I'll handle things whatever happens."

    "Oh," Harry was really starting to sound like a broken record. "Will it hurt?"

    "No."

    "… Can I choose what you see?"

    "Not without training, I'm afraid."

    "Right." Really, he just wanted to say yes, but Nicolas had asked him to think about it. And the last time he didn't cling to Nicolas like a barnacle, he up and vanished. "Pettigrew didn't petrify Mrs. Norris, did he?"

    Nicolas turned to Dumbledore expectantly.

    "Not according to his veritaserum testimony," Dumbledore said.

    "And do you presume he could have beaten it?" Flamel asked. Harry hadn't even thought about that - wait, the magical world had actual working truth serum!?

    Out of Harry's line of sight, Snape sneered. "Not unless the simpleton has advanced his potions skill beyond mine while living as a rat for the past twelve years."

    That simpleton hoodwinked every one of you, Harry thought unkindly. "… What does it mean? That he's alive?"

    Nicolas leaned back with his arm around Harry's shoulder – Harry might have cuddled a bit there – and inspected the items on Dumbledore's desk. Then he snapped his fingers and wandless geminio charm deposited a parchment in his hand.

    "Mister Flamel-"

    "Informed consent, madam. The Ministry may not insist on it, but I do." Nicolas scanned the sheet top to bottom. "It says here that Sirius Black was only a decoy for the real secret keeper of your parents, Harry, which is the same rat man in yonder manacles. The wretch promptly proved his cowardice by betraying your parents to Tom Riddle. Then he proved his cunning just as promptly by framing your godfather for the crime and his death, which he faked by screaming accusations at Black and blowing up a gas main in a crowded street, then cutting his own finger and escaping as a rat through the sewers. He then spent the years in his rat form, hiding from the Death Eaters he was convinced would blame him for Tom Riddle's suicide by vicious parents. I assume he chose the Weasleys to freeload off of because they would be the last place anyone would look that also provided him a direct ear into the ministry. The questioning doesn't seem to have been thorough enough to touch on that, unfortunately. Here." Nicolas rolled up the scroll and gave it to Harry.

    Harry blinked and accepted the scroll, even though everyone else in the office felt like they were trying to burn him with their eyes. "He spent twelve years as a rat? Just like that?" Harry then felt a bit ill. "He slept in Ron's bed." And his brothers' before him too. "Ugh."

    "I'm afraid so."

    This was horrible! "I want to go." Harry blurted. "But only if you won't vanish this time!" It didn't take a genius to realise that this time fell like an even bigger bomb than Nicolas showing up to begin with. "You won't, will you?"

    Nicolas turned to look at Dumbledore expectantly again.

    "Temporary quarters can, of course, be arranged. Pitts!" A house elf popped into the office. "Please have the purple guest room on the seventh floor prepared for habitation."

    "Yes, Headmaster sir!" The elf vanished.

    "What even are house-elves?" Harry muttered to himself.

    "Cursed pucks," Nicolas explained anyway. "Hobgoblins. They went around doing chores for people just so they could pretend offense at the spooked residents, whom they would then torment viciously and without end, often to injurious or outright fatal consequences. A fair few people they even drove to suicide. They eventually switched one too many babies with their changelings – their glamored offspring – so Merlin worked together with the ancestor spirits of all the British Isles to give them a place in man's household like they always wanted. Now they go suicidally mad if left alone, which is precisely the sort of ironic fairy logic that made the curse work on them to begin with. Well, unless they earn their freedom by human standards. Merlin was harsh, not heartless. All the same, though, don't give them clothes unless you're absolutely convinced they'll be better off. Or you want to punish them, spirits know plenty of them continue to earn it to this day."

    Harry was very clearly the only human being in Dumbledore's office that appreciated Nicolas Flamel wasting their precious time explaining common knowledge to an ignorant as-good-as-muggleborn, but that only made Harry love him even more. "You can do it."

    "Hmm?"

    "You can read my mind. You'll teach me how to stop it, right?"

    "That and more." Nicolas tipped Harry up by the chin and stared into his eyes for a few seconds. "And that's that."

    Harry blinked, feeling like his brain had just been combed through with a loupe and torch. "That's it."

    "That's it. Now, would you like to go or stay?"

    Harry made a show of pretending to be conflicted about being in a situation he never wanted hide or hair of to begin with. "I'll go." But he hesitated. "Can…" Harry bit his lip. "Can I tell Ron and Hermione about you? And… all the other… stuff."

    "Oh little one," Nicolas said sadly. "Of course you can. Why would you ever think I'd make you choose? They're your only friends in this world."

    Harry felt like he wanted to curl up under a rock. "Right. Sorry. Thanks."

    "Thank me by being a good friend to them in return. And maybe by making some more."

    "Right." It should be illegal to make someone feel so bad and then so much better so easily. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

    "And the day after, and probably many more times before the end of your school year here. Speaking of which." Nicolas pulled out again the documents that Madam Bones had been looking at. "You will want to go over these as well."

    Harry blinked and accepted them automatically. "Alright? What are they?"

    "Custody papers, at least until the end of the year, signed and filed. You aunt and uncle aren't the worst of people but they're down there, they sold you for a bar of gold."

    Harry's brain stopped working.

    Nicolas rose, put Harry on the ground and walked him to the door. "Go on now. I'll handle matters here."

    Harry went.
     
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2022
  16. SirTinal

    SirTinal Verified TinFoilHat

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    Then it rebooted. "You got robbed, they'd have sold me for a bag of Walker crisps, any flavor, and still consider themselves ahead."
     
  17. Jao

    Jao (Verified Lemon Drop Addict)

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    I love the story so far. It is also very unique compared to others I have read before. The writing is excellent.
     
  18. Ghostcraft19

    Ghostcraft19 Not too sore, are you?

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    Not untrue
     
  19. suikofan

    suikofan Not too sore, are you?

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    Interesting origin for House-elves Merlin pulled Fey irony off perfectly.
     
  20. BlueRanger O-Doom

    BlueRanger O-Doom Not too sore, are you?

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    Good lord, I slowly work my way through one Karmic Acumen fic and there’s a new one to catch me the moment I finish!

    This a very cool concept and I am VERY MUCH down to see where this goes.
     
  21. Superiorshortness

    Superiorshortness Making the rounds.

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    The story is still dodging all the cliche scenes, and the 12 year old are fully mature adult tropes. Not to mention showing straight out mistakes by characters. Awesome. Hope we see Harry grow and start trusting his friends with his secrets.
     
  22. Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    Well, maybe not that far. Vernon did invest in a rundown island somewhere, and he apparently went through the rigmarole that is the British gun acquisition hell, so he's not quite that cheap.
    Thanks. I'm not exactly keeping a chart of 'cliches to avoid' but I wouldn't have bothered writing this at all if I didn't have new roads to tread, so it's nice to know I succeeded.
    That was certainly the idea. Also, the 'poor almighty house elves' trope has been done to death.
     
  23. Oddboy

    Oddboy The Trash Cat

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    This is very, very good. Definitely something to keep an eye on.

    ...Thank you. No, seriously.

    If I got a grand for every time I've seen an author make house elves, goblins, what-have-you into some poor misunderstood group that wizards and witches unjustly oppress for no particular reason except maybe hurr wizards superior durr or similar dreck, I think I might have saved up enough money to buy a fucking house by now.

    Oh, and said witches and wizards are often some blend of ignorant asshole idiots in those stories too, because why not. Ugh.
     
  24. Threadmarks: Chapter 4: Friendship Isn't Magic, but It Sure Is Useful
    Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    A/N: We're really entering the realm of shared universes now. The pace will pick up again next chapter, the Hogwarts years will be a lot less loaded compared to canon. Well, most of them.



    [​IMG]

    Chapter 4: Friendship Isn't Magic, but It Sure Is Useful

    "-. November 1, 1992 .-"
    "He slept in my bed!" Ron moaned sickly, falling on the armchair completely past caring that literally the whole of Gryffindor house was listening. In defiance of McGonagall's orders to turn in, which the prefects had passed down and promptly disobeyed themselves. Harry could have put it off until tomorrow, but he couldn't do that to Ron. He could have had the talk between just the three of them in the dorm, but he couldn't in good conscience kick the other boys out. And he could have left everyone hanging, but then who knows what rumors would start before he could do anything about them again? Malfoy would be insufferable, Harry agreed with Ron there, and Hermione had grudgingly agreed too because she didn't want to wait either. So Harry told everyone what happened that evening. Well, what he could without sounding like a crazy person, he'd leave that to Fred and George to handle when they came back. There was still much gawping from the entire house, enough to make Harry extremely uncomfortable, but hopefully it would go away as quickly as everything else did in Hogwarts.

    He held back on the private important stuff until the next day.

    That was not the highlight of next day though. Partly because the real highlight ended in the closest thing to tears. And partly because he woke up that morning to find that he'd grown several inches overnight and didn't need glasses anymore.

    Say 'ah', rang in his brain.

    "Holy hell," Harry whispered after he fled from the loo back to the darkness of his curtained bed where it was safe. Harry James Potter was absolutely dumbstruck. Then he was a curled up, weeping mess because… because nobody had ever been so kind to him ever!

    He was also absolutely ravenous, which drove him from bed, room and tower to have triple what Nicolas' meal plan said to eat for breakfast. And lunch. And since he was still hungry and their classes ended just after mid-day period, he took Ron and Hermione on a detour to the kitchens (which he must have found in a dream or someplace). Hermione spent the rest of their walk to the Black Lake swinging between outrage at slavery to outrage at the absurdity of 'punishing' provably malicious fae by giving them exactly what they'd always wanted and what was Merlin thinking letting them get off for mass child kidnapping with… with… "With community service?!"

    Harry hmmd and hawed in all the right places, but his mind was really more concerned with the fact that Nicolas had left the castle before dawn and still hadn't come back.

    Neither had the headmaster.

    "Anyway. Harry," Hermione said primly as they settled on their blanket. "You said you were finally ready to talk to us. I hope you can actually follow through on it this time."

    Harsh, but fair. "Yeah, I-"

    "Food first," Ron grunted, already tearing into a mayo and chicken sandwich. "No talk'ng 'bout imporfant sthuff on 'n empty st'mach."

    "For Merlin's sake, Ron, don't talk with your mouth full, it's disgusting!" Hermione turned her nose, then primly seized her own sandwich and proceeded to eat with all the aplomb of someone who'd endured Ron's atrocious table manners so long that her own stomach was plated in iron now.

    Harry didn't comment even though he also thought Ron should be a bit more aloof considering one of his brothers was still in the hospital wing after… wait.

    Ron's a stress eater, Harry realized suddenly. Man, I'm dumb.

    The food was delicious, but it didn't make the worry go away.

    "Right," Ron said after he finished his sandwich and four chicken wings, allowing him to eat at a more human pace. Not that Harry was any better these days. "Now, mate, we're ready to hear why you're suddenly as tall as me."

    "… Yes," Hermione said slowly. "That is a rather dramatic overnight change, isn't it? Harry, would you mind ever so much casting the Patronus Charm?"

    "Hermione!" Harry 'gasped' blandly. "Suspecting your best friend's been replaced, for shame." But he flicked his wand out because fair was fair. "Expecto Patronum." Prongs emerged and cantered around them brilliantly.

    "… I'm still amazed you can do that," Hermione said in a murmur as Prongs nuzzled against her hand.

    Harry spied some older students staring in shock from the other side of the lake, but what was the point hiding anything at this point? It was nothing compared to cutting the killing curse in half, and George had loudly and grandly proclaimed it to all and sundry at noon meal.

    "I still can't make more than mist come out," Ron said sullenly, as if casting the Patronus Charm to begin with wasn't an extremely rare feat that even adult wizards seldom managed. "Why is it so hard? It can't be so difficult if you can do it!"

    Harry ignored the jab. George had utterly failed to make his littlest brother feel better, instead reminding him that Fred was still in bed suffering Cruciatus exposure. It was a wonder he was so open to talking about Harry's own problems, even just as a distraction. "You haven't been challenged yet, I think is the reason," Harry pat the crumbs off himself as best he could.

    "Maybe we can talk to Hagrid about finding us a lethifold."

    "Don't be ridiculous, Ron, that's insane," Hermione scoffed. "And you, Harry, you're dodging the issue."

    "Yeah, mate, you're the one who invited us out here, so come on, spill."

    They're your only friends in this world. "Right. I guess the best place to start is first year. Day before we left Hogwarts, I decided on a whim to send a letter."

    He told them everything that happened as best he could remember since he had none of the letters to provide as proof, seeing as they had been eaten by Hedwig or shattered to pieces on the dorm floor (Harry had gathered every last shard of the show globe and begun to religiously practice the Reparo charm). He didn't leave anything out, told them of the letters, the dreams, Nicolas' lessons, everything up until the Hogwarts visions because that's when... Dad happened. He needed to catch his breath before tackling that.

    And the adoption, because that…

    That couldn't be real, right? He must have misunderstood something. Yes, that was definitely it, Nicolas had outright told him it was only until the end of the year. Whatever it was. Nothing would really change that mattered. Nothing.

    Keep a straight face, Potter, you can't cry every time someone's nice to you, especially when it's just your being so greedy that you're never happy with what you get.

    "That's… That's amazing, Harry," Hermione said, voice hushed. "I didn't know there was so much magic that Hogwarts doesn't teach."

    It wasn't so wonderful while it was going on. But Harry didn't say anything because Ron was looking frowny all of a sudden. "Ron?"

    Ron shook himself from his glum mood and grabbed his milk bottle to wash down his scone with. Then he grabbed a strip of bacon because he always thought better if he had something to chew on, he promised. "You know how Colin's been constantly arguing with that Hufflepuff? I think I heard something like that once, but I'm not sure. They seemed to argue about a lot of stuff at once, talk was all over the place really. Thought they meant crystal balls and just didn't know the proper name, muggleborn you know? Some of the older years corrected them too, before they got swept into the argument anyhow."

    Colin? Colin Creevy? And a Hufflepuff? A couple of second years had the key to the one and only vision that stumped Nicolas Freaking Flamel? Colin Creevy and a Hufflepuff second year? "Which Hufflepuff?"

    "Do you mean Justin Finch-Fletchley?" Hermione guessed.

    Oh, was that the name? Harry had probably tuned out his existence because he made an effort to tune out Colin's existence, which was practically automatic at this point. Not that he had anything against Colin, exactly, he was just… so exhausting to share a world with. Which Nicolas would probably be disappointed in him for thinking, Harry thought glumly. "We'll talk to Colin later then, I guess." Merlin, he was already feeling tired just thinking about it.

    It's not you, Harry, he told himself. It's your curiosity. You're secretly an animagus and your form is a cat. Except unlike McGonagall, curiosity's already killed the cat a dozen times over and there's never been enough satisfaction to bring it back.

    Wait, didn't that proverb mean the opposite of what everyone thinks?

    Hermione was frowning now too. "Come to think of it, the idea of a crystal sphere the size of a solar system does sound a little familiar. I think it might have been a feature of the geocentric model, but I'm not sure. We'll have to research it."

    Of course they would.

    "Thanks for ruining my appetite, Hermione," Ron groused, to Hermione's huff. "Anyway. Harry."

    "Yeah, Ron?"

    "You can control dreams."

    "My dreams." So far, anyway.

    "Which you've used to live alternate lives," Hermione said slowly. "Which somehow weren't just your subconscious playing tricks on you because you've somehow managed to acquire forbidden knowledge and spells like the Patronus Charm."

    "I wouldn't call any of it forbidden, exactly." Could he? "And I can't really control anything yet, it just sort of happened once or twice." Harry paused. "Well, three times if you count the dream I had before the Quidditch match."

    "What's that?" Ron demanded, suddenly razor-focused faster than Harry had said quidditch.

    That led to another talk about where it all started.

    By the end of it, Ron was as amazed as he was jealous and Hermione was thoughtful. "So three times. Once to learn to fly. Once to learn the Patronus – though apparently it was just an accident from being married-"

    "Because that makes sense," Ron mumbled around his snack, because he was snacking again of course.

    "- and the third time to learn the location of what might be your ancestral family home that nobody knows about, Harry, this is amazing!" Hermione gushed. "Do you understand what this means? You could learn so much, experience so many things, Harry you – you're living proof of the multiverse theory!"

    "The what?" Ron asked.

    Now it was Hermione's turn to veer into a long-winded explanation, not that Harry had been at all long-winded or anything. If he had been he'd have actually mentioned who his dream wife was. Had been. Would be? Or wouldn't? Would that be better? There was a medical term for people who lusted after copies of their mothers, Harry was pretty sure. Was that from a dream too?

    "So you see, you prove the truth of the many-worlds theory!" Hermione proclaimed. "Oh, you must teach us how to do this too, Harry, think of all we could learn! Oh, I can't wait to try it, just seeing a glimpse of all possible choices, can you imagine the possibilities?"

    Harry could imagine quite a bit and he didn't like it. If Hermione's theory was that you had no choice but to make all possible choices, and everyone else also had no choice but to make all possible choices, then free will didn't exist and he didn't want that to be true at all. Especially since it also meant suffering every possible hardship, injury, humiliation and torture under the sun. Apparently. "I guess? I'm not sure it's teachable though, I don't know that it's something you can usually do in dreams, even Nicolas is pretty stumped."

    "But you have to try! We're learning the Patronus, aren't we? That should be impossible for two second years too."

    That was not the same though? "I guess?"

    "You're both barmy," Ron huffed.

    They fell quiet while the wind breezed around them and the giant squid emerged and plunged back into the outer depths of the loch. Hermione was making notes about what to research first. Ron was quietly munching on a last scone and staring at nothing over the water.

    Hold on, Harry thought with alarms blaring in his head. Ron's never so still and quiet, not for this long. Harry watched Ron more closely while trying not to make it obvious, which he was usually pants at. Which in turn made his worry even worse when he seemed to get away with it. Something's not right.

    "Harry, hold up." Ron obliviously ruined Harry's chance to ask what was wrong. If anything, seeing as Fred was plenty bad enough already. "You still haven't explained why you're so tall now."

    "Oh. Right." He completely forgot. "I…" He was going to sound insane. "I think Nicolas gave me the Elixir of Life last night."

    Harry had prepared for lots of things from them after dropping that bomb.

    What he hadn't prepared for was Hermione's panic.

    "-. .-"
    "So you see, Harry, we have to find out, it might already be too late!"

    Yes, Harry had indeed prepared for everything his friends would throw at him after that revelation. Except for Ron to be too sullen to give more than a token protest when Hermione dragged them into a twelve-book research binge that ended with her asking Harry point-blank if he was now forever stuck as a twelve year old.

    "Gee, thanks a lot, Hermione," Harry said sarcastically. "What ever would I do without you scaring the lights out of me?"

    "This is serious Harry, we have to talk to Mister Flamel immediately!"

    Unfortunately, that proved impossible because it got to dinner time and Nicolas still wasn't back. And once again, neither was the Headmaster.

    The reason for that became apparent when a storm of owls descended on the people in the Great Hall, one of whom was Eudaimon. He had a letter in his talons, a narrow long one wrapped around the Daily Prophet, Special Evening Edition, November 2, 1992.

    Harry,
    In the interest of pre-empting certain malicious interests whose clandestine reach is only exceeded by their personal stake in your business – and would therefore much rather have your godfather stay in prison, if not suffer a terminal incident ever so mysteriously – Albus has decided to take the initiative in a way I can only agree with.
    There was one close call, but the article ended up as accurate as it could be. I will be starting your studies of law after this.
    I am sorry we couldn't meet today as planned. I will see you tomorrow,
    ~Love, Nicolas.

    The letter turned into the wing carapace of some sort of blue beetle. Weird. Harry shrugged and gave it to Eudaimon, who ate it and then pointedly looked at the black pudding. Harry rolled his eyes and forked a chunk of it for the owl to indulge, the bird liked being catered to after a flight. So of course Hedwig would land on his shoulder and disdainfully hoot for her proper share of affection too. Harry tolerantly leaned aside to make room for her and ignored the two birds passive aggressively competing over who could eat the most. He spread out the front page of the paper instead.
    PETER PETTIGREW ALIVE! SIRIUS BLACK NOT THE POTTER SECRET KEEPER! BLACK IS BOY-WHO-LIVED'S GODFATHER?!

    BY A. FENETRE

    With a heavy lump in his throat, Harry read the article to make sure it was as accurate as Nicolas said – not that he doubted Nicolas or anything – and then looked around the hall.

    If anyone disbelieved him at all about last night, they didn't now.

    "-. .-"
    That evening, nobody in the castle and especially the Common Room had anything to talk about that wasn't somehow related to the Gryffindor Death Eater. Not the least of which because of the Very Bad Things that the Prophet article exposed about Voldemort, Death Eaters, Pettigrew, and even the former Minister.

    Up until someone speculated one time too many on why and how this and that was or wasn't exposed at Black's trial and Ron just snapped.

    "There was no trial!"

    The Common Room didn't all fall silent immediately, but it didn't take all that long either.

    Ron was way past being embarrassed by the attention, but he didn't seem inclined to keep it on himself for once. He glowered at everyone before turning to Harry, who'd spent the time since dinner growing increasingly closed off as the implications of having his rightful guardian put away for no crime kept hitting him. "How do you want to handle this? You're the only one anyone's paying attention to anyway."

    Harry was hard-pressed not to flinch at how bitter Ron sounded talking to him just then. Did I do something? "I have no idea," he replied instead. "This is the first time I hear of it too."

    "Remember when I said I'd ask Dad? When we were researching the thing?" Harry rather pettily relished the confusion on everyone else's faces. "Well, I did. And all he's been able to tell me all this time is that he still can't find anything. He thought the records were sealed or something, but now?"

    "You think there wasn't one at all?" Hermione asked, appalled, but hesitated to argue for it. "… It's terrible to think about, but if Sirius Black is innocent, then it's practically impossible that a trial wouldn't have exonerated him with all the ways that magic can find out the truth. But why would they do that? Even if they decided expediency was most important, they should have revisited the case after the war ended, surely?"

    "Guess Bagnold was just too busy throwing parties," Wood joked, then frowned when everyone seemed to take it seriously. "No, really? You lot think she was in on it?"

    In on what? What was 'it' exactly?

    That caused a whole other mess of arguments which got even wilder when someone mentioned that Minister Fudge himself had been first on the scene.

    Certain malicious interests whose clandestine reach is only exceeded by their personal stake in your business.

    Shite.

    It took a long time for the House to break up that night. Harry would normally have retired way earlier, but he couldn't bring himself to leave when it meant he could miss some important discovery. Hermione was with him all the while, taking copious notes of everything she heard – wait, Hermione knew shorthand now?

    Ron, though, only got quieter and his mood darker the more time passed, and it went way past just not having food on hand to distract himself with.

    "Ron?" Harry called, as lowly as he could now that there wasn't as much chatter to go unnoticed in. "You alright?"

    "Yeah." Ron scowled. "Everything's peachy."

    What was he missing? "Is it Percy?" Harry hadn't seen him do or say anything out of the ordinary, but Percy's ordinary was enough to be getting on with and-

    "It's not him, it's everyone else," Ron hissed darkly. "My brothers were put in the hospital wing. One of them's still there, Fred was Crucioed yesterday. Yesterday! But everyone's already forgotten about it. It's like nobody cares. They only care about-" Ron bit off the end and glared down at the chess set and all its very wary pieces.

    They only care about me, Harry finished in his head. They only care about what I do and damn everyone else.

    "Hey Harry," Ron cut through his self-pity with an even sharper knife. "This thing with Nicolas Flamel…"

    Did he stumble on the adoption papers? But he'd carried them in his backpack all day and it was right here. "Yeah?"

    "You're training to become a prophet, yeah?"

    "I think it's more like a diviner."

    "Whatever," Ron put his chin on his clasped hands, sounding tense as a bowstring. "I don't suppose you saw anything about what happened to Fred and George."

    Harry went still and became suddenly aware that their big talk had been completely derailed before he got around to telling them about the Hogwarts visions.

    And everything else.

    Shite, what do I do? This isn't a good time.

    Unfortunately, Ron saw something else in his hesitation. "… You did."

    "Not about the twins!" Harry blurted, his temper rearing out of nowehere immediately after because apparently he didn't have a grasp on it either when even his best friend jumped straight to assuming the worst of him. "I didn't know anything about Pettigrew or… all that." Come to think of it, his visions hadn't warned him about any of it, what even was up with that? It seemed like a pretty big thing to miss!

    "What did you see then?" Ron demanded.

    "…This might not be the best place for this."

    "Yes it is."

    "Ron-"

    "Neville, Dean and Seamus are already up there, so there's literally no difference where we talk."

    Harry looked at him in disbelief. Was it really better to stay and hope their words were lost in the-

    Ron's face twisted into something ugly and miserable.

    Harry broke. "Ron, are you sure you want-?"

    "Yes I'm sure!"

    The chatter nearest to them dipped. Hermione looked up from her notebook to glare at everyone. Parvati and Lavender went back to whatever they were babbling about and soon so did everyone else. Harry briefly considered taking this to the dorm anyway-

    "Harry, I'm not up for any more secrets right now."

    "Fine," Harry snapped, because they really were apparently doing this in the wrong place at the wrong time. "You want to know what I saw?" Harry bit out a whisper, leaning forward over the table until he and Ron were almost nose to nose. "I saw Ginny finger-painting on the walls in red paint.'"

    Ron recoiled, open-mouthed, while Hermione drew back in shock, hand over her mouth.

    Harry regretted it immediately, but what else was he even supposed to do? He pulled back. "Are you happy now?"

    Ron just kept staring at him, open-mouthed. Then he snapped it shut, grabbed his backpack, got up and left.

    Harry watched him go, a hollow, wretched feeling yawning open inside him.

    "… You shouldn't have let him browbeat you, Harry," Hermione said as if that wasn't exactly what Harry was already regretting. "Whatever he thinks, this was not the best time and place for… Were you serious, Harry? Gi-" She stopped, but Harry already knew what she wanted to ask. How could he claim this? Why would she do this? How could she possibly petrify people? She was a firstie, wasn't she?

    Harry bit back whatever unkind things he'd inevitably say to Hermione next and stayed quiet for the rest of the evening, well into the night after Hermione and the rest of the house turned in. Then he grabbed his backpack, went to the loo, put on the Cloak and left the Tower unseen and unheard. He didn't know where he was going, only that he didn't want to be in the same room as Ron right now because Ron didn't want to be in the same room as Harry right now and Harry at least was a good mate even in bad weather unlike some people.

    Friendship, everyone! Let's take a moment of silence for our dearly departed. He wasn't with us long, but man did he liven things up!

    Why did his best quips happen only when nobody was around to hear them?

    Harry had just finished his third random circuit of the Seventh Floor except the opposite side of the tapestry of Barnabas the Barmy – what even made the Purple Room purple if all the doors looked the same?! – when he stopped in his tracks at the sound of footsteps. Harry quickly hid behind the nearest armor and waited.

    Albus Dumbledore appeared, humming a low tune as he walked seemingly oblivious to everything around him, then stopped just as he was about to pass the statue and turned to look right at him. "Out again, Harry?"

    Busted.

    Dumbledore continued. "I have it on fairly good authority that no other miscreants, criminals, or fugitives from justice have come to reside in the castle in the past twenty-four hours, disguised or otherwise."

    Harry reluctantly took the Cloak off and stuffed it in his pocket. "That doesn't mean there aren't any others from before."

    "I assure you, Harry, infiltrating Hogwarts through any means less extreme that our recently relocated rat is quite unlikely. Unless you are out and about for reasons other than seeking the heart's desire?"

    Harry kept his mouth shut and thinned his lips as the vision of Ginny finger-painting in red flashed through his mind. He stopped himself from meeting Dumbledore's gaze, wishing he wasn't reminded of the Mirror now of all times. He had enough to deal with as is.

    Dumbledore motioned him to follow. "Come now. It's a bit late to be out in the halls."

    Harry was confused that they were only going further away from Gryffindor Tower, but maybe Hogwarts changed more at night than he thought.

    "Tell me, Harry, have you had cause to visit the Hospital Wing again today?"

    "No, sir."

    "What about accidental magic, have you suffered any more outbursts like that?"

    "No, sir." They continued in silence. It was awkward. He wanted to ask about Nicolas and the Ministry and the Paper and Sirius, but he couldn't get the words out. So when he did open his mouth, he only managed a "…Why? Wait, what do you mean more outbursts?"

    "I mean that a Calming Draught takes effect instantly and only lasts for roughly five minutes after. It may linger for ten to fifteen in some patients, but only rarely and never more than that. Certainly not a whole hour as was the case for you yesterday."

    "I did what?"

    "Think, Harry, was there any moment where you felt particularly strongly about your temper? Wished for the blessed serenity to last, perhaps? You were understandably overwrought when you were brought in."

    Finding a trustworthy teacher that will not abuse the privilege of seeing your deepest self is the tallest order. "I think so."

    "There you have it. Of course, the fact you were driven to accidental magic is its own evidence that you should not have been put into that situation so soon to begin with, but hindsight makes fools of all."

    The footsteps rang hollow and damning and Harry wasn't under a calming draught anymore. "That's it?" He demanded, stopping where he was. "That's it, you're just going to pretend nothing happened? After you-" Harry felt like he might really scream this time, but what was even the use? Was Legilimency even a crime in the Wizarding World? He didn't know. There was so much he didn't know, why wouldn't everyone treat him like he was stupid, even Ron had-

    Dumbledore stopped, turned, clasped his hands behind his back and looked at Harry calmly. "I will not apologise for treating you the same as all other children. I should apologise for being the sort of man who ransacks the minds of children to begin with, but it would not be heartfelt and you hold liars in contempt. I do only do so in truly extreme circumstances, and I have never once overstepped by seeking more than was relevant to the situation that called for such measures, but I will not demand allowances for something I consider cold comfort myself. Perhaps that is what I should apologise for – that I've become such a man that I can ransack the minds of children without feeling regrets at all. We are here."

    Harry barely had time to register everything Dumbledore had just told him when the headmaster knocked on… some door and turned to walk away how could he just-?!

    "Leaving already, Albus?" Nicolas idly asked from where he'd appeared in the door. "I thought you'd accepted my invitation to dine?"

    "Nicolas," Dumbledore stopped and turned, looking a tiny bit less serene, but his eyes twinkled at Nicolas, who was meeting them straight on and – wait, were they talking through Legilimency? The mind arts were so useful, it was so unfair, can't he just hate them in peace? "As a matter of fact I was coming over to do just that, but I believe present company would like it better if – Nicolas, really! There is no need for-"

    But Nicolas had already literally marched Dumbledore inside. "Making decisions for other people without their input is what got you into this mess." Then he came out to usher Harry in as well. "Let me guess," he told him after closing the door behind them. "He pulled an 'I am the worst of people and don't deserve any understanding or sympathy' and tried to make you hate him so you'd have a clean break, as if that's even possible."

    Harry gaped. Is that what was happening?

    "That answers that," Nicolas scoffed, motioning for them both to go further in. "Don't hold it against Albus too much, Harry, I've tried for years to show him that his self-flagellation is just as selfish when it goes and causes its own host of problems to the same people he's feeling guilty over, but does he listen? Bah! Of course not! Some people would do anything to hang onto their attachments, but then there's people like Albus who go too far in the other direction. I blame it on his guilt over unjustly blaming his father instead of the ministry for throwing him in Azkaban for the high crime of avenging his daughter' assault."

    "Nicolas, really?" Dumbledore protested.

    "Communication, Albus. Extenuating circumstances, they're his one weakness, Harry, he thinks he's the only person in the world not entitled to them. Let me guess, he didn't mention any of the exceptional lengths he went to on your behalf either, did he? Last night too."

    Harry had wound up on a seat at the table somehow. There were books in front of him. One was thick and old, lacking any name on the cover. The other was a paper hardcovers called The Mythical World of Atlantis: Theories of the Lost Empire by Preston B. Whitmore. He was amazed he could ever read right now. "… On my behalf?"

    "Yes," Nicolas said dryly, picking up the books on the table he clearly hadn't expected to need tonight but was going to the trouble to clear anyway because he was the best ever. "Albus backed me up yesterday entirely for your sake, despite that I practically invaded his domain, did so without the courtesy of a warning, and stepped on a fair bit of his business elsewhere in the doing. All to steal you for myself, which I assure you he does not appreciate in the slightest, he is quite attached to you as it happens." So he was adopting – no, don't jump to conclusions, Potter, that's what got you into this mess. "That I am critical of his approach to your treatment didn't endear me much to him either-"

    "I disagreed with your interference with the magic I set up for his protection that has no peer and cannot be duplicated," Dumbledore cut in. "And I continue to do so, but the situation cannot be salvaged any longer, so arguing over it any further is pointless."

    "But he still joined his force to mine and even silenced that one Auror before he could become a nuisance. That's something that would have been career-ending for literally anyone else. I don't suppose he mentioned any of that?"

    Well now Harry felt kind of bad. "… No."

    "Hmph. Just between you and me, Harry," Nicolas said with Dumbledore sitting right there. "With Albus I usually find it worth forgiving when he resorts to Legilimency in his line of work. Not so much on students, obviously, but I bet he didn't mention that thoughts are practically broadcasted by some people half the time? You're not exactly white noise yourself, though you're better than most, which is why he needed to put effort into it to begin with. It's that same habit that let him know the Minister was already considering having your godfather fed to dementors before the Pettigrew scandal could explode."

    "What!?"

    "It was a hopeless thought, but one born of self-preservation. Such thoughts have the habit of turning to action when combined with the money of unsavoury personages. And Lucius Malfoy has a very vested interest in having his son inherit the Black fortune. Anyway, we can talk more about that after we eat, unlike you we both missed dinner. I hope you like boeuf bourguignon, Perenelle sent some over, and I've got some bread-crumbed squash and poor knights."

    Harry's mind was spinning. He definitely believed Nicolas and the Headmaster had been teacher and student at one point, they were way too alike. "Poor knights?" He asked stupidly.

    "French toast."

    "Oh. Right. Thanks."

    Nicolas just harrumphed and turned his back on them to go into the adjoining kitchen. "Am stram gram," was heard from inside. "Pique et pique et colégram, Bourre et bourre et ratatam, Am, stram, gram…"

    Harry's eyes widened and he turned to the headmaster. "Please tell me he's not reciting a curse."

    Finally, Dumbledore's face softened. "No, Harry. I suspect he's mixing and matching the dishes."

    "By reciting a spell in an unknown language?"

    Dumbledore actually cracked a smile at him now, why? "It's not a spell, Harry. It's eenie meenie miney mo. In French."

    Harry gaped, then flushed in embarrassment and didn't say anything until he had the food in front of him and he finally had an excuse to not say anything even longer.

    The food was delicious. More so than even what the house elves served, though he was probably biased because of the source.

    It was much later, after they'd all eaten and Nicolas got them settled in the living room with hot cocoa in their hands, but without having Harry escorted back to Gryffindor Tower, that Harry realized he was the one they were waiting on.

    "So," he mumbled, then cleared his throat and did his best to talk like a real human might. "The Prophet…?"

    "That was Albus' very excellent pre-emptive attack. Any harm that comes to Sirius Black from this point on is a guaranteed end to Fudge's career."

    Harry couldn't help shooting Dumbledore a grateful look.

    The headmaster hummed mildly, availing himself of Nicolas' bowl of sweets. "I've already used you as a cover more than once. It was past time I returned the favour."

    The stone at Gringotts, Harry realised.

    Nicolas palmed his face. "You see, Harry? He's hopeless. Whenever he makes a bit of progress, he backslides because of all the baggage. I am at my wits' end! Maybe you'll have better luck."

    "You're joking, right?"

    "No."

    Harry looked away, uncomfortable being treated… exactly like he always wanted adults to treat him, he really was pathet – wait, was that what he thought he was? "You have a boombox?"

    "Hmm? Oh yes, it's much more practical than a gramophone, the sound quality is much superior and the selection is quite superlative. Do you have any favorites? I can put something on if you like."

    "You mean it works?" Harry asked before Nicolas could get up and Harry would need to admit he didn't know any songs because his experience with music was limited to the few, bland tunes Vernon put on the car radio those few times he was taken anywhere. "Electronics don't work in Hogwarts. At least that's what everyone says."

    "Ah, yes," Dumbledore mused. "True for most practical intents and purposes."

    "Emphasis on the practical, little one. In truth, it's more of an issue with how magic treats copper."

    "Quite," Dumbledore nodded. "Copper is the fundamental material used in all modern technology, and for good reason. Copper was known to the ancients as orichalcum. Before spells were created that could collect the energy from the ether, light, motion and much else was made through magic that drew electricity from the world around it, and it took a long time to make even those workings efficient in absence of wands and arithmancy. Orichalcum was an essential part of all enchantments at one time, much as it is ubiquitous in electrical devices today. It's not that magic disrupts technology, it's that magic has been primed to look for orichalcum and use electricity to feed itself. Used to be we sent huge streams of it from the ground into the sky, before whatever happened that made magic evolve into an Astral construct. That's what the pyramids were for."

    "Well, the ones wizards made."

    "Wait," Harry said, putting his empty cup down. "Are you saying copper was part of some past magical revolution like it was for the industrial revolution? And magic is... stuck in the habit of just doing things with it all the time now?"

    "More or less." Nicolas nodded approvingly. "Either way, for electrical devices to work in places like Hogwarts, you need to either change how Magic itself works somehow - unlikely - or you need to change all the copper in them with gold or silver. A fairly expensive enterprise, and certainly not as straightforward as you might think. The metals have different material specifications, doing the modifications requires certain technical expertise that wizards generally lack. As with all things, however, there are exceptions – I myself have a contact across the pond who I go to for all my magic-proofing needs. I don't think you're ready for that particular level of insanity, however."

    "What's that supposed to mean?"

    "He was forced by external circumstances to drop out of school before his WOMBATs – that's the equivalent of OWLs in the United States. MACUSA obliviated him and everyone connected to him of all magic as a result, they tend to go overboard with their enforcement of the statute there."

    "Which is eminently strange, for a country funded on freedom from tyranny," Dumbledore mused.

    "Right," Harry said automatically because he didn't care. "What does that have to do with anything?"

    "It matters because he was still a trained wizard, and in absence of memories and a wand to tell him what to do with the magic that would now not wither, he set his mind towards solving the problem of electronics constantly shorting out around him. The result of which is that he is now a master engineer that solved the great magical mystery of our time without knowing what he was doing. Now he's trying to hack magic without knowing what he's doing. And that's just the start of what he's done. Don't even get me started on his entourage. I repeat – you are not ready for their madness."

    "Are you serious?" Harry asked incredulously. "He can't be crazier than the DADA teacher being possessed by Voldemort."

    "His animagus form is a robot."

    "…What."

    "Yes, that was my reaction as well."

    … I stand corrected, Harry thought dumbly. "A muggleborn accidentally invented robot shapeshifting because he was obliviated – that's it!" Harry gasped in realization.

    Dumbledore and Nicolas were staring at him.

    What else was new? "Can you temporarily obliviate someone?"

    "… Yes."

    "Huh." Harry turned to Dumbledore then. "Do that then."

    Dumbledore looked confused. Really, actually confused for once. "I'm afraid I don't quite understand."

    Harry addressed Nicolas. "You said he keeps falling into old habits because he's got baggage, right?" He turned back to Dumbledore, who looked sour now but it was his own fault. "Temporarily obliviate yourself and then… well, research!" It always worked for Hermione at least. "Read about yourself? That should help, right?"

    The two ancient wizards were looking at Harry like they expected him to sprout two extra heads. And new limbs. And maybe some horns and a tail.

    "It was just a suggestion," Harry muttered, crossing his arms defensively.

    "I stand corrected," Nicolas weirdly echoed Harry's own thought from earlier. "You might, in fact, be insane."

    "Crazy enough to meet your friends?"

    "No."

    "But-"

    "Until you're of age and can legally disobey my commands to not have anything to do with them without my express say so, you're not getting anywhere near that place."

    "And on that note," Dumbledore cut in, rising from his chair. "I believe that is my cue to retire."

    It was?

    It was only when Dumbledore was already at the door that Harry finally remembered something important. "Wait!"

    Dumbledore stopped and turned, surprised.

    "You…" Harry grit his teeth, hating that he didn't seem to have the right words for anything today. "It only happened the once. Right?"

    "… With you, yes."

    "I…" Go on, Potter, say it, say it, say it if you ever expect forgiveness in return. "I can forgive you the once."

    The headmaster looked down at him, surprised. And more.

    Harry's words finally knit together on the back of a weave he built in unremembered dreams. "But if you do it again, to me or to my friends, I won't make the same mistake." And daringly, Harry met Albus Dumbledore's eyes straight on.

    They didn't twinkle once. "I understand." Then the headmaster left.

    He didn't promise, Harry thought hollowly. He didn't say he'd never do it again.

    "I believe it is well past time for you to be in bed as well, Harry."

    Nicolas just let it go.

    Harry felt even worse then, but even so he didn't want to go anywhere. "Can-" Can I stay here tonight? But Harry found he wasn't brave enough. "Can-" He had to say something, but what? "Can we talk about those papers first?" Actually, that really was important.

    "I'll do you one better." Nicolas briefly left the hallway and returned with new papers. Papers that looked identical to the other ones, except they didn't have an end term.

    Harry's breath left him and his heart pounded in his temples.

    "The papers before were temporary, as I'd still rather the final decision should be yours. These are the proper forms for adoption. I want you to take them, read them and give me an answer by-"

    "YES!"

    "-the end of the year. By then, you should have had enough time to-"

    "I said yes."

    "No, Harry," Nicolas Flamel pronounced with total finality. "You will take these, you will read them and you will make an informed, properly reasoned decision using the entirety of the allotted time frame. After you've talked it through with those you trust. After you've spent enough time with me – and my wife whom you haven't yet met – to decide if we can also counted among those precious few. Yesterday I tricked you into drinking an unknown substance and your last blood kin just sold you, Harry. Do not underestimate the second thoughts and conflicting feelings you will have for the next several months. Do not dismiss your second thoughts, do not suppress your misgivings. Critical thinking is the one thing you should never compromise on."

    Harry's grip almost went through the paper. His fingers should have torn through the paper with how hard he was gripping them, they must have been spelled.

    "Now." Nicolas' manner softened. "I apologise but we won't be able to meet before afternoon tomorrow. I need the time to go to Gringotts and set up a meeting this weekend for you to check your finances."

    "My finances," Harry said flatly. I don't care about my finances!

    "It will likely be tedious, but you need to get started on that sooner rather than later. Goblins don't work to expand the wealth of their clients, quite the opposite. They hate wizards and do their best to fleece them. They offer no interest on deposits, but they do on loans, and they charge service and vault fees to a total far beyond the tribute they need to pay the ministry annually. Also, the exchange rates on pounds per galleon are literal robbery."

    Now he sounded like Binns, Harry didn't care about Goblins, why was Nicolas doing this? Was he always going to drop a bomb on him and send him off to deal with it on his own, was that what Harry had to look forward to?

    "You might also want to warn your muggleborn friend against going to Gringotts looking for vaults belonging to secret squib or magical grandparents. Odds are there are. Vaults that have been drained dry and have only a backlog of fees in need of payment. The goblins will rob even children blind if given the opportunity, while protecting the vaults of convicted criminals up to and including lifetime Azkaban inmates responsible for dozens of proven murders. I'll grant them that their security is as close to the best that you can get in the isles, but it's nowhere near expensive enough to justify this greed. But this is what monopolies get you. Honestly, giving a foreign enemy nation total and sole control of your money is the height of stupidity. If Wizards and Witches weren't so self-sufficient, the ICW would have collapsed long ago."

    Harry felt a lot like a robot himself as he let Nicolas lead him back to the Fat Lady's portrait and said his goodbyes.

    It was only when he reached his dorm that he remembered that he was on the outs with those he trusted. He'd completely forgotten to ask Nicolas what was being done about Ginny and the rest of it too.

    Screw it, Harry thought petulantly. He already knows from my letters. If he forgets about it, it's his business. Besides, it would be bloody awful to talk to him about Ron's family issues like that. Especially without asking Ron first. I don't want to make him even angrier with me. He's one of my two only friends, right?

    It didn't make Harry feel any better, but what else was new?

    Hopefully things would be better in the morning.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2022
  25. Superiorshortness

    Superiorshortness Making the rounds.

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    Heart warming chapter. HP being so childlike was great. The simple lack of care of money is so true to character. I think adults focus on money so much, that they've forgotten what it was like when money didn't dominate our concerns. Loved the jab at the Goblins trope. Pretty sure the Goblins won those rebellions!!! My question for this chapter was Ginny.... Did anyone agree to deal with Ginny this chapter? I missed it.
     
  26. suikofan

    suikofan Not too sore, are you?

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    The Golden Trio eats mayo well now I'm rooting for the villains. I might not be following quite right but if I am Collin plays dnd and was arguing with someone about the spheres? Wonder what was up with Hermione's panic, is the Elixir of Life said to be addictive or something?

    Ohf Fudge must have been panicking to try the kiss on a innocent man in public instead of behind closed doors like in the books. Or Madam Bones's offense at being called corrupt last chapter is either very transparent or rather frighteningly a "We are the Law" style thing.

    Like your view on Dumbledore I feel the need to point out sometimes that Dumbledore isn't that old for a wizard. The trolley lady on the train died at 200 the Headmaster before Albus lived to be in his 300s and apparently one dude lived to be older then Flamel.
     
  27. Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    She was worried Harry might be stuck as a twelve year-old.

    And I'm sure the average wizard age was retconned into ridiculousness as time went on. Dumbledore wouldn't look so old and gangly if he weren't in the the twilight of his life, and there was nobody older in the books.

    But I know which super long lived wizard you're talking about. He was a movie-only thing from a prop. That said, old Willie's existence is something of a greater scope plot point. As are some of the other ridiculous headlines in the movie newspapers.
     
  28. Fallen Gods Rise

    Fallen Gods Rise Just stepped on a Lego

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    Wasn't one of the exam proctors the same woman that supervised Dumbledore's exams or am I getting confused ?

    I also thought I remembered something about the last headmaster still being around enjoying his retirement but that was probably from pottermore or elsewhere.
     
  29. Superiorshortness

    Superiorshortness Making the rounds.

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    Canon wise as in the 7 main books... Dumbledore died at 115 while Bagshot was 124.

    However, alternate Rowling sources have stated that the average lifespan of wizards in Britain is 134.5. And Rowling stated that Dumbledore was 150, despite the books saying he was 115. In addition, there are newspapers that have stated that a wizard is over 700 years old (older than the Flamels... though not sure if we were supposed to believe it or not). Due to Rowlings flip flopping, I think the fanfiction authors have some fiat to moving the average lifespan around.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2022
  30. Karmic Acumen

    Karmic Acumen The long-suffering one

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    Okay, no one older except her and any leftovers from the same generation, my bad.
    Yeah, that's the one from the movie-only props. I'm inclined to go with a long lifespan, but only for really powerful wizards, and never enough to eclipse the Elixir of Life. Otherwise the family trees we see in canon wouldn't have so many generations and changes of leadership over time. The natural deaths and power changeovers don't happen nearly rarely enough for multi-century lifespans to be credibly considered standard. Hell, the Black and Potters seem to advance and expire generationally at a rate pretty much similar to normal people, even when murder isn't involved.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2022
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