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A warning for the strong of heart and weak of mind: You made it through one chapter. This one is a lot more insipid than the last. It's full of every single Super-Harry cliche ever written in a fanfic, and Molly Weasley's screeching. If you're not careful, you'll start hearing that woman in your head, shrieking her vile melody of madness, and you'll be unable to focus on anything until you lose all semblance of rational thought and just sit around and drool and chew Drooble's Best Blowing Gum all day.
Importantly, this chapter has also been beta-read by TuesdayNovember, despite the fact that she's dead; I, with the help of some friends, resurrected her as an Inferius. Please be aware that I will not extend this courtesy to everyone who dies from reading this story; you are all responsible for your own ruin.
Harry Potter and the Life-Changing Head Injury
just another dead reptile
Chapter Two: All Aboard the Death Bus
Harry dragged his trunk down the street. It was extremely heavy, since it now contained just about everything he owned (except for the piles and piles and piles and piles and piles and piles and piles of gold he had in Gringotts... why hadn't he ever gone and spent any of that?) as well as a shrunken motorcycle he'd obtained when its owner, a large man who smelled strongly of alcohol and old bodily waste, had tried to rob him and gotten himself... well, the result wasn't pretty, and smelled almost as bad as the man did when he was alive. But the motorcycle was very nice, and Harry wanted to enchant it so that it could fly like Sirius's old bike did.
He knew that Sirius was watching from the stars, but couldn't remember which star, or constellation, or whatever, was called Sirius. So, instead, he just flipped off the entire sky. Damn you, Padfoot, for dying in such an anticlimactic... actually, the stupidity of it was memorable in itself. So, never mind. At least Sirus's death would always be cooler than Wormtail's. The rat was probably going to accidentally strangle himself, or something retarded like that. So undamn you, Sirius. Damn you, Wormtail, for being such a stupid moron as to strangle yourself.
Then Harry had a completely random flash of inspiration as he sat down to rest, since dragging his heavy trunk along was very tiring. He pointed his wand at it and shrunk it down so he could put it in his pocket. Then he continued walking, now able to swagger in a Malfoy-like way (but unlike Malfoy his face wasn't pointier than a nail and his hair couldn't be considered a blunt object) because he was very satisfied with himself and his own insanely awesome geniusness.
Mrs. Figg's house was across the street. Harry briefly considered blowing it up, but decided not to because it wouldn't be very nice – and besides, she let him have cake once. It was good cake, too, even though it was kind of old, like Mrs. Figg. He looked around. A lot of cats were staring at him from around, on top of, and between rubbish bins all over the place. They probably belonged to Mrs. Figg. Harry thought about compromising and just blowing up Mrs. Figg's cats instead of her house. But that didn't work either, because looking at them feel all fuzzy and warm inside.
On the other hand, they did exist, and Harry couldn't forgive existence. All life must be destroyed, he thought, though he didn't know why he thought that. It just made sense, and it sounded kind of cool. He could imagine it on billboards and propaganda posters: 'ALL LIFE MUST BE DESTROYED!' He went to point his wand at the cats.
But he was alive, too, so he found himself pointing his wand at his own head instead. If he was alive, then he'd have to be destroyed too, logically. Harry frowned. This was confusing. If he was destroyed, he wouldn't be able to destroy everything else, but if he didn't destroy himself then he'd be a hypocrite, and hypocrisy was generally bad.
And then he remembered that the Sorting Hat didn't even consider putting him in Ravenclaw, but it put Luna Lovegood in Ravenclaw. That meant, obviously, that Harry was even less obligated to give a shit about logic than Luna was, and that was not much of an obligation.
"You'll get a reprieve this day, but you may not be so lucky next time," he said, jabbing his wand at the cats.
There was a very loud BANG, and a purple triple-decker bus appeared out of nowhere. Harry wondered why the Knight Bus was there, and then he noticed that he was standing halfway off the sidewalk with his wand out in the air.
Well, it was better than walking all the way to wherever the hell he decided to go. He went inside. There was a different driver – apparently, Ernie had been replaced – but Stan Shunpike was still there. Stan started looking very nervous when he saw Harry.
"Hello," said Stan. He was sweating profusely and making exaggerated zigzag motions on his forehead at someone in the back of the bus.
"Hi," Harry said cheerfully. "I have no idea where I want to go, but this place is boring."
"Oh, okay," Stan replied, looking even sweatier than ever. "Well, uh, if I could suggest a place – there's this manor out in the middle of Little Hang-"
"I want to go to Diagon Alley," Harry interrupted.
Stan started miming putting something on his face at the person in the back as he said, "Oh, okay. Well, come on in then."
"How much?" asked Harry. "I changed my mind, by the way. I want to go to... Knockturn Alley."
"How much?" Harry repeated. "How much money will it cost to go to Ottery St. Catchpole? I mean, Diagon Alley? I mean, who cares?"
Stan, who had been making throat-cutting motions and pointing at Harry, looking at the back of the bus again and mouthing 'It's Potter!' started, and after fumbling for a moment he said, "Oh. It's, uh, free. Yeah."
"Cool," said Harry, and he came onto the bus and punched Death Eater who was trying to ambush him in the face. It didn't do much, because the Death Eater was wearing his mask, but then when Harry cast the Killing Curse on him, it kind of did do a lot. Around three quarters of a second later, the bus driver suddenly felt an irresistible urge to jump in front of Harry and absorb every single spell that was fired at him by the other Death Eater at the back of the bus.
"Oh, shit," Stan said, and tried to run away off the bus. He wasn't much of a wizard, and not much of a Death Eater, either. Unfortunately, he got caught in the bus's doors, which slammed shut with such incredible, unnatural force they cleaved him right in half. Two very pathetic, very pimply halves.
The Death Eater in the back of the bus was not as stupid as his three dead comrades. He took a rather ugly, fat woman hostage. "Back off, Potter, or she's dead!" he snarled.
The woman blew up, sadly.
"What the fuck!" the Death Eater shouted, sounding both startled and a little indignant. He was now covered with fat, gore, fat, adipose tissue, fat, cellulite, fat, fat, and undigested Twinkies from head to toe. "You're not supposed to do that – Oh, fuck you. Avada Kedavra!"
The spell didn't hit Harry, even though his aim was dead on. The fact that the blown-up woman's obese husband came spinning into the path of the curse could have had something to do with it. The Death Eater turned around to grab another hostage, but in the adrenaline-fuelled haze of combat he'd temporarily forgotten that the only other living thing on the bus now was a hag on the third tier. His search for hostages cost him his life, since it involved turning his back on the enemy.
The Death Eater was blasted out the back of the Knight Bus, screaming like a professional yodeler, before he hit a light post and bent in half with a rather nasty crunching noise that was remarkably similar to the sound one might hear when biting into a head of lettuce.
Harry threw the hag off of the bus too, literally – because hags are so unlikable that nobody gives a shit about them, except maybe Dumbledore, and probably Hermione, who would start an organization to campaign for their rights, which would likely lead to her getting stewed in a pot – and sat down in the driver's seat. He was going to go to Diagon Alley and visit his vault in Gringotts. Depending on whether Dumbledore had thought to lock him out of said vault yet, he would also be testing whether or not the Knight Bus could drive through miles of solid stone.
Or maybe he'd just get some ice cream instead.
"I wonder what everybody else is doing?" he hummed to himself, as he tried, and failed because of the bus's inherent safety features, to run over a cow.
While Harry was driving all over the place like a maniac, an emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix was in progress at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place. It was actually the emergency meeting of the Order of the Phoenix. The one that happens whenever Harry Potter disappears suddenly with no trace and there are hints of foul play, and everyone speculates wildly as to his fate.
Or, anyway, said meeting was beginning. Most of the Order members were still half-asleep. Moody was going around yelling obscenities at them to wake them up, because you couldn't be CONSTANTLY VIGILANT if you were half-asleep. Dumbledore was there as well. Well, obviously, since he was the leader of the Order, and the Light, and all that. He wasn't actually in the room, since he was busy casting upon his aged person all the glamours that he used to make himself appear to be a caring, grandfatherly headmaster-man instead of a senile, manipulative, thoroughly evil bastard. Because that tends to show after a while if you're not careful.
The rest of the Order were crowded into the kitchen of Number Twelve. Why they chose to use the kitchen instead of, say, the extremely expansive drawing room was anyone's guess, but it might have had something to do with the fact that Kreacher had managed to repopulate most of the rest of the house with Doxies in the short time he'd been left alone there. The decrepit old elf had spent the rest of the summer alternately sobbing over a picture of Regulus Black, bashing an old locket against various objects and people in the streets, and/or secretly masturbating in front of Walburga Black's portrait while invisible. Clearly, what remained of his sanity (there hadn't been much left to begin with) had left him to hang on the wall with the severed elf heads.
"What's going on, Headmaster?" asked Charlie Weasley when Dumbledore finally walked in, looking quite headmasterly. He and Bill were the only Weasleys who were already completely awake when they arrived, since Bill lived in a different time zone than the rest of the family and Charlie was addicted to Muggle amphetamines.
"'S about Potter," Mundungus Fletcher babbled from his little corner of the room. "Fuckin' – crazy – fuckin' – psychopath – what in the fuck –"
Moody stomped on the floor with his wooden leg. "Shut up," he commanded. "Drunken idiot. This is probably all your fault, anyway; it was your shift..." He trailed off, ending his rant without a single 'Constant Vigilance!' because the claw on his wooden leg was stuck in the floor and he was trying to pull it free without embarrassing himself further.
"Everyone, please calm down," said Dumbledore in his most leaderly, headmasterly, grandfatherly, non-manipulative-bastardly voice. "If you will all be quiet, I will explain the situation, and we can all get to work rectifying it."
"Albus," Remus Lupin said, very seriously. "What's happened to Harry? Is he all right?"
"Of course he is," Dumbledore replied in a serene voice. "There's just been a... Well, no. He's actually not all right. He's probably either dead or dying right now, and nobody on our side has any clue where he is." It pained him to admit this, because Dumbledore always had to be right, but sometimes you had to sacrifice a lot to gain a lot less... That was just the way the world worked, he thought with a weary sigh. He needed a lemon drop and a good magazine.
The room erupted with noise at his proclamation; people were yelling, demanding answers; Molly Weasley was practically (or literally) shrieking with worry; Remus was demanding answers in his lycanthropy-enhanced voice; Mundungus was yelling that Harry Potter was a murderous psychopath; Snape was agreeing with Mundungus; Moody was ordering everybody to shut the fuck up. This went on until a loud, super-powered BANG from Dumbledore's Elder Wand temporarily deafened them all, and they shut up because they couldn't hear anything anymore.
"Panic will get us nowhere," the Headmaster said in the calmest voice he could, and everybody had to read his lips in order to understand what he was saying.
"What, exactly, is going on?" Remus pressed, even though he couldn't hear anything that was coming out of his mouth, so it ended up sounding a bit like a deaf person trying to talk. "Was there an attack? People were talking about a fire –"
"There was a fire," Dumbledore confirmed, "but there was no attack... I'm afraid it was much, much worse." This time, the room waited silently for him to continue, too apprehensive to even make any sort of sound even though their hearing had started to come back. Finally, unable to put off admitting his monumental fuckup any longer, the venerated Leader of the Light said, "Earlier tonight, Harry – or someone pretending to be Harry – killed the Dursleys."
Even the deafening BANG from Dumbledore's wand couldn't stop the outburst that followed this statement. Remus, Tonks, and the entire Weasley family (sans Ron and Ginny, who weren't allowed there because they were underage – and also, everyone agreed that Ron was a loudmouthed idiot, and Ginny was possessed by a talking diary when she was eleven, so how smart could she be?) were all agreeing that Harry couldn't possibly have done such a thing, except Fred and George, who were loudly singing an upbeat song about Harry killing the Dursleys in various unpleasant ways, as they didn't much like those particular Muggles; several others were demanding to know what could possibly have led to something like this happening; Mundungus was just yelling incoherently, as he was dead drunk, and Moody was threatening to hex his balls off if he didn't shut up; McGonagall had turned the color of chalk and stopped moving entirely.
When the Order had calmed down again, at last, Dumbledore was extremely relieved. Molly Weasley's voice was enough to make anyone want to curl up and die. He imagined she'd be quite fierce on the battlefield, especially if she were enraged and shouting things at her opponent that would distract them by making their eardrums explode. Now that she was no longer giving him a migraine, however, the Headmaster was free to continue explaining how every single one of the plans he'd put into action for the last fifteen years had been ruined: "I have reviewed Mundungus's memories from the house in my pensieve, as he was kind enough to lend them to me. It was indeed Harry's body that murdered all three Dursleys, plus a fourth relative of Vernon's. However... I noticed, in my reviewing of the events, that Harry's scar had deformed and appeared to be bleeding. This also occurred when Harry was possessed by Voldemort at the Ministry of Magic."
Really, couldn't the boy have just cast him out with the power of love like last time? Was it so much to ask, Dumbledore thought, for his plans to proceed smoothly as they had for the last fifteen years? It seemed it was too much to ask. Damn Harry for not being a good point-and-shoot weapon, like that muggle blunderbuss he'd borrowed from Aberforth that one time (which had given him the idea in the first place).
"Are you saying You-Know-Who did this?" asked Arthur Weasley. "Took over his body and made him kill his relatives?"
Dumbledore nodded solemnly. "That is my theory, yes," he said. "Harry, or Voldemort, tortured and killed the Dursleys, attacked Mundungus, and obtained several unregistered wands before setting fire to the house with Fiendfyre, which eventually spread to most of the neighbourhood." There was silence.
"And?" Remus urged, a hint of hysteria creeping into his usually calm voice.
"I don't know," Dumbledore admitted. There was a sour taste in his mouth now, similar to what one experiences when waking up after drinking a lot the previous night. "We couldn't find him when we arrived. It's possible he simply burned himself along with the Dursleys –" Remus, and most of the rest of the Order, looked horrified, "-but the Aurors found a Muggle's body several blocks away, one that had been mutilated with very Dark magic. It's not a stretch to think that Voldemort is trying to bring Harry to his headquarters, since he is so fixated on finishing him by his own hand..."
The Order members all went a bit mad for a while, because they're required to do that in situations like these instead of acting rationally – besides Moody, who was already completely mad and never acted rationally. They cried and rambled and such things for a while, except for Snape; Snape was just sitting there, laughing at them all, because he was really the only (remotely) rational man left in the room.
Dumbledore sighed. Molly Weasley's ear-splitting screech truly was horrific. It was comparable to the manic shrieking Bellatrix Lestrange emitted whenever someone within earshot insulted Voldemort. Hmm. Maybe there was something to be done about that – perhaps he could manipulate Molly Weasley into killing Bellatrix. Maybe the two psychotic hags would kill each other, and he'd have some peace at last.
He started plotting, because it made him feel better. Dumbledore was a compulsive plotter, like Millicent Bulstrode was a compulsive eater.
Harry stepped gracefully out of the Knight Bus after forcing the Stan Shunpike-smeared doors open. Actually, he didn't step gracefully out so much as stumble out and fall on his face. But there wasn't that much of a difference in the end, was there? It was all just semantics.
Then he ducked a Stunning spell and fell on his face again.
Madam Malkin, you see, did not take kindly to customers misbehaving in her shop. She especially didn't take kindly to random witches and wizards barging in and carrying out acts of mischief. And in particular, she didn't take kindly to people ramming purple triple-decker buses through the walls of her establishment and then stumbling out like they'd done nothing wrong. So she was shooting spells at Harry, intending to either kill him or capture him and introduce him to a level of pain even Bellatrix would have been envious of.
You may be wondering why she was in her shop in the middle of the night. Well, Madam Malkin's was open all day and all night, year round. This was because Madam Malkin herself was actually a vampire and didn't need to sleep. And also, everyone knows that real vampires have badass fashion senses. Even most fake vampires are smart enough to wear dark clothing to cover up the sparkle, except for Edward Cullen – but he didn't exist in this universe anyway, since Cedric Diggory's body was currently six feet under and being consumed by worms, roaches, centipedes, spiders, maggots, flies, and other creepy-crawlies. As opposed, of course, to walking around sparkling in the sun and wooing clumsy brainless teenaged Mary-Sues.
Anyway, Harry did a lot of fancy acrobatics to avoid having his recently scrambled brains (for he was a great deal more intelligent than Edward Cullen and Bella Swan put together, even after his head injury) blasted against the rows of expensive robes that were probably all going to go to Draco Malfoy's walk-in closet and be worn once before being burned. He didn't kill Madam Malkin, but it wasn't because she was a vampire and couldn't die the normal way; it was because he needed something from her.
"Hi," said Harry over the noise of Madam Malkin's murderous spell casting. "I'm Harry Potter. I would like to –" He dodged a Reducto, "-get outfitted for a bunch of badass clothing, possibly involving leather."
Immediately, Madam Malkin stopped shooting spells at him. Harry Potter in leather was worth having the Knight Bus embedded in the wall of her shop. "Ooh," she said.
Exactly one hour later, Harry strode out of Madam Malkin's, looking like the most badass motherfucker of all time, complete with boots, black leather duster, and mirror shades. He looked like he'd walked right out of The Matrix, except that The Matrix didn't come out for another two years, so nobody knew that, and thus he looked very original. He also hadn't cut his hair into that stupid, stupid, stupid haircut he had in the Order of the Phoenix movie yet, so he looked even more badass because he had long-ish, slightly rebellious-looking hair.
But then he walked past a side alley and a couple of Death Eaters came out and tried to kill him.
"Die, Potter! Die! Avada Kedavra!"
Fortunately, they were Crabbe and Goyle, Sr., neither of whom were particularly bright, so Harry just Summoned Crabbe into the path of Goyle's wand before the Killing Curse was even cast. That night, Crabbe became the third person in history to ever survive being hit by a Killing Curse, but it wasn't because of horcruxes or the power of love. It was because he'd polished his mask so much it reflected the curse back at Goyle, who made a 'Ghhk' sound and died instead.
Crabbe became very distraught, because he didn't understand what the hell had just happened. Not that he could really be blamed: you try getting hit with a Killing Curse and living. Especially when you're borderline-retarded. You try that, and then you try and make sense out of it all. Life, and that stuff.
Harry came to the rescue by grabbing Goyle's wand and ramming it into the eyehole of Crabbe's mask. "Puncto," he said while Crabbe howled in agony. The Punctum Hex is supposed to be performed with a downward or sideways slashing motion, resulting in a thin jet of purple flame that drills through the target and paralyzes whatever muscles it comes in contact with, but in this case Harry didn't have much room to move around. So instead, Goyle's wand just exploded.
It was a curious night in the world of magic. Very curious indeed. Crabbe's skull was not, in fact, thicker than that of the average human being, but somehow it contained the blast. Maybe it was because Harry had shoved the wand so far in, or maybe not. No one would ever know. In any case, Crabbe's brain turned to goop, and his lifeless corpse collapsed onto the pavement of Diagon Alley.
"Cool," said Harry, examining the exploded wand, which had some of Crabbe's brains on it. "Ick, troll bogeys."
He tossed the blown up wand away and wandered down Diagon Alley. A bit further on, he spent the last of his pocket money on some ice cream at Florean Fortescue's.
It was good ice cream, too.
In case you're extremely stupid (you probably are), the Punctum Hex is the curse Dolohov used in the Department of Mysteries. It's not a canon name, but who cares. I picked up the name and incantation from jtmill9's 'Reading the Order of the Phoenix', so the credit for naming it goes to him/her/it. All the stuff about its effects comes from me, though. It'll pop up a lot more in this story and in others, because I think it's an incredibly cool spell.
I've never liked Molly Weasley very much. If someone was going to kill Bellatrix, it should have been Neville Longbottom; he at least has a reason to fight her and isn't just some random fat, screeching housewife coming out of nowhere.
I do like Dumbledore a lot. Most of his part was just making fun of Manipulative!Dumbledore stories. I tried very hard to avoid using the 'Leader of the Light' title, but I couldn't help sticking it in at least once, in the end. He's very fun to write.
The next update will come whenever the hell, because I have a life. Don't worry, though. It'll be soon. Really soon. As in, I won't make you wait more than three and a half years. OH, you want it now, do you? One chapter isn't good enough for you? You ungrateful pillocks. Away with you!