AN: Welcome to the rewrite/update. Fun fact, haven't died. Appreciate the people who were worried.
Don't believe the hype. I'd rate this 3.5/5, decent time waster at most. This is pretty much a laid back, highly skilled, semi-alcoholic, former Spec Ops Harry Potter who finds himself trapped in the past for no particular reason. It's written more as adventure/comedy story with a dash of James Bond, Indiana Jones, and Dresden Files influences and shouldn't be taken too seriously. Features magical/physical combat, detective subplots, and inappropriate one-liners. Enjoy.
"Oi. Abe. Lemme get another."
A smooth fire tempered with a hint of cinnamon burned down the throat of one Harry James Potter, as the satisfying warmth of the liquor pooled deeply into the wizard's body. A rush of heated vapor billowed out of his mouth into the brisk winter air that permeated the Hogs Head, drifting lazily before dissipating into nothingness.
The wizard motioned silently towards the bartender, a single finger beckoning for another shot of firewhiskey. A single untouched shot glass filled to the brim with shimmering amber liquid sat untouched upon the bar next to him.
The aged bartender stared contemplatively at the wizard, glancing between the man's dull emerald eyes and the growing collection of shot glasses forming around him.
"You plan on stoppin' anytime soon son?"
Harry snorted. "Keep 'em coming old-timer. I got the coin."
The wizard snapped his fingers together, as a trio of large gold coins materialized in his grasp. He placed them atop the oak wood bar and slid them slowly towards the bartender in front of him.
Aberforth shrugged before reaching beneath the counter and pulling out a half-empty bottle of Odgen's finest. "Knock yourself out."
The old man slid the entire bottle of whiskey over, the dull thump of glass striking skin sounded as it smacked lightly into the wizard's palm.
Harry nodded gratefully and gave a two-finger salute in appreciation. Odgen's Old Firewhiskey. Magically distilled, aged, bottled, and distributed the same way since 1678. The wizard took a deep swig from the bottle, the warmth in his chest billowing into a maelstrom of heat that boomed with every heartbeat.
The wizard stared silently at the bottle of liquor in his hand. A small label encompassed the front portion of the bottle, the grinning face of the long-dead Odgen staring back at him. A billowing bit of text sat nestled atop Odgen's face within a flashy banner. "Three Hundredth Anniversary Edition."
Harry took another swig.
He'd been stuck here in '78 for coming up on three months now.
He had no idea how he had got here. Or how he could get home. Or why he was here. Or what the hell he was going to do. Of course, there was always the possibility he was drooling aimlessly in the mental ward at St. Mungo's and was just simply batshit crazy.
The past couple of months had gone by in what felt like a seemingly never-ending dream. It started with denial. Some sort of potion accident causing an incredibly detailed and highly lucid dream. It was easier to just play along. Let whatever sort of magic that was causing this run its course and hopefully wake up none the worse for wear. So, he did.
He spent the first month or so acting like a magical tourist. Wandering around the countryside, marveling at the depths of how so very real everything felt. The air, the food, the people. But the longer time went by, a sinking truth started to manifest at the forefront of his mind.
It was too real. Too complex. Too messy and intricate and chaotic to be anything but real. Little things. The small details. It was too much.
Time travel was not a new concept. Hell, Harry had done it himself all those years ago at Hogwarts. But there were limits. Rules that supposedly could not be broken. Or so he was told. He had broken nearly a dozen of them then if what he suspected was true. That he had traveled thirty years into the past.
There were no magical portals, blood rituals, or explosions. No death veils, cursed tomes, or time turners that he could recall. There was nothing. It was disconcerting how matter of fact it was. He had fallen asleep in his bed in '10. And woken up in an empty field in 1978.
The how or why or anything really was an unsolved mystery. Without even a hint of a direction to investigate.
The howling roar of a spring snowstorm boomed through the bar as the heavyset doors protecting the Hogs Head from the elements slammed wide open. Flurries of snow billowed into the bar as the small, almost ineffective fire in the fireplace dimmed.
A trio of hooded wizards entered the relative warmth of the Hog's Head Pub, their strides were purposeful and confident. Despite his inebriated state, Harry felt the atmosphere of the bar suddenly change, with the small number of its patrons falling silent. A sense of unease permeated the small Hogsmeade bar.
"Can I help you boys?" came the abnormally tight drawl of Aberforth Dumbledore as he cleaned a filthy looking mug.
The trio stood threateningly in the middle of the bar. The ringleader moving towards the old bartender, while his partners stalked predatorily throughout the edges of the room.
"Actually," responded the cultured voice of the ringleader, his voice dripping in arrogance, while his face was hidden in the shadows of his cloak, "You should be the one asking for help..."
The trio pulled down their hoods, revealing the silver skull masks that marked them as Death Eaters. The shouts of fear and shuffles of moving furniture pierced the air as the bar's patrons scrambled frantically to getaway.
Before the Death Eaters could finish drawing their wands, however, Harry was already in motion. Sliding off his seat, Harry hooked his left arm through the barstool and swung it violently up and over his head onto the burly Death Eater closest to him. The impact shattered the stool into a mess of splintered wood as the Death Eater crashed into the ground.
Flicking his wrist, Harry released his wand from its holster, and quickly cast a silent summoning charm at the Death Eater farthest away, sending the smaller man suddenly hurtling towards him. The Death Eater ringleader fumbled with his wand as a devastating haymaker punch from Harry caused a sickening crunch as the other unfortunate Death Eater flew unconscious over the bar counter. Glass shattered as bottles of liquor came tumbling to the floor. The stench of alcohol blasted the senses of everyone in the bar as a variety of liquor pooled quickly across the floor.
"Avada Kedavr-" started to screech the Death Eater before an explosion of pain slammed into his chest and sent him careening into a wooden table, breaking the ancient furniture in half.
A silent cutting curse sliced into the Death Eater's hand, sending the screaming Death Eaters wand and a few fingers to go flying away from the man.
"Mercy!" cried out the sobbing man, his severed hand cradled tightly to his belly as he slid back frantically from the man who disarmed him and his comrades in seconds. Harry's eyes narrowed in anger at the whimpering man, before grabbing the wizard by the scruff of his robe and lifting him harshly from the ground.
"Sure. Why not?" said Harry, his voice dripping with sarcasm. His lips curled with disgust as he brought the Death Eater to his eye level, the man's mask long since lost in the violent exchange.
"T-thank yo-" started the Death Eater before Harry grasped the back of the man's head and slammed him face-first into the support pillar of the Hog's Head.
Harry grunted with pleasure at the obviously broken nose of the unconscious grunt, as the would-be assailant slumped onto the ground. Harry could feel the awed and fearful expressions of the bar's patrons as he stepped over the motionless bodies of the Death Eaters and swiped his bottle of firewhiskey from the bar. A final swig drained the last of the liquor from the bottle as Harry let loose a sigh of satisfaction. A pained grunt came from the first Death Eater Harry had incapacitated with the stool as the burly man struggled to rise to his feet.
A burst of shattering glass exploded everywhere as Harry slammed the newly emptied bottle on the head of the Death Eater, sending the bloody Death Eater back into the earth.
"Nobody said you could get up."
Harry glanced up at Aberforth, the aged bartender slowly lowering his raised wand, a contemplating look in his eyes.
"Sorry about the mess," quipped the time traveler, shrugging.
Aberforth continued to stare at him with that calculating look, before shrugging also. "Good show kid."
Harry ignored the obvious stares of the patrons cowering from their various positions around the bar as he went through the well-practiced process of searching and removing any sort of weapons or emergency portkeys from the bodies. Satisfied with his efforts, the wizard grunted with annoyance as he started tossing the unconscious bodies of the Death Eaters into a pile in the middle of the room, their wrists and ankles zip-tied behind their backs.
The less famous Dumbledore grumbled in annoyance as he waved his wand across the devastation that filled his infamous bar, the shattered remnants of glass and wood fusing back together in a whirlwind magic, leaving behind no evidence there had ever been any destruction.
The distinctive pops of apparition crackled across the muted atmosphere as a group of people materialized outside the Hogs Head.
"Aurors, nobody move!" came an authoritative cry, as ministry Aurors came barreling through the doors, their brown trench coats flapping rapidly behind them.
Harry watched in interest as the half dozen or so Aurors cleared the bar. Surprisingly, the law enforcement branch of the Ministry moved with much more purpose and violence of action then their counterparts of his time had ever displayed.
A short red-headed Auror marched up to Aberforth, her grey eyes blazing with authority. "What happened here?"
Aberforth nodded over at Harry. "Talk to 'im. He's the one who put those whelps in their place."
The Auror glanced over at Harry, her eyes analyzing every aspect of the wizard in front of her.
"You there. You were the one to engage the assailants?" asked the harsh voice of the woman, cornering Harry at the bar.
Harry nodded his head silently.
"Nice work," complimented the Auror, flicking her pixie haircut out of her face as she motioned towards the Death Eaters, "You really did a number on them. I'm Auror Amelia Bones. I'll be asking you a couple of questions."
Harry raised an interested brow. Back in his time, Lady Amelia Bones had been the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and was the aunt of his classmate Susan Bones. Of course, that was before she was eventually murdered by Voldemort in the summer of '96. Seeing the petite woman as a twenty-something attractive looking witch was a bit disconcerting, to say the least.
"Name?" asked Amelia, a notebook and self-inking quill in hand.
"You got a last name?" asked the Auror exasperated.
The Auror paused, looking up from her notebook with a look of annoyance and exasperation plastered across her face.
"Alright then 'Just Harry'" said the Auror biting her bottom lip in frustration as she started to scribble furiously, "Current place of residence?"
"Scotland," responded Harry flippantly, the thought of his warm bed sounding better and better by the second.
The annoyed growl of the young Auror sounded as Amelia struggled to maintain her professional composure.
"Look, sir. You're not in any trouble here. I'm just trying to do my job. Can you at least tell me exactly what happened here?"
Harry grinned drunkenly, "Couple of Death Eaters decided to show up and play, I explained to them why that was a bad idea. Simple as that."
Amelia let loose an unladylike snort, "You're going to have to give me more than that 'Just Harry.'"
Glancing up and down at the wizard and wrinkling her nose Amelia continued. "I understand you may not want to talk to me, but if you're not going to cooperate, we're not going to get anywhere."
Harry sighed as he gently massaged his temples, the beginnings of a headache starting to form, "Look, Amy."
Ignoring the indignant Auror's protest, Harry continued, "I get it. You're just doing what you're supposed to. Standard procedure and all that hogwash."
"You got over a dozen witnesses here and I'm sure someone will be willing to give a pensieve memory of this scuffle or something. But I've been toasting the dead since noon and just bloody don't give a rats arse right now. So, I'm going to go back to my room and pass the hell out. If your boss gives your pretty little arse any trouble just tell him it was out of your jurisdiction."
Harry flipped his hood back over his head and started to stagger away from the bar.
"Hey, hold on, you can't just-"
Harry rolled his eyes as he stumbled back towards the Auror and rolled his left sleeve up, dispelling the semi-permanent glamour on his forearm.
The red-headed Auror's eyes widened in shock at the semi-translucent symbol of a cross with a winged serpent draped about it with a crown resting at the top before whipping out her wand to verify his claims.
Auror Bones rocked back on her heels and ran a hand through her hair as the ministry identification spell came back positive.
"Y-you're free to go I guess," exclaimed the Auror, staring at Harry in a mixture of confusion and frustration. "The Department is not going to be happy one of you people interfering in Law Enforcement matters."
Harry shrugged tiredly as he rolled his sleeve back down.
"Like I said Amy," muttered Harry, the constricting pressure behind his eyes growing with each passing second. The wizard reached over and tore the page with his information on it out of the Auror's notebook and stumbled towards the door and the raging blizzard outside.
"It's out of your jurisdiction."
"Did you just let the suspect leave Bones?" came the indignant voice of her partner, Rufus Scrimgeour.
Amelia didn't bother with her normal snappy response but instead floated the official piece of parchment that was conjured when she checked "Harry's" identity to her partner.
"Is this real?" asked the incredulous voice of Auror Scrimgeour, staring at the parchment in apparent disbelief.
Written across the parchment were three words overlaid on top of an official Ministry of Magic magical seal.
Unspeakable. Field Operative.
"Al. I got sumthin' for yah," the gruff voice of Albus Dumbledore's younger brother cut through the headmaster's silent office like a knife. His stony visage flickered green in the ancient fireplace of the headmaster.
"Aberforth, my dear brother," started Albus carefully, his relationship with the man frosty during the best of times.
"Bah!" exclaimed the floating head before suddenly disappearing from the fireplace.
Albus raised a curious brow as his fireplace roared and flashed green, depositing his estranged younger brother into his office. Taking a moment to scan his surroundings, Aberforth snorted lightly in contempt. "I see your office is stuffy as ever Albus."
"Well, I was thinking of redecorating, why just the other day I was speaking with-"
"Cut the shite Albus, I'm not here for a social call," interjected Aberforth, as he raised his wand to his brow and proceeded to pull out a silvery substance and flick it into Albus's pensieve, "Hog's Head was attacked."
Albus's cheerful persona dropped as he suddenly became serious. "I see. Death Eaters? What were the casualties? Why was I not informed?"
Aberforth grunted, "T'is happened no more than ten minutes ago. As for the Death Eaters, they were handled. No casualties."
The wizened old headmaster sighed in relief, as his aged body visibly lost tension. "I am glad your dueling skills are just as proficient as they were during the Great War brother."
Aberforth scoffed loudly, "Wasn't me. One of my customers put 'em down. Young lad."
Albus raised a brow yet again in interest, "This young man, he is a skilled dueler?"
"Wouldn't know," grunted Aberforth, "The lad used maybe three spells if that. A summoning charm, banishing charm, and cutting curse from what I could tell. He's a fighter that one. No doubt."
"Aye. You said to be on a lookout for recruits for your little order. You might want to keep an eye on this one," said the bartender waving his hand towards the pensieve, his memory of the event slowly swirling within, "Take a look. The fight ain't that long."
The old headmaster nodded sagely as he moved to delve into the memory of the event. Diving into the pensieve's memory, Albus found himself stepping into the familiar rundown bar his brother had owned since the War ended thirty years ago. The old man smiled at the gruff image that was his younger brother, the hostility that was always present in their conversations missing as he went about serving his patrons.
Ever since Ariana...
Shaking his head, Dumbledore glanced around the bar, scanning its patrons. Mr. Abbott and his not so secret mistress, Miss Quinn, Hufflepuff class of '58. Over there was old Brackius Filch seemingly passed out in the corner. Continuing his once over, the headmaster saw nothing but the various familiar faces of former students and regulars.
Sitting alone at the bar, a young man, late twenties by his estimate, was tucked in the corner, obviously intoxicated.
"Oi. Abe. Lemme get another."
Pausing the memory with nary a thought, Dumbledore made his way behind the bar to get a better look at this mysterious young man, stepping through the ethereal form of his younger brother Aberforth as he did so.
That was the first adjective that came to mind as he attempted to profile the young man's features in his head. There were obvious bags under the man's eyes as if he hadn't slept well in weeks. The messy jet-black hair that hung across his brow was haggard and unkempt. The barest hint of stubble graced his jawline while a curiously shaped jagged scar rested on his forehead.
Continuing the memory, Albus watched as the man called for another shot and raised it ever so slightly as if he was toasting someone who couldn't be there.
And the lad's eyes.
Piercing emerald yet dulled with a thousand-yard stare. Eye's that had seen far too much for someone of his supposed youth.
As Dumbledore watched the Death Eaters entrance into the bar and the young man's brutal dismantlement of them, he couldn't help but be reminded of the brave men and women who fought alongside him in the depths of the war against Grindelwald.
They say a soldier never forgets and as Albus watched the inebriated young man slam a bottle into the back of a Death Eater's head, he couldn't help but be reminded of his time during the Great War. Times had changed. The current conflict with the self-styled Lord Voldemort was a different style of warfare. Murders in the dark. Disappearing friends and family. A magical war fueled by fear. Racism. Blood purity. A war of terrorism.
Gone were the days of old, where armies faced off on the field of battle. Transfigured beasts tearing each side to shreds, conjured weapons falling from the skies, and where witches and wizards came together to murder each other by the thousand.
Wars that created legends of heroes and villains wielding incredible skill and power.
Fleamont Potter. Cygnus Black II. Elphias Doge. Alastor Moody. Edgar Bones. The Scamander brothers.
War makes killers out of everyone.
And after watching the brutal efficiency the young man displayed, Albus confirmed his belief. This unknown was without a doubt a soldier. It wasn't difficult to see the obvious experience the young man wielded while fighting multiple opponents. Possibly a fighter in the Vietnam conflict that had just officially ended a few years prior?
Albus stroked his beard as he exited the memory to the familiar confines of his office.
"Thank you for bringing this to my attention Aberforth, your help is always appreciat-" Albus was cut off by the sudden roar and flash of green that signaled his brother's departure.
The old headmaster sighed and slumped tiredly into his seat. He had much to think about. People to talk to. The Aurors let the young man go after only a few questions. Why? Aberforth's memories were unclear. Perhaps a visit to Miss Bones was in order?
So much work to do.
After a lemon drop of course.
"Wake up you slacker!" echoed a loud feminine voice as the pounding on his door continued to sound, "I swear to Merlin if you're slacking off because of some poor young witch you seduced I swear-"
Harry groaned tiredly as he wandlessly motioned with his hand at the door, opening it for his current disruptor of sleep.
"What was that? Was that a 'Thank you oh dearest Rosmerta for the job and a place to stay despite being an undeserving prick, I hear?" came the sarcastic voice of Rosmerta, the current owner of the Three Broomsticks.
"Mmhm... Go 'way Rosie," groaned Harry as he covered his head with a pillow and curled into the fetal position, "I'm tryin' to sleep..."
Harry yelped in pain as he was summoned off his bed comforter and onto the freezing cold wood floor below.
"Bloody hell woman! What's your problem?" moaned Harry as he struggled to untangle himself from his current position on the floor.
"My problem is my bartender slash manservant comes shambling in at who knows what hour causing all sorts of ruckus, proceeds to sleep through his entire first shift, and causes poor old me to work all by my lonesome!"
Harry sat on his bed facing away from the sun as he rubbed his eyes tiredly, "Manservant?"
"Consider it a new job title."
"Ugh. Fantastic. Sorry 'bout that Rosie," said Harry, as he summoned a clean shirt off his dresser and started to get dressed, "I might've overdone it last night."
"That's Mistress Rosie to you scum!" said Rosmerta haughtily, raising her nose in faux contempt, which was quickly becoming apparent to Harry was her way of forgiving him.
The Boy-Who-Lived pulled his shirt down over his head and gave her a disbelieving stare before deadpanning, "Forgive me, my Mistress. My body is willing and able. Shall I ravage thy beautiful Mistress now or later?"
Rosmerta laughed at the thought before turning on her heels briskly, "Perhaps later slave. But for now, we have an inn to run! Musketeer's away!"
Harry shook his head at the cackling form of his current boss, "We can't be the Musketeers until you hire a third person you bloody maniac!"
"Details!" came the faint cry of Madam Rosmerta.
Harry wasn't exactly sure on how he had ended up living and working at the Three Broomsticks of all places. Rosmerta had been the first person to befriend the haggard and confused wizard that was Harry James Potter. The realization that he was in fact, a time traveler, and not in some sort of extended lucid hallucination, had not gone very smoothly. Harry didn't have very good coping skills to begin with. Ignoring issues, alcohol, and trying his best to sleep with the entire Holyhead Harpies quidditch team were his modus operandi. So far, he was striking out on the last coping mechanism, but a man could dream.
It wasn't long after Rosmerta had discovered that Harry was technically homeless, unemployed, and drinking every last Knut away that he had found himself quickly employed as Rosmerta's newest assistant bartender/waiter. Harry never asked why she had so readily tried to help someone she barely knew so much but he figured the occasional look of sad fondness she threw him when she thought he wasn't looking might have something to do with it. But regardless, he had quickly moved from pity project of the pretty bartender into an actual friend.
And apparently manservant? It wasn't the action-packed life of a Ministry Unspeakable he'd spent the last decade or so, but he didn't mind too much.
It was odd, the past.
Being unknown. Having zero expectations on your shoulders.
Back in his time, the sheer popularity that was bestowed upon him as the Conqueror-Of-Voldemort made his initial plans of working as an Auror nigh impossible. Investigations became paparazzi photoshoots, patrolling was impossible, and the Department at large was reluctant to put their savior into anything but a public figure role. So, when he joined the Unspeakables after a single year as an Auror it was a dream come true. Not only was he granted the anonymity that came with being an Unspeakable, but he also became one of the select few to ever become one of the famed Unspeakable Field Operatives.
Unlike the more research-oriented branch of Unspeakables in the Department of Mysteries, Field Operatives were considered the foremost experts in magical warfare, diplomacy, and foreign intelligence gathering. UFO's were among the deadliest and highly trained witches and wizards the wizarding world had to offer.
Though Harry always wondered if the wizarding world knew what the muggle definition of UFOs was.
Aurors dreamed of the day when the mysterious special forces of the wizarding world would recruit them into their elite organization. Vampire wars, wild nundu's, inferi infested ruins, Harry had seen it all and then some in the eleven or so years he had served as an Operative.
Harry cast a quick scourgify in his mouth, a fresh minty sensation encompassing his taste buds, as he shambled out of his room into the busy seating area that was the Three Broomsticks.
Somehow being an Unspeakable wasn't nearly as stressful as his current job.
"Hello, my name is Harry and I'll be your server today, what can I get you started with?"
Rosmerta smiled fondly at the back of her newest employee as he started taking orders from the lunch crowd, his movements surprisingly graceful. The slightly older man laughed and joked with the regulars with ease, an easy grin always on his lips. If she was being honest with herself, the wizard had been an excellent addition to her crew, the odd missed shift ignored.
The former Hufflepuff knew what it was like to have nothing. She had been raised by her Uncle Mercurius after her mother died, her biological father a mystery even to this day. It was tough. Her Uncle did his best to try and provide for her growing up, but it hadn't been easy for a wizard who'd dropped out of Hogwarts to fight in the war to find work and provide for a growing witch. But still, he'd made ends meet somehow, and Rosmerta was always grateful to her pseudo-father figure.
Then one fateful day during her sixth year at Hogwarts he died. Self-inflicted blasting charm to the head.
Post-war battle fatigue they'd called it.
The war might have ended decades before, but the war in her Uncle Mercurius's head had waged on. Until one day, the war finally ended. Never in a million years would she have expected her beloved uncle to be suffering so silently. Mercurius had always had a smile on his face. He liked his bourbon neat, had a fondness for magical creatures with wings, and could light up a room with his boisterous laugh.
But there were some days where his smile was a little more forced, his laugh a little weaker. Days where he'd sit in his favorite bar, the Three Broomsticks, for hours on end. Occasionally an old war buddy would join him, but as the years moved on, the days had become lonelier and lonelier at that old bar.
It had hurt so much when he died.
But Rosmerta was not one to wallow in misery and it wasn't long before she was determined to honor the memory of her Uncle and to help others like him. At first, she'd thought of becoming a medi-witch, but her OWL scores hadn't been good enough to meet the NEWT requirements and her first option had closed as quickly as she had thought about it. It wasn't until a Hogsmeade visit in her seventh year that an idea had struck her.
The Three Broomsticks. Her Uncle's home away from home.
And it was how it began. She convinced the current owner to take her on as an employee. She worked hard, she worked late, and she worked every job she could on the side, saving every Knut and Sickle she could get her hands on. Four years of good old fashioned Hufflepuff hard work paid off. Until finally, at the tender age of twenty, she had walked out of Gringotts with a business loan and into the Three Broomsticks as its newest and youngest owner to date.
If she couldn't help people medically, she could try to help people with her words. And thus, Madam Rosmerta became Hogsmeade's newest staple barmaid. Business boomed and she tried her best to connect with her customers, to empathize with them, and to be an outlet for people to talk to.
She listened. To love and heartbreak, tragedy, and happiness, new additions to the family and old friends long passed. It was emotionally and physically exhausting as she struggled to run a successful business and to also listen and support the people she'd come to know over the years, but she wouldn't trade it for the world.
Not many people were able to say they found their calling in life, but she was lucky enough to not only discover her lifelong passion but to also find happiness despite the tragedy.
So, when the newest addition to her workforce had sat quietly at the very end of the bar, nursing his drink slowly, in her Uncle's old favorite seat, she'd felt obligated to strike up a conversation.
If she was to use one word to describe the wizard's ability to communicate, that would be it. He carried himself with an easy sense of confidence, a roguish grin, and had the air of a man who could take on the world. But despite the overt flirtations and casual grins, it had been his eyes that caught the barmaid's attention the most.
It wasn't that they were anything too exotic. They were a dull shade of emerald, quite similar in fact to one Lily Evans, although hers seemed to shine much brighter than his. No, it wasn't the eye color that caught her attention, it was the way they never seemed to match the wizard's expressions. Flat. That was the best way she could describe it. He smiled and laughed with the best of them, but it never seemed to reach his eyes.
Just like her Uncle Mercurius.
So, when she discovered he was living in and out of taverns and didn't have a job, she didn't hesitate. She offered him a place to stay, provided he was willing to work.
Rosmerta smiled fondly at the first real emotion he'd displayed, the annoying idiot. His eyes had crinkled in confusion. As if he had no idea why anyone would offer such a lucrative deal to a total stranger. But she wasn't about to take no for an answer and promptly dragged the wizard to an empty room, stuffed a key into his hands, and told him they'd talk work hours in the morning.
The next day he'd shown up downstairs and promptly asked what he needed to do to help.
Some days she had to drag his arse out of bed or scold him for day drinking on a Tuesday, but she never asked any questions. Not about the scars that littered his body or the way his eyes twitched every time someone walked behind him. Not about the way he liked to sit with his back to a wall, silently watching the people around him as he took his breaks. And not about how despite all the confidence and bravado he always seemed to be just a bit lost. Like he was looking for something but didn't know what it was. She never asked any questions.
But she was confident that one day if he ever needed to, he'd talk to her. And she would listen.
"Order up!" came the upbeat cry of Rosmerta as Harry deftly swept his way through the crowded Inn to the bar.
"Table seven Harry!"
"Aye, aye Cap'n!" quipped Harry as he summoned the tray of food to his arms, already making his way to the table.
It was already that time of year, Hogwarts students were out and about, spring was just starting to bring the warm weather, and the Three Broomsticks was as busy as ever. After the failed Death Eater attack over two weeks ago, Harry had noticed that security for the village had been subtly increased. The number of Aurors patrolling the village had definitely seen a jump, while a quick glance of the Three Broomsticks revealed at least a trio of plainclothes Aurors. Obviously working as undercover security.
"Alright that should be one house special and a coffee, enjoy your meal!" rattled off Harry absentmindedly as he laid out the food and drink on table seven.
"Why thank you, my dear boy," Harry froze at the grandfatherly tone, "I've always found dear Rosmerta's cooking to be quite divine don't you agree?"
The former Unspeakable focused on the old man carefully sipping his coffee, his eyes twinkling in amusement.
"Ahh," Harry paused, slamming his occlumency barriers in place, just in case, "I'm sure Rosie would be delighted, Mr. Dumbledore."
The headmaster chuckled lightly, "Please. Mr. Dumbledore was my father. Call me Albus, I insist."
Harry outwardly smiled and nodded, while inwardly his mind was racing. Albus Dumbledore wasn't lauded as the second coming of Merlin for no reason. He was without a doubt one of the most powerful, influential, and intelligent wizards to ever grace the wizarding world.
This was no chance encounter.
"Of course, Albus is there anything else I could get you or..."
The headmaster's eyes only twinkled harder, "Perhaps you could spare an old man a chat? It's so very rare that I get a chance to meet new people."
Harry gave a halfhearted grin, "I would love to, really, but I really should be helping Rosie right now... Busy night and whatnot."
Albus gave off a grandfatherly smile as he motioned towards the bar, "It seems your problem has just been resolved."
Glancing up Harry let out a snort of amusement at the Prewett twins dressed up as caricaturized Mexican waiters saluting Rosie dramatically.
Looking back at his old professor, the old man motioned to the seat across from him. Letting loose a sigh of defeat, Harry slid silently into the chair across from Albus. Dumbledore looked... Young. Not so much that he looked any different physically than he would in the nineties but... Lighter was probably a better adjective.
Not weighed down by his failures. Not yet.
And maybe short a wrinkle or two.
"What can I help you with Albus?" asked Harry, taking the initiative in starting the conversation.
"Hhmmm... Consider this an old man's curiosity," started Dumbledore as he took another swig from his coffee mug, absentmindedly creating a privacy ward around the two, "Not too long ago, someone dear to me shared the most fascinating memory."
Harry nodded slowly.
"You see, after witnessing this memory, I found myself curious as to who this young man was that possessed such an interesting skill set," continued Dumbledore amiably, "Imagine my surprise when my inquiries came up empty. No name. No history. No trace."
Harry slowly gathered his magic, ready for anything. His attempts to create a false identity had been more expensive than he had expected and he had hoped to stay under the radar long enough until he could afford it.
It seemed his drunken brawl with the Death Eaters ruined that particular plan.
"So that brings me to my first question," Dumbledore leaned forward placing his hands together, "Why is a Ministry Unspeakable working at the Three Broomsticks as a waiter?"
Harry almost winced at the question. What the hell did he say while he was drunk? A jumbled memory of a red-headed Auror and an identification charm flashed across his thoughts.
How the hell did he forget blowing his cover like that? Over a decade as an Unspeakable and nobody ever knew his identity, but one drunken encounter in the past and he spills his identity like a bloody rookie! Granted, during his time there had been charms put in place to prevent mistakes like that from happening, but it seemed the magic holding his tongue had not survived his unintentional jaunt to the past. Next time he was going out to the pub, he swore to Merlin he was going to imperio himself to not be an OpSec risk. Nicholas would have beat him senseless for his breach in security.
Harry glanced back up at Dumbledore, who was waiting patiently for an answer.
To tell the truth? Or not?
Half-truths would work. Technically, it wasn't even a lie.
Albus raised a curious brow, "Retired?"
Harry nodded confidently, "Retired."
"You wouldn't mind proving that, would you? As Chief Warlock, I have the authority to verify your claims. Although you would still fall under the protection of the Unspeakable Act of 1769. I would be unable to enquire any further..."
Harry's mind raced in thought. This could work. It was impossible to fake the magical seal that identified him as an Unspeakable. And although he would be completely unknown in the current Department of Mysteries, any Unspeakable other than the Head would be unable to see his true identity and callsign.
And if the Chief Warlock could be swayed to help, he might be able to get an official identity through legitimate channels. Rolling up his sleeve, Harry released the semi-permanent glamour that hid the magical tattoo burned into his forearm. The image of a cross with a serpent draped around the shaft as well as detached wings and a floating crown faded into existence.
The old man pulled out his wand and easily cast the ministry identification charm, a small piece of parchment suddenly popping into the old man's hand. The headmaster's eyebrows shot upwards in surprise.
Harry's eyes narrowed as he wandlessly summoned the parchment into his hand. The information on it was more detailed than he had expected.
Unspeakable. Field Operative.
"You shouldn't have been able to see that much," shot Harry semi-accusingly.
"Forgive an old man's deception. While my capacity as Chief Warlock does not grant me this knowledge, my position as Supreme Mugwump does," the headmaster said apologetically, "Although I am surprised at such a high rank achieved at such a young age. A Group Commander is no small accomplishment."
"It helps being good at what you do..." said Harry offhandedly as he rubbed his temples lightly, "So what happens now?"
"That depends on you my boy," said Dumbledore, "Tell me."
"What do you know about the Order of Phoenix?"
"Sooooo... What did Dumbledore want from you Harry?" asked Rosmerta, leaning over the bar, her considerable cleavage hanging from her robes. Harry chuckled at Rosie's scandalous expression as he flicked at her forehead, "Just a little recruitment drive."
Rosie's eyes widened before she whispered conspiratorially, "The Order?"
Harry grinned roguishly as he leaned in closer to his boss, "Nope."
"Damn it Harry!" groaned Rosmerta playfully swiping at the former Unspeakable's head.
"Forgive me, my Mistress," smiled Harry, sipping at his overly sweetened tea, "I turned him down. Joined the HDF instead..."
"The Hogsmeade Defense Force?" asked Rosmerta, her eyes narrowed contemplatively.
"Got it in one Rosie," quipped Harry as he leaned against the counter, "Though I thought it stood for Hogwarts Defense Force.."
Rosmerta leaned her delicate chin onto her fists, "Why'd Dumbledore recruit you?"
Harry cocked his head to the side curiously, "You haven't heard the rumors?"
"What? The one where you took out a group of Death Eaters single-handedly? I thought that was just your fan club making up stories!"
"Yeah, well-wait. Fan club?"
"If there was a most beautiful contest here in town, me and you would be king and queen darling..." Rosmerta said saucily, her cheeks rosy with mischief.
"Merin. I'm cursed."
Rosmerta laughed joyously, the brunette smiling widely, "You're just a regular heartbreaker aren't you Harry."
"Couldn't be farther from the truth Rosie," Harry smiled, raising his cup of tea to his Mistress.
"So what exactly does being in the HDF entail?"
Harry shrugged as he reached behind the bar and grabbed a bottle of bourbon, "Not much. There's a training weekend once a month, similar to the muggle Territorial Army. If Hogsmeade or Hogwarts is ever attacked, I'd be part of the defense."
"Oh? When's your first training weekend?"
"That reminds me, Rosie," Harry grinned mischievously, "I won't be coming in this weekend."
"You son of a bitch."
"Hello, my name is Auror Amelia Bones, and I'll be in charge of your training," said the steely grey-eyed Auror, her gaze moving across the rabble of witches and wizards spread out in front of her.
"The HDF is not designed to create an army but is instead designed to give volunteer witches and wizards such as yourselves, the ability to better defend yourself, your families, and your homes.
The petite Auror rested her hands on her hips, glaring intently at the crowd.
Harry gave the Auror a cheeky grin and a wave, causing the redhead to double-take.
"I-uh-my partner here Auror Scrimgeour will take over from here," said Amelia as she waved to her partner next to her.
"Indeed. I am Auror Rufus Scrimgeou-"
"You..." hissed the female Auror dragging Harry away from the crowd, "What the hell are you doing here?"
"What? Not excited to see me, Amy?"
"That's Auror Bones to you," said the Auror, crossing her arms across her chest, "And why is a..."
Amelia paused, glancing back and forth, "You know... Joining the HDF?"
Harry ran his hand through his disheveled hair and sighed "Look. I'm retired. I shouldn't have even revealed to you my status when I did, but I was drunk and didn't have my head on straight. And seeing as how Dumbledore will have my hide if I go around obliviating everyone who knows, here I am."
Amelia cast a wary gaze at the former Unspeakable, "Dumbledore?"
"Who else?" quipped Harry, "Personally, I'd much rather be inside than out here in the bloody cold."
"There is something called a warming charm you know."
"Ahh yes," grinned Harry as he pulled out a silver flask from his coat, "But that's what the firewhiskey is for."
Amelia rolled her eyes, "To be perfectly honest, I'm not sure if this training is going to be any help for someone of your... expertise... I've heard rumors of the training you guys go through."
"Whatever you've heard? It's worse than that. You don't fail the Q-Course... You pass or you die."
Amelia shifted awkwardly at that morbid fact.
Harry laughed at the slightly horrified look the Auror was staring at him with, "Relaaax. I'm joking. This training is pretty pointless for me though."
"What about me then?"
"Hmm? What about you?"
Amelia puffed up slightly, "Seeing as you are a member of the HDF and I am in charge of overseeing force readiness, what if I duel you?"
The former Unspeakable raised an amused brow. The petite Auror deflated slightly at the reaction before plowing on, "You need someone to keep you from going rusty and I could benefit from dueling someone with your supposed skills. I have the Department Heads seat in mind and I'm not going to get there without taking advantage of every opportunity I can get my hands on."
Harry sighed, "You're not going to leave me alone, are you? Isn't this Auror harassment? Aren't there laws against that?"
"Unlucky for you, no."
"So how do you want to do this?" asked Harry as he followed the pretty red-headed Auror.
The day had gone by relatively quickly, with Aurors Bones and Scrimgeour assessing and training the newest HDF recruits while Harry just kind of hung out in the background. His prodigal abilities far surpassing the basic stunning and shield spells everyone else was working on.
After everyone was dismissed for the night, Harry followed Amelia through the floo network to the Department of Magical Law Enforcement's official practice arena.
"No holds barred, alternate Unforgivable's okay with you?" asked Amelia, moving towards the middle of the arena.
"Sounds good to me," said Harry cracking his neck in anticipation.
These were the kind of rules Harry could get behind. Alternate Unforgivable's were simply different colored spells representing each Unforgivable.
Granted, the Unspeakable program made liberal use of the cruciatus and imperio spells and only used the killing curse alternative in their practice spars.
Harry let Amelia settle into her dueling stance, watching silently as he stood across from the Auror, his hands resting in his pockets. The former Unspeakable chuckled at the indignant look Amy gave him at his relaxed stance.
"Ready when you are Amy..."
The red-headed Aurors eyes narrowed in concentration, "On three."
"One. Two. Three."
A trio of silent stunners exploded out of Amelia's wand scattered at eye level, chest height, and at knee level. The spells were fired in such a way that a target couldn't dodge left, right, or back. A quick finishing technique that was infamous for succeeding when a perpetrator couldn't get a shield up fast enough.
Despite being impressed at Amelia's casting speed, Harry grinned at the predictable move. Diving forward, Harry twisted past the stunning spells before rolling onto the sandy ground in front of his opponent. Despite the incredibly unorthodox tactic, the Auror stood her ground and started throwing a series of bludgeoning and stunning spells at the Unspeakable. Harry charged forward at the Auror, his wand still strapped to his forearm, and slid under the onslaught of spells sliding until he was almost in arms distance.
The female Auror, unnerved by the rapid assault cast a quick protego, a shimmering shield snapping into existence, as she took a reflexive step back.
Grasping the sand that made up the dueling arena, Harry flung a handful of the blinding material at the Aurors face, her arm instinctively covering her eyes, as he snapped to his feet and moved within arms reach of petite Auror. Hooking a foot behind the girl, Harry slammed his left palm into her chest, knocking the Auror off balance and onto her back. Without missing a beat, Harry's wand shot out of his right arms holster and rested lightly on the woman's delicate throat.
Harry grinned at the fallen Auror, "I believe that's a win for me Auror..."
Amelia gasped as she struggled to breathe, the wind knocked out of her, "T-that w-was cheating j-jackass. Fight me l-like a proper w-wizard."
Harry chuckled as he held out an arm for the Auror, the petite woman grasping on to his forearm as he pulled her up.
"All in all, not too shabby Amy," quipped Harry lightheartedly.
"L-liar. You kicked m-my arse in l-less than f-fifteen seconds," groaned Amelia as she bent over gasping for breath.
"Head up Miss Bones," chided Harry, forcing the Auror to rest her hands on her head, "You could've done much worse Amy, a few technical issues to work on, and you'll be lasting whole minutes against me!"
"Seriously though, you've got some skills. Your casting speed was phenomenal, while the nonverbal spells don't give your opponent an idea of what you're casting," complimented Harry as Amelia listened intently, "However; your battlefield awareness could definitely use some work."
"I would've used those bludgeoning charms on the earth in front of you, it would've obscured my view of you and allowed you to get some distance on me. Using your environment to your advantage can be the difference between life and death.
Amelia cast a contemplative eye at the former Unspeakable, before nodding.
"Only other thing I can think of is your footwork. When people start throwing AK's around, the last thing you want to be is a stationary target."
Harry cocked his head to the side in confusion before shrugging, "Forgot you people have a different set of slang. The killing curse."
"AK's..." said Amelia, rolling the term on her tongue, "Easy enough."
Harry shrugged again before motioning to the Auror, "You up for round two?"
Amelia slammed her fist into her palm, blowing her asymmetrical pixie haircut out of her eyes.
"Bring it on punk."
Harry couldn't stop grinning as he walked through the hall of the ministry, his sparring session with Miss Bones going far better than he had initially expected. The feisty redhead was a quick study, quickly adapting the advice Harry gave her into her fighting style. The Auror being skilled enough to give him a slight challenge when he was facing her.
The former Unspeakable chuckled, the look of frustration on the beautiful Auror's face when he told her their longest bout was fifty-nine seconds was priceless, especially considering he lied about the time. Harry could definitely see how Amelia would go on to become the Head of the Department of-
Harry froze, before dropping to the floor, an overpowered stunning spell flying overhead.
The former Unspeakable rolled forward as a group of shimmering wizards faded into appearance around him. Releasing his wand from his holster Harry twisted past a black curse as he scrunched his eyes shut and cast a nonverbal Lumos Maxima, the flash temporarily blinding his assailants. Still in motion, Harry grasped the closest assailant and wrenched the wizard's arm violently behind his back.
The sound of breaking bones and a single gasp of pain was all the unfortunate wizard had time for before Harry planted a dragon skin boot into his back and sent him tumbling into a pair of his blinded comrades. Harry quickly sent a pair of banishing charms at a pair of conjured wolves, the quick work of an attacker who was able to spell his vision back.
"Bastard," growled a burly attacker, his cloaked face hidden as he threw a savage right cross that connected with Harry's chest, sending him crashing into the corridor wall.
Grunting in pain, Harry ducked under another brutal-looking swing and swiped a hidden knife from his boot, slamming it into the inside of the man's thigh.
A roar of pain broke the silence as Harry cast a wandless banishing charm, sending the burly attacker flying across the room.
"Imperio!" cried a female witch triumphantly, as the silvery curse connected with the former Unspeakable.
Harry froze and raised his hands in the air seemingly caught under the Unforgivable as he effortlessly dismissed the mind control.
"Nice shot kid," complimented one of the cloaked assailants, "This guy's deadlier than he looks. I want him tied up and stunned, I don't want to take any chances with this one."
"You got it boss," replied one of the attackers, raising his wand to stun the former Unspeakable.
Harry took that as his cue to disagree.
Lashing out, Harry connected a quick jab to the face of the wizard about to stun him and hooked an arm around the female witch that had cursed him, dragging her back from his attackers.
"Not another step," ordered Harry coolly, his wand pressed against the witch's head, "Or the Rookie gets it..."
The supposed leader raised both his hands up carefully, although his companions still kept their wands trained on him, "Alright, let's not do anything hasty here..."
Harry snorted, "Coming from the Unspeakable squad that tried to ambush me? You could've at least left the greenhorn at home..."
The hooded leader glanced at his companions before continuing, "Then you know who we are?"
The time traveler rolled his eyes, "That was a textbook snatch and grab op if I've ever seen one. Word of advice for next time, the protections on your snazzy face-concealing hoods can fail if someone overpowers the hell out of a light charm.
The Unspeakable nodded, "I'll keep that in mind."
"Now, if you want to confirm my identity like civilized members of society, I promise I won't hurt your precious rookie."
"You bastard," growled the female witch as she struggled in his grasp.
"Stop struggling Valkyrie. We'll play nice."
Harry nodded, before motioning to the Unspeakable holding his face, "You, guy who I nailed in the face. Cast the spell."
The Unspeakable growled audibly as he looked to his leader for approval. Receiving it, the wounded man stalked over to Harry and his hostage.
"No funny business. You try to cast anything other than the ID spell and Valkyrie won't be getting her wings if you know what I mean. You understand?"
The Unspeakable nodded tersely, anger obvious in his body language.
"Let's get this over with."
The Unspeakable moved within arm's reach, the body of Valkyrie separating the two wizards, and slowly rolled up the sleeve on the arm held tight to Valkyrie's neck, revealing the tattoo that marked him as an Unspeakable.
"Cast the spell."
The man slowly cast the identification spell causing a small piece of parchment to appear.
"Aww shit," groaned the Unspeakable as he read the words magically carved into the parchment.
"What's wrong?" asked the Unspeakable leader, his wand arm twitching in anticipation.
"He's legit chief," said the Unspeakable tossing the parchment to his leader, "He's one of ours..."
Harry would bet serious money that the faces of all the assembled Unspeakables were all currently unhappy.
The only people who currently held a higher position than him was the Unspeakable Field Commander and the Head Unspeakable.
Releasing his hostage, Harry gave a nonchalant shrug at the obviously staring Unspeakables.
"You should probably report to medbay boys and girls," said Harry, "And you. Squad Leader."
The Unspeakable jerked in surprise before nodding.
"Let's go have a chat with the Boss yeah?"
AN: So this is the edit/rewrite. Crazy it's been so long. A lot's happened since. Deployments, more stripes, a sweet new hat. Can't promise anything update wise, but I figured writing again would be a therapeutic hobby for me. I think it's incredible that something I wrote on my phone years ago is still being read and commented on. I always wanted to be a published author so I guess this can serve as a good platform for constructive criticism on my writing style. Forgive any lore errors when it comes to the whole Grindelwald era or the characters within. I started this long before the new movies came out and to be honest kind of grew out of the HP fandom. Regardless, I'm still fond of this old story and hope you enjoy it. If you're new welcome. If you're not, welcome back. Cheers.