Chapter 26 The Next Great Adventure
Thanks to alix33 and darrelldeam for looking this over. All mistakes are my own.
So I decided to close the tale. Thanks for everyone who supported me throughout the telling of this story. If I missed someone you want to know about, let me know and I'll add them.
The Hogwarts' letter came to the old flat they still rented for just that purpose. The whole family went to Diagon Alley to get supplies. They made their way to Gringotts (Hydrus waited outside) with the key Sirius asked the Headmaster for and then to the shops. The first shop they went to was Ollivander's and Harry got a wand of holly and griffin feather.
Hydrus had held his breath about the wands, not knowing if the holly and phoenix feather still worked. The immortal figured that wand went inert when he came back in time, depending on how long ago it was made. Maybe Fawkes just didn't give up another feather, or maybe it was still in the back. He never found out.
So they left the wand shop and gathered everything Harry needed, and then some, they went home. Harry studied very hard that month and was now prepared for school. He was very excited after all the stories Uncles Padfoot and Moony told him about them and his parents. He had bought a lot of prank items in Fun For All Pranks and now was determined to have fun.
Harry and his family met up with his friends and their families at King's Cross station on September 1, 1991, and mass chaos ensued. With animals, trunks and the Weasleys running late there was a lot of commotion. Excited chatter was going around the families, good-byes and good wishes were thrown in. Hugs and kisses were given and the kids soon boarded the Hogwarts Express, leaving all of the adults behind in various degrees of cheerfulness and sadness.
The Longbottoms left for their jobs. The Grangers also had to work. The Weasleys went home. Hydrus suggested they go to tea and Sirius and Remus agreed. The women declined joining them, since both had work. So the men went to a cozy cafe outside the station.
"So how do you think it'll go?" Sirius asked, after the server left.
"I think it will be okay," Remus said, taking a sip of his tea.
"I'm not too worried," Hydrus added. "With no Dark Lord lurking about there's no reason for the Flamels to hide the stone. Snape isn't going to be there, so that's a bonus. I wonder whatever happened to him." Maybe he'd sic his detectives on the man. Nay, as long as he is gone Hydrus really didn't care.
"I really don't care," the dogman snarled, echoing the immortal's thoughts. "I care what's going to happen to Harry. What house do you think he'll be in?" He was worried about the boy getting sorted into Slytherin. Not that he still thought that House was evil, more like he was concerned about the reception Harry would get. There were still Pure-blood bigot children and most of them got sorted into the house of the snakes.
"Ravenclaw," the immortal answered. That hadn't been an option in his timeline, but Harry with the help of his uncles and Hermione had had the bookworm brought out in him. Besides Quidditch, reading was young man's favorite pastime.
"I think Hufflepuff is a good option as well," added the werewolf. "He is very hard-working and loyal to his friends and family."
"Why not Gryffindor?" Sirius whinged. "He's brave. Remember all those times kids picked on Hermione? He stuck up for her." He was proud of his nephew.
"Oh, that's a possibility as well," the time traveler said, mockingly patting the man on the head.
"Well, I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Sirius said, finishing off his scone. "I've got to get back home. I told Laura I'd help her with research on one of her projects."
"I have to get to the bookstore," Remus stated, wiping his hands on a napkin.
"Yeah, I told Grace I'd be home before noon and I've got to check on the stores," Hydrus said, waving down the server for the bill. When it came he paid and the three men left their separate ways.
It was a few days before they got a letter from Harry. It read:
Uncles Hydrus, Padfoot and Moony
The ride on the train was fun. Me and my friends all stuck together and ate far more candy than we should have. Hermione yelled at us and her and Ron got into an argument, until Neville stopped them. I was just having fun listening to them, but Neville doesn't like it when they fight. The twins were great; they made sure no one bullied us.
Speaking of bullies, Draco Malfoy came by our compartment and he is one snobby git. He went on and on about how he's more famous than me. I told him I didn't care, but he wouldn't listen. He just kept bragging about being a star and filthy rich, until Ron threatened to punch him in the nose. He ran screaming that someone was trying to ruin his pretty face. The twins just thought the whole thing was funny, well, so did I, but Ron didn't.
The castle is brilliant. We got to ride in boats across the Black Lake and I saw the Giant Squid. Hagrid was emotional and cried when he saw me. Professor McGonagall is just as strict as Uncle Padfoot said she would be. The Great Hall was wonderful with the sky ceiling and all the candles. It was weird that there are no electric lights, but it was also kinda cool.
We were so scared about the sorting and I think you guys are right gits for not telling us it was just a hat. I got sorted into Ravenclaw with Hermione. She was disappointed because she wanted to go to Gryffindor. But I got her calmed down. Now she's just happy to be with a friend.
Neville got into Hufflepuff and he's really happy there. Ron, like the rest of his family, was sorted into Gryffindor. He was upset, 'cause he thought me and Hermione would stop talking to him. I told him he was stupid to think that and he calmed down.
Ravenclaw has a separate room for the telly and you can't go in there unless you prove your homework is done. It has a history channel for magicals, which is way better than listening to boring old Binns. There's also a theater for weekends, again you have to have your school work finished. I don't know why they don't have electric lights. It would make reading so much easier on the eyes. Maybe you guys can write a letter to Dumbledore.
You were right; the Headmaster is barmy. He keeps saying weird things. He looked disappointed that I was sorted into the house of the wise. Professor Flitwick fell out of his chair he was so happy. I don't know why, since I'm just a kid.
There are a lot of good people here and they all seem friendly. I met all of my dorm mates and none of them think I'm some boy hero. They just see me as Harry.
Well, I've got to get to Transfiguration now. I don't want to be late.
See you at Christmas.
Hydrus put the letter down and smiled. "See? I told you he'd get into Ravenclaw," he said smugly, holding out his hand.
Sirius groaned and handed over two galleons, which caused the other two to laugh.
"What are you laughing about?" Grace asked as she came into the room and sat next to Hydrus, kissing him on the cheek.
"Sirius lost a bet."
"Oh, well, he should know better than to bet with you," she said with a mock look of disapproval. Everyone laughed and settled into eating their breakfast of pancakes and sausage.
Time went on in such a flurry of businesses, politics, gambling, and fiancées that they hardly noted half the year passed. Now it was time to pick up Harry for Christmas. So Hydrus, Remus and Sirius got into the car and drove through the snow to get to King's Cross. They waited outside the barrier with the Grangers, making small talk about the kids. Soon enough, in pairs and small groups, the kids started to appear.
"Uncle Hydrus!" came the yell from the dark-haired boy as he torpedoed into said man's side.
Hydrus picked up his younger self and twirled him around. "Hello, Harry, did you have a good term?"
"Don't do that, I'm not a baby." He hit his uncle's shoulder and then beamed. "You bet, I had fun and I made loads of friends," Harry said as he was lowered to the ground.
"What about us?" whinged Sirius with a mocking frown.
"I missed you too," assured the pre-teen with a laugh as he gave each of his uncles a hug.
"Where's your stuff?" the immortal asked.
"Hedwig flew home and Percy shrunk my trunk." Harry patted his pocket.
"Go and say your good-byes and we'll wait for you."
"Nay, I already did. They have my number," the green-eyed boy waved it away.
"Right, let's go home," Sirius said as he turned towards the entrance.
So they went to the car and Harry prattled on about his new friends and classes. He swore he liked Potions the best, which made Hydrus smirk. They got to the house and Grace and Laura got hugs and kisses. The whole family sat to a nice roast beef dinner and listened to Harry tell about his year so far.
They trooped into the living room and everyone took their seats. Laura and Sirius now shared a double Lazyboy. Hydrus, Grace and Harry claimed the sofa. Remus, who was now single, still had his comfy chair.
"So," Hydrus said slowly, "you didn't have any problems with the Headmaster?"
"Nope, well, he did call me to his office to tell me I needed to spend the holiday with the Dursleys. I told him I was more than happy to spend time with my family," Harry said smugly. He was just glad he didn't have to lie, he was terrible at it.
"He didn't bother you at any other time?" Sirius asked, leaning forward, a bit worried that the child might be harassed.
"Nope, he mostly just sat at the Head Table and twinkled at everyone," the green-eyed boy said with a big smile. "After I got sorted into Ravenclaw, he paid very little attention to me."
"I heard Ravenclaw has some bullies. Did anyone bother you?" the still worried dogman said.
"Oh, they tried, but me and Hermione set them right." And he told the story about the first time they were cornered and how they punched the bullies in the stomach, got away and told Professor Flitwick. The adults commended him on that. Hydrus was especially proud; he never would have told a teacher when he was younger.
The talk went on until the late hours, when they finally sent Harry to bed. The women decided they would go and talk about girl things and give the men some time to do their secret sharing. Grace still couldn't guard her mind, so she left without a fuss.
"See, I told you it would be okay," Hydrus said, completely elated that his younger self wasn't suffering in school like he had. It was the whole reason he came back. Everything else was just a bonus.
"I know, I know, but I can't help but worry after everything you told us," Sirius said, leaning back in his chair.
"I get that," the immortal said, "but when there was no mention of forbidden corridors or anything like that…" he trailed off with a shrug.
"Yeah, yeah, I get it. I'm just being overly worried," the dogman said, waving his hand in the air.
"Seems to me like you two have changed position," the werewolf added, looking between the two men. "It used to be that Hydrus was the more worried one and Sirius was the carefree one. I wonder what happened."
"Hmmm, you could be right," Hydrus said, rubbing his chin. "I just feel calm about the whole thing."
"I'm more concerned about the bullies than I am Dumbledore. I know we," he waved his hand between him and Moony, "and the others made Snivellus's life hell in school. Now that I understand that what we did was wrong, I can't help but worry."
"Oh," was Remus's only reply as he too thought back on all the shenanigans they pulled at Hogwarts.
"Right, I'm going to go and find my lovely lady and head to bed. I'll see you guys in the morning." And with that, Hydrus got up and left the room. This day set the pattern for the whole time Harry was in Hogwarts.
Many years later
HARRY POTTER THE NEW MINISTER OF MAGIC
In a landslide victory, Mr. Potter has become our new Minister. Given the history of this wonderful man we can expect great things for him. Mr. Potter has passed many laws to protect us from the technology of the non-magical world. With the backing of his famous uncle, Hydrus Black, our world now flourishes. Many of us are grateful for everything this family has done. Now with the Leader of the Light in office we can expect a great deal more. What can we…
Hydrus set The Times down, after reading the rest of the article. He thought over the last forty years with a fond smile of reminiscence.
Harry never had any issues with the Headmaster. No trials to overcome, no rumors to dispel, no jealous friends to fight with, no DADA professors out to kill him, just the normal teenage life, with girls, Quidditch (he made the team second year), and homework. The only adversary he had was Malfoy and that was only because the young star didn't like to be second best. Somethings never change.
Hermione, Neville and Ron were great friends to the only Potter, plus he was the most popular boy in school with his charm and manners. It was with the help of his friends, along with his uncles, that he was where he was today.
Harry married the lovely Susan Bones, who he took to the Yule ball in his fourth year. The Triwizard Tournament still happened, but Harry was merely a spectator. He made friends with many of the guest and that gave him a lot of clout in their countries.
Susan was also a major part of his political backing, with her Aunt Amelia being so high up in the Ministry. They so far had two boys, who Harry named Hydrus James and Sirius Remus. Susan was making noises that she wanted a girl. They lived in Potter Manor, which was found under a family Fidelius charm. Hydrus never knew about it in his timeline, but was happy that Harry now had an ancestral place to raise his family.
Harry figured out that Hydrus was a time traveler in his fifth year, but Hermione warned him of possible paradoxes, so he never confronted the man. He was just happy to have him in his life. He never knew that Hydrus Black was born Harry Potter, he just puzzled out that he came from the future and was probably a family friend.
Hermione went on to get her Masters in Charms and Transfiguration. She worked hard at the Ministry, with Harry's backing, to get creature rights for house elves, centaurs, goblins (much to Hydrus's displeasure) and many other magical creatures. She succeeded with the house elves and centaurs and others, but failed with the goblins, (much to Hydrus's pleasure) because they wouldn't compromise. She married a Pure-blood and had two girls. Her husband wanted to try one more time for a boy and she was more than happy to practice.
Neville did mostly the same as he had in Hydrus's timeline. He married Hannah Abbott and they now owned the Leaky Cauldron. He had his Masters in Herbology and was waiting for Professor Sprout to retire. He was content in his life, with his wife and three kids.
Sirius and Laura married and had four boys, so Harry was no longer the heir to the Black family. They moved out when Harry graduated from Hogwarts and got their own house on the outskirts of London. Sirius became a political powerhouse. It was partly with his help and 'donations' that Harry got where he was today. Laura retired from the Ministry after the second boy and was a wonderful work-at-home mum. She decided to go to a non-magical school and get a degree in Literature and was now a famous author.
Remus settled into a homey life of a book store owner. He married a non-magical that found his werewolf persona fascinating. They lived above the store and Remus used Hydrus's basement on the full moons, until he had a soundproof cellar constructed under the store. The couple had two kids, one boy and a girl, who didn't carry over the werewolf gene, just like the immortal informed him so long ago.
Grace, Hydrus's wonderful wife of thirty-nine years, passed away a week ago. They had a wonderful life together. They remained in the house that Harry grew up in. They never had children, Hydrus wondered if it was because of him being the Master of Death, but he never died so he couldn't ask Death. Grace was sad that she remained childless and took to volunteering at Barkley's to help relieve some of that mummy fever.
She never learned he was immortal. He always made sure to take the aging potion. She continued to keep up the pretense that he was a spy. Oh, she knew better, but after a run-in with a reporter who was trying to dig up dirt on her beloved she found out just how true it was that wizards could read minds.
It had been a nasty article in The Prophet the next day, about how Hydrus Black was married to a Muggle and turning his back on the magical world by doing so. The Times of course disagreed. It took a week for the articles to disappear. The public knew better than to bend to rumor and lies from the now deemed gossip rag known as the Daily Prophet. It was still a wonder that it was in circulation.
Hydrus laid no blame on her, just kissed her on the nose and told her he told her so. For which she smacked him.
The immortal prankster sold the rights to Fun For All Pranks to the Weasley twins when they graduated with ten NEWTs. He had written a note to them in their fourth year, stating that if they got over five NEWTs he would sell to them, give them the loan for their own shop and introduce them to the Marauders. The time traveler stated that he still wanted to be able to help them with their inventions. They happily agreed. Remus and Sirius were giddy that the twins worshiped them so. They did let them keep the Map and simply made another one for Harry.
Weasley Wizarding Wheezes was a bigger success than the Fun For All Pranks, with Hydrus giving the twins nudges about what they should invent. George married a non-magical and had three boys. Fred married a Half-blood and had four boys. They were both trying to talk their wives into having a girl. George's wife was willing to try again, but Fred's put her foot down and said no.
Ron, because he never faced a life-threatening situation, didn't become an Auror. He never had the jealousy issues he had in Hydrus's timeline and was content to being a friend to Harry. He played chess professionally for a few years then went on to be the Keeper for his favorite Quidditch team, the Chudley Cannons. He married Lavender Brown and they had seven kids, five boys and two girls.
Draco Malfoy discovered what most childhood stars do, that fame doesn't last forever. He stopped getting parts when he turned fifteen and slowly faded into the background. His mother, being smarter than her son, had saved his pay and so he didn't wind up a pauper. He married an up-and-coming starlet and soon found out another actor's curse; they divorced spectacularly after only a year. He married three times before finally settling down.
Pandora Lovegood died trying to create the same spell she worked on in the previous timeline. This caused conflicting emotions in Hydrus. On the one hand, he was thankful that she'd never come back to terrorize him or Harry. On the other hand, he was sad for Luna and Xeno. He called Mr. Lovegood and offered to break the contract so they could move back to England, but the man refused stating he was doing well where he was. Luna went to Beauxbatons and grew to be a spell-crafter like her mother and left the searching for strange creatures for her father. She married and had two girls.
Dumbledore passed on in his sleep from old age at 120. He never let go of the thought that Voldemort was just biding his time. He even tried to track down Snape to get him to come to Hogwarts. He never found the man. His interactions with Harry were few and far between, he only called the boy to his office when school was about to let out to make sure the teen knew he had to reside with his family. The Headmaster stopped calling him after Harry's forth year, when he realized that the child had no problems complying. It did make him wonder how Petunia got over her hatred of all things magical, but he brushed it off as familial love. The Wizengamot let him retire at the age of 110, stating it was time for younger blood to be its Leader. The ICW also asked him to step down around the same age. Albus was more than happy to be just the Headmaster until the day he died.
Any Dark wizard or witch that tried to rise was quickly smacked down by the new Department of Investigative Detectives. The DMLE was also improved with all the inventions, such as computers and forensic machines, both departments thrived into something to be proud of. The magical equivalents of CCTV cameras were mounted in all of the wizarding communities. There had been protest, like the non-magical world, but the Wizengamot won in the end.
Hydrus came back from his reminiscing and was now making plans to finish his other plan that he designed many years ago. He asked Sirius and Remus to come and talk with him. They complied and were soon in his living room.
"What's up?" Sirius asked, settling his old bones into the new recliner. He looked good for an old man; his hair was steely grey and he held on to his aristocratic features. He looked much like his grandfather, only not as pale or thin.
"Yes, why did you want to see us?" Remus inquired as he too relaxed in the comfy chair. He too looked better than he had in the old timeline. His hair was light grey and there were very few scars on his face. He looked like the content store owner he was.
"Well, you know Grace passed away just a week ago?" he asked sadly as he waited for the nods, which were also tinged with grief. She was missed. "Remember that plan I wouldn't tell you about?"
"Vaguely," said the old dog.
"No," said the werewolf.
"Well, I'm going to implement it soon, but in order to do that I have to fake my death," the immortal said, with a determined voice.
"Are you sure that is wise? Harry will be devastated if you die," Remus said, being the one to always point out the downside to any of Hydrus's plans.
"Yeah, I'm sure. It's time," was the firm answer. He had been thinking about it since Grace passed away and didn't really want to live in this timeline without her.
"Are you going to tell us what you're planning?" Sirius asked in an excited voice, always the one to back the time traveler.
"You know all the questions I asked about the night my parents died? How I keep hounding you to tell me everything?"
"Yeah, I thought you just wanted to make sure Harry had the whole story," answered the dogman.
"That was one reason. There's another reason that I was hoping you'd figure out on your own," the immortal smirked at the two men.
"You are going to go back again," Remus guessed with a confused tilt of his head. He didn't know if it was a good thing.
"Yes and this time I'm going to save my parents, which is why I want you guys to give me your memories on what happened after you left Hogwarts. I'm not going to be left flatfooted this time," Hydrus all but demanded as he called his pensieve from his pocketspace.
"Do you just keep planning to do this over and over?" Remus asked warily. "I mean, that is creating a lot of timelines. Do you not think that Death or some other deity will start getting angry with you?"
"I'm not sure," the immortal said thoughtfully. "I guess it all depends on if I succeed this time."
"And what about us, don't you think we'll miss you?" Sirius asked, put out that the immortal wasn't thinking of those he'd leave behind and the fact that he couldn't go.
"Of course I do," Hydrus said gently, "but there will always be someone who will miss me. Be it Harry or his kids or anyone I've met over the years. I can't put this on hold forever. No, death is a part of life and before I leave I'll make sure that there is a body to leave behind. I want to be remembered as the kind old man that raised Harry Potter."
"Why don't you let us tell Harry that you aren't really gone? We can inform him who you were and he won't be sad," Sirius asked in an almost desperate tone.
"That still might create a paradox. No, it is better for him to think I'm gone," the immortal said with a shake of his head.
"Why are you telling us?" Remus asked with a tilt of his head.
"One, I need your memories. Two, you guys have been with me from the start and you know I can't die. I don't want you to try and find me when I complete my plan," he said, ticking the reasons off on his fingers.
There was a tense silence while the other two men thought it over. After about ten minutes of thinking Sirius slumped his shoulders. "I owe you my life. If you hadn't come back, I would have lead a miserable existence and died years ago."
Remus nodded that he thought the same.
"I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen again," Hydrus said, reaching over and patting the man on the hand. "If I do it right this time then there will never be any reason for the Potters to hide. I'm going to try and go back far enough to stop the reason they go into hiding, which is why I need your memories."
Both men nodded and filled the pensieve with what they could remember from the time they left school to the day Voldemort vanished. Hydrus thanked them and they talked about his plans for a while, until the two men left.
Hydrus spent the next week going through those memories and now had a firmer grasp on what transpired. Then he set about gathering everything he would need to go back. It took months to do it, selling off his investments, closing his bank accounts in both worlds, handing over his businesses to family and friends, trying to sell the ones the family didn't want, converting his money into gold bullion, gathering up all the new technology and making out his will, and there was still so much to do.
Harry was concerned that his favorite uncle was suicidal, so he went and confronted the man. "Why are you getting rid of everything?" he asked when he entered the house. "Are you suffering from depression or something?"
"And a merry hello to you too, Harry," Hydrus answered as he sat on the sofa and called for tea. Tippy and Dobby were still around, but they were both old, so the only time he used Tippy was for small things, like tea and dusting, though she insisted that the garden was her domain. Dobby was still working at Barkley's, but he was relegated to making beds only.
"Sorry, Uncle Hydrus, I'm just worried about you," the new Minister said sheepishly, rubbing the back of his head. "With Grace's passing away and your selling and giving away everything, well, I just…"
"I know and I do understand, but, no, I'm not suicidal. However, I am getting old and I don't think I have much longer to live. So I felt it would be better if I got my affairs in order now before I go on my next great adventure," the immortal said kindly. Looking at the handsome young man that he raised, feeling pride that he had done such a good job.
"Are you sick? Do you need to see a Healer?" Harry panicked, looking over his uncle as if he could see what was wrong.
"Only old age," Hydrus reassured him. "I get weaker every day, maybe I'm suffering from a broken heart, or maybe I'm just tired. Who knows?" He shrugged, trying not to get the younger man overly concerned.
"I don't want you to die," Harry said softly. "You're not that old. Dumbledore lived until he was over a hundred. You're only in your eighties."
"I don't want to die," Hydrus lied just as softly. It was actually something he longed for, well, maybe not until after his plan. "A good man once told me that death is merely a part of life, and that to die is to go on the next great adventure or something like that. Death is not something I'm afraid of. You may miss me, but if you remember all the good times, the pain will fade." He was hoping to ease the burden on his younger self, but truly there was no easy way to do that.
Harry was fiddling with the idea to confront his uncle about his time traveling; he was going over the pros and cons and finally settled on not saying anything. It might help if he simply thought the man was going back in time and didn't die. The two changed the subject and talked about Harry's new office, his marriage and how things were going in the Ministry. They also discussed the happier times. The new Minister left feeling better than he had when he arrived.
Hydrus, however, felt horrible. He knew what he had to do, but was starting to think maybe he should hold off. Then he realized that he would never be able to explain why he was still living when everyone else was dead. He could start a new life, he had the tools and the paperwork to do that, but he really wanted to save his parents.
A few months later everything was in place. The house was for sale (all wards taken down), his money and inventions were in his pocketspace, he wrote his will (leaving a good amount of money to Harry) and his businesses were sold or handed over. It was time.
Standing in the empty house on July 31, 2033, Hydrus looked over the homunculus that he created, using his blood and hair. It was the spitting image of him and he had used the Elder Wand to ensure that no one knew it was a fake. Making sure that it would pass inspection, he banished it to the flat he rented when he put the house on the market. He fondly looked around the house that held so many memories and then straightened his shoulders.
Creating the same time warp he used before, he stepped into the near blinding white portal. He felt like he was moving through an electrical storm. He came out the other end, banished the portal and noted the house was empty. He went through the same motions of buying the house, setting up his accounts, getting a car, putting his name in the system and settling down.
A week later, using the taboo, he went about capturing the Death Eaters, this time changing them into lifeless objects and putting them in his pocketspace. He decided they would stay there forever, or he would break them at some point, who knew. The time traveler also hunted down the horcruxes that he could. After having captured and transfigured thirty Death Eaters (including the entire inner circle, barring Snape) and removing the dark curse from the diary and the diadem, (the ring was inert after he came back) he turned his attention into meeting the Potters.
On August 23, 1981, a month before they went into hiding, Hydrus made his way to the house in Godric's Hollow and knocked on the door. He drew in a breath when James Potter answered, he could see Lily holding baby Harry in the background, looking ready to run. He put on his most innocent face and said calmly, "Hi, my name in Hydrus Black. You don't know me, but I have a story you're going to want to hear."
Now ends the tale of Hydrus Black in his first new timeline.
There's a sequel up called This Time The Potters. And it's complete.