Master, I bow to thee

In those last moments of the life Harry was living, he was having his greatest wish fulfilled. He was finally meeting the family he needed all along. He was seeing his real family - his mum, dad, Sirius and Remus. He knew he had summoned their souls, for they resembled the Riddle he had seen in that Diary all those years ago. Yet, they were whole and true. Death, though Harry was facing, he was sure he would go out with a smile.

James was exactly the same height as Harry. He was wearing the clothes in which he had died and his hair was untidy and ruffled, and his glasses were a little lopsided, like Mr. Weasley's.

Sirius was tall and handsome, and younger by far than Harry had seen him in life. He loped with an easy grace, his hands in his pockets and a grin on his face.

Lupin was younger too, and much less shabby, and his hair was thicker and darker. He looked happy to be back in this familiar place, scene of so many adolescent wanderings.

Lily's smile was widest of all. She pushed her long hair back as she drew close to him, and her green eyes, so like his, searched his face hungrily, as though she would never be able to look at him enough.

"You've been so brave."

While Harry could see her smile and was warmed by her words, he wasn't prepared for what happened next. All of them dropped their happy and easy demeanours and their faces were filled with anger. "You have been brave," repeated Lily. "But you have also been a colossal fool. Just because that absolute, conniving bastard Snivellus, a powerful practitioner of the mind arts, put something into a dubious memory and deceived you in the same way that he deceived that idiot of a Headmaster, you have decided to sacrifice your life? The very life which James and I, as well as Sirius, died to protect? Yes, there is that fragment; but there are Healers! You could have gotten Gringotts' curse-breakers to do it... there were so many bloody options, damn it!"

Harry almost dropped the stone in shock, but his Seeker's instincts prevented that. "But Snape showed me..." he started dumbly when Remus interrupted, "And since when exactly has Snivellus had your best interests at heart? We made the mistake of trusting Dumbledore's word on him. See where it got us. Why are you making the same mistake?"

This completely destroyed everything that Harry had decided. What was he to do now? He felt bewildered. He was wasting time. Voldemort would not allow anyone to live if he wasn't put down. Evidently James and Sirius saw the tumult on the Prongslet's face. Remus and Lily did have good intentions, but scolding him for doing what he was conditioned to do all his life wasn't the answer. Harry needed help.

"Shut it, you two!" Sirius reprimanded his friends. "You aren't really helping him. He is getting more and more confused by the minute. And he doesn't have time." Soul-Sirius exchanged a devious glance and smirk with Soul-James, who nodded.

"Son, you need another plan. Are you willing to use ours?" James asked. Harry nodded dumbly. "Then get ready to prank Voldemort big time. I promise you that will like the outcome."

"No sign of him, my Lord," said Dolohov.

Voldemort's expression did not change. The red eyes seemed to burn in the firelight. Slowly he drew the Elder Wand between his long fingers.

"My Lord —" Bellatrix had spoken: She sat closest to Voldemort, disheveled, her face a little bloody but otherwise unharmed.

Voldemort raised his hand to silence her, and she did not speak another word, but eyed him in worshipful fascination.

"I thought he would come," said Voldemort in his high, clear voice, his eyes on the leaping flames. "I expected him to come. It seems I was wrong."

Nobody spoke. They seemed as scared as Harry, whose heart was now throwing itself against his ribs as though determined to escape the body he was about to cast aside.

His hands were sweating as he drew his wand, standing behind his enemy. He cast an area wide stunner, silently. In that moment every Death Eater dropped as he drew on the power he knew not- he was to be the Master of Death.

"Accio Elder Wand!" he bellowed, surprising old Snake-face. Voldemort whipped around as Harry caught the Elder Wand with tremendous dexterousness.

"Potter, come to meet your Death at last?" Voldemort asked, a slight tremble giving away the fear he felt at the loss of the most powerful wand.

In a fit of bravado, Harry held in his hand the Wand, the Stone, and the Cloak, and displayed it to Voldemort. He mocked the villain. "Tom, Tom, Tommy-Tee-Tom-Tom!" he singsonged. "Tom you still remain ignorant as always. Why will I meet my Death yet? No, you see, I am now the Master of Death. Quite the foolish thing it was, making a Horcrux of the Resurrection Stone." In his fright and anger, Voldemort had lost control over Nagini's magical cage, something that Harry was quick to spot. As the snake slithered up to him, rearing to attack, Harry nonchalantly hurled a slicing hex at it. The destruction of the Horcrux was unmistakable. He taunted Riddle more, blocking out the pain from his scar. "Oh! Sorry there, mate. Destroyed your last anchor, didn't I? A diary, a cup, a crown, a locket, a snake and a ring- wow, you do love gathering trinkets, you naughty thief!"

And then, Harry did something that Voldemort would have never expected at all. He sent a body-bind curse, a tickling hex and an itching hex at the fiend in quick succession and watched the madman go... mad. It was antithetical, anticlimactic and yet mad in every way that he had expected the final battle to be. Voldemort's screams rang through the forest, as Harry looked at the writhing thing dispassionately. Finally, he raised the Elder Wand and pointed it at Voldemort's head. With all the rage and hatred that he held for the thing, he bellowed, "REDUCTO!"

And then, all went black.

"Did someone get the number of the truck that ran me over?" Harry asked as he woke up from the slumber that had gripped him. It was aimed at nobody in particular.

"Here, Master," said a solemn, if mirthful voice, holding out a hand...or something like it...for Harry to hold on to. Harry shook his head like a dog and rubbed his eyes with his knuckles.

"Who are you?"

"I am the One. I am also the one who in your realm would be known as 'Death' among other things."

"WHAT?" Harry yelled. "I bloody killed Voldemort! How the hell can I be dead?"

"He never said that you were dead, Harry," a new voice interrupted them. James and Lily, Sirius, and Remus had come into the room, or whatever it was that he could call it.

At Harry's befuddled expression, Lily started explaining. "He simply introduced himself as 'Death'. That and he called you 'Master' – though that is a misnomer, if there was ever one," she added apologetically to the figure that stood beside Harry.

The man, for the only way to discerning anything about his shapeless self was the voice which sounded male, snorted. "They didn't call you the brightest witch of your generation for nothing, my flower-child. That is true. The Master of Death thing is just another thing that foolish, power-hungry wizards and witches have turned into a legend. No, young Peverell, there really is nothing as being the 'Master' of Death. Life and Death, Time, and Actions and Reactions are probably the only true elements of the universe. All are derived therefrom. I say that I am 'Death' because well..." the figure suddenly sounded sheepish, "I like to joke every now and then, and Antioch and Cadmus were bloody slow. Only Ignotus caught on to the joke. So I felt like giving him a boon that whoever brought my gifts together could ask for and have their greatest wish fulfilled. That's where the legend came from. And that's why you are here."

"So I am dead, now?" Harry asked in a small voice, fearing the wrath of his family.

"You sure he isn't adopted, Lily, Prongs?" Sirius asked. "He seems too slow to be your sprog." He let his face remain unaffected, even at Harry's glare.

"What to say, Padfoot, it happens sometimes," replied James in an aggravated manner. "He is our kid. I was there when he was made and when he was born, so you can take my word for it." Lily and James looked at the others smugly while the rest all blanched at the description.

"Please don't poison my poor little mind with such images!" Harry croaked, to fervent nods by Remus and Sirius.

"Well, I wouldn't need to do that if you stopped being stupid, would I?"

The powerful entity was troubled by this. He had known that the young Peverell was his hand to deal with the one who tried to cheat nature, tried to cheat death. That was why he had given the child powerful and wise, as well as clever parents, and a similar mate. The child himself would be far more powerful, and with a wisdom and cleverness comparable to the parents and mate, at the very least. The entity never meddled with things once he set them into motion; never actively observed the lives of even his own minions. It had therefore been a shock to see the parents in his realm so young and so early. Yet he had not meddled. He would only judge actions and reactions of those that populated the universe. Indeed, when the first part of the Cheater's soul had turned up, he had been happy that things were still progressing by the necessities of nature. But then the father by oath had come into his realm. And yet, there was only that one bit that had come to his realm. He had still not made a move. But when the foul bits started turning up with regularity, he felt vindicated- till he had felt his hand in the war ready to come to his realm as a failure, summoning the souls of those that he had sent to aid him. That was when he had asked the child's father and oath-bound father to bring him to the realm between realms. His inaction meant that he had to accept the insult of having an equal in powers, if for a little while.

He swam through the child's memories. It caused anger, tremendous anger. The young Peverell had been treated badly. He had been betrayed by everyone. He had been destroyed. And yet; and yet, the child had not lost his spirit, had not lost the determination to win, to succeed at any cost. The omnipotent entity rushed through everything that had occurred around his hand. He found out how he had been betrayed, who had betrayed him. And yet the young one held love and mercy. That had been his fatal flaw. No. The hand had not managed to succeed, but it wasn't his fault. It was the entity's, to an extent. The One freed his Hand of all the unnatural and external influences.

"Silence!" ordered the One. "Sit down, young Peverell. I need to confer with your family." He beckoned the four to him.

"Your son has been betrayed by all, James." The omnipotent One, with the potency to be omniscient when he needed to be, showed the four all that the Hand had borne. "He lost you all and even his mate, though the mate did not die. Even the mate was scared of my Hand's destiny. She shall be punished in due course of time, if he so chooses, though he shall not know. Though, the path she has chosen is a punishment by itself." By now, Lily was in tears, while Remus and Sirius had to control James from becoming a demon and destroying the Wizarding World. "I know my mistakes and failures in this. I let things escalate. And so I will do something I have only done twice before, times that I shall not tell you about. I shall rewrite time, and then some." Lily gasped through her tears, thanking him for the boon for her child.

The One turned to Harry. "Young Peverell, by bringing together my three gifts to your line, you have become worthy of the boon. But I shall not stop there. I shall rewrite time. I shall rewrite it to make mission a success. You shall tell me when, for you shall participate in that time again, with all your memories intact. You were my Hand to bring about Voldemort's defeat, and my plans were destroyed by a fake prophecy. When I send you back now, you shall be well-equipped to be judge, jury and executioner, beyond the laws of mortals."

Harry thought about what he truly ever wanted- his parents, Sirius, Remus and all their friends, as well as Hermione and Ron and all his friends alive, safe and happy. He wanted to meet his grandparents. He wanted to live happy without the spectre of Voldemort hanging upon him. He wanted that more than anything else. He looked to his father. But most of all, he wanted the war dead even before it ever started, even before his parents would have to fight for their, and his, lives. It had been his greatest fantasy, a 'What If' of gargantuan proportions. He looked to his father.

"Who was the fifth bloke in your dormitory, dad?" he asked.

"Nobody, son," James answered not being able to catch up with Harry's thoughts.

Harry grinned and asked the One, "Before you have my answer, would you answer a very important question? You see, I have combined your three gifts, and you choose to rewrite time. Would you grant me my greatest wish and combine it with your rewriting of time, please?"

"What are you up to?" the One asked suspiciously. He could have looked if he wanted to. But he didn't and wouldn't. "To answer your question, yes, I could do that."

"Brilliant!" exclaimed Harry. "So well, here goes. You know that I have always wanted my family back. And you intend to send me back into the rewritten time with my memories, don't you?" The One answered in the affirmative.

"Then I wish that you will let me have my ideal scenario. My paternal grandparents should have at least two more children after dad- an aunt and an uncle for me, and my mum should have a magical brother. And when you rewrite time, I should be me, but considered a muggle-born, yet keep my abilities of Parseltongue. I want to be the fifth boy in the Gryffindor dormitory, the fifth marauder. I won't have the bloody scar thing. I'll strive to destroy Voldemort before my seventh year, and will disappear when it is time for me, that it is Harry James Potter, son of James Charlus Potter and Lily Marie Evans-Potter to be born, but only after telling them who I was. In the meantime, I will need somebody trustworthy and powerful to help me. I would want Charlus and Dorea Potter and Matthew and Rose Evans, my grandparents to be the ones; but I will need someone else to help me while at school and one more person to help with fights and interrogation. With all due respect, dad, Padfoot, mum, I would choose Moony and Mad-Eye. They should let me deal with Voldemort to a large extent, but protect me from outside influences. They should know who I am. And it would be easier if you would reinsert me, physically, into time from September 1, 1971."

Everything and everyone was silent for some time. And then Sirius, Remus and James all started laughing hard. Even Lily was laughing, though not as uproariously, while The One made an odd, disgruntled sound. Finally Sirius spoke. "Prongslet I knew you had it in you! Pranking the highest power in the Universe! That is bloody exceptional!" he said joyfully, before breaking out into chants of "He is a Marauder!"

The One had a clause however. "I will do that. But you will have to sacrifice two things. I will give you three options. As with the Hallows you were three who went after the Death Cheater's soul. They will be part of the sacrifice. For one, Hermione Granger will not be a witch and therefore not a friend of Harry Potter because he will never meet her. Your second option is sacrificing any love you have felt and has been returned by the Weasley family. They will be acquaintances at best. And three, you will have to return any two of my three gifts when it is time for Harry Potter to be reborn."

For Harry, one option was a no-brainer. There was simply no necessity for any one person to wield that much power. And he knew that he had been tricked into combining the Deathly Hallows. So option three was a surety. And he could still keep the cloak. Speaking of the cloak...

"Dumbledore and Moody had monitoring charms on the cloak. It is not spell proof. That is how they knew that you were there."


"Choose fast, young Peverell."

Choosing between the first two options was difficult for Harry. On one hand the Weasleys had been the surrogate family for him, and if he had survived the war, or if things had been different, maybe he would have come to love Ginny truly, more than the passing fancy that she was. While it was true that he would never truly forgive Ron for his umpteenth desertion, he was still the first friend Harry ever had. Yet, yet, hadn't Mr. and Mrs. Weasley been the first adults to ever be truly good to him and sustain it? He couldn't wish to sacrifice his ties with them, just because of Ron and his insecurities.

On the other hand, there was Hermione. Harry did not need to think too much to know that whatever good or bad in his life was, every single of those moments had her supporting him, helping him, standing with him to the very end. She had been the one person he would trust above and beyond anyone else. She had been the first to show him affection, and dare he say it, even a smidgen of love. Ron may have been his first friend, but Hermione... Hermione was his best friend, his... Harry's eyes widened at the implications. And in that moment he felt jealousy and resentment for Ron. Thankfully, nobody commented on that. With that, Harry's choice was made.

She had chosen him, in life, at a time when she could have saved herself unbearable pain and sorrow. She had chosen him. And he would choose her. For in life, who had been the one, true constant?

"I will give up any deep relation with the Weasleys. And I will return the wand and the Stone when the time comes. But Hermione – she has to always be my friend." From their position behind the One, his family smirked as one.

"Your wish shall be granted young Peverell. Remus Lupin will be returned to you after the first full moon that you spend with him in control of his alternate form. Mad-Eye Moody will be returned after the first fight of Diagon Alley sometime around Christmas'71."

Harry nodded. It was then that his family came up to him. "Harry, we will now be gone from this realm; all of us except Moony. So I want you and him to change some things, beyond the obvious," Lily said.

"What is it mum?"

"In all truthfulness, I was often quite stupid in matters related to my relationships with people."


Harry had always heard about the Marauders' stupid antics. While Snape had done a lot to paint them in a bad light, Moony and Padfoot had also taken the time to explain that often it was vigilantism. Did they go a bit too far, too often in that job? Absolutely. But it also gave the victims of the baby Death Eaters some sort of closure.

His mother on the other hand, no matter who spoke about her, was always portrayed positively. Well, unless it was a bigot talking, in which case it was only racial slurs. Now that he thought of it, nobody who remembered her in a positive way ever treated her as being human. But to hear her admit to being to being a bit stupid was very uncomfortable to digest.

"Yes. I am sure you have heard how stupid these idiots were, and they did cross the line far too often, but I was stupid as well. I adhered to my one 'friend'," she spat, "because he was the one who introduced me to magic. Severus was once a kid, and as a kid, he was not necessarily a bad person. I can understand you inheriting James' hatred of him in response to Severus' own behaviour." Harry truly couldn't see where it all was leading to. "We were friends Harry. Were we really friends? I don't know. When this all will start in your perspective, I will be a girl who will not have the guts to let go of a friendship that hurt my other friendships and indeed, could have permanently driven me away from James. I want you to make me look at things objectively. Don't hurt Snape. But don't let me become too reliant on him either."

Harry understood. Wasn't that what had happened to Hermione as well? He would try. He couldn't promise not hurting Snape, and said so.

"It should only be retaliatory," The One cautioned.

The three Marauders and Harry shared shrugs and frowns of distaste.

Lord Charlus Potter of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Potter was a man of tremendous political savvy. Having graduated with honours and as a Head Boy, He had entered the force as an Auror and had fought alongside Dumbledore against Grindelwald, as well as served in the British army. He had married Dorea Black, the youngest sister of Lord Arcturus Black, a woman of tremendous intelligence, elegance and grace as well as beauty. He was not particularly enthusiastic about marrying a woman whom he had known as the Head Girl of the previous year upon graduation, not least because of the name that the Blacks carried, along with their difficult political agenda. But he had grown to love her, eventually. His marriage now was a happy one, with three children.

James, the eldest and his heir was a complete copy of Charlus. It was obvious to anyone with eyes that he would grow up to be like his father, at least in looks. Darrene and Eldric, the twins, were born within a year and quarter in June 1962. The twins had taken slightly after the Black side, but retained much of the Potter looks. The three were his pride and his greatest loves. He had often teetered on spoiling them rotten, but his wife had always been there to rein them all in.

Matthew Evans was a simple officer in the local government office. He had once been in the army, but after the war- which he had emerged from aged just fifteen, as a self-appointed rescue worker in North London- he had started working at a shop while simultaneously working on a degree in accountancy. He had during the course met Rose Jacobs and their friendship had turned into love over a period of three years.

They had two daughters, Petunia, the elder, and Lily the younger, and a son, two years Lily's junior. He loved them immensely and had a really happy life.

What bound these two couples was their unborn grandson. The One had long since started rewriting time. When he reached the point where Lily's status as a witch was known to the Evans', he decided that it was time to summon the two couples. In a dream state, Charlus, Dorea, Matthew and Rose were now in the realm of the One.

"Where are we?" "What is going on?" "Who are you?" "Why are we here?" The simultaneous questions by the four created a chaos in the reverberating room, their voices echoing off every place.

"Silence, my children," the One ordered, appearing in the room with Harry, looking like his four year old self, hiding behind the One.

"What – Who are you?" Charlus ventured, voicing the same question that everyone else had.

"You should know, Charlus. I was the one who gifted the cloak to your ancestor, and a wand and a stone to his brothers..."

"What in the name of Merlin are you talking about?"

"You prove to be just as impetuous as young James, as well as young Harry here, Charlus. But let us get on with our discussions." The One allowed some chairs for the humans. He then ushered Harry ahead to his side and gently plopped him onto a chair. Harry swung his legs nonchalantly as they hovered above what passed as the floor, and waved to his grandparents whom he was seeing for the first time. Instantly the two women looked at the adorable child and introduced themselves. The One chuckled. "Do not let his appearance fool you, ladies. I am training him to be a hardened killer, but the only thing he has got down to a jot is being an impish little lady-killer. If things go as the child and I want them to go, you all will be safe, and will actually be carrying this little tyke around in ten to fifteen years time."

The ladies paid him very little heed. It fell to Matthew to ask, "Who is he?"

"Why, he is your grandson – you are all his grandparents!" That shocked them all. The One continued nevertheless. "Oh! Don't be surprised! Charlus, Dorea, describe him for us, will you?"

There were hardly a few things that managed to discombobulate Lord Charlus Potter, but this weird dream or whatever it was, where he was meeting a – an entity and a little boy who was apparently his grandson, certainly managed it. But now that he did take a good look at the child, he could see that the startlingly green eyes were framed by a very familiar face, one that he saw daily in the mirror, or when he looked at his son James. It wasn't a similarity of facial features; it was congruence. The boy was a Potter alright, except for the eyes, which weren't like Dorea's either. Looking around, he saw the other man observing him and the child, and...He was startled to see the same almond-shaped green eyes. It did not take much imagination to realise that if nothing else, at least this part of his dream was true. Clearly the child was related to both him and this other man. In that moment, they exchanged a glance of understanding.

Rose was having none of it. "Excuse me, would you please tell us what all this is about? Who are you? Who are they? Why have you brought us here? Why are you showing us this... this, whatever it is?"

"Peace, my lady," The One intoned gravely. "I am, as Harry here calls me, the One. I am in reality, the one in charge of this Universe. I am the arbiter of time, life, death, actions and reactions, cause and effect, nature, and am the judge of all that is, was or will be."

"So are you God?" Rose asked the One gravely.

"That is one of the ways I am perceived in the mortal realm, yes."

"You are Death!" exclaimed Charlus, all of a sudden comprehending the reference to the cloak, stone and wand.

With a smile in his voice, for the One had no face, He answered, "You are somewhat correct." He shimmered a bit, and a book appeared in Charlus' hands. It was 'The Tales of Beedle the Bard'.

"Read the story out aloud Charlus."

"'There were once three brothers who were travelling along a lonely, winding road at twilight. In time, the brothers reached a river too deep to wade through and too dangerous to swim across. However, these brothers were learned in the magical arts, and so they simply waved their wands and made a bridge appear across the treacherous water. They were halfway across it when they found their path blocked by a hooded figure. ("That was Death," Charlus explained.)

"'And Death spoke to them. He was angry that he had been cheated out of three new victims, for travellers usually drowned in the river. But Death was cunning. He pretended to congratulate the three brothers upon their magic, and said that each had earned a prize for having been clever enough to evade him.

"'So the oldest brother, who was a combative man, asked for a wand more powerful than any in existence: a wand that must always win duels for its owner, a wand worthy of a wizard who had conquered Death! So Death crossed to an elder tree on the banks of the river, fashioned a wand from a branch that hung there, and gave it to the oldest brother.

"'Then the second brother, who was an arrogant man, decided that he wanted to humiliate Death still further, and asked for the power to recall others from Death. So Death picked up a stone from the riverbank and gave it to the second brother, and told him that the stone would have the power to bring back the dead.

"'And then Death asked the third and youngest brother what he would like. The youngest brother was the humblest and also the wisest of the brothers, and he did not trust Death. So he asked for something that would enable him to go forth from that place without being followed by Death. And Death, most unwillingly, handed over his own Cloak of Invisibility.'"

"'Then Death stood aside and allowed the three brothers to continue on their way, and they did so, talking with wonder of the adventure they had had, and admiring Death's gifts.

"'In due course the brothers separated, each for his respective destination.

"'The first brother travelled on for a week or more, and reaching a distant village, sought out a fellow wizard with whom he had a quarrel. Naturally, with the Elder Wand as his weapon, he could not fail to win the duel that followed. Leaving his enemy dead upon the floor, the oldest brother proceeded to an inn, where he boasted loudly of the powerful wand he had snatched from Death himself, and of how it made him invincible.

"'That very night, another wizard crept upon the oldest brother as he lay, wine-sodden, upon his bed. The thief took the wand and, for good measure, slit the oldest brother's throat. And so Death took the first brother for his own.

"'Meanwhile, the second brother journeyed to his own home, where he lived alone. Here he took out the stone that had the power to recall the dead, and turned it thrice in his hand. To his amazement and his delight, the figure of the girl he had once hoped to marry, before her untimely death, appeared at once before him. Yet she was sad and cold, separated from him as by a veil. Though she had returned to the mortal world, she did not truly belong there and suffered. Finally the second brother, driven mad with hopeless longing, killed himself so as truly to join her. And so Death took the second brother for his own.

"'But though Death searched for the third brother for many years, he was never able to find him. It was only when he had attained a great age that the youngest brother finally took off the Cloak of Invisibility and gave it to his son. And then he greeted Death as an old friend, and went with him gladly, and, equals, they departed this life.' "

"An interesting tale," Matthew remarked. "But it explains nothing."

"Indeed," agreed The One. "But that is because I haven't explained anything. Say, Matthew, Rose, Charlus, Dorea, do you want me explaining things or Harry putting it across bluntly for you?"

"I would rather that- Harry did you say? – explain it to us. You are behaving like Dumbledore." It was evident that it wasn't the right thing to say.

"Do not compare me to that idiot, Charlus!" The One scolded. "He is one of the reasons why I have had to take the steps that I have. I have had to rewrite time, a time when the entire Potter Family was killed by an upcoming Dark Lord and his minions, suffered tremendous betrayals from friends and what not! And chief among those betrayers was a best friend of each of James and Lily! And then there was that stupid man you seem to revere! He is just as bad, and about the only thing helping him to keep away the tag of a traitor is the fact that he is an absolute fool!"

Charlus was shocked by the amount of emotion pouring from the One. Harry intervened. "Lord Potter," Harry started respectfully and warmly, "this is a touchy topic for him. I think it would be best if I tell you everything. I am not from your time, but I'll be, just before the first of September 1971. The One has been teaching me everything that I need to know, or rather have to know to combat the Dark Lord. You see, time had already progressed right up to the year 1998, specifically the 2nd of May, 1998, for me. I am Harry James Potter, born on the 31st of July 1980, to James Charlus Potter and Lily Marie Evans-Potter. The war against the upcoming Dark Lord was reaching a crescendo, and he was winning. Then some idiotic tramp woman spat a prophecy to get the Divination job at Hogwarts, and I, along with a friend were the two possible ones to kill this Dark Lord. My Parents went into hiding but were killed on the Halloween night of 1981!"

There were gasps from both the couples at that.

"This Dumbledore dumped me on the doorstep of Petunia Evans-Dursley, and my next ten years were bad – to put it lightly – owing to my aunt and her family..."

"That's impossible!" Rose shouted- actually shouted. "My Petunia won't do anything to her own nephew! I refuse to believe you!"

Harry turned his cold gaze at his grandmother. "It is none of my business what you think of your elder daughter, Mrs. Evans (Rose flinched horribly at being addressed so formally and coldly by a four year old masquerading as her grandson), all I care is that Lily Evans should live a long and happy life. If I never saw your other daughter's face, it will be too soon. If you talked to your magical daughter, you will find that she is extremely hurt by her sister's cold, hateful and jealous behaviour. Only your son, Dennis is her solace along with that despicable friend of hers, Severus Snape. Dennis Evans is a magical as well. But that is a pointless discussion. My job is, effectively, to be a bodyguard and friend to your children, to be a vigilante for the Wizarding world, and to bring down the Dark Lord before it claims the lives of so many innocent people. I grew up bereft of any sort of love, but – call me selfish, if you will – but when Harry James Potter will be born again to your children, I will be cleansed of all memories, of all taints, and of all past pains. That is all I care about. I am coming into your time as a mercenary. Over the first six years at Hogwarts, I lost more people that I cared for, including my Godfather who died while saving me, as also another friend of my father. I knew the ways to defeat him once and for all. And I want that to happen before he hurts my family."

The One's warning about there being more to the boy than his appearance rang true now. This was a cold person that they faced, not a child. The One broke their musing by showing them all 'clips' of Harry's life, and also their lives in the alternate timeline that was now being overwritten. Charlus' blood ran cold to think of life without Darrene and Eldric. Rose found her daughter's behaviour true over Lily's life and even irksome. But the only thing that stopped her from giving her daughter a piece of her mind for her treatment of Harry was the fact that nothing had yet happened from her perspective. At least Lily had Dennis.

When the One was done, he spoke again. "You may all be wondering why I have brought you here. When I send Harry, my Hand to deal with the problem of the Dark Lord, he will need help. On your part, Charlus, Dorea, he will need a magical guardian. And you, Matthew, Rose, will be his muggle liaison. He will live primarily at..."

"The Leaky Cauldron, during the summers and Christmas, and Hogwarts during Easter. Christmas will be dedicated to exterminating all threats to the continued survival of the Potter, Evans and other families. That is the time when I will need alibi and an operational base near your home. I shall not intrude on the Evans Family, unless specifically invited by my would-be mother. The Christmas time will see me keeping appearances in Diagon Alley, while living at a house near yours."

"Absolutely not!" protested Dorea. "He is my grandson! He should live at his ancestral home..."

"With my father who doesn't know that the person going around as his friend is his son? Not bloody likely! I am, for all intents and purposes a hitman. My place is not in a manor, but in places like Knockturn Alley, taking out the hostiles cleanly and efficiently, your Grace."

"Couldn't you call us all grandpa or grandma at least?" Rose asked, cringing at the way the boy, seemingly of barely four, spoke.

"I am sorry, Mrs. Evans. I never met any of you before. Due to this Dark Lord, and people, or rather the sheep of the magical world not taking up the responsibilities and just listening to the old fool, it has fallen to me to correct the course of things. It would not do for me to slip and call you by your familial appellations. And let me be frank. The only relative I had – blood relative, that is – your elder daughter, left a terrible mark on me. You did not have a son. I once had an infinite capacity to love. Not anymore, I am now just cold and unfeeling, and fearless. The One has had me practicing with boggarts, and those things do not change to depict anything anymore. I am now a machine. As things stand, I am not exactly human anymore, but the very nature of judgement, the Hand of the One to execute punishment, as and when I see fit, but bound to His rules of righteous justice."

Rose felt inordinately guilty for the way things were for the boy. Matthew however needed proof to believe it.

"Mr Evans, you have visited Diagon Alley, have you not? Decide a date between yourselves and the Lord and Lady Potter. Meet up. Decide a codeword now, one pair each between each pair. One each between Lord and Lady Potter, one each between Mr. and Mrs. Evans, one each between Mr. Evans and Lady Potter, another two between Mr. Evans and Lord Potter, and yet another two each between Lord Potter and Mrs. Evans and Lady Potter and Mrs. Evans. That makes twelve. If, when you meet in the physical plane, the codewords match, you will have proof that at least the current situation that you find yourselves in is true. You shall meet me on the station at Christmas; I shall provide oath of truth then. We shall decide codes between us; and they may not necessarily be words or passwords, but spells that you and I may shoot at each other, or subtle objects that I may handle in the Evans' home. We have to be constantly vigilant!" "Great," thought Charlus. "Now we have another Alastor Moody."

"What about the trace?" Dorea asked.

"Lady Potter," answered The One, "you have finally touched the reason why I had Charlus read that story.

"Have you ever heard about the legend about the 'Master of Death'? That is why I had Charlus read the story, after all..."

Neither Charlus and Harry nor the One were surprised when Dorea gasped. The Blacks were always obsessed with power, so even if she no longer kept contact with her Dark Family roots for the most part, she would still know what it all would mean. Matthew and Rose looked at her askance.

"It is believed that the Peverells were the three brothers in the story that Charlus read. The Elder wand given to Antioch, the Resurrection Stone given to Cadmus and the Invisibility Cloak of Death himself given to Ignotus are supposed to be the Three Deathly Hallows. It is believed that anyone who combined the three would be the Master of Death."

"Very good!" applauded the One. "Now, let me tell you that I did give those gifts as a joke to those Peverells, but only Ignotus really got it. And the cloak you own, Charlus." Discounting the astounded expressions on the audiences' faces, the One pushed on. "Dumbledore has the wand, but Harry won it. The Gaunt family ring contained the Stone, which again was passed on to Harry here. Harry is the Master of Death. He became that at about the very time that he was about to sacrifice himself to prevent this Dark Lord from winning and destroying life as the mortals knew it. In reality, he is my Hand. As Harry now commands the three hallows, the wand and stone will come to him, once the curses on the stone are dealt with. Keep the cloak with James. Harry, however, will command it when he needs it." Dorea and Rose had tears in their eyes as they heard all that. They'd long since accepted Harry as their grandson in their hearts.

"What would you have us do?" asked Matthew at long last.

"Initially, I will need an isolated piece of land. I request Lord Potter to have this land ward-layered to the greatest possible extent. I shall of course add my own wards. This will serve as my torture, execution and planning centre in no particular order. All costs will be reimbursed from my account, as soon as I start earning it. Further plans will be intimated to all allies at appropriate times. Your other duties as liaison will be to treat me as a normal friend of your son/daughter. That is all."

"You heard the kid. I will now send you back to your realms. Be ready. The times ahead are difficult," cut in the One.

It was the evening of the 29th of July, when Albus Dumbledore was disturbed by a sudden apparition in his office. And even if he was scared out of his wits, he hadn't let his fear show, to his eternal credit. He never realised anything as he was suddenly introduced to a muggle-born student, Hadrian Evan Jameson, who took his prized Elder wand, was admitted to the school with the records showing that his fees had been paid for all seven years. He never realised either, when the Wand was replaced by his real wand, transfigured to look like the Elder Wand, with the brother of his original wand sitting in its place. He never remembered the visit either.

On the 31st of July, Matthew and Rose Evans stood outside the place where they knew the Leaky cauldron to be, even if they couldn't see it. They awaited the Potters, who they were hoping had the same dream as they, a dream where they had met their grandson. They were sincerely hoping that it wasn't all just a hoax, a hallucination. Thankfully, they didn't have to wait long. A couple suddenly appeared at a spot across the road they had been staring at for the past seven minutes. The Evans' watched the two people hurry across the road, approaching the Leaky Cauldron.

The two couples caught each others' eyes and the Potters shepherded the Evans' into the Leaky Cauldron. With a quick exchange of passwords, they settled at the reserved table.

Matthew started the introductions. "It is a great pleasure to meet you in person at last. I am Matthew Evans. Milord, please allow me to introduce my wife, Rose Evans."

Charlus kissed Mrs. Evans on the knuckles of her right hand and shook Matthew's hand firmly, all with a broad smile. "Please, drop the Lord business. We are after all here to discuss the requests of the astonishing young man we will one day have as our grandson. I am Charlus, and this is my wife Dorea. Do call us by our given names please. While it may seem improper, we already know a part of our future. So we might as well be friends already."

"Thank you, Charlus. I can't dispute your judgement at all." Matthew withdrew a sheaf of documents from his bag. "These are the documents for a House and some attached land up near just past North London, outside the city. And this is one for a flat near our place. We got the one outside London cheap. Rather ironic that the entire land was supposed to be haunted. While it doesn't seem the wisest idea, it seemed to make sense when we saw that it was large, isolated geographically, and people kept away from it. What was it that Harry asked you to do? Yes the setting up wards. We hoped whatever the mal-intent was, could be eliminated. The house seems to have dungeons too." Matthew clearly thought that it was a great idea. Charlus looked through the documents and let out a low whistle when he saw the plan for a one acre plot.

The two families proceeded to chat about various things about the Magical world and the mundane world before departing. A few tables behind them, a ghostly-boy smiled to himself. Hadrian Jameson's grandparents had done a ruddy good job.