Hey guys, I know that the chapters are taking awhile to get out, but its because I'm trying to get them around 8K in length. I apologize, but several of these chapters were barely 1k so its taking a little longer. Especially on top of my school work. But I've not forgotten about any of you! I also wanted to say a great big THANK YOU for supporting me and following/favoriting with myself or my stories. I write these for you guys. I appreciate all the positive comments and constructive feedback.
11/15: Okay so I know I replied to a few people with a tentative schedule for this update, and I apologize that I couldn't keep it. I had a group of really good roadie friends show up and hang out for like 4 days, and they just left today. So, I plan to write a bit tonight and hopefully some tomorrow and maybe Tuesday? I hope. I'll update again when I can. (3600)
Before Editing: 1019
After Editing: 8391
If it has ~~ this is a flashback.
If it has ' ' this is delusional voices
**Most of the memories of Harry's encounters with Tom is from the books!
I've also had a few message me to get some clarification and I wholly encourage this, so please, if you are confused please ask me.
Depression Does Things
The amount of pain the teen felt over Andrea's death was shocking. Not just in its burning rawness but the fact that it existed at all! Harry had tried to keep himself away from most of the group, so that he didn't become attached. Yet there had only been so much for him to do on his own and the brothers hadn't let him wander to far before they joined him. So he'd been limited to interacting with most of the group. That must be when his fondness for a few of them had started. Harry hadn't realized just how attached to the group he'd become until he saw Andrea as an inferus. Instead of the usual pained thrum he usually felt for those lost to him it had felt newer and bitter. Being alone for so long had softened that part of him he'd hardened during the War. When he'd been trying to keep Voldemort from killing anymore of his loved ones. He whimpered as the pain etched itself onto his scarred soul. Oh he knew it wasn't healthy to let that much pain build up, but it was his to shoulder. Even if their deaths had been accidents. But there was no one to berate him for it and Harry wanted to scream out in anguish over everything. Wanted to release everything he'd kept bottled up inside, out. Harry didn't want to carry this burning need to force himself to exist. Why did she have to be one of those that come back? Biting back another whimper the teen tried to calm his breathing as he took in his surroundings. As he scanned the area and his breathing evened out, the teen began organizing his chaotic mind.
The idea of any of the people he cared for walking around as an inferi was revolting and a pain shot through his heart at the thought.
'She's your fault, Harry.'
'It's always your fault, Harry. Can't you do anything right?'
It took him several more minutes, some more tears and a dozen deep breaths, to get over seeing his friend like that before he tightened his grip and fired his bow without focusing too hard on his target. Watching the arrow sink into her brain made Harry flinch as he tried to swallow around the sob clogging his throat. Bloody hell, he was getting too sentimental for all this! Tears fell as he approached the blonde that he realized he'd become friends with while caged at the farmhouse, pulling his arrow from her as gently as was possible. Though he couldn't help gagging as the sound of her brain and fluids squishing and bone crunching seemed much louder than normal; it sizzled its way into his bones as his soul was already marked. He hated having to hover over friends like this. Hated staring down at them because they'd been taken from him. Harry wanted to cradle her but couldn't bring himself to touch her more than necessary. He mourned the fighter that she would have become. The ache in his heart was the reason he didn't become attached to people anymore. Andrea had had the strong will to survive this world, despite the loss of her sister. He had been so sure she'd be one of the people to thrive in this new world. It filled him with remorse and a little regret that he'd had to give her mercy and the group wouldn't know until they saw each other again. But he refused to leave anyone as an inferi; only a few people deserved that and she hadn't been one of them.
"It's always the ones that least deserve it." There were a number of people that Harry could think of that he'd rather be in Andrea's place, but most of them were already dead or he'd never see them again. Still, even loosing one person was a sad thing. "What few of us are left after this should be working together ."
"No one's safe with you around, Harry. You just get them killed in the long run."
"No, I don't. They aren't all my fault."
"Who knows how many have been lost."
The last hoarse whisper made Harry wonder who else they might have lost during the chaos that night. Had anyone else been left to fend for themselves or forgotten? Harry really hoped not. He didn't want to face the guilt of knowing someone else had suffered due to his negligence. Harry missed his family so much at that point, they would have reassured him about the situation and given him a good self-esteem speech. But he needed to make sure that the group were at least burned together. He would go around later if he had time and burn the rest of the walkers separately. So once he had her wrapped up in a clothe shroud, trying to pull the Rite's of Peace from the depths of his memory. But he did the best he could to bless her afterlife. Once that was finished the teen felt more than exhausted so he headed back inside. As much as he knew that he should just burn it all and get it over with, but something inside of him was protesting the mere thought of destroying what was left of the Greene's home. Harry didn't know what that feeling was but he wasn't going to ignore it so he settled him inside the house and drew his wand. If nothing else the farmhouse could be a home base while he healed. Concentrating on his partially filled core he set to boarding up every window, door and suspicious looking hatches - after he'd explored them- so that the inferi couldn't get in. If he though he had the strength for it Harry might have tried to case a Fidelius. But then figured he would have needed a full core for that so the idea had been thrown out.
Once the house had been secured, the teen lowered himself onto the couch he'd occupied before. Nearly falling asleep once he'd laid down. He was so tired. "Oh Merlin! This ruddy couch feels like heaven!"
'I miss Hedwig.'
"Hmm?" The teen hummed, vaguely catching more of the softly spoken words. Though he was lightly dozing it was as if the person were standing close but talking in a low murmur.
'I miss Hedwig.'
Harry sighed, "Me to. She'd make a good companion during all this. Smart girl that she is."
'But she's not here, is she?'
"No." Harry murmured. "Not anymore."
'Because she died.'
"Hmm? Oh, yeah. My poor girl." Harry sighed he was drowsy and hoping not to get sucked into the awful memory of his beloved owl's death and their escape from the Death Eaters. "She would have made a good hunting partner."
'Of course, it is your fault, you know.'
"No its not!"
'Yes it is. We all know it.'
"She protected me! I never wanted her to die." Tears were threatening to brim.
'No. You never wanted anyone to die. But they did. For you.'
"I never asked them to. It isn't my fault. Just stop and leave me alone!"
'Its your fault, Harry. Just admit it.'
Harry shook his head vehemently as he struggled to sit up on the couch. But it felt like something was holding him down and constricting him. "No its not! They gave their lives to stop Voldemort! I wouldn't have let anyone sacrifice themselves for me! Let go of me."
'Everyone always seems to die for you.' This time it was accompanied by everyone's deaths. Everyone who had died in the Battle for Hogwarts.
It took the teen a moment before he began fighting back against the voice in his ears in earnest. It sounded like a combination of people he knew: Sirius, Remus, Draco, Cedric, Voldemort, Dumbledore, Hermione, Ron and a few others as the voices picked up and began to shriek at him in amplified unison. He struggled against the weight holding him down at tried his hardest to get away from the shrieks. But they wouldn't stop yelling at him no matter how far he tried to run away from him. So Harry found the smallest, darkest corner he could and curled into him self. It was small enough to remind him of the cupboard where he'd curl up to hide from Dudley. It did nothing to mute the voices that were steadily growing shriller as they screamed their insults at him.~~
Harry woke with a shriek as he tumbled off the couch onto the floor, landing with a grunt on his side. He nearly bolted up right in pain but was hindered. He was tangled in the blanket he'd absently pulled over himself so had to free himself from it by wiggling around. The teen reminded himself of a worm or insect that was stuck. After a few moments of fruitless struggling the teen sagged and panted as he waited for his heart to stop racing. Though he was very happy to see that no one else in the room with him and no one was mocking him either. The teen let out a large and long deep breathe. Hating himself for having given in to a nightmare of all things. But then there wasn't much else for him at the moment he decided as he finally calmed enough to finally untangle himself from the blanket. Harry quickly drag himself back onto the couch. Despite the mocking he'd just endured, the teen still felt a little drowsy and figured everything would be alright for a bit longer so he could relax a bit. Harry was sure that if he didn't then the next time he got overwhelmed, well, he was pretty sure something would blow up. If that meant he spent most of the day sleeping, then he'd welcome it with open arms. Merlin knew he could use some sleep after everything that had been happening lately. Though his shoulders and cuts weren't thanking him any for his jerking around or jolting landing. But he couldn't really help that as it would take some time for him to recover, if his mind didn't keep betraying him. Harry had been so happy to be nightmare free for some time but he had known the reprieve wouldn't last long.
"Weak" a traitorous voice started whispering, but Harry stomped and beat it down with a proverbial bat. He was not going through that again.
Shifting around gingerly, the teen allowed himself to get settled comfortably on the couch as he rearranged the quilt over himself. He'd had a rough two or so days and his body wasn't thanking him for it. Perhaps having a quick nap would be a good idea? Glancing around the room, Harry settled his weapons beside him and cast a proximity ward before stashing his wand. Feeling better protected now with his alarms, the teen was having to fight against the drowsy feeling that was slowly pulling him under. He didn't really want to pass out this way, but he knew that his body would care one way or the other and would end up forcing him to rest. So Harry allowed himself to go limp and sink into his position. Groaning in utter bliss for a moment, the teen contented himself to dozing for a bit as his mind took him from dream to dream. Each was simple at first but the longer they went on and just as he was about to die he'd appear in another, system reset. It felt similarly to Dudley's muggle videogames. But Harry allowed them since he was too drained to fight, at least, that feeling lasted until the dreams began featuring his dead family. He couldn't take and jerked himself awake. Though not fully rested or recharged Harry did feel much better and he'd replenished a bit more magic. After double checking everything thoroughly, Harry was surprised to find that he'd spent nearly eighteen hours unconscious. Harry could have sworn he wasn't asleep for the long but then time was a weird thing and he had messed with it before so he didn't judge it too closely. After changing and scarfing a breakfast bar down the teen stepped out of the farm house and began to search for those he knew.
"I know most of the Quarry made it out, except Andrea. But did all of the Greene's and Co. make it out? I know I got Patricia, Beth and Jimmy to a vehicle. Hopefully they made it." Harry murmured to himself. He hadn't really spoken to Jimmy, the teen hadn't liked him much or at least Harry thought he didn't.
As he double checked around the farm house, Harry was saddened to see Patricia among the bodies. She had been very kind to him despite her grieving. Once he'd been better and asking about Hershel's experience, she had told him about Carl's wound and the group that went to retrieve supplies. Patricia had stated that her husband Otis had be hauled off at gun point by Shane to go to the school. Shane had been the only survivor; Harry could read between the lines well enough. Otis had apparently given his life so that Shane could get the medical supplies to Hershel so they could save Carl. But he didn't buy it. That man only really cared for himself and possibly Lori and her son. Harry had stopped in and spoke to the child while he'd been on bed rest; Carl had been highly amused at his own stories of being stuck in the infirmary. After all the stories he'd shared, Carl had thanked him for finding Sophia and bringing her back. It had been fun sharing his own slightly edited stories with the thirteen year old. No point in telling the muggles that he'd fought a dragon at fourteen or the three headed dog guarding a trap door. Though the preteen had spent some time asking him about all the skills he had, since he was on his own a lot. So the two of them had sat up for a while talking. Harry shared what he knew of hunting, foraging and the type of plants that are extremely helpful in the while. Carl had looked so amazed at all the information he'd known so he'd had to gently remind the boy of his last story about being on the run.
Yet his caution hadn't stopped the boys curiosity and Harry had given in when Carl had asked or more. It had been a nice afternoon and Patricia had stopped in to see them to refill their snacks. That had been on the best days that he'd had in a while; having been able to enlighten the next generations with very valuable skills. So he'd spent the remainder of the day with Carl, sharing things that he'd learned the hard way so that he wouldn't make the same mistakes. Patricia had returned several times that day to refill their water and crackers and Harry had been touched. The longing to show his magic to the child had been strong but with so many other around, he didn't want to push his luck. At dinner that night, he'd thanked Patricia for what she did but was waved off for his efforts. So in an act of teenage rebellion of kindness for Patricia's help that day, he'd restocked most of their pantry, making sure to show them afterwards, so that they could keep the supplies from the Quarry group. They'd all nodded at the unspoken implications. At least they were smart. Hershel had just stared at him for a long while before nodding and walking off to do some chores while the girls had just grinned at him. Harry had been leery of them ever since. Honestly, women were scary and he swore he would never understand them. Especially when the group had questioned why he'd been allowed to sleep on the couch so often despite being in the house so much. Patricia had kindly told them to mind their own business and that he contributed to restocking their used supplies. Of course the group had stared at him in shock and suspicion but the Brothers had vouched and said they'd seen him gone scavenging during the day. That had been the end of it.
Harry pulled himself out of the memories, he hadn't really known her more personally so the hurt wasn't as bad. Yet he still mourned her. He levitated her body over beside Andrea's, he'd cremate them together. From what he'd observed, the two women had gotten along well enough that they probably wouldn't mind. Though that relation ship had been strained since the Barn Massacre, as he'd taken to calling it. But he didn't think that they would mind to much for this purpose. Once he was done recovering and finding a more permanent place he'd be burning the inferi en masse before leaving. The tranquility that Harry had found at the Greene's house had been tainted by the inferi attack and he wanted to purge it. He'd leave the Farmhouse alone. The family might return here one day, who knows. Harry liked to tell himself that eventually they'd get rid of the inferi enough so that people could go back to their homes. When the group had questioned where he was from, Harry had froze and then kind of shrugged while looking off into the darkened woods. The teen ignored the knowing looks after that conversation, but he did his best to avoid the topic afterwards like it was the plague. He didn't have a family or home to return to or find anymore. So he wasn't sure what he would do with himself after everything was all said and done. Still something about the two women had pulled on his memory. Harry was positive he'd gotten Patricia, Beth and Jimmy into the same vehicle, so what had Patricia been doing outside of the vehicle? It made no sense! He'd made sure they'd made it! Nothing was adding up to what he vaguely remembered of most of that night.
More than that, what had Andrea been doing that she had been on the opposite of the farm that night? Harry could have sworn he'd seen by the RV. It was reasonable to assume due to his magic that he'd be able to view memories that he'd filed away. If he could, perhaps it would work the same way as a pensieve; without the pensieve. Well, he wouldn't know until he tried. Harry cast the strongest notice-me-not charm he could and delved into his memories -something that he disliked doing- to search for the night the herd attacked the farm. It took him some time to locate the memory thread; a long silvery wisp tinged in reds, purples and blues. He tugged on it and watched each second closely to see if he'd even seen Andrea in the chaos that night. It was possible that he hadn't seen her that night and the teen was beginning to loose hope. It was several minutes into the memory that Harry finally caught sight of her. He froze the memory, it showed Andrea running into the forest away from the group, a dozen inferi following after her. Why would she go that way? It would have been safer for her to get closer to them, not further, wouldn't it? But Andrea had to have been on the other side of the farm from the tents, blocked off from the rest of her group by the farm house and the growing herd. Harry berated himself for not noticing her absence earlier, he would have had time to find her. Why hadn't he made sure that everyone had been accounted for?
'You were too busy trying to get away from the group that you didn't pay enough attention. Your inattention always gets people killed.'
Harry snarled, "That is besides the point! I also recall sticking behind to get every one to safety! I assumed she'd hitched a ride with one of the others!"
'It was still your inattention Harry. What did Moody always tell you, constant vigilance!'
"Leave me alone already! Haven't you had enough fun." Harry shouted. He didn't want to hear about this again. It wasn't his fault and he didn't have to listen to the accusations anymore!
But the guilt that he had been burying for years was finally breaking free of its container and it bubbled up out of him once more. While he knew that depression came easier, Harry couldn't help but feel overly consumed by it every time the past tried to resurface or something else that happened. With the depression came to episode of reliving his memories, most were on repeat and he hated them. But the guilt wouldn't leave him and it bubbled up and swallowed his consciousness, dragging him into his second confrontation with Lord Voldemort in the form of a teenaged Tom Riddle. The memory played on fast-forward at first before it slowly restarted itself and played agonizingly slow. He wondered how many times he'd be made to watch this time.
~~"Come now, Harry. Don't look so disappointed. Had Ginny succeeded in destroying the diary, she would have destroyed me. And we couldn't be having this little talk. And I have so many questions for you."
"Like what?" He responded timidly, Harry did not like where this was going.
The dark haired teen glared at him in simmering rage. "Well, how is it that a baby with no extraordinary magical talent managed to defeat the greatest wizard of all time? How did you escape with nothing but a scar, while Lord Voldemort's powers were destroyed?
"Why do you care how I escaped? Voldemort was after your time.." Harry asked, though he was very confused why this teenager would care about the Dark Lord so much.
The teen sneered at him in contempt, "Voldemort, is my past, present, and future, Harry Potter." The teen turned with Harry's wand in hand and wrote his name in burning letters before waving the wand over them. Harry stared in horror as the names reformed themselves to spell out 'I Am Lord Voldemort'.~~
**Speak to me, Slytherin**
Slytherin's gigantic stone face was moving and the mouth slides down with an ominous rumble. Something was stirring inside the statue's mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths. The Basilisk, a giant serpent spilled out of the gaping mouth, uncoiling heavily onto the floor. Harry watched in muted horror as the serpent rears up and looks between him and Tom Riddle.
But the teen spoke, "Let's match the powers of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against the famous Harry Potter, shall we? **Kill Him**! Parseltongue won't save you now, Potter. The Basilisk only obeys me."
"Yes, Potter. The process is nearly complete. In a few minutes, Ginny Weasley will be dead. And I will cease to be a memory. Lord Voldemort will return. Very much... alive." Tom sounded rather smug and Harry hated him.
It lunged blindly — Harry dodged and it hit the Chamber wall. It lunged again, and its forked tongue lashed Harry's side. He raised the sword in both his hands — The basilisk lunged again, and this time its aim was true — Harry threw his whole weight behind the sword and drove it to the hilt into the roof of the serpent's mouth — But as warm blood drenched Harry's arms, he felt a searing pain just above his elbow. One long, poisonous fang was sinking deeper and deeper into his arm and it splintered off as the basilisk keeled over sideways and fell, twitching, to the floor. He'd killed the large serpent! But grunted as he pulled the fang from his arm. He watched as it turned a troubling grey.
"Remarkable, isn't it? How quickly the venom of the Basilisk penetrates the body? If you have any final words, Potter, you'd best speak them now. I'd guess you have little more than a minute to live." Tom gloated as he smirked at the twelve year old, "So ends the famous Harry Potter. On his knees in the Chamber of Secrets. Defeated at last by the Dark Lord he so unwisely challenged. You'll be back with your dear Mudblood mother soon, Harry..."
Harry turns and slips the diary from Ginny's paling hands.
"Funny, isn't it? The damage a silly little book can do? Especially in the hands of a silly little girl."
He grabbed the fallen Basilisk fang. He might be dying but he would save Ginny for Ron and his family.
"What are you doing? No! Stop!" Tom makes to lunge forward.
But with one last glare, Harry brings the fang up and then slams it down into the middle of the book. Black ink spurts from the pages as Harry stabs it and Riddle shrieks and writhes in pain. The twelve year old watches as the teen begins to disintegrate and holes start appearing on him. So the boy flips the diary open and stabs the fang down in the cent of the page. Ink spurts over his fingers and onto the ground in globs. With one last plunge into the next page the spectre of Tom disappears completely with a pained shriek. Silence except for the steady drip drip of ink still oozing from the diary. The basilisk venom had burned a sizzling hole right through it.~~
"Merlin!" He gasped. His heart was thundering in his chest and he honestly felt like he'd been right there in the chamber again. A twelve year old facing off against the king of Serpents.
Once the shock had worn off, Harry allowed himself to relax a bit but he was by no means lax. Dreaming of the Chamber and its dead monster brought a shiver to the teen. It wasn't something he'd thought about since they'd been hunting Horcruxes. Harry assumed due to the mounting stress and his lack of mourning before hand was contributing to the frequency of his nightmares. But throughout his nightmares more and more memories of the encounters with Voldemort crop up and it was unpleasant on top of everything else he had to deal with. Harry would have gladly lived through any other nightmare but the megalomaniac that had been after him always made an appearance. It was enough to make Harry jumpy and paranoid. Though he was more than aware that if he didn't do something to calm his manic magic that he would eventually loose control of it and he had no idea of knowing when and where that might happen. It would be a lot like what he'd done that one time with Uncle Vernon's sister Marge, though the fat bint deserved it. Having to fight his turbulent magic was exhausting as was the nightmares. While he could face the dead Dark Lord with no problem, it was his victims that tore at Harrys guilt and conscious. He saw them every time he closed his eyes. He hated sleep.
"Don't think about it too hard, Harry. Just focus on something else." He murmured to himself as he took a deep calming breath.
Pulling out his holly wand as he didn't think this would sate the elder wand, Harry began summoning full grown tree trunks from the forest surround the greens property. Harry just needed to keep himself busy enough that he couldn't fall into the turbulence storm of memories that was his mind. He couldn't let them overwhelm him anymore than they already have. Myrddin, he could use like fifty calming droughts at the moment! But he could just hear the snarky tones of Snape telling him that he was an absolute dunderhead. Once the logs had all assembled themselves where he wanted them, Harry grabbed his medium shaver and a hatched from his bag. But once the hatchet dug into the wood, the teen sort of lost it. He hacked and hacked as hard as he could at the log though it was utterly exhausting, it was allowing him to work off a good bit of steam. The once whole log was now pulverized on the ground at his feet, but he felt much better, so he swapped the hatchet for the shaver and started to build what he wanted. A small pyre, similar to one he'd seen on a his relatives telly, for Andrea and Patricia. It wouldn't be the fanciest thing anyone had seen not by any means! But it was better than they would have gotten anyway since Harry doubted anyone would return to deal with any of the infected. No one seemed to be interested in destroying the disease. Content enough to let the rotting bodies decay and the infect to return into the ground. .
"I want answers!" Harry stated, his voice a bit higher above a whisper but not shouting. But there was no one there to respond and Harry immediately began to wonder if he hadn't really spoken to death and it had actually been a hallucination. "Bloody tosspot."
Still nothing. It was obvious that Death would be Slytherin about this whole thing. But Harry was a snake in lions clothing, since the hat had wanted him there. "Bloody ridiculous!"
"Why am I even here?" Harry asked again hoping that Death would at least answer. But nothing happened.
After a few moments the teen cursed silently and erected the best silencing charm around the area he was working in, Harry stood with his hands on his hips and cursed, "Merlin damn you! Death get your arse here now!"
Thankful for his forethought when his shout echoed around the silenced dome; Harry felt completely retarded as he stood there looking much like Professor McGonagall as he waited for a dead guy to show up before him. However, the longer that Harry had to wait for the being the more agitated he got. But the entity still didn't respond so Harry resumed his work on the pyre. Cursing the infernal hallucinations to hell. Perhaps he really had dreamt about the figure that had declared Harry his Master. If that were the case, then Harry was grateful! He didn't not want to Master over anyone anymore. That part of his life was over. You couldn't be a leader if you were only worried about yourself. If he every ran into the others again, he swore to himself that he'd make them understand that he was a drifter, a loner. Not that it mattered, he'd just bide his time, find some privacy and apparate away. Having reinforced the farmhouse, it would do as an emergency bunker of sorts. Or at least the basement bunker would be. Thinking of it reminded him of Padfoot and his chest ached. But the ache grew and consumed him.
~~"The group of teens gathered around a tall stone archway, but only Harry could see the thin gossamer of fabric fluttering on an invisible breeze. Spells were flying everywhere as Death Eaters tried to immobilize them. The students were doing all they could just to stay standing.
Just as Harry began to fault, trying to protect the group, his godfather and the Order swarmed into the room. Sirius Black cut an imposing figure as he threw the nastiest of curses as he made his way to Harry's side, making sure to dodge and shoot off spells as quickly as he could.
"Are you alright, pup?" Sirius asked, throwing a nasty stunner at someone.
"I thought you'd been kidnapped! How?" The teen was shocked.
"'Fraid not pup. Must've been set up." The grim animagus shouted as he pulled them away from a sickly purple spell.
"'Ickle Harry Potter! With Sirius Black no less!" Bellatrix cackled maliciously.
The teen paled as the woman began throwing spell after spell at them. He didn't get much chance to retaliate as he was busy shielding or dodge certain spells, Sirius helped him when he couldn't react fast enough. Time seemed to slow down as Harry watched in shocked horror, his godfather was falling backwards into the ghostly veil!
"SIRIUS!" The teen screamed as he lunged for his godfather, who had started falling through. Harry thrashed against the person restraining him, his heart smashed to pieces.~~
Harry snapped out of the memory as he finished summoning the essentials. Everyone deserved a proper burial, they would just have to be different from now on. But humans have been burning their dead for centuries. It was amusing to know that much of this world was going back in time. Things that most humans took for granted would have to be done without machines and factories, unless there was a large enough community to support the labor needed. But Harry doubted that would happen since there weren't that many people alive, he was sure and even if they were, they'd probably stick to smaller settlements. Not that Harry blamed them. The less people the better. It had taken the teen three days to get everything together for Andrea and Patricia since he'd sworn to do it as muggle like as possible. The teen just hadn't thought the wood logs would weigh so much. He'd allowed his guilt and regret to get to him after he'd ended her suffering. Allowed himself to get lost in the memories of the war that always ended with Andrea's death. Harry was exhausted. Harry had contemplated just leaving. Walking off the property and not dealing with any of it anymore. But something had begun eating at him when he caught sight of the half finished pyre he'd started three days earlier. Harry knew he had to get this done as soon as possible, it wasn't fair for him to be lazy when there was much more that he could be doing. More than that, Harry didn't think he could bring himself to leave the farm. While empty, the farm was rather peaceful and calm in a way that Harry hadn't experienced in a long time. It felt soothing to his withering soul. Harry had never missed Hogwarts, the Forbidden Forest or Black Lake so much before. The feeling left Harry with little to no energy to so anything. Harry figured he was most likely depressed, but he didn't bother trying to fight it sometimes one just had to wallow.
"Perhaps if things ever return to some form of normal, I could go and see if Hogwarts is standing. I might be able to tell what the heck has happened to my people."
Walking back in to the house, Harry glanced at the maps he had spread out on the kitchen island. He hadn't touched them since that first night and it was time for him to look them over a bit more carefully for anything that might be useful to him. The teen wasn't sure he wanted to travel anywhere just yet though he knew the farmhouse was too exposed for him to feel entirely safe here without some major renovations. So he reluctantly opened the maps, he doubted that there was anything close to his location but it wouldn't really kill him to just browse. Even if it took days for him to find anything. He focused on the circled location of the Greene farm before inspecting the surrounding areas. They lived pretty much isolated from the cities and were surrounded by more and more farmland, with barely any neighbors from what he could see just form standing on the porch. If only it had lasted. Still, Harry decided to take the make grid by grid as he meticulously scanned the map. He absently noted what appeared to be several shopping districts in nearby towns that he could possibly hit.
"Well, even if there is a safe place there at least I can pick up some more supplies." He murmured, looking around the house. If he spelled the basement bunker against pretty much everyone, then he could leave some back up supplies here just incase something happened to his original trunk of supplies. "It's always good to have a back up plan."
Now that he'd found possible places to scavenge it was suddenly making his decision to move on from the non-defensible house difficult. It was so tempting to just stay in this cocoon of normalcy, but then he thought about his friend and turned back to look at the map once more. There was no way he wanted to go down that road. Harry forced himself to calm down and focus, going over the map and marking locations that meant he would be checking them out eventually as safe houses or for supplies. Depends on what was in the area. Nearly fifteen minutes of looking later stopped the ravenette in his tracks. Why hadn't any of the group noticed it? Or had someone said something and Rick or Shane turned it down? Harry wasn't sure, but he knew it would have been perfect. All this time the group had been so close to a Haven, it almost made Harry weep as he realized Andrea and Patricia would have survived if they'd found it sooner and convinced everyone to move there together. Then they wouldn't have been bothered by that horde. But was it habitable? Obviously if there was anyone in there the odds of them being an inferi were high. But surely it would be worth the risk, wouldn't it?
"If they aren't inferi then they might just be insane, and I can't figure which would be worse." Harry mused to himself as he lost himself momentarily.
'Them being alive would be worse. They could attack you.'
"Right. That too I suppose. Should be prepared for that sort of possibility."
Pulling out his pencils and a piece of paper, Harry studied the map intently while trying to figure how far away the farmhouse was to it. If it wasn't to far, he might just cut through the fields and forest separating them, but if it was a long walk then he'll just hit one of the towns on the way. But the more he studied the map the more likely an all day trip seemed eminent. It only looked to be at least thirty miles one way, he would need to check his supply trunk before going. Just to see what he needed to stock up on if he actually decided to scavenge. But first he'd do a routine scouting run of the area and see the state of the prison before he decided to occupy it. He didn't want to put all of his marble into one basket as the Prison could very well be a bust. Taking one last long look at the map Harry began to gather what he thought might be needed for the all day trip. While repacking his bag, the teen wondered if he should leave some items out and waiting for when he returned, so that he could use them immediately. But then shook his head because that was foolish. He shouldn't leave the safe house looking as if its currently occupied. It would just invite someone in to pilfer, not something he wanted to do. Regardless of his scavenging abilities, he did not want his hard work to go into someone else's coffers. It was a world of survival now. So Harry headed down into the basement and unloaded a bit of everything onto the shelves and then warded the bunker in parseltongue just to be safe before returning upstairs. With his ward, that meant that muggles would see an empty cellar and not the bunker that was there.
"Much better. Well, at least until I run into another magical person. But some how I doubt that."
While Harry hadn't wanted to use his magic much after being dropped from the void, he had conceded recently that it would be beneficial for him to use his magic where he could for things he couldn't do the muggle way. So he'd gone through the books he'd hoarded in his trunk after Sirius had died, and while he realized he had several dozen books not many of them were for defense, charms or protections. They were mostly Dark Arts books and considering they'd come from the Blacks ancestral home of Grimmauld Place wasn't surprising. Still, protecting himself was the most important thing, now that he didn't have the expectations to save the world, as he rummaged into his bag. After having left a good bit of supplies in the bunker his trunk and pack were a bit lighter and it slightly unnerved the teen who tallied everything out as he set aside his lunch meal. Harry decided to hit the local town before moving on to the prison, which would probably be the next day, there just wasn't enough daylight left to day. Since he'd spent most of it on the inferi and the pyre and he was aching slightly. With a light yawn the teen set the list he was working on down, setting his bow and quiver down beside it and his knapsack beside them. With only and hour or two before night fall the teen set about securing everything with the wooden slabs as well as perimeter magic before turning back to the small living room. He brought the can of soup, crackers and water bottles with him as well as a candle. Hopefully he'd have better luck scavenging tomorrow morning before heading to the prison.
Harry had woken with the sun early the next morning. He'd wasted little time on eating as he strapped his gear on and left the farmhouse as the sun rose sluggishly. He was pretty sure that he would get a decent haul and boy was he correct! It had taken him a little less that two hours to make it to the towns and he'd quickly raided everything he could get his hands on and them some. He'd walked away with months more of food, water, paper supplies and also seeds. There had been a 'mom-&-pop' nursery. Harry had taken everything. The it had been a long two hours back to the house where Harry had quickly unpacked what he could or reorganized it if needed. Once he was finished with that bit of work, the teen swallowed a bit of muggle painkillers, praying that they wouldn't disrupt his magic, before strapping his gear back on and setting out for the local prison. As it was he'd have to keep a pretty brisk pace for the first half of the walk. Just to make up for making the returned trip to the farmhouse. If all went well Harry figured it wouldn't take long for him to move between the locations. He could pack and then apparate away. It would save his no doubt sore muscle any more ache. Harry figured he could think about it. He still had to make sure the Prison was even viable.
The teen wasn't sure how he was supposed to feel if this place turned out to be a bust. But then he realized that he could just stay at the farmhouse until he found what he was looking for. He was just hoping to get lucky the first time and he feared having and endless search. It was a little noisy as he made his way into the first thicket of trees. The forest was alive with birds and insects and Harry wondered if he'd finally be able to hunt something on this trip, the chance to preserve real meat was strong. Yet nothing happened and Harry spent about three hours in trees before coming to the mid point, a large field. It was wide and open and he would have to cross from one end of it into the other. Harry was paranoid as he stepped out into the open and that intensified when the sounds of wildlife died around him. He wasn't about to be surprised but hoped there wouldn't be an attack of some kind. Nearly at the halfway mark a small herd of deer passed up ahead of him. Harry froze as they turned to stare at him. Barely breathing the teen watched in awe as they just ignored him and continued to graze. Slowly pulling an arrow from the quiver, Harry notched his bow and aimed. Five seconds later he released and watched as one of the smaller bucks went down. The deer had gone down easy and peacefully.
"That was a bit smoother than I thought it would be." Harry muttered petulately as he approached his downed kill. With out wanting to waste too much time the teen flicked the elder wand out and field dressed his kill and then stowed it in the trunk along with the rolled up animal pelt. Sometimes magic was handy. "A bit disappointing really."
'You are very resourceful Master Mines.'
Harry would have jumped in surprised fright if he hadn't noticed the shadows writhing out beside him. He figured it was finally the being called Death coming, so had turned to face the other with a calm demeanor. Harry couldn't have stopped the heavy sarcasm or mocking quality to his tone. He was feeling it, "Hello you sodding prat. Took you long enough don't you think! For someone so enamored with their 'Master'."
The being before just responded with an eerie croaking chuckle. Even though it should probably scare Harry he couldn't help but continue glaring at the other being. Sue he was being a bit frosty, but Death had said to call and he would come but that hadn't happened and Harry had been having a shitty time recently and he wasn't in the mood to deal with the floating enigma that was death. 'Of course my Master. What do you have need of me for?'
Staring off to the side for a moment Harry sighed before smiling cheerfully, "You my faithful demented being can start by collecting magical texts from me. Anything that I might need and some potions or ingredients if you know where to find them."
The voice was highly amused and perplexed at the same time, 'You wish for me to steal you knowledge?'
Nodding quickly as he finished cleaning his gear and hands the teen straightened himself and his clothes. "Knowledge is power my darling Death. I wasn't the most studious in school so I have a lot to make up for. You are going to help me. Or would you rather be stuck with an inadequate Master."
'I shall return soon, my Master.' Then the voice disappeared along with the black spectre hovering over him.
With a quick glance around the meadow the teen continued on. He was wholly unaware of the eyes watching him through binoculars at the tree line. So He continued on as there were still miles left for him to go before reaching the Prison. Once he hit another dense patch of trees he'd know he was close and the prison was just on the other side of them. Coming up on the trees nearly had him relaxing his guard before he stiffened minutely. But soft footfalls alerted Harry to someone tailing him, they were definitely good. Before they could get to much closer Harry notched and arrow and spun, only to find himself at the sharp end of a woman's sword. It was nearly three feet in length and she wielded it with two hands. The woman was tall, cutting an imposing image with a pair of chained inferi behind her.