A/N: Hello ladies and gentlemen. This is my first installment of a project to get all of the wayward plot bunnies out of my skull. I hope you enjoy this offering. My thanks as always go to those who take the kind time to review.
There is a poll located at my author page, tell me which story of the three I am placing up you would like to see made into a full tale first.
This is my attempt at (different) time-travel!Harry.
I do not own Harry Potter, that honor belongs to J.K. Rowling.
Landstradd's First Chapters
Story One: The White Mage of Time
Prologue: Changing History
He limped his way through the bunker, weaving his way through stacks of books that contained lore that stretched back to the very beginning of magic. Transfiguations that are barely recognizable from the basics taught to the average Mastery student, complex and power charms that any self respecting Charms Master would kill for, potions lost to living memory, arithmetic formulas that were able to measure just how much magical power is held in something (or someone) a feat said to be impossible by modern magic users, the complete rune language from Atlantis, and oh so much more.
'And almost all of it completely and utterly useless to what I truly need to do!' He thought out with while eying one particular stack of books with hate.
Yes, they had helped him survive this long. Yes, the use of this knowledge had resulted in names made for him that the world at large quake in fear. And, yes, the reading kept him going stir crazy when he had to hide away from all of his enemies.
But it was not enough. With Emperor Voldemort the Eternal sitting upon the throne of the world, the books he had, had none of Soul, Spirit, or Ethereal magics that he needed to bring the bastard low. He had lost track of the number of times he had faced that monster, lost tracks of the number of times that he had either won, destroyed the body while failing to destroy the diseased mass that the once-man called a soul and then left before he could be overwhelmed by the Faithful or fought draw and fled.
But Harry Potter was glad for one thing. He was undefeated. That was one of the few things that kept him going. He was better than his enemies, in far more ways than one. He only killed those who had taken the Dark Mark, the foul and disgusting derivation of the Protean charm that he knew in his gut was laced with some form of magics that bound the branded to the brander. He was far better at destroying and killing than his foes, his methods being much grander. He was always newsworthy when he did something, even if it painted him as society's enemy number one.
He entered the inner most room of the bunker, the place where his Plan B was taking shape. Since the disaster at Alexandria a decade ago, he had not found any more leads on stashes of magical knowledge. And the fact that research into any of the three fields he needed was punishable by death, there would probably be no 'new' discoveries to aid him. The fact that he was pushing the age of seventy and his body was starting to slow down on him long before it should have if he had lived a healthy childhood, pushed him even further into following this plan. He wasn't aging along the lines of someone completely non-magical, but given how powerful he was he should still be able to move around like a healthy thirty year old, rather than a fifty year old retired rugby player.
The room was circular, with an array painted in precious metals and gems on the ground that would remind the non-magicals who had lived before the Wars of what they believed of alchemy. Harry smiled at that, how he wished he had more knowledge of the world he had been forced to miss by growing up in a cupboard. He only knew from books about the non-magical world of the late twentieth century.
In the outer most circle of the array were seven pillars of crystal, each gently glowing in a prismatic blend of colors, painstakingly made layer by layer, with runes spiraling around and within them, inked in his own blood. He walked to each of them, touching them to make sure they still had the magic he had charged into them, staring deep into them to remind himself that he had already made sure of each runic layer before it had been sealed in a layer of crystal.
He walked the circle again, this time staring at the floor, the platinum-gold alloy used to 'draw' the circle, runes and symbols, flawless diamonds an inch across where-ever lines of metal denotes that the outer most circle moved energy inwards. Looking for any errors or mistakes, he walked the circle twice. Everything had to be perfect.
He moved to the second circle of the four that made up the array. Again he walked it two times, ensuring himself that there were no errors in it. Whenever he reached one of the three swords lying upon the ground, he would pick it up and examine it. Titanium alchemically alloyed with diamond and as much mythril as he could get his hands on, they were carved with runes for to strength them in all ways possible. Each was still identical to its siblings, and each was still flawless.
After all, one cannot travel against the flow of time without wounding it.
He repeated the process again at the second to last circle. In this one were placed thirteen stones of condensed Mana, of pure solidified magic. He was glad that of all the things involved in this, that he had been working on the magics needed for those the longest, even if he had never known he would need to do this.
Finally the last circle, the one in which he would sit. The array at this point would hold nothing other than himself... Though his body would not travel through time with him. For the size of the backstep that he needed, it would only be his soul and mind traveling backwards.
He walked back to the door. Everything was ready. Under the dark of the moon two weeks from now, he would fling himself as far back into his past as he could. Hopefully he could get his hands on the knowledge he would need to end the war long before it began. Of course, if what this method of time-travel did what he thought it did, Harry Potter may very well have a chance at a happier, even if it could never be normal, life.
He sat at a desk, the night before the new moon, writing onto a sheet of parchment with many different styles of handwriting on it. A book lay near him, the cover read, "Communing with the Multi-Verse: Chatting with the Great Minds of Infinity". At the top of the parchment were the words, 'Of time-travel; Merlin's Path'.
HJP-TGDoD: "Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is probably the last I'll be able to speak with you. My backstep is ready and I'm going back tomorrow night."
TYN-Odin: "Congratulations, Harry. Most of us here are only academically interested in what most consider the only method of 'true' time-travel that could even be remotely considered 'light' magics. Though you may very well be able to prove that this method of communicating exists outside of time."
HLN-Wraith: "But, then there are those who consider all time-travel to be inherently dark due to its basic nature."
QIP-Archer: "*Nods sagely* You are indeed correct Hikari, there are a number of hardliners in every universe that say wounding time is completely and totally unacceptable, even if it is a proven fact that the damage only exists for the one who caused it, and only for the window in which they move through time. Though if some of the calculations I have done on the alterations you have made to the ritual are right, you will be making a contained tear in space-time that exists for anyone in your universe, rather than a 'simple' time tear. Don't worry though, those things always close about fifteen minutes after the damage is done."
HJP-TGDoD: "I did not know that, thanks for giving me a new set of worries Quinn. I'd like to thank all of you who have helped me in even the smallest way (that goes to even those who did as little as make me laugh, I know I needed it). I know that no one can even see discussions about magics and information they do not have a functional knowledge of, but everyone here had helped me get to this point."
ROP-Sky: "And I think I speak for everyone when I say you are very much welcome, and we would all like to wish you good luck. I know I may be asking what a number of others have asked, but what does the TGDoD mean?"
HJP-TGDoD: "It's one of the 'titles' I have been given due to my actions in the war. It means 'The Great Dragon of Destruction'."
He was sitting in the lotus position. He grumbled at the pain in the ass it was to get into the position. The swords had been set into notches into the floor so that they were standing upright, blade downward. The seven pillars were starting to glow more brightly.
The balance of power in the time-travel ritual known as Merlin's Path was immensely delicate. The crystal pillars, while filled with a massive amount of magic, only used half of it on affecting the time magics internally. The other half was used to buffer the energies so that within there was only the needed energy. The Manastones however, were the primary 'key' to opening the 'door' to time.
If you can call one of the most energetically explosive substances known to wizarding-kind a key and the gossamer walls of time a door.
The array filled with power, filling the room with a metallic light the same color as the metal. As the circle second from the center was empowered, the Manastones started to glow with a brilliant white light.
As the magic became saturated in the array, the swords lifted from where they stood, floating in the air. The air around each blurred for a moment, and then an insubstantial copy hovered near each blade.
He felt the magics above him reach a peak, and so he set the final stage of the ritual in motion, by saying but one word, though it became distorted by the amount of magic surging in the air.
Each of the Manastones flared into light that would put the noonday sun to shame, pumping out obscene amounts of purified Mana. Harry let a grin grace his face at that thought. Though Mana was by definition raw magic, there was still the potential for impurities of one kind or another in it. He had found a way to change that.
The six swords started glowing with a pale blue light, the little mythril he had put into the metal holding the raw power better than he had dared to hope. As he could literally feel time becoming thinner in the space above him, the three swords that had substance cut through the air above him, cleaving a hole into time itself.
He felt a pull on him, and barely noticed the three immaterial copies of the blades rush through the rift above him.
A moment later there was simply a body there, the magic within keeping it functioning without it soul. Moments later, the tenuous anchors keeping the magic within the shell gave way, and it followed after the soul it had been in contact with for so very long. The body of Harry Potter dropped to the ground, dead.
Harry Potter hurtled through time, three swords filled with magic proceeding him. Around him was a shifting tunnel of sound and light, and his mind could not make heads or tails of it. It didn't matter that he couldn't, all he had to do was follow the thin golden thread in front of him.
It was his own existence through time. It didn't give details, and it didn't show when it was. He felt his magic being dragged along behind him, and wondered how much of it would be lost in the transition.
And so he waiting, the only two things he tried to keep track of was his own time thread and the speed at which he was traveling. He'd need to execute the end of his backstep through time as soon as he had slowed down enough. He wanted to have enough time once he was back where it truly matter. He wanted to make sure his past-self would realize as large a power boost as possible.
'There, I think I'm starting to lose momentum.' A few beats of what passed for time later he thought, 'I am sure of it now, I'm starting to slow.'
He waited a few more moments of non-time, and then thought, 'NOW.'
The three swords flashed into violent motion, opening a second rend in time, before they faded away. Harry braced himself before he flew back into linear time.
He landed in a heap upon and endless field of gray grass beneath a viridian sky. As he pulled himself to his feet, a gentle wind blew around him. He saw a small shape sleeping in the grass in the distance, a haze of energy the size of a van surrounding it. He took a few steps toward his past-self before he heard a feminine voice.
Harry turned toward whatever it was that spoke, cursing the fact that he was completely defenseless.
"You must be judged before you can complete what seek to do."
He found himself looking upon a woman who looked to be no older than her mid-twenties, with long wavy blonde hair that went midway down her back. Her skin was pale and seemed to glow like the moon. Her facial features seemed to harken back to the statues of the goddess of ancient Rome.
"My I presume that you are some avatar of Time, my Lady?"
She smiled softly as she stared into his eyes for several long minutes, before the smile broadened into an outright grin, and she said, "You pass, great warrior. Unlike Merlin, and many others, who sought only to fix errors of their own making, errors that came to ill even thought the choices that caused them were made with the best of intentions, you seek to prevent a disaster that you have already done your utmost to deal with. Quite frankly you, and your world, were doomed before you could ever be at fault."
A blank look crossed his face, and he nodded before saying, "Thank you, but why you are telling me this because?"
"The ritualistic spell known to you as Merlin's Path is the only example known to magic users of true time-travel. All others cause the being sent back to move along a divergent timeline. The time-traveler is, in essence, abandoning their reality for another. This one however, causes a slow overwrite of what was history from the original's perspective to what is reality from the younger one's. And in fact with the changes you made to the ritual will harden the timeline to the one fault in Merlin's Path. However it will not completely prevent it. Now go wake your younger self. There is much you have to do. You have enough time to do what you wish, so make haste, but do not rush. Good luck, great warrior."
He nodded as she seemed to dissolve into small luminous spheres of silver light. He turned around and started walking toward his younger self, muttering, "She never answered my first question..."
He knelt down by the small form of his younger self, and gently shook his shoulder and softly said, "Harry, you need to awaken."
Harry was a confused young man. He was being woken up by somebody gently pushing on his shoulder. Whenever one of his relatives would touch him to wake him up, it was far from gentle. Normally, it was just Aunt Petunia rapping at his cupboard door and screeching at him to wake up.
"Harry, you need to awaken." It sounded like some old man.
He opened his eyes and saw... 'Wait, this isn't my cupboard. Where am I?'
He shot to his feet and started staring about, panic starting to set in. His attention was brought to the man who had woken him spoke again, "Easy Harry, you are perfectly safe. I need to talk to you."
The old man had a weather beaten face, with a good many scars. He was dressed in baggy gray pants and a loose fitting dark red shirt. He had messy black hair that seemed to go every where and bright green eyes like Harry had. In fact he looked a lot like... 'Me...'
"What do you need to talk, and why is it you look like you could be my grandpa? Aunt Petunia said all my grandparents are dead."
The old man gained a small smile, and said, "Well, the answer to your question is tied into what I want to talk to you about. I know that this may seem a little far fetched, but I am you, from a little more than sixty years in the future."
Harry became wide eyed as he looked at... himself? His eyes flicked to the forehead of the man and saw... 'Where is my scar?'
Elder Harry saw the glance and chuckled ruefully, "Looking for that godforsaken scar?", Little Harry meekly nodded his head, "There is a lot I have to tell you, and some of the worst revolves around our scar. If you agree to what I am going to ask of you, we'll be getting rid of it on you too."
Little Harry drew a breath and asked, "I need you to tell me something only we would know... Then tell me what you are going to ask me."
The older man nodded and said, "Well, I need to know when it is first..."
"Sometime around Christmas, and I'm seven," Little Harry said holding up the requisite number of fingers.
"So, late December, 1987..." The old man paced back and forth for a moment, making thoughtful sounds, and then said, "Well, Mrs. Figg also knows this, but we never told anyone else. Ever. Starting a little after we turned five she started teaching us how to play the piano. Is that proof enough?"
Little Harry nodded, and said, "So,what do you want to ask me?"
"The method I used to travel back through time, it is unique among a good many ways to traverse time. Almost all other ways people use to send their minds and souls back in time result in the... lost of the earlier instance of the time-traveler." Younger Harry's eyes widened and fear and he opened his mouth, but Elder Harry plowed on, "However that is not the case with Merlin's Path. I do, however, need your consent to take up residence in your body. Eventually, when we reach the time I left from, we'll become one person, until then I'll be a voice in your head who can teach you, advise you, and if you allow it, take control from time to time."
"I just want to ask you one thing, do we ever get to have any friends?"
"Not as many as I would have wanted, but yes. Yes, we do get some friends."
"Then if it will help them, if the future is bad enough for you to travel through time, then yes. I agree."
"Then I need you to focus on the haze surrounding you, willing it to stay were it is, and then follow me," the elder instance of the Boy-Who-Lived said as he started walking away.
The younger looked around him, noticing what was around him for the first time. He closed his eyes for a moment, and then followed the elder man. He followed after the older him and said, "Where are we anyway?"
"Your mind, we are in your mind while you sleep in the real world," the elder said as he looked skyward. He grimaced and knelt down. "Put your arms around my neck, we need to move more quickly."
The younger did as he was told, and the elder started running away from where they were standing. The 'world' for lack of a better world lurched a few times, before it occurred to the younger Harry to ask, "What was that haze anyway?"
"That, my younger self, is your magic."
"You Harry, are as Hagrid said to me, are a wizard. Though with the power I ended up having, the more proper term is mage. If anything, you are going to be more powerful than I was. Before you tried to deny it, try to remember the times that you were upset or scared and things happened that you couldn't explain, that Aunt Petunia or Uncle Vernon got angry for."
The younger nodded and asked, "But where is your magic?"
The elder smiled as he knelt back to the ground and set his young self down. He then pointed at the sky. As the seven year old Harry looked skyward, and the little one's jaw dropped. It was massive solid looking fireball.
"Looks to be about the size of Castle Hogwarts. Damn, I thought it would have lost more volume."
This time he didn't even ask, he just threw Harry the Younger over his shoulder and started running again. The landscape blurred a dozen times before they stopped moving again. As they watched the mass of magic fall to the ground, younger Harry said, "Not perfect are we?"
"No where near close, and achieving perfection is impossible anyways. So it is pointless to even try."
"So why does your magic seem so very more... solid than mine?"
"That is going to be a lesson for later, but your magic will eventually be as dense as my own. Don't worry about it."
They watched as the massive mass of magic fell to the ground toward the younger instance's magic. The elder Harry spoke, "As soon as our magic starts to settle down from the merging, I am going to have to ask to take control for a few days. We are going to get away from the Dursleys, but I am going to have to act quickly. First I am going to have to forcibly calm the magic more quickly. Then there is this old man out there, who with the best of intentions is trying to protect us from some very bad people. He has spells that are watch Number Four that will alert him to the spike in magic that is going to happen. We'll never have to seem them again. After we get settled, I'll start teaching you magic."
"Okay... When we wake up, do what you have to..."
They quieted, and simply watched as the ball of magic came lower and lower. When it finally hit the ground, they both were thrown from their feet as a massive flash of light occurred. As they climbed to their feet, the light died down. In the distance there was a tumult of energy about twice the size of Number Four, there were places where the magic was a thin as young Harry's originally was, and others were it was much thicker, though no where near as dense as it was in the time-traveler's magic. They then waited for it all to calm down.
In the dark of the cupboard under the stairs, a pair of green eyes shot open and the body of a seven year old boy stood up. He held his left hand before him, palm toward his face while his right clutched at the new/old ache of the scar and muttered the word, "Tempus."
Above his palm the following appeared, '25 December, 1987, 03:21 AM'.
Harry smiled softly and said, "Happy Christmas to us." He cast a quick charm to expand the interior of his school bag, and stuffed his clothing and few other personal effects into it, after getting completely dressed. It was a bit awkward after having been out of the cupboard for so long, but what was he to do.
Looking at the door, and knowing that it was locked, he decided to forgo subtly and simply gestured at it. He was really glad that his best wandless magics were wordless, gestured combat spells. The door exploded outwards with a resounding boom, showering the hall in the splinters of the former door.
He made his way into the dark kitchen as he heard his uncle yelling out a curse ridden wondering of what exploded. Pulling out a pot and filling it with paper towels, he then lit the contents on fire using a match. Waiting for the paper to be rendered down to ash, he started looking through the twenty-four piece knife set that Aunt Petunia was ever-so proud of.
Eventually settling on the 5" chef's knife, he tucked it away in his bag, just as Vernon came lumbering into the room, and already yelling, "What in the bloody hell have you done Freak? It's the belt for all this freakishness it is, nothing is going to stop me this time!"
Harry gestured at the angry mountain of a man with out even looking at him, dangling him in midair by his left ankle, completely silenced. At least the man hadn't turned on the lights in the room. Harry sighed, and transfigured a cloth into a small drawstring bag, into which he transferred the ash he had just made.
The energies of the scar were starting to give him a headache. He'd get his hands on some sandalwood later to make a more permanent way of dealing with it, but this would hold for now. Well as soon as he got the time to put the containment circles down on the scar.
Harry turned his head to stare in the direction of the street as he felt a pulse of energy denoting an incoming portkey. "Dumbledore is awfully quick." He gestured at Vernon dropping the silencing spell and only the silencing spell, as Harry decided discretion was indeed the better part of valor, and started to sink into the shadows he had been standing in. This form of travel would leave far fewer trances than any other, and would be nigh impossible to follow.
Albus Dumbledore had been going through the end of term paperwork, when most of the devices that monitored Harry's well being exploded. The old man quickly charmed the quill he was using to become a portkey to take him to the edge of the wards at Privet Drive. As he made his way to the house, he flicked his wand out, fearing that knocking would take far too long.
As he stepped into the hall, he saw that it looked like the door to the cupboard under the stairs had... exploded outward. Vernon was hanging upside down by one of his ankles, yelling about how he would 'beat the freak to within an inch of his life'.
The Headmaster of Hogwarts paled. What kind of people had he left Harry with? As he stepped toward the angry man he glanced into the cupboard, he felt sick. There was a crib bed in there... was that where they made Harry sleep? He felt something tickle the edge of his senses, but brushed it off to examine after he had dealt with Vernon. Walking up to this poor excuse for a man, he proceeded to rather ruthlessly use Legilimency on him. Moments later, he stunned the man and left him hanging, absolutely disgusted with Vernon Dursley. He proceeded up to the Master Bedroom, he had to know what Petunia allowed what he saw happen to her own blood.
Stomping down the stairs, he had to prevent himself from taking some manner of vengeance on these people. Maybe he would take a page out of the Marauder's book... That could quite possibly be cruel. He'd think more on it later. It was really quite upsetting that Sirius had been a traitor, this never would had happened if Harry had gone with his Godfather. Black's tended to be so paranoid with their wards that even the blood wards here would have been a puppy next to a rabid wolf.
As he examined the magical energies swirling around the cupboard... It seemed like... time magics? Was it possible... Had a future version of Harry backstepped? But there was none of the energy that denoted the fact that the younger instance of Harry had been destroyed. He had heard a few rumors in tales about two souls and minds residing in the one body...
He then proceeded to examine the area of the kitchen that Harry had disappeared from. All he got was a few faint traces of shadow magics. And no telling where he had gone. Definitely lent some credence to the backstep theory.
Could this be the power he knows not...
As he walked from the house, he marveled at how those four had always made everyone look left while moving right...
Everyone had known that Sirius Black had been their secret keeper, and the spell had been performed in the utmost secrecy, and only the Marauders and Lily had been present. Had they pulled their standard tactics? Sirius's trial, or rather lack thereof, had been a complete and total sham if one looked from a perspective of justice...
He had better look into this.
Harry sat down on a bench in the park not all that far from Number Four, wrapped in warming spells. It was the middle of winter, Gringotts would not be open for until tomorrow. Strangely enough there was a goblin holiday that coincided with Christmas that resulted in the bank being closed for the day.
Walburga Black had been dead for about two years. Orion Black for even longer. Grimmauld Place would probably be deserted, and not at all fit for habitation... But the fact of the mater was that with Arcturus still alive, Sirius had probably yet to inherit anything at all from his family. Yes his mother had 'disowned' him, but he had never been cast out by his head of house.
He could go to Arcturus for sanctuary (who was surprisingly moderate for a Black) as his grandmother had been Dorea Potter (nee Black)... But that would probably severely limit him in what he could do coming under the protection of the House of Black as an underage member.
Of course he could always find a house where the family was away on holiday and squat for the thirty or so hours it would be until the bank opened.
He scratched at his scar, and muttered a few choice epithets.
'Um, big me, can I ask you something?'
'Go right ahead mini-me.'
'Why are you constantly complaining about our scar bothering you?'
'You may not notice it because it has been there for as long as you can remember, but it hurts, makes it harder to think, and is even draining off a small portion of our magic.'
He could practically see the gobsmacked look on his younger self's face. 'What is wrong with it then?'
'I've got a story to tell you as soon as I can figure where we are going to spend most of the next day...'
He resented the fact that most of the Potter 'properties' had been sealed with the death of his paternal Grandparents prior to his birth. They had raised their son in Godric's Hollow, not wanting to be in the relatively large, but rather empty, Potter Manor. It wasn't as large as some of the grander pureblood ancestral homes, but he had always wondered why his parents had retreated to the ancestral wards and added the Fidelius on top of them. Voldemort would have had to bring down the wards before he could have thrown up his own anti-portkey and apparation wards.
"Guess we're going to be squatting for a little while."
He stood up and started using a linear, short range, open ground movement magic called 'ghost step' to move along the streets of Little Whinging, casting human revealing spells on each and every single house he came across.
He eventually came to one that would suit his purpose and moved to look through the window. A short range apparation later, and he was inside without setting off any alarms. He poked around for a little bit making sure to memorize how everything looked so he could put it right before he left.
Going into one of the loos, he pulled the bag of ash from. He piles some in the palm of his hand and starts chanting under his breath in Latin. When the ash pulsed with a purple light, Harry rubbed it into the scar and the skin surrounding it a quarter in all directions from the center. He cupped the palm of a hand over the scar, and again started chanting under his breath, this time in Ancient Greek.
He carried on for ten minutes before drawing his hand away. A array of tiny runes was now over the scar, a trio of lines spiraling inward contained with a thorned circle. Harry breathed a sigh of relieve as he started to feel the constant headache being to slide away. He also felt more than a little drained. He had been making heavy use of magics today while his energies were still recovering.
'That... how come I never felt how much that hurt?'
'Because, like I said, it has been there for as long as you can remember. Do you mind if I hold off story time until the morning? I am knackered.'
'No, I could do with some more sleep too.'
'That is at least partially my fault. I overdid it with the amount of magic I did.'
'It was wicked though. Are you going to teach me how to do that?'
'Eventually. There are somethings I am going to leave until school, or until you have been taught certain things in school.'
The reply had a certain amount of sullenness to it, 'Okay...'
Blanketing the room he had chosen to sleep in warming charms, he climbed under the covers, relinquished control of his younger self's body, and went to sleep until sometime around noon.
Dumbledore stepped off the ferry onto the dock of Azkaban Isle. As Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot he had the right to inspect the Isle and prison whenever he chose. That he was using this as a chance to question Sirius Black under Veritaserum. As he made his way through the fortress-prison he made a mental note to submit and actual report for this 'inspection'. Everyone was doing quite a good job for it being Christmas.
He entered the highest security section of the prison. Or in other words, the part guarded entirely by Dementors rather than humans. Well at least it would be rather easy to question Sirius. Just past his cousin Bellatrix's cell, he came to one Sirius Black.
The man looked more emaciated and unwashed than even the worst vagrant, but being in a prison that harkened back to how Victorian England would treat their criminals, if they were given soul-sucking emotivores, would do that to a man.
"Sirius, can you hear me?"
The man sounded perfectly sane when he said, "Happy Christmas, Professor. Doing some charity work visiting the worst of the worst?"
"I need to ask you a question," the old man said as he tossed a vial of what looked like water at Black.
One potion does later, Albus asked, "Were you ever the Secret Keeper for the Potters?"
Sirius voice was distant and even as he replied, "No."
Another vial was tossed to the Black as he said, "I am going to push for a trail. Since Harry will be rejoining our world in less than four years, I am going to make it seem like I want something more permanent done to a traitor who almost committed genocide of an Great House... Likely pushing for the Kiss or Veil..."
But this time, Sirius had taken the antidote and said, "But nothing like that can be done without a trial, which I never got."
"Exactly. I think I shall have you out before the year is out."
"What brought this change on?"
"I had to pay a visit to where Harry resided this morning..."
"I forgot who was after Alice and Frank on the will."
"He never went to anyone on the will..."
A blank look came across Sirius's face as he thought about that. "Please tell me you didn't..."
"I can't answer that without you being clearer."
"Don't play games old man, you know that I was asking that you didn't place Harry with Petunia Dursley!"
The old man looked properly shamefaced, and did not reply.
Sirius advanced on the bars of his cell as he spoke, "For all the love Lily held for her sister, Petunia hated Lily's guts. And the man she married... manaphobic isn't the proper word because rather than fear magic, he hates it with a passion. I thought he may very well be a second generation squib from one of the darker pureblood families. What happened to Harry?"
"I am not entirely sure Sirius, but I know that for now I do not believe him hurt."
"He is missing?"
"I don't know. If Harry is exactly where he means to be, how can he be missing?"
"I told you to stop playing games, old man!"
More than a little off put by the reaction of Sirius, Dumbledore decided to stop talking in circles, a truly rare occurrence with him. Besides which, it would be good practice for when he apologized to Minerva and tell her she told him so. So, he quickly laid out his theory that Harry was now playing host to a second him from a future so bleak that it had necessitated what was probably a spell of epic proportions.
Sirius was deathly silent for a few minutes, "So how are we going to find him?"
Dumbledore smiled at that question and shared a rare bit of knowledge with Sirius.
Harry woke up. In a bed. He was confused for a few moments before he events of the night before came crashing down on him. He started to panic, hoping the older him was still there.
He heard the mental equivalent of a sleepy grunt.
He breathed a sigh of relief, and thought, 'I'm hungry but you said something about leaving everything right where it is?'
'Alright, alright, I'm up, I'm up. Just get everything out that you are going to use, all measured out then prod me or something...'
A breakfast whose ingredients were duplicated with a quick charm (the elder Harry mentioned in passing that it halved the nutritional value of what was being doubled, but that he had plans to fix the serious malnutrition Harry was going through, so a little more wouldn't hurt in the long run), the Harry from the future started telling the younger Harry about the past that his 'relatives' were either ignorant of or outright lied about.
He went into detail about the Blood War and its major players, while answering any questions that his younger self may have had about the subject. About how Voldemort had eventually started hunting Harry's parents for a reason that would be told to him when he was older. About how their parents were betrayed by a close friend, Peter Pettigrew. He explained about Voldemort's attempt to kill Harry after murdering his parents, and how the elder Harry had eventually discovered an ancient ritual that, when both parents sacrificed themselves to protect their child, how the sum of their magics would spring to the defense of their offspring one last time. How Dumbledore, being a rather overly kind and forgiving man, one who could not help but believe the best in people, and having the theory that there was some manner of blood magic protection on him from his mother's sacrifice, placed Harry with the only living relative of his mother's family. He explained how Sirius Black, their godfather, went a bit spare, attempted to hunt down the traitor, and gotten himself sent to prison without a trial when everyone seemed to know he was the Secret Keeper.
After that, the younger Harry was feeling more than a little drained and asked if the elder wouldn't mind taking a nap. The elder was still adjusting to the fact that he had finally accomplished something other than raiding, and so felt that he could use some more rest.
Refreshed and ready to do something, Harry the elder decided it was time to start teaching the younger about magic.
'Attend, my young fellow, for I have decided that until we can get well and truly settled, I am going to be spending our free time teaching you the basics about magic. We're going to start with a lecture, and then I'll give a choice on what to do.'
He could practically feel the glee coming from his littler self, and so continued, 'For the most part witches and wizards use wands to focus their magic into a readily usable form. But, as I am sure you have noticed, I have yet to even touch a wand. That is because anything that can be done with a wand, and a great many that cannot, can be done wandlessly.
'Now, most of British magical community, a great deal of Europe, and a sizable chunk of the rest of the world believe that the ability to use magic wandlessly is a rare, inborn talent. They are wrong. And it is that belief that makes it so very difficult for them to learn wandless magics. Because belief is the primary key. You have to believe that you can do the magics without a wand, and then it is just a matter of being able to call forth your magic and compose in the manner of the spell you want.
'Now there are a few secondary things which effect how good a person can be at wandless magics, those being power and focus. On the subject of the first we have in spades, the second is something that can be easily developed over time.
'Now, I'm not going to teach you all that many standard magics, just a handful of first year charms and transfigurations. We're going to focus on those until you can cast them quickly and reliably, letting you get a feel for your magic. And then we'll move on to the more fun and... esoteric... stuff.'
Future Harry could almost mentally see the 'eyes' of the younger Harry practically lit up with excitement as he asked, 'Define... stuff!'
'Well there is one particular field of magic that I am going to teach you that will awe a great many people, but I want that to be a surprise. I'll be teaching you all the magical means that I know to get around, including that little method I used earlier, the ghost step. In case you are wondering, the thing I did with shadows will also be taught, but that goes with an entire branch of magics called, plainly enough, shadow magics. Elemental magics is something else that I am going to teach you. Pillars of fire, blades of wind, spears of earth, shields of water, that kind of stuff.
'Most of this I am going to teach by 'demonstrating' with me in control and then ceding that control back to you. I am going to give you some history and general information that you will probably find extremely useful, along with my vocabulary. I just need your permission to put the knowledge into your mind.'
The younger one was quite for a few moments, before the said, 'Yes.'
Concentrating for a few moments, the time-traveler gathered together all of the carefully categorized information that he was going to be giving his younger self, which included, but was not limited to, the relatively complete history of the non-magical world, large swaths of history for the magical world (which if compared side-by-side would be an entertaining study/game of spot the differences), what he had managed to dig up about social etiquette in both worlds, the seven languages that the elder Harry spoke with complete fluency, the dozen and a half that he could speak with conversational fluency, and the various dead languages that he knew for spell casting.
'Bloody hell! Did you just put a small library in my head?'
An interesting side effect of two minds sharing one brain was that while the Harry from the future already had a fully developed and defended mindscape, the younger one had spontaneously developed his own.
While the elder Harry had been going about his business, the younger had been exploring the rat's warren of cramped hallways and closets that his own mind had become. The fact was that while he disliked be relegated to the cupboard under the stairs, the fact was that it was his cupboard, it was where, forced or not, he spent most of his time, and he had generally come to feel more at ease in small spaces.
When his older self had dropped the knowledge into his mind, the walls of that represented it morphed into bookshelves stuffed to the brim with books of all shapes, sizes, and colors.\
The young boy grunted distractedly as he read the titles on the bindings.
'Are you going to take some time to see what I gave you?'
'We're going to work on your ability to store and recall information later, and we do need to go over what I am going to be guiding you through that is non-magical.'
The only reply was an extremely distracted, 'Okay.'
With his past self driven into distraction with a metric crap-ton of knowledge, the future Harry went to the bag of stuff he had, gently pulled out the knife he had pilfered from the Dursleys, and then proceeded to dump the clothing, and few other possessions, on the floor.
He focused on the knife first, he would need a ritual blade until he managed to get his hands on an actual athame. Or in the worst case, had one made. He muttered to himself. He was great at wandless combat, passable at wandless charms, but absolutely pants at wandless transfiguration. He was glad that all he had planned was like to like transfiguration.
Going slowly and carefully, he changed it from its current form to something that roughly resembled a poniard, though the transition from the flat of the blade to the edge was sudden, leaving a rather large flat area that he would later inscribe with runes. He altered the handle to something that would be more comfortable on the now dagger. The edged weapon was still and edged weapon, just different. He muttered a few quick etching charms to plant pain numbing and quick healing to the dagger so that any wounds caused by it would be less of a hassle.
Digging through the clothes for something that was unsalvageable, he used the majority of a rather disgusting shirt (he used three or four separate cleaning charms on it first, before he extended the thought (and the spells) to include the entire pile) to make a wrist sweatband. Nodding at his work, he started piecing together the rune arrays that would allow anchor a small pocket dimension to the aforementioned wristband.
And he could then store his shiny new dagger in that space.
A quick color change spell to 'inscribe' the array into the cloth, and his dagger was nice and safe. It was keyed to come out of storage when he spoke the Latin phrase meaning 'ritual knife'.
He then sat down and started working on making the clothing he had actually fit him, while changing them so they were all (asking his younger self's opinion on what to pick) dark colors. He kept the pants to blacks and grays, while making the shirts various colors. He sacrificed a few of the more oversized things to make himself one pair of plain light gray robes and, along with his jacket, a pure white cloak. He wasn't entirely sure what the younger Harry wanted the cloak to be that color, but he really didn't mind. He layered the cloak in charms that would make it even more effective at keeping him warm and comfortable in the weather than his coat.
He spent the next could of hours either meditating, or doing some stretching.
After dinner, they finally moved on to a practical lesson in magic. It was a fairly simple charm that you had to be cursed to have it fail spectacularly. The ever useful light charm, lumos. He demonstrated it, and the counter a few times, enunciating the incantations, while explaining the theory and process behind, and then let his younger self go wild with it.
As the younger learned with much vigor, elder ruminated on what order he would teach various skills to his past self. It was a fair certainty that after the boy had gotten comfortable with his magic, they would probably focus primarily on Manacraft. He'd throw in new things here and there to keep his student interested. But it would always come back to Manacraft until his student had a good enough grounding in the subject.
Those would probably be some interesting lessons. He had been unintentionally supplementing his spells with Mana of one form or another for at least a decade before he had, quite literally, stumbled over the some of the most basic texts about it.
As he started laying out the exact order he'd go about teaching his younger self how to hand raw magic, he made a note to get a hold of some earplugs.
About an hour later, he turned his attention back to what his younger self was doing, and saw that at least a dozen orbs of light, of varying color, size, and intensity were floating around the room. It still took him a good ten seconds to perform the spell or the counter, and ever fourth or fifth time the kid performed it the spell would fizzle and fail completely, but it was a damn good start.
Grumbling in a generally unpleasant manner, Harry (the older) pulled on some of the clothing he had transfigured yesterday before throwing on the robe and the cloak on top of it. It was about noon, and the only reason that hadn't left for Gringotts yet was the fact that one of them had decided it would be a good thing to sleep in.
The problem was that neither of them could figure out which one it had been.
He sigh discontentedly as he wrapped himself in a disillusionment charm layered with a notice-me-not charm, before he apparated to an alley off of Charing Cross Road. He made his way quickly to the Leaky Cauldron, making sure the hood of his cloak covering his head. And just to be save, he exerted a small amount of shadow magics to obscure his face from anyone who took the time to look.
As he walked through the Leaky Cauldron, he explained to his younger self how this place served as the bridge between the wizarding shopping district and the non-magical world, especially for the first generation witches and wizards. As he made his way through the back, he idly noted he was catching some attention, but it wasn't often you saw someone the size of a child in a pure white cloak moving with purpose and certainty.
Tapping the proper brick behind the pub, and waiting for the portal into the Alley to open, he started a short lecture on goblins.
'One of the languages you should know now is Gh'obal De'guk. That is how the name of the goblin language is pronounced properly. Do not let any idiots convince you that it is pronounced Gobbledegook. If it weren't for the countless treaties, any goblin worth the name would kill you for butchering the name of their native tongue. Speak it whenever possible when dealing with the goblins, it won't earn you their respect, but they will be less inclined to hate your guts.
'When greeting a goblin, the first thing out of your mouth should be some manner of saying wishing them increased wealth. There isn't really any set form, but make it as impressive as you can. The goblin will then, hopefully, reply with a statement about you being victorious in battle. At the end of the conversation, comment about them bringing their foes to a brutal death, and they will give you a line about hoping that your fortunes will grow. In between, be direct and to the point. Time is money. You might want to take the time to go over the information I've given you on goblins. Now I have to deal with some creatures whose past times include torture and clan wars.'
He finished his little impromptu lecture as he made his way past the outer doors of Gringotts. Throwing back his hood before he stepped through the inner doors, he noted that the floor of the bank was mostly devoid of humans. He made his way to the leftmost tellers booth, to which there was no queue, thankfully. He called his knife forth for a moment and slashed his left palm. Cupping his hand so that blood would pool, he quickly double checked what he was about to do.
As he came closer, he conjured a stepladder with a twitch of his right hand, pushing his wandless transfigurations to their limits. He had two thoughts, the first being, 'I hope it holds,' while the latter was, 'I hate being short.'
He hopped up the stepladder, grabbing a blank piece of parchment as the Senior Teller looked at him like something he had scrapped off his boot. Harry gave him a feral grin that showed lots of teeth as he dipped his right index finger in the blood on his left hand, and scratched out three quick goblin runes with the bloodied finger.
As he spun the parchment so that the goblin could read what he wrote, he continued grinning the awful smile that seemed to scream, 'I know you're a predator, but I'm a bigger one'. He also idly translated the runes he had just drew.
'Against time's flow.'
The goblin glared at him and said, "You expect me to believe this?"
Harry's face dropped into an emotionless stone mask as he growled out, in perfect Gh'obal De'guk, "If violence was not forbidden within the above ground levels of Gringotts, I'd cook your ass with Manafire and pray that someone more intelligent gets your job."
The little monster dropped into his native tongue and repeating, "And I said, you expect me to believe this?"
"Then use the blood as a sample to confirm my identity. The start drawing up the SJ-304s for the emancipation of a minor sole surviving heir to an ancient and noble house. After that, you can start filling out the WK-712s to close out every last single Potter vault. Either way, I get what I want."
The goblin froze, exactly as Harry expected him to. If what he knew was correct, the Potter family was about the seventh largest active depositor at the bank. This little exchange was more than expected by, it annoyed him to have to waste time.
"Well, are you just going to stand there like some clanless bastard with no spine, or are you going to make a decision?"
The little savage ran off to start setting things into motion, so Harry vanished the parchment with his blood and the blood in his palm. The cut on his hand had already scabbed over, and would probably heal long before he finished his business here, probably before it was even truly started. Humming softly to himself, he waited, wishing he had brought something to read.
Ten minutes later, the Senior Teller came back and said, "Follow me, Bank Director Ragnok wishes to speak with you."
Harry simply nodded, and followed the goblin into the back of the bank. He idly noted the positions of the guards he walked past, he silently wondered what had kicked this up the chain of command so fast. He had expected that he would have to make at least a dozen more threats to middle management before he managed to get in to see the big cheese.
'So is that how you interact with goblins?'
'Not just no, but hell no. At least not how any wizard is supposed to. I had the... pleasure of fighting alongside a goblin platoon for the better part of three years. That is how goblins act around other goblins in... tense... social situations. You have to remember, goblin's lives revolve around violence and pain. It is part of the reason they enjoy making wizards wade through the bureaucracy of Gringotts. By the time the last member of that platoon died, they thought that I was the early avatar of their god of destruction. Part of it was due to the sheer amount of damage I could cause, part was from how quickly goblin I picked up anything having to do with goblin culture.'
The conversation ended as Harry followed the Teller along a plush red carpet that ran down the middle of a long hallway past at least a dozen guards. As they reached the very large doors at the end of the hallway the Senior Teller spoke to the guard closest to the door, who was armed with a thick hafted spear.
"Lord Ragnok has expressed a desire to speak with this human."
The guard nodded shortly and rammed the butt of his spear against the stone beside the carpet three times. Half a minute later the doors swung open outwards, showing that despite the fact the doors were thirteen feet tall, the opening behind them was only about six and a half feet high.
A voice called out, "Please come into my office Mister Potter."
As he entered the comfortably proportioned and lavishly decorated office, with a beautiful looking stone desk, Harry kept his face relatively blank. He didn't need to be careful, per se, but he really did not want to stick his foot in his mouth. Stopping by a chair in front of the desk, Harry gave the older looking goblin seated behind it a short bow, before he spoke once more in the goblin tongue, "May you always sleep upon a fresh mountain of gold, Lord Ragnok."
The Director of Gringotts broke into a massive predatorial grin when he replied, "And may the armies of your enemies be driven before your wrath, Mister Potter. Take a seat."
As Harry dropped into the chair, keeping his hand on a crystal set in the left arm, he spoke in a (as much as he could manage in that particular tongue) lackadaisical tone, "Been there, done that. I was hoping with this backstep that I would have to commit any acts of magic that would earn me some rather pretentious names. So what do you wish to discuss? I'll be honest with you, I expected to have to bully some bureaucrats before I could get the chance to speak with you."
"Were you serious about killing one of my Senior Tellers with Manafire?"
"If you mean serious in that I was going to do it? No. I have no interest in forfeiting my familial vaults. If you meant to ask if I was capable of it? Yes. I still need to get my magic back into hand, but I think I could call forth enough to kill one goblin."
The goblin's grin had faltered as he replied, "You do know that Manafire is almost as destructive as Fiendfyre?"
Harry replied by first grinning, showing every last possible tooth, and said, "Mine's worse."
"You know, it is very hard to pull of the alpha predator act when you are a cute, for a human, little, malnourished child."
"I know, it is absolutely horrid."
"Just what class of temporal incursion did you pull?"
"More than fifty years, less than a hundred, prior self still intact... I'm not even what I pulled had ever been classified. When temporal incursions were theoretically laid out, they were almost positive that any major shift was accompanied by the overwriting of the younger instance of the time-traveler."
"Do you know that sometime during the reign of every bank manager, they make a note to pass to the ones who will follow to find out if the Potters are trying to be difficult, or if they have a tendency to be the avatars for the various gods of chaos?"
"Nope. But after spending three years fighting on the same side as the 101st company of the Razorclaws, they were fairly certain that I was the avatar for Kad'var'esh."
"How did you manage to fight alongside a company of those berserkers?"
"They got trapped above ground when the North American clans sealed themselves off from the surface."
Ragnok reached into his desk and tossed an envelop to Harry. "To answer the question you alluded to, Albus Dumbledore called in one of the favors I owed him to pass a letter to the next person to invoke the services the bank provides for its top depositors who traverse the waters of time. The fact that you came in not two hour later, and that it was addressed to someone who should only be seven years old... Well, it made me curious."
Harry grunted, and said, "I never got to interact with the man as anything more than seemingly favored student to Headmaster, but damn is he good. Do you mind if we switch to English, my larynx is starting to hurt."
Ragnok switched back to his flawless English and said, "Not at all, I'm surprised you lasted as long as you did. So how do you think he found out?"
"The devices he used to monitor my well being probably went haywire when I 'landed', and he was at my place of residence with minutes of my arrival. He probably sensed the residual magics."
"That settles my curiosity. So what can Gringotts do for one of its most valued customers?"
"I need a full accounting of all Potter vaults, the keystones so that I can pass though the sealed wards around all of the Potter properties, a lineage trace to confirm a few theories of mine, the key to my trust vault, the name of the current manager of my family's accounts, and a list of anyone ever suspected by the Gringotts Intelligence branch of ever having taken the Dark Mark. In return I will inform you that the Lestranges' placed a goblin artifact that has been tainted with dark soul magics in their vault. I will go further to say that this artifact is in fact the cup that was made for Helga Hufflepuff and that I will waive the finder's fee for bringing this to the bank's attention."
As Harry made his way out of the bank a little under an hour later, he thought, 'Well begun is half done.'
A/N2: Here ends the first of my test runs/bunny exorcisms. If you enjoyed this one, read the other two, and vote for your favorite in the poll located at my author page!