Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter and its characters. Plots mine though. Any characters or scenes that may remind you of a few certain novels is either not intentional or may be inspired by these.
Chapter 1: The Hunter Ascends
"Sirius! No!" Harry screamed, waking up abruptly after seeing his Godfather fall through the veil. In a irritated voice, he muttered "Just a nightmare. Way to go Voldemort, you sick bastard." Brushing the cold sweat off his head, he stood up and looked out the window. "How do I kill that dark tosser? I'm just one boy who had way too much luck and a bit of help from people who end up hurt because of me. He's got 50 years of experience, power in spades, the heir of Slytherin and he resurrected himself."
With much pondering, he decided to pick up the Standard Book of Spells V and vowed to drive himself harder in his studies to destroy Voldemort once and for all.
The next few days moved like a blur, from reading up on new dueling books he's just ordered, chores which he used to build up his leaner frame, eating and studying. Of course the letters came but he decided to keep the responses short for now in case the letter gets intercepted. Hermione kept badgering him about assignments, something he already done. Ron on the other hand, tried his best to keep him updated with what was happening around the Wizarding world.
The spells from some books weren't as helpful, but two major things kept coming up as a central theme. To use the terrain effectively and to never underestimate the power of simple spells. Why conjure and banish knives when an engorgement spell on the enemy's head can kill just as effectively. He thought as he wondered how he could put the concept to use, then it came to him just as he looked inside his room. The clutter, from his clothes to the bookshelves and bed, could be banished, summoned and transfigured against an attacker, buying him time to either continue the assault or retreat. While he pondered on the thoughts of retreat, a soft knock was heard on the other side of the door.
Opening it, he saw Dudley holding a tray with biscuits and tea, saying "I'd like to talk to you before mom and dad come home." Letting his cousin in, he placed the biscuits and tea on an empty counter in his room. At first, it started out awkwardly, before Dudley broke the silence. "Harry, I'm…" feeling nervous, his cousin cleared his throat and continued "I'm sorry for the rough years I've given you. Having grown up with my parents seeing you as the devil himself brought me to do so. But even when I've treated you like shit, you saved me from those…" an involuntary shiver came over Dudley when he remembered the coldness. "Dementors. I've been raised up thinking your kind were of the worst sort, but you still saved me that day. Why?"
Harry paused, hiding his shock at his cousin's apology, but composing himself, he replied "One of my friends called it my 'people-saving thing.' But personally, I just can't bear having people die around me and because of me. Especially since the bastard who killed my parents came back to life. That's why there is a war going on in our side of things and all those mysterious deaths you see in the newspapers are happening."
"Then it looks like the right time to help you, to pay you back at least for saving my life. I can't convince my folks to treat you any better, there's a lot of water under the bridge there. But what I can do is teach you something I've prided myself in. I'm teaching you how to brawl. You never know when you'd have to beat someone up to get to your wand." Dudley offered, his eyes fixed into Harry's and his hand outstretched. A moment passed and Harry shook his hand and said "Thank you, Dudley."
"Big D, where did you find this bloke? His reflexes and power for his scrawny frame is unbelievable. I've never seen anything like this before. He'd give those bastards at the other gym a sound beating." William, Dudley's boxing trainer remarked, while seeing Harry do his rounds with the punching bag. The time with him training with the mitts was something he never forgot too. Will was still feeling the hurt in his arms after Harry showed him how natural he was at hand-eye coordination.
"Bill, what can I say? He's my cousin, fighting is in our blood. He also goes to St. Brutus too, so he's tougher than he looks." Dudley responded with pride, seeing his cousin hit the punching bag viciously. 'He'd give me a run for my money after a month'He thought to himself as he could have sworn he saw a spark of magic every five to ten punches. 'Scratch that, he'd give me a good fight today.'
The almost daily training regiment coming from boxing occupied Harry's days when he's out of the house. And today he was surprising even himself as even his magic was compensating and catching up with his physical build up, feeling it especially when he imagined Voldemort's face as the punching bag and how it won't be expected by any of his enemies.
Convincing Slughorn wasn't the most peculiar thing about that night with Dumbledore, it was the worn down book the Headmaster gave him. "One more gift from your father's treasured items. He asked me to give it to you if he passed away before you became 16." The book glowed softly in Harry's hands and Dumbledore continued "From James' description, it's the book of the Ancient House of Potter, your Family's history. I myself could not open it, enchantments and runic sequences so complex and ancient that I wouldn't dare to do so. Harry, put your faith into your friends and they will help you every step of the way."
They continued to walk towards the Burrow and once Molly had greeted the two, Albus excused himself, expressing his regret for missing Molly's beef stew before apparating away.
After a typical homey dinner with the Weasleys, the reunited Golden Trio marched up Ron's room and closed the door behind them. Ron then said something that had been on his mind ever since Harry came. "What in Merlin's name happened during your time with the muggles? There seems to be a lot that changed for a short amount of time." From there, Harry told them all about his prizefighting, his new drive for magical studies and just as he was about to tell them about the prophecy, he finally noticed Hermione was staring intently at Harry.
"Mione, anything wrong?" Harry asked, looking back at Hermione.
She was still out of it for a couple more moments, before replying "No… No n-n-nothing's wrong, Harry. I was just um… Wow." She blushed furiously at having those thoughts about her best friend. It was something Ginny pointed out at dinner. 'In Ginny's words, a greek god that came down to earth and decided to eat beef stew at our very house.'She thought, seeing how her bestfriend looked easier on the eyes tonight.
The two guys looked at each other for a bit then laughed good-naturedly. Ron said "Harry, the lady doth protest too much methinks." Silence passed as they keenly looked at each other before bursting out laughing their hearts out, after Ron got smacked hard in the arm by Hermione.
Composing herself, Hermione glared at her two bestfriends for laughing at her. Only then did Harry decide to get serious and tell them about the prophecy and what happened in the Headmaster's office.
"In a nutshell, after I blasted some of his artifacts, I learned that I am the only one who can kill Voldemort because he chose me instead of Neville." Pointing to his scar "I told you this because you deserve to know it and why we're going to be targets in this coming war. And now, I must trust you with another secret." He took out the book from his right pocket and placed it on the bedside table.
Hermione looked in awe at the book and remarked "It's your family's heir book. I've only read them in passing but I've never seen one in my life. "Ron smiled and added "You could have asked me about it Hermione, all older wizarding families have one. Its where we got to know that we have an uncle Perseus whom they don't really want to talk about much or where Ginny learned and mastered her Bat Bogey Hex."
Harry opened the book and the name in front of the book changed from James Potter to Harry Potter.
If you happen to read this without me or Lilyflower, I'm afraid that damned prophecy took us from you. I'm sorry I couldn't make it to be with you, son. I know that I would have made a great last stand and Sirius would have killed Peter. But should Sirius not also be with you, that means that my worst fear had come to past and apologize more for putting you with Lily's horrible sister. Whatever happened up to this day, I know deep inside that our family's resiliency against adversity and dark lords will pull you through.
This is our Family History, written only by the head of house Potter and to be passed down only for the heirs of our ancient house. This book contains all our triumphs and failures, and maybe one day, you may find a way to defeat that dark tosser back to the hell hole in which he should belong. I should also tell you now that we are a family of Hunters, or in other words, Vampire Slayers or Protectors of the Night. We have been for hundreds of years and at this time, will be experiencing significant physical and magical changes, making you stronger and faster. You won't be invincible, but it helped me pull those pranks that I don't think I'd have the power to pull off without them. Ask Professor McGonnagal about the old Slytherin owl incident, where a small statue of Athena's owl found its way into the Slytherin dorms, multiplied everytime someone aimed a spell at it and sung I'm a little teapot in Snape's voice. Those were the days, but I digress.
But then, when your mother reciprocated my love for her, I decided to refuse being a hunter. It was a first in two hundred years, because I didn't want Lily or you to have Vampires to worry about, but we still hit a jackpot with Lord Moldyshorts either way. At the end of the day, something your mother told me comes to mind. 'It is your decision, your choice if you want to be a Hunter full-time or continue to be the same great wizard I know you are. I'll always be with you.' And Harry, we are always with you.
I'm proud of you, Prongslet!
The next few days were filled with bad news from the Daily Prophet, Harry's training and an occasional quick game of quidditch with Ginny and Ron against Harry and Hermione. All his extra time became devoted to learning a new spell, teaching everyone who was there about different things he learned, shadow boxing and spell dodging. At first it was Ron, then it became Hermione and Ron, up to the time Ron, Hermione, Ginny, the twins and Bill when he could spare sometime to fire stinging hexes at him.
"They wouldn't stand a chance at Quidditch with your reflexes, Harry!" Ron declared, enjoying a good laugh while walking back to the Burrow. But beneath all the laughter, Harry's dedication at beating Voldemort was fueled by the news that hit all of them very closely the other day. He remembered it quite vividly and again, the memory came back haunting him with a vengeance.
Three days after Harry arrived at the Burrow, the Daily Prophet arrived with the Headline "Lovegood rook destroyed" The picture showed a stone house gutted from the inside out, pieces of the magical printing press scattered around the grounds. As Harry read the article, his rage and guilt at Luna getting caught so early in the crossfire was visible in his face. The whole table was silent and their sorrow evident. Hermione broke the silence by standing up and wrapping her arms around Harry, a tear on her eye for someone she grew fond of for all her quirky gestures but intense loyalty. Ron likewise came and placed a hand on Harry's shoulder, looking into his eyes that told volumes of how he wanted to hurt Voldemort for harming Luna, then read the article some more before saying "They've found her father but not her. Her trunk and books are missing, she could have fled…"
Harry shook his head and said "This now made our mission more urgent." 'This is war and losses are inevitable. But by making myself stronger and helping everyone become stronger, we can end this war sooner.'
"We're all with you Harry." Ginny remarked with determination and the twins nodded their faces resolute. 'For everyone lost in this war.' That was the thoughts lingering from everyone as Trio started making plans with Ginny and the Twins pitched in how Harry could help while he was here in the Burrow.
*end of flashback*
The drive to improve drastically impressed everyone in the Burrow, which reinforced Hermione's belief that Harry just needed to focus harder. 'But even I think he needs to take a break now.' She told herself.
Hermione came to Harry who was practicing farther away from the Burrow where they played quidditch. After observing that he was beginning to lose his patience with learning a variation of the Incarcerous spell, Hermione took the heirbook and tapped Harry on the shoulder, handing him the book. "I think you need a break and read up on your Family story Harry. It's the one thing that keeps me rested when I'm in the mundane world." He looked at Hermione with a bit of irritation and retorted "Are you serious Hermione? I have to catch up and drive myself harder. Voldemort has 50 years of experience in the darkest of magics and I doubt my luck would hold or he'd underestimate me this time."
She gave him the hardest glare she could give and she replied "I'm your bestfriend Harry and coming from me, I know you need to take a break. The Heirbook could give you an edge in the centuries of knowledge your family has handed down to you."
Harry saw the logic of it and decided to relent. He hadn't bothered to read the book since he got it and maybe it was time to take a peek. At the second page of the book, he saw the Family tree and to his surprise and sorrow, that he was the last of the Potters. He could see the names of everyone in the family and decided to look at it later. At the bottom of the page, a short note written in his father's handwriting simply said:
The cloak has our sword – James
Harry took his cloak and reached in a pocket he didn't know existed. He then felt something solid but light in his hand, just like the time he pulled Gryffindor's sword from the Sorting Hat. Pulling it out, he saw that it was an English broadsword with the family coat of arms visible at the guard. Hermione rushed to Harry's side to inspect the sword, at the same time Ron just came, about to call them to lunch. Ron was shocked at seeing a silver sword with Harry. "Mythril silver…" Ron muttered, removing one of the question Hermione has in her mind before she added "Nearly indestructible, so many runes… A runemaster's work!" She almost fainted from the intricate runework that was the stuff of stories from Professor Babbling.
All the while, Harry ignored the reactions of his two bestfriends as he was reading about the sword on the third page.
The sword is the Runemaster and Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne's finest master work, known only to us as Excelsior. Excelsior is only given to you, the head of Potter Clan. It was created after the first Dracula's reign of terror, where Aegis Lux was destroyed. The Dwarves of the French Alps, mourning the loss of one of the second Dwarven Lord's master works decided to work with the Emperor to create Excelsior. The sword can be used like a wand since it has a magical core, never revealed to us. Excelsior is made of Mythril Silver, cannot be taken away from us forcibly and lastly, gives us the means in which to carry our mission, which is to protect the innocent from evil.
Taking a seat on the bench away from prying eyes, Harry hid the sword inside the cloak again and knew that his bestfriends would keep his secret to their grave. Without warning, he became unconscious and a soft blue light lit up on his right arm. The wind swirled forcefully around him, forcing Hermione and Ron to look in awe and horror at what was happening to their friend.
I swear unto thee,
Sun, Moon and Stars,
That I, Last son of the Potters
Accept the duty of my forefathers
Hunter of the Night
Avatar of the Light
And their lords, the blood gods of lore
Impartial protector and judge of Man
From time before, time present and time's end.
A magical tattoo appeared on Harry's right bicep. The tattoo was the image of a shield with the sun behind it, a sword in front of the shield, small Celtic runes which was the same as the ones on Excelsior.
The wind died down and Harry was left on the grass, slowly going back to consciousness. "Harry, that was wicked!" Ron exclaimed while helping his friend up once more, instead of feeling the jealousy he usually does, he felt pride to help his best friend. The Hunters were held in high regard from the stories his mother had told him and in his secret study of magical warfare, the Hunters were instrumental in the wars against dark lords and ladies.
'Seems that Hermione finally got to Ron then…'Harry told himself, surprised that Ron did not get into a jealous fit that he used to. 'Hermione told me before that she had a nice long chat with Ron and finally got to the root of his problem. Having his older siblings do brilliant things and Ginny being the youngest and only girl, he feels pressured to have the attention of his parents. But since he doesn't really have anyone to talk to, he tends to say things bluntly that ends up sounding very wrong. So Hermione decided to help him by listening to him spill his heart out without retorting and making him describe his past to connect it to the present. She keeps blurting out something about psychoanalysis but I can't make heads or tails about it.'
"I'm going to warn both of you that being with me is dangerous enough without me being a hunter." Harry stated, looking down on the floor, feeling the weight of his task even more. He remembered the deaths during the war, especially Sirius and even his own parents. "Will you stay with me, together till the very end?" Harry held out his right hand and his two best friends placed theirs on top of his.
Hermione and Ron looked at him with incredulous looks and shook their heads "We're already in by association alone Harry." Hermione started before Ron added "So we're in it together till the very end. "
At that very moment, seeing his bestfriends loyalty, Harry remembered Luna at the Department of Mysteries.
'At the Dumbledore's Army, she seems like her head is up in the clouds, absently flying around like a butterfly. But now, she's holding her own against Voldemort's finest. There's got to be more than the Luna I've talked to with the threstrals.' Harry thought as he saw Luna fighting in the Department of Mysteries. From that moment on, he decided that this year, he'd like to know that Luna, the same Luna that was a kindred soul with the threstrals and someone who understood him perfectly, no matter how bonkers she seemed to be from first glance.
*end of flashback
'And I'll never get that chance again,' he told himself, blinking away the sorrow and renewing his focus to defeat Voldemort once and for all.