Chapter 1

Paradise, Nevada, 4:00 AM

In the bedroom of a medium-sized apartment, an annoyingly loud and insistent ringing broke the dark silence of the pre-dawn hours. It took less than two seconds for the sound to change to something that sounded suspiciously like an alarmed squawk before the offending object met the far wall with a resounding crash.

With a reluctant groan, a mane of dark hair emerged from somewhere beneath the covers and stumbled towards the bathroom, seemingly taking no notice when his alarm clock started reassembling itself before flying back to the bedside table were it had originally resided. This may have had something to do with the fact that such a sight was a daily occurrence. Or perhaps the fact that the owner of said object had seen far more impossible things in the world to be astonished by such a little thing as a self-repairing clock. Especially since he himself had enchanted it to do just that when his best friend, Hermione, had demonstrated how it worked when she'd given it to him as a going away present. He'd known even before using it that something that seemed specifically designed to scare him awake wasn't going to survive long.

Mad-Eye's training during the war insured that.

Twenty minutes after his rude awakening, the young magic-user glided out of the bathroom towards the kitchen, toweling the excess water out of his mane despite knowing he'd need to use a drying charm to ever get it fully dry, even in the arid environ of Nevada, drastically different than the constantly wet Europe he'd grown up in. As he passed through, navigating by memory alone, face entirely covered with towel and wet hair, the TV turned itself onto the news, the newspaper flew through the mail slot to the table, and two pots of water filled themselves and settled onto the stove to begin heating, one for his tea, the other for his breakfast. All of this happened seemingly without his notice as he sat in the only chair at the island in the middle of the kitchen, vigorously scrubbing at his mane until it reached 'merely damp' status instead of 'dripping wet'. It was only when a steaming cup of tea settled itself in front of him did he even bother to open his eyes, his towel flying itself to the dirty clothes hamper.

Alls in the morning of one Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-To-Be-The-Man-Who-Abandoned-Us...

And, yes. That was actually what a good chunk of the British Wizarding World was calling him. Hence, the reason he lived in Nevada instead of Europe, though France was nice the last time he'd visited Bill and Fleur. If Voldemort hadn't been such an insane bastard bent on World Domination –note the capitalization– he'd have probably let him have Britain without opposition. As it was, the snake-faced bastard had been bent on killing him for reasons the former Boy-Who-Lived had had to quite literally drag out of Dumbledore, via blackmail. Harry sure as Hell wasn't going to take that sitting, much less lying down like Dumbledore had intended.

The dark-haired youth had gone into a rage like no other when he'd learned that the old goat-fucker's only plan for defeating Voldemort, over the course of twenty years, was for Harry to die so the old man could take a potshot at the evil bastard while the snake was gloating over his body. Dumbledore had never intended to tell Harry he was a living Horcrux. Hell, he'd never intended to tell him at all about the Horcruxes. Harry had had to learn about them from Mad-Eye Moody of all people.

Draining his current cup of tea, Harry tied his damp mane back from his face and set about making breakfast manually. He could do so with magic, and did most mornings –it was a great control exercise– but sometimes one just wanted to do things the old fashion way. Twenty minutes later he finished making and eating his light meal, magically setting the dishes to do themselves while he finished getting ready for the day.

His first task, even before dressing, was tackling the daily labor of taming his mane. Scowling lightly into the full length mirror on his bedroom wall, Harry ran his fingers repeatedly through the black mass falling around his shoulders and down his back, hand charged with magic to help get rid of any knots that had made their way in when he was drying it. There was a reason he called it, even mentally, a mane.

It was.

Three times the thickness it had ever been with a consistency more like fur than hair, the dark mass fell down to his hips when unbound, the locks puffed out like a static charge was running though his body. One of his collage buddies, the first time they'd see his hair unbound, made a reference to a Japanese comic book series he'd read called Yu Yu Hakusho. The character Yusuke in Mazoku form had much the same problem he dealt with on a daily basis, only the Demon's hair was a Hell of a lot longer. When his friend had told him that, he had only smirked, wondering at the time what they would think if he'd told them how long it was directly after the first time he'd transformed into his Animagus form. Not that any of them could have said anything anyway; he placed security spells on them the first opportunity he got. His true form, that behind the relative mask of 'Harry', was not something he just waved around for all to see. It was his getaway when he grew tired of the Mask.

Satisfied he'd gotten it as neat as it was ever going to be, Harry swiftly tied the mane back into a tight braid with practiced ease, coiling it on the back of his head before securing it with a metal plate engraved with a mild Notice-Me-Not and his personal sigil, not that anyone could see it due to the former. Dressing quickly in his best pair of slacks and a black dress shirt, tucking the Cypher beneath his shirt, he grabbed what he needed for the day and secured his apartment, heading for the complexes garage to claim his car, a color changing '81 Slug Bug.

He'd gotten more than a little teasing over it from his school friends, in both High School and collage. 'Cute', was what they called it, even after he'd had it changed from the pale pink he'd bought it in to Mystic, an entirely Mundane paint that changed colors depending on how the light hit it. But it was his first and favorite car and he wouldn't trade it for anything. Especially after all the work he'd put into it, both on the mechanical side of things and the –ahem– not exactly legal magical side. It had so many wards, spells and other enchantments on it, his cute little Beetle Bug could probably play chicken with a tank and win. He was honestly surprised it hadn't gotten up and started moving around on it's own like Mr. Weasley's Ford Angelina, which even to this day still stalked around the Forbidden Forest, was wont to do.

Settling into traffic, Harry sighed and triple checked his already memorized map, just to make certain he was heading in the right direction. It wouldn't do for him to be late for his first day of work, especially since his 'boss' was technically the US government.

That's right. Him, a Brit, was working for the government of the United States of America... technically. From what the contract he'd signed two weeks before stated, he was really joining a research branch of the government that was 'off the books' and so top secret he could probably be thrown in some deep dark hole for farting at an inopportune moment. But the opportunity, from what little the representative whom had contacted him was able to tell him, was far too good to pass up. He was going to have the chance to be on the cutting edge of technological advancement.

Yeah, it was a strange thought. Something almost no one he knew in Britain would have expected from him. He, Harry Potter, ridiculously powerful and highly trained Mage, killer of Voldemort and numerous Death Eater and the holder of the infamous moniker 'the Boy-Who-Lived', was bonafied techno-geek.

A certified, bonafied techno-geek.

He even had degrees and everything. A Doctorate in Engineering, a Masters in Applied Sciences and an Associates in Applied Linguistics.

He'd been in the process of getting his Doctorate in Applied Sciences and Masters in Applied Linguistics when the government had contacted him with the mother of all job offers. Apparently his soaring scores and record completion times had caught their attention. They had no way of knowing, and he sure as Hell wasn't telling them, that he'd cheated. Well, cheated time in any case.

Time Turners were highly useful tools.

He still planned on getting them, as well as a Doctorate in Applied Linguistics, he just now had to do it in his spare time.

Now, one might wonder how our favorite boy hero had come to this point, driving down a Nevada highway in a highly enchanted little Volkswagen, a graduate from both an American High School and Collage with honors, and heading for a job with the a branch of the US government that didn't exist on paper?

One could say it started after his Forth Year, when he and Dudley were attacked by Dementors that he later learned had been sent by that Toad from Hell, Umbridge. But to really understand his mindset, one has to go much further back.

When he'd gotten back from his First Year at Hogwarts, his Aunt had sat him down for a serious discussion, one she hadn't been capable of before due to a spell Dumbledore had placed on the letter left with him as a baby, preventing her or Vernon from speaking anything about magic or the magical world, even to him. The fact that Vernon could even say "there's no such things as magic" was a testament to his mule-like thick headed stubbornness. Of course, it might have had something to do with the fact that he really wanted that statement to be true. Vernon Dursley hated magic. The Marauders, unfortunately, had something to do with that.

In their discussion, Petunia had explained to him that, unlike her husband, she didn't actually hate magic. She loved and respected magic and had even written to Dumbledore after Lily had gotten her letter, begging him to allow her to attend as well. And, despite being denied due to her lack of a magical Core, she still could have completed the theoretical portions on the OWL and NEWT, as well as the practical portions of quite a few of them that didn't involve a wand, with straight O's if she'd been allowed to take them. What she hated was the people, or more to point of fact, the society that used it.

"The British Wizarding World," she had explained, "is so ridiculously backwards in virtually everything they do. But because it was magic, they think it's alright." She could see so much good that could be done with magic if only the people would pull their head out of their asses. Potions that can mend severely broken bones in a matter of hours. Spells that can heal injuries that would be otherwise debilitating. Spells that can assist in breaking dangerous obsessions, preventing self-injury and suicides. Spells and wards that could cut injury in various works places, such as construction sites, down to virtually nothing. Hell, magical construction took a fraction of the time, manpower and money as non-magical.

All the good that could be done, and yet virtually the entire society seemed bent on using their gifts to harm, twisting the abilities in such convoluted ways, their society miles outside what the rest of the world considers common decency. Potions and spells designed to tear the free will from a person, torture and kill them. Spells good for nothing but humiliating those that would later not remember it because they thought they had the right to take someone's memories, just because they couldn't use magic as well. Potions that made you think you were in love with someone, even if you hated them.

Love Potions.

Of all the things created due to the presence of magic, Love Potions were one thing Petunia despised with a passion. They may sound romantic in story books, but she saw them as nothing more than legalized rape on the poor soul being controlled by them. She had, in fact, immediately written the school Healer, begging her to check her sister out, after Lily had written her about how she was madly in love with the same boy she had despised since she first met him on the train at the age of eleven. Luckily she had been cleared; James had just decided to make his previously recessive personality trait, otherwise known as maturity, into the dominate one.

It was this backwards world that took her precious little sister from her, brainwashing Lily into thinking such things were alright when they weren't. It was the world and the people she hated. Not magic.

Despite himself, his experiences in his first year of the Wizarding World had led him to agreeing with her on many points. The primary sticking point for him being that they were incapable of adapting and advancing with the rest of the world. He may not have had the best childhood due to Vernon's stubbornness and dislike for anything to do with magic, but at least he had been stuck in the Dark Ages. He had been fed plenty, even if his Aunt had to occasionally sneak snacks into his cupboard for him to munch on in the middle of the night, and he had gotten lots of exercise disguised as his chores since Vernon wouldn't let him go out and play with the neighborhood children. And, no matter what his numerous scars might indicate, Vernon was never abusive. The one and only time he'd ever been struck, his Aunt had put her foot down and threatened to take both he and Dudley away if her husband couldn't control his temper.

In the three months between his First and Second Years at Hogwarts, Harry had attended his first year at Summer School to keep up with his normal education, all the while studying the trunk full of books that Petunia had given him on things they wouldn't learn in school that once belonged to she and his Mother. Books on the History and such of the Wizarding World from around the world. Magical districts on almost every continent. What governments controlled what territories, which may or may not have followed the non-magical territorial lines. It was rather obvious in just the first couple he'd read that Britain, unlike much of the rest of the magical and non-magical world, had advanced very little in the five hundred years previous.

When he'd come back after Second Year, he'd once again sat down with his Aunt and explained everything that had happened to him, from Dobby stealing his letters the summer before and trying to stop him from going to school, to his gift of Parseltongue, to Lockhart –of whom they'd both agreed had gotten off lucky with just loosing his memory– to the Basilisk and the sword and Dumbledore's rather peculiar behavior towards the entire thing. Harry had proclaimed right then and there, no matter what Dumbledore said, especially what Dumbledore said, if crap like that kept happening he was quitting Hogwarts. Being the school pariah he could handle, no matter how much of a pain in the ass it was. It wasn't any different than what he'd grown up with. He was not going to put up with another year of someone trying to kill him again.

Once was a coincidence. Twice in as many years was a conspiracy.

Petunia had then informed him that she was well aware of the fact that James Potter had been a wealthy Pureblood, all of which belonged to Harry as the last of his line. If he wanted, he could easily afford magical tutors, even if there had been little, at the time, he could do with the companies in his family's name. The name 'Hogwarts' may have opened doors, they'd mutually agreed, but it meant jack-shit if he didn't live long enough to graduate.

The summer after Third Year had been filled with a teenager that couldn't decide whether to be pissed over the year's events or intrigued over the new forms of magic he had discovered. Werewolves, Animagus, and a deceptively simple and tiny devise that could allow you to leap a short ways back though time. Friends of his Father, the Marauders. A Godfather he never knew existed. An innocent man proclaimed guilty and thrown in prison without a trial. A dead man that wasn't actually dead and guilty of it all. Both he and his Aunt agreed it was probably better that Vernon didn't know that Sirius Black wasn't actually guilty of the things he was accused of. It put an extra bit of protection between Harry and his Uncle's slowly increasing temper. The older he got, the worse it seemed to become.

A few days back from Hogwarts, Sirius had shown up at their back door, as Padfoot of course, to speak with Petunia, explain to her, and Harry, his reasoning's for not taking Harry with him. He was a fugitive on the run and didn't want that kind of life for Harry, even for a single Summer, especially since he had to spend most of his time in his Animagus form to avoid detection. "Plus," he had added, as almost an afterthought "Dumbledore's being ass. Old man left me to rot in prison and now he wants me to do this and that like I'm some little errand-boy? I don't think so."

It was then that Harry had begun to see a disturbing trend when it came to Dumbledore and his attitude towards the world.

Sirius had left him with the Animagus books the Marauders had written, including their original research diaries containing their observations of what worked, what didn't and what could have made the process easier if they'd know beforehand, making Harry promise to practice the first steps in the completed book, most of which included a lot of meditation and learning one's own mind and Core intimately. He'd also given him a rare three-way mirror, telling him to call either he or Remus, whom had the third connection, if he ran into difficulty. Both Sirius and Remus had come by several times that Summer to help him practice... mostly Remus since Sirius had to keep a low profile. They did speak nightly, however. Sirius may have hated virtually every member of his family, live or dead, but he was still a Pureblood to the core and had taught Harry that Summer a great deal of what was expected of him as the Scion and heir of an old Pureblood family.

He'd also learned why exactly Draco had taken such offense to him refusing to shake his hand in the First Year and had set out on what had seemed for the longest time as a personal Search and Destroy Mission against him.

And then there was Forth Year...

Forth Year was just... bad.

Despite having top box tickets via the Weasley family, he'd been forced to miss the World Cup due to final tests for his Summer School. Though from what he'd heard from the Twins it was a stroke of good luck on his part that he had. He could only image what sort of trouble he'd have gotten into if he'd actually been there. It seemed to follow him.

Then the Tri-Wizard Tournament. A tournament which had previously been competed in by adults, which had been canceled because of how many people were dying while participating. So of course he'd been entered and forced to compete. He hadn't discovered until around the time of Third Task that there were about a hundred ways he could have forfeited with only minimal consequences to himself. And none of that 'it's a magical contract, you'll loose your magic if you don't compete' crap he'd been told at the time. And that was only if he'd purposely entered. Since he hadn't, nor had be provided his magical signature to the supposed 'contract', he could have spent the entire day up in Griffindor Tower during the first task and merely been disqualified, with nothing worse than people accusing him of being coward for not competing.

Yeah. Like that wasn't the least bit suspicious on the part of their esteemed Headmaster. And how had the man not known that the person who taught them Defense all year was a fake? Mad-Eye was suppose to be one of Dumbledore's oldest friends! After only a year training with the man Harry could have told that the man that taught them all Fourth Year was a fake. Alastor Moody was a paranoid old warrior, for good reason given the career he'd led in his youth, but he wasn't quite that paranoid. And he wouldn't be caught dead using the Unforgivables, even in a classroom setting. No, especially in a classroom setting. They were called Unforgivables for a reason. The magics that gave them power went against nature, twisting a man's magic, mind and soul until it broke.

And people wondered why most Death Eaters were insane.

Doubly so for Mr. 'I-pass-out-the-Cruciatus-like-candy' Riddle.

Of course, his Horcruxes didn't help any in that matter.

Harry hadn't been fast enough, nor anywhere near well trained enough to save his friend Cedric when they'd been kidnapped at the end of the tournament, one of the first casualties of the Second Blood War. At the time he'd barely gotten away with his own life, and that was only because the snake-faced monster that dared to call himself a Wizard had been too busy gloating. To make matters worse, Fudge had been a complete coward.

Harry, in a moment of adrenaline fueled clarity, had been able to prevent himself from blurting out in front of the entire stadium that Voldemort was back, speaking to the idiotic Minister in private. The man hadn't believed him, calling him a liar. He'd even tried to go as far as to accuse Harry himself of killing Cedric so he could win the Tournament. Sirius' lessons in 'everything-it-means-to-be-a-Pureblood' had come in handy then. Watching the little bastard pale and flush at the same time when Harry tore into him like the heir of an Ancient Pureblood family he was had been extremely satisfying.

When Voldemort attacked the Ministry in '96, the little bastard had lived just long enough to see Voldemort for himself before dying. Painfully. Harry hadn't know a body could twist like that without actually breaking anything... at first.

Harry was back at Privet Drive less than a month when the Dementors attacked. The owl carrying the letter from the Improper Use of Magic Department stating he was expelled for using magic in front of a Muggle arrived a scant half hour later. The Aurors there to take him into custody and Obliviate said Muggle didn't arrive until mid-morning the next day.

Efficient they were not.

Over the years he'd trained with him, he'd heard a small book worth of rants from Mad-Eye just about the idiots the Ministry called Aurors at the date, never mind about the Ministry itself. That was another Encyclopedia sized book, with several chapter dedicated exclusively to Cornelius Fudge. How that man had ever made it to Minister no one knew.

With the arrival of the letter, Harry had taken the opportunity given to him to put into action the runner he, his Aunt and later the Marauders had been planning since he was twelve when he'd decided he was damn tired of nearly being killed ever year in the supposedly 'Safest Place in the World'. A quick mirror call to Sirius and Remus to inform them of what happened and that he was leaving, and he was out of Surrey before the sun set. Preplanned, he'd had everything he'd needed to survive for several months on his own packed, including a new non-Ministry tracked wand which Remus had taken him to get the summer before. He'd left his Phoenix wand, shattered, in a box on his bedside table with a simple note to Dumbledore and the Ministry in general.

'Fuck You and Have Nice Day.'

The big yellow, slightly evil looking smiley face postcard his Aunt had had him write it on had been a particularly nice touch.

Shocking, but nice.

Old Mad-Eye caught up with him about two months later just outside of France and kicked his ass. To his credit, he did break a few bones, burn a good amount of flesh and take out another chunk from the old Auror's nose beforehand. Moody had been so impressed with his ability to think fast in an ambush, not to mentioned a tad annoyed with Dumbledore's 'watch and do nothing' policy, that he'd taken him under his wing to prepare for the war.

Harry had been more than a little pissed when he learned from Mad-Eye that people had been approaching Dumbledore ever since his First Year with offers to give him training. People who had seen that, one way or another, Harry would be involved in the coming war, whether he wanted to be or not. Mad-Eye himself had tried to convince Dumbledore to give him at least basic survival training since the first moment the old snake poked his head back out of his hole. Dumbledore had refused them all.

After catching him in France and taking him as his apprentice, Moody ran him ragged, training with copious –and probably illegal– use of Time Turners in locations all over Europe and Asia, pushing the magical devises to their absolute maximum capacity backwards to get the most time training that they possibly could. Useful tools they were, especially in the hands of an old warrior that didn't believe in the term 'rules of magic'.

"Magic," Mad-Eye would always say "doesn't have rules. Magic is life, and life doesn't care for our mortal constraints. It's our minds that fail us, not our magic. You keep that in mind and with a strong enough will, you can do anything."

One shocking thing they discovered, with their probably record use of the magical devises, was that, due to the powdered Faerie Wings and other highly magical ingredients that made the devises possible, those that used them –while they did age in normal time– actually had age reversed every time they used the Time Turner. So, while he was technically mentally and magically years older by the time it was all said and done with, he wasn't physically any older that he was suppose to be.

With it, and probably every Time Turner on the Eurasian continent, Harry got a good fifteen years of proper training, including joining the RAF for a combined decade under an assumed name, with Moody calling in the mother-of-all favors with several different squib-born Marshals so he could have experience in Mundane warfare. If he ever chose to rejoin the military officially, he technically held the rank of Wing Commander. It was even approved by the Queen. That had been an interesting meeting.

No one but the two of them knew of the Time Turners. Anyone Harry trained with required a magical oath before Moody would let them do anything. The few Outsiders that did find out about them were promptly hunted down by the duo and Obliviated.

Harry swore his Aunt would never find out just how proficient he was with that spell. It was one of them that made her hate the magical world.

During their fifteen years together, Harry and Mad-Eye also took the opportunity to hunt down the Horcruxes and be rid of them before Voldemort could secure them in better locations. Mad-Eye had been telling Dumbledore for years that he should have done just that during the watching peace, the decade where Voldemort was nothing but a more or less harmless ghost. The old man had said they were fine where they were.

They were in obvious disagreement.

It's also during this time that Harry finally figured out how to transform into his Animagus form, a magical creature known to the Mundane world as an Epicyon Haydeni, though they were thought to be extinct by both worlds. It was, according to a book in the Library of Alexandria that Harry managed to find, an ancient predecessor and magical cousin of the Maned Wolf, standing 4' at the shoulder, 8' long and weighing nearly 600 lbs. His coloring, surprisingly, was nearly identical to that of a Maned Wolf as well, with shadow-like fire swirling around his paws and mane. If it wasn't for his size and the obvious magical qualities, he could quite easily pass for one of them.

Mad-Eye had laughed himself silly when, the morning after his first transformation, he'd woken up with his perpetually messy hair longer than he was tall and fluffier than Padfoot's fur after a good scrubbing, the mane-like mass taking up more space than he did. They'd both tried cutting it, but for some reason it wouldn't stay any shorter than what he eventually decided to leave it, down to his hips. He'd learned to deal with it, quickly learning to braid. After seeing the Blade Trilogy during one of his rare weeks off from training while Moody obtained a new Time Turner, he'd taken inspiration from the battle uniform of the main female character of the second movie, Nissa, and created the metal plate clip he used to secure the braid in a coil on the back of his head, with the added benefit of having something to protect his head from blows of both the physical and magic kind.

The abilities he gained from the creature became quite useful during the war. The previously thought "Vampire only" ability of Shadow Walking became, and still was, one of this favorites. He'd scared, and killed, more than a few with it.

October 31 of 1996, Voldemort finally got fed up with sneaking around and made his big entrance by attacking the Ministry. Unfortunately, for him that is, it was also his big exit. Moody and Harry had long since thoroughly bugged virtually ever room in the Ministry and knew the exact moment the snake and his minions arrived

Through trial and error over their fifteen years of time travel, they had discovered that time could only be unchanged when undeniable proof of an event has been presented, and even then there is still a little wiggle room for interference. They knew for a fact that the Ministry had been attack, therefore they couldn't stop the attack itself. However, that didn't stop them from going back and warning their contacts within the Ministry of it so they could be prepared, claiming to have spies within the Death Eaters' ranks. With this knowledge, the unprotected lambs Voldemort and the Death Eaters had been expecting turned out to be a pack angry wolves and hungry lions.

Harry himself took great pride in leading Voldemort down into the Department of Mysteries himself and practically giving him the Prophecy Orb pertaining to the both of them. Harry had heard it years before, brought down to the Hall of Prophecy by Mad-Eye. He held no fear of the snake hearing it as well and couldn't understand why Dumbledore did. It wasn't as if everyone couldn't guess what it said. It was damn obvious. All hearing it did was piss the old snake off, allowing Harry to lead him on a merry chase around the Department until they reached the infamous Death Room, an ancient execution chamber that had long since been decommissioned... supposedly.

It was around that time that the Order of the Fried Turkey's decided to make an appearance, lead by the Head Turkey himself in blazing powder blue robes–

Really, and Dumbledore wondered why no one outside of Britain in the past three or four decades took him seriously?

It was there that Harry, much to his annoyance, found himself fighting on two fronts, Voldemort with spells and Dumbledore with words. The old man had been more than a little ticked that his little pawn had gone out and gotten training and wasn't willing to just step forward and die like it was told. The room actually came to a brief standstill, like one of those silly comic book scenes, when –for the first and last time in their history– he and Voldemort actually agreed on something, simultaneously telling the old man to shut the Hell up and butt out. Of course, what probably shocked them the most was the fact that it was Harry, not Voldemort, that actually fired a spell at the old man. Granted it was only a disarming spell, but that was besides the point. He should have been grateful that Harry only threw him against a wall while taking his wand, even going as far as to shield him from further harm while he was unconscious, instead of using something far more damaging... like blowing a limb off.

It was one of his favorite and signature disarmament techniques. Moody had lost more wooden legs that way–

He had no way of knowing at the time that everything he was changed the moment Dumbledore's former wand touched his hand. That he was the first person in over a thousand years to own and master all three of the famed Deathly Hallows at the same time. Only the third of his kind in all of history.

A Master of Death.

He had felt something in him change, but he had been far too busy at the time fighting off Voldemort, who had used what little bit of logic he still possessed to try and strike him while is supposedly wasn't paying attention. Unfortunately for the snake, Harry hadn't been a decade out of practice like he had been. In his prime, before his first fall, Voldemort probably could have still kicked his ass. But in their final dual, Voldemort had been relying almost entirely on raw power; they were even in that measure. Unlike the he, Harry's skills were razor sharp with fifteen years of constant training, and hadn't been relying on just his raw magic and sheer dumb luck to pull him through as it had in their past confrontations.

And that's when everything changed.

He had had Voldemort against the ropes, steadily wearing down the shield he'd thrown up in desperation, when he'd heard Remus scream Sirius' name. It was his greatest weakness, he was willing to admit, his caring nature for his friends and family. The desperation in the Werewolf's tone made him turn to discover what was causing the man's distress, his training induced barrier catching the three spells Voldemort had thrown the moment he'd taken his attention off him.

And then he'd been moving, even before he'd fully registered why. His feet practically flew him through the nearest shadow, into the center of the room where Bellatrix LeStrange was cackling madly and his Godfather was falling. Falling backwards in almost slow motion, an astonished expression on his face while his hands grasped the open air, trying desperately to find purchase on something... anything. Falling towards the waiting veil of the infamous Arch of Death.

He'd gone in just as Harry had grasped his wrist, unable to pull him back. It had felt as if something was pulling him in. Despite his training, everything that he'd ever heard about the Veil, every piece of logic that screamed at him to let go, Harry hadn't hesitated in following him in.

It had been strange, the sensation of the Veil passing over him. It hadn't been the freezing fingers of death that others had often described from just being near the Arch. It had been like a warm blanket, a friend welcoming him home after years of being gone. That didn't stop him, however, from feeling the chill that seeped into Sirius' limbs, the cold he couldn't feel trying to steal the life that had been offered to it. To the day he still wasn't sure what instinct made him transform into his Animagus form and curl protectively around his Godfather, power that was both dark and light, white and black and every shade in between exploding from within him, forming a shadowy fire-like barrier while he snarled possessively into the cold darkness, a single word riding on his mind and magic.


He still remembered every moment the spend inside the other realm. It was a place he knew he would one day return to, as was his right to what he was. The Others that were there were his.

His to protect.

His to command.

His, just as the Grim and Shadow Phoenix were.

Just as his Godfather was.



The darkness writhing around them with that proclamation, tendrils of what could only be called pure energy reaching out to brush passed the aura he was projecting, something he rarely did as, for reasons he'd never bothered explaining, it scared the shit out of Moody. Images and thoughts raced though his mind, information that he didn't know before. Memories that weren't his, yet were. Lifetimes condensed into moments.

Knowledge of what he was.

Realization of what he had done, what exactly he possessed.

His invisibility cloak, passed down through the Potter line for centuries.

The Cloak of Invisibility.

The Gaunt Ring, turned into a Horcrux by Voldemort and stripped of the tainted soul piece by Harry.

The Stone of Resurrection.

Dumbledore's wand, passed from master to master through cunning trickery, betrayals, and defeats. Grindlewald, Dumbledore, Potter.

The Elder Wand. The Cypher, ever changing, that bound the three items to their Master.

The Deathly Hallows.

The keys of Death and he who could Master it.

The Master of Death wasn't just a title. It was a merging. He was no longer simply Harry Potter.

He was the Pharaoh, gifted the Hallows, one by one, by the Gods. The Cloak to hide him as a child from his Father's enemies, passed to him by the Priest who was his primary tutor and closest adviser. The Stone, disguised as a jewel in his headdress, to seek the guidance of his Mother in the Afterlife when he unexpected found himself as Pharaoh at a bare eight years of age, when his Father and elder Brother were both killed in battle. The Cypher, then appearing as a masterfully crafted sword, to smite his enemies and defend his people. He gave them to his grandson at the end of his life, in hopes they would serve him as they had himself. The Hallows stayed, but they did not serve the boy quite as they had their Master.

He was the peasant, born to a poor farmer's wife. He... no, she found she had a gift at a young age, one she kept secret out of fear of being taken to the temple to have the Demon driven from her, as her gift was unlike the holy powers of the Monks and Miko. She had magic. She found the Cloak while gathering kindling in the woods. It hid her from the eyes of those that would kill her for her gift. She found the Stone while playing in the river with her friends; she kept it encased in a necklace made of twine. Those who had passed would come to her and teach her their ways of magic. She stole the Cypher from the monster disguised as a soldier of the land's Lord, who killed her parents in their sleep. She killed him with his own weapon, taking it for her own when she fled her village. Her her hands, the Cypher became a staff, a reflection of her dedication to knowledge and non-violence as she took up the mantle of a scholarly Priestess. She lived a long, long life, full of learning and adventure. When she grew weary, she gifted her Treasures to three brothers of magic, the Cypher changing, as it had in her own hands, to a fraction of it's original size.

He was the child, touched and awakened by death at the age of one. He had a gift, one his Uncle hated and his Aunt couldn't speak of. He had power, beyond the magic of his peers. He was given the Cloak, who's protections which hid his ancestor from death never really left their blood. He stole the Stone, cleansing it of the evil which had tainted it, the twisted soul that fed off it's power to keep itself alive. He mastered the Cypher, then still in the form of the wand the eldest Perevell brother changed it to when receiving it from the Second Master, defeating it's unworthy holder who had betrayed his lover to obtain it, but never mastered it, no matter what he may have thought. It changed to a pendent of silver shaped in the sigil of the Masters, with the Stone resting in the center.

He was the Third Master of Death, he who held the keys to the Cycle of Life and Death and Beyond. And now that he had fully awoken, none could take them from him. The Key's physical vessels may be taken, or destroyed, but the power within them was within him until he gave himself to that which was his to command, where they would reform to wait for the next. The power of the ages and knowledge of those who came before him was his to command.

But with it came responsibility. The Master's were balance points and balance keepers, created to sooth the magics of the world that had become twisted and unnatural, threatening the life of the land. The Keys awoke their power, but they were created with the potential. When they were needed, the Keys would always find their way to them, no matter who tried to stop it.

The First Master, the Pharaoh's child, was created as a balance point to stop an evil that swept across his Father's lands, his lands, twisting the desert-born magic unnaturally, killing both mortal and immortal whom lived and thrived in the sands. The Evil meant for the desert to spread across the entire world, killing all those in its path. He awoke in time to halt the advance of the Evil, driving it back and locking it away with the help of his Head Priest, whom had been gifted knowledge of the ages by the Gods.

The Second Master, the farmer's child, was born when the first of the twisted pieces of unnatural magical that would later be known world wide as the Unforgivables was created. She awoke fully when the third of them came into existence, the souls of those killed by it crying out for salvation against the monsters that had tried to destroy them entirely. The Killing Curse hadn't just been created to sever the bonds between body and soul; they who created it intended for it to destroy ones very soul. She passed the creators of the three Unforgivables into the hands of death before moving on to teach others why the creation of such evil should be resisted.

And he, the Third Master.

Awoken, however briefly, when he was struck by the Killing Curse at the age of one. And again, fully, within the Chamber of Death. He could only assume he was awoken in response to Voldemort. The one once known as Tom Riddle, who had planned to take over the Wizarding World and reshape it in his image, had long since been consumed by the Evil known as Voldemort, whose only intention was the utter destruction of anything he didn't consider pure. By the time he regained a body, that was virtually everyone.

Growling softly at the writhing Others surrounding them, the Third lightly nipped the shoulder of the mortal in his embrace, eyes glowing as he pushed his power into wound, his mark appearing like a tattoo over his shoulder before he was forced into his own animagus form. That of the Grim. He who stood by Death as companion and guard, opposite to the Shadow Phoenix, they who guided souls to Death in the borderlands.

As soon as the transformation completed, glowing blue-grey eyes opened, Padfoot remaining startlingly calm under the Third's power despite the Others around them. He was now they, an Other, all under their Master's command.


Not even moments had passed before Grim and Wolf burst from the back of the Veil, hidden by his shadows while the fighting continued on around them. He had commanded his Godfather, quite tersely, not to do anything stupid again while he dealt with Voldemort, or he'd leave him in the damn Veil until they were done. The scrawny Grim had whined, but obeyed –both of them a little confused over their newly changed relationship of Godson and Godfather to Master and Servant... or perhaps pet had been the better describer– and circled around to deal with his insane cousin permanently, as he should have done in the first place as the Head of her family.

Harry had wasted no time slipping through the shadows to appear behind the annoying Dark Lord whom had all but completely stopped fighting to survey the scene in the Chamber below, no doubt looking for him. The expression he gained when Sirius had reappeared, after going through the Veil, had been priceless. Almost as funny as when Harry had used his magic to toss him into a wall like he was attached to a bungee and killed him with a galleon-sized ball of magically charged C4 flicked into high mouth. He was sure C4 wasn't pleasant tasting. Of course, the sensation of his head blowing up couldn't have been pleasant either.

And thus ended the reign of Voldemort, killed by the power he knew not: Muggle Explosives.

Dumbledore had, of course, been... unhappy, to say the least. He'd immediately tried to accost him, ranting about how he'd gotten rid of Voldemort's body, so now they couldn't kill him. Alastor had been more than happy to shut him up, bowling him over with a sack containing all the de-souled Horcruxes, minus the Resurrection Stone, which they'd faked, ranting about how if he'd done his bloody job decades before, they would have never had a Second Blood War, however brief it turned out to be.

Harry had decided discretion was the better part of valor and abandoned ship while Moody was keeping his old friend occupied, dragging his new pet Godfather along with him. He had made brief stop by Hogwarts –to raid Dumbledore's privet effects, with Hogwarts helping him, steal all of Dumbledore's very old and expensive books and the sword of Gryffindor, and shatter what few of the little bobbles that were tracking him that still worked, all the while participating in a very interesting conversation with Fawkes about his master of life–, before returning to the Dursley's to inform his Aunt of Voldemort's death and his extraction from the Wizarding World. Vernon had, to both their shock, done the first decent thing in his life for him: sending him to live his cousin in America... with a bit of help from Harry's most trusted teacher beside Mad-Eye... that had been a surprisingly awkward meeting.

Vernon's Cousin, after hearing 'the edited version' of what Harry had had to deal with the past several years had promptly helped to get him back into the regular school system. And the rest, as it was said, was history.


Sighing as he was directed though yet another checkpoint in the bunker he'd been ordered to report to by his contact when he'd accepted the job –which he still didn't know exactly what was, even with his snooping– Harry drove into the garage and pulled into one of the few unmarked parking spots. He had to resist the automatic reaction of activating the cars extensive security system, settling for simply locking it and activating the most minor of enchantment he had on the thing, which encouraged a would-be thief to steal someone elses car and not see his as being worth the parts it was made of. A little immoral maybe, but considering on the highest security settings it could kill virtually anything withing twenty feet of his location in at least six different ways, he thought he was being reasonable.

"Mr. Potter-Black?"

Pulling the key from the lock with a tiny burst of magic, Harry silently slipped them into his pocket and turned to his contact, not at all surprised to see him standing less than three feet behind him. Even if he hadn't heard him walking across the garage, he'd felt him coming up from what was obviously a base of some sort a good sixty feet below them, containing at least fifty personnel, with another dozen in a tunnel of some kind leading off in the same general direction as the Hoover Dam.

"Good morning, Mr. Carlson." Harry greeted smoothly.

"Ah, good. It is you. For some reason you looked different from the back." Carlson stated, glancing around as he dabbed some sweat from his brow.

Raising a brow, Harry checked his watch, confirming that it was only six in the morning. So that begged the question: What was the man so nervous about that it was causing him a physical reaction over it? "Considering the number of checkpoints and suspicious guards with itchy trigger fingers I had to go through to get here, who else would it be, Mr. Carlson?"

"Ah, right. Right you are, son." Carlson chuckled nervously, prompting Harry to unashamedly use Legilimency on him, even as his expression fell into pleasantly neutral lines, subtly urging the man to lead him to where they needed to be.

It took him no time to pull the problem from the man's completely unprotected mind. Carlson served two proverbial masters. Both wanted he, Harry, to work for the program, but one was fully planning on using Carlson as a bloody scapegoat if Harry either didn't produce the level of intellect his record promised or managed to screw up, while the other believed he'd be nothing but yet another over educated geek getting wet dreams over their tech. He didn't bother looking any further, wanting to be able to show at least some genuine surprise by whatever non-earthly thingamajig the Yanks had managed to get their mitts on.

"So, if I'm not too far off my mark, I'm going to assume that I'm here in the middle of nowhere to sign a mountain of paperwork in what might as well be blood that more or less sells my soul to the US Government before you or whomever is in charge around here takes me to wherever you're really storing whatever I'm supposedly being hired to study?" Harry drawled casually, tracking what felt like a high tier soldier that had been tailing them since they entered the building, resisting the urge to smirk when Carlson stared at him in open shock. The solider was practically radiating amusement.

"That's more or less accurate, kid." the soldier spoke up from directly behind them, making Carlson jump in surprise, letting out a rather embarrassing squeak of fear. "Though I'm sure they don't use blood anymore, they'll probably know everything you've had for breakfast since you were in diapers by the time they're done with you." the soldier smirked, silently surprised to see new geek was military trained. The kid was excellent at hiding it, he had to give him that, but seeing such things was what he'd been hired for. The kid's completely lack of reaction told him that he'd known he was there before he'd spoken, indicating a person who was trained to be aware of their surroundings at all times. He also saw the way those intense green eyes had flickered over his form, astonishingly picking out all of his weapons before the kid had even finished turning around. The way the kid unconsciously straightened his spine upon laying eyes on his rank was also telling. The kid's file hadn't said anything about it, nor was he a military brat.

So the real question was: who trained him and why?

"What's your name, kid?"

"Harrison Potter-Black, General." Harry answered calmly, inwardly scowling as he read in the man's posture that he'd seen his training in his own. He'd thought he was good at hiding it, but damn it, one doesn't spend a decade in the military without it effecting the way they move. "But you already knew that." No way in Hell the base General wouldn't know everything about anyone coming onto his base. Looking the General over, he was mildly surprised how much he looked like that one soldier character from that fighting game one of his friends tried to get him hooked on back in High School; Guile, he thought the character's name was. He couldn't help but wonder if anyone had ever called the man on the comparison, which he was almost positive was unintentional.

Smirking, the General herded him into his office, which was were Carlson had been leading them, before shutting the door in the geek's face with his foot, effectively cutting him out of the conversation. Crossing his arms, he leaned against the wall, giving the kid another once over, thoroughly surprised that the kid either wasn't carrying any sort of weapon or he simply couldn't spot them. Either way... "So... what's your supposedly official file not state, Mr. Potter-Black? Let's start with the hyphenated name."

"You may address me as either Potter or Black if you prefer. Both are correct and official." Harry stated simply while crossing his arms behind his back, fingering the dagger hidden in his arm holster out of habit.

Ah, the joys of magic.


"I was adopted by my Godfather when I was a baby, making me his heir since he is unable to have children. I choose not to consolidate the Potter and Black lines as has happened to so many family lines in the past. However, because I am in fact the heir to both families, when I applied for US citizenship, the one authorizing it insisted on using both names." Harry explained "Therefore, here in the US, I am Harrison Potter-Black."

"I take it Potter was your original name? Or did the one signing the paperwork simply decide that calling you 'Black Potter' would sound strange and possibly offensive?" the General questioned.

"Yes, Potter is my birth name, but the latter could have had a factor in it as well." Harry smirked in amusement. He'd had a couple of friend's in High School who had hacked the system so the attendance read just that, causing more than a couple teacher give him strange looks before they figured out they'd been hacked. And the General didn't really need to know that, technically, he'd be able to find him under either the names Potter or Black quite easily even in the non-magical system; he just needed to put the titles of Sir or Baron, respectively, before them.

The General hummed thoughtfully, moving behind his desk to make a note of something Harry didn't bother reading. "I understand you're British born. Why did you come to the US?" he questioned.

Settling more comfortably on his feet, Harry was silent a few moments to organize his thoughts before answering. "Options, primarily." he started "I was raised by my Aunt and Uncle after my parents were murdered when I was a child. When I turned eleven, I received a letter stating that I was accepted to a private boarding school in Scotland, which I later learned I'd been enrolled in by my parents when I was born."

"Family thing?" the General questioned, knowing a little from some of the geeks that worked under him how some of the more exclusive boarding schools worked.

"Yes, Sir. My Mother was the first in her family, but virtually every Potter in the main branch has gone there for centuries." Harry shrugged. Sadly, the fact that there were branch members of his family was something he hadn't learned until he was almost fourteen. Sirius had said something offhanded at one point during their lessons about the duties of branch members to the main family, assuming he already knew. Neither of them realized until then just how little Harry knew about anything regarding his heritage. "In any case, my Aunt and I decided, shortly after my Fourth Year, that the school simply wasn't what I needed for the future I was looking at. As it was, I'd been going to Summer School in between the years since the First just to supplement with classes the school didn't offer. After Fourth Year we decided on private tutors for a couple years before my Uncle asked a favor of one of his Cousins, bringing me here to the US to formally finish my schooling." he finished, keeping his explanation to bare essentials. It was more than enough to get the General to pointedly ask for the answers he'd been fishing for.

"Not what you needed for the future you were looking at, hmm? And where does your combat training come into that equation?" the General questioned, getting to the point he really wanted to know "You're good, I'll give you that. Whoever trained you knew what they were doing. But I've been trained to spot such things to keep squatters out. So what were you trained for, why isn't it in your file and why should I let you ever see the light of day again?"

Sighing heavily, Harry settled more firmly on his heels, locking his arms behind his back. It went against all his training, but it was the best way to show the man that he wasn't priming for a fight. "My training is the only reason I'm currently alive to be having this conversation." he stated flatly, silently deciding on which 'official' version of events he wanted to tell the man when the General cocked a brow at him. "To understand recent events, you have to know the history of it." he started "Back in the early seventies, a man by the name of Tom Riddle formed what I suppose you could call a cult that followed ideals very similar to the ones stated by Adolf Hitler before World War II. Whereas Hitler's ideal world was based on color and religion, Riddle's was pedigree."

"Pedigree... as in, bloodlines?" the General questioned, unbelieving that anyone could start a cult over such a thing... then again, when the Hell did any cult ideals make sense to those outside them?

"In the most simplistic terms, yes." Harry agreed "Riddle was a bit of a hypocrite, however. He drew so-called 'Purebloods' to his banner, mostly those with money, claiming he wished to cleans the world of the 'Mudbloods' and those whom had bred impure blood into the bloodlines, carried by those they called 'Muggles'."

"Muggle. Sounds more like an insult than anything else." the General mused. "Suppose that's the point."

"Probably." Harry shrugged "The problem with Riddle's banner was the fact that, by his own definition, Riddle himself was, in fact, a Mudblood. His Mother was one of the so-called 'Purebloods', while his Father was a Muggle. From what little I've been able to learn about it, Riddle killed virtually everyone who knew his parentage before he ever began his campaign."

"So no one could rightfully claim otherwise." the General stated, understanding such a move. Getting rid of anyone or anything that could contradict what you were currently saying was an almost cliche maneuver for leaders of such radical beliefs. For some, it was an attempt to reinvent themselves; for others, it was because they were con-artists that probably killed most of their last cult after getting the money or whatever they were trying to take from the poor fools. "Am I too far off my mark in assuming this Riddle character renamed himself something ridiculous after starting his little cult?"

"No, you're correct. He changed his name to Voldemort, which was actually little more than an anagram of his full name. It's due to this fact that I refuse to call him anything but Riddle. Calling him Voldemort would say that I agree with his little change in character and his beliefs, which is ridiculous since he's been trying to kill me for so long." Harry explained before getting onto the meat of his story "Now, you have to understand that there are actually two sides to this little cult; or, more to point of fact, two radical extremes to the same idea. The so-called 'Dark' and 'Light' sides, if you will." Harry explained, nodding when the General snorted in disbelief and amusement "Now, from what I've learned, late some time in 1980, a woman approached the leader of the Light side, a man named Dumbledore, and made a supposed prophecy which stated that a child would be born 'as the seventh month dies' whom would have some power that the 'Dark Lord knows not' and that 'either must die at the hand of the other, as neither can live while the other survives.' One of Riddle's Death Eaters, which was what his followers were called, overheard part of the prophecy while it was being made and reported it to his master."

"Long story short, someone decided the prophecy child was you." the General summarized, shaking his head over the sheer ridiculousness of it.

"Unfortunately, yes." Harry scowled lightly. Spirits he hated prophecies. "There were a few other parameters to the stupid thing and, for reasons I'm not even going to begin to try and figure out, both Dumbledore and Riddle set their sights on couples that had gone to Hogwarts Preparatory, the boarding school I mentioned before, completely ignoring the fact that, in Europe alone, hundreds of babies were born on the same day I was. Myself and one other who fit their parameters were born in the right time frame." he explained.

"In classic megalomaniac thought processing, Riddle decided to get rid of the threat before it became one. As soon as they learned from Dumbledore that Riddle might be after them, my parents went into hiding. However, they were betrayed by the only person who knew where they were, one of my Father's best friends. They made a bad decision in whom they put their trust in, as the man was, in fact, a Death Eater himself, and led Riddle right to their front door. October 31, 1981, my parents were murdered by Riddle. To this day no one knows what happened, but somehow when he tried to kill me he was gravely injured. Many thought he was dead, despite their being no body. I'm sure there was probably some mention of major strangeness, beyond your usual Halloween hijinks, going on around the greater UK area."

Thinking a moment, the General nodded, vaguely remembering something from the news about a large number grown men in dresses celebrating in the streets... vaguely. It was twenty years ago, after all. There might have been others, but it was the grown men –old men even– that caught the attention of the news.

"I was put into the care of my Aunt after that night and, when I turned eleven, I was invited to Hogwarts as my parents were. Everything just went downhill from there." Harry continued, giving the man the summarized Mundane-friendly version of events that defined his teenage years. "Hogwarts is a place that's suppose to have security that could give Buckingham Palace a run for it's money, but in the four years I went there, there wasn't a single year I didn't have something that tried to kill me." he stated, scowling at the thought; really, you'd think after the second time someone would have taken a look at the wards or something. "First Year our own Defense Professor, who was actually a Death Eater, tried to strangle me to death supposedly on orders from his master. Second Year was some nut that claimed to be the younger version of Riddle, his 'past, present and future', as he said. The kid set loose a giant venomous hybrid super snake loose in the school to get rid of the 'enemies of the heir', whatever that bullshit meant."

The General snorted in disbelief, not understanding how all of this hadn't ended up in the national news.

"Third Year was actually pretty calm in you don't include my Godfather, Sirius Black, escaping from prison to come and finish the job his supposed Master started." Harry said offhandedly, enjoying the startled look the General gave him.

"Sirius Black?!" The General echoed, recalling very well the story of when the man escaped. There had been rumors going around that the Brits had asked for help from the Special Forces just to catch the man, a mass murderer according to the news reports. "Wasn't he convicted for murdering fourteen people on the streets of London, including one of his best friends?"

"He was never convicted of anything. Convicted implies a trial, which he never received. Just thrown straight into the British version of Hell on Earth." Harry explained calmly. He couldn't even work up the emotion to get upset over that very dead topic anymore; after fifteen years it was so over-beat it was now more funny than anything else. "Sirius was innocent of the crimes he was accused of. I actually saw the man he was accused of murdering, along with those thirteen bystanders, but the officials believed Sirius had somehow confused me. Still haven't figured out how that one works." he grumbled for good measure.

"How come it wasn't announced on the news?" the General questioned "You'd think with such a high profile case something would have been said."

"Don't know, to be honest." Harry shrugged "From what Sirius told me, it got all hushed up after he proved that he wasn't guilty of the crimes he was accused of. I guess the screw up was a bit of a governmental embarrassment."

"And how the Hell does someone prove they didn't kill someone thirteen years after the fact?" the General asked, almost regretting asking when a wicked gleam entered the kid's eye.

"By strolling into Scotland Yard and tossing the man he supposedly murdered on the Chief Commissioner's desk." Harry smirked, snickering lightly at the General flabbergasted expression. "Siri still won't tell me how the Hell he managed to get all the way to the Commissioner's office, carrying over a hundred pounds of unconscious traitor over his shoulder, without getting caught." Well, OK, it wasn't actually the Chief Commissioner at Scotland Yard, but the Director of the DMLE in the Ministry of Magic, Madame Bones, but the General didn't need him to split those hairs. He still wouldn't tell him how he'd managed to pull it off.

Briefly pinching the bridge of his nose, the General decided after a moment that there was no way in Hell the kid could be bluffing. It was too crazy to be anything but completely true. You couldn't make shit like that up. Sighing, he leaned back in his chair and waved his hand for Harry to continue, wanting to get onto the main point.

"Fourth Year was more or less my breaking point." Harry began again, picking up from where he left off "Some genius decided to bring back a multi-school tournament that had been disbanded like a century ago because so many of the competitors were dying. Rules and supposed protections were put into place so that only those seventeen or older could even enter. The way it was suppose to work was one Champion would be chosen to represent each school. For the other two, Durmstrang, a Scandinavian school and Beauxbatons, a French school, whom their Champions would be were rather obvious, as their respective Headmasters only brought with them their best student and said students... groupies, I suppose you could call them. A boy named Cedric was chosen as our Champion." Scowling, Harry silently cracked his knuckles behind his back, still annoyed, even after all these years, over Dumbledore's idiocy.

"Somehow, someone hacked the system that was being used to choose the Champions, putting my name in as the only student representing a fourth school, leaving the program no choice to to declare me a Champion as well. I still don't understand why I was forced to compete despite the rules stating I should have never been able to enter in the first place, I never could get a straight answer out of our Headmaster, but it nearly got me killed multiple times that year." Harry explained, pausing briefly for the obligatory sympathetic look before continuing. "There were three tasks we had to compete in, each testing a different strength. The final task was a twenty foot tall hedge maze, in which we had to not only navigate through in the dark –because some genius decided it just wasn't challenging enough during the day where we could actually be seen by the audience and those that were suppose to be monitoring us in case we ran into something we couldn't handle– but we had to get past various 'moderately dangerous' to 'probably lethal if you screw up' obstacles –like that giant fucking spider that tried to eat Cedric–."

He paused again to allow the General's mind time to conjure up an image of something akin to the giant spiders from the Lord of the Rings, thus making him concluded that Harry was exaggerating slightly, before continuing.

"Long story short, once we reached the trophy in the center which was, ironically, the least visible area of the entire maze, Cedric and I were knocked out and kidnapped from the grounds by Riddle's Death Eaters." Clenching his fists, Harry grit his teeth, not for the first time wishing that he could go back that far and save the man that had become his friend throughout the year. Time Turners had far less limits than many believed, but solid facts could not be changed. Harry saw Cedric get hit by the Killing Curse. He felt the death magic as the curse passed by him to strike Cedric in the chest. He and Moody had been over his memory of that night a thousand times, and neither of them had ever been able to think of a way to change what happened without causing a paradox. "Cedric never woke up. They kill him while we were still unconscious. I came too laying in a pool of his blood." A complete lie, but how does one explain the quiet, bloodless green caress of the Death Curse to one that doesn't know about magic? The emotion was the same.

The General's expression was softly sympathetic at his plight. Witnessing a death for the first time was never easy even for someone that was trained for it, much less a civilian teenager. There was, however, no pity in his gaze. The old soldier was experienced enough to have long since learned that pity implied that the one it was directed at had somehow failed.

Harry had not.

"I was given the distinct honor of witnessing Riddle's 're-birthing' ritual that night, preformed by Pettigrew, my parent's traitor." Harry continued, an ironic little smile flitting across his lips. He'd been terrified at the time, but not that he looked back on it, Riddle really did look more than a little ridiculous. As often as his Uncle had used the term when he was growing up, he'd never seen a 'freak' the likes of which Riddle had turned himself into in his quest for immortality. "I don't know what the Hell Riddle had done to himself over the years, but he barely looked Human anymore. Pasty white skin, abnormally long limbs and fingers, blood red eyes... and somehow the crazy bastard managed to completely take off his nose."

"You gotta be kidding me." the General said leaning forward, allowing a moderate amount of fascination to enter his tone as Harry broke the solemn mood he'd created.

"I'm serious. Granted, at the time I was terrified out of my bloody mind, but now that he's dead and I've had time to really look over the events, it's a wonder anyone was ever afraid of the man." Harry snorted in amusement; and if that just wasn't the truth. "Honestly, he looked like a great bloody albino snake... kinda died like one too, now that I think of it." he muttered, glancing up at the lights in thought.

"You killed him." the General stated bluntly, able to see that conclusion even without being told of the interim couple of years that obviously happened between events. The kid had already told him that he'd had 'private tutors' after Fourth Year before immigrating to the US.

"I did." Harry answered just as bluntly "In what was possibly one of the stupidest maneuvers in the history of stupid maneuvers, after I escaped Riddle and his Death Eaters I was returned to my Aunt's home with what amounted to a couple of rent-a-cops for guards. My Aunt and I had a long discussion and we decided that it wasn't safe for any of us for me to return to Hogwarts nor stay out in the open like I was–"

"Why weren't you put into protective custody? They may not have believed it was someone from Riddle's group who kidnapped you and your friend, but you were still obviously targeted by someone who was willing to kill just to get at you." the General questioned before he could continue.

Pausing, a puzzled look made its way onto his face as the question wormed its way in, leaving him bereft of answers "You know... I have no idea." Harry answered honestly after a moment of thought, shaking his head. Honestly, he wasn't even sure the DMLE even had a protective custody department. He'd have to ask Mad-Eye that the next time he got in contact with him. "It's not something I've ever thought to question. I grew up doing everything myself, making me immensely independent. After two attempts at my life, my first thought was to learn how to protect myself and deal with the problem myself, not ask for help. After returning to my Aunt's house, my automatic reaction was fundamentally the same one I developed as I kid when I was targeted by the local gangs of bullies: go to ground until I had the ability or a solution that would allow me to fight back." he shrugged. It was truth after all, even his story was somewhat edited "Our government obviously wasn't going to be more proactive, since there was no evidence and they had nothing but my word that Riddle was still alive and was making a comeback–"

"Of which they obviously didn't believe..." the General noted.

"Obviously... fucking politicians." Harry grumbled; if there was one thing he hated more than prophecies, it was politicians. Inhuman devil's spawn they were, every last one of them. His grumbling earned a snort of amusement from the General. "In any case, they said there was no evidence that Riddle was the one who kidnapped us. Just someone who claimed to be Riddle with a group of people in designer skull masks; sure they may have looked like Death Eaters, but anyone can throw on a black robe and put on a mask and how did I know what a Death Eater looked like anyway? I was told they'd investigate, but they were looking at it from a murder angle, not cult activity." he lied. He had to say something; no government outside Fudge's reign was was so incompetent that they wouldn't look into a murder-kidnapping. "I left a letter of resignation for the school and one for anyone else that came looking for me, sent an email off to my Godfather, collected up my supplies and took off, planning to meet up with Sirius where we could touch bases with some of his own contacts from the darker side of society to get me some basic training. He was still technically a fugitive at that point, understand. Unfortunately... or fortunately depending on how you look at it, someone else found me first."

Getting into the story, the General leaned back in his chair and waved him to continue, knowing without even asking that he was only going to get the basics with little to no names. At least not real ones. With the level of training he was reading on the kid, his primary trainer was probably ex-military of some sort, likely a Ghost.

"My primary trainer, a man by the name of Mad-Eye Moody, caught up with me just outside of France. I'd known the man quite well previously, as our Headmaster had him acting as our Defense Professor at school as a major favor. I was rather shocked to learn that he had also, at one point, been apart of Dumbledore's little Order of the Phoenix." Harry explained.

"I take it this Phoenix Order is more or less the antithesis of the Death Eaters as far as this little two-sided cult goes?" the General clarified.

"Precisely." Harry agreed "Well, as it turns out, Dumbledore wasn't too pleased about me leaving Hogwarts... and Britain... and England altogether for that matter." he snickered, recalling the apocalyptic rage Moody had shown him in a Pensieve at one point or another. It was his misfortune that it was nearly impossible for a magic-user to naturally suffer from such things as a stroke. "I was their prophecy boy, after all. How could Dumbledore lead me to my destiny of I wasn't there to be manipulated?" he snarked; fucking bastard. "Dumbledore sent Mad-Eye out to track me down and drag me back if need be. He ambushed me and proceeded to kick my then scrawny ass from one side of lower France to the other. Don't know how precisely I did it, but I apparently managed to impress him with how long I managed to last before he finally knocked me unconscious, despite having little more than an ounce of self-learned training. When I woke up, instead of dragging me back to England, he offered to make me his apprentice."

"Apprentice." the General echoed. Did that system actually still exist?

"Bit of an old fashioned term, but yeah, his apprentice. Considering what I knew of the man, and honestly not seeing any other way out of being dragged back to Dumbledore, especially considering the fact that he had me hogtied to a chair during the aforementioned conversation, I agreed." Harry explained. And the paranoid old soldier had, with ropes, chains, paralysis and what was possibly every sticking charm known to man. "It was later explained to me that Mad-Eye had all but completely quit the Order years before, only sticking around to keep an ear on what was happening between Dumbledore and Riddle in their little war. Dumbledore, it seemed, had a rather annoying habit of hording knowledge about what Riddle was doing, then not doing anything to stop him as he claimed he had formed the Order to do, saying something along the lines of anything they could do to stop Riddle would make them sink to the Death Eater's level. Mad-Eye, predictably, despised that approach and thought Dumbledore's excuse was bullshit. I got in contact with Sirius shortly thereafter to let him know I wasn't dead, then proceeded to spend the next two years or so in what I lovingly refer to as 'Mad-Eye's Boot Camp From Hell'."

"Mad-Eye's Boot Camp From Hell." the General repeated, snickering at the disgruntled expression the kid wore at the mere thought of it. Just from what little he'd heard of the man, he got the feeling they'd get along quite well. He wondered if they'd ever get to meet.

"Don't laugh. I swear, with some of the people I trained with, the man must have called in every favor he was ever owed from the past sixty years." Harry grumbled, removing his arms from behind his back for the first time since entering the office to pinch the bridge of his nose. Really, with the sort of career Mad-Eye had lead, it was no wonder the kind of people he knew, many of them as paranoid as he was and every single one of them capable of kicking liberal amount of ass physically, magically and politically. To the day, he honestly believed that if Mad-Eye got all of his acquaintances together in one place at one time, they could do what Riddle spent the past three decades trying to do in a fraction of the time and without having to resort to mass-genocide to do it. "I started out just trying to learn enough to possibly survive if I got corned by Riddle's Death Eaters. I ended my training with enough training to make a few career soldiers raise brows and question how the Hell long I'd actually been training." he explained, giving the General a pointed look. "Learning how to hide it took nearly as long as learning it in the first place."

Nodding, the General stood from his place and pulled out a stack of forms from his filing cabinet. He had to agree with the kid on that assessment. His assessment, despite the kid's young age, had indicated years of training, at least five, probably closer to ten or more. To learn that he had only trained for two years during his teenage years was, frankly, shocking. It seemed impossible... unless... "Have you continued your training since you dealt with Riddle?" he questioned curiously, dropping the stack on his desk.

"Nothing as rigorous since I was sixteen, but I've kept up my basic routine. Why?" Harry answered. He didn't need to use Legilimency to know what the man was thinking, and he internally found it highly amusing. The man was good at what he did. From the hints he'd dropped, Harry guessed he's read his training fairly accurately, closer than most others ever got. The General had read years on him, and he had, in fact, trained for years. It was always amusing watching those who could read that much of his training on him try and puzzle that one out, as his physical age verses level of training indicated that he had been training at the level of a career soldier since he was five, which was quite impossible.

"I'd hate to see such a level of training go to waste. You've obviously got a gift kid." the General answer, pulling out another stack of paperwork from a different filing cabinet.

'Yeah, it's called magic and a devise that let's me go back in time.' Harry silently answered, his amusement completely evaporating when the General dropped yet another stack of paperwork onto the desk.

"From what you've described, I take it you left Britain in a hurry without letting many know where you were going?" the General questioned.

"Unless something drastic happened, only five people know what country I moved to and of those, only two know what part of the country I moved to. My Godfather may know exactly where I live, but it's doubtful. Though it wouldn't surprise me in the least if Mad-Eye knows exactly which drawer I keep my underwear in; he's scary like that." Harry explained, wondering why he wanted to know.

"I'm also going to assume that those cultists are out there looking for you, then." the General said, more to himself than anything, snorting lightly at the kid's guess about his former trainer. He really wanted to meet this Mad-Eye character. "I'd prefer not having to deal with extremists finding out about this little operation because tracked you down to the area. Carlson's the only one that knows you by your full name, therefore, unless we run into a legality issue, around here we'll be calling you Black instead of Potter. Do you have any objections?"

"None, General. As I stated before, both names are official. My Godfather and Mad-Eye both assured that I was familiar with being addressed by and responding to either in any given situation." Harry assured, making a mental note to cast a specified security ward on Carlson the next time he saw him to make sure the twitchy scientist didn't slip up. "So, I take it I'm going to eventually be allowed to see the light of day again?" he questioned.

"I see no reason to detain you. Depending on how long your hand holds out, you may just get out from under this mountain by the time your my age." the General all but grinned, waving a hand at the binder sized stack of paperwork he'd pulled out.

Groaning in despair, Harry sunk into the chair in front of the General's desk and pulled his favorite pen out of his pocket, silently contemplating whether or not he could get away with using his Time Turner to go back and smack himself before he accepted this job... or at least mess with the security cameras outside the office so he could confund the General and sign all the paperwork magically.

As it was, it only took him three hours to read and sign everything, only moderately surprising the General that he actually bothered to read what he was signing. Far longer than he'd ever had to deal with in the past, but he'd still take the General's paperwork over a Goblin's; the General didn't use blood quills. Now those were nasty. Luckily the magic on the quill made the wound heal automatically when used properly.

By noon, he was officially a member of the US Governmental research team, assigned to Sector Seven.