So it's been awhile huh? Sorry about that, I decided to buff up and revamp the story a little more. Noticed some things that could be changed/added and so I've been tweaking things again. Mainly some fleshing out and sentence restructuring –been adding dates so it's easier for you guys to keep track of who's when where since for awhile here the story is changing the date pretty frequently, -which will slow as we progress of course, but any-who, there are also some pretty big surprises in here so be sure to read each chapter over if you don't want to be confused- hope you all enjoy it!
I promise this will be the last time I shift things this much- not gonna lie, I love to tweak and perfect my work so sometimes if you look hard enough you might notice something, but nothing as big as these alterations will be happening again unless you guys have a request or an idea that I think would sit nicely in one of these chapters! Otherwise this is it for the first three chapters at least- the fourth one will hopefully be perfected soon too!
Disclaimer: I own nothing
Warnings: Lots of violence/gore- and I mean lots guys, plus cursing. Slash in later chapters.
Thinking/Reading: 'What the hell is under there?!'
Normal speech: "What is that thing?"
Death speaking: "A part of Voldemort, sent here to die."
It begins around what should have been the end. The part in a story where you would hope to see everyone get a happily ever after should be right about here, -but it's not. That's a different story, and this isn't an ending.
It's just the beginning…
May 2, 1998
After everything he's been through, Harry doesn't know why he's so shocked to realize that he's reached the end of the line. His entire life has been nothing but an uphill battle, and he's always known that his odds of surviving through the war were abysmal at best.
Perhaps it's because he's disappointed that after everything, his existence is going to end, not with a bang, but with barely even a whimper. He's fought so hard to survive, but today he must go willingly to his grave as everyone's lives depend on it. There are no alternatives, and no phoenixes have appeared to save him. His unique brand of luck seems to have finally run out, and the only way to truly destroy Voldemort is for him to die as well.
If he doesn't do this, then everything he's fought for will have been for naught. He's actually relieved that he'd discovered the piece of Voldemort's soul within him before it was too late. The idea of the Dark Lord wearing his skin to parade around in on raids is horrifying. He refuses to let himself be the reason the war is lost. If his death is the price of success then so be it.
As Harry walks further within the woods, Voldemort's booming voice interrupts his internal musings, alerting him that he's close. Choking back the natural fear that urges him to leave before it's too late, he steps into the clearing before Voldemort, resigned to his death. Suspicious red eyes gaze at him, obviously wondering why Harry is making this so easy, but Voldemort doesn't hesitate for long.
As the green light of an Avada Kedavra draws closer, Harry opens his arms and welcomes death like an old friend.
Harry has no idea how much time has passed when he opens his eyes to find himself lying on the floor in an unfamiliar, glaringly white setting.
Confused, Harry struggles to his feet to get a better view of his surroundings. Turning his head to the side, he notices something moving in his peripherals. Curiously, he walks towards the solitary bench in what appears to be an endless train station. Drawing up next to the seat, he crouches down for a closer look.
Emaciated bloody hands snap towards him, causing him to rear back. 'What the hell is under there?!' Harry wonders nervously as haunting wails begin emanating from the creature.
"You can't help him Harry…"An eerie voice rasps. Whirling around, Harry comes face to face with what can only be described as Death. He isn't afraid; after all he's already dead. He has no reason to fear it. Death's facial bones shift into a distorted grin, as if it can hear his thoughts. "You brave, brave boy… You WONDERFUL boy… Come walk with me,"It croaks, motioning Harry forward.
Warily, Harry moves towards the dark specter, which turns to begin drifting at his side.
Pointing back at the deformed shape weeping underneath the bench, Harry asks, "What is that thing?"
"A part of Voldemort, sent here to die," Death responds, gliding along.
"So there really is a piece of him inside me," Harry frets, rubbing at his scar.
Death shakes its veiled head, then replies, "Not anymore. It was destroyed moments ago by Voldemort himself." Empty eye sockets bore into Harry, "You were the horcrux he never meant to make."
Harry ponders the revelation that he's finally free of Voldemort, but then realizes, "I have to go back, haven't I?"
"That's up to you," Death replies, with a toothy grin. "We're at a train station, yes?" It casually points out, "So you have a choice to make. If you stay here, you will never be allowed to pass on. However, if you so desire, you'll be able to board a train today… But ONLY today."
Harry looks down the neverending tracks longingly, "Where would it take me?"
"…On," Death answers simply, staring intently at Harry's unaware back as if wary of his Master's choice. The serious moment is interrupted by a louder wail from the shriveled up piece of Voldemort. Harry glances back, feeling sorry for it, and also strangely drawn to it. Before Harry can decide whether he dares to approach the wretched creature or not, Death hisses, "Unless you want that soul to latch onto you again, I suggest you avoid touching it."
Harry sighs, exasperated, "Is this even real or is all of this just happening inside my head?" 'Apparently, I can't escape my problems even when I'm dead,' Harry mulls.
Death cackles, "Of COURSE it's all happening inside your head! But why should that make this any less real?" Harry has no answer for it, but he knows what he has to do. Reluctantly he sits on the bench, and watches sadly as the only train he'll ever see passes on without him.
Unbeknownst to Harry, Death grins victoriously down at him.
"What now?" Harry wonders aloud, not sure what will happen to him. He has no idea how this not-quite-dead stuff works after all.
"Now it is time for us to part ways… I shall see you again at the next crossroad my brave little Master," Death murmurs almost fondly, bowing before Harry who is taken aback at the motion.
Before he can ask what Death means, the whitewashed world blinks out of existence.
When Harry comes to, he almost opens his eyes before realizing that he's back in the forbidden forest, surrounded by Death Eaters. Trying not to tense, he focuses on lying as still as possible across the cold hard earth. Just as he starts panicking over how he's going to escape this situation unscathed, Mrs. Malfoy leans in to take his pulse. As she gently places her fingers to his throat and Harry tenses to attack, Narcissa quietly demands to know, "Is my son alive?"
Carefully -hoping no one else can see him- Harry signals Draco's safety with a slight incline of his head. He doesn't know what to expect, but is relieved when in return for his help, Narcissa lies, confirming the Dark Lord's victory. Cheers ring out, and a wailing Hagrid is then forced to carry his 'corpse' back to the school, which is a relief, because it means that no one besides Mrs. Malfoy realizes that he is alive. Upon arriving at Hogwarts, Voldemort starts bragging about his victory, and many people begin to give up hope- which is of course when Harry leaps to his feet and begins firing upon the Death Eaters.
With renewed faith, everyone rushes into battle after Harry. The fight that ensues is long and arduous. It is in no way an easy victory, but thanks to Voldemort using a wand that will never obey a false Master, Harry defeats him with a powerful expelliarmus. As the Dark Lord scatters like dust on the wind, Harry catches the Elder Wand with a shaking hand. For the first time in his life, he feels free.
'And powerful…' Harry thinks as he glances down at the legendary wand he now possesses. Gingerly gripping it in his hands, the world around him seems to slow as he considers what he should do with it. The right thing would probably be to destroy it, to break it in half over his knee and let that be the end of it. At the least he should just put it back with Dumbledore to be forgotten in time.
'On the other hand there are still death eaters out there that need to be stopped… I should at least hold onto it until they're taken care of,' Harry decides, blissfully unaware that this line of thought would lead to a future of caving in to the tempting power. For the Elder Wand has a will of its own, and it wasn't about to let itself be tossed aside after it had spent centuries carving a bloody path to reach the frail but oh so perfect hands caressing it.
As Harry slips the wand within his pocket, time returns to normal just as the cheering crowd reaches him.
A victory celebration to outshine all others kicks off, everyone making merry and toasting to lost friends even as they make new ones. Harry is introduced to hundreds of new people, all wanting to congratulate him -but he can't find the one person he truly wants to see.
When he'd accepted death, Harry had also accepted that he'd never see his friends or beloved again, and yet here he was. Alive again with a future full of infinite possibilities that he never dared dream he could have. The only future he desires now is one that he can share with Ginny.
He wants what he refused to let himself ponder when he knew death was on the horizon. A life where brown eyes gaze at him with infinite warmth, and red hair tempts him ever higher as they fly across open skies together. He can picture now, how their happy ever after will play out and it fills his heart with eager joy. Ginny will become a professional Quidditch player of course, Harry attending every match to cheer her on.
He'll work as an Auror, doing what he does best and chasing down rogue Death Eaters when he's not pouring his heart and soul out to his future lover. If Ginny allows it, they'll have many children -little ones with their mother's hair and his eyes, and he'll treasure them all. It's a beautiful vision, but Harry is getting ahead of himself. He needs to start with a proposal and if all goes well the rest will follow.
The problem is that he can't seem to find Ginny. She's been missing for hours, and no one seems to know where she is. He's slowly heading from worry into panic, when a Slytherin student casually informs him of where he can find her. Normally Harry would have been suspicious of the older boy's slick smile, but he's too relieved over the news that someone, anyone, has seen her. Thanking the student, he eagerly races to Gryffindor tower.
He's rushing up the rubble-ridden stairs, trying to figure out how he's going to propose to her, when he smells an acrid smoky aroma. Idly, he wonders if someone has the common room fire going, as he states the password to get in. The portrait swings open and the smoke that billows out momentarily blinds him. Blinking through watery eyes, Harry rushes into the room, now worried, and freezes. Lying on the rug before the common room fire is a human heart.
Pulse pounding in his ears, he looks into the fire and sees Ginny's burning, bubbling head staring sightlessly up at him through the flames. As Harry stares uncomprehendingly into her face, frozen in an expression of true terror, a distant part of him notes that the position is similar to the way Sirius once had fire-called him. But Sirius face had looked nothing like his poor sweet Ginny's did now.
"No… No, no, no… Ginny!" Harry chokes softly, as he collapses to his knees. "Please no…" he weeps, casting an overpowered aguamenti to stop the flames. It only makes the mess at his feet worse as water floods the room, sending her remains swirling and swaying across the floor, bits of her floating about his kneeling form. Horrified he scrambles to hold onto what's left of her, and gets a pulpy handful of steaming ash and red hair. Bile rising in his throat it dawns on him that the acrid smell filling the hall had been the rest of Ginnys flesh roasting in the pyre.
Retching even as he struggles not to further contaminate his love's remains, he drops his sticky handful back into the disgusting ashy red mix soaking into his pants and begins wailing with unrestrained grief. He doesn't understand why this has happened.
'WhywhywhywhymyGinnynotmyGinny!' plays through his mind on repeat, all his hopes and dreams melting around him like what's left of his would have been lover.
He doesn't know how long he sits there, howling out his despair amongst the soggy grey remains of her silky red hair, but eventually someone starts shrieking nearby, gathering a horrified crowd.
"Who did this?!" Ron roars through his own tears, eyes locked onto Ginny's half melted face floating amongst the soupy muck Harry had made of her. Yanking a near comatose Harry to his feet, a pale green Ron shakes him, demanding to know, "Who. Did. This?!"
"Stop it Ron! Can't you see he's hurting too?!" Hermione shouts, disgustedly forcing herself through liquefied remains to tug Harry away from Ron's unforgiving grip.
Blinking through burning tears, Harry remembers the Slytherin who had been oh so helpful earlier, and feels a rage like molten lava erupt within his gutted chest cavity. Staggering through blood and wet ash, Harry sloshes out of the portrait hole, leaving a trail of tainted water, swiftly followed by Ron. Hermione might have joined them had Mrs. Weasley not arrived and collapsed into hysterical sobbing. Like Harry, she would never truly recover from this.
Storming down the stairs with Ron, who can sense his murderous intent, Harry rips open the marauders map, that he'd foolishly forgotten to check earlier, and begins the hunt for Marcus Flint.
The inbred imbecile is hiding in the dungeons. Stalking down halls and staircases, Harry turns and weaves until he comes to Snape's old classroom. Pausing at the threshold, Harry takes a moment to consider just what he'd like to do to the piece of shite hiding behind the doors, but Ron doesn't pause for any such considerations, and slams right on inside.
"Avada Kedavra!" Ron howls, hitting Flint directly in the chest. The light instantly fades from Flint's shocked eyes as he collapses to the floor.
"What have you done?!" Harry snarls, viciously slamming a startled Ron against the wall, practically spitting as he hisses, "He deserved worse than that! So much worse, but you… you gave him a painless death?! You think that's what he gave Ginny?! That monster probably carved her up alive and then threw her remains in the fire! He deserved to suffer!"
"I- I just thought-," Ron starts, looking ashamed.
"NO!" Harry snarls, shoving Ron again, hoping he's hurting him, "No, you didn't think! You didn't think because you never think about anyone but yourself! This wasn't about you though! This was about making the bastard who murdered the woman I loved -your sister, pay for what he did! You've just ruined the only chance we ever had to properly avenge her!"
Releasing a pale, shaken Ron, Harry heads towards the door, wanting nothing more than to hide away for the rest of his miserable life. Without Ginny how could it be anything but? He feels like his heart's been burned out of him. The pain and rage roiling inside his gut with no outlet is unbearable. He might have won the war today, but everything he'd barely begun hoping to gain from it has been lost. Even his chance for vengeance was cruelly snatched from him by his careless ex-friend.
"Harry! I'm sorry! Please, I didn't mean to- I was just so angry!" Ron cries, desperately gripping his shoulder to prevent him from leaving.
"Sorry isn't good enough this time," Harry spits tersely, jerking out of Ron's desperate grasp and trudging away.
May 9, 1998
'How did it come to this?' Harry muses listlessly. Eyes red and dulled by the wine he'd drank in excess, he stares despondently into the water stains on the ceiling. A week after the battle, and he hasn't moved from Sirius' filthy old bed save to grab another bottle in a neverending struggle to drink away the pain that is his life.
'It should have been me. I was ready to die,' he thinks wearily, hand reaching out to feel through the bottles around him for one that isn't as empty on the inside as he feels right now. His sluggish movements send a few rolling off to shatter on the floor, making his head throb, tears sliding anew down his cheeks to further sully the bed.
A soft pop further disturbs his mourning.
Seeming reluctant to bother Harry as he grieves, Kreacher ambles over, an envelope clutched in his dirty hands and grumbles quietly, "Master Potter has a letter from the Minister."
Ever since Harry had destroyed the locket, the elf has been much kinder towards him and far more willing to care for him. It's strange, and he isn't exactly in the right state of mind to appreciate it, but every room in the house besides the one he's currently shut himself in is dust free. There are also always meals prepared though he's rarely hungry. If he was capable of caring, he might have noticed the worry in Kreacher's eyes as the elf attempts to care for his lifeless Master.
"Thanks," Harry slurs quietly, fumbling it open. It reads:
'Dear Mister Potter,
As the new Minister of magic, I would like to thank you on behalf of Wizarding Britain for your contributions to the war. Your help has been invaluable, and if we had the funds, a ceremony would be held in your honor, I assure you. As it is, I have something for you that I hope will be an expression of equivalent gratitude. Your presence is requested at your earliest convenience.
'An award?' Harry wonders, frowning and massaging his burning eyes, 'Has he decided to hire me as an Auror?' He hasn't even decided if he wants to pursue the position or not now. Sure there are still a few Death Eaters out and about, but he doesn't know if he wants a career hunting them down anymore. It's not like he needs the money anyway.
He could stay here and drown himself for three wizarding lifetimes and it still wouldn't make a dent to his funds.
Feeling a tug on his sleeve, he looks down and sees that Kreacher is holding a coat and hangover potion up to him. Sighing, Harry decides he might as well just get this over with. Downing the effervescent fruity elixer, he feels the aches of overindulgence fade and crushing despair return ten-fold. It takes almost all of the willpower he has left to rise to his feet. Spelling his stained clothes clean, he pulls on the nice gray robes Kreacher holds insistently out at him.
Exhaustion weighing down his every step, Harry makes his way down the stairs and outside the wards. Apparating to the ministry, he trudges past a dazed and sputtering receptionist through a veritable maze of halls to the Minister's office. He's hardly knocked twice before the door is ripped open to reveal the ecstatic face of his host.
"Potter! Good to see you- I didn't expect you to come so quickly!" Kingsley booms, ushering him in even as he rushes across the room to scoop up a small, blue blanketed bundle.
"You wanted to see me?" Harry asks, curiously eyeing the blue thing as Kingsley lopes back to him with it.
"I really wish I had time to sit and chat for a spell, but I'm rather busy with all this clean-up work we've had to do," Kingsley says, looking apologetic as he gently transfers the wriggling object and a sheaf of official looking documents into Harry's alarmed arms.
"As a small thanks for your contribution to the war, I've pushed the necessary paper work through, so you can take your godson home today. I'm sure you've been worried sick about the little fella," Kingsley explains before moving to close the door on Harry, "When things around here settle down I'll arrange a ceremony to grant you the Order of Merlin First Class- in the meantime, good luck with your new son!" The door shuts before a bewildered Harry can ask what the bloody hell the man is going on about or decide if he wants to protest.
Looking down uneasily, Harry takes in the thing that's been placed in his arms. Light brown eyes look up at Harry beneath a mop of bright pink hair and tiny hands wave at him excitedly from within the blue wrapping. Harry is overwhelmed, and doesn't know what to think. He'd completely forgotten about the Lupins' son. Hell, he's ignored everything and everyone since…
Cringing he feels fleshy pulp filling his hands, the smell of burning flesh overwhelming him. Legs feeling heavy and wet, he staggers, limp hands tensing to fling what's left of his almost lover from himself, when a soft coo cuts through the hallucination. Heart racing he looks down at the mewling infant and wonders if he should just force Kingsley to take it back now.
'Surely it would be better, more merciful to get rid of it before it imprints,' Harry debates, feeling its magic reach for his even as his begins subconsciously reaching back. He's not exactly in the best mindset for children, but he's always longed for a family. For as long as he can remember, he's dreamed of having someone to call his own. To have a lover and as many children as he could afford to spoil. Now that Ginny's gone, this might be his only chance to gain at least some of that dream.
'I couldn't bare to look at another woman after…' Choking on the smell of burnt flesh even as he forces himself to realize it's not real, Harry clutches Teddy desperately to his chest and feels the young energy eagerly latch onto his own, feeding off his magical core as all newborn magicals do up to a certain age.
Looking down he sees one light brown, and one very familiar green eye gazing back up into his own, and resigns himself to the new strange twist his life is taking. Apparating home, he carefully makes his way inside with the new precious cargo to the living room where he sits down with his godson. The blanket has the name Teddy embroidered on it, but the adoption papers say Edward, so Harry is going to assume that Teddy is a nickname.
He's so very tiny looking in Harry's arms… and fluffy.
"Hey there little guy," Harry murmurs, delicately running a hand across feather soft pink hair that is messier than his has ever been. 'At least all that hair seems to suit the little guy,' Harry decides, absentmindedly brushing tiny freckled cheeks. Snuffling, the baby grabs at his fingers curiously, before finally managing to catch one. Chewing on the digit, Teddy begins rumbling happily. Laughing at the odd sound, Harry wonders if it's normal for infants to purr.
"Silly baby; Remus was a wolf, not a kitty!" Harry coos, wiggling his fingers playfully within the infant's grip, causing him to squeal with excitement. The scene is so adorable it makes Harry's chest clench. In that moment he knows with one hundred percent certainty that somehow he's going to do this. He's going to keep Teddy and raise him as best he can.
"Kreacher!" Harry calls, gently bouncing a delighted Teddy.
"Yes Master- why does Master Potter have a baby?" Kreacher asks, face blank in surprise.
"This is Edward, he's going to be living with us from now on. Would you be ok taking care of him while I'm at work?" Harry inquires. He's definitely going to become an Auror now. Having a bunch of rogue Death Eaters on the loose when he has a child to rear is out of the question. He'll need someone to watch Teddy while he's out though. Hiring a sitter is out of the question since so many of the dark lord's followers have yet to be apprehended and they might see it as an opportunity to attack his new family member. Luckily he won't have to.
"Yes, but where did Master Potter get a baby?" Kreacher queries, curiously moving closer.
"Remus and Tonks named me godfather before they passed," Harry explains, moving Teddy to where Kreacher can see him better.
"A Black family baby?" Kreacher asks, looking far more enthusiastic.
"I guess?" Harry confirms unsurely.
"Kreacher will prepare a room for Master Edward," The elf assures him, disappearing with an excited pop. Harry feels content knowing that Teddy will be safe at home with the elf, while Harry makes sure that no ones around to hurt his baby. Perhaps it's the rapidly growing bond between them, but he already feels extremely protective of the little boy he's clutching so carefully close.
"No one will harm a single curl on your head while I'm around," Harry swears, leaning down to nuzzle Teddy's hair.
It turns out that child rearing is an area Harry naturally excels at. The amount of diapers little Edward can go through is monstrous, and he never seems to want to sleep, but it doesn't really bother Harry. After all, he'd taken care of three extremely demanding arse holes for the entirety of his childhood, and Teddy never even comes close to their level. So no, the diapers, and the lack of sleep don't really bother Harry since he's never gotten much anyway. Besides, it helps to take his mind off of what happened to Ginny, and Merlin knows he needs all the help he can get forgetting that.
Work as an Auror is demanding, but again, it's a welcome distraction. Any Death Eaters he encounters on the job either flee or attempt to kill him, which is all pretty normal for Harry. The only new thing is that later on he's bored to tears filling out what is apparently 'necessary' paperwork. Despite the long hours and his exhaustion, at the end of each day he gets to come home to his son's always changing but smiling face. A toothy little grin that makes it all worth it.
His kid is far too cute; the neighbors think so as well, but they don't really like Harry. They all believe he dyes his poor baby's hair, which incites ire and disapproval from the neighboring parents. Harry would correct them, but then he'd just have to obliviate them after explaining why every color of the rainbow is Edward's natural shade. Even one of Teddy's eyes changes color, but no one else seems to notice that. Teddy's left eye alternates between colors, but ever since the right one turned into a green mirroring Harry's own, it hasn't shifted again that he's seen.
At around a year old Teddy learns to walk, and refuses to leave Harry's side. Room by room Teddy will toddle after him babbling nonsense. Every time Harry tries to go upstairs, Teddy will hang onto his robes, pouting until Harry takes him with him. When Teddy's says his first real word, and it's 'Dada', Harry cries a little he's so happy.
After Dada, Teddy rapidly learns to say far more useful things like 'I wanna tweet', which is often accompanied by a pouty face that Harry has a lot of trouble saying no to. At five years old, that face almost convinces Harry to get him a kneazle. Ted's had a few years to perfect it, so it's extremely deadly. Harry is close to caving in, when things take a turn for the worse.
August 1, 2003
"DAAAADDYYY!" Teddy screams, startling Harry awake. Fear grips his heart as Harry dashes out of bed, crashing into walls as he rushes to his son's bedroom. Bursting inside, he discovers that Teddy's not there, and after frantically searching the house, realizes that his son isn't anywhere to be found.
"TEDDY! TEDDY WHERE ARE YOU?!" Harry howls as he backtracks and heads down a hall he's already been through. Just as he's about to start hyperventilating, because he can't find his baby, he sees that the front door is open. There are enough wards up around Grimmauld to stop an entire army from getting in, but he's never thought to put any up to stop his kid from getting out. Whatever has happened to his son now is his fault.
Leaping down the front porch stairs he desperately cries out for his son again, praying that it's not too late. Listening closely he hears screams coming from the park across the street, and books it towards the sound. Following a trail of blood that has been spattered down the sidewalk, he finds a rogue werewolf dragging Teddy, who is kicking and screaming, off by the arm. Patting his pockets, Harry pales as he realizes that he doesn't have a wand. He has no doubt that if he takes the time to run inside and retrieve it, his son will be dead by the time he returns.
He isn't going to let Teddy die because he can't get to a bloody stick. Knowing that he doesn't have a lot of time, Harry focuses on his magical core like he used to when he was young. Back when he still lived with the Dursleys, sometimes Harry had had to use wandless magic to heal himself, or he'd get angry and something would happen. It was always highly effective, but he'd never truly relied on it because he hadn't seen any of his friends or teachers using wandless magic. At the time it was just another thing that would separate him from his peers, and he hadn't wanted to be stared at anymore than he already was.
Now he prays that a wandless Avada will work since he's so out of practice it isn't funny. Harry swears that if he succeeds, and he's able to save Teddy, that he'll Master wandless magic -staring people be damned. He never wants to feel this helpless ever again. Drawing deathly green energy into his palms, he races after the beast. Seeing Harry approach, it snarls and drops Teddy before charging at him.
Dodging it's claws, Harry apparates behind it and forces the power he's amassed directly into the werewolf's unguarded back. Like a puppet with it's strings cut, it collapses to the ground dead, forever frozen in its monstrous form. Staring at the huge brute, Harry knows without a doubt that if he'd had to rely on his wand tonight, that his son would be the one lying on the ground dead, and he's furious. Quickly using magic to get rid of the body, he spins around and rushes to where his weeping son lies. The deep puncture marks on Teddy's upper arm make Harry feel cold inside, knowing what they mean for his poor baby.
If Teddy survives tonight, then he's going to become a werewolf, and there isn't a damn thing Harry can do about it. This never would have happened if he had just warded the front door better, but its too late and he's failed his son. Because of his mistake, Teddy is going to suffer for years, if not his entire life. Carefully gathering the shaking boy up into his arms, Harry knows that he must try to avoid taking him to a wizarding hospital at all costs. He's seen exactly how other wizards will treat Edward if they know he's infected and Harry refuses to put his son through that.
No, saint Mungos should be the very last resort, which leaves one other option to try first. Praying that muggles can help somehow, he heals what he can wandlessly, swearing that he'll learn more of the healing arts as well, then rushes Teddy to a non-magical hospital. It's a long night, and his poor kid receives several stitches for the bites and scratches littering his tiny body, along with rabies vaccinations, but thankfully his son lives.
Months pass and full moons are hell on Teddy. Harry hates watching his son suffer because of a mistake he made but he doesn't know what else to do. Eventually he comes to the conclusion that if he wants to help his son he'll have to make a cure himself. Resolutely Harry tracks down professor Slughorn and begs for an apprenticeship, knowing that the man will be too flattered by the great Harry Potter asking for help to refuse him. He's right, and so to make more time for the lessons, Harry quits his job as an Auror despite the ministry's vehement protests.
It takes four years of relentless studying, but it all pays off when Harry becomes a certified potions Master. Fully capable of brewing his son wolfsbane potions, he's finally begun to pursue a more permanent solution. His research so far has only revealed that nowhere in recorded history has a werewolf actually been cured, but he refuses to let that stop him. The ministry remains unaware of his son's furry problem, but by this point in time they are all aware that Harry has become an advanced potions Master, a credit to his field. Because of this, it isn't hard to convince them to let him use infected criminals as test subjects for his attempts to eradicate lycanthropy.
It's thanks to this that Harry eventually finds new ways to treat the curses symptoms. His most recent elixir prevents werewolves from feeling any pain or being contagious when they undergo the transformation, and even allows them to keep their minds. It's a major improvement and the wizarding world thanks him for it. Regrettably it's been difficult to make time for Teddy with everything else. Between potions classes, brewing wolfsbane, experimenting in the lab, and teaching himself wandless magic, he hasn't spent much time with his son.
It breaks his heart, but he can't do anything about it. He refuses to stop until he's cured Teddy. Sadly, Time doesn't stop for anyone, and before he knows it his son is about to turn eleven.
April 6, 2009
"Alright, one more time, what kind of cake do you want?" Harry asks, quill poised over parchment. It's the week before Teddy's eleventh birthday, and he needs to go out and buy food for the party. He can't believe his baby is about to go to Hogwarts. He's getting too damn old!
"Lemon!" Teddy declares, beaming at him from his seat at the table. Harry doesn't know when his kid started liking that flavor, but its probably Kreacher's fault. Harry can't stand the taste thanks to a certain old man with a lemon drops problem.
"Lemon it is," Harry says, repressing a shudder. Merlin he hates the taste, but if his son wants it then Harry will get him a damn lemon cake. "We'll also get chocolate and vanilla for the others. Anything else you want while I'm out?" Harry asks, jotting down the requests.
"Nope, but when you get home you should teach me how to float so I can wow the other kids!" Teddy states hopefully, sliding out of the chair to approach him.
"Teddy, you're already going to 'wow' them enough with all the wandless magic you know. I'm not sure Minerva will survive the heart attack you'll give her if you start floating around everywhere! …But we'll see," Harry laughs, pulling him in for a hug, "Are you sure you need to go to Hogwarts? I could always teach you here," Harry half offers, half begs, clutching Teddy closer. He hates that he's only going to see his kid a few times a year. Sure he'll have more time to work, but he'd prefer to have Teddy home and safe while he does it.
"No way! I have to go so I can get on a quidditch team. I want to be a seeker like you were," Teddy says seriously.
"All right… But if you ever want to quit school, and live at home forever, -Daddy's here," Harry swears, nuzzling Teddy's fluffy mane. He's proud of his kid for going, but that doesn't mean he has to like it. At least Teddy knows when to take his potions, and how to ward his bed so no one will discover his little furry problem.
"I love you too dad," Teddy says, smiling up at him. It's so damn cute Harry goes in for one last hug just as the doorbell rings.
"I'll try to get back as soon as I can," Harry says, pulling back and opening the door before he can change his mind.
"Hi Harry," Luna greets, making her way inside to scoop Teddy up for hugs and kisses.
"Thanks for coming Luna," he smiles, then asks, "You're sure you'll be alright alone with him for a few hours? I know he can be a handful." Luna is one of the few people he's still comfortable having around after everything, and Teddy loves her to pieces so it all works out. She doesn't insist on bringing up the past like Hermione who still, even to this day will send him letters that once were pleading, now simply demand that he forgive Ron.
Apparently Ron hasn't been coping well, and Harry would forgive him if he could… But he can't. Not after Ron ruined the only thing left that mattered. He can't even think about Ron without smelling…
"The little prince and I should be just fine," she assures him with an airy smile, interrupting his downward spiral. Luna's amazing like that.
Chuckling he says, "Alright. If you need anything or think of something else I should add to the list, just use one of the enchanted coins." Once useful during the war, now the coins made keeping in contact with his few friends easy. Harry rather prefers them over waiting for owls that only serve to remind him of Hedwig.
Closing the door, he turns and makes sure all of his wards are in place, inside and out. When he's sure that they're secure, he heads down the street towards the nearest shopping center. There are all kinds of things he'll need for Teddy's big day tomorrow. After all, this year will be the last birthday that Teddy is at home to celebrate it with him.
He's a few blocks away from the first store, considering whether or not to teach Teddy to float, when something slams into the back of his head. Between one blink and the next he collapses to the ground. Foreign hands tear at his robe, but Harry is unable to move so much as a finger to stop them from pilfering his pockets. His glasses are crushed in the altercation, but he can still see that there's red everywhere. Distantly, he realizes that the red is his own blood pooling around him, and he knows with grim certainty that he isn't going to make it.
The thing Harry regrets the most as the world fades away, is that he won't live long enough to cure his son.
A beeping noise wakes Harry an indeterminate amount of time later. Confused, he looks towards the sound and sees that he's hooked up to some sort of heart monitor. Remembering the blow he took to the head earlier, and all of the blood he lost, he's not really shocked to be in a hospital. What's most surprising is that he's alive, and that even though his glasses are still missing, he can clearly read the devices around him.
He's very confused.
Assessing his current state, he feels his head stinging a little, but other than that everything seems normal. He's definitely not paralyzed or dead, which is a relief, but he has no idea how that's possible. Something isn't right, but he can't bring himself to care because he's alive and that means he'll be able to see his son again. Sitting up, he tells himself that it's entirely possible that he just hallucinated all that blood.
"Oh my god. You're awake! That's incredible er- I mean, hello, I'm Dr Stross," the scruffy man in scrubs fumbles to say.
"What happened to me?" Harry demands. He hopes Teddy isn't too worried about him. He has no idea how long he's been here.
"Someone mugged you and left you for dead. You lost quite a bit of blood from a severe head injury, and when you flat lined the staff were unable to restart your heart. We'd pretty much given up on you when your heart just started back up on it's own. It's a miracle that you're alive really," Stross exclaims.
Blinking Harry asks, "So I'm fine?"
"Strangely enough, yes! At the least we expected brain damage or some form of paralysis, but here you are sitting up and talking. I've never seen anything like it!" Stross declares, looking at Harry like he's the most interesting thing he's ever seen.
"That's great. Where do I sign out?" Harry deadpans. He doesn't like this doctor, or doctors in general really. Probably because they'd never been willing to help him as a child when the Dursleys abused him. He wants out of this hospital. The sooner the better.
"Sir, your head was caved in when we found you. We should really hold you overnight just to make sure-," the doctor starts to say, before Harry casts a memory altering charm at him.
"You won't remember any part of this conversation. You came in here to check on the patient and found him dead, as you expected. If anyone asks, you had someone remove the body, and have contacted the family of the deceased. Do you understand?" Harry demands. The spelled man nods slowly.
"Good," Harry says. Wobbling to his feet, he apparates home and almost collapses multiple times on his way up the darkened front steps and down the hall. Leaning against the wall for support, he takes a few deep breaths to try and center himself.
"Master Potter? What happened?!" Kreacher asks, alarmed as he takes in the bandage wrapped around Harry's head. Wincing at the volume, Harry turns towards the elf.
"It's nothing, I just bumped my head," Harry lies. "Would you help me get these bandages off and take a look at it?" He asks, motioning to the cloth wrapped tightly around his skull
"Yes Master," Kreacher says, carefully helping him the rest of the way to his room. Entering the bedroom, Harry maneuvers to where he can see himself in the mirror hanging on his wall as Kreacher begins to unwrap the bandages around his head. He needs to assess how bad the damage is so he can try to heal it if he has to. The last of the bandages comes off but no matter how closely Harry looks, there isn't even a mark from where he was bludgeoned. As he looks closer at himself, he notices that all of his scars have mysteriously vanished …including the horcrux scar he's had on his forehead since he was a baby.
His body has also changed in other subtle ways; he's actually grown an inch or two, giving himself a slightly leaner look; it's disturbing. Warily looking himself over one last time, Harry walks away, determined to figure this out some other time, preferably after his son leaves for Hogwarts. Right now he has a party to set up, and he's going to have to go shopping all over again.
A dirty blond head pops out of the living room, pausing to take in his altered appearance before approaching.
"Great and terrible things lie ahead for you Harry. I hope you'll remember us fondly after we become less than a dream," Luna's voice says, pale silver eyes looking at him sadly. He doesn't know what she's talking about, but he can reassure her of one thing.
"I could never forget someone as memorable as you Luna," he smiles, hugging her close.
Time seems to fly by over the next few years. Teddy is sorted into Ravenclaw where he excels in all of his classes, and on the Quidditch field. His son is the latest and greatest seeker of the family, and Harry couldn't be more proud. Frankly, he'd be proud no matter what, he's just glad that Teddy doesn't get into near as much trouble as he did when he was younger. There are nights he has nightmares of Teddy fighting off basilisks and wakes in a cold sweat.
Thankfully that never happens. Teddy is a well-behaved child who makes many a new friend each year at Hogwarts. Around the winter hols during Teddy's fifth year of school, all of Harry's hard work finally pays off when he succeeds in making a lycanthropy cure. For the first time Harry becomes known throughout the wizarding world for more than just defeating Voldemort. It feels amazing.
The cure is going to help so many people, which is fantastic, but really Harry's just happy that he can finally help his son. It feels wonderful to know that Teddy won't suffer for his mistakes anymore.
September 12, 2012
It's been a few months since the cure was released, and Harry is taking a small break from an extremely delicate project when he receives a fire call from saint Mungos.
"I'm so sorry to have to inform you of this Mr. Potter, but your son was attacked during a Hogsmead outing, and, well… It isn't good. I've done my best to patch him up, but his injuries are far too severe to even transfer him to St. Mungos. There's nothing more I can do for him. You'd best hurry, he doesn't have long left," Madam Pomfrey sadly informs him, voice thick with grief.
Stricken, Harry rushes to the school hospital wing where Pomfrey quickly directs him to Teddy. Red skin and blood contrast sickeningly with the white hospital sheets his poor son is laying on. Tired, bloodshot, heterochromatic eyes stare sadly up at him from the mess that was once Teddy's sweet face.
"What happened?!" Harry croaks as he stares helplessly at all of the damage.
"Greyback," Teddy wheezes, "Wanted revenge. The cure- But s'not your fault dad. Don't blame you… you did the righ- *cough* the right thing making it. You just wanted to help. I know that, so don't- don't blame yourself for this." Harry wants to hold Teddy, to comfort both of them, but he doesn't want to risk hurting his son even more, so he holds himself back.
"Shh… hush Teddy bear, its gonna be alright. You're gonna be ok!" Harry insists. 'For the love of Merlin, please, I can't lose the only real family I've ever had. Not because of another one of my screw-ups. Please not my Teddy!' Harry silently pleads to anyone who might be listening.
"It's not. The people here can't fix me, -but it's ok. I know they can't, and that's ok. I'm just- glad that I got to see you, one more time. I love you dad," Teddy states, trying to make this easier on his father. He's well aware that his dad blames himself for anything even remotely bad that happens to him, and he doesn't want this to be one of them.
His father has spent his whole life doing nothing but caring for him, and cleaning up whatever messes he makes. He hates that he's going to put his father through hell all over again. Teddy really wishes that it didn't have to end this way.
"NO! No, I can help you; I know I can! All you have to do is give me permission, and I'll find a way. Please," Harry begs, tears rolling freely down his face. If his son doesn't want to live then he won't make him, but if Teddy gives him permission then Harry will save him. No matter how long it takes, he'll fix everything and get his son back.
"…Ok. If you want to try, then you have my permission, just -don't get your hopes up," Teddy reluctantly agrees. His body is exhausted, and he just wants to give in, but his father has asked him to try.
"Thank you," Harry sobs. Shaking, he backs up and casts as many stasis charms as he can think of on Teddy. When he's sure that he'll make it home alive, Harry gently scoops him up with his magic, and then runs them as quickly as he can to the nearest floo. They make it to his lab in record time, where Harry begins to work.
He tries everything he can think of to fix his son. Potions, spells, muggle surgery, everything, but in the end there's nothing he can do. For two weeks his home resounds with Teddy's tormented screams as Harry repeatedly tries and fails to save him. At the end of the fourth day Teddy begins to beg for death; Harry gives in ten days later, and ends his son's pain with a swift Avada.
Standing by the empty husk, Harry feels himself grow cold. It's a relief because if he was able to feel anything, he might not be able to gather the necessary samples from the stiffening corpse. He'll need them later to help get his son back. How he'll do it, Harry doesn't know, but he has to try. Hair, blood, and tissue samples are all collected from the body before he reluctantly orders Kreacher to cremate what's left of it.
The elf, unlike him, is openly weeping, but he does as instructed. Harry's eyes remain dry as he watches the process, unsure of what he should do now, but in the end he decides he is owed some time to grieve as well. Kreacher is inconsolable, so Harry has to wander aimlessly to the nearest store himself. He purchases nothing but hard liquor, then meanders back home where he sits in his favorite wing backed chair drinking and pondering what to do. There are two things he wants, Fenrir Greyback dead, and to have his son alive again.
Throughout his life Harry has lost everyone that's ever mattered to him; Ginny, his parents, Sirius, Remus, and countless others, but he refuses to let his son be one of them. This time. he's going to get someone back. It'll take awhile, but in the meantime he can check off one of the two things on his very short list of goals. Drunk on vodka and rage, Harry clenches his fists, as he thinks about the person responsible for this travesty. He wants the former wolf's head mounted on his wall, and his skin used as a rug.
In that moment there is nothing Harry desires more, and he needs it right away. Greyback took the only thing Harry loves, so he needs to die. Mind muddled with liquor and rage, he stumbles to the front door, determined to have his revenge. Kreacher tries to stop him, but Harry just shoves him away. It is with eager anticipation and a bottle in hand that he goes to hunt down the monster.
…It doesn't end well. Somehow, he finds Greyback, but he's too drunk to aim properly, and ends up taking a blasting curse to the head, spraying his brain matter everywhere.
"It's been awhile since the last time we met, hasn't it Master?"
Opening his eyes at the familiar rasp, Harry turns to Death, confused as he takes in the empty train station for the second time. He thought that he'd dreamed this place up… apparently not.
"I thought you said I'd never come back here?" Harry asks curiously, a hint of relief in his voice. Maybe he'll get to see Teddy again after all.
Death shakes it's head and says," No, I said you would never board a train, and you won't. This is just where your soul has chosen to go while I repair your body; normally you wouldn't actually be aware of being here, but it takes a little longer to fix you if magic is involved in your death. At least for the first time a spell is used against you."
"Oh," Harry exhales, disappointed.
"It's curious," the Reaper hisses, grinning slyly, "That you have yet to use any of my gifts… I expected that you would have at least used the resurrection stone to see your son again." Harry pales as it dawns on him that the only item he could have used to see Teddy again was lost Merlin knows where in the forbidden forest.
"Mmm, yes, throwing the stone away was quite foolish of you Master… Fortunately for you, you have me, your eternally faithful servant,"Death smirks, reaching out to grasp Harry's hand. A light, familiar weight drops into Harry's palm. For a moment he feels relieved, but then the stone begins to burn him.
Gritting his teeth in agony he instinctually flings out his hand, attempting to dislodge the object, but it clings stubbornly. The stone continues to grow ever hotter, as it heats to the point where it might as well be molten lava as it turns to liquid and dissolves into his skin.
"What have you done?!" Harry howls angrily, curling protectively over his burned hand. How would he ever see his son again without the stone?!
"Now, now Master, calm down. It's not gone, I've simply decided that I'm tired of watching you toss away my hallows. To prevent this I've changed the stone to be the blood that flows through your very veins," Death states, and then continues, in a low deadly voice, "I can't understand why you would ever want to be rid of my presents in the first place. I've given you a stone to see the dead, a cloak to hide your loved ones from my sight, and have even given you infinite magical power… But you tossed aside my stone, have been planning to break my wand, which you rarely used, and placed my cloak in a locked box to collect dust!" Harry leans away nervously as Death floats above him menacingly, stating, "I chose you as my Master, and you accepted that position when you didn't board the train."
Leaning forward, Death towers over him, his cloak snapping in a nonexistent wind and snarls, "I want you to use my gifts! I want to see what the wizard I chose to hold my power can do with it! They are not the trash that you have been treating them as. No one else can ever be my Master, and I don't want another one. The hallows are for your use alone, so you WILL use them!"
Gripping Harry's shoulder Death ominously hisses, "Even if I have to make you," and then it shoves the elder wand directly into Harry's heart. Choking on a scream, Harry watches helplessly as the wand is absorbed into his body. Pure, unlimited power, pumps through his veins eating at his own massive magical core to make room for itself. Harry can tell that his magic is losing, but it fights to the bitter end against the invasive power that is rapidly and painfully assimilating it. Pained howls are wrenched from him, and he would have collapsed already, if Death hadn't gripped his shoulder to hold him steady.
"Why?" Harry croaks quietly, as the pain fades away and darkness begins moving towards them in waves. He doesn't understand why the being won't just leave him alone.
"Perhaps I'll tell you someday," Death murmurs, dropping an inky cloak over him just as the lights flicker out.
Harry blinks awake to the sound of panicked shouting. Greyback, and his cronies, who are beyond terrified, stand stunned around his rising form.
"This isn't possible! I killed you!" Greyback chokes, backing away from him.
"You'll have to try much harder than that," Harry says, spiting out fragments of his skull, as he stands up and stalks towards his would be murderers.
"To hell with this!" one of the six terrified men squeaks, wisely taking off. He is the only man to survive the next few hours. Magic more powerful than ever, Harry has no trouble holding the fools who didn't run off in place.
Unlike when he lost Ginny, he's free to take his time and ensure they all suffer. As they should after half cannibalizing Teddy in some demented attempt to relive their glory days as wolves.
"What the-? I can't move!" the largest man shrieks fearfully, stating the obvious as Harry strides towards him. Raising a single finger, he allows his newly amassed power to gather and then gleefully taps the man's tensed abdomen. Blood-curdling screams fill the air as the big man's blood turns acidic and ever so slowly begins to dissolve him from the inside out. His companions cry out in a symphony of terror.
"You sick son of a-"
The last cry is cut brutally short as every bone in his body develops massive spikes that easily punch through him. He's dead before he hits the ground. The short scruffy man next to him proceeds to vomit on his fallen comrade.
"Lets leave my mother out of this shall we?" Harry states softly, a not so subtle threat in his words. "Besides, I think we all know that of the four of us, you three are the bitches here. You take such pride in being a bunch of lowly mongrels after all." Fenrir snarls, ignoring the thinly veiled venom unlike his companions who cower in fear.
"Oh Merlin-! Please don't kill me, I'm sorry!" begs the scruffy one, bile still clinging to his trembling chin. Head tilting to look at the fool who drew his attention, Harry allows his shadow to stretch further than it should, winding almost playfully up the feet of the sniveling mutt. Everywhere the shade touches begins to shrivel and rot, draining the wailing man until there's little more than dust.
The two remaining wizards shake where they are rooted, now from a combination of unadulterated fear and Harry's overwhelming power. The dishwater blond next to Fenrir soils himself when Harry's gaze falls on him.
As the edges of his lips curl into a vicious mockery of a smile, glowing emerald orbs stare piercingly into the wretches' eyes as Harry commands using a wandless imperio, "Eat him." Eyes glazing, the man turns to a petrified Fenrir, opens his maw and begins gorging himself on his howling companion as Fenrir had on Teddy.
Harry takes his time, forcing himself to listen to every scream that is wrenched from Greyback as the man is consumed. He wonders if this is what Teddy sounded like under Greyback's unforgiving fangs and feels his heart harden further. Using magic similar to what he used on Teddy, he keeps Fenrir alive longer than he should have been with how many pieces he's missing. Eventually, though Harry is loath to cut his enjoyment short, he acknowledges that there are more important things that he needs to focus on. Teddy isn't going to resurrect himself after all, but he refuses to leave before he gets one more thing.
"Apologize, and I'll let you die," Harry hisses towards the mess that was once Greyback, absentmindedly snapping the neck of the imperioused blonde. He doesn't notice that he's slipped into parseltongue, but Fenrir does and he quakes in pain and fear.
"F-f-fug o-ou!" Greyback whimpers through a broken, half devoured jaw.
"Apologize," Harry orders, subconsciously slipping back into English. Greyback glares up at him then spits on his boots. Lifting the shoe, he presses it down on the brute's sternum until Greyback goes blue in the face. "If you don't apologize, I'm just going to hurt you more and more until you do. Depending on how stubborn you are that could take hours. In the end, you're going to apologize, and then I'm going to kill you. The only unknown variable here is how soon you'll cave. Do you really want to be in more pain than you currently are?" Harry asks, sneering down at the disfigured man by his feet.
Sobbing, Greyback curls in on himself and chokes, "S-sowwy…"
"What? I can't hear you, so you must not be very sincere," Harry snarls, casting crucio.
"M' SORWY!" Greyback Howls, seizing on the ground.
Closing his eyes, Harry savors the blood curdling wails one last time before casting, "Avada Kedavra!" Greyback falls silent and still, but Harry's mind still echoes with his son's screams.
"I'm home…" Harry calls softly as he apparates into his room at Grimmauld. No one answers back, so Harry assumes that Kreacher is still pissed at him for leaving in a drunken rage. Shrugging, Harry makes his way towards his bed, exhausted and ready to retire for the evening, when he sees an old scrapbook lying open on his bedside table. Recalling his conversation with Death, he gently picks up the book and flips through it, finally noticing what he should have a long time ago. Throughout the book, all the pictures of Teddy grow and age, but after a certain point, Harry who is often standing near him, does not.
Whirling around, he looks into his mirror with the book held open, and is shocked when he compares his current look to the earliest pictures of him and Teddy. Whereas before, he looked scrawny and scruffy, now he looks taller, and definitely healthier; though he rarely eats or sleeps these days. His hair that he's lazily let grow, hangs past his hips looking wavy and glossy. His eyes are less his mothers green, and more of an Avada Kedavra shade, promising death to all who fall before his gaze. His skin is now a flawless creamy pale, and his whole body has filled out for a more lean and muscular look as well.
Overall, his features have become more androgynous. The healthier look isn't what's wrong though. What's wrong is that even though so many things have changed, it doesn't look like he's aged for a while now. Thinking back, Harry wonders when he'd stopped, and remembers the night he'd been mugged and left for dead so many years ago. His scars had vanished the next morning, and his glasses had become unnecessary. He'd been too busy at the time to give the changes more than a passing glance, but he wishes he had.
Now he's standing face to face with a stranger, and he doesn't have a single bloody idea what he's supposed to do about it. Squeezing his eyes shut, he lets his head rest against the mirror and prays that when he opens them he'll see his old face. He has no such luck, and the proof that it's still perplexingly real stands there looking back at him with its mesmerizingly green eyes.
Puzzling over what his next move should be, he remembers Death giving him the stone, and the painful burn of the elder wand eating at his core. Excitement thrums through Harry's veins like the stone in his blood as it occurs to him that if he merely wishes for it, he could have his son back right now.
He is mere seconds away from summoning his son, when he remembers the story of what happened to the wife of the man in the deathly hallows story. He refuses to put Teddy through that, but there has to be a way around causing his son constant pain! Pacing, he considers and trashes a dozen different ideas before he realizes that all he has to do is get Teddy a body, and then put his soul into it. Everything he's ever heard about resurrection says that people come back wrong because the caster can't bring back the soul. He's already doing better than most people, because he already has access to Teddy's soul.
Laughing madly, Harry accepts that his lack of aging is going to be a major boon here. He'll have all the time in the world to solve this problem. Failing now is practically an impossibility rather than an inevitable conclusion, and it's exhilarating. He IS going to get his son back, no matter how long it takes. Placing the scrapbook down, he heads to his lab; any desire for sleep forgotten in this moment of triumph and discovery.
He's got a lot of work to do.
Well, I hope you guys have enjoyed the new and improved first chapter to this story! I've worked very hard and would love to hear your opinions on the new version, so feel free to comment or question, but please no flames! ^_^