One More Time With No Apologies
'There are no heroes...in this life the monsters win'
Summary: Is there a wizard version of a 'do-over'? Because Harry would really like to try this one more time. With no apologies.
Rating. M However, just so we are clear (I named things in multiple ways where needed to add extra clear-ness), read the warnings immediately following this period.
Warnings: This story does or will include; either off screen, mentioned in passing or in great detail: Violence. Backstabbing (Metaphorical and Literal). Weapon Violence (firearms, knives, lead pipes...ect). Cold Blooded Murder. Hot Blooded Murder. Flippant Murder. Accidental Murder. Mental and Emotional Abuse. Homophobia. Torture. Character Deaths. Angst. Sexual Content. Grief. Alcoholism. Cruelty. Self Harm. Racism. Greed. Skeletons in Closets. Addictions. Questionable Moral Codes. Apathy. Time Travel. Sarcasm. Physical Confrontations. Emotional Manipulation. Rebellion. Criminal Activity. Political Dancing. Purebloods. Magical Creatures. Alternate Schools. Conspiracy Theories. Aliases. Desperate Measures. Demons. Verbal Sparing. Dark Arts. Black Magick. Original Characters. Language. Innuendo. Subject to changes or additions.
AN: The first time I did this story it was called 'Alchema' for reasons I was never able to address. The original version I came up with while staying with an Army friend of mine and his girlfriend, who was also a friend of mine. I wrote it on my computer in the apartment at night (I have horrible insomnia) and would read some of it aloud to my female friend from time to time. Eventually she suggested the idea of my writing it out in a story and posting it on Fanfiction's sister site. I have a site I post my work for the soul purpose of getting ideas for revision from fellow authors. I had never posted my work for plain readers and comments from strangers and was...hesitant.
So, since I had done text role-playing for Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, A Stranger in a Strange Land, The Mists of Avalon and Clan of the Cave Bear she suggested I take some elements of my original work, characters, locations, types of magic, politics and things and wound them in one of the worlds I enjoyed so much. We decided Harry Potter was the best choice, it was the only one beside S.I.A.S.L. that had a setting where things like skyscrapers and riffles existed. My ideas of magic were sci-magi if anything but I couldn't work it into the S.I.A.S.L. the way I wanted to, so HP it was!
Those of you who are familiar with my writing know that I enjoy dark and serious themes, it's what I do. So, I have decided to rewrite it the way I originally imagined it. (the first was a chaotic mess) I don't know if you'll prefer the other way but THIS is how it was meant to be.
Questions? Threats? Vague Stalker-ish Comments? Leave them in your review. I do try to respond when I can!
If I could take it all back before the flags were forced to wave at half-mast, that was long before my heart became black
There's no way to make it change or go back
I could say goodbye and you know where I went, I just wrote a letter that'll never be sent
I don't mind, no I don't mind, I don't mind the rain
The simple things and subtleties they always stay the same
As I fade away, away, away
Green eyes snapped open. Breath caught in a pale throat, swallowed sobs cut off, body sitting up with knees to chest. Awake. He was awake. Fingers pulled at dark hair in quickly fading irritation, mental and facial masks already forming. He swung his legs off the bed, stood, dug around in a small jar set on the side table. Hard candies. He popped one in his mouth, turned around, went down to his knees and then his stomach, pulling himself under his bed. A small section of clean wood his destination. He moved it aside and reached into the hidden space beneath, replaced the wood and pushed himself back out. He ignored the dust smearing the front of his pajamas. Honestly there wasn't much of a difference.
The small bag in his hand he tossed on the bed. Bare feet padded across the room to the dresser, night clothes fell to the floor, over-sized jean shorts and a t-shirt replacing them. Rubbing the palms of his hands across his eyes, yawning, glasses brought the world back in to focus. He wasn't glad for it.
He picked up a small, thin black box with cords hanging from it and stuffed it in his right pocketed. A can came out of the bag, ice cold, the metal tab pulled and liquid energy poured down his throat. He gave a mocking toast toward the ceiling, in honour of a man only he would mourn, opened the door and turned down the hall. His hand slipped into his pocket, pulled out to small ear buds with trailing cords, secured them in his ears and pulled out the slim form of his MP3 player. A swish of his thumb and his playlist was on, he shoved it back into his pocket, took another swig of his energy drink and slid on the railing down the stairs.
Sock clad feet landed with a soft cat-like thud. Practice made perfect and all that jazz.
Eggs out. Pan on the stove. Toast in the toaster. Plates, glasses, silverware, napkins and don't forget the morning paper! He had never needed routine as much as he did now. The monotony kept him on autopilot and out of dangerous thoughts.
Butter. Jam. Orange juice. Coffee.
Not the most exciting summer for a fifteen year old, but Harry Potter had had his fill of excitement thank you very much. Being the equivalent of wizard Jesus did that to you. Not that he thought of himself as such, that would be blasphemous, and living through one Hell was quite enough he didn't need an eternity of it afterward. Still, having an entire secret world consider you their savior half the time, for something he couldn't remember mind, and a potential dark Lord-ish wizard the next...well it would probably take its toll on anyone.
"Freak, make me a lunch. I'm going out and I don't know when I'll be back."
He didn't actually hear the words his cousin spoke to him, but he'd learned lipreading to prevent the annoying motion of taking out and replacing his left earphone every time someone wanted to talk to him. He gave his cousin a thumbs up, the rest of his body already going through the motions.
Going through the motions.
For whatever reason doing it here with his muggle relatives was so much more endurable than doing it in the magical world. At least here he was liked or hated for what he was, a luxury he had never been offered in the magical world. That didn't go very far in making him all that attached to it. And now he didn't really have any attachments to it at all, did he? Now he had nothing there waiting for him.
He held out a paper bag in one hand, sliding the now empty pan into the dishwater with the other, moving and turning on automatic.
"Thanks freak. Tell mum I'm going to Piers' house yeah?"
A nod and a wave. He had dishes to do. Lemon scented soap, purple sponge, scrub and rinse. Repeat. Filling up his emptiness with meaningless things. He took inventory of the kitchen supplies, he took inventory of food and made an updated grocery list for the refrigerator, he polished Uncle Vernon's work shoes and washed the windows in the living room. Repetitive motions keeping his body moving and his mind unstimulated. He needed it this way
No mail from anyone all Summer. Harry had tried writing to Dumbledore, requesting he go to the Weasleys early this Summer or even to the Leaky Cauldron to rent a room. If he was allowed to do so at thirteen when a then believed murderer had supposedly been after him he ought to be able to now at almost sixteen when said murderer was dead.
"Harry...think of the distress you would put on your friends. How must they feel seeing you so upset and unable to help you? You need time to deal with all that you have learned and prepare yourself for your future, now that you know it. I shall even provide private lessons in the following year designed to help you reach that goal. For now stay where you are, I'm sure being with family will be of a greater comfort to you than..."
Bullshit. The lot of it. He couldn't decide which was funnier; that Dumbledore believed he was that stupid or that he wasn't. If he had been it might not have been as much of a slap in the face as it was, but that was neither here nor there. Dumbledore, for whatever unknown reason, had control over his life and no one else saw fit to tell him to sod off. The only person to do so was unable by excuse of death. A decent excuse if there ever was one.
"...I regret to hear you have not left your residence in the time since you have returned home. While I do encourage you to not to force yourself into the company of others too quickly I can as easily say it is unhealthy for you to wallow in your sadness. Unfortunately you are not a normal fifteen year old boy and you have responsibilities. I wish dearly it was not so..."
It was none of this, however, that He sought reprieve from in the corners of his mind. It was his horrible, mocking dreams. What else could he call dreams that were so much better than his reality that the act of waking and realizing his return to reality was more of a nightmare than any hellish vision sent to him by Voldemort? If he had the ability to do so, dreamless sleep would have been part of his nightly routine. As it was his current plan of action was to work himself bone tired during the day, staying up as late as possible then to fall asleep from exhaustion, his alarm set to wake him up earlier than even the Dursleys required. It didn't prevent the dreams but it kept them short. It was as good as it was going to get.
Until then emerald eyes avoided sleep.
Because those images, those alternate realities? It was eating him from the inside out. No one was around to notice or to care and he wasn't even sure what he would or could tell them if they were available to know. There were parts he'd never tell anyone he was certain, for these weren't like any other dreams he'd ever had before in his life, they were more like memories he didn't have about lives that he hadn't lived. Enemies became allies, friends turned to rivals, the dead came back to life and it was all so detailed and tangible so utterly there. Conversations, interactions, choices built around things he could have done, should have done, would never before have considered doing. Alternate outcomes and choices to the life he'd lived in the world of the legitimately awake.
Now he felt like he was awake when he was asleep and his waking hours were a terrible nightmare ran in connected episodes he had to face in the spaces between his real life. Or whichever one he returned to that night. Then he would wake. It took a lot of self control not to fling himself out of his window the tenth day he work from such dreams. The bars helped.
In the end it was better to pretend none of it was real. That he wasn't real.
Then night would come and with it dreams...
"...I encourage you to find a hobby to fill your time with. Laying in bed is no doubt comfortable, but sulking will not help you to move on..."
A person who has been punished, or in this case threatened, is not thereby automatically less inclined to behave in a given way, if anything he learns how best to avoid punishment. Dumbledore's precious Order, no matter how good intentioned, threatened not-so-subtly his relatives at the beginning of Summer. They were not amused. He supposed, if he ever got out of this trance-like state he found himself in, he ought to thank the solitude of his mind for protecting him. His lack of a proper response or acknowledgement of his Uncle's harsh physical treatment spared him.
Torturing someone is no fun at all if they don't scream a bit.
"Perhaps you will even find a passion for something new. Something outside of Quidditch or exploring the castle after hours. I think it would be good for you to become more of your own person. You know what you must to do, the man you must become. Creating an identity separate from your friends could help..."
His solitude was both a sanctuary and a prison, a haven of repose and a place of self inflicted punishment of his own. Either way he was locked within it by the walls he'd slowly built up over his life to keep everyone else out. Harry knew now, that true power lie in mastering one's self. All of the sharp edged, splintered and terrifying pieces of you. Because if you didn't control you, someone else would come along and do it for you.
That was the story of his damned life right there.
So he tried to force his thoughts along other avenues. For his sanity more than anything, he didn't know how much more dissatisfaction he could add before breaking under it. It was useless. He was no longer in possession of his thoughts...they were in possession of him.
"Something outside of Quidditch or exploring the castle after hours."
A hobby. Dumbledore suggested a hobby for him to keep his mind off of things. While the old headmaster didn't know what truly ailed him, Harry thought adding in something else to keep him preoccupied couldn't hurt.
Well-worn shoes slid down the drain pipe, hitting the ground green eyes glanced around in the still dark of early day, hands pulled his invisibility cloak tight around himself and his feet went into motion once more. He didn't hear any movement behind him to indicate a follower, he assumed his escape went unnoticed. The next neighborhood over he caught a taxi to the underground, he took that into London. It didn't take him long to find the Leaky Cauldron. Sweat, laughter, greetings, bar food... Invisibly he made his way to the back and into to the alley, if Dumbledore found out bout his little adventure Harry was very certain he wouldn't see anyone outside of his relatives until the start of term. How Dumbledore was allowed to give him rules and decide things like this for him was beyond him. No one asked for his opinion though and they never would. Dumbledore had the power here, and Harry, for all of his fame, had none. His fame was worthless.
There were many shops to choose from in Diagon, if one knew what they were looking for. Harry didn't have a clue what sort of hobby might interest him, so he did the logical thing.
Quick fingers flipped through to the index of a leather bound tomb. Emerald eyes flickered down the page. The book was returned and another drawn out in its place. The darker corners of the book shop suited him. He was harder to see, a notice me not charm adding additional help in his endeavor to go unnoticed. And, incidentally, the best sort of books were the ones shoved into the corners frowned upon by the more upstanding clients in the store. He supposed he could understand, after-all Useful Egyptian Curses for the Culturally Curious Vigilante didn't sound ministry approved. His eyes settled on a red book along the bottom shelf on its side. Pulling it out of the pile it was wedged beneath his hands tilted it to the side, layers of dusting sifting from it. Taking in a breath and closing his eyes cautiously, he blew a hard breath against the leather cover. He waved a hand around, refusing to breath in for fear of starting a coughing fit and drawing attention. He slitted an eye open. The dust seemed to have dissipated. Good. He let out his breath quietly.
Statera: The Art of Breaking Even. He blinked. That didn't mean much to him. The symbol on the front cover looked like an odd compass, only there was a name in each place. Sun-Borne, Battle-Borne, Star-Borne and Blood-Borne. With a shrug of a shoulder he settled on the stool and opened the book. His lips pulled down in a frown. The book was blank. He flipped it a again the other way, wondering if, as often was the case in the magical world, there was a trick to it. He wasn't about to write in it in any case. A small card fell out. He picked it up curiously. It too was blank. With a more severe frown he looked at the back, it was blank, then flipped it around to the front. Golden ink twirled across the card at some unknown cue. He rather hoped it wouldn't be like the last time something decided to write to him of its own accord. Fighting a magical beast wasn't high on his list of priorities at the moment.
"I boschi sono incantevoli, scuro e profondo, ma ho promesse da mantenere e miglia da percorrere prima di dormire"
As soon as the word dormire left his mouth golden ink spiraled along the first page of the book.
Evocation of the Gods for a chance to right wrongs.
Il Vincit Accipit Illud.
In this world there lives great injustice. Magical beings are suppressed, forsaken, ignored, betrayed and used in the e'er changing games of those with pow'r o'er them. Sometimes, pow'r that is undeserved. Thou art a childe of magick. As such thy legacy is one to be honoured above all else, whether thou art Magi, Haemovore, Lux, Angelique, Morgen, Argent, Feral or Fated. Mayhaps thou hast been lead to believe thy gifts carry the burden of thy peoples follies, or perhaps thee serves a purpose and those with pow'r over thee see little else when they look at thee. Whatever the cause might be, magick loves her children and can not bear to seem them mistreated. There are two words in this world that strike fear into the hearts of our task-masters above all others: Revenge and Vengeance. Revenge is a seeking of retribution for thy perceived hurts, while Vengeance in the seeking of supreme justice, of judgment for the wrong doings against the. Either path thee seeks lies before thee. Tread lightly.
He was out of the store, book firmly in his hands, nagging voice of reason shunted to a corner of his mind, before he had time to talk himself out of it. His feet were quite bossy lately. Harry returned home with his new hobby.
Arms jostled, chest heaved, lungs filled desperately. He sat up and screamed for a good minute.
He was awake.
And he almost couldn't stand it.
Tired eyes flickered along thin, nearly transparent pages he now knew to be dried Fae wings. Morgen, common term for Neroanima or what the muggles called 'Demons'. The Morgen referred to the actual category of creatures for which the rest of the demons got the term 'morgen'. A fair number of creatures fell into this category. The Vampire and Werewolf among them, though they had different names. Apparently the Wizarding and muggle names for them were derogatory and misleading, much like Hermione being called muggleborn by other muggleborn and those who did not wish to offend her rather than mudblood which held actual connotations behind the name. It was the term muggleborn that was actually derogatory, because there were no muggleborns. He didn't think Hermione would appreciate knowing this however.
Vampire fell into the category of demon called Argent as did Veela whereas Werewolves were Feral and there were many kinds of them as well, not just the kind Remus was. Unfortunately for them, the name Demon gave them a bad reputation. Harry didn't think it was any better than 'Dark Creature with near human intelligence' or 'half-breeds'. Merlin wizards were condescending bastards. Next came all manner of magical creatures he hadn't heard of. Yajirushiro also called The Archers, Buntai who always came in groups, Gure, Midori, Serei which seemed like the muggle Djinn or Genie to him and creatures called the Dakumakai which were his favorite. They fell into the real category of Morgen, not just the general term. The Morgen, all of them, were ultra powerful once-humans. Most of them. There were Orginals, who were the first magical beings of the world also referred to as The Old Gods or the Others, and there were Legacies. A Legacy was a descendant of an Original. They were rare. And it was one of them, a Morgen, he was going to summon to aid him.
Trails in the dust on the floor showed his furniture's progress to the sides of the room. Thick candles shone proudly in each corner, sticks of Sandalwood and Myrrh incense burned on the windowsill. A large circle outlined in chalk dominated the area. Runes were drawn around the outside and then mirrored along the inside, an inverted triangle drawn with salt lay within the circle, small bowls at each corner. A bowl of water from a stream which Harry had let sit on the windowsill for the three nights of the full moon, a bowl of ash from a a Birch tree struck by lightening, he'd gotten that at a shady apothecary in Knockturne Alley, and a bowl containing a rough piece of blue Aragonite, Lodestone and black Moonstone. In the center he place a mirror on the floor. He was meant to put some sort of offering on it, something to represent what this meant to him. Fingers retrieved a glinting knife and dragged it across pale skin, scarlet life staining the reflective glass below. Scuffed shoes moved back with a dull squeak, one hand pressed over his wound. The other held a letter.
In accordance with the prerequisites for performing the ritual he spent the last two weeks thinking about his life, every possible memory and weighing his actions versus the actions of others in his life concerning him. The letter in his hand was the truth. Plain and simple. It contained everything Harry wished to say. After he read it aloud and summoned the Demon it would measure his life. He then had a choice, he could burn the letter and continue, in which case of the Demon found his motives wanting the judgment he wished on those who wronged him would come back on him threefold for being unworthy, or he could end the ritual.
He took a breath and began:
"To Everyone Else,
My name is Harry. Just Harry. I've been a son, an orphan, a freak under the stairs. I've been a first year, a Troll vanquisher and rule breaker. But none of you see me. I resent you for your expectations. I resent you for your games. I resent you for wanting what I have and taking your own blessings for granted. I resent you for placing me on a pedestal. I resent you for knocking me off of it when the mood strikes you. I resent you for idolizing me. I resent you for seeing me as a symbol and not a human being. I resent you for using me. For lying to me. For manipulating me. I resent you for making me think I was only worth something if I was who you wanted me to be. I resent you for abandoning me. I resent you for keeping me here, locked up. I resent you for keeping things from me. Most of all, I resent you for hating me or loving me for who or what you expected or feared me to be. You never even loved or hated me for me. That hurts the most. Even my friends, you were jealous, you belittled. I don't deserve that. I know that know. I refuse to feel ashamed for being afraid, for being weak, for struggling under the weight of the world on my shoulders. Every tear I was never allowed to cry, every night I spent in darkness, every day you let me believe I was nothing, every drop of blood I spilt for you, every bead of sweat, every nightmare I have because of you, every day of my life I sacrificed for you in exchange for empty words and empty promises. For making believe you had the right.
For all of this I ask for a judgment of justice.
Salvami da me stesso."
Dark locks snapped around in the electrically charged air. The world stilled. From the mirror rose a figured swathed in shadow. It was larger than Harry. Shadows receded leaving a demon in its wake. Skin the colour of moonlight, wide red eyes, pointed teeth and fangs over pale lips, dark hair, long fingers with pearly claws. He had never been so relieved to see something so frightening.
The demon blinked slowly, head tilting even slower, lithe body swaying. "You call for judgment?"
Long legs stalked forward, rounding Harry, taking in every inch of him in intense scrutiny. A sharp hand shot out grasping his hair. Even sharper fingers sifted through, then tugged his head to the side. Crimson eyes stared into vibrant green. Memories came to the front of his mind unbidden. The cupboard, the garden, the playground, his first letter from Hogwarts, the train, the sorting hat, the chamber of secrets, Sirius, Cedric, a blood quill... "You offered blood."
"I did." Said Harry, not altogether sure that was a real question.
The demon moved his face closer to Harry's. He shifted uncomfortably. A hand placed its self on his chest. "You hurt."
"Salvami da me stesso. You are unhappy with everything in your life, yourself as well." The demon tilted his head the other way. "You seem to want the world to understand what they have done, but your heart needs them to see you. You soul cries for missed opportunity and words you've left unspoken."
Harry believed him but that wasn't worth wasting his time one. What he needed was some sort of closure. Some sort of...validation. He needed the world to acknowledge he was more than Harry the Freak or Harry the Gryffindor or even Harry Potter. He wanted a chance. A real one. He wanted a life where he could make his own choices and if he made mistakes then they were his mistakes, not ones forced on him. He didn't know if he could ever live such a life,. He sincerely doubted it, but having those who hurt him understand the weight of his hurt seemed like a step in the right direction. If he could just get everyone to understand he was more than a name and he deserved more than being a pawn to manipulate...then maybe the cursed dreams would end and he could wake up in the morning without wanting to walk in front of a truck.
The demon took a step back, releasing his hair, and nodded to its self. Harry stiffened. It hadn't heard his thoughts had it? Oh Merlin he hoped it didn't think he was asking all of that of it. That was a Hell of a lot to ask for, the majority of it impossible and he didn't know if he could afford the price.
A hand on his chest spread over Harry's heart, glowing a faint golden light.
"Request accepted. Judgment passed."
He sucked in a breath, closing his eyes, waiting for the verdict.
Green eyes snapped open. "I'm sorry?"
The demon only smiled then leaned forward pressing its lips to Harry's. He was stunned for a good moment, golden light filling his line of sight until there was nothing else. It darkened and faded. Somewhere in the dark he heard the demon's voice. "Once again."
His body lay where the demon left it. Nearby a forgotten MP3 Player blared music beside a letter that would never be sent.
'Dear all of you who've wronged me
I am, I am a zombie
Again, again you want me to fall on my head
I am, I am, I am a zombie
How low, how low, how low will you push me
To go, to go, to go, before I lay, lay down dead
Oh dead, Oh dead, Oh dead'
What do you think? Should I leave it as a one shot or should I go ahead a post the rest of the chapters I originally planned for the story?