A/N: Another long wait... sorry. I am trying to manage my time better, I assure you. My hugest thanks to those that have reviewed and those who are keeping with this story! I LOVE YOU ALL:D
"Novus ordo seclorum."
"A new order of the ages is born."
-Inscription on the reverse of the great seal of the USA.
Chapter Three: Welcome to the Future
There was something very heartening about finally being allowed out of the hospital, Severus realized as he buttoned his white shirt. He'd been forced to 'live' in this room for some weeks now and it was relieving to be able to sleep in his own room for once. Yes, as soon as he got to his summer home...
An insistent knocking interrupted his thoughts and Severus turned to see who would be bothering him at a time like this. "Professor," a startlingly familiar voice rang out from the doorway. In the now open door stood, much to his chagrin, the very familiar face that accompanied that voice.
"Potter," his voice came out as a hiss. Of course. He should have guessed. No torture could ever be complete without the Boy-Who-Lived-To-Annoy-Him. Severus wondered if this hospital happened to have a mental ward. He might soon find himself in dire need of one.
Potter didn't speak for a moment, simply staring at the man before him. Severus felt more than just a bit uncomfortable under the other's scrutiny, suddenly self-conscious at the changes he'd undergone since he was last aware of himself. Long ebony hair fell down his back- and to his irritation, across his face. His body was thinner than it had ever been, but was slowly gaining back muscle-tone. White skin glowed under the too bright lights that filled the room. Severus figured, though, that the perhaps most startling thing for the boy was that he wasn't wearing his robes. He always did look less menacing without them.
Potter had not been without change, himself. In fact, the boy looked much like a sheered sheep to his old professor, seeing him without the messy black hair for the first time. His hair was rather short now, the strands spiking up, allowing his scar to seen by all. He no longer wore the thick glasses that had characterized him his entire life; in fact, he didn't wear glasses now at all.
Potter moved towards Severus, his eyes darting to the bed table to his right. Severus almost stepped back, the other's silence worrying him, but decided against it. It would not do to look so cowardly in front of one of his old students. "Mr. Potter, would there be-"
His question was cut off by the projectile launched at his head by the dark haired boy. Severus threw his body forward, rolling to land in a crouch beside his bed. The lamp shattered against the back wall. "What in Merlin's name do you think you're doing?" he snapped.
Potter smiled and he couldn't help but wonder if five years were enough to cause the boy wonder to lose all vestiges of his sanity. "Very good," he appraised Severus, "I see we won't have too much work training you."
Severus regained his footing to stare at his old pupil in a bewilderment that was carefully disguised as a glare. "What is the meaning of all this?"
Potter chuckled. "Welcome to the European Infantry of Magical Allies, Severus Snape." He held out his hand and the older man realized that time had changed more than just the boy's looks. It had changed Harry Potter also. He had finally grown up.
Severus didn't like Potter. He never had and probably never would. But hating his own ally would be folly, when few of his friends still lived. He shook the proffered hand. He could work with this boy- no, man- and would as long as it was necessary. War called for it, after all.
"If you'd please come with me," Potter said gesturing to the door. Severus grabbed his wand and followed the other, down the halls and into a large lounge. Potter stopped to stand in front of a large portrait of Merlin. "Tempus Fugit." The painting swung forward and the pair entered a dark room very much unlike what Severus would have imagined for their destination. Rows of shelves lined the walls containing healing salves, potions and other such equipment necessary for any hospital. "The password is only one of many securities we have in place here. This room is another."
"But why? What is this all protecting?"
"You will soon see. It cannot be spoken of here." The man crossed the room to face a blank wall. "Come," he beckoned, holding his wand out to the wall and gestured for Severus to do the same. "Lumos," he whispered. Severus echoed the spell.
Two small patches of light illuminated the wall, and then seemed to be swallowed by it. He glanced between his wand and the wall, but the tiny flame glowing at the end of his wand no longer had any effect on the wall at all. The other made no attempt to explain the oddity to him, merely stood there, waiting for something to happen.
And something did. The wall began emitting a purple glow which slowly focused itself into a ball of swirling energy. The wall melted before his eyes as the energy slammed into him, throwing him back into one of the shelves. Before the contents fell upon him Severus could help but notice how calmly Potter was, just watching the events unfold before him.
He'd been played for a fool. Potter had led him into a trap. Anger radiated from his chest as everything became clear to him. He would kill that man- but first he needed to take care of the danger before him. Shattered fragments of glass fell around him in slow motion, and the shelf swayed forward slightly, threatening to topple.
It was only then that he realized his wand hand been knocked from his hand in his fall. His fury grew upon seeing that he was nearly helpless. Well he wasn't about to let Potter get the best of him.
He blinked as the glass ricocheted off an invisible barrier a foot from his body. In his frustration he must have thrown up a shield to protect himself. "Accio wand," he called, jumping to his feet. It flew into his outstretched hand and he turned it to point at the younger wizard's chest.
Potter made no move to grab his own wand. "Are you trying to kill me?" Severus hissed at him.
The man shrugged. "I deserve that," he said. "But let me explain."
"Explain what? Why you've attacked me twice today! Because that's the only explanation I want from you!" His breath came out in little pants, overexertion and anger leaving him winded. Still he faced his one time student confidently, as if there was no doubt in his mind that he would win any skirmish between the two.
"Please follow me." He stepped through the opening that had melted into the wall only moments before. Severus knew he had no choice but to go after him. Even if the wizard was his foe it would only be to his advantage to keep the other within eyeshot. As the door rematerialized behind them, Potter began to speak. "To get into the complex there is a series of security checkpoints that one must pass. The portrait was the first, as you well know, but the wall was the second. Of course I'm using the word 'wall' loosely here, for one does not actually exist there." Severus raised an eyebrow at him. "No one outside of the complex could know that though, as it very much does seem as if one were there. It feels like one and looks no different from the others in the room, but it's merely a barrier. Created of pure magic, it recognizes those allowed on the premises and lets them in."
"What does this have to do with me?"
"Well, you see, the opening is triggered by the magical signatures of any who are permitted access," Potter started.
"And it didn't recognize my magical signature, so it attacked me."
"Sort of, but not quite. The door opens only for the signatures that are actually a part of that door. In essence, if your magic is not part of that which keeps the barrier standing, then you are not allowed in."
Suddenly he understood. "And when I threw up the barrier to protect myself, a part of my magic incorporated itself into the barrier."
"Exactly. If I hadn't been there, then nothing would have happened even if you attempted access. The barrier would have simply remained a wall." The man smiled, looking pleased that Severus was so quick on the uptake.
Severus followed him through the rest of the checkpoints, none of which were so strange as the wall, to his relief. And then the complex stood before him.
Glass walls gleamed in the sunlight, reflecting off the white lab coats and simple clothing of those around them. "No one wears their robes here. They're far too constricting," the man at his side explained. Witches and wizards entered and exited the circular room through glass doors that surrounded the entire expanse. "The walls are made of reinforced glass mirrors, all of which are one way. We can see out of the compound and many rooms and wards, but no one can see in. This here is the main hall. From here you can get to anywhere else. To find yourself back here, though, is quite a bit harder." He pointed to a front desk where an elderly lady sat. In front of her was a... "Computer," Potter offered. "A muggle device which has proved rather useful. Its uses will be explained during your training.
"But come now, you must be tired. Let me show you to your room." As Severus allowed the other to lead him away he couldn't help but contemplate what he had gotten himself into.
A/N: Alright, I hope I haven't confused you all by now. This turned out as coherent as I could make while still following my "let's make the wizarding world more futurish" plan. I tried to keep everything believable, but different. The wizards were forced to make some changes with the new war, and I hoped to emphasize that here by creating a magical world that relies somewhat on muggle ideas.
I know Harry is quite a bit changed now. That's what I intended him to be. He may be OOC, and I think I was kinda aiming for a bit of OOCness. He's had to grow up a lot since OOTP.
Tempus Fugit- Time is fugitive.
Don't forget to review!