The Return of the Saviour.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own the world of Harry Potter in any form, as it belongs to J.K. Rowling.
SUMMARY: After Voldemort hits Harry with the killing curse in a battle at Hogwarts at the end of Harry's seventh year, Voldemort is forced to retreat, as his soul is once again ripped out of his body when the killing curse bounces of the boy-who-lived for a second time. However, life isn't all roses as Harry himself disappeared mysteriously when the curse hit. Three years later, Harry is back, but this time with a new identity and new powers. Voldemort has returned, and become stronger than ever in Harry's absence, and it is up to the boy-who-can't-seem-to-die to put a stop to the Dark Lord, once and for all.
PAIRINGS: Harry/Luna, Ron/Hermione, Remus/Tonks.
A familiar roof met Harry's green eyes as they slowly flickered open, and a groan of annoyance escaped him as he realized he was in the hospital wing. Again. "Can I never escape this place?" He grumbled.
"It seems not, Mr. Potter," Madame Pomfrey's voice said, half-amused, half-exasperated as she approached him, holding a steaming potion in her hand. "Here. It's for the pain."
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What pain?" He asked sarcastically, slowly sitting up, wincing as sore muscles and aching tendons made themselves known. "Oh. That pain."
"Indeed, Mr. Potter," Madame Pomfrey admonished him, rolling her eyes. "Or Mr. Ruoivas, or whatever else you prefer to be called."
"How about Superman?" Harry asked cheekily, his smile faltering slightly at Poppy's glare. "Harry's fine," he corrected himself meekly, trying to ignore the sniggers from Leonora he could sense in the background, soundless, to all but him of course. Stretching out his senses, he tried to gather magic into his core so he could heal himself – and escape what was doubtlessly a disgusting concoction made by Snape – but found that he couldn't.
Feeling panic creeping up at the loss of the magic he had gotten used to feeling buzzing beneath his skin, Harry delved deeper, trying to locate his centre, but found nothing. He was empty. His magic – his own magic, not the magic he drew from his surroundings – was gone, and the realisation made him dizzy.
"You cannot access magic right now," Leonoras voice whispered in his mind. "Your body is exhausted and cannot handle the influx of power after the battle you just had. You need rest."
'I thought nothing was impossible,' Harry thought sourly.
"And it isn't. But you exhausted your own magical core – the magic around you was not the only thing you drew power from yesterday, and as such, it needs time to recover. You cannot draw magic to you at the moment because it is not accessible to you in your current state – your current power levels are that of a mere muggle. And our motto only applies to wizards. You must be patient."
"...rry. Harry! Mr. Potter!"
"What?" Harry's head jerked up to stare at a now worried looking Medi-witch. "Sorry, did you say something?"
Madame Pomfrey frowned. "Are you alright Harry?"
"Peachy," Harry grinned. "So...how about that potion?"
Huffing, Madame Pomfrey gave it to him, and grimacing, Harry swallowed the contents in the goblet in one gulp, shuddering as the taste hit his tongue. "Are you up for visitors?"
"Depends on what kind," Harry said, staring down at his hospital gown with a frown. How he wished he could just transfigure it into something else... He pouted. He really missed his magic right now.
"Perhaps this is a good lesson for you," Leonora whispered in his mind. "It should teach you not to take magic for granted."
Harry sighed, knowing she was probably right.
"Well, there are reporters, the Minister of Magic himself, all the staff not hospitalised, including the Headmaster, and half of the Order of the Phoenix."
Harry groaned. "How about you let my friends in?" He asked. "Luna, Ron, Hermione and Remus?"
Madame Pomfrey left and soon, loud voices drifted into the hospital wing as the matron opened the doors, dispelling the silencing charms around the room.
"...Is Potter awake?" Moody.
"...The Daily Prophet, wishing to interview Mr. Potter about his exploits under another identity!" Idiots, the lot of them...
"...Rita Skeeter! Looking for an exclusive interview with the hot saviour..." Oh, by Leonora, not her!
"If Mr. Potter is awake I would like to speak to him..." Dumbledore.
"...The attention seeking brat better let us in...!" Snape, of course.
"Is Harry alright?" Remus, Ron and Hermione.
"Harry has requested the company of Mr. Weasley, Miss Granger and Mr. Lupin," Harry heard Poppy say, and a frown appeared on his face. What about Luna? Wasn't she there?
He barely noticed the doors close and silence commence, minus the approaching footsteps, of course. Had something happened to her?
"Harry!" Hermione pulled away the draperies hiding his bed from view, throwing her arms around him, sobbing.
"Hi, 'Mione," Harry mumbled.
"How could you not tell us you were Ruoivas, mate?" Ron asked, sounding slightly stung.
"Ah...trouble breathing, 'Mione," Harry gasped, and Hermione quickly let go, looking up and down in worry. Deeming him no worse for wear, she leaned forwards, yet again embracing him tightly, letting go, and then...
"What the - ? And...OW!" Harry exclaimed, grasping his red, flaming cheek. "You slapped me! Omph!"
Hermione had hugged him again. "Don't you ever do that again, Harry James Potter, or I'll do worse than slap you," she sobbed.
Harry patted her back awkwardly, throwing Ron and Remus a helpless look. The two men's lips were twitching. "Better let her be, mate," Ron advised. "You know how she can get."
Hermione sniffed, pulling away to glare at Ron. "And how is that Ron?" She demanded, placing her hands on her hips.
Harry snorted at the familiar scene. "Don't ever change," he asked. "Hi, Moony," he said, grinning hesitantly up at his friend and mentor.
"Hi, Harry," Remus said, sitting down at the side of his bed. "How are you?"
"I will be just fine once I'm allowed to leave," Harry huffed, and Remus chuckled. Becoming serious, he stared at Harry's face, as if trying to memorise every feature.
"I can't believe you're really here...and have been here, for the entire year, with no one the wiser." He shook his head. "I should have realised...we all should have realised, really. If someone had only managed to connect the dots..."
"Why didn't you tell us?" Ron asked again. "We're your best friends, aren't we?"
"Of course, but it was just safer if no one knew."
"Luna knew, didn't she?" Hermione asked. "You told her."
"Well...that's different. She was at Hogwarts with me and saw me every day. And I didn't tell her until Christmas, and only because I felt guilty about how I made her feel. She was so torn up, feeling like she was betraying me because she liked James. I had to tell her, especially after I kissed her. It wasn't fair on her to keep it a secret."
"I guess I can understand that," Hermione said reluctantly.
"Speaking of Luna, where is she?" Harry asked. "And how long have I been out?"
"Seven hours," Remus answered. "And Luna has been called in to St. Mungos, to help with the critically wounded. She didn't want to go, but she had to. She should be back in the morning."
"It's the middle of the night?" Harry asked and Ron nodded.
"And I really managed to kill him? Voldemort, I mean? It wasn't just wishful thinking?"
Ron snorted. "If it was wishful thinking, it was thoughts with a lot of punch behind them. He's definitely gone."
"At least that's one thing less to worry about," Harry sighed.
"Yeah...now you only have to drive off the reporters and everyone else wanting a chunk out of you – figuratively, of course," Ron said.
Harry groaned. "Perfect. By the way, did I hear Rita Skeeter outside?"
"Yes," Hermione huffed. "Appeared the moment the battle was finished and parked herself outside the hospital wing the moment she heard you were here. After hassling those who'd been at the battle for interviews, of course. Too bad she finally registered her Animagus form, or I could have used that as leverage."
"Speaking of Animaguses...did any of you spot Wormtail in the battle?"
Ron and Hermione shook their heads, even as Harry raised his hand hesitantly. "Ah...I can explain why he wasn't there. I found him skulking around during Valentine's...he'd overheard me talking to Luna about who I really am, so I killed him."
Remus blinked. "Oh."
"Sorry...had you wanted him to go to Azkaban?" Harry asked. "I could probably have obliviated him instead, but I wasn't sure how much he knew..."
"It's alright Harry. I'm not at all sorry he's dead. Just that I didn't get the honour," Remus said.
"So...can the hero who vanquished the Dark Lord get anything to eat around here, or what?" Harry asked, and his three friends rolled their eyes, chuckling.
"We're glad you're here, and okay, Harry," Remus said.
Harry smiled. "Me too."
Ron, Hermione and Remus had left, and Harry laid slumbering, trying to sleep: According to Leonora, that would help him recover his magic faster.
"Harry, my boy," a familiar voice said and Harry jerked awake, staring at the Headmaster, and the Potions professor, standing beside him.
"Dumbledore. And Snape." He muttered as he sat up. "I didn't hear you come in."
"As eloquent as always, Potter," Snape sneered and Harry rolled his eyes.
"Nice to see you too," he said. "I had hoped that Voldemort being dead would have put you in a better mood, but apparently I was wrong."
"And I had hoped I had seen the last of you, but apparently, that was not to be," Snape retorted, black eyes glaring into green.
"Oh, well, I suppose we can't always get what we want," Harry said, and for several seconds, they just stared at each other, two iron wills facing off, until, finally, Snape lowered his eyes in defeat. "What are you doing here?" Harry asked, turning to the Headmaster.
"I just wanted to talk," Dumbledore said mournfully, his eyes devoid of a twinkle. "And hopefully, clear up some...unpleasant misunderstandings."
"I don't see how I can possibly misunderstand you attacking me with Legilimency, questioning my every move, have Snape drug me with Veritaserum...need I go on?" Harry asked tiredly.
"I am sorry," Dumbledore sighed. "But try to put yourself in my shoes. From where I was standing, you were very suspicious. I couldn't just trust you. Can't you understand that?"
"You weren't suspicious at first," Harry countered. "In fact, you even seemed to like me. It was only when you saw the magic I was capable of that you began to doubt my intentions. Why is that? Is it because I suddenly became a threat? Or because you're wary of everyone more powerful than you?"
The Headmaster frowned, even as Snape barked out: "Apologise to the Headmaster at once, Potter!"
"It is quite alright, Severus," Dumbledore said. "He does not owe me any excuses. He is right – my actions were atrocious. But in my defence, my intentions were honourable."
"Well, you know what they say...The road to hell is paved with good intentions," Harry said. "And just because you felt you were doing the right thing doesn't make it right."
"I am aware." The Headmaster hung his head. "I only wish you had trusted me with your true identity. So much strife between us could have been avoided."
"Could it?" Harry challenged. "Even if you had known who I really was, it doesn't change my actions. I would still have had the same abilities, been just as powerful. Can you honestly you say you would have treated me like you used to? Or would you still have treated me as a possible threat?"
"You must understand...so much power in one person...it's not right, and I fear you are not ready for the responsibility."
"Not ready?" Harry laughed hollowly. "With all due respect, Headmaster, I have never been ready for the responsibilities thrust upon me. But I have accepted them, without question, without demands, and without misuse of my status. This power...it's just another responsibility in a long row of them. And I'm going to treat it the same. With acceptance, without demands, and without misuse." Green eyes met blue. "Just because I am capable of things most people never even dream of being able to doesn't change who I am at heart. I hope, that with time, you will learn to see that."
Slowly, the Headmaster nodded. "It seems...I have much left to learn about people – about myself, in particular, it seems." He sighed again. "I am not proud of my actions. I have wronged you terribly, my boy. I hope that you will someday forgive me."
"I already have," Harry said, smiling sadly. "I'm not one to bear grudges. And I do understand why you treated me the way you did. I was a stranger to you, who seemingly showed up out of nowhere. I'm not happy about it, and I'm not going to forget it. But I forgive you. I don't want you as my enemy, Albus. You're a good man, and you've done much good for the wizarding world. I only want us to be able to work together as equals from now on, rather than have you treat me like something potentially dangerous to be watched, or a child. Because I'm not. Not anymore."
Snape blustered, and was clearly about to protest this statement, but shut his mouth when the Headmaster put a calming hand on the Potions Master's shoulder. "I am beginning to see that, Harry," he said, his blue eyes slowly regaining their usual twinkle. "I am indeed."
Luna tip-toed into the hospital wing, trying not to disturb the sleeping patients as she approached the draperies behind which Harry was – that is, if he hadn't escaped. Pulling the fabric aside, she smiled as she saw Harry. Harry, the way he really looked, with no glamour to cover up his true self. He was sitting up and fiddling his thumbs, looking decidedly bored, but when he saw Luna, he immediately brightened up.
"Hi," Luna greeted, sitting down at the side of his bed.
"Hi," Harry smiled back. "How did things go at St. Mungo's?"
"It went alright. We lost some patients, but we managed to save a lot too. Things could have been worse." She paused. "Was it you, I felt, in the middle of the battle, giving us energy?"
"Yeah," Harry nodded.
"I imagine that's why we didn't lose more people," Luna said. "It made a difference."
"Then I'm glad I did it," Harry said.
"How does it feel?" Luna wondered. "To be back. As the real you, Harry Potter, not James Ruoivas."
"Well, James Ruoivas was me, Luna. A part of me. Everything I said and did as him...I meant it. It wasn't a part I played. It was all me."
"I know," Luna said, smiling. "I meant appearance-wise."
"Oh." Harry chuckled sheepishly. "Well...it feels great, to be honest," Harry admitted. "I've actually missed the way I really look. Living in disguise all year has been harder than I thought it would be."
"Was it worth it?" Luna asked, fingering his messy hair absently. As much as she had liked it long, the way he'd worn it as James, she much preferred it like this.
"Yes," Harry said. "Living as someone else taught me a lot about people I thought I knew...people I thought I could trust." His mind drifted to the Headmaster. They had talked things out, sure, but he doubted their relationship would ever be the way it had been before his disappearance, and he would miss that. "And it allowed me to do things I never would have been able to accomplish as myself," he continued, thinking of his defence classes.
He doubted he could ever have gotten the four houses to get along as much as they did if he'd been Harry Potter: Most probably, the students would only ever have managed to see him as a Gryffindor, the Boy-Who-Lived, or someone prejudiced against Slytherin. "I was so blinded before. Now I'm not. And while it's painful, in a way, I'm also grateful."
"You really have grown up," Luna whispered, placing a soft kiss on his lips.
"Is that a bad thing?" Harry asked, and the blonde cocked her head slightly.
"No. Just as long as you still believe."
"Believe in what?" Harry asked.
"In us. And Crumple-Horned Snorkacks and the like," Luna said, and Harry chuckled.
"I could never stop believing in us. Or Crumple-Horned Snorkacks. After everything, I would be a hypocrite not to believe, even if there's no proof."
"Nothing is impossible," Luna said knowingly, and Harry nodded.
"Nothing is impossible," he repeated. "And that includes the existence of Snorcacks, Nargles, Wrackspurts, Blibbering Humdingers and whatever else you have faith in."
Luna grinned widely, and Harry yawned.
"You should rest," she told him. "Tomorrow – or later this afternoon, I suppose, depending on when you wake up – will be here soon. And then, the circus begins."
"Bloody reporters," Harry grumbled, burrowing deeper down in the, admittedly uncomfortable, hospital bed. "Stay with me?" He asked sleepily, and Luna smiled, curling up by his side.
"Forever Harry. Forever."
And so ends The Return of the Saviour. Thank you, all readers and reviewers, espescially those who have been reading this from the very first publishing date. You deserve the very best for sticking by this story, even when updates were terribly slow and it seemed like I was never going to finish this. It's been quite a ride.