Disclaimer: I own nothing; it all belongs to J.K.Rowling. I'm just borrowing the characters to play with for a while. This is for pleasure only, no profit is being made, and no copyright infringement is intended.
WORLD #202 – The One with a Generic Average Harry
It was a cooler than average July night. Harry was sweating as he tossed and turned in the throes of a nightmare. "No Cedric! I'm sorry!"
The moon was full and lit up the cool crisp sky.
"I'm sorry, Sirius!" Harry cried in his sleep. "It's all my fault!"
Every night since he had returned from Hogwarts had gone the same way. The people who he loved. All staring at him with blank eyes. Telling him exactly what his heart feared most of all to be true.
"It's your fault we're dead!"
"You killed me Harry. You killed me."
"I should have let you die!"
"No," Harry begged. "No! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to… I didn't want you to…"
"No one will ever love you!"
"So who's next? You going to get the Weasleys killed soon?"
"I hate you. You don't deserve to live."
Every night Harry suffered the emotional pain and turmoil. He watched each of them die. Or he watched the assembly line of everyone he knew slowly walk into the Veil. All those hollow, lifeless eyes stared at Harry and blamed him for their deaths.
And every night he relived those haunting words Sybill Trelawney predicted before he had even been born.
"The one with the power to -Crucio- the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice -Crucio- him, born as the seventh month dies ... And the Dark Lord will -Crucio- him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... And either must -Crucio- at the hand of the other for neither can -Crucio- while the other -Crucio-."
A teary-eyed Harry slowly swam to consciousness, awfully confused at the strange interpretation of the Prophecy he had just dreamt.
Harry wiped the crust from eyes, and shook his head, wondering what his dream meant. He had barely realized that last exclamation had been in the waking world when a cold voice from nearby outside called out "Crucio!"
Harry jumped to attention having heard that one clearly. He wandlessly summoned his wand to his hand. Earlier in the summer he had discovered he had a gift for wandless magic if he just concentrated hard enough. Not to mention he could practice it freely without the Ministry ever knowing. He crouched down and peered out the window, trying to assess what was going on.
He counted a dozen Death Eaters in a circle around a single person. Half of them had their wands trained and were holding Cruciatus curses on the single figure laying on the ground convulsing.
Harry grabbed his broom and pulled on the window to hurry out and help the wizard that Harry suspected to be the Order member guarding his summer prison. Only the window was locked. Harry couldn't believe it. The Dursleys never locked it, and Harry knew he had it open just a few hours earlier. Harry sent a wandless Alohomora at the window latch. No change. Harry sent a wandless Reducto at the glass of the window. Again nothing. Harry hurried to his door to just run outside and found that it was locked too. He sent everything he could at the door and window short of using his wand and alerting the Ministry. He tried to apparate, another skill he had managed to teach himself. No luck. There were new wards, he could tell.
Harry couldn't get out of his room.
He hurried back to his window and tried to hear what was going on.
"Honestly, Potter," Lucius Malfoy's familiar voice drawled. "What hope did you have rushing out here? Thought you could sneak around under your invisibility cloak and stun us all?"
Harry couldn't believe his eyes. He looked closer at the prone figure surrounded by Death Eaters. It was him. In the same pajamas he was currently wearing.
"Fuck you, Malfoy," the mystery figure replied as he spat out some blood.
"Crucio!" Lucius called out again hitting the Harry clone again.
This time though, the clone wasn't convulsing in pain. His face was twitching so slightly that it was barely noticeable. The clone sighed through clenched teeth and asked, "Don't you have some devious plans to regale me with?"
Lucius stopped his curse in surprise. "What?"
The clone raised his arms in defeat. "I'm sitting here taking all your curses and not fighting back in the slightest. The least you could do is to give me some insight about what diabolical schemes you have in store for me and the wizarding world."
"Crucio!" Another Death Eater hissed, cursing the man for daring to mock them.
Harry was just staring at the scene from his bedroom window in complete confusion.
The Harry clone grunted when the curse hit him and asked, "If I scream in pain, would that loosen your lips?"
The Death Eaters shared baffled looks.
"You guys are hopeless, aren't you?" the Harry clone said as he rolled over onto his back and seemed to be relaxing. "How about it, Lucy? The rest of these newbies seem unable to form an individual conscious thought. Have you gotten your rocks off thinking you're a big man cursing the ickle school boy? Or are you actually expecting me to retaliate before I quail under your awe-inspiring power?"
"I'd like to see you try Potter," Lucius insisted narrowing his eyes and keeping his wand trained on the boy.
"Well in that case," the Harry clone cracked his neck loudly as he stretched the muscles. "Pay close attention." Before any Death Eaters could react the clone had summoned the nearest Death Eater to fall right on top of him. The unfortunate Death Eater's back was hit with three spells from his cohorts, before they realized what had happened. "Don't blink now," the muffled voice called out from under the bleeding and writhing Death Eater.
Lucius kept his wand in front of him and a shield up but was not prepared to see a foot slam into his knee, shattering the kneecap as his leg bent the wrong direction.
Harry, from the comfort of his bedroom window, was enthralled to watch this turn into a melee and then a slaughter. Knees seemed the prime targets as there were numerous cracks and small explosions of blood. A whirlwind of kicks and bludgeoning curses were all followed by stunners to quiet the screaming. A few Death Eaters went flying back dozens of feet slamming onto the concrete road unconscious. It had been barely a minute or so when there were just two people conscious and standing. One looked identical to Harry, aside from the blood-stained pajamas and steel-toed boots. The other was a still masked Death Eater and he looked way too nervous as he tried to stare down the boy he thought to be Harry Potter.
The Harry clone tilted his head and smiled. "Professor? Any preference on how we handle this?"
"Who the hell are you?" the now recognizable voice of Severus Snape mumbled.
The Harry clone sighed. "Alright, fine. No input from you." A bright purple ball of magic flew out of the clone's empty hand, decimating the man's shield, followed immediately by the familiar red of a stunner. Professor Snape crumpled to the ground unconscious.
The Harry clone looked up towards his bedroom window and waved. "I'll be with you in a just a second." His eyes narrowed and he pointed up at Harry. "Don't do anything stupid."
The clone walked over towards Lucius, cast what looked like a body bind, and then woke him from the stunner. He sat Lucius up, held open his eyelids, and just stared into his eyes. After a minute or so of Lucius twitching in struggle and panic, the clone stopped the staring and asked, "You ever been hit with a muggle stunner?"
The clone smiled at the confusion in Lucius' eyes. He reared back and exploded a punch to the petrified man's face, breaking his nose into a bloody mess, and knocking him out the good old fashioned muggle way. As he stood up, the clone walked the long way around stepping on Professor Snape a few extra times than was necessary. He then woke up one of the Death Eaters that had been only stunned early on in the firefight.
"Do you want to live?" the clone asked him.
The man guffawed at him apparently ignoring the carnage that befell his brethren. "Oh please Potter, you don't have it in you to kill. I know all about your goody, goody attitude and-"
"Silencio!" The uninterested clone incanted. He made a show of holding up the man's wand right in front of him and snapped it cleanly in two. The Death Eater's eyes widened and the clone took advantage of his shock. He quickly swung both arms high into the air and slammed the two broken halves of wand cleanly through the silenced Death Eater's hands. His face showed the pain and agony he was in, but the charm held as his mouth was open in a silent scream.
The Harry clone put his hands up to his eyes as fists and made a mocking face. "Oh boo hoo hoo. I'll Crucio children but a couple of splinters and I'm crying like a bitch." The cold conviction in the clone's voice had even Harry worried.
The Death Eater was just staring down in fascination at the sight of his wand halves going in one side of his palm and coming out the back. He put one hand up to his mouth to bite down on the piece of wand and pull it out, since neither hand seemed capable of adequately gripping the pieces of wand.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you," the clone warned him with a shake of his finger. "Right now, those pieces of wand are acting as a cork keeping you from losing too much blood. You pull them out, and you'll probably lose consciousness from the head rush, and then you'll bleed out and die in the street."
The Death Eater looked at the clone in complete confusion.
The clone removed the silencing charm and asked once more, completely normally, "Let's try again. Do you want to live?"
"Y- y- yes," the Death Eater stuttered out.
"Lovely," the clone smiled. "Because it's late, and I really should get back to bed. Got to get up early and get started on my homework. I am a student you know. And I really don't want to deal with this hassle. So you need to gather up all your moronic friends here, and clean up this mess you've made."
The Death Eater nodded his head feebly, though he seemed to be getting a bit dizzy.
He was dragging all of his comrades together and the clone was directing him towards where two large pieces of bone had landed. When he had them all in a pile, after the clone had Scourgified all the blood stains and Reparoed the chunks of road that had gone missing, the Death Eater looked towards the clone hopefully.
The clone held out a necklace with a pendant. "This is Lucius' portkey. You take all these morons with you. If you want to live, go immediately to your half-blood bastard of a Master and tell him exactly what happened. If you lie, he will kill you. If you hesitate, he will kill you. If you try to run, he will kill you. But if you act like a weak-willed subservient piece of trash and as though you are lucky to be given the privilege of licking the toe jam from his filthy lizard like feet, then you will probably live. And if I were you, I'd also tell my other moronic friends what happened here and why it might not be such a hot idea to go down with that useless waste of a wizard. Voldemort is not immortal. Voldemort is not a god. He will not give you any power. He's going to die. And I'm going to be the one to make sure his last moments are extremely painful and drawn out. But right now, I still have some homework that's a lot more important than madmen with delusions of grandeur. Good night."
With a whispered word, the portkey triggered taking away the still shocked and confused Death Eater with his snapped wand stabbed through his hands, and his eleven other crippled and unconscious comrades.
The clone took one last look around to make sure the street looked perfectly normal and not as if it had just been a battleground. With a near silent pop, he reappeared in the smallest bedroom of Number Four Privet Drive.
"I'm impressed," the clone said to Harry. "You didn't do anything stupid."
"Are you me… from the future?" Harry asked what he thought may be himself.
"Guess we were saving that piece of stupid," The clone mumbled quietly. He sighed. "No, I'm not you. And in about seven more minutes this Polyjuice will wear off."
"Oh," Harry deflated a little disappointed. "I was hoping I might learn how to fight like that through some ridiculous extenuating circumstance."
The clone shrugged. "Not this time, but I've seen it happen to you before."
Harry looked at his clone confused. "What? And who are you?"
The clone smiled and said, "Knowing our luck, this shouldn't be too hard to believe, but I'm Harry Potter. Nice to meet you."
Harry was even more confused now. "But you're not me from the future?"
The clone shook his head. "Nope. I've only been in this world about three hours now. First two of that was watching you sleep."
The clone's watch beeped three times and the man hurriedly cast some Finites on the illusions covering his pajamas. They transformed into slightly oversized battle fatigues, with an invisibility cloak shimmering on the inside lining of the apparently reversible robe. It was at this point the Polyjuice wore off, and the clone's body grew a few inches taller, his muscles expanded into far more respectable physique, and his face seemed to simply age right before Harry's eyes. A number of scars grew on the right side of his face, nothing horribly disfiguring, but most intriguing to Harry was to see his trademark lightning bolt scar fade and disappear.
"You don't have the scar!" Harry exclaimed.
"I don't have the link to Voldemort," the older Harry corrected. "But some scars run a bit deeper than the surface."
"Why don't you have the link?" Harry asked. "And should I call you… Harry?"
"It'd be too confusing if I went by Harry," The older man shook his head. "You mind if I smoke in here?"
Harry furrowed his brow and shrugged, while the older man sparked a cigarette.
"Thanks," the older Harry said as he exhaled happily. "And you can call me A.K." He smiled widely. "It's a nickname one of you gave me. And I like it."
"Alright A.K.," Harry said a little worried at the connotations of that particular name. "So umm… what are you doing here?"
A.K. sat back and relaxed. "I'm here to evaluate your progress, and offer my services if they're needed or wanted."
"Services in what?"
A.K. raised an eyebrow. "Voldemort killing, mainly."
"Oh," Harry sagged sadly. "I don't know how successful you'll be…" he trailed off uncertainly and still a bit cautious about this character.
A.K. nodded. "No need to pussyfoot around me boy. I know you just heard the Prophecy probably a couple weeks ago. But it won't stop me. Even if you have everlasting faith in the ruddy thing. As you know, either must die at the hand of the other."
Harry's eyes widened to realize A.K. did in fact know the Prophecy.
A.K. nodded. "I had that one too. But if it makes you feel better, think of me as the other. Therefore old Snakeface can die at my hand just as easily as yours. Because when you break it down, I'm still Harry Potter, just like you are."
"How?" Harry asked. "I mean, how are you me?"
A.K. shook his head. "I'm not you. But we're both Harry Potter. This ain't my world, this is your world. I made sure the Voldemort on my world was gone for good. And now I go around helping out other Harry Potters with our Voldemort problems. And from what I saw kid, you need a lot of work."
"What do you mean?"
A.K. broke out his worst Hagrid impression. "You're a wussy, Harry. And a thumpin' sad one, I'd say." He sighed and explained, "You were crying like a bitch. You need an emotional anchor, years of battle training, and a significant change in attitude. If I hadn't been here, those morons would probably have beat you down and taken you to Voldemort tonight."
"But what about the Order guarding me?" Harry asked confused. "Wait! Where was the Order member guarding me?"
"Snivellus?" A.K. smirked. "Why he was busy pretending to be cursing me at full strength, hoping not to blow his cover."
A.K. nodded. "Yeah, I was just sitting here watching you when I heard him swear and disappear. I figured he had to have just been called away. In case anything was up, I locked you in here, and waited to see if they were coming here to strike. They did. So I made myself look like you and…" He paused and got a satisfied smile. "And decided to scare them a bit."
"You did more than scare them!" Harry insisted. "I think you may have permanently crippled some of them."
A.K. looked pleased. "Now you know that, and I know that. But everyone else in this world thinks that you were the one who crippled them."
Harry looked surprised as he hadn't realized that. The Death Eaters were going to be afraid of him now.
"So," A.K. continued. "Since you're up, tell me, how are your convictions?"
Harry frowned. "Huh?"
"Could you kill Voldemort?"
"I…" Harry stopped and wondered. "I… don't know."
"I don't want to become a murderer." Harry sighed.
"You think putting down a rabid dog is murder?"
Harry frowned and winced. "He's still a man."
"No he's not," A.K. said with complete certainty. "A man does not die and come back. A man doesn't need a dark ritual to fashion himself a new body. Let alone the crimes that he has committed have earned him death many times over. Whether you grow the cojones to pull the trigger yourself or you sit up here crying away the rest of your crappy life, that rabid dog is going to be put down."
"I don't cry," Harry meekly argued.
"Right. Neither does Chang." A.K. assured him. "This isn't a matter of murder. It's a question of you being capable of what's required. And right now, I don't think you are."
Harry was getting a bit fed up with this hard ass. "I've learned a lot of wandless magic this summer. I'm figuring out how to be the person I need to, and exchanging letters with my friends has helped."
"Hermione grow a nice rack last year?" A.K. asked.
Harry looked horrified.
"Nevermind. Guess you finally noticed Ginny?"
Harry blushed and his eyes unconsciously went towards her latest letter on his desk.
A.K. responded the most natural way he knew and bitch-slapped Harry. "Oww!" Harry moaned grabbing his rapidly reddening cheek. "Gosh darnit to heck, that hurt!"
"Harry," A.K. explained with a sigh. "You're a typical above average power wizard worrying about puberty, love, and mourning your dad's chum that you barely knew. You've probably spent more time in the bathroom whacking to thoughts of the littlest Weasley than you have contemplating ways to end Voldemort."
Harry couldn't believe what he was hearing and wouldn't meet A.K.'s eyes.
"I'm not blaming you, kid. It's not your fault that you're trying to be a teenager and stupidly acting like one," A.K. assured him. "But as a result of your situation, I'd say the odds are pretty good you're going to die soon, and Voldemort will become nearly immortal if that happens. And of course the wizarding world will collapse into anarchy, your parents sacrifice will have been for very little, and more than likely he will attract the muggles' attention and get bombed to hell, eventually leading towards World War III and the destruction of the planet."
Harry looked at A.K. as though he were crazy.
"Don't look at me like that," A.K. argued. "You're the one trusting a 160 year old guy to make your decisions. Hell almost half the muggles over 85 have Alzheimer's by that point. You really expect Dumbledore to still know what's best for you? Or the Wizarding World?"
"But he's the Headmaster…" Harry weakly argued.
A.K. nodded. "Sure, sure. Great man. But rewind a little over a decade and take a look at how he handled things leading up to Halloween 1981 and then immediately after. And then tell me if you think the last 15 years have improved his judgment?"
Harry frowned uncertainly.
"I have all the respect in the world for the man and his power," A.K. explained. "He's helped me in the past, he's one of the most skilled and accomplished wizards of all time. But he's older than dirt. 80 years ago, I'd probably take anything he told me as solid fact. But in this day and age, even assuming his motives are pure… it's a lot easier for him to forget obvious things. Like the idea that the Power of Love could defeat the Dark Lord. Especially as it concerns a freakish, hated, mistreated, and neglected kid who had a shitty childhood… no thanks in large part to him."
"It's an idealist's false hope. Trust me. I've seen too many worlds where Harry Potter was killed and Voldemort took over. I mean do you even understand love? Have any certainty that you love someone?"
Harry started to open his mouth.
"No," A.K. jumped in. "You don't. But you do know the power of Avada Kedavra. And that one's defeated an awful lot more people than love. Love's great for causing pain, but it's rarely a killer."
"Would a Killing Curse even work on Voldemort?"
A.K. shook his head. "Here? Nope. It'd piss him off and hurt if you connected, but it wouldn't kill him. It's a pretty damn weak Voldemort that dies from one of those."
Harry sagged in disappointment.
"Not that I'm sure you could even cast one properly any time soon," A.K. mused.
"So then how? Or what?" Harry asked realizing he didn't know how to cast a Killing Curse.
"Right now, I'm inclined for you to live as normal and let me fly solo on this one but I feel the one thing Harry Potter never gets is a choice, so I'm leaving it up to you." A.K. stated. "But I could be wrong about you too. Tell me are you the Heir to Gryffindor?"
"Err," Harry paused and thought about it. "Not as far as I know."
"Alright, how about another founder? Maybe your mum was secretly the Heir to Slytherin? Or Merlin?"
"No," Harry shook his head. "Muggle-born to the best of my knowledge."
"Any special gifts you have? Aside from being bilingual, which is more parlor trick than gift."
"Oh right," Harry remembered. "Err… I'm a pretty fair flyer?"
A.K. shook his head. "You really want to be treated like a child, don't you?"
"You're wasting my time, unless you know a way to fly him to death I called you 'boy' earlier and you didn't stick up for yourself even though I know how much we hate that name. You've barely made any effort to determine the truth of what I'm telling you, and half your mind is still on the redheaded bint!"
Harry huffed. "You don't have to use such harsh language you know. What did Ginny ever do to you?"
"Besides often distracting the world's only hope and therefore dooming countless worlds and civilizations? Well, she's betrayed me, cheated on me, with Draco no less, doused me with hundreds of love potions, spread lies, rumors, or worse, her legs. She's become a Death Eater, she's become a spy, she's double-teamed Crabbe and Goyle to try and make me jealous. I can't even count the number of times she's slapped me," Harry rolled his eyes melodramatically, "out of love."
"Alright, alright," Harry pleaded with him to stop, fearing all the images running through his head. "Those were different Ginny's though. Not my Ginny," Harry stopped immediately and asked himself, "When did she become mine?"
A.K. rolled his eyes and bitch-slapped Harry again. "Let's finish this before I decide to kill you for ruining our good name."
Harry was just rubbing his cheek wondering about Ginny still. "With Draco? Really?"
A.K. shrugged. "For what it's worth, I killed them both. But you, I still need to hear about. Any special relationships with ancient or powerful beings? Any gifts with special magics?"
Harry shook his head. "Don't think so."
"Elves? House Elves? Goblins? Phoenixia? Dragons? Vampires?"
Harry just shook his head.
"Not a metamorphmagus? Or some new impossibility of animagus? Perhaps an elemental? Or even Enchanter, Battle Mage, High Mage, Shadow Mage, or Necromancer?"
Harry shrugged. "Never even heard of those last few."
A.K. nodded. "Good, good."
"That's good?" Harry asked confused.
"Hmm? Oh," A.K. shook his head. "For you, it doesn't matter. You'd be getting in the way a lot more than you'd be helpful. But it's a sign that your Voldemort is pretty uninspired too. Probably just a powerful, homicidal, psychotic megalomaniac. That's good."
"I knew it," Harry muttered as his bottom lip trembled. "I am worthless."
"Oh for Satan's sake, stop being such a damn pansy! Get some emotional help. Grief counseling or something." A.K. saw the undisguised emotion on Harry's face. "And not just as an excuse to snuggle with that ginger tart! Get professional help."
Harry reluctantly nodded in agreement.
"Now, everything you wanted has happened for you. You can act and pretend to be normal without a bloody Dark Lord or prophecy hanging over your head. But remember, people are always going to be trying to kill you because," A.K. shrugged. "Well, you're Harry Potter. You will not have to become a murderer or anything like that anytime soon, let's hope. Go ahead, be an idiot, and marry right out of school if you're that immature. You can fire up the Weasley baby factory if that's what floats your boat."
Harry blushed and refused to respond to that. "So what are you going to do?"
"Me?" A.K. got a devious grin. "I'm going to track me a Voldemort and kill him. And when I do, I'm going to get you, and we're going to spin up a story about how Harry Potter killed the Dark Lord. Even if the Ministry is stupid enough to question you, the truth will be Harry Potter killed him, and you are Harry Potter."
"But I won't have…"
"Yeah well, according to everyone that matters, they're expecting it from you. Even the fates and prophecy. Now here's where it is on you." A.K. insisted pointing straight at Harry, making sure he had his complete attention. "Knocking off the big bad man is going to make you the prime target for future Dark Lords. So you have got to keep up your studies. I figure the cred for killing Voldie should give you several years before any new sort of a threat shows up, but they always do eventually and you better be ready for them. You are an above average power wizard. With a good reputation and our knack for luck, that's all you'll ever have to be."
Harry nodded accepting what he was being told. "You're so sure you'll be able to kill Voldemort?" Harry asked. "I mean even the Headmaster is only just a match for him."
A.K. nodded with complete and absolute certainty. "It's what I do, kid. And I am damn good at it."
It was about a month later, Harry had been hoping to get out sooner and maybe stay at the Burrow. He was going in two days, and he would get to spend the last three days before school started back up at the Weasley's.
He'd been sleeping far more peacefully, ever since he'd met up with A.K. At first, Harry wondered if maybe he'd dreamt that whole night, but when a pissed off Potions Professor demanded to know what the hell was going on, Harry realized it had been real. He started to feel a little guilty at the idea that someone else was doing a duty required of him. But took some comfort when he realized it was a stronger him doing it. And it would be up to Harry to become as strong as he knew he could. And it would be up to him, and his presence, to make sure there weren't problems like this in the future. But for now, he could just be a teenager. The more he thought about it, the more sense A.K. made. He was a teenager. The idea that he would marry Ginny and they would have lots of babies and live happily ever after was a fine dream. But it was still his dream as a teenager. And now, knowing he could have a future, he wondered if it would still be his dream once he grew up a bit. Once he wasn't living life as a second class citizen, blindly doing what the adults around him told him to.
Just before rolling over to sleep, his musings were cut off when his scar started tingling like crazy. It wasn't hurting, and if anything a dull ache he'd been ignoring seemed to be going away. Harry's eyes were wide at the implications. He wondered if it meant what he thought, so thinking positively, he got up and got dressed. Just as he finished putting his pants, there was a near silent pop. A blood-soaked slightly limping but brightly smiling A.K. appeared in his room.
A.K. took a look at Harry and grinned. "You look like you're doing a lot better. Ready for this?"
"He's really gone?" Harry asked hopefully.
A.K. nodded. "Should be… didn't you feel it in your scar and link to him?"
Harry nodded. "It's like a pain I didn't know I felt has gone away."
"Yup, that sounds about right," A.K. agreed. "I stunned Dung and just obliviated the last two hours from his head. Would have gone for more, but he's only been on shift for two. So let's make this fast."
A.K. grabbed hold of Harry's shoulder. "You need to see what you've done." And with a pop A.K. apparated the pair of them away and into a rich opulent manor.
"Where are we?" Harry asked.
"Know how to apparate?" A.K. asked.
Harry nodded, closed his eyes and popped himself to the other side of A.K.
A.K. sighed and started leading Harry out of the den and towards the dungeons. "Alright, this is Malfoy Manor. Your scar burned and you got a vision. You'd been training and planning on your own this summer and knew where Voldemort would be. Sirius' death and the knowledge of the Prophecy were making you antsy. You wanted it done, so you went after him."
A.K. led him down some stone stairs. Harry noted the fresh blood decorating many of the walls and began to feel a bit ill. "Don't get queasy on me, Harry." A.K. ordered. "You saw muggles being tortured in your vision and didn't have time to contact anyone. You apparated straight through the wards here, and were under immediate attack. You were hit with several Cruciatus and kept having to duck Killing Curses. You returned in kind with bludgeoning and blasting curses."
Harry frowned and asked, "Aren't they going to test me for-"
"Crucio!" A.K. called out and held it on Harry for about five seconds.
Harry fell to the floor, biting his tongue, holding in his scream. The curse was surprisingly less painful than normal.
"There you go," A.K. grinned having enjoyed that more than he'd like to admit. "I tried to keep that as harmless as possible but you've got the evidence on you now. Now you should know, when you get hit with it again-"
"Let's hope I don't."
"You will," A.K. assured him. "And don't interrupt me. It is the most painful experience there is. But that's all it is. Pain. You're not being cut, your body is only tensing in response to the pain, and it's only one sensation. It's no different than trying to ignore your hunger when you haven't eaten in days. It's a feeling, emotion, sensation of pain. The brain's response to it, the body's convulsions, and instinctual reactions to it are where it becomes permanently damaging. But as long as you keep it as just pain, it won't physically hurt you. Occlumency helps you to focus it as pain. That actually makes it more painful, but it's under your control then. And the peace of mind of controlling your pain makes it enough for you to ignore and still function."
Harry was listening to A.K.'s impromptu lecture and just looking at the carnage all around. There were bodies in pieces and the entire floor was coated in blood. A large chunk of Nagini was identifiable and appeared as though acid had eaten the snake from the inside out. Harry paused, processing what he had been told. "Wait, so you're saying anyone can overcome the Cruciatus?"
"No!" A.K. insisted, leading Harry towards a back ritual room. "No one can overcome it as far as I know. And it cannot be blocked. It is essentially pure focused pain. But there's probably a couple dozen people in the world who know pain, have felt it enough, that can get along well enough in spite of it. You're one of them. Probably most of the others are Death Eaters, but don't let that bother you. Think of it this way, the curse makes the pain but if you turn it into agony, you're in charge of it. And you can do other things at the same time."
Harry took one look in the back room and gasped "What the hell is that?"
A.K. smiled. "That, Harry, is what is left of Voldemort. For your story's sake, you can desire to keep quiet all you like, and just tell people the truth that you really wanted him gone. You forced your magic into something you don't understand and it responded."
"And that killed Voldemort?"
A.K. nodded. "People don't want it to be anything anyone else could have done. Or a normal way someone else could have killed him sooner. Makes them feel less guilty."
"Okay, so that's the story," Harry nodded looking at what appeared to be a mutated side of ham that went halfway through a shredder. "But seriously… what is that?"
A.K. smiled. "You probably don't want to know. But I needed to force Voldemort's soul back into a singular location basically, so it took a few tricks here and there, after I had subdued him."
"So that's really… Voldemort?"
A.K. nodded. "Yup, and it has to be, so that it can be proven to be him, and really gone this time. Traces of his destroyed soul remain, as well as… I guess that's sort of what would happen if he did his rebirth ritual into an aborted fetus' body."
"Oh my god…" Harry said looking at the small sack of flesh. He walked over to it and kicked him a little. A pustule of sorts popped spewing some thick black substance onto the ground.
"Like I said, kid," A.K. summarized. "You weren't ready for this, and it would've taken you too long to grow up."
Harry nodded trying to imagine the scene that must have happened here. He had to pull it off without feeling too ill.
"You'll be fine," A.K. assured him and lit a cigarette. "Look at it this way. Voldemort's dead, whether it was you or not. The person who has made your life hell forever, the bastard who killed your parents, and was responsible for every bad thing in your life is gone for good. I don't recommend telling them the truth about me, but you can if you want to. It'll end up just making you even more famous, for different reasons. Letting them think you're up to Dark Lord killing ensures peace, while you become the wizard the world already thinks you are. You've lived with the stares and danger for five years at Hogwarts. Now it'll just be the stares. You ready to send out the distress call?"
Harry was slowly nodding as he understood what he was doing. He was a bit conflicted, but more than anything elated to be able to live life without Voldemort. "It's nice to think about what sort of future I can have. Normal schoolwork, maybe professional Quidditch, hopefully a life with Ginny."
A.K. smiled. "Alright kid. You sound ready for this. But do get yourself a therapist or something. You're going to need it."
A.K. began waving his wand intricately, drawing shapes into the air, while grasping hold of the pendant around his neck. He reached the tiresome point of the spell and was whipping his wand in circles gradually building up the power necessary to cross worlds. "I'm out of here, Harry. You take care of yourself. And ten years from now, when you look at what your life is and where you are," A.K. winked as his body began to flicker incorporeal. "Just remember Avada Kedavra is a lot cheaper than any divorce lawyer."
And right before Harry's eyes, the scarred older Harry Potter flickered from view never to return to this world.
Author's Note: One-shot idea grew out of control here. We won't see every world. Just about a dozen or so. Ten chapters and around fifty thousand words. Some chapters will be far more parody and humor. Some will be bitter sarcastic angry rants. Expect a chapter a day. Let me know what you think. Reviews are greatly appreciated.