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 #501 – The One with Another
The thick and pungent stench of death stung A.K.'s nostrils immediately. His eyes began to water as he took in his surroundings. The misty haze was tinted red and orange in the twilight hours and it gave a sickening beauty to the blood-covered battlefield. It resembled a slaughterhouse more than an empty plain near a grove of trees. A.K. turned around and looked in all directions. For every butchered, broken lifeless body of an auror or Order member there were a dozen dead Death Eaters to match. The battle was over but there was a tension still hanging in the air.
A.K. squinted his eyes looking for a sign of movement or life that could be salvaged. He wasn't sure why he had appeared in this world, at this time. A flicker of movement in the corner of his eyes and A.K. saw a pale disfigured body convulsing. As A.K. began looking closer he could tell, the body was dead, the complete absence of a head made sure of that, but it was still being cut. The air above the carcass seemed to bend, and a disillusioned beast came into view. The body wasn't being cut. It was being carved and sliced by paws the size of dinner plates.
Suddenly, A.K. realized what that smell was and just what sort of beast this was. A massive nundu, as tall as a man and twice as long turned its curious head towards A.K. who immediately halted his movement towards the creature.
Its angry green eyes bore into A.K. inquisitively. And while the eyes answered so many questions, the decapitated head of the Lord Voldemort in its open, drooling mouth raised some new ones. The nundu stared at A.K. as it crunched up the pale Dark Lord's skull as if it were nothing more than a big hunk of peanut brittle. The massive cat spit out most of the chunky pink mush, and a large tongue snaked out of its mouth licking its face clean. It tilted its head at A.K. for a moment, before leaping seven meters into the air and covering the distance between them in a single bound. At the apex of its jump, it transformed into a strong and powerful warrior who landed smoothly in a crouch, prepared to attack.
A.K. just stood there impassively, not showing any sign of being terribly impressed and took in the man right before him. "Hiya Harry."
Harry Potter was well over six and a half feet tall and pure chiseled muscle. His mere presence commanded more respect and warned of more danger than should be physically possible. And yet here before him, was a man he did not know, but still seemed to hold no fear of him. He recognized the pain and wisdom in a warrior's eye when he saw it, and yet his instincts told him he could trust this man. "Who are you?"
A.K. smiled to see Harry wasn't going to be attacking him. That was a battle he could definitely do without right now. "Me? I'm A.K. and I'm a bit… confused." A.K. walked right past Harry to get a closer look at the mauled body and pile of pink mush that used to be Voldemort's head. He stared at it, while knowing Harry was watching him, and concluded completely, "Voldemort's dead. For good, for real, and he's not coming back." A.K. turned to watch Harry's reaction.
Harry nodded and sheathed a sword that A.K. hadn't even seen nor heard him draw. "Yes he is." Harry exhaled a breath and seemed to relax slightly. "But I don't feel satiated."
A.K.'s eyes perked up and saw the tenseness and itching that seemed to be driving this Harry Potter. "Aww… shit." A.K. plopped himself down on the ground and pulled out his cigarettes. He lit one and took a drag. "Have a seat, Harry. We need to talk."
Harry saw A.K. relaxing and appearing to settle in for a long discussion. "No."
A.K. smirked at Harry. "No?"
Harry shook his head. "I've Death Eaters to hunt. Beasts to put down."
A.K. shook his head and enjoyed his cigarette. "No Harry, you don't."
"I trust my instincts," Harry insisted. "And my work isn't done."
A.K. nodded heartily. "That's true. But that's what we need to talk about."
Harry's eyes narrowed. "What do you know?"
A.K. reached into one of his pockets and dug out a bottle of firewhiskey. He showed it Harry, before taking a swig for himself. He then offered the bottle to Harry. "Trust me, have a seat. And I know why you feel that itch and desire to track down Voldemort or Death Eaters or evil or whatever it is, even though you are unable to."
Harry stared at A.K. for a long tense moment before looking around in all directions, taking the bottle and falling backwards onto his ass. "Alright. I'm listening."
"I'm sure your magic doesn't want you to relax, but you're going to need to learn to ignore that for a bit." A.K. explained as he took a drag off his smoke. "I'm guessing you made an oath to defeat Voldemort, Death Eaters, evil incarnate or something of the sort."
Harry nodded swallowing the firewhiskey in his mouth.
A.K. smiled wanly. "And you happened to have unfortunately included some wording involving the ends of eternity, across all the worlds or plains of existence or something of the sort."
Harry slowly pulled the bottle from his mouth and began to worry about what he'd done. He saw A.K. was waiting for a response. "He killed my wife, and I swore I would see him die no matter where he went, no matter what form he took, no matter what world he tried to hide on."
"Wife, eh?" A.K. asked. "Mind if I ask who?"
"Ginny," Harry whispered almost reverently.
A.K. sighed and nodded. "Ginny Weasley. Well, I'm sorry for your loss."
Harry ignored the condolences and drank more of the firewhiskey. "How'd you know about the oath?"
A.K. smirked. "I know because I was dumb enough to make a similar oath. And it's the only reason I'd be here, seeing as you seemed quite capable of handling your Voldemort."
"My Voldemort?" Harry asked in disbelief.
A.K. nodded as he stamped out his cigarette. He reached out and took the bottle of firewhiskey from Harry. He took a big swallow and handed it back. "Yup, your Voldemort. Or rather this world's Voldemort."
"I take it this isn't your world then?"
"A smart one," A.K. smiled. "That's a bit of relief."
Harry smiled back at A.K. waiting for him to explain.
A.K. lit himself another cigarette. "What you need to know is that I too made the same unfortunate mistake you did. I swore to defeat my Voldemort in any form."
"Your…?" Harry paused and realized, "You're Harry Potter."
A.K. nodded. "Yes sir I am. It just gets too confusing telling Harry Potters that I'm also Harry Potter. So I go by the name A.K."
"Telling Harry Potters?" Harry asked.
A.K. took a long, slow drag from his cigarette. "I swore to defeat Voldemort in every form. But before I made that oath, I'd spent a couple of years studying the Veil in the Department of Mysteries. I wanted to know if Sirius was dead or where he went. So I studied an awful lot about alternate dimensions, dimensional gateways, portals, and eventually completely unraveled how to travel and control when and where I wanted to travel. When I finally defeated my Voldemort, I was stuck feeling that same itching and desire that's bugging you right now."
Harry tipped back the near empty bottle of firewhiskey and sucked the backwash out of it. He sighed again and reached into his own battle cloak pulling out a fresh bottle of Ogden's finest. He cracked it open, took a swig and handed it to A.K.
A.K. smirked at how much this Harry reminded him of himself. "Thanks. And that's why I've been dimension hopping for an awful long time now, helping out worlds with their Voldemort problems, and more often than not helping out Harry Potters too."
Harry thought about everything he'd lost to Voldemort. "So are you here to help me out?"
A.K. shrugged. "I'm here to help you with your itch."
Harry smirked at A.K. and opened his mouth.
"Don't," A.K. warned him as he pointed straight at him. "You know damn well what I meant."
Harry snapped his mouth closed and smiled.
A.K. grumbled about petulant youth.
Harry's smile relaxed a little and he asked. "So what? You're here to teach me how to dimension hop and hunt down Voldemorts too?"
A.K. smiled lightly. "Nope. I'm not going to teach you dimension traveling."
"What?" Harry asked. "Why not?"
A.K. exhaled smoke. "Because you don't need to know."
"Then why are you here?"
A.K. took the bottle from Harry. "To take you with me."
Harry raised an eyebrow at A.K.
"Listen Harry," A.K. explained. "Hmm… we're going to need to give you another name too. But anyways, you're in a similar situation to me, except for one big difference. I know how to do, what we're going to be doing. Do you have any understanding about alternate universes or dimensions?"
"Until you showed up, I didn't think they were possible."
"Alright." A.K. nodded. "But do you have any idea how many there are?"
Harry shook his head and sipped the firewhiskey.
A.K. winced a bit and told him. "There's an infinite amount. Which means, if your oath had its way, you'd be doing this until you die or the end of time."
Harry pulled the bottle from lips slowly and started to notice just how old A.K.'s eyes looked the more he talked. Harry argued, "I've nothing here holding me back. I'd been training for this day nonstop for the past eight years. I haven't thought about anything other than fighting since I lost my wife. I don't think it's coincidence that you tell me the rest of my life is going to be exactly what my life has been up to this point."
A.K. shrugged. "That's fine. But I'm still not going to teach you the dimension hopping magic."
Harry stiffened, getting a bit irritated. "Why not?"
"Listen kid," A.K. sneered. "We're not negotiating here. Let me lay it out for you. I've been doing this a hell of a lot longer than you've even been alive. Knowing the dimension traveling magic, I'll admit, is practically a god-like power. There is no magic that can even match it in pure usefulness. But it is way too dangerous to share unnecessarily. If I were to teach you, with that oath you've got, you would be completely at its mercy. Right now, I could leave this world and you'd spend the rest of your life with a mild itch to be fighting. But you would have a life. You would have a home. You would have people who weren't meeting you for the first time. If you know the magic, the oath's hold on you is that much stronger."
Harry sighed. "I don't have a choice in this, do I?"
A.K. shook his head. "You don't have to come with me."
"But, as for getting your fix and satiating that desire to fight," A.K. shrugged. "I'm your only hook-up, and these are my rules. I'm not offering any more than that. But you come with me, after a few years you decide you want to stay on a nice world, I can leave you behind. Or you might convince me to teach you the magic just to get your irritating arse off my back. This is how it is."
"The oath that strong when you know how to dimension hop?" Harry asked.
A.K. sighed. "I'm here talking to you, aren't I?"
Harry sat there quietly processing everything he'd been told. "So… I get a new name?"
A.K. chuckled. "Well, calling you Harry would get confusing in a lot of the places we'll be."
"Do I get to choose it?"
"I suppose so, but I'm going to have to agree with it."
"Okay," Harry smiled. "Because I learned this curse called the Jumbliatus-"
"If it's an anagram, the answer is no."
"What? Oh come on… but-"
"No," A.K. insisted firmly.
Harry frowned a bit. "What if I shorten to just Orjasm?
A.K.'s eyes widened in shock. "No! For satan's sake, no!"
Harry childishly chugged the rest of the firewhiskey and pouted.
"Actually," A.K. smiled in remembrance of some advice he'd received a while back. "I got a good name for you."
Harry looked determined. "I don't give a flying fuck what you say. You're not calling me B.K.!"
A.K. laughed. "No, I'm not. I was thinking you might like the name Deuce."
"Deuce?" Harry said, trying out the name. "Because I'm like the second dimension hopping Harry Potter with you? And because it has a nice old army buddy feel to it?"
A.K. smirked and just said, "Whatever."
"I like it," Harry smiled. "Deuce and A.K."
A.K. shook his head. "You like that better than A.K. and Deuce?"
"My way is much better," the newly christened Deuce patronizingly explained.
A.K. figured that if in the eyes of magic, Deuce was A.K.'s pussy, then A.K. wouldn't mind so much that his name came second Deuce's preferred way. "Alright then, first thing we should do is secure your horcrux."
Deuce stiffened for a moment. He carefully admitted, "It's as safe as I could make it."
"Good for you," A.K. agreed. "But we can make it a whole lot safer if you want."
Deuce considered it and suggested, "Why don't we get to know each other a bit better before I trust you with something like that."
A.K. nodded. "Fair enough, but after you've had to go through a few painful lengthy regrowths and years of consciousness in an incubator, you let me know. Because we can create a dimension accessible to you and only you. Where it takes but a thought to gain an identical body that replaces you immediately where and when you were. I can give you the triggers without teaching you the magic."
Deuce raised an eyebrow at the efficacy of A.K.'s system. "I'll keep it in mind."
"Other than that," A.K. explained. "We just got to gather up your stuff, say your goodbyes, or whatever else you need to do here before leaving."
Deuce sat back and dug out some more alcohol. He took a slow sip of whiskey. "I made preparations in case I died today, or in case I simply didn't come back. If it ended and I lived, I was making sure I could just disappear and leave if I wanted. So I've got everything I need with me." Deuce tapped the charm on his necklace. "Got an auror's trunk with a room I live in when I need to."
A.K. smirked and pulled his own miniaturized trunk out of his pocket.
"But before we go anywhere," Deuce grinned recognizing the same style of trunk. "I want to know more about you. Tell me about your world."
"My world?" A.K. chuckled. "It's been so long, and I've seen so many worlds, I barely remember anything about my world."
Deuce shook his head. "I find that hard to believe. You've got to remember your friends, classmates, loves, betrayals, the bitches and bastards, your first Voldemort, something."
A.K. shrugged. "I really don't. I've seen the good side and bad side of just about everyone including and especially us. And they all sort of blend together to create general profiles to expect from people, but also serve as warnings of what to watch out for."
Deuce frowned. "Fine. I'll get more out of you later, but give me one thing you remember about your world. Just one, and I'll drop it for now."
A.K. sighed as he stamped out his cigarette. "Alright… one thing I do remember clearly is…" A.K. paused and thought about it. "…is getting sent to boot camp."
"Boot camp?" Deuce asked with a smile. "That's… unsurprising."
A.K. nodded thinking back to his past. He pulled out another cigarette and lit it.
"So what's up with the smoking?" Deuce asked. "It doesn't seem very Harry Potter-ish."
A.K. smiled brightly. "I think you're going to be a bit surprised at how your definition of Harry Potter-ish is going to change."
Deuce felt a little disconcerted at A.K.'s smug tone and continued. "No really, why do you smoke?"
A.K. grinned as he inhaled and exhaled deeply. "Well, there's a number of wonderful reasons to smoke, but mainly I just do it to piss of the people around me. Makes me feel more comfortable when they're uneasy."
Deuce chuckled. "I figured it was something like that." Deuce smirked at A.K., "Could I get a cigarette?"
A.K. snapped his heads towards Deuce a little curious at how badly he was being mocked and insulted. "Sure." A.K. smiled handing him a smoke.
Deuce lit it with his wand and relaxed back, giving the bad habit a try. He exhaled. "Pissing you off yet?"
A.K. grinned. "Getting there."
Deuce smiled victoriously before adopting a curious look. "So hang on. If there's an infinite number of dimensions, and each one is existing separate from the others, then shouldn't there be an infinite number of dimension hoppers like you?"
"Your logic is sound."
"So why couldn't I just get one of them to teach me dimension hopping? Why do you automatically assume that I've been assigned to be specifically your little understudy and partner?"
"Because my oath brought me here?"
Deuce paused. "Oh... right. So have you met another dimension hopper?"
"Listen, Deuce," A.K. smirked. "I don't think your mind is ready to wrap around the concepts of more of me out there, when you're still not really comprehending that I'm Harry Potter, just the same as you are. It takes some time to get used to these ideas. And frankly I don't think the idea of our interdimensional locker room would sit too well with you."
"So there are more of you?"
A.K. nodded. "I've met many named A.K."
Deuce stopped for a moment and thought about it. His head began to hurt. "Interdimensional locker room?"
A.K. chuckled "Yup. There are a few artifacts or items created that you may decide are too dangerous and powerful to exist. The problem with hiding them on another world leaves them susceptible to the evils of that world. So we have our own storage facility outside of any dimension with our own lockers for all the really ridiculous stuff. As well as some cells for locking up the immortal Voldemorts. If there's a Voldemort who learns about dimension hopping, a lot of times we all need to react fast. And there'll sometimes be a notice up on the message board asking for help."
Deuce wondered if he'd just signed up to join the weirdest gym in the world. "So there's an infinite number of bastards just like you?"
A.K. shook his head. "Nope, not an infinite amount of others just like me. Like I said, your mind is not ready to wrap around these concepts."
"Well... if not an infinite amount... how many are there?"
"Yup. Forty-two. That's the limit."
"But that doesn't make any sense."
A.K. shrugged. "It makes perfect sense to me, and after a while, you may understand it yourself. But for now, just trust me. There's forty-two of me even though there are an infinite amount of Harry Potters."
Deuce saw the unconcerned honesty on A.K.'s face and realized he didn't quite get this yet.
"So how do you know where to go?" Deuce asked, still enjoying his smoke. "How do you pick which world?"
"It's all in the oath," A.K. explained. "I can choose a time, or a place, but the magic itself will handle the choosing if you let it. That way I won't end up in a world where Voldemort's already gone, my help isn't needed, or there's another A.K. taking care of business there. The oath wants to be fulfilled, and will guide me to the right place at the right time." A.K. frowned for a moment and added, "For the most part. Sometimes it gets a bit cheeky."
Deuce nodded thinking that made sense.
"But I think I'll pick us a good place to pop your cherry," A.K. smiled. "I got just the sort of world in mind."
Deuce nodded and stamped out his cigarette. He stood up and offered his hand to pull A.K. up. "I'm ready to give this a try. My adrenaline is pumping and I still want to fight."
A.K. dusted off his ass and briefly thought this was another of the Powers That Be's manipulations. Trying to save A.K.'s humanity by giving him a friend. A.K. decided that would be a pondering for another time. He pulled out his wand and began casting the dimension hopping magic. He pinpointed a specific deviation from the normal world and held his arm out. "Hang on to me. I think it's time you get a look at what your life has just become."
Deuce checked his weapons to make sure he was ready. He wandlessly cast and reinforced a shield around his body. He pooled his magic to the surface and grabbed onto A.K.
The world flickered black in and out of existence, with a few brief moments of the deep blue ether in between, before the pair reappeared in the midst of an oddly familiar yet different bedroom. There was a figure sleeping in a small but respectable sized bed with the blankets covering their body.
"What the hell is this?" Deuce asked in confusion as he assessed there to be no immediate threats anywhere.
"This is another dimension," A.K. explained to his new partner. "And this is a world that desperately needs our help."
Deuce quietly walked over towards the bed. "This is its Harry?"
A.K. shook his head with a mischievous smile. "No Deuce, this isn't its Harry. This is its Harriet."
Deuce stumbled back at the sight of the dark-haired sleeping young girl with the lightning bolt scar on her head. "Harriet Potter? Dear god!"
A.K. nodded. "This is the kind of stuff we're going to be seeing for a long time."
Deuce looked over at the nightstand by the bed and saw a smiling snarky blonde boy in the picture. He gasped, "But... what...?"
A.K. nodded. "That's Malfoy alright. Probably the boyfriend."
"I think I'm going to be sick!"
A.K. smirked as he lit a cigarette. "How do you think your Ginny would feel?"
Deuce's eyes flared in anger and he looked at A.K. hopefully. "Can I… can I kill it?"
A.K. relaxed back and couldn't help but feel inordinately proud at how quickly Deuce identified an enemy and immediately dehumanized them. "I wish you would."
The words to the most useful, merciful, and utilitarian curse in existence were like music to A.K.'s ears, but they stirred up an unrelated memory for him. "Oh that reminds me. I've got some pictures of your mother-in-law that you really should see."
Author's Note: Too many different worlds to visit. I wrote as many as my interest could hold. Glad you all read this far, and thanks a ton for all the comments. And a big thanks to the fine folks over at the darklordpotter .net forums for helping me as I wrote these individual worlds. If anyone else wants to give a few worlds a try, be my guest. Maybe one big fifty thousand word one-shot would have been easier, but I was fishing for more individual comments on the separate worlds. I didn't foresee any end to this and always intended it as such. Now, if inspiration strikes in the future, or I just have some worlds I want to write, they will pick up with both A.K. and Deuce. Knowing my cheesiness, I bet a sequel would be called Dimension Hopping for Novices. But as of right now, I don't have the desire to write more. A never-ending plotline like this can always be added onto easily or I even had ideas on how to end the never-ending plotline. No promises on wanting to do more of these, but I'm leaving the door open. I think I'm going to work a Harry Potter/Firefly crossover next. That one is intended to be a longer storyline, not a one-shot.
Thanks again for all the responses, and please leave me one more review telling me what you thought about the fic as a whole.