Disclaimer – I do not profess to own the Harry Potter universe. The title of this story was inspired by the Jethro Tull song "Bungle in the Jungle." It is not a songfic! I also do not own the rights to that wonderful song.
Thanks to Lord Nemesis Black, FairyQilan, IP82, Smeagolita and Sirius009 for helping to make this possible.
Chapter 1 – Five Minutes to Live
Date: September 1, 1996 12:00 PM Local time
What would you do, if you only had five minutes to live? It is an interesting question to ask another person, is it not? The people you ask would surely give a wide variety of answers. It is possible that the most common answer would be 'surround myself with loved ones, family and friends so that you can say a final goodbye'. That seems like a satisfactory answer, doesn't it? What if you had no loved ones though? What if your parents had been torn from you before you were old enough to recall them? What if you were left with people that you were related to, but who did not care if you lived or died? In fact, they might prefer that you died. Would that bother you? Perhaps? Perhaps not?
So clearly longing for family isn't a priority, so lets exam loved ones. When you consider that you are only sixteen, there hasn't been a whole lot of time to accumulate a number of 'loved ones'. You've been on exactly one date. It didn't really go that well as you recall. You had another girl that you were quite smitten with early in the summer, but we will cover that disaster momentarily. She doesn't count, well at least not anymore. You may have had other opportunities that you never even realized, but lack of a proper upbringing and various distractions kept you from capitalizing on said opportunities. Besides, your life is, well strange doesn't quite describe it adequately, bizarre gives it a comical aspect that certainly doesn't exist. If forced to describe your life you would have to say that there is a great deal of boredom, long periods of uncertainty, and intermittent bursts of sheer absolute terror. What more could a potential love interest want? Yet despite all this joy and laughter obviously surrounding you, you are accused of being moody and brooding. You had a godfather. He shined down on your life like a brief ray of light on an otherwise gloomy day. He's gone now. He was killed during one of those moments of absolute terror that occur all too often in your life. The list of people that had a hand in his death in some way shape or form sounds like a who's who in Wizarding Britain. They read his will and had a nice service for him. At least they told you it was a nice service, you don't get out all that much. He left you more money to go in a bank that you can never get too and some nice properties. At least they are supposed to be nice. You usually stay at one of the not-so nice properties.
Okay, that pretty much eliminates both family and lovers. All that is left is friends. Everyone has friends don't they? Best mates? People willing to stand by your side no matter what? You started this summer with what you thought were a whole bunch of friends. What you actually had were 'handlers' and people willing to use you for what they deemed was the 'greater good'. What's so wrong with the 'lesser good'? You've got a vault full of money, but it's been 'too dangerous' to visit since your third year. Someone else does your shopping for you, because shopping is every bit as dangerous as banking. How much money do you have anyway? Aren't banks supposed to give you a statement periodically? Given that the majority of those moments of terror happen around the end of your school year, why isn't going to school ranked higher than shopping or banking on the dangerous activities list? You often wonder if the school nurse knows her husband's body better than yours, with the amount of time the two of you spend together. It's a small wonder that the two of you have never been romantically linked!
You've strayed from the topic now haven't you? Where were you? Friends! That was it! You've still managed to keep a couple even through all this. One of them is right here with you now. The other is back in London, hopefully still raising hell. They are good people. The one here is much older than you at least in years. There is an old muggle saying that 'it is not the years – but the mileage'. That seems to apply here now doesn't it? So there is one friend you won't be able to say goodbye to. The other will likely be joining you on your trip to the next great adventure. (This implies that you have already had a great adventure. Maybe someone there will explain when exactly that occurred and how it qualified as great?) You hope he does not though, he has all those friends, family and loved ones that seem to be lacking in your life. He does tell good stories though, so if he does become a traveling companion on the road to the afterlife at least there will be entertainment. Then there is an absolutely barmy house elf. He'll probably take this the hardest. Hope he doesn't beat himself up too much – literally. Your last friend is an owl. You'll miss her the most. There wasn't time for a proper goodbye, but you are comforted with the fact that everyone loves that owl. She will be well taken care of, so that's good.
Well that covers a 'typical' answer to how someone would like to spend their last five minutes. When has your life been typical though? So instead of a comfortable bed surrounded by people who care and maybe a nice bowl of your favorite ice cream, you have to settle for eight goblins, two jungle trolls and five other wizards on a fool's errand, which will most likely end in everyone's death. Well actually right now it's eight mice, two very large dogs, four cats and an eagle. Silly isn't it? You wouldn't mind throttling the person who came up with this idiotic plan, until you recall that you came up with this crackpot scheme. Perhaps you should eat a lemon drop? That's what he would recommend. You have several anatomical suggestions where he could stick those lemon drops, but that would ruin their taste.
Pausing for a moment, you think of all your other classmates at good old Hoggy Hogwarts. Every so often, public opinion shifts for or against you. One minute they are pointing and whispering at you in the hallways, the next they are all chummy and 'hey we never really believed that rubbish about you'. That lasts until the next school crisis that will inevitably cause the shift again. 'It's ironic,' you think. 'With the time difference, everyone should be scurrying from their train to their little feast right about now.' You ponder what the hat might say if it could see you know. Would your plan be considered worthy of a Ravenclaw? Cunning like a Slytherin? Foolish like a Gryffindor? Sorry Helga can't really come up with a reason to include you this time. Maybe this year the forbidden forest isn't actually forbidden? Strange because you ended up in there every year so far. You left some hair behind – wonder if they took you up on that? Perhaps, loud annoying jealous male ex-best friend is going to be rooming with Miss 'Don't you dare say my first name!' until they give up on you ever coming back. Would people notice that you had suddenly become so clumsy?
You hate most forms of magical travel and this apparently is no exception. Since this method was not meant to for higher thinking beings, there was no thought given to creature comforts. Flying is nice though. A good broom, a hippogriff or even a thestral are all great ways to get around. Why did they ban magic carpets in Britain anyway? You had a real nice broom. It was a gift from your godfather. Like your owl there really wasn't time to take it with you. You suppose one of your so-called friends will put it to use - either the loud one or the pretend girlfriend. It doesn't really matter though. You focus on these thoughts trying to avoid thinking about how very unsettling this method of travel is. At least you are used to being uncomfortable. That term practically describes your life from age two on. You wonder if Vernon would one day try and take credit for 'toughening the little bugger up'.
Well at least the trip is over. That won't ever happen again, you hope. The clock is officially ticking on your five minutes to live. Fortunately the bubblehead charm stayed with you when you returned to your human form. This was good for two reasons; one there was no real idea how 'good' the air actually was here and two this wizarding city carved into the side of a mountain, well its full of dead things, so the smell might not be so delightful.
So there you are, in the middle of what used to be a Wizarding Bank in South America. A quick look around tells you that there sure are lots of dead things shuffling around. They are now starting to shuffle towards you, but you're a wizard now aren't you? Wizards have ways of dealing with the walking dead. Fire is supposed to work really well, but there is that pesky problem with the air around here. That's a last resort. Standard offensive spells work well, but there are a whole lot of them here and it seems like more are arriving by the second. So what is a clever wizard to do in this case? Shotgun -yes, a shotgun! Specifically a Mossberg 590 that you have spent the last 3 days trying to master. They originally tried to have you use an AK 47, but that didn't really go so well did it? The youngest seeker in a century couldn't seem to master changing magazines and burned through ammo like nobody's business. Shotguns are nice though especially after they showed you how to hold it so you don't get a monster bruise on your chest and shoulder. The weight reduction enchantment makes it much more manageable. It has nine rounds in it, kind of like carrying nine little reductors around with you. Throw in a bit of magic tied to that ammo box at your feet and it's more like carrying one hundred and fifty nine reductor curses with you. Harry's got a gun. Harry's got a gun. Whole lot of inferi come.
As you start firing and pumping the next rounds into the action, you are struck by the irony that if this was happening in England, your friends hen-pecked muggle object infatuated father would have to arrest you for 'misuse of a muggle artifact'. You could argue that you were using it for its intended use and that the magic is actually allowing it to perform at a higher level. How would that qualify as misuse? Creative use, effective use or innovative use maybe, you could understand that. The weapon makes absolutely no noise at all when it is firing. Magic is a wonderful thing isn't it? You don't stop to admire your handiwork. It does rather remind you of that Doom 2 game your cousin would endlessly play on his computer. Too bad you don't have the chaingun. That would be sweet!
The transformations are wearing off and the others are attacking now. The trolls are using large spiky clubs. Now with new and improved larger spiky things! The goblins are using modified nine millimeter pistols that they hold like rifles in their tiny hands. You take a moment to ponder the goblins as a race. They are abused, belittled, mistreated and expected to never rise above their station in life. Basically they are you. No wonder you like them! Despite how much that boring ghost drones on about them, wizards don't understand why ever fifty or so years the oppressed rise up and attempt to throw off the yokes of their so called masters. It strikes a familiar chord in you and you appreciate them on an instinctive level. Not that their table manners are any good though, but you are beginning to wonder if James and Lily couldn't have children, so they took a baby goblin and transfigured him. If you didn't already know better, you might suspect that you are a goblin whose animagus form is a human wizard. Everyone got a good laugh, when the ancient goblin who helped organize this shindig told you what goblin name they gave you – 'Green eyed scarhead'. Malfoy calls you that all the time, maybe he's a goblin too?
Wow! Thinking about Malfoy while you are blasting away with a shotgun. Coincidence? You don't think so. Every one of these soulless husks should have his little slick backed hair look and superior smirk on. It would make destroying them that much easier. Oh shit! You really didn't need to see that. The one whose head you just blew open, she couldn't have been ten years old! This stinks! To make matters worse, you don't seem to be really making any headway – even with all this firepower. You are trying to help clear a path for the two jungle trolls to get to the entrance where they can bar the door. They haven't managed to get very far!
Jungle trolls are only about twice your size. They are however smarter than the mountain trolls you are used to back in England. Hack is the one on the left and Glurg is the one on the right. You get along better with Hack. Glurg has a hyena like laugh that really gets on your nerves. You spent about twenty minutes the other day playing rock, scissors and paper with Hack. He usually picks rock, though he was mixing it fairly well at the end. You regret all those times you called Crabbe and Goyle trolls, because Hack is actually fun. Plus it is rather insulting to trolls in general.
A minute has gone by and Glurg goes down. Buried beneath a mass of walking flesh. Shit! You try to move forward and blow some of them off giving the troll a chance. Two of the goblins try and help. Glurg is a lost cause. The only thing good about it is that his blood will probably attract the inferi that were advancing towards you. You shift your focus from Glurg to help get Hack moving forward. He had been moving along what used to be the teller counter; it had been protecting his whole left side. You watch him take long exhausting swings with his club, as you struggle to protect his flank. Damn! Both the goblins who were working with you are gone now. You hop on the counter to take the high ground and keep firing as their lifeless arms reach out to you.
"Don't stop Hack!" You shout, but the bubblehead charm muffles your voice. You keep pumping round after round into the chamber. A quick glance shows that the hitwizards using the AK-47s have already emptied their magazines and started firing off their magic.
Two and a half minutes have gone by and things are getting desperate. Two more goblins are down and Glurg has stopped moving altogether. You're the only human still firing a weapon. Everyone else is using their wands. Magic use seems like it is turning the tide, but they will wear out quickly though and the dead have a way of soaking up spell damage. The female cursebreaker panics and tries to use fire against them. Thankfully, you all don't blow up. Everyone was worried about 'methane buildup'. Unfortunately, these inferi did not get the memo that fire is supposed to drive them away. You've moved slightly ahead of Hack to try and distract the inferi impeding his progress. It's working, but now you are dodging more and more hands trying to pull you down. Thank the powers that be for all that quidditch training and all the grueling physical training with your hitwizard friends.
After another minute goes by you pull the trigger on the Mossberg and nothing happens. Your heart sinks. There is at least twenty more feet to go. No way Hack can make it to the door, damn Gringotts and their doors. Can't just use a colloportus and shut them, no siree! Doors are warded against spells. Have to be shut manually. Oh well, at least when you see your parents and your godfather, you can say you went down fighting.
With that chipper though in your head, you discard the shotgun and pull out your eleven inch holly wand with phoenix feather core - useful in a wide range of magic and stalemating Dark Lords. You begin casting as fast as you can. Most of the curses you are using, you didn't know them two months ago. What a difference two months makes! You are also doing something else not taught at the so called 'finest magical institution in all of Europe', spellchaining. Wonder if Drumstrang or Beauxbatons teach it?
Spellchaining at its heart is casting a series of spells whose wand movements flow into the next spell. Hopefully the aurors at least get taught this! You cut down on your casting time. Like the shotgun, spellchaining's success relies on rate of fire. If you shave a half second off of a spell and it takes three seconds to cast an average spell, well in thirty seconds instead of casting just ten spells, you've cast about twelve. Those extra two spells could be the difference between life and death. You also learn the spells in different languages. This allows you to shave off a syllable here and there and now instead of twelve you might be at fourteen spells in thirty seconds. Different chains are used for different purposes. You are currently using your most destructive chain. Its five spells repeated over and over. None of them are defensive spells.
You feel the surge of your magic as it flows through your body. Bone crusher, cutter, reductor, banisher, a second cutter and then back to bone crusher. The hands reaching for you are gone. Quickly, you begin clearing the way for the beleaguered troll.
'Faster Hack', you think as your wand motions blur repeating the chain over and over. You sink into the zone of spellchaining. The flow of magic brings with it an incredible rush. It is euphoric in a way, but you'll wear out soon. It will be sudden and catastrophic. You will collapse in magical exhaustion. You pump as much as you can into your spells. Do you notice that your reductor curse blows through the head of two inferi? Do you care that the second cutter is doing far more damage then you thought possible? Do you even notice the aura of power you are exuding as you plow the way clear for Hack? No, you do not. The only thing that matters is that the troll make it to the door. Everything depends on the troll making the door! Your banisher blows three inferi backwards. You've reached the end of the counter. Hack passes you, bloodied and determined. You leap down behind him and keep cursing. You have lost track of your number of links – each time you begin the chain again you make a new link. Hack struggles up the steps, his club not moving near as fast as it was in the beginning. You concentrate on removing the obstacles in front of him and protecting him from the corpses in the lobby as he tries to clear the doorway. How long have you been at this now? He's got one door shut! You can see darkness gathering at the edge of your vision. It won't be long now. You drop to one knee behind the troll and spin casting your banisher between Hack's legs. He slams the second door shut and drops the siege bar across it. You keep firing as the darkness grows. The muted pounding of dead hands on the bank door have a hypnotic quality to it. You should give up now. Hack will understand. The rest will too. Your arm feels limp; you teeter on the one knee and fall to the cold stone. Still you manage to cast another complete link. The only think keeping your wand in your hand is that your hand won't open to drop it. It is over now. Your eyes may be open, but all you can see now is darkness. Will they be happy to see you, or will they scold you for failure? It doesn't matter you'll know soon enough. You start to hear voices faintly in the distance. It reminds you of the arch at the Department of Mysteries. You can't make out everything they are saying.
"…fucking believe that!"
"…a visible aura! Never seen…"
"Help me move him. He needs …"
"…wand's so hot it burnt my damn hand! Must be fused to his skin! Get the burn cream out of the kit!"
You feel cool liquid in your mouth. Damn! Apparently the afterlife uses nasty tasting potions as well.
"Not too much! He'll choke!"
Hands move you. You are propped up against a wall. More of that disgusting potion is forced into your mouth. Rather rude? You slip away into darkness again.
Much later, it starts to get clearer again. You can see blurry shapes again. Your arms feel like lead, but they move a little bit. Lips move and you try to ask a polite question, 'Excuse me, would one of you please tell me what is transpiring?' Instead you hear yourself moan. It sounds rather girly too! That's embarrassing. One of the blurry shapes moves closer. You see a bit of a face and red hair.
"Welcome back to the land of the living, Harry." The redhead says.
"Ron, don't wanna get up – too tired. No quidditch. Not today!" You grumble.
"It's not Ron, Harry. It's me Bill." He says with a gentle tone. He mumbles something else to the other blurry shapes that sounds like 'dazed' and 'out of it'.
"That's right." You mumble as a couple of coherent thoughts come together in your mind. "Ron's a no good backstabbing traitor. Sorry Bill."
"S'okay Harry. Just sit back and relax."
"Five more minutes – just give me five more minutes." You mumble before darkness descends again. With the exception of four goblins, whose names you never got to know and a particularly annoying jungle troll named Glurg, you sink back with the knowledge that everyone else has at least five more minutes to live.
Author's notes – Don't like the writing style then this story isn't for you. The story will be told from this perspective. I like trying different things and this is what I am trying out right now. The next chapters will take us back to early July to figure out how Harry ended up here instead of Hogwart's on September 1, 1996. Special thanks to Nukular Winter for the firearms advice.