Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Rating: M (R)
Spoilers: SS/PS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OoTP, and HBP.
Main Character: Harry Potter
Thanks: Thanks must be extended to several people for helping me make this story what it is. Korrosive of the DarkLordPotter forums (a link can be found in my bio page) provided me with an idea that quickly morphed into something very different than originally intended. Without that first idea, however, this story would not be what it is. Physicsteach of the Perfect Imagination Beta Exchange (link also found in bio) generously offered his time to beta read the story. Without his excellent help you would be forced to look at all my mistakes, not something you would enjoy. To the both of you: Thanks!
Foreword: This is a post HBP story and contains spoilers for all of the Harry Potter books to date. If you have not yet read all of those books then reading this story will spoil many of the surprises in J.K Rowling's world. It has taken me a long time to construct the plot and even longer to research many of things that I wish to do with it.
Some of you are undoubtedly wondering why the title of this story is so strange. At this point all I am going say is that some things must remain secret until such a time that the plot demands they are revealed.
Finally. I write fanfiction for the opportunity to better my writing skills. I would very much appreciate constructive reviews from those who read the story. Constructive criticism is a great help in pointing out a writers flaws.
Summary: The storm clouds loom ever closer. The war is steadily rising to its full height. A shattered soul must be hunted and destroyed. A hero must learn his trade to ensure victory. The line is drawn in the sand and soon battle will commence; violent and bloody, death shall reign supreme. A prophecy dictates an end; the final battle will come. Power and knowledge are forces to be reckoned with... and yet one without the other is useless. Our hero must go on a journey to master both. This is the story of the Wizarding World's War on Terror. Follow the footsteps of Harry Potter as he follows his path to its destined end. Will the Wizarding World be plunged into an age of terrible darkness, or can Harry prevail in ensuring victory for the light? Learn, along with him, the meaning of the fateful words unknown to any living person of this age. Those words - Sistat Inter Bitu pe Marvos - could change the world as it is known.
Inter Bitu pe Marvos
A Final Trip to the Zoo
Privet Drive, Little Whinging, Surrey was a perfectly normal English neighborhood. Two rows of identical terraced houses adorned each side of the tarmac road, every house sporting the exact same layout. Each garden was cared for to perfection by the 'normal' residents of the dwelling. Privet Drive was a perfectly normal place… or so the people that lived there believed.
Little did they know that for seventeen years a boy that was as far from normal as was possible had been living in their midst. A boy whom, by his middle teens, had seen and done things that most people would have deemed unimaginable. They were things that no teenager, normal or not, should have had to face, yet still more would be expected from him before he could live a 'normal' life. The residents of Privet Drive had no idea that the criminal miscreant forced on poor Petunia and Vernon Dursley all those years ago was, in fact, a wizarding-world hero.
The boy was back on Privet Drive once more, even if only for the remainder of the day. The residents of Little Whinging did not know that he would soon be leaving, and they grumbled over their breakfasts about 'that Potter ruffian from Number Four; Neither' did they know that today Harry James Potter was celebrating his seventeenth birthday, a wizards coming of age.
Harry was going to enjoy the day. Birthdays in the past had held little meaning to him. After living with the Dursleys for eleven years of his childhood, what meaning could they have? This year was different, though. Today was the day that he would finally be allowed to use his magic outside of Hogwarts'.
The thought of Hogwarts brought him memories of the time he had spent there, memories of the times he had spent in the company of the great Albus Dumbledore. Albus was dead now, slain by the hand of the very man he had spent so many years trying to persuade Harry to trust. Harry didn't hold that against his old headmaster, though: everybody makes mistakes, and Harry himself had made many. He had resolved to remember the good times and let the bad drift freely from his mind. He had sworn an oath to himself on the first day of his return, standing at the window of the smallest bedroom of Number Four and muttered the oath to himself. He had sworn to bring swift justice upon Albus Dumbledore's killer. He would hunt down Severus Snape and repay him in kind.
He would not fail. He refused to fail.
As much as Harry hated the rag, he had been receiving the Daily Prophet since leaving for the summer holidays. According to the paper the wizarding world was in complete disarray. The death of Dumbledore had shattered the wizarding people's morale, and now many of them were going into hiding with the futile hope of remaining unnoticed as the war played out around them. Renowned pureblood families known to have supported Dumbledore were targeted by Voldemort's followers. Their endings had been brutal and grotesque, a good majority of the bodies recovered had never had a name put to them: these people were not murdered, but butchered. The Chang family had been almost annihilated: now Cho was the sole remaining member of a long line of pureblooded wizards and witches. The family name would drift into the recesses of history with her marriage. Despite the disastrous relationship the two had shared he couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She was a good person and didn't deserve the pain Voldemort had caused her.
Shops were shutting at an amazing rate in both Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The shop owners unwilling to operate in locations they deemed certain of attack. Money was not worth trading your life for. Even the Weasley twins were starting to feel unsafe; the 'U-No-Poo' poster had long since been taken down. They were pranksters who rarely thought of the consequences of their actions, but they had no wish for an early demise.
Fears over the security of Azkaban prison were increasing by the day. The Ministry of Magic did everything in their power to persuade the people that they had the situation completely under control,and the people refused to believe them. Rufus Scrimgeour had been quick to mobilize his auror troops against Voldemort's forces but more aurors had fallen than Death Eaters had been captured. The Death Eater attacks thus far were swift and too cleverly planned to be successfully countered.
Harry shook his head to clear it of the dark thoughts; it would not do to dwell on the bad news. He stood from the bed and walked over to the old and rickety desk in the corner of his room. He had yet to pack all of his things, so he decided to do that now. As he placed text books into his trunk without looking at their titles, he thought that this year the Dursley hadn't been too bad. Not too bad at all.
Since his return to Privet Drive the Dursleys had been treating him somewhat amicably. The knowledge that this was to be his final visit to their house had made them treat him far better than usual. He was fed decent amounts of food and given fewer chores to do than any other year he had spent in their company. They ignored him, mostly, no longer waking him in the early hours of the morning to perform some tedious and god awful task. Dudley had even talked to him at one point, even going as far as to ask Harry what it was really like to learn magic. Harry shook his head at the memory of the event. It had all seemed so surreal.
It wasn't like that all of the time, though. Occasionally Vernon would colour a magnificent shade of puce and start on a wild tangent about 'freaks' and their 'unnaturalness.' These rants would usually come after Harry had accidentally used 'wizarding words' at the dinner table. It would never be said that Vernon Dursley appreciated being called a muggle, nor he like it when owls delivering letters to Harry lost control of their bowels over his breakfast plate, as Harry witnessed just three days into his return to the house. Harry chuckled at the memory.
Harry had managed to pack the last of his books while he thought and decided that with little else to keep himself busy he might as well go downstairs and get himself some breakfast. He was on his way out of his room when the quiet sound of something tapping on his window caught his attention. It was an owl.
The bird looked official. It held itself with a self-important posture and eyed Harry with a look of supremacy through the glass of the window. Attached to its leg was a yellow envelope made from what looked to be parchment. He walked back and opened the window. The owl entered immediately, did a circuit of the room, dropped the letter and left.
The letter had fallen onto the bed and bore on it in a neat script Harry's name and address. It had obviously been crafted with a steady hand.
Simply by looking at the manner in which the address was written he was able to determine that this was no ordinary birthday letter from his friends, as his friends never put his address on the envelopes of the letters they were sending him, simply printing his name on the envelope and trusted their owls to deliver it to the right person. The only letters he'd received that looked this official had been his letter informing him he'd been accepted into Hogwarts and his warnings for the use of underage magic from the Ministry. It was only when he looked closer at the envelope that he felt he somehow recognized the handwriting. He couldn't put his finger on who might have written it, however.
Before touching the envelope he retrieved his wand from his pocket and performed the few curse detecting spells he knew. All of them turned up blank. He was left with only one way to check that the letter wasn't going to jump up off the desk and bite him on the arse: to open it, so he did:
As I sit here and write these words I feel that my time upon this world is drawing close to its end. It was with every intention that I planned to use the last of my years to help you with your struggle against Voldemort. Alas, I fear that shall not come to pass.
Please, take heart of these words, for they are words that I say not without meaning. You are an extraordinary wizard, Harry, and I have every faith that you will win this war. However, before you begin your quest to destroy the Horcruxes, I think it would be prudent for you to seek first a higher level of education. That is the purpose of this letter.
I have met many people in my long life, none more skilled in their chosen branches of magic than the people I list in this letter. Along with names and the magic in which they specialize, I have written down the address at which each individual can be found...
Harry looked at a piece of parchment left in the envelope and found the list the letter was referring to. He returned his attention to the letter:
I strongly recommend that you seek at least the first two of these people. Without the specialized training they can offer you I fear for the outcome of the final battle.
The blame for your position lies with me alone. I should have told you of your fate long before I did and trained you by my own hand for the day you meet Voldemort. Consider the opportunity this letter gives you my last gift to you, Harry. Power is useless without knowledge, and I believe in my heart of hearts that you will someday be blessed with both.
I know this means that you will be parted from your friends for a time, but this is an adventure you must brave only with the company of one other. At least one, if not more, of these people are very suspicious in nature and will not permit more than one person to enter their homes. Remember that you do this to ensure a good future for your friends as well as for yourself.
This letter will only come to you on your coming of age, and only after my death. Should I have not yet informed you of the nature of Horcruxes you should seek Horace Slughorn immediately. He may not wish to share his knowledge with you, but it is imperative that you gain this information..
Now I must end this letter, for if it has reached you in the circumstances that I desired, the next great adventure awaits me!
Harry had known as he'd laid eyes on the very first word of the letter that it had been written by Dumbledore, but when he didn't know. Harry had suspected that Albus had known his end was coming and this letter confirmed that. It was with a heavy heart Harry placed the letter onto the desk and returned to his bed.
He didn't want to leave his friends behind, he didn't know if he could go so long without having them by his side. He didn't even want to go. It would mean parting from his friends and turning his back on wizarding Britain for a long period of time. Could he live with himself if something drastic happened while he was away? He wasn't so sure he could, but he also knew that Albus would not ask this of him if he thought he was ready to face his fate. He had to take the letter seriously. Would the people of the wizarding world be able to survive without him? Again, he did not know. He did know, however, that he could not save them all: War is a dangerous game in which deaths on both sides are inevitable. The people of the wizarding world would have to learn to overcome their differences and unite. Harry was the only one that could kill Voldemort, but his Death Eaters were as mortal as any other human being.
"Of all the days this could turn up it has to arrive today," he thought to himself sarcastically. "Ron and Hermione will be turning up soon to start our own 'next great adventure.'"
He needed to decide and he needed to decide soon. In an effort to think through the decision he got up and scooped the letter from the desk once more. Once back on his bed again he fished the second piece of parchment from the envelope, the one with the names and addresses of the people Dumbledore wanted him to seek. Perhaps it would help him come to a decision:
The following list contains many names of people I have had the pleasure of meeting in my travels. Each and every one of them is a master in their chosen field of study. I have included some notes on each of the people to give you a better understanding of their skills. Read these notes carefully! I'm sure they will help you make your decision.
There were a set of co-ordinates written below the name that informed Harry where he must go.
Marques is an extraordinary duelist who even managed to teach me a few tricks. I have never seen someone so comfortable during combat as Marques. He served twenty years as an Auror in Brazil (his country of birth and where he now lives). Marques is as battle hardened as they come, though not as physically (or mentally some might say) as scarred as Alastor Moody. It is my opinion that you should seek Marques first, for being able to defend yourself is one of, if not the, most important things you should learn. Upon arrival in Brazil you should travel to the co-ordinates I have given above; once there, Marques will know of your arrival.
Ieuru is blessed with much knowledge of ancient and almost forgotten magics. I believe you should seek him after Marques. He resides in a hidden hall of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City. Seek the Altar of Transfiguration and utter the password 'Gussu Belisama'. It is not within my power to divulge much more information on Ieuru, for when I met him I swore an oath of secrecy. You should know, however, that I credit much of my knowledge to him. I consider Marques and Ieuru to be imperative to your cause, the skills that they can teach you will help you greatly.
There were more names listed below these, but already Harry was convinced of what he must do. Dumbledore seemed to think that it was imperative that he got trained by these people, and if truth be told the chance of learning duelling and ancient magic from the very best appealed greatly to Harry. Just why Albus had sworn to an oath to Ieuru not to divulge information about him was slightly concerning, though the wish to learn ancient and forgotten magic was enough to override those concerns.
"This must be how Hermione feels all the time," Harry thought to himself.
His mind was made up. The only problem now was breaking the news to Ron and Hermione when they came for him.He decided that it would be a good idea to get some breakfast before that time arrived. He wasn't so sure that Ron and Hermione were going to take the news too well.
"Good morning everybody!" Harry said brightly as he entered the kitchen. His aunt stood at the cooker making breakfast for Vernon and Dudley. They all looked at him through narrowed eyes as he entered, Petunia even stuck her nose in the air like she'd smelt something foul. "Two eggs for me this morning, Petunia darling," he continued in his best impression of his uncle Vernon. He was in a good mood and felt like making sure the Dursleys remembered their last day ever with him. After all, he would never forget them.
Vernon slammed his paper onto the table with such force that he upended the jug of orange juice Dudley had been drinking from. It appeared he'd got up on the wrong side of bed that morning. "Who the hell do you think you are?" he demanded. "You'll have nothing this morning. I don't want to see your stinking excuse for a face anywhere near this kitchen today. You'll leave us in peace." Harry just plucked the paper from where Vernon had left it and started to read the front page. Vernon jumped out of his seat. "DO YOU HEAR ME, BOY?"
Harry sighed, "Yes uncle Vernon." Vernon started to sit, looking discernibly smug at another battle won. "But I'm sorry to say that I won't be following your advice." Harry looked back down at the front page of the paper and continued to read.
Vernon's puce coloured face darkened. "Who the hell do you think you're talking to? I will not be talked to like that in my own house, you stinking little bastard," he seethed. Harry just smiled at him. "Wipe that smug look off your face before I beat the living daylights out of you!"
"Do you know what date it is today, Vernon?" Harry asked in a falsely polite tone of voice, forgoing the use of uncle.
"Of course I do," Vernon replied, somewhat stumped by the question.
"Then do you remember what event happens to fall on this date?"
Vernon continued to look confused for a couple of minutes before a delightful smile spread across his face. "Your birthday. Your seventeenth birthday! The old bastard said that you could leave once you turned seventeen." His happiness must have been contagious because Petunia and Dudley both caught it. Smiles were now evident on their faces too. Harry was not impressed with the name Vernon chose to call Dumbledore but didn't say anything. "Well, you can just pack your things, boy, because you're leaving this house right now."
"I'll be leaving in a couple of hours actually," Harry replied, taking the plate of food from in front of Vernon while he spoke; it didn't look like Petunia was getting any closer to cooking his breakfast. "I will be leaving today, though."
"I'll not have you in this house any longer than is necessary!" Vernon shouted. With a leap of surprising speed for a man of his size he managed to grab Harry by the throat. "You'll leave now and that's that."
Somehow Harry managed to wriggle free from his uncle's tight grip. "You do remember what else is special about today don't you?" He asked in a low and angry hiss, the violence had managed to spoil his mood. "I can do magic now..."
Harry was in the midst of a gale of laughter when he walked to the front door. The bell had rung and the Dursleys were currently too 'occupied' to move. He knew, even before he got there, who would be waiting on the front step. The frosted glass of the windows in the front door did not manage to mask the shockingly bright red hair of Ron Weasley, though it did distort his face considerably. Harry answered the door, trying hard to control his laughter.
"Are you alright, Harry?" Hermione gasped when she saw tears streaming down his face. The look of concern on her face was too much for Harry and he broke out into a fresh fit of raucous laughter.
"Well really…" Hermione huffed. "That's the last time you'll get any sympathy from me."
Harry, who was on the verge of managing to control his laughter, was sent again into hysterics. Hermione just didn't realize how much like Minerva McGonagall she sounded, and by the look on the face of Ron, neither did he.
"C-come in," Harry finally managed to wheeze. "Don't mind the Dursleys, they're feeling a little bit strange today for some reason."
Harry walked them down the length of the hallway and into the kitchen. He couldn't let this opportunity go by without showing Ron. Upon opening the door, his friends saw the Dursleys acting in a manner Harry had adequately described as strange. The were acting remarkably like zoo animals. Vernon, who had been jinxed to think he was a chimpanzee, was jumping up and down (not a very pretty sight on one with so much body fat) in an attempt to swing from the light fitting. Petunia, thinking she was a giraffe, was placidly eating leaves from the potted plant on the window ledge. Dudley, a baby whale, was laying face down on the kitchen counter miming the actions of swimming in the sea.
Ron found the scene hysterical. Hermione, however, didn't. "What did you do to them, Harry?" Hermione asked, hands on hips, in her bossiest of voices. At the evil look she sent at him, Ron stuffed his fist in his mouth in an attempt to stifle his laughter.
"Me? I did nothing," Harry said sweetly.
"Don't come that with me, Harry. I know you did something, so spill it," she demanded, paying no heed to his attempt at sweetness.
"Just a little retribution," Harry replied, unfazed by her tone. "They'll be back to their adorable and lovely selves soon enough."
"Just how soon is soon?" she asked in return, brown eyes narrowing.
"Well, erm." At the dagger filled look Hermione sent his way Harry relented. "Twelve o'clock tonight, it is the witching hour after all."
"Harry, you can't leave them like this until tonight! What if some muggle knocks on the door or looks through the window and sees them like this?" Hermione sighed. "You'll just have to use the counter jinx on them."
"I can't." Harry squirmed as Hermione demanded an explanation. "You see, I used a book that Sirius gave to me. There's some really interesting curses and hexes in it. The only problem is that some of them lack a counter."
Hermione opened her mouth to reply but Harry cut her off. "We'll talk in the living room." Hermione huffed but reluctantly followed him.
Once in the living room Harry sat in the arm chair usually reserved for Vernon. Ron and Hermione sat close together settee. "There's something I need to tell you," Harry started before he lost his words. How was he supposed to tell them that he was leaving for a matter of years? How could he tell them that he was leaving the wizarding world to face Voldemort alone?
"What is it, Harry?" Hermione prodded after several minutes of unbearable silence, all thoughts of the Dursleys had been wiped from her mind. She had realized that this was to be a serious conversation and her face echoed that.
Harry sighed. "We can't go looking for the Horcruxes yet," he finally managed to get out. There, he'd said it, now all he had to do was wait for their reactions.
Ron and Hermione said nothing for a few minutes and just sat there looking decidedly confused. "Why not?" Ron eventually asked.
"I got a letter this morning," Harry took the letter out of his pocket has he spoke. "It's from... it's from Dumbledore."
"Harry, Dumbledore can't have sent you a letter." Hermione informed him in a tight voice.
"Yeah mate. Dead people can't send letters." Ron said with his usual lack of tact. "It's probably just a new evil scheme of You-know-who's."
"Voldemort didn't send this letter." Harry ignored Ron's flinch. "I know this was written by Dumbledore. I recognize the writing."
"What does the letter say, Harry?" Hermione questioned in a curious voice.
"You might as well read it." Harry threw the letter to Hermione.
There was silence while the two read the letter. Hermione looked to be deep in thought when she handed it back to Harry. Ron, who had been reading over Hermione's shoulder, also appeared to be thinking deeply.
"Are you sure that this was written by Dumbledore, Harry?" Hermione asked. "Handwriting can be forged."
"I'm positive," Harry replied, he was trying to find the words that would allow him to explain. "I just – I just know he wrote this letter."
"So, when do we leave then?" Ron asked looking dreamy eyed. "I've always wanted to travel the world a bit. Some of the places mentioned in that letter sound really fun."
Hermione was still looking at Harry thoughtfully. "I don't think we get to go, Ron. The letter said Harry could only go alone."
"Hermione's right, Ron. I'm afraid your going to have to sit this one out," Harry interjected, leaving no room for argument. "I'm not so sure I want to go myself, but this seems like something I really have to do. I'll be leaving pretty soon and I don't think I'll see either of you for a couple of years."
"But you said we'd go searching for the Horcruxes together," Ron pointed out. Harry didn't know whether Ron was angry or upset.
"That might still happen, Ron," Harry assured his friend. "I'll be back to make sure Voldemort pays his dues."
Hermione wiped away a small tear that had been trickling down her cheek. "We'll miss you, Harry," she said in a small and quiet voice.
"Yeah we will," Ron asked, he too looked slightly upset. "When do you plan on leaving?"
"I need to speak to the Order before I leave. I'm hoping to be gone by tomorrow." He was surprised that his friends had accepted his decision so fast. He'd though he would have to spend hours persuading them.
It was in a somber silence that the three friends left the Dursley's house, each one contemplating if their friendship would still be so strong after several years of separation.
"Are you sure you can't do anything about the Dursleys?" asked Hermione with a thoughtful look at Number Four. She was too much of a stickler for the rules to leave cursed muggles running around.
"Very sure," Harry answered. "It's less than they deserve, Hermione, a great deal less." She nodded in response, a small frown on her face. She held out her hand to Ron, who took it in his own.
Twin popping sounds announced that Ron and Hermione had apparated away. Harry stood alone on the street he had grown up on and took one last look at Privet Drive. Looking at the way the midday sun bathed the houses in golden light, who would have thought that he had spent the worst years of his life in this place? Everything looked so normal. Not one of the people in those houses would have thought that a power of intense evil wanted each and every one of them dead. These people were completely unprepared for what was to come and there was little Harry could do about it. They stood alone and unprepared against a power they didn't even know existed, a power they would refuse to acknowledge even if they were told about it. War would come and not all of these 'normal' people would survive it.
Harry sighed before a look of determination etched itself onto his face. That would be the last time Harry Potter ever stood on Privet Drive. If the residents of the street had known of the war that was soon to come and the part that Harry was to play in it, they would have begged on bended knee for him to stay.
Harry apparated to Grimmauld Place.
Dumbledore had already started his next great adventure. Tomorrow Harry Potter would start his own.