Disclaimer; I don't own this story, I am just a conduit from the collective subconscious of HP Fandom.
A very tired but grinning Harry Potter was dragged down to breakfast by Ron Weasley one morning in the pair's sixth year. Harry had always been small for his age, but this morning he looked downright sickly. He was flinching at every loud noise, shying away from bright lights and really not tracking things well. His legendary reflexes were completely shot, and the greasy english breakfast placed in front of him made him a little green around the gills. In spite of all this that damnable grin would not leave his face.
McGonagall spotted the source of his troubles within moments of arriving and resolved to have a long talk with her second favorite student. Snape took one look at him and scowled but didn't aggrivate the situation. Dumbledore just twinkled. No one knew why he was smiling. Any other man in his condition would look like death warmed over and would probably have cursed everyone in the room by now.
It was quite obvious that the Boy Who Lived had been drinking pretty heavily and was probably still pissed as a lord.
Now there are many types of drunks around both muggle and magical. Most anyone will agree that there are eight basic types of drunks in the world, and a million variations. There are weepy drunks who constantly bemoan their fate, happy drunks who giggle and laugh, angry drunks who try to pick a fight, amorous drunks who suddenly think they are Don Juan or Sirius Black (he did get around before Azkaban), paranoid drunks who make Mad Eye Moody look positively sane, friendly drunks who just want you to know how much they have always admired you, crazy drunks who are apt to wander off, and playful drunks who like a good joke or two. Currently the Hogwarts Betting Pools (the only thing faster than the gossip mills), were taking bets on which Harry Potter was.
The easy money seemed to be in either; weepy (his life did suck), angry (he was a powerful dueller with a wicked temper), or amorous (he never got any love normally it only makes sense he loosen up when the brakes were off). Bets were also being taken on who he had been drinking with and why. None of the obvious suspects seemed to be showing any signs. The teachers were all accounted for, the ministry six were fine, Seamus was sober and just shook his head if anyone looked at him, even Malfoy was a suspect but he had a solid alibi (as always, slimy little git). Reasons to celebrate varied from discovering his true wealth (it was rumored that Dumbledore had not revealed the truth about the Potter estate and may have been embezzling), learning of a long lost relative, girl troubles, GUY troubles (as we said he didn't exactly have much of a love life), finally breaking under the pressure, the death of another DADA professor (this one offered very competative odds since the professor in question appeared to still be breathing as bets were being placed), depression, and a night out with the guys.
None of them were even close.
After choking down something absolutely horrid that Seamus made for him Harry was able to eat a light breakfast and retreat for a quick shower and change of clothes. He left the table still wearing that grin and whistling a happy tune. Upon hearing Harry whistle, some first year Slytherins wet themselves. Harry's temper and sour disposition were almost as legendary as Snape's these days, if he was smiling and whistling it couldn't mean anything good for them.
In the middle of his transfiguration lesson that afternoon Harry was still grinning when he suddenly grabbed his scar and whimpered. After a few seconds he recovered and just started laughing hysterically. The grin was no longer lopsided but a full on smile and there was a glint in his eyes almost as strong as Dumbledore's twinkle as he grabbed his sides and leaned against the wall in mirth. Even Hermione was looking at him as if he had announced he was subscribing to the Quibbler because he loved their down to earth reporting of important issues by this point.
"Harry, what's going on?" She asked.
"Hmm? Oh Voldemort finally woke up. He's not too happy right now." Harry replied through his giggles.
"It's almost half past two in the afternoon! Why is he only now waking up?"
"Hermione, I don't think I'm the one you need to lecture about the Dark Lord's sleeping habits. Besides it's not two o'clock where he is."
"Well when is it and how would you know?" She asked sharply.
"I'm not certain, but I think it's early morning there. As to how I know, well that's a long story and I've disrupted Professor McGonagall's lesson enough."
"You're not getting out of it that easy Mr. Potter, I think this might be an interesting story as well. Why don't you share it with us before I give you a detention for that disruption?" McGonagall looked slightly amused through her stern demeanor.
"You know just which buttons to push don't you? Alright, well my story starts late yesterday evening..."
Harry was bored out of his skull. Even after all the trouble of last year and the prophecy Dumbledore and the Order were still keeping him in the dark about everything of any importance and not helping him train. He decided he needed a walk and time away from the castle, so he grabbed his hooded cloak and headed for the statue of the Humpbacked Witch. After he arrived in Hogsmeade he wandered around for a few hours to get some time to think. It started raining but he just raised his hood and paid it no mind.
Before he knew it Honeydukes was closed and the castle doors would be locked for the night in a few minutes. He decided he would just have to spend the night in the shrieking shack and go home in the morning. As he was walking up the lane towards the supposedly haunted home, the door to the Hogshead Pub opens and the barman throws some guy out into the street.
"You can't throw me out!" He slurs, "I'll kill all o' ya'! Lemme fin' my wan'..."
"There's not need for killing. He was only having you on. You weren't going to throw my friend out in the cold were you?" Harry pulls his hood and bangs aside for a brief moment while he addressed the bartender. He didn't know why he was doing this, but somehow he could just feel the loneliness pouring off the stranger and he thought maybe some of that talking everyone was telling him to do might help. He pulled a couple galleons from his pouch. "Why don't you get us a bottle of firewhiskey and some glasses? We'll just take the corner booth and we won't start any trouble."
The bartender gave him a funny look, but let them in. The two new friends share a few quiet drinks before the older man turns to Harry and says, "Thanks, I think I'll kill you last."
Harry thought about it for a minute before giving his reply. "No, all things considered I think that if I had to die, I'd rather die first?"
"You wanna die?"
"No, I guess you could say I'm just a coward. Everyone keeps telling me I'm brave if I risk my life to save theirs but they don't know the truth. Losing people you love hurts and I am a coward. I don't want any more pain and suffering so I'd rather die first."
"You sound like you have some experiance."
Harry finished his glass and poured another, not bothering with polite portions anymore. "Too much. I lost my parents when I was just a kid, grew up an abused orphan, and just recently lost the closest thing I ever had to a father. I've had too much pain. I already know exactly how I'm going to die, I just don't want any more pain until then."
"How do you know?"
"Fuckin seers, I swear to merlin I hate seers. I was told straight up who was going to kill me and how, now all I'm waiting for is the date and time. He could show up out of the blue one day and just whack me, I'd never see it coming. It could be anywhere at anytime."
"You're right, I hate seers too. I was in a prophecy once, nearly got me killed."
"So now we know why I'm drinking myself stupid, what about you? What are you trying so hard to forget?"
"It's the anniversary of my mother's death. When she died, like you I became an orphan and my future got fucked over royally. I should have been somebody, my blood demanded respect but nobody ever saw past the second hand robes."
Harry clinked glasses with his drinking partner. "I know exactly how you feel. Here's to ragged clothes, bad food, and beatings we never deserved."
The other man refilled the glasses from the nearly empty bottle. "Here's to being Fate's Whipping Boy."
After almost another half of the new bottle, Harry's drinking partner looked at him with a speculative eye.
"You know," he says, "There are ways of cheating Fate. Just because the seer told you that you were going to die doesn't mean it has to happen exactly like that. Maybe you die and then come back..."
"No, most of that stuff is very evil black magic. I'm alright with some dark arts but necromancy crosses the line man wasn't meant to cross."
"No give it some thought. Even back when I was a kid sometimes muggles would die and then mysteriously recover a few minutes later. They talked about seeing tunnels and lights and things like that. Maybe you could die, just to fulfill the prediction, but then somehow get a magical boost and come back."
"That's crazy but it just might work. But what would give me the shock to bring me back? Healers have told me that most times a person's magic will reject outside stimulus when near death. Which is why the muggle heart shockers won't work on wizards, their magic refuses to let the heart be attacked even if it would save them."
"Really? I'll have to look into that. But what if, and this is just a crazy idea, you had something like a potion with unicorn blood or the elixer of life and charmed a pendant to put it right into your heart if you died? Something crazy like that just might do it if you weren't dead for too long." Or it might turn you into a soulless zombie, he thought to himself.
"Unicorn blood carries a powerful curse, I'm not certain I'm willing to risk it. As for the elixer, the Flamels destroyed their stone years ago and are dead."
"They aren't the only one's who studied alchemy. There's a group of chinese monks who are supposedly masters at it, but since they took vows of poverty never made a stone of their own because it would tempt them. I tried to learn from them years ago but they wouldn't teach me."
"Really? Now that is interesting. If you can get us there I can probably convince them to teach us. Better than wating in England waiting to die."
"How could you do that, you're just a young man. I don't mean to be too doubting, but they don't teach just anyone."
"I'm fate's bitch remember? Just trust me. You ever made a portkey? The pub's about to kick us out since it's nearly midnight."
"...So anyway he messed up making the portkey. Instead of Tibet me and my companion I still don't know the name of end up in Tijiuana. We decide to make the best of it and head for another pub. I was going to put on these magic prevention bracelets the Twins gave me so I wouldn't do any accidental magic around muggles when I really got drunk. He thinks they look pretty and mentions it's his birthday. I remember that it's also the anniversary of his mother's death and decide to cut him a break. I gave him both bracelets as a gift and he put them on. I was too out of it to mention what they did, they just looked nice. That's when I figured it out."
As soon as the magic preventing bracelets went over his wrists, the drunken stranger became the feared Lord Voldemort.
"Hmm... Looks like your glamour slipped a bit. Don't worry we'll just tell them it's a costume. To the pub!" Harry cheered.
"...I left around four am england time and everyone in the cantina was absolutely trashed. This huge muggle woman named Maria Estrella Gonsalez latched on to old Volde pretty quick. She kept calling him her 'guapo diablo' and smothering him in kisses. When I stole the portkey leading back to Hogsmeade everyone was drinking Tequila and toasting the 'Dark Lord Guapo' and singing along with the mariachi band. As far ahead of me as he was, I'd be surprised if he remembers anything. Alcohol, nature's memory charm." He recalled fondly.
"That's why you were hungover this morning?" Hermione asked in a stunned voice. The rest of the class had found it a riveting tale.
"Yes, and earlier he was panicking when he woke up naked with Maria and completely unable to perform magic." Harry explained.
"But he could just take off the bracelets and he would be fine."
"Normally you'd be right, but who was it that gave me those bracelets? Fred and George thought it would be funny to jinx them so that you can't take them off without somebody casting a spell on them." Harry's grin changed to a smirk.
"So you left the Dark Lord drunk in a country that doesn't speak english with no money and no magic? Odds are he won't be able to find anyone who knows the counter curse until he makes it back to England. Harry that's brilliant!" Hermione gave him a solid hug.
"Indeed, 150 points to gryffindor for sheer dumb luck and a willingness to help your fellow man no matter who he is." Dumbledore proposed from the door. "But I must encourage you not to leave the castle like that again. Waking up on another continent with no recollection as to how you got there is not fun let me assure you."
"You sound like you're speaking from experiance sir." Harry quipped.