Disclaimer: Sometimes the direct approach doesn't work, therefore you must try . . .
The Indirect Approach
"And the one who may equal the power of the Dark Lord must be mentored by Grindlewald's bane or victory will be lost and the dark shall rule," Hogwarts' divination professor gasped.
"Did you hear that Albus?" McGonagall said with a frown, "not that I believe it mind you."
"I heard it Minerva," Dumbledore agreed. "I'll thank you to forget what you just heard."
"Of course," Minerva agreed quickly. "What are you going to do?"
"I think it's time I went to see how Harry is doing," Dumbledore mused. "Please see that Sybil makes it back to her rooms."
"God speed Headmaster," Minerva said with a smile. "God speed."
"Damn, damn, damn it." Dumbledore growled as he walked back to his office. "Why did this have to happen now? Why did this have to happen at all? I'll . . . I'll just have to hope that the boy understands that what we did was for the greater good."
Harry was not having a good summer, while it was true that the warnings given to the Dursley family had persuaded his relatives that it would be best not to bother Harry. When combined with Dumbledore's orders not to leave the house . . . well to put it simply, Harry was bored. He had already read and reread his textbooks, not so much to gain advantage in the coming fight against darkness but because he'd come to the point where he was willing to do anything to keep his mind occupied. "Good thing Ron and Hermione can't see me now," Harry muttered to himself. "Ron would think I betrayed the cause and Hermione would crow about how she was finally influencing me away from my lax study habits." Harry shuddered, "god damn I'm bored."
"Then we shall have to find something to keep you occupied," an aged voice said from beyond Harry's field of vision. In a flash, Harry hand shot to his pocket in search of his wand. Harry's froze as his groping hands found nothing and his brain reminded him that his wand had been left in his trunk under a charms text. "It seems that we will also have to find you something that will allow you to retain your wand so that this situation won't repeat itself."
"Right," Harry sighed. "Since I'm still alive, I'm guessing that you don't intend to harm me?"
"Or I'm just toying with you because I don't see you as a threat," the voice agreed.
"Who are you?" Harry asked as he turned around. "Dumbledore?"
"Very good boy, " the old man agreed. "But not the one you're used to."
"Aberfourth?" Harry ventured a guess.
"Very good," Aberfourth agreed with a smile. "Have a seat."
"I am sitting sir."
"Then offer me a seat," Aberfourth said with a grin.
"Have a seat sir," Harry motioned to his bed.
"Thank you," Aberfourth said as he took his seat. "It's good to see that young people have manners."
"Why are you here, sir?"
"Call me Abe, or bastard, or Aberfourth, or Dumbledore, or something along those lines. But I'd prefer that you not call me sir," the old man said quickly. "Makes me feel old."
"You are old, sir." Harry said with a smile.
"But that makes me feel it," Aberfourth replied. "It's bad enough to be old, but to feel it too." The old man shuddered.
"So why are you here then?"
"Albus's pet prophet gave another prophecy," Abe said with a look of distaste. "And you know how much stock he likes to put in that nonsense. Basically it states that the one that wacked Grindle is the one that'll help you snuff the current dark what's his name."
"So he sent you here to get me," Harry said with a nod of understanding. "I understand sir."
"I don't think you do," Aberfourth said with a laugh. "He sent me here to teach you how to snuff ol' dark thingy."
"But, I thought you said . . ."
"Harry," Aberfourth said seriously. "I'm going to let you in on one of the best kept secrets in magical Europe."
"Albus didn't kill Grindlewald," Aberfourth said seriously. "I did."
"What . . . then why?"
"Did I give the credit to my brother?" Abe asked with a smile. "Several reasons, one is that I don't want to be in the lime light. Give me a nice quiet place to stay and a shady bar to run and I'm happy."
"What are some of the others?" Harry said automatically.
"Main other reason is that I didn't want to put a giant target on my back," Aberfourth said with a grin. "Who is it that the current Dark Lord is going after, me or Albus?"
"How'd you get him to agree to it sir?"
"Albus'll agree to anything if you tell him it's for the greater good," Aberfourth said with a grin. "I used to convince him to eat bugs when we were children by telling him it was for the greater good."
"How does eating bugs have anything to do with the greater good?"
"Did I mention that he was gullible too?" Aberfourth said with a feral grin. "Believe anything you tell him if you keep a straight face."
"Oh . . . so how did you kill Grindlewald?"
"Poison," Aberfourth said with a shrug. "Told him I was Albus and challenged him to a duel, then I offered a toast to my brave foe."
"And you poisoned his glass," Harry said with a nod.
"I poisoned them both," Aberfourth corrected. "Took the antidote first of course."
"Of course," Harry agreed.
"Don't see how that'll work with the current one though," Aberfourth said with a frown.
"So what are we going to do?"
"I was hoping to have Albus teach you Alchemy," Aberfourth said with a smile. "Can't see how that'll help you defeat Voldemort, but it might be useful to know after the dark tosser is gone."
"Why don't you just teach me yourself sir?"
"Albus would never teach me, wouldn't even hand over his notes." Aberfourth replied. "Said the potential for abuse was too great or some such."
"You want me to teach you what the Headmaster shows me don't you?"
"Be nice," Aberfourth agreed. "I'm sure he'll want you to swear some sort of oath that you won't teach anyone else but there are ways of getting around that."
"Swear it on something you don't care if you loose," Aberfourth explained. "Like your status as a student of Hogwarts."
"But I don't want to be expelled," Harry said quickly.
"You'll stop being a student in a couple years won't you?"
"I get it," Harry said enthusiastically. "I could swear on my relationship with the Dursley family, or something like that too can't I?"
"That's the spirit kid," Aberfourth agreed. "Trick will be offering to swear the oath before Albus asks for it."
"So what can you teach me?"
"Not much," the old man admitted. "You wanna learn how to mix drinks?"
"Might be a useful thing to know," Aberfourth said calmly. "Always good to have something to fall back on."
"I guess," Harry agreed. "Be better then sitting around doing nothing all summer."
"Be a good idea to try to think of ways to get rid of that Dark Lord of yours," Aberfourth continued. "Preferably ones that have a minimal risk to yourself."
"Like poisoning him?"
"Don't know if that trick will work this time," Aberfourth replied. "S' too bad you can't find some way to store a giant hex and then set it off when he's in the area and you're some place safe."
"I . . ." Harry froze. "Would muggle methods work?"
"Depends on how they work," Aberfourth said with a shrug. "Some muggle things work fine around magic, some don't."
"Nukes," Harry whispered. "We could use nukes."
"How do they work?"
"I don't know," Harry admitted. "I just know that they make giant explosions and then poison everything around them."
"Might be nice to avoid that last part," Aberfourth said slowly. "But I think it's something worth looking into. Where would we get one of these . . . Nukes." The old man said the new word carefully.
"I don't know," Harry replied. "It's not something the average person can get."
"Do you know where we could find out more about these devices?"
"Don't tell Hermione I said this," Harry began. "Or Ron for that matter. But I think we should go to a book store, I think that'd be the best place to get information."
"This house have a floo?" Aberfourth asked.
"No," Harry said quickly. "Not anymore."
"I hate taking the Knight bus," Aberfourth moaned. "And I don't suppose you can Apperate."
"Didn't ask if you were too young."
"Can't do it either," Harry amended himself.
"Knight bus it is then," Aberfourth said with a sigh. "Let's go."
"Where are we going?"
"Diagon Alley," Aberfourth explained. "Unless you have the funds with you to buy some books? I'm told that muggles use a different monetary system then wizards."
"We could just look today," Harry said. "Save a shopping trip for later."
"Sounds fine to me," Aberfourth agreed. "Let's go."
"Only," Harry said with a blush. "I'm not supposed to leave the house."
"Don't worry about that," Aberfourth waved off Harry's concerns.
"And I don't know of any book stores in the area," Harry finished. "Never been much of a book worm."
"You know how to ask directions?"
"Yes," Harry agreed.
"Then let's go," Aberfourth said as he got off the bed. "We're wasting time we could spend looking."
It took Harry and his new teacher nearly two hours to find a bookstore near Harry's residence on Privet drive. And it took another fifteen minutes before Harry was willing to ask one of the staff for help.
"You want what?" The sales girl asked with a frown.
"Books on Nukes," Harry said quickly. "How they work, and that sort of thing."
"You want simple explanations or books on the physics behind them?" The girl said with a frown.
"Simple," Harry replied.
"Military history section," the girl waved to a back corner. "Should have what you need."
"Thank you," Aberfourth said kindly. "I appreciate the help you've given us."
"No problem sir," the sales girl said with a blush. "I'm just doing my job."
"Thank you just the same," Aberfourth said with a nod. "Come along Harry." The two of them walked to the indicated section and began flipping through books.
"I think I found what we're looking for," Harry said in excitement. "Look here."
"Looks like it's a bit complicated to build," Aberfourth said calmly. "Says here that they're all locked under heavy guard too."
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "Guess this trip was a bust."
"I wouldn't say that," Aberfourth turned back to his book. "You don't have any paper on you do you? And something to write with." He added after a moment of thought.
"No," Harry shook his head. "Why?"
"Go ask the sales girl if you can borrow some," Aberfourth commanded. "Unless you happen to have enough to buy this book."
"I'll go get a pen and paper," Harry said with a sigh.
"Very interesting," Aberfourth muttered to himself as he reread the passage that had drawn his attention. "Very interesting indeed." Harry returned and Aberfourth was soon taking several notes.
"What'd you find?"
"A way to use Alchemy after all," Aberfourth replied absently. "Let's go."
"Where to?" Harry asked.
"You're going home," Aberfourth said. "I'm going to go set up a few Alchemy lessons with Albus."
"Can I come?"
"Best if you stay home," Aberfourth said after a moment of thought. "Try to look as pitiful and depressed as possible when you meet with Albus later."
Harry spent the next several hours sitting in his room and waiting for his new teacher to contact him again. "Damn it, where is he?" Harry muttered to himself.
"Standing behind you," Aberfourth replied. "Wondering why you look annoyed rather than pathetic."
"I'm thinking that being annoyed is pathetic," Harry said.
"Your logic is without flaw young Harry," Aberfourth said with a laugh. "But I don't believe Albus would be able to follow it. Just think of something sad and look at the floor a lot. It'll tug at his heart strings and make it difficult for him to read your mind."
"He's agreed to teach me then?"
"He's agreed to talk with you about it," Aberfourth corrected. "If he does make eye contact, just focus on one thought. Sex usually works."
"Won't he get suspicious?"
"No one would find a boy your age constantly thinking about sex to be suspicious," Aberfourth retorted. "If you must, think about Voldemort. I find it easier to think about sex for long periods of time, but whatever floats your boat."
"Sex it is then . . . you know," Harry said slyly. "It'd be much easier to think about sex if I had some . . . reading material."
"Boy after my own heart," Aberfourth said fondly. "Though I do wonder at your change in personality, I wouldn't have thought you'd be like this after what I've heard from Albus."
"I can do and say whatever I want around you," Harry explained. "After all, who'd believe that 'boy-who-lived,' Dumbledore's golden boy. Would ask you to buy him porn."
"Hah, what's to stop me from recording the memory?"
"You're the Headmaster's brother," Harry said with a smirk. "It's obviously a trick you picked up from him, shame you're perverting his noble skills to slander me."
"You know kid," Aberfourth said with a wide grin. "I think I'm going to like teaching you."
"Glad you think so."
"Now grab this old sock and look like your puppy just died," Aberfourth commanded. "We're expected in Albus's office." The portkey activated and they found themselves standing in the Headmaster's office.
"Good of you to visit Harry," Albus said with a smile. "Care for a cup of tea?"
"No thank you sir," Harry muttered, his eyes focused squarely on his shoe laces.
"If you could give us a moment alone," Albus said to his brother.
"Of course Albus," Aberfourth agreed. "I'll just wait in the hall then."
"Thank you brother," Albus said with a nod of dismissal.
"Thank you for meeting with me sir," Harry said in a low voice.
"I'll always try to make time to meet with you Harry," Albus replied. "Have a seat."
"Thank you sir." Harry sat and focused on a small carving in the middle of the Headmaster's desk.
"I understand you wish to learn Alchemy?" Albus prodded the boy.
"Your brother thinks that it could help me defeat Voldemort," Harry confirmed.
"Splendid," Albus enthused. "But before we start, I'd like you to understand how dangerous it can be."
"I understand sir," Harry said quickly. "That's why I wanted to swear an oath never to misuse it."
"I swear on pain of being tossed out of Hogwarts, never to be a student again. That I will never teach Alchemy to another and that I will use Alchemy only in pursuit of the greater good," Harry said seriously.
"Are you sure you want to do this Harry?" Albus asked, inwardly proud of the boy's oath.
"I think I have to sir," Harry said seriously.
"Then so mote it be," Albus said with a smile. "If you insist, I will teach you Alchemy."
"Thank you sir."
"But I think I could find a better teacher for you," Albus finished.
"My dear friend Nicholas still has a few years left with us," Albus mused. "And I am sure that he'd be willing to mentor you."
"I . . . thank you sir," Harry said quickly. "I won't forget this."
"No need to thank me Harry," Albus replied. "It's for the greater good after all."
"You're right sir," Harry simpered.
"Take this marble," Albus said. "It is a portkey that will take you to Nicholas."
"Should I take your brother too sir?"
"Not this time I think," Albus said after a moment of thought.
"Are you sure sir?" Harry said with a sad frown. "He said that you assigned him to watch me and I don't want to loose him."
"He said that?"
"Yes sir," Harry agreed. "I'm glad you think I'm important enough that you'd only trust your brother with my safety."
"Yes . . . well, you're safety is worth it Harry." Dumbledore said with a nod. "And on second thought, it might be best if my brother were to accompany you."
"Thank you sir," Harry said quickly. "I won't forget any of what you've done."
"As I said before," Albus began. "There's no need to thank me. Everything I do is in service to the greater good."
"I'd . . . I'd better be going then sir," Harry said. "goodbye."
"Goodbye Harry," Albus said as Harry left the room.
"Well?" Aberfourth asked as Harry walked into the hall outside the Headmaster's office.
"He gave me a portkey to Nicholas Flamel's house," Harry said. "And agreed that you could come along after I thanked him for assigning his brother to be my watcher."
"Let's go then," Aberfourth said with a poorly concealed grin. Harry held out the portkey and the two were pulled to the next location.
"May I help you?" A woman's voice asked from behind their arrival point.
"Perenelle I presume?"
"Yes," Perenelle agreed. "You're not Albus but you look like him."
"His brother," Aberfourth explained.
"Here to see Nicholas?"
"If he's not indisposed," Aberfourth agreed.
"Come this way," Perenelle said with a sigh. The old woman led them into a small cottage and indicated a closed door. "He's in there, don't disturb him too long."
Harry shared a glance with his mentor before raising a hand to knock on the door. "Come in," a voice called out.
"Uh," Harry said as he opened the door. "I'm Harry Potter . . . Dumbledore sent me."
"Did he have you swear an oath not to ever misuse Alchemy?"
"I swore it myself," Harry replied. "Never to misuse Alchemy and never to teach it."
"Exactly what oath did you swear?" Nicholas demanded.
"Basically the above," Harry said quickly
"Exactly what did you swear it on," Nicholas persisted.
"My status as a Hogwarts student," Harry said seriously.
"Which won't matter much in a few years anyway," Nicholas said in approval. "Who's idea was that?"
"Mine," Aberfourth entered the conversation.
"Excellent," Nicholas said with a smile. "Perenelle will be pleased to have a student that won't disappoint her from the start."
"While it may be true that I'm a competent Alchemist," Nicholas began. "I am not good enough to create a Philosopher's Stone, my wife on the other hand . . ."
"So you're just her assistant?" Aberfourth asked.
"I was a fairly good Alchemist in my youth," Nicholas said wistfully. "And then I got married. It only made sense to train my new wife so that she could assist in some of my experiments. Imagine my surprise when I realised that she had greater talents then I?"
"But . . ." Harry sputtered. "I though that women didn't do that sort of thing back then."
"Why do you think the books all say that Nicholas Flamel made the stone?" Nicholas asked with a grin.
"But why not correct it now?" Harry asked.
"Because people aren't comfortable learning that the things they know are false," Nicholas said with a shrug.
"And it keeps the attention focused away from me," Perenelle announced her presence. "I've always been shy."
"And it keeps a bloody big target off your back," Aberfourth added. "I think I'm going to like you."
"Albus mentioned something about using Alchemy to defeat Dark what's his name?" Nicholas asked. "I look forward to learning how you plan that."
"I didn't at first," Aberfourth admitted. "I just figured that it would be useful for young Harry to learn."
"Now," Aberfourth said. "Now, I think I may have an idea. Why don't you two have a look at these notes I've made."
"So how was your meeting with Nicholas?" The Headmaster asked calmly.
"It went very well sir," Harry replied. "I'm not sure how it'll help me defeat Voldemort yet, but I'm sure things will become clear in time."
"Good," Albus replied. "Nicholas tells me that he assigned you a bit of homework?"
"He told me to develop a new compound," Harry agreed. "I was hoping that you'd help me with it sir."
"Of course I'll help," Dumbledore said quickly. "What did you have in mind?"
"I'd like to try to make a synthetic Naptha," Harry said with a smile.
"Shouldn't be too difficult," Dumbledore agreed. "But why would you choose a project like that?"
"I need something to take my mind off the war," Harry replied. "So I thought I'd pick something that has no practical value, something that could never beat Voldemort."
"Good thinking Harry," Albus said in approval. "Don't let Voldemort ruin your chance to live a happy life."
"I won't sir," Harry agreed. "And thank you."
"Stupefy." Aberfourth's face was impassive as he looked down at the body of Hogwarts' slumbering potions professor. "Three drops should do it I think. What is your first name?"
"Who's side are you on?" Aberfourth demanded.
"I don't know," Snape admitted. "I've been playing two roles for so long that I don't know who I am anymore. I conduct raids with the Dark Lord and he benefits from the information I'm able to glean from the Order, but I also help the Order in the fight with Voldemort and provide them with information. I . . . I think I'm on both sides."
"Interesting," Aberfourth mused. The Headmaster's brother spent most of the next hour wringing secrets out of the helpless man. "Yes . . . yes, I think this can be useful. But only if you don't remember what happened. Obliviate." Aberfourth took one last look at the fallen potions master before going off in search of his wayward student.
"Well?" Harry asked.
"Both of us were wrong," Aberfourth said with a laugh. "Should still work though, how'd your meeting go?"
"Headmaster thought it was a splendid idea to make something that has no practical value to the war effort," Harry replied.
"Splendid, is there anything you'd like to do now?"
"Besides prepare for the upcoming fun?"
"Yes, aside from that."
"You mentioned teaching me how to mix drinks . . ."
"To the bar," Aberfourth called out. "Come along Harry, time to learn the ancient and noble art of bar tending."
At the behest of their commander, the Order assembled. "Thank you all for coming," Dumbledore said with a grandfatherly smile. "And allow me to extend my thanks once again for what you're doing. Even now that the Ministry has admitted the reemergence of Voldemort, you people, nay heros remain have chosen to stay on the front lines and for that you have my thanks and my respect."
"We've only done what we had to do Headmaster," Molly Weasley spoke for them all.
"That takes nothing from your many achievements," Dumbledore replied. "Why don't we start by announcing what progress we've made with our assignments?"
"Harry's safe," Tonks spoke up. "We've had a heavy twenty four hour guard around him, not a moment goes by that isn't watched by someone from the Order."
"Good work," Dumbledore said quickly.
"The Dark Lord is very unhappy," Snape muttered. "And he's been working overtime to find a way around the wards protecting Potter."
"Thank you Severus," Dumbledore said, ignoring Molly's gasp.
"I've been spending a lot of time in some of the more . . . disreputable drinking establishments," Mundungus volunteered. "Picking up what information I could and maintaining my cover . . . and . . . uh, I'm going to need some more funds to keep the tap going . . . so to speak."
One by one, the members of the Order gave accounts of their progress and if one were to listen to it all they would be relieved that there was so much time spent guarding things like the Leaky Cauldron from death eater attack.
"Excellent," Dumbledore said with a smile. "And now my brother has something he'd like to share with us."
"As you all know," Aberfourth began. "Many, dare I say most of the known rituals to enhance one's magical power are more then a bit dark. I believe that I may have found a way around this, it is my hope that we may be able to modify an ancient ritual we've found to remove the darkness."
"What of the sacrifice?" Moody asked shrewdly.
"It's true that all rituals involve sacrifice," Aberfourth conceded. "This one can have several, the most powerful would be marked followers such as . . . I don't know, death eaters. Or possibly some sort of objects carrying part of one's soul. One or a combination of these things would grant the caster enough power to be considered a living god."
"Which is why none of us can breathe a word of this where Voldemort might catch wind of it," Albus interrupted. "Sorry brother but I thought it needed to be said."
"No need to be Albus," Aberfourth replied. "Your logic in this is impeccable."
"So what are we going to do then?"
"Noble as you are," Aberfourth began. "I doubt that any of you would be willing to be marked as Harry's followers and sacrificed, not even for the greater good. Similarly, I doubt that Harry would be willing to store parts of his soul inside small objects. Therefore, I have modified the ritual to accept another sacrifice . . . time, time and magical power."
"Could you add a bit more detail?" Moody asked.
"Time is easy enough to explain," Aberfourth said. "Normally this ritual could be set up fairly quickly, but without the usual price . . . well it will take quite some time. The magical power is a bit more difficult. Using Alchemy, we have found a way to . . . for lack of a better term, distill Harry's magic. It is a process that does not hurt the boy as everyone naturally replenishes lost their magical power over time. Instead of using it on a spell, he's storing it for later use in the ritual. Before I finish there is one thing I can not stress enough, Voldemort can not find out about this. If he were able to some how find the location of the ritual and use it the normal way after we've gotten it ready with Harry's magical reserves then I fear that the amount of power he'd be able to amass would be unimaginable." Aberfourth had to fight hard to keep his expression neutral. On Harry's urging he'd spelled everything out. At first he'd been worried that they were being too obvious, but after seeing the expressions around the table . . . well, if anything he hadn't been obvious enough.
"Thank you brother," Albus said. "Was there anything else you'd like to add."
"Just one thing," Aberfourth said. "I'm going to be tutoring the boy on Potions making and what little I know of alchemy over the summer. In order to keep his relatives happy, I've camouflaged my equipment to look like they would be used to make mixed drinks and distill alcohol. If you happen to witness this, remember that it is not what it looks like. I'm sorry I had to say this, I'm sure that wizards as skilled as yourselves would not be taken in by my ruse but I wished to avoid any misunderstanding."
"Then I officially bring this meeting to a close," Albus said loudly. "Thank you again and keep up the good work."
"Are you sure you can trust them with this Albus?" Aberfourth asked in a low voice.
"I can trust them all with my life," Albus replied hotly.
"As you say brother." Aberfourth chose not to mention that the Order leaked like a sieve or that the Order of spies and gossips could be a better name. In the end, he figured that it didn't matter. Afterall, his brother wouldn't believe him and it was all part of the plan. "I'm going to go see how Harry's doing with his studies."
"I'm proud of you Aberfourth," Albus said with shimmering eyes. "Taking so much responsibility. And to think that mother always said that you were the lazy one."
"I am the lazy one Albus," Aberfourth said with a smile. "Later." A few minutes later, Aberfourth found Harry sitting in his room studying one of the texts he'd left.
"Hey Abe," Harry said without looking up. "How'd the meeting go?"
"I'm sorry I doubted you Harry," Aberfourth apologized. "If anything you understated it. Half of them are spies and the other half are gossips that trip on ever one of Albus's words."
"It's your own fault," Harry snickered. "Half the reason they put so much trust in him is because he defeated Grindlewald."
"True," the old man admitted. "How are your studies going?"
"Alright then Harry, it's test time." Aberfourth said seriously, "if you were to make a Martini for Winston Churchill, how would you do it?"
"I'd put an olive in a glass and fill the glass with Gin," Harry replied. "Then I'd look at a bottle of vermouth and put the glass in front of the Prime Minister."
"Excellent," Aberfourth agreed. "Bit dryer then I like but always remember to tailor your drinks to your customers."
"Shaken not stirred?"
"Only if they ask for it," Aberfourth agreed, not catching the reference. "If at all possible, don't shake the clear drinks like martinis. Makes them too cold."
"Right," Harry agreed. "Shake the cloudy drinks, stir the mixed drinks, and listen to the customer . . . no matter what kind of stupid idea they might get."
"That's me boy," Aberfourth said proudly. "How are your studies going on the other thing?"
"I think it'd help if we were able to make an oxygen rich environment," Harry replied. "Make things funner."
"Anti transportation wards too," Aberfourth mused. "Extending a ways out so that there aren't any accidents."
"What should we do with Snape?"
"That is a delemma," Aberfourth sighed. "On the one hand he's done a bit of good and on the other he's done a lot of evil."
"Can't agree with the idea that they cancel each other out," Harry mused.
"And it would be simple if he were to disappear," Aberfourth agreed. "On the one hand, he's not going to see the inside of Azkaban as long as Albus is around."
"On the other, he has committed quite a number of crimes." Harry finished. "Why don't we set that issue aside for now and work on the task at hand."
"How'd your project with the Headmaster go?"
"Took us two hours but we did it," Harry said with a smile. "I think that Nicholas and Perenelle could probably improve it quite a bit though."
"It doesn't need to be perfect," Aberfourth said with a shrug. "It just needs to work . . . we'll test it out later."
"Test new drinks out on your friends before you inflict them on paying customers," Harry agreed.
"We'll make a bartender out of you yet," Aberfourth said proudly. "Have you though of a name for your place?"
"The Fox and the Hound sounds good," Harry mused. "But I can't help but feel like it's been used before."
"You'll think of something," Aberfourth replied. "It took me months to think up the name to the Hogs Head . . . you should have heard some of the names I almost called it."
"Like the Blind Pig Ginmill," Aberfourth laughed. "Don't know what I was thinking?"
"Refers to a cop on the take," Aberfourth explained. "Specifically during the prohibition in America, blind to what's going on."
"Enough talking," Aberfourth said suddenly. "Perenelle said she wanted to show us something and we don't want to be late."
"Let's go," Harry agreed. The two of them appeared in front of a smirking Perenelle who immediately rushed them inside the house.
"You said this was important?" Aberfourth said after they had all been seated.
"Perenelle and I have decided when we are going to die," Nicholas said suddenly.
"Next month on our wedding anniversary," Perenelle agreed. "Weather permiting. I don't want to die on a sunny day, it lacks a certain . . . something."
"What?" Harry gasped. "But I thought you had enough elixer to last you several more years?"
"Oh we do," Nicholas said with a nod. "But why put things off?"
"Procrastination isn't a habit you should cultivate," Perenelle agreed. "Remember that Harry."
"Ok," Harry said automatically. "But . . . but who's going to teach me Alchemy?"
"Oh I will," Perenelle replied. "And Nicholas will help of course."
"Of course," he agreed. "It wouldn't be right not to. Not after we agreed to anyway."
"Then . . . how?"
"We were thinking of the Florida Keys," Perenelle explained. "Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel will die in England and Nicholas and Perenelle Flamel, a new retired couple will start living on one of the Keys."
"But . . . why?"
"Because I've grown used to the name Flamel after all these years," Perenelle said. "And I don't wish to change it."
"Not like it'll matter," Nicholas added. "The Americans never seem to care about anything that happens over here."
"I think we've confused him dear," Perenelle said with a smile. "Harry, we're faking our deaths, we aren't really going to die."
"We wanted to ask you about the Florida Keys since you're going to be learning from us and we didn't want to go to a place you would hate."
"Oh," Harry said. "So how many years of elixer do you have anyway?"
"As many as we want," Nicholas said. "I think it's time we showed them dear."
"Showed us what?" Aberfourth asked.
"The Philosopher's Stone of course," Perenelle said like it was the most natural thing in the world.
"But I thought it was destroyed?" Harry asked.
"That was what we wanted the world to think," Perenelle explained. "If they don't think it exists then they won't look for it."
"Where is it?" Aberfourth asked.
"On the table by your tea," Perenelle replied.
"Where?" Harry asked, "is it invisible?"
"No," Perenelle said. "It's that rock there."
"But . . . it doesn't look like the Philosopher's Stone," Harry protested. "I've seen the Philosopher's Stone."
"Yeah," Aberfourth agreed. "It looks like a piece of . . ."
"Don't judge it by the way it looks," Perenelle said sharply. "You'd be surprised how many thieves ignore it in favor of something more flashy."
"Right in the open where every one can see it is the best place to hide things," Nicholas added. "It looks like what it looks like and no one knows what it looks like."
"Everyone assumes it must be some great jewel," Perenelle agreed. "They don't realise that it looks like a piece of fossilized . . . you know."
"Aren't you worried it'll break?" Harry asked.
"Thing's indestructible." Perenelle demonstrated by bringing her mug down on the stone. The mug shattered while the stone didn't even have a dent. "Why bother making something so expensive and time consuming if it'll shatter the first time you drop it?"
"My wife can be a bit clumsy," Nicholas translated. "And it had to be built tough to survive around her."
"How are your preparations going Harry?" Perenelle growled.
"Fairly well," Harry replied. "I've got a sample of the Naptha I developed with the Headmaster if you'd like to look at it."
"Do you have any of your notes with you?"
"Yes I do," Harry said as he pulled out the items.
"Let me see those," Perenelle said with an outstretched hand. "Hmmm, interesting. Who's idea was this?" Perenelle said with her hand on a page.
"Mine, I got the idea from something I saw on the Television." Harry explained.
"Didn't look like Albus's work," Perenelle muttered with a satisfied smile. "Hmmm. Well, off hand I can see a few things to improve on, but all in all you did a good job."
"Thanks," Harry replied. "But the Headmaster did most of the work."
"Don't sell yourself short," Perenelle said sharply. "And don't let this go to your head either. It wasn't too complicated."
"Ok," Harry agreed. "You wouldn't happen to know anything about wards would you?"
"I could ask a friend or two," Perenelle said. "What do you need?"
"I want to make it so certain things can go out but can't go in and other things can go in but not out."
"Shouldn't be too difficult," Perenelle mused. "Write up what you want them to do and I'll pass it along."
"I appreciate that."
"Now to more important things," Nicholas spoke up.
"Help us pick out our new home," Nicholas said. "We've got a lot of pictures so make yourselves comfortable."
How was your shift?" Tonks asked.
"Fairly quiet," the other Order member replied. "Aberfourth and Harry just got back and it looks like they've been doing nothing but mixing drinks."
"They said something about that at the meeting," Tonks mused.
"Yeah," the man agreed. "But I guess they forgot to mention that they were going to cast a few charms that made it sound like they were talking about mixing drinks too. Bloody listening charms have been useless."
"Wow," Tonks was impressed. "Must be some powerful magic to spoof the listening charms. See you tomorrow."
"Later Tonks." The man gave a wave and disappeared.
"This is going to be boring," Tonks grumbled as she checked the listening charms. "Or not . . . least I'm learning something."
"And that's how you make Single Malt Scotch," Aberfourth finished his lecture. "A bit too complicated for most bars because of all the bloody paperwork and time required to turn out something worth drinking. But you should have a good grounding on how to distill spirits."
"Got it." Harry made a few notes. "What kind of things aren't too complicated to make in your own bar?"
"Beer is fairly simple to make," Aberfourth replied. "Fun too. It also allows you to tailor drinks to your area and the tastes of your customers."
"Great," Harry said. "How do we get started?"
"Depends on how complicated we want to make things," Aberfourth replied. "We're going to go for the highest quality we can so we're going to start by malting the grain ourselves."
"It shouldn't be too difficult to set up a small operation in your closet," Aberfourth continued. "I'll drop off the equipment and a selection of books later. Till then, I want you to go over your notes on everything we've talked about and to practice mixing drinks."
"What do I do with them after I've mixed them?"
"Drink em up," Aberfourth replied. "It's a sin to waste good booze."
"But . . . well, for one I'm too young."
"Old enough to be the number one target of a dark lord, old enough to drink is what I've always said."
"For another, well . . .won't it be suspicious if the Order watches me get drunk? I'm also not fond of the idea of drinking that much."
"Here." Aberfourth pulled out a small bottle of potion. "A drop under your tongue and you won't be effected by alcohol for twenty four hours. We'll work on mixing that tomorrow after we've got your home brew started."
"Right," Harry agreed. "See you tomorrow."
"See you then," Aberfourth called out right before he disappeared with a pop
Tonks spent the remainder of her shift watching Harry mix a number of drinks before he called it a night and went to bed. "I wonder what kind of potions he's making?" Tonks mused to herself. "Maybe some sort of sleeping drought? Guess it doesn't matter."
"Morning Harry," Aberfourth said to the drowsy Harry.
"M'rning," Harry groaned. "Did you have to come by so early?"
"It's noon," Aberfourth said in a deadpan.
"What?" Harry looked at his clock in shock. "Why didn't you wake me earlier?"
"Spent the morning setting up the wards," Aberfourth replied. "And I tested them out on the model. Looks like everything will work the way we hoped it will."
"Good," Harry said with a yawn. "Now all we gotta do is brew up enough Naptha to deal with everything."
"Perenelle had an idea you might want to try regarding that," Aberfourth said.
"She advised us to try it on a small scale first to prove the concept before we scaled it up for production."
"Out with it," Harry demanded.
"Shrink the raw materials," Aberfourth said. "And take off the shrinking charm when you're finished."
"Could work," Harry agreed. "Let's get started."
"Let's have something to eat first," Aberfourth suggested. "I'm hungry."
"Let's go," Harry agreed.
"We could do that," Aberfourth began. "Or we could use this as an opportunity to learn how to make pub grub."
"Welsh Rarebit and so fourth," Aberfourth replied. "Might also be a good idea to touch on the American idea of the Bartender's Free Lunch."
"Cheap salty food," Aberfourth said with a grin. "Encourages people to buy more beer."
"What prevents them from just getting water?"
"Because there's no such thing as a free lunch," Aberfourth explained. "Least that's what the bartenders always said when I asked."
"I suppose that you just happen to have everything we'll need to make this stuff?"
"Just happen to?" Aberfourth asked in mock outrage. "I'll have you know that I never leave home without being prepaired to cook a multi course meal."
"Of pub grub?"
"Yes Harry, of pub grub."
"Let's get started then," Harry demanded. "I may have mentioned it before, but I'm hungry."
"Ok," Aberfourth said. "We're going to need . . ."
Minerva frowned as she looked up at her student's window. She wasn't at all sure that Aberfourth's story about Potions instruction was entirely accurate and she wasn't entirely sure that she approved. She sighed at the look on Harry's face, perhaps it would be best to leave things as they were . . . at least for the time being.
After Harry ate one of the largest and tastiest meals that he could remember having at the Dursley residence, the two of them got started on their plan.
"How does it look Harry?" Aberfourth asked.
"Everything seems to be going good," Harry replied. "Shall we go test this?"
"I think that would be a good idea," Aberfourth agreed. "And I just happen to have this portkey with me."
"Let's go," Harry said. The portkey whisked them away to a deserted piece of land in the middle of nowhere. "Where are we?"
"Not far from the ritual site," Aberfourth said absently. "Just put down the bottle and lets get started."
"Right," Harry agreed. Harry put down the bottle and stepped back. "Ok, cancel the shrinking charm."
Aberfourth muttered a short incantation to cancel the shrinking charm and were dumbfounded when the bottle exploded. "Are you alright Harry?"
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "What happened?"
"Where did we get the bottle for this experiment?" Aberfourth asked with a smile.
"We got it from . . . oh."
"Exactly," Aberfourth agreed. "It was suddenly filled with a much larger volume then it had been designed to hold."
"Well, back to the old drawing bo . . . wait, I think we can use this."
"I believe you may be correct Harry," Aberfourth said with a smile. "And I believe that you'll have plenty to keep you busy over the next few days."
"Just supply me with the raw materials and I'll make as much as you could ask for."
"Right," Aberfourth said. "I'll get the ritual area ready and when that's done we can start laying the groundwork with the Order."
"Got another Portkey?" Harry asked with his hand out.
"I hear that walking is good exercise for boys your age," Aberfourth replied.
"Really?" Harry asked in shock. "I hear that if you want to live longer you should give up drinking."
"Here's your portkey," Aberfourth said quickly. "Brat."
"Old goat," Harry retorted.
"Little . . . damn," Aberfourth said as Harry popped out, "little bastard had to get the last word didn't he?" Aberfourth looked around again and began to chuckle. "This is gonna be fun." With that, he pulled out his wand and began constructing the wards that would help bring down the dark lord.
"I see you're back," a woman's voice greeted Harry when he popped into his room.
"Who are you?" Harry growled, his right hand inching into his pocket towards his wand.
"Turn around Mr. Potter," the voice seemed more annoyed then menacing.
"Professor McGonagall?" Harry said in shock.
"Why don't you sit down Mr. Potter," McGonagall ordered.
"What are you doing here Professor?" Harry asked nervously.
"I decided to inspect your 'potions supplies.'" Minerva said flatly. "Would your care to explain or would you rather I start taking points off?"
"It's . . . camouflage," Harry said quickly. "In case the Dursleys decide to search my room."
"Camouflage?" Minerva said neutrally.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "The real potions supplies are somewhere else."
"Mr. Potter . . . Harry," Minerva sighed. "Do you think I'm stupid?"
"No Professor," Harry replied.
"Then I suggest you try again," Minerva said sharply. "And this time give me the truth."
"I'm studying Alchemy not Potions," Harry said.
"That does not explain the alcohol."
"I'm also learning to mix drinks," Harry said. "Aberfourth says that it's always good to have a skill to fall back on."
"Alright," Minerva agreed.
"Alright," Minerva repeated herself. "It also seems to relax you."
"So you're not going to stop me from practicing?"
"No I'm not," McGonagall said kindly. "But I'm also not going to let you do anymore drinking."
"But . . ."
"But it's not good for a boy your age," Minerva snapped. "I don't want you ruining your life."
"I'm taking a potion to prevent that," Harry said quickly.
"This one." Harry pulled a bottle out of his dresser.
"Let me see that," Minerva ordered. "Do you know how this is made?"
"I've got the recipe," Harry said.
"Give it to me." Minerva took the recipe and examined it for several seconds, then she popped the top off the bottle and took a sip of the potion. "Did you make this?"
"Yes Professor," Harry said.
"Added a bit too much wormwood I think," Minerva said with a sniff. "But you did much better then I would have suspected after listening to Severus's rants."
"It's easier to work without him hovering over me Professor," Harry said. "And it's easier to focus when it has a use."
Minerva looked at her student for several seconds before giving a slow nod, "I see. Mix me a gin and tonic would you."
"Gin, tonic, and a slice of lime." Minerva said simply. "And a bit of ice."
"I know how to make it," Harry said. "I was surprised that you'd have me make you some."
"Would you like me to prove that I'm of age?" McGonagall asked with a smile.
"No . . . " Harry glanced at his Professor. "I mean yes, can't give it to you if you don't look old enough."
"Very good," Minerva said with a smile. "Now hand it over."
Minerva lifted the glass up and took a sip. "Not bad," she said in approval. "Were you planning to make a career of this?"
"I wasn't planning on having a career," Harry said. "I'd like to spend a few years doing it while I figure out what I want to do with my life though."
"I'll hold you to that," Minerva said sternly. "It would displease me greatly if all you did with yourself was tend a bar."
"I'm going to study alchemy while I bartend," Harry said quickly.
"How'd you know what I was doing Professor?" Harry asked.
"I've been your teacher for several years," Minerva said fondly. "Don't expect that you can get anything past me unless I allow it. And speaking of trying to get things past me, there's more to your ritual plan then you're telling the Order isn't there?" Minerva laughed at the look of discomfort on Harry's face. "Very well Mr. Potter, don't answer that."
"Thank you Professor," Harry said quickly.
"Before I leave let me give you this." Minerva handed Harry a small book. "Read it and be prepaired to explain to me what if anything you learned in twenty four hours."
"What is it Professor?" Harry turned the book over in his hands.
"A small text on the basics of self transfiguration," McGonagall replied. "If I am to be watching you this summer then I am going to insure that my time is not wasted and that your time is productive."
"Yes Professor," Harry sighed. This ruined the whole purpose of summer.
"And wipe that look off your face," Minerva said with a laugh. "Now if you will excuse me, I have a meeting to get to."
"Goodbye Professor," Harry said. "Give everyone my best."
"Goodbye Mr. Potter."
Harry watched his Professor leave and opened the book with a sigh. Flipping to the first page, his look of boredom disappeared and his eyes widened in shock. 'To James, I expect that you'll find this useful -Minerva McGonagall.'
"Guess this won't be such a chore after all," Harry muttered to himself. With that, he settled down and began reading.
Minerva returned the next afternoon to find Harry asleep on his bed. "Wake up Harry," she said gently.
"Morning Professor," Harry said with a yawn.
"Afternoon," Minerva corrected. "Looks like you slept half the day."
"I didn't get to sleep till late," Harry explained.
"You look like you have something you want to ask me," McGonagall said.
"I was just curious about this." Harry flipped the book open and pointed to the writing on the inside cover.
"I gave it to your father as a wedding present," McGonagall said with a smile. "Along with a threat to break both of his legs if he hurt your mother. She always was my favorite student and to be quite honest I thought they should have waited a few years before getting married."
"Oh," Harry said. "But why did you give him this book?"
"Because he was always good at transfiguration," McGonagall explained. "And I always thought it a shame that he never became an animagus."
"But he did," Harry said quickly.
"Really?" McGonagall said with a smile. "What was his form?"
"A stag," Harry replied.
"When did he find the time to do that after graduation?"
"Uh . . . he did it while he was still a student," Harry stammered.
"Oh James," Minerva laughed. "I should have known. Enough talk about the past, what did you learn?"
"Quite a bit," Harry replied quickly.
"Good," Minerva said firmly. "What do you think was the most significant piece of new knowledge that you learned?"
"I think I might be able to use it with alchemy," Harry began. "But I'm not sure, I'd really like to have some time to verify it first."
"Very well," Minerva agreed. "But I expect you to share what you learned."
"And I also expect you to mix me another drink," Minerva said with a smile. "Use a bit more lime juice this time."
"Mix me a Mint Julep while you're at it," Aberfourth announced his presence.
"No one ever knocks anymore," Harry muttered as he complied with their requests. "I may as well hang up a sign and start business."
"Good afternoon Minerva," Aberfourth said.
"Aberfourth," she replied with a nod.
"I'm surprised that you're willing to allow this."
"It makes him happy and I've assured myself that nothing improper is going on," Minerva explained with a sniff. "So long as things remain as they are I shall look the other way."
"How goes your alchemy experiment?" Aberfourth asked.
"Bout three quarters of the way done I think," Harry replied. "It'd be easier if you could shrink the stuff more."
"It's as small as it can get I'm afraid," Aberfourth replied.
"Then it'll take a couple more days to get everything ready," Harry said.
"What's going on?" Minerva asked.
"Harry's been working on an alchemy project," Aberfourth explained. "With Albus's help."
"I see," Minerva sighed. "I suppose that I should be going then so that you two can talk about your secret project. Goodbye Harry."
"Goodbye Professor," Harry replied.
"Secret meeting," Aberfourth laughed as McGonagall popped out. "Shall we get to it then Harry?"
"Before we get to that," Harry said. "I want you to try a sip of this."
"What is it?" Aberfourth asked cautiously.
"Just try it and tell me what you think," Harry demanded.
"Gods that's truly vile," Aberfourth said with a wince. "Where did you get it?"
"Made it," Harry said proudly. "With the hot plate I use for alchemy, one of my aunt's larger pots that she never uses, a smaller pot, a stand, and a wok that she got for Christmas one year that she never uses."
"Very good," Aberfourth complimented his student. "But it's not very drinkable is it?"
"I've got a few ideas for that," Harry said calmly. "Anyway, the important thing is that I did it, improvement comes later."
"True," Aberfourth agreed. "Are you ready for the secret meeting?"
"I'm ready," Harry agreed."How are the wards doing?"
"They're finished," Aberfourth replied.
"Then I'll stay up all night to finish the Naptha and we can get things started tomorrow," Harry said with a nod.
"Don't bother," Aberfourth said. "I'll drop a few hints in tonight's meeting and we can do the tour tomorrow. Even if you don't have everything done, we should have enough time to finish everything before Voldemort has a chance."
"What if he goes early?"
"I'll put what you've got in tonight," Aberfourth reassured his student. "Everything will be fine no matter what."
"Ok," Harry agreed.
"I've got to get to the Order meeting," Aberfourth said suddenly. "Mind if I get some more of this?" He waved his glass.
"I've got about one liter if it," Harry said. "You can have all of it if you like."
"Thanks," Aberfourth replied. "I think Moody will appreciate this. He always did like getting young Aurors to drink strange things."
"Why don't I just forget I heard that," Harry suggested with a wince.
"That would probably be best," Aberfourth agreed. "See you later Harry." Aberfourth popped out and reappeared in front of the Order.
"Ah Aberfourth," Albus greeted his brother. "Good of you to join us."
"Sorry I'm late," Aberfourth said as he took his seat. "Just doing a few last minute preparations."
"Things are going well then?" Abus asked quickly.
"I think we'll be ready to show everyone by tomorrow," Aberfourth replied.
"Excellent," Albus said with a smile. "To think that the war could be over soon."
"Yes," Aberfourth agreed. "Quite exciting."
Harry ignored his mentor's advice and worked through the night to insure that everything would be ready by the big unveiling.
"I see you've been busy," Aberfourth's voice woke him up.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "What time is it?"
"Time for the meeting," Aberfourth replied. "I finished everything up and let you sleep til the last minute."
"Lets go then," Harry demanded.
"Take hold of this sock." They arrived just in time to hear Albus begin speaking.
"Good evening everyone," Albus began. "We stand at a separating today from a peaceful tomorrow. As you know, Harry has been involved in a project that will lead to the Voldemort's ultimate defeat. Harry . . ."
"Thank you Headmaster," Harry said. "What I'm about to tell you must remain secret, no word of this can reach Voldemort. If . . . if he finds out about this then he could hijack the ritual and everything will be lost, nothing could stand against his power."
"I think you can trust everyone here," Aberfourth said seriously. "After all, this is the Order of the Phoenix."
"You're right," Harry sighed. "Alright, let's go inspect the ritual area. Do you have the portkey Headmaster?"
"I have it right here Harry," the Headmaster agreed. "Everyone be sure to touch it."
The group appeared in a large field. "This way," Harry called out. "I'm afraid that it'll take a bit of walking before we get to the ritual."
"Why is that Harry?" Tonks asked.
"Anti-transport wards," Harry explained. "So that the ritual can't be interrupted at the last minute." The group followed Harry across the wards and were shocked at how much easier it became to walk.
"Uh . . . Harry?" Tonks began. "Why did I get that rush of energy?"
"Another ward," Harry replied. "Lets oxygen in and keeps other gasses to a minimum, also cracks carbon dioxide."
"What does that mean?" Moody demanded.
"Means that you'll have more energy," Harry replied. "Also means that you can't have any open flames, any fire at all while we're in here because it could mess up the wards and cause us to have to start over again."
"That means no smoking Dung," Aberfourth said.
"And here's the ritual area." Harry waved at a large flat section of land with a large upraised stage with a large bronze cauldron. "To start the ritual, I'll stand on that stage and mutter the incantation etched into the side of the cauldron. Then a magical mist will raise from the ground, after that the ritual will be unstoppable."
"What are all these spots in the grass around the stage?" Snape demanded.
"That's where the followers would stand if I had any that I was going to sacrifice," Harry explained. "Didn't bother wasting the time to modify it so they weren't there."
"I think we've seen enough Harry," the Headmaster said kindly.
"Ok, let's go." Harry said as he began leading the group back to the edge of the wards.
"When were you planning to do this ritual?" Snape asked slyly.
"Wish I could do it at midnight," Harry said with a sigh.
"Why is that?" Snape demanded. "And why can't you do it at midnight?"
"At midnight the flow of magic will be such that it will be ideal for the ritual," Harry said. "Unfortunately, I'll have to wait."
"Why is that?" Snape sneered.
"Because I had to modify the ritual," Harry replied. "So that I wouldn't have to sacrifice any followers or pieces of my soul sealed in objects or for even greater power both."
"I see," Snape said.
"I'm not worried though," Harry said. "So long as Voldemort doesn't learn about this then everything should be fine."
"Could you get any information from Potter?" The Dark Lord demanded.
"No master," Snape replied. "Every time I made eye contact, he was thinking about several of his female classmates naked and covered with whipped cream . . . or a part of his anatomy covered with whipped cream while his classmates . . . well, I'm sure you get the idea master."
"I do Severus," Voldemort agreed as he canceled the anti eavesdropping spell. "Bella, meet me in my chambers, Severus . . . CRUCIO." The Dark Lord held the spell for several seconds, "don't fail me again."
"I won't master," Severus agreed.
"Put a lock down on the lair," Voldemort ordered on his way out of the room. "No one leaves until I say otherwise."
"Do you think they bought it?" Harry asked his teacher after they'd returned to Harry's room.
"We'll know soon enough," Aberfourth replied. "In the mean time, why don't you show me that still of yours."
"It's not so large," Harry cautioned. "So it doesn't produce much."
"Let's see it anyway," Aberfourth persisted.
"It's on the table," Harry waved. "In pieces."
"Good job," Aberfourth said as he examined the disassembled still.
"This is killing me," Harry whined. "The waiting I mean."
"Hardest part," Aberfourth agreed. "It'll just be a few hours."
"Yeah . . . so . . . what should we do while we wait?"
"Why don't we fire this thing up," Aberfourth waved at the still. "And see how it works."
"Ok," Harry agreed. "But I've already moved on and tried something else."
"Oh?" Aberfourth froze.
"What is it?"
"The wards just tripped," Aberfourth whispered. "Someone has crossed them."
"Master," Snape whispered.
"What is it?" Voldemort asked impatiently.
"May I have permission to return to Hogwarts?" Snape asked. "To delay Dumbledore and keep him from learning of your plan?"
"After you show me how this works and everything is in readiness," Voldemort agreed. "You may leave."
"Thank you master," Snape groveled.
"Think of it as a reward for bringing this to my attention," Voldemort purred.
Over the next hour, the death eaters arranged themselves and prepaired for the commencement of the ritual that would transform their master into a god.
"Master?" Snape said.
"Yes Severus," Voldemort said. "You may go."
"Thank you Master," Snape said with a bow.
"Prepare Hogwarts for my arrival."
"As you command Master," Snape agreed.
Voldemort watched Snape leave for a few seconds and then stepped up to the stage. "My followers, today is the day our dreams come true. Today is the day I gain the power to rebuild the world, to build a world without muggles tainting our pure society." Tom glanced at the stars and sighed, he was going to have to cut his speech short if he wanted to make his deadline. "Rejoice, and know that our struggle is over." Voldemort allowed himself a few seconds to bask in the cheers of his followers before starting the ritual.
Teacher and student watched as the distant group of death eaters ceased to exist. As the force of the explosion washed over their wards, the tingle in his scar disappeared signaling the end of the current Dark Lord. "And that as they say is that," Aberfourth said with a smile. "Good work Harry."
"Care for a little sip of celebration?" Harry held up a flask.
"Thanks," Aberfourth said as he brought the flask to his lips. "You've gotten better."
"Thanks," Harry said. "Used a different method this time. The one I started to tell you about before we came here."
"Copper tea pot," Harry said. "Wasn't too hard to collect the vapor out of that. Bout five minutes work to mod it. Doesn't produce much, but I am short on space."
"Do I detect a hint of oak?"
"You do," Harry said with a pleased smile. "Though I didn't think I let it age long enough to pick anything up."
"Well . . . Albus should be here soon."
"Thank god I got here in time," Albus arrived with a pop. "Severus . . . what happened?" Albus stared at the crater. "Is the ritual still safe?"
"Stupefy," Aberfourth replied. "Force his mouth open, I've got just the thing to add a bit of realism."
"What's that?" Harry asked as he complied with his mentor's request.
"Little potion that drains his magical reserves," Aberfourth explained. "Makes it look like he exhausted himself using some incredible spell or something."
"This what you did last time?"
"I'm gonna have to get the recipe for that."
"Ready for the last bit Harry?" Aberfourth asked with a frown.
"Get on with it," Harry said tightly.
"You sure you wanna do this?"
"It's the details that people remember," Harry said. "Do it."
"Grit your teeth," Aberfourth warned before hitting Harry with a bludgeoning charm. The old man sighed and then began casting hex after hex on his young student. "Think this'll be enough?"
"Yeah," Harry weezed. "Just needed enough to make the people happy."
"Looks worse then it is," Aberfourth said tightly. "Let me help you up."
"Thanks," Harry said as he rose to his feet. "Grab the Headmaster."
"Got 'im," Aberfourth said. "Take hold of the portkey." The three of them reappeared in the Hogwarts hospital wing in front of a suddenly frantic school nurse.
"What happened to you?" She demanded.
"Voldemort," Harry gasped.
"Get him on the bed," the nurse commanded. "What happened to the Headmaster?"
"He's fine," Aberfourth said quickly. "Just drained."
"It doesn't look too serious," she said in relief. "Neither do Harry's injuries. What happened?"
"The last battle of the war if we're lucky," Aberfourth replied. "Let me get my brother to bed."
"Go on then."
"Thank you fair lady," Aberfourth said. It took him a few minutes to drag his brother up to his office and to seat him in his favorite chair. "Now to finish things," Aberfourth said to himself as he walked out of the room and down to the dungeons.
"Hello Severus," Aberfourth said with a frown.
"Headmaster," Snape said tightly. "Is something wrong?"
"May I see your wand for a second?"
"Of course," Snape agreed quickly.
Aberfourth inspected the wand for a moment, "Avada Kedavra." Ignoring Snape's look of betrayal, Aberfourth dropped the wand on the Potion Master's cooling body and went off to inform his brother about the horrible event that had just occurred.
"Wake up Albus," Aberfourth said as he entered the room.
"Aberfourth?" Albus asked with a yawn. "What happened?"
"Voldemort is dead," Aberfourth replied. "Though it might be a good idea to take steps to insure that he won't come back again."
"Thank god," Albus said in relief. "I knew Harry could do it." Albus paused upon noticing the strained look on his brother's face, "what is it brother?"
"Albus," Aberfourth said gently. "I have some bad news to give you."
"What is it?" Albus asked quickly, "was Harry harmed?"
"Harry's fine," Aberfourth replied quickly. "Though it may be a good idea to maintain our vigilance in case we didn't get all the death eaters. Wouldn't do to have one of them get him after all this."
"Then what is it brother?"
"It's Severus . . . he's . . ." Aberfourth paused, looking for all the world as if he'd been overcome with emotion. "He's dead."
"How?" Albus asked sadly.
"The dark mark," Aberfourth explained. "Voldemort didn't trust him so there was a delayed curse in the dark mark to ensure loyalty. Severus . . . Severus knew but insisted we not tell you."
"I see," Albus said firmly. "He died for the greater good. His sacrifice won't be forgotten."
"He didn't want that," Aberfourth said sharply. "He just wanted to be forgotten, just mourn in your own way and let the rest of the world forget. It's what he wanted."
"Does Harry know?"
"Yes," Aberfourth replied. "And he's not taking it very well. I think it best to let the poor boy take a leave of absence. He'll return when he's had a chance to deal with the horrors of war."
"Yes . . . yes, I think that may be best." Albus agreed. "Thank you brother."
"Also," Aberfourth began. "I think it would be best if you were to claim credit for the defeat of Voldemort."
"What . . . why?"
"Harry is not taking things well," Aberfourth explained. "To have so much expectation heaped on his shoulders . . . why don't we just release a statement that says that victory would be impossible without your intervention and let gossip take care of the rest."
"If you think it best," Albus agreed slowly.
"I think it would serve the greater good," Aberfourth agreed.
"Thank you brother," Albus said with tears in his eyes.
"If you'll excuse me," Aberfourth said with a sigh. "I must get back to Harry, I think it best that he not be left alone."
"Yes of course."
Aberfourth left the Headmaster's office and rejoined his student in the hospital wing. "I took care of the loose end and met with Albus."
"He bought it," Aberfourth said. "He'll put the target on his back and he won't bother you in your period of grief."
"Great," Harry said with a smile. "Only one thing left to do."
"Think up the name for my bar," Harry said with a frown. "I just can't seem to think of one I like."
AN: Look up Fuel Air Explosive or FAE if you're confused about what happened to Voldemort. This fic evolved from an idea that popped into my head. The idea was that Dumbledore did not defeat Grindlewald, someone else did. The person I had in mind for the role was Professor Flitwick, small, unassuming, dueling master. Seemed like a good fit to me so I posted the idea on my group. One of the first replies mentioned Aberfourth Dumbledore and another (I think) mentioned another prophecy that stated the one who defeated Grindlewald would train Harry to Defeat Voldemort.