Disclaimer; I still do not own Harry Potter or the related characters and settings.
A/N; I fiddled with a similar idea a while back and posted part of this earlier in the week. I thought I was done with this but apparently not. Figure four to five chapters. Older versions have been removed for consistency's sake.
"Hang on Sirius, I'm coming too," Harry whispered as he sank down into his bath. The water was warm and he could barely feel a thing as the broken piece of Sirius' mirror cut through his wrists. He watched in fascination as his life blood flowed into the bath and tinted the waters pink.
He leaned his head back on the side of the tub and closed his eyes. He was so comfortable and he felt so tired. Some part of him knew that was because he was dieing but he really didn't care. He welcomed the misty comfort of death. Already he felt nothing in his feet and hands, just a cool sensation like a velvet cloak settling over his limbs. It was getting harder to stay awake and Harry knew that it wouldn't be long before he would see his family again. His family...
Harry was looking forward to seeing Sirius and his parents again. Sure he might be abandoning his friends to Voldemort but that only meant that they'd be along to see him soon. He knew he had no chance against Voldemort, it was just impossible for a fifteen year old boy to defeat the most feared dark lord in history and he was only saving himself a long and painful death.
The cold was seeping into his chest now but Harry just could not find the strength to open his eyes. He knew he probably should but it just no longer seemed worth the effort. His lungs froze as the cold seeped all the way through him and then finally reached his heart. He shivered for the first time as the icy tendrils started up his neck and ran through his scalp. Harry just stopped feeling and let himself slide into the darkness that was his at long last.
NO! Something inside him fought back and refused to let go of the mortal world. Harry was so tired and tried to just bat whatever it was away but the force absolutely refused to budge. Harry felt his chest burning with fire and pure animalistic rage as something within him fought back against death itself. It was too little too late however and Harry continued to sink towards oblivion. There was just nothing left to save. Still the thing refused to submit and Harry felt as if his head would implode. Whatever was fighting back drew power from Harry's scar and used it to fuel the fires that burned out of control. A bright light shone in the darkness and Harry glimpsed something he never knew existed.
Power, raw magical power and fury was refusing to let Harry sink into death. More power than Harry had ever imagined and far more than he had ever used. His magic refused to let him die and his body was beginning to rebel as well. The vision was both terrifying and intoxicating to Harry. How could any one man be a conduit for such unimaginable power? He could feel his heart begin pounding as if he'd run a marathon, his lungs gasp for breath and everything within him fighting to stay alive.
Harry felt something snap like a rope that was over stretched and suddenly the magic and power within him came pouring out. Like a star exploding into a supernova, the magic blew outwards and burned through his veins purging everything in its path. Warmth returned to his heart, then his lungs, then the rest of his chest. His fingers tingled and his toes twitched as strength returned. Finally the fires trickled through his scalp and his mind lit up as his scar exploded with a flash.
It was the shrieking that woke him initially but the smell of blood brought his mind into sharp focus. Harry opened his eyes to see his aunt standing at the door to the bathroom screaming her head off in horror. The entire bathtub was filled with warm blood instead of just bloody water.
"Yes?" Harry pretended there was absolutely nothing wrong.
Petunia kept screaming and just raised her hand to point. Finally she had to inhale again and Harry took his opportunity.
Fuck it, Harry decided, he really didn't care anymore, "Oh, this?" He splashed some blood playfully, "The blood of virgins does absolute wonders for the skin. Now do you mind? I'm trying to take a bath."
Petunia paled dramatically and tripped as she tried to back out of the bathroom. She didn't even bother to get up and just scuttled down the hall as fast as she could. Harry got up to close the door and as he did so he noticed that his wrists were completely healed, not even a scar where they'd been slit. Disgustedly he pulled the plug from the drain and watched the tub drain. He wondered idly whether anyone would notice several hundred liters of blood washing through the sewer and what they'd do if they did.
As he was about to step back into the tub and use the shower to rinse off, Vernon bellowed in rage and Harry heard his thunderous footsteps pounding up the stairs. It seemed Petunia had finally gotten her wits together enough to tell his uncle about what she'd seen but he hadn't the wits to be properly scared. Harry reflected that if he heard about a lunatic bathing in human blood, or any type for that matter, that he would do his best to avoid calling attention to himself. Basic survival really...
Nevertheless, there came Vernon screaming about murderous freaks and last straws. As soon as he saw Harry, still quite literally covered in blood, he charged with his hands outstretched to grab his nephew.
Now though Harry had been quite willing to die not so long ago and had only just decided that he really didn't care about what others thought, but he certainly wasn't about to stand for any more of this crap. Without thinking he pulled his leg back and delivered a kick that would make Pelé himself proud right into his uncle's crotch. Harry was surprised to see Vernon actually lifted off the ground by the force of his kick but he could still feel the roar of his magic coursing through his body.
When his uncle fell to the floor in pain, Harry saw the chance for a bit of revenge. He pulled back for another kick and destroyed his uncle's nose, savoring the crunch as it broke under his heel. As a final bit of spite, Harry stole his wallet and headed down the stairs. He didn't even stop to consider the fact that he was still covered in blood, or that he was naked, as he walked right out the door in search of a massive meal and something to drink.
He wasn't even three steps out of the front door when Tonks appeared from under and invisibility cloak. "Great Merlin, Harry! What happened? What was all the screaming about?"
Harry shrugged apathetically, "They annoyed me. See that you don't."
Tonks' hair lost its vibrancy and she looked nauseous as she tried to stumble out a reply. She was utterly helpless as she looked into his green eyes and saw a power lurking there that she could barely comprehend. He said only one word, "Move," but it hit her harder than a killing curse and she found herself stepping aside without even thinking to stop him.
That, Harry decided, was by far the best burger he had ever eaten. The chips were great and the soda as good as ever but damn that pub knew how to make a burger! Unfortunately his meal had been interrupted when the owner had called the police. Again he understood that it was just basic survival strategy to call someone when a naked bloody man walks into your pub and orders a meal. The smart thing to do is give him what he wants as quickly as possible, then ring up the constable to come deal with it. Harry had gone along peacefully when the police sent a car over to investigate and didn't even protest when they gave him a pair of shorts and showed him to the holding cell where he was to wait with a few drunks and a petty thief.
Harry smiled and waved at the thief again just to watch him squirm. He'd heard the Dursleys come in nearly a half hour ago when the police phoned about Vernon's wallet and he had no doubt they were still around somewhere swearing out charges for everything they could think of. He knew that theft and public indecency were going to be tough charges to beat but he wondered what else they could come up with.
A better idea by far Harry decided was to leave before they got around to filing any charges at all. He'd been playing around ever since he'd been stuck in the cell and made a few interesting discoveries. Accidental magic, he knew, happened when a person got particularly emotional, high strung, or were in extreme danger as he'd been earlier. After leveling Vernon and staring an Auror into submission with just a word he guessed that he might be able to use some of that power toward other non obvious ends. He'd practiced by focusing on a particular emotion or goal and experimenting on his fellow prisoners.
"Officer O'Neil, could you come over here for a minute?" Harry called the guard on duty over to the front of the holding cell. He focused on projecting an air of friendliness as the jailer approached. "Look Sean, do you mind if I call you Sean? Great now Sean, me and the boys have been thinking. You see the problem is that they're not really comfortable having a guy like me," Harry gestured at his bloody chest, "sharing a cell with a bunch of fine upstanding citizens like themselves."
"I'm sorry, but well," Sean waved his hand helplessly, "it's the only one we've got so..."
Harry smiled broadly and did his best to put an arm around the officer's shoulders and leaned in to whisper, his voice taking on a calm, almost hypnotic, tone. "I know, and we appreciate everything you do for us here. My real trouble Sean is that there are rather a lot of people who want to harm me."
"Oh don't you worry about that Mr. Potter," the jailer promised, "this cell is very secure. You'll be safe here."
"I have complete faith in you Officer O'Neil, I'd just get worried if you weren't around," Harry focused on generating a sense of trust and innocence. "I'd feel a lot better if you were here in the cell with us though. And I'm sure the boys feel the same since you'll be protecting them from me as well."
"That does make some sense," Sean agreed.
"Great," Harry gushed enthusiastically and tried to force even more magic into his words this time, "Now you just open the door... That's it, come on in. Now since they don't want to share a cell with me, I'll go out here... And we're all set!" Harry pulled the door closed from outside the cell and sat down leaning against the bars. "Now the boys are happy, I'm happy, and you're guarding all of us. Uh-oh, come here Sean, I just thought of something," Harry gestured for the officer to lean over. Focusing again on trust and friendliness Harry whispered in the officer's ear, "Sean, I don't think it's a good idea to have the keys in the cell with you. That guy over there was arrested for pick pocketing and we wouldn't want to give him any ideas..."
As soon as the jailer passed his keys through the bars Harry walked towards the exit, his goals accomplished. He dropped the keys in a waste paper bin on his way past and strolled out of the police station as if everything were right in the world. Vernon's spare key was in the magnetic box behind the bumper as always and Harry decided a short trip with air conditioning was far preferable to walking all the way home from Greater Whinging. After all, how hard could driving an auto really be compared to a broom?
Harry ducked between the houses and quickly pulled himself over the fence. He could still hear the sirens from the police cars behind him and he really did not want to be found again. He'd stashed his broom and trunk under his invisibility cloak in a nearby park so they wouldn't slow him down but he never expected the police to be looking for him so quickly and he'd been spotted before he even thought to hide.
After crashing Vernon's BMW into a lamp post near Privet Drive, Harry had walked the rest of the way home, gathered his things and flown his broom towards Exeter. He knew Hermione lived somewhere in the city but he'd never been to Exeter before and now he had to dodge the police as well. His plan hadn't originally been to visit Hermione but once he remembered that he had very few ideas where Godric's Hollow actually was, he decided to visit the one person he was sure would have an atlas or map.
He continued scurrying about and cutting through people's back gardens until the siren was far behind him. Through some strange kind of luck Harry soon found himself recognizing the street name and counting the house numbers. In no time at all he was looking at a nice half timbered house up on Stepcote Hill that matched the address Hermione always put on her letters.
Hermione's father came to the door promptly, but Harry could hear the sirens again and he knew he didn't have much time, "Hey Mr. Granger, I hope you remember me, my name is Harry Potter."
"Oh yes, Hermione's told us quite a bit about you," he began. "So what brings you out tonight?"
"I was just hoping to speak with Hermione for a few minutes," Harry glanced nervously down the block and saw the glow of headlights approaching the end of the street.
He could see that Hermione's father was about to reply in the negative but was saved by Hermione's panicked voice from inside, "Oh my God! Daddy come see this, it's Harry!"
Taking advantage of the situation Harry pushed past Mr. Granger and got inside just before the police car rolled around the corner. Hurrying towards his friend's voice, Harry arrived in a tastefully decorated living room to find Hermione and her mother staring at the telly in shock as his mug shot from earlier in the day was displayed as well as a list of charges.
"They definitely didn't get my good side," Hermione's head whipped around as soon as Harry started speaking.
"Harry!" Hermione didn't even slow down as she vaulted over the back of the sofa and wrapped her friend in a hug.
"Just what is going on here?" Mr. Granger near bellowed. "First he shows up unannounced, then there's a wanted poster, and now police patrolling down my street? Who are you and what's going on?"
"Calm yourself," Harry commanded. "You never saw me. I was never here. You went to bed early because there was nothing interesting on television."
Hermione's mother looked dazed for a moment and shook her head as if to clear the mental cobwebs, "What are you..."
"I was never here. You went to bed early." Harry repeated in his persuasive voice. Both adults nodded slowly and moved for the stairs in a daze. Hermione shivered as they left the room but didn't say anything until they were well gone.
"I've never heard anything like that," Hermione said without letting go of him. "What did you do to them?"
"Nothing, I just gave them a little suggestion. They'll be fine in the morning," Harry promised.
"But it was like you were so powerful. Even though I wasn't the one it was directed at, I still wanted to obey..."
"I am powerful, I just never realized exactly how powerful until today. And don't worry about the telly," Harry assured her. "I'm sure that a letter to Dumbledore will see this all cleaned up in no time. He's probably already out there obliviating most of the Surrey police department. After all it's not as if I've actually done anything wrong."
"Not done anything wrong? They say you killed somebody! You were still covered in their blood when they took your picture!"
"Who is it that I've supposedly killed? Unless there's a body somewhere that I've forgotten about I've never successfully killed anyone in my life."
"What do you mean, successfully killed?"
"Voldemort didn't exactly stay dead so I don't think he counts," Harry frowned as he remembered something. "Quirrel might count though. I'm not sure if it was me or the Dark Lord that actually finished him off. Still, I haven't killed anyone recently so that part is completely false."
"What about the robbery, assault, and grand theft auto?" She asked disapprovingly.
"If it wasn't a crime when the Dursleys did it to me, I don't think it was a crime that I finally returned the favor. As for the prison break, if there was a video camera in the cell it will show that the guards let me go. I figure Sirius would be so proud right now," Harry shook his head, "Look that's really not important. Like I said that's all going to go away in a few days, a week tops. I came here to ask you a quick favor."
"Of course you can stay here until this is resolved. My parent's might need some convincing but I'm sure they'll help you," Hermione promised.
"That's nice to hear but I don't need it. I was just hoping you had an atlas or a really good map," he explained. "I've got a place to stay but I have no clue where I'm going."
"Of course," Hermione moved to one of the book cases along the side of the room and pulled down a thick book. "Here's an atlas and I'll just run up to my parent's office and grab our road maps."
Harry accepted the heavy book and opened it to the very back. Taking a guess based on the name Godric's Hollow, he noticed a few places in Britain that might hide the little hamlet. North Yorkshire, Herefordshire, the Desert of Wales, the Scottish Highlands, and Devon all contained moors which, if the Sorting Hat could be trusted, were Godric's homeland. Taking the maps Hermione was handing him, he spread them out across the floor and started looking.
Since a hollow was a valley or depressed bit of earth, Harry started in western Wales looking for any combination of valleys and moors. A few minutes later he breathed a sigh of relief. At least he wasn't Welsh. Yorkshire and Herefordshire were likewise vacant of any recognizable names. Harry decided to skip the Highlands for the moment and looked to Devon, might as well eliminate the easy bits first since there were so many mountains and valleys in Scotland.
There! Smack in the middle of Dartmoor, just south of Two Bridges, lay a group of tors and in the middle a tiny dot labeled Godric's Hollow. He pulled the map of Scotland over anyway for a bit of misdirection just in case Hermione was being her usual studious self. After a moment he faked an epiphany and tapped a spot of the map a few times near Loch Lomond.
"Found it," He announced. "Would you mind if I borrowed this? I'll have Hedwig bring it back as soon as I get there."
"Sure," Hermione hugged him again and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Stay safe Harry."
Harry had a better idea and returned the kiss in the form of a full on snog. Looking at his now speechless friend Harry smiled cockily, "When do I ever play it safe?"
Godric's Hollow it turned out was little more than a few farmhouses at the end of a dirt road. As he flew along the road Harry felt the slight tingle of magic down towards the very end. When he flew lower to investigate, a modest two story home appeared where before the road simply stopped without explanation. A large hole had been blown through the roof on the backside and the what was left of the door was still sitting on the front lawn. If Harry had harbored any doubts that he was in the right place, this disproved them without question. This was definitely the house where Voldemort had attacked his family.
Landing through the hole in the nursery, Harry found himself very angry at most of the adults who claimed to be looking out for him. Nobody had attempted to salvage a thing from the house, plush toys long since destroyed by mold and rot literally fell into dust as he touched them. The floor was rotting and he could see down into the kitchen in some places. Other rooms as he found them were not a whole lot better. The moisture had allowed mold and mildew to claim what used to be expensive wallpaper and rugs. The whole place smelled of decay but from the general state of things Harry could tell that no one had stepped foot in the house for years, if ever. Ironically it was this fact that convinced Harry it was safe and almost surely unknown. He'd have to find somewhere else to stay eventually but it would do for a few days.
Harry broke a chair from the kitchen down and threw the wood into the hearth. As soon as he did, the wood burst into flames when the hearth's enchantments were triggered. Harry broke a few more chairs and set them next to the fireplace so he'd have fuel to get him through the night and then began brushing a place clear for him to lie down on the floor. He nearly jumped out of his skin when some dust hit the fire and the flames turned green.
Realizing this meant the floo was still hooked up, Harry called the only place he knew would still be open, the Leaky Cauldron. For a few sickles Harry bought a warm meal of take out and a cold butter beer. Seizing the chance to query someone who had no reason to be suspicious when he asked questions, Harry got the names and floo addresses of two businesses which made Wizarding tents and the gist of what one would cost him. Maybe he wouldn't have to move again after all, he'd sort that all out in the morning.