A/N: It's a damn good thing I didn't get too invested in this stuff; otherwise I might have been devastated from what happened in book 7.
It's not the end of the world, and I'll continue dabbling in my series to make things right from various angles and points in canon. But for this I pose a simple question: what if what we're reading is simply a misinterpretation of history, or a wishful one?
It is to that end I present to you…Rewriting History…what really happened as told by the man who lived it. You'll see what I mean.
/ - / - / - /
June 1st, 2099
Terrence Skeeter ran through the offices of Athena Press Publications with single minded determination on his face, trying not to miss his third deadline in a row. It had been a hard time trying to get an interview with the Goblin Chieftain, but things were moving along smoothly, and he had managed to sweet talk his way into the story of the century.
If he could get it in on time.
Much to his chagrin, he rounded the corner long enough to see the paste-ups for the next day's prophet leaving to be published. "Wait," he screamed out loud, drawing everyone's attention to him…save for the person who was carrying the paste-ups of course. The moment he opened a small metal door and went through it, the paper was going to be as it was.
Terrence slipped and fell in his desperation to reach the ironclad deadline for the next day, and cursed himself as he lay on the floor. He then got a wide-eyed look and jumped backwards as a small burst of flame erupted from his robes. He watched in horror as his only copy of the interview with the elusive Griphook literally went up in smoke. The goblins certainly hadn't been lying when they told him that the interview would have to be in that day's edition, or it wouldn't ever be published in the first place. Time was money to them.
Terrence cursed himself aloud and kicked imaginary dust on the remaining ashes of the story that was going to make his career, before one overwhelming thought of dread filled his mind…
If he had no story…it would certainly break his career too.
Resigning himself, he trudged back to his cubicle, not even bothering to check his mail as he walked in. Sitting down at his desk, he rubbed his eyes in worry and let out a deep sigh. He looked at a mirror on the side of his desk and ruffled his hand through dirty blonde hair that had flecks of auburn in it. He certainly looked worse for wear if his blue eyes were to be believed given their current bloodshot state.
"All right there Terry?" he turned around and saw the smiling face and green eyes of his friend, his best mate since Hogwarts, Andrew Creevey, looking down on him with a sarcastic smirk cut into his gaze. Terry just groaned and turned away, placing his head down on his desk.
"Go away Andy," he said through his arms, "I'm gonna be in for it now."
"I'm not going to argue with you on that one mate," Andy replied, sitting down in the other chair in the larger than normal cubicle. "Lord knows Carter isn't going to like this one bit." Terry groaned again and banged his head on his desk at the mention of his fat, balding, overbearing editor. He had promised Carter the story of the century, the first real interview between a member of the wizarding press and the goblin chieftain in over a century, since the conclusion of the fourth Dark War of the 20th century. He had to bribe several goblins just to get close to the chieftain, and then bribe several more to get him to agree to the short interview with the caveat that they would determine its press time.
He had been so happy that he had decided to go out with his mates and get plastered, forgetting of course to brew a healthy dose of hangover potion. He had woken up two hours before deadline, and had worked like a madman to get his story done in time all through a blurry sense. If his Nana Rita had still been alive, she would have killed him on principle alone. This was compounded by the fact that his apparition license was currently on suspension for suspected use in a muggle shopping mall (a charge that had half a bit of truth to it, but was far overblown he told himself again) and so thusly he had to use the Knight Bus to get to the office in time.
Damn them for being five minutes early with the deadline.
"Oh by the way," Andy said, breaking Terry out of his stupor and reminiscing, "You've been getting a floo call from Carter's office all day. I told them you were out but they insisted on you going up there as soon as you got in." Terry groaned for a third time in as many minutes.
"Great, now I'm not just in for it…I might as well be roasted." Terry looked to Andy for some semblance of sympathy.
"Hey….who says you have to be roasted? You could just as easily be barbecued." Terry growled and tossed a wad of parchment at Andy who just laughed. "Hey, calm down man. If anything they will probably just reprimand you again." Andy stopped and scratched his chin, as if deep in thought before he added, "Unless Carter knows you've been shagging his daughter. Then that might complicate things." Terry let out an audible gulp. He and Lavender had been seeing each other in a rather clan destine fashion for the better part of five months, but she still hadn't told her father.
"Well, I suppose I should face the music," he said with a feigned smirk, standing up from his desk while trying to keep a smile on his face. "I suppose it can't be all bad."
/ - / - / - /
Terry Skeeter slowly approached the door that held his editor's office. Suddenly he wasn't so optimistic, even in a feigned version, about what was about to happen to him. There were a million thoughts running through his mind, like why exactly his editor had wanted to speak with him before he blew the biggest story of his possibly soon to be ex-career.
He wrapped on the door softly, earning a gruff affirmative for him to come in. He slowly eased the door open, as if creeping through some danger filled castle. He was surprised at what he saw. There on his desk was an overweight, dark-skinned man, with light gray hair and a calm demeanor on his face, clad in muggle business attire as opposed to more traditional wizarding robes. Carter Thomas, editor of the Daily Prophet, glanced up at his employee, and offered a slight smile.
"Ah, Terrence, there you are. Come in, come in, please sit down." Terry suppressed an audible gulp and decided that so far, this was a good thing. Carter was usually one given to wear his emotions on his sleeve, so if he was acting happy right now, there was a better chance that he was actually happy to begin with. Terry did as he was told, and Carter took a seat across from him at his cluttered desk.
"Andy said you've wanted to see me." Terry swallowed, it was always best to come clean when something was broke, especially if they didn't know about it already. Given the fact that Carter was acting the way he was, Terry had deduced that he must not know about the blown story yet.
"Yes," Carter said, his face faltering a bit, "I just heard about what you did with the goblins." Terry panicked in his head, but then Carter did something he never did: he smiled and shrugged it off. "Forget about it kid, stuff like that happens. Is anyone else going to get a story with the goblins? Not likely. The only one who would is the Quibbler anyway, and they've got nothing to gain by it. What are they going to do, knock us out of last place?" Carter laughed, a gesture returned by Terry, who offered a ho-hum, reserved laughter in response.
Carter stopped and grabbed a piece of parchment from his desk, handing the folded document to Terry. "That arrived via owl this morning from Scotland." Terry glanced up at Carter, who motioned for him to read it. Terry pulled out a small pair of reading glasses and unfolded the parchment, carefully reading it.
To the Executive Vice-President of Athena Press Publications:
I am writing you in reference to your standing offer of publication for my memoirs. I realize this likely comes as a sudden shock to you, given my vehemence at any inquiries as to publishing said book in the past, but I have come at a time in my life when I feel it necessary to put certain truths in order and certain lies to rest.
Therefore, if the offer still stands and you are agreeable, I wish for you to send a biographer immediately to begin the process of constructing my memoirs. I request that you send one Terrence Skeeter, staff writer for the Daily Prophet, to conduct a series of interviews with me concerning my life, which is then to be put in a biography that he will write. For legal concern, I ask that all rights and royalties to the book be paid directly to Mr. Skeeter, with the before agreed upon fees paid to Athena Press Limited in advance, as determined by Gringotts Bank.
If this is an unsuitable proposal for you, then please write me back immediately.
Harry James Potter
Order of Merlin First Class & Headmaster of Hogwarts Emeritus
Terry's eyes went wide as he re-read the letter a second, followed by a third time. Carter just sat behind his desk, smiling, as he explained, "You can understand that the possibility of publishing the memoirs of the Man-Who-Conquered would be a boondoggle to our sagging profit margin."
"But W—Why me," Terry sputtered out, finishing the letter for a fourth time, still in a state of shock. "I mean, I'm not even a real author, I just write Quidditch game reports. I've barely even been working here for more than six months!"
"You don't think I want you to handle something of this magnitude, do you?" Carter asked rhetorically, squinting his eyes in a degree of annoyance. "But the letter was clear; you are to be the one to write this book. Hell, I'd go sell my own mother to a bunch of sex-starved pirates if it meant I'd get the publishing rights to this book." He moved around a bunch of papers on his desk and tossed a small acorn to Terry. "That's supposed to be a portkey to wherever it is that he is living at." Carter got a wistful look on his face, as if he could see the galleons mounting in front of his eyes.
Terry considered himself lucky to still have a job at this point, but standing pat had never been one of his strong suits. The Sorting Hat had once told him he'd be great in Slytherin if it weren't for his rather clever nature, which ultimately led him to Ravenclaw. That had never stopped him from using his inherent cunning to his advantage when the opportunity presented itself. Resituating himself to sit up more in the chair, he leaned forward towards his editor.
"What if I say no?" he said with a smirk on his face, causing Carter to silence quickly, his lips firmly pursed. "I mean, it's not like you can get someone else to do it." He smiled again, leaning back, "Of course, I don't think I'd turn down an opportunity like this, assuming that I was properly motivated of course."
Carter sighed, removing his glasses and rubbing his temples. "What is it you want Skeeter?"
Terry smiled broadly, "Just a column of my own in the Prophet….and a bigger office with a pay raise." Carter turned a rather impressive shade of purple for a dark-skinned man, but Terry persisted. "Like you said sir, profits will go through the roof if this book is a hit, and since it's about Harry Potter, I don't see how it couldn't." Carter calmed down a bit, before sighing again and nodding.
"Fine Terry, you'll have what you want…when you deliver that book and if it's a best-seller. Come back to me then, and we'll talk."
"Fair enough," Terry replied, smiling, and ushering himself out of the office.
"Terry," came Carter's deep voice, causing said reporter to freeze in his tracks and turn back at his boss. "Never lay a hand on my daughter again," he said firmly, causing Terry to shudder from the angry look in the man's eyes. Terry may have been cunning, but bravery had most certainly never been one of his greater points.
/ - / - / - /
Terry reappeared into a gray misty day on the outskirts of a small village of Scotland. This certainly wasn't what he was expecting as far as where the great Harry Potter lived.
There wasn't a witch or wizard alive who didn't know the basic story of Harry Potter. Harry who had at the age of one, slain the dark wizard known then as He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named (still called that by some of the older generations, even a century later). He had been proclaimed the Boy-Who-Lived. Harry had then been sent to the muggle world to live with his aunt and uncle, though tales of this time of his life were sparing at best. He returned to the magical world at the age of 11, stopped a possessed professor from capturing the Philosopher's Stone, solved the riddles of the Chamber of Secrets, participated in the Tri-Wizard Tournament, had single handedly stopped Voldemort (as was his proper name), from capturing the Ministry upon his return (though no one believed at the time that he had in fact returned), and then, along with his great friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger, had defeated Voldemort once and for all.
Of course that was just the beginning. For the next century Harry Potter would be the defender of the wizarding world, alongside his wife, companion and equal, Hermione Potter. Eventually the Potter's settled into a peaceful existence, with both of them becoming instructors, and later Harry himself becoming headmaster at Hogwarts. Terry still remembered seeing Harry Potter for the first time, albeit from a distance, as an eleven year old child walking into the Great Hall, in awe of the great hero.
Oddly enough in all of his time he had never spoken with the headmaster, or even been sent to the headmaster's office. He had always been on the badside of Professor Gray, his head of house during his time at Hogwarts, but had never really come into contact with either of the Potter's. Of course Professor Potter-Granger had been his charms professor for seven years, but he had never been close with her either.
As he walked up a beaten path towards what he assumed to be the right house, he thought best about how to approach this. Though the basic story was known, details concerning all of Harry's adventures were scarce at best. This had led to wild speculation on the part of many authors, as many "unauthorized" biographies and accounts of his tales had surfaced, some more credible than others. The Potter's had never affirmed nor denied any of the claims in the books, and had never given their blessings to any of them. And the close knit circle of friends surrounding them, the Weasleys, Neville Longbottom and his wife Susan, even Draco Malfoy, had been surprisingly mum on the subject. Most of these accounts came as second or third hand from some of the more unsavory characters in Harry's life, while others seemed to be on the up and up, going so far as to have interviews from Harry's numerous children included. A small minority were complete trash, however. These, for the most part, poorly written books were scandalous at best, and downright ludicrous at worst, distorting even the most basic known facts of Harry's life to the point at which it was laughable.
He came to a stop in a large meadow with a few trees lining the far edges of the property. He tilted his head in surprise as he saw a small, two-story cottage sitting in the middle of the field, a simple garden in front of it's normal, off-white color. Smoke happily billowed out of the chimney on the left hand side. This certainly wasn't the expected destination, he thought to himself. He expected Harry Potter to live in a large mansion, maybe even something akin to a castle, not something that rivaled his small London flat in terms of opulence. The whole thing had a rather picturesque look to it, complete with a picket white fence that surrounded the house.
Quietly Terry slipped through the front gate and made his way down a small cobblestone path that led to the front door. He didn't notice the small loop of rope that was placed on the path in front of him. When he stepped in it, he screamed in shock as he was flung up by the noose and left dangling by his ankles from an oak tree in the front yard After a few moments of struggling to get loose, a task worsened by the fact that his wand had fallen out of his pocket and onto the floor, he heard a soft pop and glanced over to see a house elf standing in front of the house, glaring at him.
"Get me down from here you bloody thing!" Terry yelled, only to have the elf shake its head.
"Colby will be doing no such thing sir," the elf snapped. He then got a wicked glint in his eyes, "Then again…" With a snap of his fingers the rope holding Terry to the tree disappeared, and Terry quickly landed onto the ground with a loud thud. The elf giggled, while Terry snarled at him from his crouched position, as he tried to dust himself off. The elf looked like no other that Terry had ever seen. He was wearing a rather intricately designed uniform, not unlike the one that a muggle butler would wear. Terry staggered to his feet, grabbing his wand from the ground as he did so and keeping it at his side.
"What do you think you're doing?" he asked defensively. "I was invited here…why would you attack a guest."
"Colby is doing as he is told," the elf explained, taking two steps forward, "Master Harry Potter needs to be protected, and that's what Colby be doing." Terry was about to say something else, when he heard the creaking of a door. Both he and Colby turned to see the front door to the house open up wide.
Harry Potter looked just as Terry had remembered him from Hogwarts. He had a short gray beard that was still very neatly trimmed and never longer than a few inches from his face. His face was still a mask of emotion, giving no real indication of what was really going on underneath the façade. He was dressed in light blue robes and, surprisingly to Terry, a pair of slippers. He yawned a bit, stretching out his arms and readjusting his glasses, which covered a pair of twinkling green eyes. Above those eyes, on his brow, was his famous scar, standing out as prominently as the day which he had gotten it.
"Colby," Harry muttered aloud, "What seems to be the trouble?"
"No trouble Master Harry Potter sir," Colby said, turning back to Terry. "Just an intruder that Colby be sending away." Harry squinted at Terry, before his eyes went wide.
"Colby," he said in a chastising fashion, "This is the reporter I told you about." Colby's bug-eyes stuck out further from his head as he turned back to Harry, who continued, "This is Terrence Skeeter, the one who's going to write my biography."
"Oh…I---…." Colby sputtered back and forth, before popping away from where he was standing and reappearing next to Terry in a flash. "A thousand pardons young sir," Colby quickly said, trying to finish dusting Terry off. "Colby had no idea who you were. Oh Colby is truly sorry for everything he did. Please forgive Colby sir."
"It's alright," Terry said softly, "I think you just caught me by surprise." Truth be told he was furious at the elf and wanted to boot him halfway across Scotland, but much to his surprise he was able to keep his emotions in check.
"You'll have to forgive Colby Mr. Skeeter," Harry said in a grandfatherly voice, moving closer to Terry. "He tends to be a bit…excitable when it comes to protecting my privacy. I'm certain you'll want to begin, so if you'll just follow me." Terry nodded and Harry walked him back to the cottage, shutting the door as they went.
A/N: This has actually been in my head for a while, and Deathly Hallows essentially steeled my resolve to actually start writing it. It's a complete canon rewrite, that is to say, there's a lot of canon in here, just with a few minor (Relatively speaking, for me anyway) changes along the way.
Harry begins to tell his story, and reveals why he is telling it now, in the next chapter.