Harry Potter didn't manage to cast a single spell in his entire first week at Hogwarts. He didn't even manage to bungle any- there were no fireballs, no herds of exploding buffalo, not even sparks.
He'd known somehow that Hagrid had been wrong. Harry wasn't anything special. He shouldn't be here, and he knew it. But he'd been offered a chance to run away, to get far from the Dursleys, and he'd taken it, despite the lies he'd had to tell. Nothing strange had ever happened around him- nothing that he needed magic to explain. He'd felt different from others, but that was more because Dudley beat him up if he tried to make friends with anyone than anything else. So Harry had lied to Hagrid, acted like strange things happened all the time. It had gotten him here, and he refused to feel guilty.
I won't be sent back, he thought. I will find a way to stay here.
With that thought firmly in his mind, he walked back to the Slytherin common room, trying desperately to come up with a plan.
Lies wouldn't keep him here forever. He would have to find a way to fool them completely, to show evidence of magic without actually doing any, or- and he was as sure that this was impossible as he was sure that he didn't want to go back to the Dursleys- he would have to find a way to get magic for himself.
"Don't touch anything, Harry. I'll do it- you can just… Er…" Draco's eyes swept over the ingredients quickly. "You can chop the mint. No harm in that…"
Harry carefully sliced the mint into strips, taking care that they were exactly the size recommended by the instructions. He was always so careful with these things, but his potions as of yet had never turned out well. They didn't have any color, and all the chopped roots and sliced leaves floated in water like it was watery soup, as all around him others' potions bubbled and oozed and became bright orange. At least his didn't blow up. They didn't do anything.
"There," Draco said as the potion became purple. "See? We're on track, for once."
Harry piled the mint leaves neatly in a corner of the table. They weren't needed yet.
"What next," Draco muttered, looking in the book. Across the room, Ron shot Harry a glare. They hadn't been getting along well since the Sorting, which was a pity. Harry had quite liked Ron. But there were other, closer friends in his own house.
"Mr. Potter," a voice said from behind the pair of them. "While in other classes you might be able to get away with letting others do your work for you, in Potions you will not. Ten points from Slytherin for your slothfulness."
There was a general murmur of discontent. Everyone in the class knew that Harry was bullocks at magic. They'd seen him fail miserably in every class, and everyone had seen what the last few potions he'd tried looked like. And Snape never took points from his own house.
Withering under Snape's glare, Harry stirred the potion. Its color started to fade. Within a moment, it looked exactly like all the others he'd tried to do. Grey, nasty-looking.
Draco moaned. Snape smiled a bitter, nasty smile. "Hmm," he said, and walked away.
Draco started the potion over. There was nothing that would save it now.
Once Harry had touched something magical, there never was.
Harry wasn't sure exactly what possessed him to follow Hermione on Halloween. He wasn't even friends with her. But he'd seen her crying, running down the hall, and… Well, he knew how that felt. He'd probably know even better in a day or two, when the finally decided to kick him out of school. He was failing every class except Astronomy and History of Magic, and there really wasn't any way his teachers could pretend he could do any magic, any more.
He didn't go to the Great Hall, and he certainly didn't expect to see the troll outside the girls' bathroom he'd seen Hermione rush into.
"Easy, there," he told it, backing away. It growled, lurching toward him more quickly than he had expected. He turned and began to run down the hall.
"Troll!" he yelled. "Help! There's a troll!"
But no one heard him. They were all at the Halloween Feast, having a good time.
He concentrated his efforts on running. It was no good, though; the troll was huge and stupid-looking, but it was fast and he could hear it gaining on him.
"Help!" he called one more time as he felt it grab his arm with crushing strength. "HELP!"
It let him go for a moment. He couldn't see why, but he took off running again before it could change its mind. And then it grabbed him again and-
"Harry!" a shrill voice said. Harry turned to see Hermione, wand out and trembling.
"Kill it!" he shouted.
She stared, eyes wide. "How!"
Harry was now dangling upside down, held by one leg. The troll was only using one arm- the other was hanging dead at its side.
Suddenly, the troll dropped him. He landed on his head, splitting pain as he hit the stone floor. Then he was on his feet again, ignoring the blood in his hair and running down his face (head wounds bled so much…) and somehow feeling more alive than he had in weeks.
The troll wasn't moving its arms. It roared in Harry's face, moving its stinking mouth close enough to bite. Harry, not knowing exactly what he was doing or why, reached and touched its face. There was a moment when he thought it would bite his arm off, and then-
Then it went cross-eyed, and with a last stinking breath it collapsed on top of him, trapping him beneath a mound of dead, stinking troll.
It was then, as he struggled to get out from under it, that the teachers finally came to rescue them.
"Do you realize how extraordinary this is, Harry? Not many first-years could defeat a mountain troll."
"I didn't do anything," Harry almost said, before he realized that this had been exactly what he was hoping for. They wouldn't kick him out for being a muggle, now. He'd just proved that he had some sort of skill. Never mind that the troll had just had a stroke or something at a convenient moment. He could use this.
He shrugged, instead. "It wasn't so hard, when it was trying to kill me. A good incentive."
Dumbledore nodded, as if this made perfect sense to him.
"Of course," he said. "Magic activated only by danger… Understandable, after what you've been through."
"Excuse me, sir, but what are you talking about?"
"You haven't been doing well in your classes, Harry. Are you bored?"
"Oh, no! I'm- they're very fun, really."
"And yet you've yet to actually cast a spell in them."
"I have a theory, Harry. I think you need something more to trigger magical incidents. I take it you didn't have many bouts of accidental magic as a child?"
"No, sir." None at all.
"You see, different people have different… magical flash points, we'll call them. Just as it takes more work to set fire to wood than to newspaper, it takes some people more effort to express magic than it does others. You are more like wood than paper."
Harry shrugged again.
"The thing to remember about wood, though, is that it burns brighter and for longer than paper. You just need to get it started. Would you like extra help in your classes, Harry? It would be to your benefit, I think."
"That would be wonderful," Harry said.
He had a few more weeks, at least. Time enough, perhaps, to come up with a plan.
A few days later, in Potions, Harry didn't touch the cauldron or the ingredients at all. The potion still failed. Somehow, though, Harry didn't feel upset. He felt full of energy, bouncing in his seat.
"You have the worst luck!" Draco said as they walked out. "I like you, Harry, but I don't want to be your partner in Potions anymore."
Harry nodded. "I understand. Trust me- if I were in your position, I'd do the same thing."
They walked off to the common room together in an awkward silence.
"They're going to kick me out soon," Harry said glumly. "The troll thing bought some time, but I don't know how much. I'm completely muggle, I think."
Draco gave him a disgusted look. "You are not. You got a letter; you saw the school. You're a wizard. You're just not good at potions. Everyone has a weakness."
And I'm bad at Transfiguration, and Charms, and Defense…
Harry didn't mention it again. Some things weren't worth it. Draco didn't like muggles, and he wasn't going to have a rational conversation.
He wished again that he had some other friends, but stopped almost immediately. Draco was nice enough. He just had a few problems with muggles. Well, Harry wasn't that fond of the ones he knew, either. And it was disloyal of Harry to think of how nice Ron had seemed on the train, and how that girl Hermione had been so talkative for a few days ago, until Draco had glared at her and called her a mudblood.
The next potions lesson, during which Harry paired with Blaise Zabini, his potion failed again. So did the one at the table on the left- Draco's table. Harry tried not to smirk at that, but he was a bit worried. His bad luck was spreading.
He met with Dumbledore for his first additional lesson the next day.
"Now, it seems that the best way to trigger your magic is to put you in life-threatening situations. Naturally, that isn't appropriate for everyday lessons-"
No kidding, Harry thought.
"- but I have come up with several simulations of such situations, and they could have the same effect."
Suddenly, Harry found himself standing in a field, and around him were hundreds of wolves. They all growled as one, and Harry felt every hair on his body stand up.
They leapt, and as they were about to land on him, Harry breathed in and was sitting on the chair in the office again.
"Interesting," Dumbledore said. "You broke the spell. Most people attack the wolves…"
The spell was cast again, and Harry found himself under water. Looking up, he saw the surface. There was sun shining through, far above his head. He couldn't possibly reach it before he drowned.
He tried to find a way to breathe, to escape the spell, but he could only flail in the water, quickly running out of breath. Somehow, he still didn't feel scared. There was no danger here, only discomfort.
And then, just as suddenly as before, he was sitting in the office, feeling as wired as if he'd just had six cups of coffee.
"You broke it again," Dumbledore said. "This is very interesting. Your talents seem to be geared towards escape…"
And then Harry found himself laying in a trunk, in the dark.
Just like home, he thought dryly, remembering his cupboard back at the Dursleys. He pushed at the lid, and was not surprised when it stayed in place. The air was stale inside, and he realized that his air was quickly running out.
This time, he didn't even struggle. He just waited, and after a moment Dumbledore's office came into view again.
"Your magic is revealing itself the same way every time," Dumbledore said. "I'll need to think of another way to trigger it. Go back to your common room for now. I need to think about this."
There was a perplexed look in Dumbledore's eyes that Harry was sure didn't belong there.
I have him confused. But then, I have myself confused, too.
How did I get out of that spell? I know I don't have any magic.
The next day in Potions, the boil-cure potions on all four sides of Harry were spoiled. Snape glared at him, but Harry just shrugged. It wasn't as if he was doing it on purpose.
"We are going to Diagon Alley today," Dumbledore said. "Perhaps your wand is faulty."
They went into Ollivander's dusty little shop and watched as he measured the wand and attached all sorts of bizarre instruments to it.
"Odd…" he said. "The last wand I saw like this was yours, Albus, after- but you would remember well, I'm sure."
Dumbledore nodded gravely.
"Getting up to quite a bit in school, I see," Ollivander said. "Or perhaps…?"
Dumbledore gave the old wand-maker a look Harry could not read.
"Very well… Here, I'll put a new core in it. Be careful how much magic you use, Mr. Potter. You burned your last core up entirely."
Harry nodded and took the wand. He looked out the window, at the colorful shops in the Alley.
"Can we go look at the other stores, since we're here anyway?"
Dumbledore checked his watch with a twinkle in his eyes. "One or two, perhaps."
They wandered around for a few moments, Harry feeling more and more excited the longer they stayed. The sights and sounds seemed much cleared, much brighter than they had last time. He stopped in the middle of the street for a moment, just soaking in the atmosphere. They stopped for mint ice cream, and Dumbledore waited indulgently outside the bookstore as Harry bought a few volumes.
Things were looking up, Harry decided when they returned to Hogwarts.
Six groups around Harry had failing potions this time. No one next to him in Transfiguration managed to transfigure their rocks into teacups. Bad luck, it seemed, was contagious. Even with a new core in his wand, he couldn't cast any spells. But despite this, his mood had never been better. He felt full of energy all the time, and was finding it hard to sleep.
He found out about the Philosopher's Stone completely by accident. He'd been helping Hagrid with his dragon's egg hatching, and had been there as the little thing came out and weakly took one step before dying.
"I'm sorry, Hagrid," Harry said to the awkward, sobbing man. The little dragon's body was still warm. Harry had a sudden, crushing feeling that it was all his fault.
"'S'not yer fault," Hagrid said. Harry said nothing.
After a moment, Hagrid brought a bottle of something that smelled strongly alcoholic down from a high shelve, and took a swig from it.
After that, it was only a matter of time as the drink- was it whisky? Rum?- took its effect, and Hagrid began talking.
The next day, it was eight groups that had ruined potions.
Things fell neatly into place as the days went on. Harry wandered the school at night constantly now, sleeping only every other day or two. There was a lot to see, and Filch seemed to go to be after about three. There were rooms upon rooms that Harry had never noticed before, and they all seemed to open up to him. He saw teachers sometimes, and had to duck around corners to avoid them, but they never noticed him. He moved quietly, and fast. Mrs. Norris was not a problem, he found, if you carried a supply of catnip at all times. And yet, even with all that freedom, he was restless. He remembered Diagon Alley, and how entertaining it had been. It would be nice to go back. Perhaps during Christmas break, he could stay at the Leaky Cauldron and wander for a week or two. The Dursleys wouldn't mind- they probably wouldn't even notice he was gone.
Yes, that was a splendid idea.
"How are you doing in your classes?"
"No better, sir. I'm sorry. I really am trying, but-"
"No matter. No matter at all. Everything else is going well for you, I trust?"
"I'm okay. Having a bit of trouble sleeping, but nothing major."
"No. Just too much energy."
"We'll be continuing the lessons we were doing a few weeks ago. The room through the door here is charmed in various ways to be perilous. As before, there will be no real danger, but it may trigger your magic."
Harry entered the room and found himself facing a massive man made of clay, with glowing red eyes. It took a step towards him.
"You Will Die Today," it said. Harry could hear the capital letters.
Harry tried to take a step backwards, but the door had closed behind him and- yes- it was locked.
It took another step closer, and Harry found himself feeling dizzy. Then it fell forward, as the troll had, weeks ago.
I seem to be very good at killing things, he thought as it tumbled to the ground. This time, Harry even managed to avoid getting trapped underneath it.
In the office, Dumbledore frowned, and a worried glint entered his eyes. This was no case of high-threshold magic. This was something else.
In the last lesson before Christmas break began, every single potion in Harry's class ended up looking like watery soup, even the one Snape had started making as an example.
"This is enough!" Snape said. "Out! I won't tolerate this in my classes."
Harry shrugged, and went into the hall. It was chilly in the dungeons, but he couldn't think of anywhere to go but his common room.
"Harry?" a voice said. It was Draco. The whole class was coming down the hall. "Snape let us out early- there wasn't enough time to re-brew everything."
Harry nodded, a lump in his throat.
He couldn't brew a potion to save his life. He hadn't managed a single spell.
He thought of Aunt Petunia. The way she was so bitter about Harry's mum, so jealous.
At the moment, he could see why.
Christmas break came, and Harry left on the Hogwarts Express. He didn't go home, though- if Number Four, Privet Drive could even be called that. He walked a long way to the Leaky Cauldron, and got a room.
No one asked him any questions. They were all very nice to him. He wandered the Alley- and sometimes Muggle London, though that wasn't as interesting- buying books and trinkets. It was a waste of money, but he had plenty to spare.
He didn't pick up his homework once. He was failing anyway. Why waste his time?
The lights of Diagon Alley were pretty, but he found his heart beating too fast during the holiday there, as if he'd had too much caffeine. Magic was in the air, and it was making him ill.
The mirror in his room had talked to him the first day at the Cauldron, but it didn't now. It was a muggle mirror now- useful, but not magical.
He was beginning to have an idea of what was happening, and he didn't like it. He suspected that if he took his wand in to Ollivander again, it would once again be burnt out.
He stretched out on his bed, and considered moving to a muggle hotel for the rest of his visit. He couldn't sleep here, just as he hadn't been able to in Hogwarts. There was too much activity here, too much everything. And it was getting worse.
Harry was like a black hole for magic. He was soaking it up, more and more every day.
One week left until break was over.
For the first time since he'd learned of magic, he was considering not going back to school.
The next day, he converted a large supply of galleons into pounds, and he moved his things into a hotel a few blocks away, finally able to rest for a few days. Still, he found himself wandering back into Diagon Alley every day; found himself walking around out of breath. But he could sleep at night.
The week came and went. Harry stayed in the hotel, wasting money on room service and trying to work out how long he'd be able to keep this up.
"How much money do I have?" he asked a goblin at Gringotts.
The goblin eyed him strangely. "Where are your parents?"
"Dead. I'd like to know how much I have in my account, and what that translates into in muggle money."
The goblin disappeared into a back room for a while, and returned with a sheet full of numbers. "Here," he said. "This is the amount in your trust fund, and this is the amount in your other vault."
Harry nodded, taking in the numbers.
"And this is how much I've withdrawn?"
"When was that one?" He pointed to a large-looking number from several months ago.
Harry nodded. "Thank you. That's all I really needed to know." Turning back, he said, "I won't be going back next year. I don't want to see any withdrawals this big again without my permission." He took the sheet of parchment with him, tucked under his robes, and went back to muggle London.
Months passed. Harry found himself going to wizarding London less and less as time went on. He threw his wand away- it hadn't ever been any use to him, anyway, and this way no one could ask him any questions.
He missed Draco, but not as much as he'd thought he would. They hadn't been the closest of friends, and Harry was perfectly capable of taking care of himself. He could buy groceries, and pay his bills (though the management of the hotel frowned at him oddly when he walked up- a small child carrying a wad of cash big enough to get him killed in the more unsavory areas of London). He read a lot, and went to see movies, and enjoyed himself in a hundred quiet ways.
It was during the end of June, when the air was unreasonably chilly for the time of year and the sky was far too cloudy, that his new life was disturbed.
He was walking down the street towards the Leaky Cauldron for more money to pay his hotel bill when the first light flashed past him. It was bright yellow, and he immediately realized that it was a spell.
He turned to see who had cast it, just in time to see another jet of light- this one purple- come towards him, moving not in a straight line but curving towards him. It came close, but didn't quite hit its target.
His heart sped up a bit- whether from fear or magic, he wasn't sure. Across the street was a man wearing black robes and a mask, and already shooting off another purple light.
Harry ran. He didn't have any other option; how could he fight them? He had no magic, no weapons. He was helpless.
Spells kept coming, and some of them hit. They didn't have much effect, except that his heart sped up to an unhealthy, painful pace. He kept running, dashing through the crowd and hoping no one else got hurt.
He ducked into a bookstore, running out a back entrance, but they were close behind- he could hear footsteps, and a few muttered curses of a sort muggles wouldn't use.
And then he ran into a woman in a mask, and knew he'd been caught.
"Got you," she said, voice fell of pleasure. "Silly boy. Give me your wand, or life will be… difficult, in a moment."
"Haven't got one. I don't know what you're talking about."
She gave him a stinging slap across his face.
He turned. He was caught in an alley, and there were other wizards behind him.
"I haven't got one. I threw it away. I'm rubbish at magic- that's why I left school."
He wished he could see her face, to know what she was thinking. Who were these people? They obviously didn't mean well. The only thing he could see of her was a bit of pale blonde hair that had escaped her hood.
"Very well. Accio wand."
"Good. Come. There's much to do."
She grabbed him, and Harry got the idea that she was trying to do some sort of magic, but it wasn't working. Harry was feeling positively giddy, drunk, with his heart a painful pounding in his chest.
"I think you might want to let go of me," he said before he fainted.
He woke on the cold floor of a damp dungeon, confined to a space less than a meter across by bars and chains.
"What…?" he asked, head pounding. He didn't need to ask where he was. The tingle of magic in the air told him that much. He stood as best he could, encumbered by the chains holding him there.
Far away, all the way across the room, was a group of men, huddled against the far wall as if they were scared to get too close to him.
"Hello!" he said. They didn't respond, but only looked away.
He glanced around. There was a plate of food in his little cell, which he could barely reach when he stretched out, lying on the floor. He did so, hungrier than he had been since leaving the Dursleys.
The food was not good- watery stew, with chunks of some chewy unidentifiable meat in it. It looked like his failed attempts at potions had.
None of the other prisoners had any food.
Well, Harry thought optimistically, I guess I'm going to live- though not as comfortably as I'd expected.
As he was scraping the last of some greasy vegetables from the bottom of his bowl, the door to the room opened, and another prisoner was pushed in. He wasn't really visible from this angle- the bars blocked Harry's view- but his long white beard was unmistakable, and the wave of dizziness Harry was experiencing told him there was now a strong source of magic in the room.
The door closed, and Albus Dumbledore stood still for a moment before walking towards Harry.
"Sir? Harry said. "What's going on?"
Dumbledore was filthy, his beard more grey now than white and his cloths torn. He'd been a prisoner for a long time. "Harry," he said faintly. "I'm sorry."
"We've lost. Voldemort has the Philosopher's stone. There isn't any way to stop him now. I'm afraid we're both to be killed very soon- which might be better than the alternative."
Harry looked back at his bowl. Dumbledore followed his gaze, holding on to a bar on Harry's prison cell and looking older than Harry had ever seen him. Another wave of dizziness swept over Harry.
"Sir? You might want to go to the other side of the room. I'm not sure being near me is good for you."
Dumbledore shook his head. "It's too late for that. Moving further away would only prolong the inevitable."
Another wave of dizziness.
"Don't you understand what's going on?"
"Better than you do, I think, Harry."
Dumbledore seemed to age further as Harry watched, although it was- it had to be- his imagination. Harry tried to reign in whatever he was doing- to stop sucking the magic away- but was powerless to stop it. It was not connected to his will power at all- not even connected to him, except for the way his heart was racing.
"Do you know much about black holes, Harry?"
Dumbledore's eyes were twinkling just as they always had.
"I've been reading about them. Interesting muggle discovery. The more mass they gain, the more gravity they have. Suppose you had a very small black hole- they do come in all sizes, in theory- and it absorbed a moon. The effect would be noticeable, don't you think?"
Harry nodded, not sure of why Dumbledore was giving him this information.
"The throne room is just above us, near the top of the castle. Voldemort is there, along with many of his Death Eaters. There isn't any way for you to reach them, now; a bit more magic is needed."
He leaned against the bars.
"I'm afraid it's only a matter of time before our magic ran out, after all. A thousand years ago, we had the founders, and long before that we had Merlin. In this day and age, the best the world could give was me- and I'm a far cry from Merlin."
Dumbledore gave one last look up to the ceiling. "I just hope that I'm enough to extend your reach. Voldemort is too dangerous to let live. I fear he'll do more damage than this could… And if you can reach that room, you'll be able to reach the stone."
There was one last wave a dizziness, and then Dumbledore fell. And then-
And then Harry felt a much greater wave of dizziness, and was sure his heart would burst out of his chest from beating so painfully. It didn't stop. It kept coming, not in waves but in one massive blast, making him fall to his knees, and all he could think was that this was the end. There was no way he could live through this- it hurt far too much.
It was a week later when Harry woke up, lying in a soft bed and knowing before he'd even opened his eyes that he was in a muggle hospital. The strong smell of disinfectants was unmistakable, especially to someone that hadn't been to a hospital in years. If the wizarding world had one advantage over muggles, it was that their medical facilities smelled nicer.
He opened his eyes then, and saw the white sheets on his bed and a vase of small purple flowers next to the bed.
In the bed next to him was a man he'd never seen before- pale and thin, looking as if he'd been sick for a long time. Was he a muggle, or… Well, if he was in the same room as Harry then he was a muggle now, regardless of what he had been.
I'm not dead, Harry realized for the first time with a shock.
He took a deep breath, and found that it was easier than it had been in a long time. His heart was beating at a nice leisurely pace, and everything seemed very slow and calm for once.
A nurse popped her head into the room. "Oh! You're awake! Are you up for an examination right now, or do you want a while to rest first?"
"I'm fine," he said.
She walked into the room fully then, holding a clipboard and looking terribly professional.
"Do you know what happened?" he asked. "I was in the dungeon…"
She nodded at him. "A group of children came and got the authorities- riding a big train, of all things. The military had to be sent out- some kind of disaster. I'm not sure of the details. If you need someone to talk to about your experiences, we have counselors on hand.
"But I do know what happened to you specifically- the biggest heart attack I've ever seen a child have. We've been keeping a close eye on you, though, and it looks like you'll be fine now- there's some damage, but if you're careful it shouldn't cause too many problems. You can talk to the cardiologist later for more details."
Then the man in the other bed stirred. "No…" he said, before sitting straight up with a pained look on his face.
"Ah. Mr… " The nurse looked at her chart. "Lupin. I see you're awake now. Would you like something to eat?"
Mr. Lupin did not look at her. He was staring at Harry, and his face, so hollowed by illness or bad luck or something else, took on new life.
"Am I dead?" he asked.
"No, sir. This is a hospital-"
"What day is it?"
"The sixteenth. Tuesday."
His face paled even more. "The full moon was yesterday?"
"I think so, yes."
"Dear Merlin- did anyone get hurt?"
"Everyone is fine, sir. They're recovering well since the accident. You yourself-"
"Last night, though! Where was I last night?"
"Right here, sir. Sleeping."
Lupin looked perplexed- amazed- then shook it off. "Never mind." He turned to Harry. "Do you know who I am?"
Harry shook his head.
"Your father was a good friend of mine during school. I'd wanted to visit you, but I was- ill- for a good many years." He stared at Harry for another moment.
Harry remembered his dreams at the Dursleys, before he'd discovered a new world- dreams that someone would come and take him away, would say "This has all been a horrible mistake! Let me take you away from here."
Now it looked as if his dreams were coming true.
"Harry! How was your first day of school?"
"Did you make any friends? Was it hard?"
"Yes, and no. Hermione is here, you know. And Draco."
"Really?" The look in Remus' eyes said that he'd already known.
"She's already top in the class."
"Already? On the first day?"
"Yeah. How was your school?"
"It was… interesting. I'm not entirely certain that I'll be up to mastering a new set of skills, but there's always the shop to fall back on."
Harry glanced around. Home was a flat above their book shop. The muggle government had been very generous in allowing the new refugees to trade their galleons for money, and Remus had used his savings and some of Harry's to purchase the book store and fill it. Business was booming, and soon they'd have earned the purchase back.
"Are you sorry it happened? That all the magic is gone?" Harry hadn't told Remus yet what had happened- about his own role in the destruction of the magical world.
"No," Remus said firmly. "Never for a moment. I've been healed by it; what is there to be sorry about? And now I've got you to take care of."
He ruffled Harry's hair.
Not everyone was so happy about the loss of magic, but Harry did not concern himself with them. What had happened was so far out of his control that he couldn't consider it his fault.
He'd gotten away from Voldemort, away from the Dursleys, and he'd found a new home. And with no magic left in the world, he was no longer dangerous, no longer special. He was finally just Harry- as he had told Hagrid, that day in the cabin on the rocks.
He smiled- an innocent expression on a boy that finally had everything he wanted.
Explanations that I didn't quite fit into the story: Harry is a black hole because surviving the killing curse did something to his magic- compressed it, perhaps, until it collapsed in on itself. If he doesn't match up exactly with real black holes, I'm sorry; I'm not a physicist, so my knowledge of them might be a bit flaky. Likewise, I live in America and my knowledge of London and the area around the Leaky Cauldron is only what I can glean from Google Maps. If you have better information, feel free to share and I'll fix it.
Isn't it lovely when the story you write is completely different from the one you plan? I was originally going to rewrite the first fanfic I ever wrote- minus the Mary Sue ("I am the heir of Hufflepuff, and I love Harry more than life itself!") because the story itself seemed like a neat idea. In that one, Harry and no soul, and he ended up almost becoming a dementor (and Alexandria, the heir of Hufflepuff, had to save him with the power of love!) (Just kidding; it wasn't that bad…) and somehow, I don't remember exactly how, he ended up getting Hogwarts' soul and never being able to leave the castle again.
Actually, now that I think about it, it was probably better that this story was written instead. You wouldn't want to read the other. I wouldn't want to read it.
Anyway- hope you liked this as much as I liked writing it! Please review.