Title: Harry Potter and the Wand of Uru
Disclaimer: J.K. Rowling owns the Harry Potter universe. Wish they were mine so I could do increasingly nonsensical things to them and watch my bank account get steadily larger, but sadly not mine. With a myriad of writers, artists, and editors, actual rights are a nightmare when you go near a comic book universe. Suffice it to say that Marvel Entertainment LLC owns all of the property printed in their comics, along with the television and movie adaptations of said same property. Not mine, don't sue, and so forth and so on.
Summary: Wishing upon a falling star, 17 year-old Harry ends up in the body of his 10 year-old self, in a world where nothing is quite the same. How will he handle being a 'normal' boy in an unknown world?
Joe's Note: This originally started as yet another rewrite of SilverAegis's infamous, oft-abandoned - including by the original author - Harry Potter and the New Life. Eventually, though, I had to judge it as unsalvageable between the fact that it was written as the sequel to a story he'd yet to complete coupled with the odd emphasis on blatant Ranma ½ insertions ranging from 'demon head attacks', rambling about 'uniting the families', and repeated in-story uses of the phrase 'if this was an anime then'. My desire to distance myself from SilverAegis only grew when he posted - then revised and eventually pulled - a lengthy homophobic rant on his profile. Which means that at this point, the story is in essence just another rewrite of the events of the book, just like the thousands of other fanfics in the Harry Potter section of this site, with a side order of Norse mythology and other superhuman figures. If you still want to see similarities to New Life in it, that's up to you.
Dedications & Thanks: To Alexander, Nicholas, William, Koby, Wil, Thomas, Tracy, Christopher, Mitch, and Jess for sponsoring me on , and making it easier for me to spend more of my time writing.
June 1, 2008
Heads' Common Room
Moray, Scotland, United Kingdom
Sharp little clicks of high heels sounded against the polished wood floors of the heads' common room but, having become quite accustomed to the sound of his roommate stomping around their shared space, Harry Potter elected not to look up from what he was working on. She eventually came to a stop in front of him and he could practically picture her: her bushy brown hair more frazzled than usual, the two spots of color high on her cheeks, arms crossed over her chest as she glared at him. Hermione Granger was a creature of habit, after all. "Harry James Potter!"
"That was my name last time I checked, yes." Harry continued to ignore her presence, muggle fountain pen scratching softly against the page of his enchanted journal as he wrote. He'd come to realize long ago that - despite her weapon of choice being mental abuse rather than physical - Hermione was shockingly like his cousin Dudley insofar as both thrived on bullying the people around them into submission. And the only real way to get rid of a bully, apart from using a curse that would probably land him in front of the Wizengamot, was to ignore them. Eventually they would get bored and move on. Hermione hadn't yet, but Harry figured it was only a matter of time now that he was refusing to validate her by paying attention to her bad behavior. Their discussions had settled into a repetitive state months ago and while she never seemed to tire of trying to have the same argument just one more time, he most certainly had. "Can I help you with something, Hermione?"
Grabbing the top of his journal, Hermione tipped it down so she could actually meet his eyes. "Yes. You're going to go get dressed and then we're going to put in an appearance at a party in the Gryffindor common room. And you're going to have fun at that party even if I have to hit you with a Cheering Charm. Now get moving."
Despite his normal distaste for an ability the war had forced him to master, Harry took advantage of her intent stare and reached out with a tendril of power, sliding his way into her mind and rooting around until she realized what was happening and jerked her gaze away. Snorting, Harry batted her hand away from his journal and raised it again as he went back to transcribing something that he'd - quite ironically - pulled from Voldemort's mind with legilimency during their final battle. "I don't think so, but you have fun with that. Assuming you stay more than five minutes before dragging Ron off somewhere private. By the way, please tell Ginny that I'm neither flattered nor interested. Her obsession with being 'the wife of He-Who-Defeated-Voldemort' crossed the line from disturbing into well and truly frightening a long, long time ago." He snorted. "Girls like her are almost enough to make me wish Colin hadn't died."
The blood drained from Hermione's face and her mouth worked soundlessly for a few moments before she scowled and whirled around, stomping back toward her room. Oh what a horrible person he was, Harry thought with a snort, not wanting to waste time being deafened at a gathering of people he barely knew while letting the harpy shove him at a ginger barnacle who was under the deluded notion that they 'belonged together'. He shook his head before returning to his work. Why were they even having a party, come to think of it? The last game of the quidditch season had been yesterday, and hadn't even involved Gryffindor. Maybe it was someone's birthday party, run amok? Or just a party for the sake of a party? The Gryffindors did seem to enjoy doing that these days and… well, the professors lacked the will to rein in the student body as a whole, writing off the mass misbehavior as a coping mechanism for dealing with the death and destruction they'd witnessed when Voldemort marched on Hogwarts in February of that year.
While he'd lost others over the years… Cedric, Sirius, Professor McGonagall, and a few other members of the Order in small battles here and there… that one fight had done almost as much damage to his life and happiness as his second Halloween. More people important to him had died during that final battle than in all the ones leading up to it, including his last surviving link to his parents: Remus Lupin. Nymphadora Lupin née Tonks had perished alongside her new husband that day, and he'd lost several other friends as well: Neville Longbottom and his fiancée Hannah Abbott, Daphne and Astoria Greengrass, Colin Creevey, and George Weasley among them. But all of them put together paled in the face of the last loss he'd suffered during his final showdown with Voldemort. Knowing how much Luna Lovegood meant to him - that she'd accepted his marriage proposal mere hours before - Voldemort had summoned her clear across the battlefield before forcing enough dark magic into her body that she simply… exploded. Obliterated so completely that not even the Resurrection Stone could find purchase and drag a shade of her back to his side.
What he'd done to Voldemort and several nearby Death Eaters would have made the Killing Curse a mercy.
And so now here Harry was, in a strange new world without a purpose. Washed up, so to speak, at the ripe old age of seventeen. If any of his enemies remained, they weren't showing their faces, and so the closest he got to fighting were his regular arguments with Hermione and occasional disagreements with the Ministry. The latter didn't tend to last long, though; not only were they genuinely well meaning these days, but they tended to take no for an answer. Like when they'd wanted to turn Valentine's Day into Harry Potter Day to commemorate his victory. He'd calmly pointed out that not only was it disrespectful to all those who'd lost loved ones on a day that should have been about celebrating that love. They'd agreed… and then tried to replace Halloween with Harry Potter Day. He'd come down a bit harder on that, not wanting people to celebrate the anniversary of his parents' death. When they'd turned their attention to July 31st, he'd just given up. They could turn his birthday into a festival if they wanted. It wasn't like he had anything better to do on that day anymore, what with all his loved ones being dead and all.
That was the other reason, apart from the loss of people close to him, behind his slow withdrawal from the world around him. His popularity pushed in on him from all sides these days, everyone wanting something from the famous He-Who-Defeated-Voldemort. Offers of false friendship, business arrangements, political alliances, courtship… more than a few witches in his age group - and a few whose age ranged out into his parents' class at Hogwarts and beyond - had even made outright sexual advances, wanting nothing more than to be able to brag about being a notch on their savior's bedpost. It was all quite disturbing in his opinion. Well, it would have been disturbing enough to begin with, but having it happen so soon after the death of the woman he loved just made it all the worse.
Ron hadn't taken it too well, either. While their friendship had been on rocky ground since the redhead and Hermione started dating, it had deteriorated before eventually collapsing completely in the aftermath of Voldemort's demise. Ron had decided he was no longer content to be Harry Potter's Sidekick and that, even though he was recognized for his role in the war, he wanted a share of Harry's fame too. Fame he had not one iota of claim to. And it'd eaten at him, until the day he finally gave in and walked away from Harry.
Even Hermione was different in this strange new world of his. She'd gone from a slightly bossy yet caring combination of sister and mother to a hideously obnoxious harpy, obsessed with the idea of returning him to 'normal'. What was normal for him? He'd been a beaten, starved, and overworked slave for people who'd hated him since he could walk. At eleven, he'd learned he was a wizard and part of a secret society - and a celebrity in that society at that - and then the last seven years had been spent fighting Voldemort in one form or another while being alternately canonized and vilified by a society of sheep. What normal did he know, that he could return to now that Voldemort was gone?
For that matter, what the hell did Hermione know about being normal? She was a socially retarded bookworm whose only contact with people came through her boyfriend's family and the people who orbited around Harry… and who he was pretty sure had some degree of nymphomania, given the frequency and duration of Ron's visits to the head girl's room. Head girl duties, pleasure reading, and even her precious homework had started to fall by the wayside as of late and Harry knew that if they weren't only three weeks from NEWTs and graduation, either the headmaster or their head of house - or both - would be stepping in to address the matter. Harry snorted; hopefully prophylactics were an extensive portion of the NEWTs, because that was about the only thing related to charms or potions Hermione had worked on outside the classroom since… pretty much February.
He knew that at least for him, though, NEWTs would be no problem. He'd been trained by the best of the best to defeat Voldemort, and his knowledge in every one of his classes was post-NEWT at a minimum. These days, his DADA, charms, and transfiguration knowledge was starting to reach out into the realm of 'only a few dozen people alive know some of the spells' territory. No, he dared say passing his NEWTs would be no problem at all. Which was good, because that gave him time for extracurricular things like being head boy and quidditch captain, which in turn took his mind off his life.
After a few refreshingly quiet minutes, Hermione came back out of her bedroom and slammed the door behind her, making Harry look up from what he was doing. Her attire garnered a raised eyebrow from him; before the second semester of this year, he hadn't been aware Hermione knew skirts that short existed, much less owned them. He stared pointedly at her bare thigh for a moment before sliding his gaze up to meet her eyes, and she flushed slightly. "Ron likes it when I dress like this. Now go get ready. We're leaving in three minutes. And I was only helping Ginny because I thought she might be able to draw you out of this funk of yours. If you really don't want to spend time with her, that's fine. There's always Lavender, Parvati, Fay, Romilda, Cassie, or Ríonach, and that's assuming nobody shows up from the other three houses…"
"Pass all around. Lavender's nice but a bit nerf for my tastes-"
"You know, soft and curvy and not at all sharp?" Harry chuckled at the offended look on Hermione's face before continuing on in his dissection of the prospects presented to him. "Parvati, I'm afraid I'd catch dragon scale if I did anything with her. I can't see Fay being fun to hang out with when she's too shy to even say hello to me, Romilda's reached a level of obsession with me that would creep even Ginny out, Cassie… who the hell is Cassie again?"
That earned him a sigh and a roll of Hermione's eyes. "Cassandra Hughes. She's in Ginny's year… Irish, short, a bit pear-shaped, brown hair, glasses..?" Harry just shrugged helplessly; still not ringing a bell to him. Then again, he'd interacted with most every Gryffindor in his year and the two above and below it through Dumbledore's Army, so it was likely that he'd met her and just didn't remember it. "…the girl who sent you dirty patronus messages while drunk that one time."
Harry bit his lip to avoid laughing. Ah yes. Her. Thankfully that had been this year, when he didn't have to share a room with four other boys. Having an ethereal white ratel show up in old dorm and start spouting things like that in front of the others… Lordy. "As much fun as getting hit on by a hyperactive spaz who thinks the phrase 'alcohol tolerance' is a challenge might be, I think I'll pass. Who was that last one? Ríonach? How do I put this delicately?" Harry paused for a moment before snorting; there was no polite way to discuss the girl's predilections. "I'm sure there's a bloke out there who has a thing for sharing his girlfriend with groups of guys because it gets her off. I, however, am not that wizard. So, I'd like to thank you for thinking of me, Hermione, but… no. Non. Nyet. Nein. Næi. It was nice no-ing you. Have I made myself perfectly clear yet, or would you like me to start branching out into some of the really odd languages I learned while training? Mermish? Gobbledegook?" Hermione crossed her arms over her chest and started tapping her foot, causing Harry to roll his eyes. "You're not going to win this, Hermione. I'm not going to the party, much less flirting with some girl or letting her flirt with me. Unlike you, I actually take care of my head duties. And I'm not talking about what Ron asks you to do in every dark corner of the school he can manage to drag you into."
Hermione's blush became even more pronounced at the reminder of Harry's seemingly uncanny ability to walk in on her and Ron in compromising positions around the school. Not that he had any desire to, but when they took to using the entire school as their personal sexual playground… well, he couldn't very well avoid every lockable room in the school out of fear he'd walk in on them. He'd used the Marauder's Map near the beginning of the year to aid in his patrolling but that'd taken all the fun out of it after a while. Now, walking in on his former best friends was the price he had to pay for the rest of each evening's entertainment. It was generally worth it.
Well, except for that time with Ron, a drunk Hermione, and an equally inebriated Pansy Parkinson. It was going to take him years of therapy or quite possibly some fun spell time with Gilderoy Lockhart for him to ever get over walking in on that one.
"Harry." Oh Merlin, the harpy was whining at him again. Did she ever shut up? "I'm worried about you. You've been so different since you defeated Voldemort. You don't talk to anyone, you don't do anything fun…" Hermione sat on the arm of his chair, putting her hand over his. "This isn't what she would have wanted for you, Harry."
White-hot fury burned through Harry's veins, so violent that he momentarily feared that Voldemort was back and emotions were leaking through his scar again. Then he realized that his occlumency barriers were still at full strength and his rage at Hermione was wholly his own… and fully justified in his opinion. "Luna has been dead for four months, Hermione. four months. I loved her. But because I'm evidently fate's bitch, I didn't even manage to get to spend an entire day engaged to her before Voldemort killed her in front of me for his own sick amusement. So I destroyed him in revenge. Tore him from the very fabric of reality. Unlike her, he didn't die. I made him cease to exist. And when I was done with that? Luna was still gone. So no, Hermione, don't try and tell me what Luna would have wanted. As if she wasn't someone you hated spending time with. As if you didn't just tolerate her because I made you. As if you somehow have some insight into what actually went on inside her head. Because even if you weren't completely wrong? What she would have wanted for me doesn't matter. She's dead. And despite all the power I have at my fingertips… everything I know… I can't change that. I can't bring her back."
Harry shook his head, looking down at his journal for a moment before realizing he wouldn't be getting any more work done tonight and closing it. It wasn't just any journal; the pages were filled with potions recipes, spell variations he'd personally created, and other things he felt that the outside world didn't need to know about magic. Elder Futhark runes were inscribed across the top of each page in blue ink, making the text incomprehensible to anyone other than him, forming a last line of defense on the outside chance that someone managed to get his journal open without being killed by his rather… fierce… protections. "Just… stop talking, Hermione. Before you make me do something that'll leave Ron leaning over the head of a bed in the hospital wing if he wants you to polish his wand tonight." Rising to his feet, Harry closed his journal and shrunk it before stuffing it into a pocket. "I'm going to go start rounds. Try to keep to either Ron's bed or the Head Girl's room tonight. I'm getting tired of having to explain certain entries on the point deduction log to Professor Vector." Without waiting for a response, he turned and stalked over to the portrait hole before making his way out into the hall.
Stuck pulling both his own weight and Hermione's, completing his rounds took significantly longer than it had at the start of the year but eventually Harry made his way out onto the school's grounds, crossing the grass to sit atop a hill that overlooked Hogsmeade. Even if his position hadn't permitted him to leave the castle at his own discretion, he doubted anyone would have stopped him. Not after what he'd done to Voldemort and most of the Death Eaters that formed his Inner Circle. It had earned him a level of both respect and fear unequaled by anyone in modern magical society save Dumbledore, and even Dumbledore seemed a little leery of him these days. That was an unnerving notion to say the least.
But there was one more task he had to accomplish before retiring for the night, and so Harry forced his mind to the present as he drew his secondary wand and rolled it between his same length as his original holly and phoenix feather wand, this one had been gifted unto him by Dumbledore himself, who had in turn received it from his mentor, who had in turn received it from his mentor, and so on. None had been able to make the wand of oak and dwarf heart tissue so much as shoot a spark, the strange metal that wrapped the shaft in almost organic tendrils growing uncomfortably hot to the touch whenever they tried. But not only could Harry use the wand… he had unlocked its other secrets.
Focusing, Harry watched as the wand grew, getting almost twice as long and thickening to form a proper handle. At the same time, the metal flowed up to the tip and formed into the fat head of a war hammer. Harry hopped to his feet, thrusting the hammer up into the sky, and then his body disappeared from the grounds as a bright blue bolt of lightning surged upward from the ground into the clear night sky.
A fraction of a second later, seven hundred miles away in the small Cornish town of Fowey, a single bolt of lightning descended from an equally cloudless sky. It hit a spot just beyond the back doors of a large, empty house and left a solemn teenage boy in its wake. It was time, just as Harry had done every week since her death, for him to visit the graveyard at Potter Manor. To visit his fiancée's grave.
With her mother seven years departed and her father in the Janus Thickey Ward a few beds down from Frank and Alice Longbottom, there had been nobody left to protest when Harry had opted to have his beloved's remains buried near his parents and other close family friends. And so now Luna Lovegood joined James Potter, Lily Potter née Evans, Remus Lupin, Nymphadora Lupin née Tonks, Sirius Black, Charlus Potter, Dorea Potter née Black, and Charlus's parents in the Potter Family Cemetery. An empty spot rested between Luna's grave and his mother's, waiting for the day Harry passed on so that he could join the two most important women in his life in eternal rest.
Standing over Luna's grave, Harry brought his war hammer down and waved it over Luna's grave, letting loose a blast of blue lightning tinged with flecks of bronze. Rather than being a herald of destruction, though, the lightning crawled over the ground and left behind dozens of sunflowers with bronze heads surrounded by Ravenclaw blue petals. Harry nodded in satisfaction, returning his secret weapon to its wand form and tucking it away before circling around to kneel behind the grave, leaning forward to rest his forearms on the top of the cool granite as he settled in for his weekly chat.
"I hope Dumbledore is right and death is the next great adventure, because I'd hate to think you're as bored as I've been lately. Although everything I've ever read says death is supposed to be some sort of paradise, so you're probably examining snorkacks right now or pestering Saint Peter about heliopaths and the Rotfang Conspiracy. Which reminds me, I managed to convince the goblins to release The Quibbler into my possession until your father gets out of St. Mungo's. So next month, we'll be back on the newsstands. And I'll be going to Sweden to try and find their breed of crumple-horned snorkacks, just like we were planning." Granted it was planned as their honeymoon, but either way he was fulfilling the promise he'd made to her, so… semantics. Harry tapped his fingers along the top of the gravestone slowly, thinking about what else he ought to share. "Oh, the harpy came after me again tonight. Wanted me to go to some party. At first to try and set me up with Ginny - again - and then she tried to throw half of the Gryffindor girls at me when I turned that down. Which, again, means you were right. That girl's not all there in the head. Hermione or Ginny, that is."
Hmm. What else could he share? Oh! "NEWTs start tomorrow but Su and I are going to keep meeting every day even after they're done. I'm not sure if it'll be like our off days and we'll just hang out, or maybe I'll teach her a few of the less harmful things I know that aren't a part of the Hogwarts curriculum. Should be interesting to see the class rankings, though; her grades over the last three months have climbed to the point that Hermione will have some serious competition for the top spot."
Harry paused, picking up one of the sunflowers and channeling just enough magic through it to transfigure the sunflower into a blue and bronze hortensia. "You know, now that I think about it? I'm surprised Hermione didn't invite her to whatever party she wanted me to show up for. I mean, Su's the only person I let touch me these days. Hell, she's the only person allowed within arm's reach. Shows how observant Hermione is. Wait. No, inviting Su would have gotten in the way of her plot with Ginny. Never mind." Because if his happiness was genuinely Hermione's objective, it was hard to miss that Su was the closest thing to light or hope that existed in his world without Luna. She still made him laugh. She still got him to hug her back. Occasionally, she turned him into a steed, claiming that her legs were simply too short for all the walking that Hogwarts required. And while he still wasn't quite sure what he was going to do with himself going forward, her idea did seem rather interesting. "I'm seriously considering her offer to leave Britain for a few years. Go back to Shanghai with her when I get back to Sweden, then maybe make our way down the coast to Hong Kong. Book passage to Taiwan, and then maybe Japan. See some things. Live a little. Discover how to live. Like you wanted me to."
Sighing, Harry let his head drop so he could rest his forehead atop Luna's gravestone. "I guess my problem is just that… some days I don't see the point of it all. I did what I was supposed to do. I won the war. And what do I have to show for it? One friend. I have one friend left. And some sorta-friends from the DA, and housemates who act like they're my friends but I can barely even remember their names most days. This is what I gave you up to save? You, and Sirius and Remus, and my parents, and Neville, Hannah, Daphne, and the others? Talk about a kick in the jewels. I saved the world, but by the time I finally managed it, there was nothing left in it worth saving."
Silence fell as he leaned his head back, staring up into the clear night sky as he tried to figure out how to verbalize the rest of the thoughts running through his head. He noticed a few shooting stars burning past overhead and - as stupid as he knew it was - decided to partake in the old superstition and make a wish. Looking around, he waited for a few seconds before letting out a snort. Not that he'd expected much but ever since he'd discovered the wizarding world, all sorts of things he'd thought to be nothing more than myths had turned out to be real. Why not one more thing?
Feeling immensely stupid, Harry drew his holly wand before casting a Warming Charm and a Cushioning Charm on the ground behind Luna's headstone. Technically he was violating a host of rules; students weren't allowed to be out this late, nor were they allowed off the grounds during the school year apart from trips to Hogsmeade. Who was going to say anything to him, though? He was Harry Potter. Lowering himself to rest on the grass, Harry closed his eyes and let himself relax. Soon he found the magically created warmth and the noise of nature lulling him to sleep and he gave a mental shrug. Staying out overnight: one more infraction to add to the list of things he wouldn't be punished for. As he drifted off, Harry thought he felt an odd falling sensation… but that was just ridiculous, because he was already lying on the ground.
June 21, 2001
The Family Cemetery
Fowey, Cornwall, England, United Kingdom
When Harry woke up the next morning, he was exhausted. And not 'had a tough time sleeping' exhausted or 'Voldemort was sending me dreams of torturing muggles' exhausted. It was a bone deep weariness that had him utterly confused; he hadn't done anything worthy of that kind of achiness at all lately, much less in the last day or so. Then he looked around and noticed something was different.
Belay that… everything was different.
The grave he'd been lying on was gone, as were the sunflowers he'd laid around it for Luna, and even the rogue hydrangea he'd created while talking about Su. Looking around wildly, Harry realized that not only was her grave gone, so was Remus's. And both his parents'. "If this is some kind of sick joke, I'm going to kill the person responsible in a way so painful, Voldemort would have watched on in awe!" That made him aware of another change: his voice sounded far, far younger and higher-pitched than it should at his age. Slowly, he looked down at his body and realized his voice wasn't the only thing younger than it should have been. "What the bloody hell?"
After taking a few minutes to calm down and examine his body more closely, Harry had come to the conclusion that… he had no idea what the hell was going on. For some bizarre reason, he was a preteen again. Bigger than he'd been upon arriving at Hogwarts, but that didn't take much given how the Dursleys had mistreated him while growing up and so he wasn't going to use that to gauge anything. He was still wearing his school uniform and black robe, although they were both understandably a bit too big for him in his current state. A flick of his wrist had… nothing jumping to his hand. His wands were gone. Scowling, Harry waved his hand and focused hard, binding his magic to his will and wandlessly transfiguring his oversized uniform into a pair of appropriately sized trousers and a t-shirt, along with trainers that weren't a few sizes too big. While his wand was gone, his magic was still at its seventeen-year-old levels despite his regressed age as best Harry could tell. So while he would be inconvenienced between now and his eleventh birthday, he wasn't helpless. Idly, he wondered if that meant he had reached full magical growth - or close to it - early or if he'd be even stronger at seventeen the second time around.
Then again, that assumed this wasn't some bizarre dream or magically induced out of body experience and that he'd reach his eleventh birthday here, much less his seventeenth. Given he had no clue where he was, why he was there, or how he'd ended up younger than he ought to be in the first place… Harry decided that those questions should probably be given priority over musings about his potentially non-existent future. And since it was probably the easiest to figure out, Harry opted to start with the question of where he was.
As best he could tell, he was still on the grounds of Potter Manor. In the family graveyard, even. It was just far emptier than it ought to be, with only the headstones of his paternal grandparents and great-grandparents. Passing through the barrier of trees that separated the cemetery from the world at large, Harry came to an abrupt halt as he stared at the house itself. It was… alive. There were hangings in the windows, smoke curling from the chimney, a few patio chairs sitting around a table just beyond the back door, and… a redheaded missile heading for him at top speed?
It wasn't until she slammed into him, knocking him over onto his back on the grass, that he got a good look at her and that just left Harry even more confused. Whoever she was, her eyes were gold-dominant hazel instead of chocolate brown like Ginny's, although their almond shape reminded Harry of his own. Her hair was also too dark a red to be Ginny's, reminding Harry almost of pictures he'd seen of his mother. Who… also had almond-shaped green eyes like him. But it was what came out of her mouth that really floored him. "Harry! You giant prat, where have you been all morning? You're going to be in so much trouble when we get home. I bet Mum's going to ground you from now until September, if she even lets you go to Hogwarts!"
Harry's jaw dropped in shock before anger set in. What the hell was she trying to pull? His 'mum' had been dead for sixteen years now, and… wait a second. Taking a deep breath, Harry pushed aside his feelings and did his best to channel the 'inner Ravenclaw' Luna had always claimed he possessed. While his diminished size and age could be attributed to a potion or human transfiguration, some other things about the situation were harder to explain. The shrunken graveyard, for one, or the aura of habitation that surrounded Potter Manor. And if this was some dreamscape constructed by his mind… why not just a world where his parents were still alive? Why create a younger sibling for himself as competition for their attention and affection?
Suddenly, Harry's thoughts from the night before came back to him, specifically his wish upon that shooting star for a world that made sense again, and perhaps a second chance at love again someday. What if, through some sort of brute force application of magic and willpower, he'd forced himself diagonally across time and space, stuffing his essence into the body of a younger Harry Potter who just so happened to have a better family situation? The shade of Voldemort in Quirrell, the diary, the inevitable second war… they were all things he was familiar with and capable of handling, unlike the constant celebrations after his victory and the praise heaped upon him for it. It seemed too fantastical to believe, but what better explanation did he have?
Continuing to natter away, the redhead hopped off Harry and yanked him to his feet before punching him hard on the arm. "Mum's been really worried and she's had everyone out looking for you. Well, except for me and Rose. We don't get to do anything fun. But Uncle Remus, Uncle Sirius, and Dad have been apparating up and down half of Cornwall all morning. Dad took off from work and you know what that means…"
Actually Harry didn't, but unfortunately he couldn't think of a way to ask for an explanation without revealing that something was seriously wrong with the person this girl believed to be her brother. "Right. Shouldn't we get back to the house so you can tell everyone you found me and they can stop looking, then?" The girl nodded before curling her fingers around his wrist and pulling hard, making him stumble as he followed her toward the back of the manor. While Harry still wasn't quite sure what to make of the situation, her words did lend a bit of credence to his idea of being in an alternate universe. If this was a dream, why on Earth had his subconscious created not one but two sisters for himself - or at least he assumed Rose was a sister given the flower name and not a friend of this girl - who he had to share the attention of his parents, Sirius, and Remus with?
"Harry!" Another body slammed into Harry's, this one bigger and pulling him into a tight hug instead of bowling him over like his sister had. Pushing up onto his toes, Harry peered over the new arrival's shoulder and watched his supposed sister mouth the word 'grounded' before an identical girl came strolling out of the back of the house, elbowing her twin in the ribs. The aforementioned Rose, Harry was guessing. Which meant the woman hugging him could only be… "Harry?"
Nodding, Harry pulled back and studied the woman in front of him intently. It was indeed his long dead mother, albeit a version older than any he'd seen in pictures. Which made sense, if this was some bizarre universe where they'd survived that fateful Halloween. If he was ten or so - he was guessing it was the summer before his first year, based on his sister's comment - then this woman was almost a decade older than the version from his world had been at the time of her death. "Hey, err, Mum. It's me. I'm okay. Really."
There was a crack behind him and the shocks kept coming as Harry whirled around to face the newcomer. An older version of his father was standing there, an irritated expression on his face. Raising his wand to his temple, he sent two separate patronus messengers racing off into the woods before returning his attention to Harry… or rather Lily. "I'm going to head in. Maybe they'll let me log a half shift or a full shift running from noon till eight. I'd appreciate you remembering to keep a plate of dinner for me this time." Giving Harry one last dirty look, James turned away and disappeared into thin air with a crack of apparition.
Harry just stared blankly at the empty space for a long minute before shaking his head. That was his father in this universe? Wow. What… what a wanker. Not quite up there with Lucius Malfoy or anything, but hardly the Father of the Year material he'd - perhaps irrationally - expected of him. It sealed the alternate universe hypothesis for him, though. After all, if this was a dream, why wasn't his father a nicer, more caring person? A few seconds later there was another crack off to their left and Harry tensed again out of instinct, but again resisted the urge to do something stupid. A good thing, he realized a second later, because wandlessly cursing his godfather would have caused him no end of problems. "Hey! James told me you found the squirt!" A very much alive, young, and healthy Sirius reached forward to ruffle his hair. "Lemme guess, he went in to work as soon as he found out?" Sighing, Lily nodded and Sirius rolled his eyes. "Wanker. He may be the brother I… well, the brother Regulus should have been… but he's still a wanker sometimes. All right, want me to go grab Olivia and come back for lunch? Keep you, Remus, and the kids company?"
Waving toward the house, Lily dismissed the twins… and him, Harry found out as she pinned him with a long stare until he began following them. As he departed, his mother's voice drifted to him. "Might as well. Olivia and Remus are the only adult conversation I get apart from when You-Know-Who visits."
"Ouch. I'll have you know I can be perfectly adult when I feel like it."
"Which is when?"
"Well, never. And does You-Know-Who actually count as adult conversation? You two are never talking for long…"
Following the twins into what he believed had been labeled the 'great room' on the plans of the manor that the goblins had shown him once, Harry tried to process what he'd just overheard. His mother… was having an affair? That's what it sounded like, at any rate. Not with Sirius or Remus, evidently, but with someone the former knew. And his father's best friend knew it was going on but evidently wasn't sharing that information with his father. Wait. Stop. These weren't the same people he'd known - or wished he'd known - back in his home universe. Hell, for all he knew, maybe it wasn't adultery. Maybe polyandry was the norm here and he'd yet to meet his mother's other husband, who Sirius didn't like or who was an Unspeakable, hence the nickname. And they were just very amorous and so they didn't spend much of their free time talking. Not bloody likely, but it was a reminder that Harry needed to keep his preconceptions stifled and his mind open.
While being the savior of magical Britain had opened a great many doors for him, one set that had remained firmly locked were those of his family manor. Stupid inheritance laws. He'd seen a few photos and the bank's set of the floor plans, but this was the first time he'd ever set foot in the building. With his sisters having bolted the second they'd entered the house, he was now without guides and without much of a clue. But if he remembered correctly… passing through the great room and gallery into the foyer, Harry turned left and found himself staring at what could only be his father's study. Entering it, he quickly found a self-updating family tree similar to the one Sirius's family owned and began looking for familiar names. It didn't take long to track down his own name and those of his sisters: Jasmine and Rose Potter. And by process of elimination, that made his tackler Jasmine. Harry snorted. Evidently his mother had imposed her family's naming traditions on the next generation of Potter women. Thank God he was her eldest son and not her eldest daughter. He'd discovered a journal of hers in his original timeline… the woman had been considering naming him Dahlia if he'd been a girl.
Harry shuddered. Oh yes, that would have been an easy name to inspire fear with. Dahlia Potter, Slayer of Death Eaters, Destroyer of Voldemort. Somehow, it lacked the same oomph as Harry Potter.
Pausing, Harry eyed the dates under the three names. His birthday was still on July 31st, with Jasmine on June 6th of the following year and Rose on June 7th. He double-checked the dates, his math, and then blinked. In just shy of eleven months, his mother had given birth to him and then gotten pregnant with and delivered his twin sisters. They were Irish triplets. Sweet Merlin, didn't these people know what a Contraceptive Charm was for?
Quiet laughter and conversation drifted Harry's way and he frowned before identifying the voices: Remus Lupin and his mother. Not being familiar enough with the house to know how sound traveled and echoed, he decided to retreat upstairs before he could be tied down by the inevitable conversation about this morning's events. Reentering the foyer, he hung a left and ascended the spiral staircase to the first floor of the house.
Now the question became… who lived where? Based on his - admittedly iffy - memories of the floor plans, there were at least four full suites on the first floor and they were all relatively close in terms of square meterage. Two of the suites were located directly off the loft that he'd ended up in, and so he decided to try them first. Or rather, he got close enough to find that one door had 'Jasmine' painted on it in curling gold script while the other was marked 'Rose'. That answered that question. Moving on, he did his best not to get distracted by the large games room or the library he could see beyond it, instead focusing on the first of the two remaining suites. And sure enough, Harry found his name emblazoned on the door in blocky, Gryffindor red letters.
With an avenue of retreat finally established, Harry gave in to his curiosity and wandered over to the library. Again, Harry knew it was irrational given he didn't know these versions of familiar faces or even what the room looked like in his own world, but he'd expected something… grander. The chairs looked comfortable and the table appeared to be a well loved heirloom at which many Potters had studied over the decades, perhaps even centuries… but the book selection honestly didn't look altogether too impressive. Especially since not only was his family old and supposedly well connected, but many people had called his mother the brightest witch of her age. Why weren't there more-
A soft pop interrupted Harry's train of thought, and he watched as a house elf consulted a list it held in one hand before vanishing a few books sitting on the table and replacing them with a few new ones before disappearing with a second pop. Oh. Merlin, he was thinking like a Malfoy, wasn't he? Why would they need a library that was huge and showed off every single book they owned? That was just ostentatious. Now that Harry thought about it, this was much more in line with what people had told him about his ancestors: big enough for a group of people to work in comfortably. House elves could easily take care of something as trivial as not having the right book on hand.
As he continued to look around curiously, Harry's attention was drawn to a door frame off to his left that led down a short hallway before terminating in a closed door. The fourth suite on the floor, and the only one unaccounted for. Sirius obviously didn't live here. Remus, maybe? Although if Remus lived at the manor, wouldn't it make more sense to put him upstairs in the - considerably larger - nanny suite? Making his way over to the mystery door, Harry noted the lack of name on the door, knocked twice, and then twisted the knob and peeked his head into the room.
It was… girly. More subtly so than if it had been shades of pink for as far as the eye could see, but still distinctly feminine. Harry doubted any wizard save perhaps Gilderoy Lockhart owned a vanity, and there were an awful lot of pillows scattered about the head of the bed. And true, a guy could enjoy having a silver vase full of magically preserved flowers on the bedside table but… probably not. Opening the walk-in closet, Harry found himself staring at a mixture of black, green, and silver dresses that looked to be the right size for someone roughly his or his sisters' age. And off to one side, a series of shelves that held folded jeans and quidditch-related t-shirts. Kinda like what he was wearing right now.
Curiouser and curiouser.
And even curiouser, when Harry discovered that there was a door on the left wall of the room that opened up into a second walk-in closet. Like the mystery suite's first walk-in, this one was also home to a mixture of male and female clothing, albeit split in the opposite direction: roughly two-thirds shelving and one-third hanging space for dresses. Directly in front of him was a second door that… opened into what Harry was pretty sure was his own room? Standing in the middle of the closet, he found himself looking back and forth between the two bedrooms in confusion. One was distinctly masculine, the other distinctly feminine. And his clothes were in both rooms' closets, along with a girl's clothes.
…oh dear Lord. Did this universe's version of him suffer from multiple personality disorder, and one of them was a pro-Slytherin girl?