Disclaimer: It's JKR's world not mine, and while I would like the money and a few other details changed from canon I don't care all that much at this point.
A/N: This story will be my contribution to the Azkaban!Harry genre, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Azkaban prison had changed much in the past two years, ever since Harry Potter had been condemned to the life inside the wall of the once formidable prison things had been changing. The Dark Lord had broken many of his faithful out, but he dared not try to kill his greatest enemy as word had leaked out long ago that something, was killing the dementors and it all seemed to center on one prisoner.
Harry glanced out of his barred windows and smirked, true the dementors had at one time been his greatest weakness but if Azkaban forced an individual witch or wizard to do anything, it was to force them into a fight for survival by any means necessary.
Within weeks of his farce of a trial for underage magic things began to shift in his mind, initially the dementors had continued to terrorize him, but the one day it had happened. Magic, accidental magic never occurred at Azkaban for the simple reason that never had someone of Harry's age been subjected to its not so tender mercies. His magic had lashed out at a group of five dementors and in that moment, Harry understood that regardless of who had cared for him outside of the prison, all he truly had was himself at this point.
After three months in Azkaban, Fudge made his first appearance to gloat about the fact.
The plump man with the bowler hat strolled towards Harry's cell with a spring in his step and a smile in his heart. Ever since the boy had been silenced he had suffered no political resistance in instituting all of his policies at Hogwarts, and Delores had reported overwhelming success. There had been a few murmurs of dementors dying at Azkaban, and he figured it was time to investigate them as a thinly veiled opportunity to torment the boy who had sought to destabilize his carefully instructed world with mere words.
"Ah, Harry how are the facilities meeting your approval?" Fudge asked jovially looking at the shaggy bedraggled boy, hoping for the madness of the typical Azkaban prisoner.
Harry merely smiled at the minister, "I'm surviving Minister Fudge."
Fudge's disappointment shone on his face, he had so hoped for an insane Harry Potter, "Well then, I suppose it's time for more dementors to be sent over to your block of the prison, isn't it?"
Harry smirked as the warden coughed to get the Minister's attention, "Err, sir you have received my reports of Dementor deaths, correct?"
Fudge turned to the man blustering, "Nonsense, nothing can kill a Dementor."
Harry spoke up, "Fuudge." He drawled teasingly, "You'll soon find that I specialize in the impossible. As soon as you find out that Voldemort has returned that will be something else impossible I told you about. Of course, by then it will be too late for you. Not very smart for a politician are you? Never put all of your eggs in one basket."
Fudge fought to regain his bluster and demanded, "Cut the rations for this prisoner, and I expect you to return the dementors to this block when the prisoner has been weakened sufficiently."
The Warden shrugged helplessly, "Minister, we haven't even fed the prisoner since he's arrived, a house elf of some sort keeps bringing him food daily, and you know we don't have the wards to block house elf arrivals or departures save if they try to take a prisoner with them."
Fudge removed his bowler hat and rung it in frustration before he snarled, "Well, if Azkaban seems to be treating you so well then I guess we'll have to make sure you stay here, won't we Mr. Potter?"
Harry shrugged unconcernedly, "I'll leave when I'm ready to, and no sooner or later. I suspect by then you'll either be dead or completely irrelevant."
Fudge had nothing to say to that and stomped off, nothing had went like he had expected it to, and he didn't know enough about magic to do anything about it.
Harry smirked and glanced down at the watch that dobby had brought him months ago, it was simple enough that magic didn't really effect it, and it gave him a way to countdown to his escape from Azkaban, but not as a prisoner, but rather as a free wizard.
He better understood his own magic now than any other witch or wizard alive, he understood that by sheer application of will he could make his magic do his bidding, and he understood how the magical world worked now, better than he had ever expected. So many inconsistencies began to finally add up during his time in Azkaban, and his list of people he would give a chance to trust again had been winnowed down to four.
Under cloak and shadow a few weeks ago The recently appointed minister Rufus Scrimgeour had come to his cell with a complete pardon and a promise to magically expunge the conviction from his record, it was the best Harry could hope to get from the corrupt ministry. Not an apology or an admittance of wrongdoing, but rather swept under the rug.
Apparently there had been some sort of a battle over a prophecy at the ministry and while the dark lord had been thwarted he had left a swath of destruction that had taken months to sort out. The minister had arranged for a time to listen to the prophecy once Harry was free and cleaned up a bit.
Harry knew he should feel elation that he could see his friends and surrogate family soon, but aside from Sirius and perhaps Ron and Hermione he had no desire to see any of them again. They had allowed him to be sent here because they were scared of being exposed as opposition to the ministry, he was a casualty to a war he had been told he couldn't fight in, and while he had no real proof seeing the look on Dumbledore's face when he had been convicted had left him with unease about the old headmaster.
As he gazed out into relatively calm night on the North Sea, Harry made plans to prevent another betrayal, one Minister had been quite enough, he wouldn't allow this Scrimgeour to do something similar under the guise of being helpful.
Harry sat in the comfortable chair in a muggle hotel well away from the ministry, the shower he had taken had become a marathon as he washed dirt away from places he wasn't even aware existed. He still didn't need to shave, and if Sirius' stories about his father were true it might never be a chore he had to deal with. Looking into a mirror, Harry realized that while somewhat haggard looking he could still probably pass for being 17 or 18 as he was now. He supposed the years of hard living at the Dursleys had somewhat prepared him for a tame version of Azkaban.
A specific knock on the door signified his visitor was there and Harry used his repatriated wand to open the door.
Rufus Scrimgeour limped into the room carrying a prophecy orb in his hand, as minister he had access to prophecies in a way that the general public could not. He could transport the orbs but unless it involved him he couldn't listen to it unless it was like now and he used one of the parties of prophecy to listen in.
Harry merely calmly regarded the man, "Hello Minister, shall we got on with this so I can leave this accursed country once and for all."
Scrimgeour winced but nodded as he sat down in the chair next to Potter's. "All you need to do is tap your wand to the orb and it will open and be played. You've received all of your documentation, and the letters you wrote were hand delivered to the parties you requested. Also, the goblins have transferred all of your vaults to the Gnomes of Switzerland as you requested, and they have also retrieved the sword of Gryffindor from Dumbledore's office, and placed it in your vault as a weapon of conquest. Apparently, you had an outstanding magical claim on the object due to your actions in slaying a basilisk of some sort."
Harry merely nodded, he felt no desire to share any more of his past with the man, and he merely tapped the orb with his wand, snorting when an ethereal image of Trelawney escaped the confines of the orb.
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaches ... Born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... And the Dark Lord will mark him as equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... And either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives."
~ OOTPCh. 37, J.K Rowling
Harry smirked as the prophecy confirmed what he had suspected ever since the graveyard incident two years earlier. Scrimgeour on the other hand looked faintly nauseous when the implication of the prophecy settled in, he had provided the prophesized vanquisher of the dark lord with a get out of jail free pass, and all of the means to leave the country.
He weakly tried, "Well then Mr. Potter, I suppose I can't call upon your Gryffindor sensibilities to remain and finish the fight out?"
Harry merely shook his head, "You people of the magical world, I find your utter lack of a backbone hilarious."
Scrimgeour glowered as Harry continued undeterred, "How many of you proscribe to prophecy's role in your own lives? But, as soon as a prophecy absolves you of your own responsibilities you jump right in and are willing to believe the word of Sybill Trelawney. You all have the power necessary to defeat Voldemort, and for once I refuse to do it for you. Ask Dumbledore, he knows more about Voldemort than any other wizard alive, maybe between the two of you a plan of some sort can be formed, oh you know because you two are the highest magical authorities in this country."
Scrimgeour scowled but nodded, he supposed he could try to force Potter to comply, but then again he had already been to Azkaban and had weathered the experience with nary a scratch. Additionally, the boy seemed to be more magically powerful than his own aids had suggested he would be.
Scrimgeour left without another word, and Harry finished packing before he disappeared on his won steam, he would await response from his friends and family from a safe place, this place was far too exposed.
Dumbledore couldn't believe his ears, for nearly two years his authority had been curtailed, he had even been driven from Hogwarts for a scant few weeks nearly a year ago, and yet now that he had all of his authority back he felt the world crashing down around his head.
Rufus Scrimgeour had just met him in his office and disclosed his dealings with Harry Potter, there were some uncomfortable questions to be discussed about a certain prophecy and while he felt some relief in working with a somewhat competent minister, he also felt panic knowing what he did of Harry and Voldemort.
His carefully laid plans had been destroyed when Delores Umbridge had sent Dementors to Little Whinging. His defense of Harry had failed, and his weapon, his tool of destiny had been lost to him. Dumbledore himself never would have been held inside the walls of Azkaban, but breaking someone else out was an entirely different kettle of fish. He lacked both the will and the desire to cause destruction that Tom had when he had broken his own inner circle out of the prison over a year earlier.
Now he was confronted with proof and while Scrimgeour told him of the letters Harry had sent off, Dumbledore saw his chance, his single chance to reassert some control over the situation. As it stood now he was painfully aware that Voldemort's supporters littered the ministry, just waiting for Scrimgeour to fall before a puppet government could take hold. Even Severus, the man he once thought his most loyal ally had returned to his true master and it had been a devastating blow for the Order of the Phoenix. While none yet had been killed, he had needed to completely restructure the organization and place several Fidelius protected safe houses throughout the country.
Dumbledore stood at the end of the meeting and gazed into the man's eyes, "I will see what I can do in regards to young Mr. Potter, if my attempts fail then we shall need tor regroup to a position of strength before the ministry falls to consolidate in one place." Scrimgeour grunted his acknowledgement and left through the Floo, Dumbledore quickly summoned Fawkes and disappeared to Grimmauld Place, hopeful he was not too late.
Hermione Granger was not a happy young woman; in fact she had not been happy for a very long time, two years in fact when her summer before fifth year became a nightmare in all respects. First, Harry had been found guilty of the bogus charges and her pleas for help from the headmaster in aiding her friend were all but ignored, in fact aside from her presence at Grimmauld Place, she had been completely ignored by nearly everyone, save for Remus and Sirius.
Ron had become an insufferable prat, he had also been given the Prefect position, which in and of itself had led hear to resign her commission, without Harry around she longer had to put up with the oaf's constant requests that she do all of his school work, and she could already tell her Prefect position would be much the same. McGonagall had been displeased, but more at Dumbledore than herself, and that had been the last real time she hadn't been ignored for nearly two years.
In some ways it was better, not having to deal with the corruption of nearly every individual in the magical world, and she merely did her class work and learned all she could in hopes to eventually help Harry. Even the Weasleys who had been warm to her for so long ignored her, as if she wasn't worth the bother without Harry around to demand her presence.
Now nearly two years had passed and she felt genuine excitement when she had received the hand written letter from her friend. The letter had chastised her for not writing him in the summer before fifth year, but then had forgiven her, and expressed a desire to spend some time with her over the coming summer. He had given her a muggle cell phone number that he claimed was completely unknown, and requested she get a hold of him sometime before July. She had burned the letter as requested, and used her fledgling Occlumency skills to masque the memory
She was counting down the hours until she could leave Grimmauld Place, it had after all been a long school year, and now that she was waiting for an Order escort to her parent's home she pondered the thought of leaving Britain, a desire her own parent's had expressed openly once she had come clean about Voldemort and his army of followers.
She sat at the dining room table sipping on tea and reading a book on magical wildlife reserves when the Headmaster flashed into the room using his phoenix. He spotted her immediately and asked, "Ah, Ms. Granger I was wondering if you would be willing to show me the letter Mr. Potter had delivered to you?"
Hermione merely shrugged, "I'm sorry sir Harry must have placed some sort of time delayed burning charm on it, because about ten minutes after I read the letter it burst into flames." Dumbledore did a surface scan of the girl's memories and the story seemed to check out so he withdrew and begged her forgiveness as he searched for the others who had letters delivered to them.
Remus and Sirius had given the same stories and they seemed to check out also, he finally found success as he found Ronald and the boy merely handed his letter over after Molly had brow beaten him into doing it.
Hey mate, long time no write. Azkaban was no fun, but dealing with Snape and Malfoy probably would have been worse over the course of two years.
I've decided that Britain and its problems no longer concern me. I've already sent a message to Voldemort telling him if he constrains his violence and terror to the borders of Britain then he need not fear any direct action from me. That might seem to be cold hearted or gutless to you Ron, but I've dealt with the corruption, avarice, greed, and lust for power that permeates the ministry and I want no part of it.
This letter is the lifeline I leave to you, should you desire to have it. If you and your family want to leave Britain and start anew I will arrange it, all you need to do is go to the ministry and ask for a meeting with Scrimgeour in the next two weeks, he can do the rest of the work.
I hope to see you soon, but if I don't I hope you and your family safety through the war that is coming.
Molly continued brow beating her son, "When the headmaster asks you to do something, you do it young man."
Ron growled and stomped up to his room, he could understand why all of his older sibling got away from his mother as soon as they could. He didn't care what the headmaster wanted any more, he missed his friend and he was going to see him again.
Dumbledore silently cursed all of the deities in the world as he read the letter; the only man with a means of communicating the boy was the Minister of Magic, a man who it was nearly impossible to get close enough to brazenly search his mind for a variety of reasons. Also, Albus wasn't stupid enough to think that this worldlier and less trusting version of Harry Potter hadn't built contingencies into any plan he made. From the spoken and unspoken messages in the letter, Albus began to make plans that didn't include Harry Potter in the eventual downfall of Lord Voldemort. The boy's status as a horcrux would be discovered sooner as opposed to later, and there were ways to deal with the soul pieces beyond what Dumbledore wanted to consider.
Simply put, there were ways other than taking a killing curse from Lord Voldemort for Harry to lose the piece of soul. Albus was always planning and if this was a huge setback to his ever evolving plans he didn't let it show.
Harry looked out in the great expanse of land he now owned on the Northern coastline of Australia, it had amused him to no end to discover that the creature muggles knew as the Tasmanian devil actually had a magical cousin that acted much like the classic cartoon had suggested. He presently owned the land holding the largest reserve of those creatures in the world, and with simple application of wards the creatures could only destroy a minimal amount of terrain while they spun around like whirling dervishes.
The local Aboriginal tribes and the few Torres Strait Islanders that moved into and out of the area seemed to have no qualms with Harry having ownership of the land due to his very relaxed relations he had experienced with the people so far. He had even picked up a bit of tribal magic that aided in his warding of the lands.
He had a planned meeting with both the Grangers and the Marauders, it seemed that Australia had no problems questioning Sirius using veritaserum and declaring him innocent of all charges filed by the British Ministry. Of course, the British Ministry had enough issues at the time to contest the ruling, and as a result the ruling had not been challenged and was now a matter of international fact.
Harry could still remember his first conversation with Hermione on his cell phone:
Harry glanced down at his cell phone and noted the number on the caller ID before he answered, "Hello?"
Hermione squealed into the phone, "Oh Harry, I never thought I'd hear your voice again."
Harry cracked a small smile, "It's good to hear from you too Hermione, but maybe a little more softly so I can understand what you're saying."
Hermione huffed, "Oh very well." A beat of silence followed before she continued in a more sedate tone, "So, when can I see you again?"
Harry softly replied, "I'm still working through some things due to my time in Azkaban. Once I get settled in at my new home, I'll even give you tickets so you can fly in the muggle way."
Hermione sighed, "Well, I talked to my parents and they've already accepted an offer to begin a practice in Australia. Apparently they've been thinking about moving for awhile now. I've filled out the transfer papers, and I start my seventh year at the Royal Academy of Magic in Sydney in two months. Thankfully, the OWL system is an international one, or I'm just certain I'd be way behind."
Harry chuckled as he listened to Hermione discuss the merits of the educational system before he cleared his throat, "As fascinating as that is, it does bring me to my next point. I've already hired tutors to get me to take my OWL and NEWT exams by the end of the year so I'll be plenty busy also. But, I'm leaving Christmas open, so if you'll be ready by then, we can discuss the specifics then."
Harry could picture Hermione's smile as she spoke quickly, "Oh, that will be perfect Harry. My parents were ever so worried they'd never see me once we got to Australia, but the Royal Academy is strictly for commuting students, and now we'll have until Christmas just to get reacquainted."
Harry smiled and added, "Remus and Sirius will be joining me then also, seems they've been working on a move to New Zealand, and apparently now that Sirius is free he has a lot more in terms of responsibility."
The rest of the conversation came back to catching up over the previous two years, at least from Hermione's perspective.
As Harry gazed out into the sunset he knew that this was merely the beginning, whether or not he wanted to see Voldemort again, he had a feeling the dark wizard would arrange a meeting. As time passed Harry vowed to make the meeting on his own terms for once, and when it happened the end of the dark lord would be final.
A/N: Ok folks this is going to be three chapters, and you've just finished the first chapter. Leave a review and tell me what you think of part one of this new little story, otherwise I'll turn Harry into a newt…