A\N: Here we go, another story. Review people. It motivates the writer. It makes him or her give you more. It inform's him what he's doing right and what he's doing wrong. So, review. Right before you read. Thank you.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Harry Potter franchise, and i make no money from these writings. I do it only for the fun of it.
Chapter One: Life Flies By, In The Blink Of An Eye
===== Fall, Year 2172 =====
The night was dark and the wind outside was howling, making the autumn leaves fly scattered in the air, following the whim of the wind. Through the windstorm and darkness, a tall frame walked steadily, if slowly, hunched over a bit and leaning on a cane. It was an old man, and if a young teenage boy would see him walking outside, he would have sworn that the man was, like, two hundred. And, the teenage boy would be right. He was dressed in a light brown suit, with black shoes and sporting an ordinary wooden cane. Dark green eyes shined with triumph even as they squinted in the dark in an effort to stay clean from the dust the wind picked up and threw in the old man's face. The tapping of his cane was barely heard over the whaling of the harsh autumn wind.
Finally the tormented body of the old man reached its final destination, the empty and old, but still strong hangar, an old beat up thing, with rusty tin panels that were obviously patched up again as soon as they broke and lost their functionality and effectiveness at staving off the harsh weather. Finger bones made of stainless steel gently grasped the nickel coated doorknob of the polished oak door, a door which stood out like sore thumb on the tin made World War II hangar. But the inhabitant of the hangar didn't even consider decoration as something to be troubled with. Indeed, the door could be pink with neon green lights saying "Striptease Bar" for all he cared, as long as the door prevented the dust from the blowing wind to enter his humble, if spacious abode. Nobody besides him ever saw, heard, felt, smelled or tasted the hangar, or even knew it was there, for he had paced many wards on it to hide it from the senses of every living or sentient thing but himself.
The old man closed the door after he got inside and propped his cane against the wall, before lowering the big iron lever with a rubber grip on the wall next to the misplaced door, making the sixty neon lights on the ceiling of the hangar to flicker on. He turned around, shook his head at the only light at the far end of the open space that just refused to stop flickering, and sighed. He went to the water tap on his left and turned the water on, letting it pool in his hands before slapping it gently to his face, letting it wash away all the dust the wind kindly plastered to his tired face.
After cleaning up a bit, he turned the water off and slowly proceeded to the biggest part of the hangar: the library. It was a monstrous thing, holding perhaps fifty thousand books. Nearly five hundred shelves from floor to ceiling housed almost all of his prized possessions. But the strangest thing of all was that not a single one of them was a detective novel, or a sci-fi book, or a romance novel or a poetry collection, or even a science book, for he didn't bother to read ordinary books. All of them were on magic. There were some on alchemy and potions and herbology, but the old man didn't, and never liked those subjects.
He liked to use his magic, watching it shape and form the world around him, as opposed to battling with a wild tropical plant for a few potions ingredients, or sitting and stirring a potion for hours on end, when you could buy most of them in a potions shop, or better yet, most of the potion's effects could be achieved with a spell that only needed a second to cast. His disinterest in alchemy was only halfhearted, because it was a dying art. Spells had become more versatile over the past six hundred years, so in most cases it didn't pay of to spend months of research to make an item when most of the items that you could make could be conjured and then enchanted with the exact same properties in less than ten seconds, even though items made by alchemy were permanent, while the conjured ones lasted from one hour to one week, depending on the power put behind the conjuration and enchantment.
But the library thrived with books on subjects such as transfiguration, charms, enchanting, arithmancy, ancient runes, spell crafting, warding and ward breaking, healing, defense against the dark arts, dark arts and rituals. Almost all of these books were written in the style of dictionaries, meaning that there was information on the incantation, the wand movement, and the effects of the spell, statistics on power drainage, but little to no information on the crafting of the spell, only the crafter's name and the year that it was invented.
He also had very little books of the more obscure arts such as legilimency, occlumency, necromancy, soul magic, windlass magic and battle magic. This was not due to the fact that he disliked the subjects or the fact that they were useless, quite the contrary, to him these were the most useful magics one could find on the face of the Earth. He had so little books on them because the books were very rare and all of the arts were obscure, meaning a very small amount of people actually knew that they existed or that the effects they had were possible, so it was hard to find a book on something that was considered a myth in the Wizarding World. He was proud of the thought that of the fifty thousand books, five of them were his own works, though he never dared publish them, or even show them to someone. The in depth study of more than one hundred years of his life was laid on the pages of five books.
"89 by H.J.P." was an in depth study on occlumency, which elevated the art on a whole new lever, perhaps even twenty levels above all the known facts about occlumency and the workings of the human mind. It was known that the ordinary human mind used from seven to ten percent of its total brain power, depending on the IQ of the human. Wizards, through the use of the art called occlumency, could raise that percentage from 0.5 percent at a novice to two percent at a master of occlumency. He had studied his own human mind and its workings and succeeded in raising the total percentage of used brainpower up to a staggering 89 percent, hence the title. The consequence was a godlike memory and thought speed. He remembered each event of his life after the years of his "mind boost" with a surreal precision. He knew exactly how every curse he ever experienced felt like, every kiss, every bed partner he ever had, he remembered every scent, every color and contour and texture on their body, how they felt, how they tasted. He remembered every book he read after his "boost", every word in it, every spelling or grammatical mistake, and even every smudge and imperfection that appeared in the print, as the Wizarding World still used the presses from Guttenberg's time.
"Center by H.J.P." was a book he wrote about the magical cores of the wizards and witches. Ways of increasing their capacity, making them store more magic; increasing their density, making the spells leave the wand and travel faster; and increasing the diameter of the magical canals which ran in the centers of the nerves, allowing you to put more magic behind the spells, but decrease the speed that the spells traveled at. He had even found the ideal proportion between the size of the core, its density, and the diameter of the magical channels, which was 90:900:1, allowing him to fire nearly nine hundred of your strongest spells at high projectile speed before he passed out of exhaustion. Also, most importantly, there were many different techniques to manipulate the magical core.
Such was the "Icarus" technique, a technique of moderate difficulty, which allowed one to manipulate his core into growing five tentacles of magic - without the use of rituals or potions - and wrap those tentacles around the spine and each arm and leg. This way, one could manipulate one's core to rise up in the air and fly around, and because of its tentacles, the body would lift up along with it. Many wizards have tried before to fly without the aid of broom, potions or rituals, but all their attempts resulted in their chest ripping open and their core flying out and then fading as the wizard died. The only one known to achieve flight was Voldemort, but even he had used a dark and forbidden ritual which involved sacrificing a human and eight different kinds of birds. He called it the "Icarus" technique because one was always supposed to be careful of his magical reserves, which, if low enough, could cause the levitation and flight to stop and make the wizard fall to the ground, and injure himself or even die on impact.
The most innovative and difficult core technique to achieve was the "Brush with Death", a technique where one sprouted as much tentacles from his core as possible and held them sprouting from his body akin to a cylindrical hairbrush. When the practitioner was fired at with a lethal curse, one needed to only rotate his magical core at a speed the rotation of the planet, creating a sort of "magical" gravity field around him which affected only magic, a difficult thing to achieve, and when the curse reached the tentacles, it would rotate around the practitioner and swerve back at the caster.
The rest of the books were grimoires, "Grim Vol. 1 by H.J.P.", "Grim Vol. 2 by H.J.P.", and "Grim Vol. 3 by H.J.P.", which were collections of all the useful spells he found and learned on his travels around the world, but couldn't be found in any book. Most of them could be cast with a wand, but a good part of them required wandless magic, a field he was proficient at. The fact remained that most of the spells that wizards in Britain used were designed to be used with a wand, and only a few of them could be used without one, such as the levitation spell, the summoning spell, the banishing charm and the "arresto momentum" spell. Any other spell that gave a visual representation of the magic, such as the stunner and binding spell had to be used by a focus, preferably a wand. It wasn't strange that a wizard in Britain that could use wandless magic was rarity, for most of the spells they tried were designed for a wand, and were impossible to cast without one.
The old man snapped out of his reverie and reached in the inner pocket of his jacket from which he removed a small booklet, not more than fifty pages. He walked to a desk that was situated in the middle of the maze of bookshelves and sat down before placing the booklet on it. His hand - which was made of stainless steel pieces that assembled and looked like a skeletons hand, made hollow and through them running the nerves of a dead dragon in order to allow the magic to flow through the hand - reached out and turned the desk lamp on, illuminating the cover of the small booklet. The other hand, the left one, which was a normal wrinkled old hand reached out to the corner of the desk and grasped the reading glasses, before promptly placing them on his triumphant dark green eyes. He looked at the cover, tracing a metallic index finger over the Mandarin characters, which looked to be handwritten in black paint with a brush.
"Strange people, those Chinese them, holding firmly on their history and tradition while still moving boldly into the modern world." mussed Harry aloud while admiring the complex characters on the book, written in perfect calligraphy. His metallic hand reached inside the left sleeve of the worn brown jacket and removed his wand - twelve inches of black willow with a core of basilisk and dragon fangs. The Chinese shopkeeper told him that it would be a great wand for defensive and offensive casting, though it would not be lacking in any other area. The centuries of magical poison running through those fangs had made them an excellent funnel for magic. He waved his hand over the book, muttering an incantation, and the beautiful Chinese characters were replaced by a dull English script which read "The Legend of the Golden Dragon".
He slowly opened the book cover and quickly read through the pages, taking him only twenty minutes to finish the fifty pages because of his highly advanced occlumency. He took the translation charm off the booklet and sunk back on the chair, his green eyes troubled and indecisive. If the legend in the book was true, then the Wizarding World would change forever. But that wasn't what troubled his mind. The Wizarding world should have changed a long time ago, but he had been young and stupid, and didn't realize that killing Voldemort would not be the end of trouble for the Wizarding World. As always, after the defeat of a Dark lord, a lull of peace and happiness followed; a lull which lasted from twenty five to fifty years, in his case only twenty seven. He remembered the day of the defeat of the Dark Lord Voldemort as the saddest and most confusing day in his life. He got his heart broken that day, multiple times.
===== Summer, Year 1998 =====
Harry walked to the body of the Dark Lord and crouched down. There lay the purpose of his overly dramatic life, finally dead and finished. He put his hand on Tom's neck, and felt relieved that there was no pain in his scar, before feeling for a pulse. There was none. He stood up and walked to the Elder Wand and picked it up. He was the master of Death now, and he didn't even know what it meant. It was a stupid title, for one couldn't be a master of Death when Death took everything dear one had. Family, friends, everything. He knew that he wasn't truly immortal, for all it would take was a simple "expelliarmus" to strip his immortality away. He was oddly disinterested in immortality and mortality, but never the less acknowledged the wand, the stone and the cloak as powerful items not to be trifled with, so he put the elder wand in his back pocket, intending to use it until he got his own wand, and after that hide it from the world.
He looked around the great hall of Hogwarts, and knew that he couldn't come back here anymore. The plan was to get rid of Voldemort and go back to school, but he couldn't in good conscience stay inside the castle where everything ended, and eat in the hall where some of his year mates were gravely injured or outright killed. His heart constricted at the knowledge that Remus, the last link to his parents was gone. Dead.
He needed Ginny. She could make him feel alive again, take the sorrow and pain and replace it happiness and pleasure, make him remember that there are things worth living for. He looked around the hall, where Healers in lime green robes were inspecting and healing the wounded, while ministry Obliviators walked around and wiped the memories of the youngest children, trying to relieve their traumas, while another team of Obliviators levitated the black bags in which the dead were placed and took them outside of the castle and wards in order to portkey them to the magical morgue.
He needed Ginny, his mind informed him. He sighed again and walked out of the Great Hall, looking for her. He didn't find her with the rest of the Weaslys out on the lawns of Hogwarts, where they were hugging and crying over the death of Fred, always supportive, even in grief. He offered his condolences to Mrs. Weasly before he walked away, still looking for Ginny. After half an hour of fruitless search, he remembered to consult the Marauders Map, and found her dot sitting in an abandoned classroom on the third floor. He hurried inside the castle and climbed the moving staircases, before finally standing before the classroom door and thinking rapidly about what he should say to Ginny to make amends for the year of torture he left her behind for.
"Ginny, I was thinking, now that this is all over with, would you like to be my girlfriend again?" a male voice asked from inside the classroom.
"I thought you would never ask." Ginny said before a silence settled in Harry's ears.
Brow knit in confusion, he opened the door slightly and peeked inside with one eye. What he saw devastated him. His eyes widened and his vision blurred after he saw Ginny, sitting on a desk, her legs wrapped around Michael Corner, a Ravenclaw in his year and ex boyfriend of Ginny, and kissing him passionately with closed eyes.
He felt his blood rush in his ears, and actually heard it whooshing up the arteries in his brain, trying to supply it with enough oxygen and energy to think this through. He felt numb, so he backed away and leaned on the wall next to the door and slid down, sat on the cold stone floor with his knees to his chest and his back to the wall, hands wrapped around his legs as he stared unseeing at a painting of three Vikings merrymaking and drinking wine.
"I'll be waiting for you…" echoed through his mind, and he realized that she didn't wait for him to save the world. She had moved on, weather it was just now or she had a relationship throughout the school year, while he was out trying to save the world, hungry and cold and without a wand to comfort him. Did she even like him at all? Did she even care for him? Was she just fascinated by the Boy-Who-Lived? It seemed like he would never know. And he didn't know what he should do now.
Going to Hermione was not an option, even though he admired and fancied her. She and Ron were an item, and he saw Ron fall in love with her, so he didn't want to break that or cause Ron to get insecure of his relationship with Hermione. Plus, Ron was now grieving for Fred, and he needed Hermione more than Harry did. So he decided to do what any self respecting single male would do in his situation. Get sloshed. "That would work." he thought before getting up on his aching feet and leaving the third floor corridor and Ginny behind. He stayed in Grimmauld Place for two days getting drunk out of his mind in misery, breaking chairs and glasses and windows whenever his drunken temper got the best of him. Kreacher cleaned up after each and every tantrum of his, bless his little soul. Of course, it didn't work.
Thankfully, he was sober and had his wits about when he went to Remus' and Fred's funerals or he would have caused a scene. After the funerals he visited Gringotts Bank and claimed his full inheritance. He found that he owned several properties, including Potter Manor in Scotland, the cabin in Godric's Hollow which got destroyed that Halloween night sixteen and a half years ago, Grimmauld Place and a flat in London. He also found out he owned several million galleons, two Libraries, one in Grimmauld Place known as the Black Library and one in Potter Manor known as the Potter Library, and many priceless heirlooms, relics and items, although he was hardly the richest man in the Wizarding World, let alone the whole world. Never the less, he could live with those money and properties comfortably his whole life without having to lift a finger.
He didn't know what he wanted to do with his life, because becoming an Auror would be next to useless, having in mind that he would only be used by the Ministry of Magic as a poster boy. So for now, he just moved in Potter Manor, a place that was nice, homely and clean, even though it was too big for just one man to live in. It had three house elves that had welcomed him and told him that they had kept the manor in a pristine condition in expectation of his arrival. The place had an atmosphere, and aura about it that just didn't allow you to fall in an aggressive depression, so when he got drunk there he just cried and felt very sad.
After two weeks of getting drunk alone or getting drunk in muggle discos and picking up young single women for one night stands (for which he used the flat in London for), he decided in one of his rare sober moments that he wanted to teach magic. But teaching magic in Hogwarts required a Mastery in at least one subject, the subject you want to teach. Plus, he hadn't even finished his education yet, having not taken his seventh year or his N.E.W.T.s. So he slowly started to bury himself in studying after he had acquired a new wand, twelve inches of black willow with a core of basilisk and dragon fangs, a favor from Mr. Ollivander for saving him at Malfoy Manor. He worked hard for the whole summer, only taking weekends off to relax. He didn't get drunk anymore, but continued picking up girls in discos as a way to let off steam and stress.
He found it curious that Ginny didn't send him a letter at all after the day he saw her with Michael. It still hurt a bit, but after two months she rarely entered his thoughts. Hermione sent letters and asked about him, and the pain in his heart about his best friend, and possibly the love of his life, increased with each letter he received. She even tried to get him to go back in Hogwarts after he told her that he would take his N.E.W.T.s without taking his seventh year, but making independent studies in his home, but he wouldn't budge. Going to Hogwarts so soon after the Final Battle that took place there would be like putting salt on a fresh wound, and he was no masochist, although later he found out that there was another reason why he didn't want to go to Hogwarts. There was Hermione with Ron and Ginny with Michael, and he knew he couldn't stand to see them happy while he was being miserable, and he even feared that his own misery will make them miserable. So he lied in the letters, saying that he was fine and that everything was great.
They slowly drifted apart, what with Ron and Hermione going to Hogwarts and him staying home in Potter Manor and studying relentlessly. He found it easy to remember and study the material without the added worry of somebody murdering him throughout the year, or having to worry about homework and detentions, and his study time increased to ten hours a day, five days a week. In the span of six months, he had learned all there was to learn in the seventh year books of transfiguration, charms, defense against the dark arts, herbology, potions and care of magical creatures, and even revised and learned what he missed from his previous years on those subjects. He didn't read anything about divination, astrology or history of magic for these subjects were of no use to him, as he didn't have the sight, or was interested in history and astrology.
So after those six months he started studying occlumency, along with arithmancy and ancient runes. Without Voldemort tearing down his defenses with each vision, he rapidly progressed and found out he was a natural in occlumency. He progressed slowly but surely in ancient runes and arithmancy, and after another six months, he finished with the third through fifth year's books, having memorized and learned everything they had to offer. The introduction of the third year books said that they were crucial elements of warding, ward breaking and spell crafting.
He had just finished the fifth year book on arithmancy and was about to start on the sixth year books on arithmancy and runes when the time for N.E.W.T.s testing came, so he revised all the subjects except for arithmancy and ancient runes, because he wouldn't be tested for those.
The morning of the tests dawned, so Harry woke up early with the help of an alarm charm on his pillow, got out of bed and showered, shaved and brushed his teeth. He had learned long ago that he could do nothing about his hair, not even shave it, so he didn't bother with it. He got down to the dining room on the first floor and saw a medium sized breakfast awaiting him. He usually ate his full and then some each morning in order to gain some much needed weight, but that day he didn't want to be too full, for he had important tests to go through. He took two of his best made pepper up potions and left the manor, apparating to the gates of Hogwarts. The gates were open and he saw the Hogwarts examination board going through them, so he hurried up after them in order not to anger Filch, who wouldn't want to open the gates a second time for one wizard.
So he trailed back behind the crowd of examiners and entered Hogwarts grounds for the first time in a year. As he walked the grounds to the door of the school, he had realized something that made him even sadder than the loss of all those lives last year. He realized that Hogwarts wasn't his home anymore. He didn't feel safe here as he did in Potter Manor. He sighed, realizing that it was completely normal not to feel at home in a school, even though he felt like he just lost his home.
He trudged down the halls and to the staff meeting room, where he met Minerva McGonagall sitting and awaiting the instructors.
"Mr. Potter? What are you doing here?" asked the confused witch, for she did not expect to see Harry then and there, in the company of the board of examiners.
"I'm here to take my N.E.W.T.s, Professor." said Harry, equally confused that McGonagall didn't expect him to finish his education.
"I thought you gave up on your education them minute you realized that you didn't have to work a day in your life." explained McGonagall.
"No, I did independent study at home. I just couldn't bear coming back here so soon after… you know…" he trailed off, not wanting to remember that awful night.
"Oh. I- I understand. Well, you are in the classroom number 3 on the third floor. It seems that there is only place with that group. Here is your exam schedule, and you can skip the tests you don't want to be tested in." explained the Professor while handing him a parchment with the schedule of his tests.
"Thank you." said Harry before turning around and walking out of the room.
"Harry…" said McGonagall to catch his attention as he left the interested board of examiners and the professor.
"Yes, professor?" asked Harry, wondering what she wanted to say, and since when did she start using his first name.
"Good luck." she said simply, and he offered her a smile before closing the door and heading for the third floor.
He entered the classroom numbered with a three and sat down in the front. It was still empty, and he guessed that the students weren't up yet. He still had hours before the first exam started, so he relaxed in his chair and started meditating.
He had found out early on that while meditating, the speed of the mind and the capacity of memory were being expanded, and he thought that nobody else knew this, because all the books on occlumency that were in the Potter Library indicated that meditation was only needed to clear one's thoughts before starting to build a wall around the mind. So his mind eased in relaxation as he started to run through the material that he studied and revised this past year. After he finished the revising in almost two hours, his mind eased in relaxation and he thought of absolutely nothing for a full hour. He was interrupted as he was finishing the meditation.
"Harry? What are you doing here? Are you listening to me? You aren't asleep, are you?" asked a very familiar voice, so he emerged from his meditation and opened his eyes.
"Hi Ginny, how are you?" asked Harry as he took in her image. Her hair was a little darker, and her body developed even further, making her look even more desirable. Her breasts were bigger and her lips fuller, her curves more pronounced than he remembered them being and her voice was changed a little.
"I'm fine, thanks. How are you?" she asked casually, which angered Harry a little, but his recent mediation helped him in covering it all up.
"I'm great. Thanks for asking." he said, and she didn't catch his undertone of anger and irritation. He didn't need this, and definitely not now.
"Why didn't you come to Hogwarts this year?" she asked while taking a seat in the chair on the next desk. Each desk had only one chair, to prevent cheating on the tests. Harry shrugged. What was he supposed to say, that he didn't have anything good to come back to? That she had lied to him when she told him that she would wait for him and that Hogwarts only held memories of loss to him?
"I didn't think I had anything to come back to. Ron and you didn't bother writing, and although Hermione wanted me to come back and begged me in her letters, I realized that Hogwarts didn't have anything for me anymore. I had no other friends than Ron and Hermione, and since they are a couple, I figured we couldn't be "the golden trio" anymore; I'd be odd man out. So, I stayed at home and studied." said Harry, not mentioning the drinking habit he developed after seeing her and Michael in a classroom on this very floor.
"You still had me." she said softly after she realized his predicament and what he went through. In reality, she had no idea what he went through.
"Really? If I came back to Hogwarts, how would Michael react if he saw you hanging out with me often?" he asked incredulously, envisioning the whole school watching Michael Corner exploding at Harry, telling him that he was stealing his girlfriend.
"I'm sorry Harry. I wanted to tell you, but it seemed that you had enough on your mind." she said apologetically.
"Well, it doesn't matter now. I was hurt and got the shortest straw anyway. The fact is, you made your choices, and now you have to live with them. You said you would wait for me, and you didn't. I just want you to know that I was waiting for you, and that I sought you out right after Voldemort was finished, and you were busy with Michael in a classroom on this very floor. It was then that I realized that we didn't have a future, that you didn't really love me and that I was just a candle to get through dark times. I understand that, and I bear no hard feelings. I just want to thank you for the good times, even though you were just fooling around." Harry said calmly just as another student entered the classroom.
He turned away from her and stared in space as more and more students filtered inside the classroom. Michael came in, cast a suspicious look at Harry, kissed Ginny on the lips for good luck and sat in the nearest available desk, his eyes still flickering between his girlfriend and one of her ex boyfriends.
The day crawled painfully slow for Harry, as he went through the motions, dealing with the written parts of the exams as fast as possible using occlumency and then acing the practical parts. He felt that he had impressed the examiners on transfiguration, charms and defense of the dark arts. It was getting dark and he was getting tired - despite the two pepper up potions running through his veins - as he brewed the draught of living death for the potions examiner. After that last practical, he hurried home, avoiding any discussion and encounter with Ron or Hermione, because they would have heard about him sitting the exams by now.
Yes, he remembered quite well, even though he had perfected his occlumency shields and memory recall much later. That was the beginning of his career as a scholar and a figurehead of the Light. He was starting to learn all kinds of magic. He started with learning defense against the dark arts in depth, trying to procure a mastery, only to realize that it wasn't a real subject. There was no such thing ever recorded as a Master in Defense against the Dark Arts. All you needed was some recommendations from the Minister of Magic or the Department of Law Enforcement, and/or a resume with at least five years of battling the dark forces. He was dismayed when he learned that almost anyone with good ties in the Department of Law Enforcement or the Minister could be a teacher in Hogwarts. It didn't seem so odd now that there were so many incompetent defense teachers back in his school days.
So he cast aside his dream of teaching defense and concentrated on transfiguration. He bought all the advanced books he could find and bought many living beings and inanimate objects to experiment on, everything from buttons and beetles to pigs and boulders. He felt that he would be ready to teach when he reached McGonagall's level. But he reached her level after studying the subject in under a year, so he decided that he would push towards Dumbledore's level. After two more years of working exclusively on transfiguration he finally reached something akin to Dumbledore's level. He knew all the spells in over fifty books on transfiguration, every law and rule, but he didn't have enough magic inside his core to cast the most powerful ones repeatedly. He knew now that his core was not strong enough to support that kind of heavy casting.
So he sought for ways to correct this flaw, but couldn't find anything in the light magic books in the Potter Library, so he turned to the dark books in the Black Library. He was afraid at first to read from the Black collection of books on magic, a collection which supposedly held the darkest of dark books. He was surprised that almost all of the books held a warning in their first pages. He found out many things about the dark magics just by reading the prologues. For instance, Dark Magic was forbidden only because to the weak willed wizards it was extremely addictive. One book even explained that the Imperious Curse was created and used to measure the willpower of the apprentices in a non painful manner. If they could break it, they had enough willpower to resist the call of darkness. Before the curse was invented, anyone that wanted to be apprenticed under a Master in the dark arts had to put his arm in the fire and hold it there until the Master told him to remove it in order to be initiated as an Apprentice. And even then, that sometimes didn't' work, because some candidates used numbing potions or spells, so the unbreakable Imperious curse was invented, especially designed to be broken only by the distraction of the caster or by the willpower of the subject.
So his search opened his eyes toward a whole new area of magic he was afraid of until now. He had withstood an Imperious Curse from Lord Voldemort himself, and he hadn't budged a finger, which indicated that he had an enormous amount of willpower.
After five more years of study and research, Harry didn't have any more books to read on the subject of Dark Arts and Charms. He tried to look for a ritual to expand his core, preferably one that wasn't too sinister, but found that there was not a single ritual used for expanding the core that didn't involve a human sacrifice, so he was stuck in those regards as well. Still, after five years of constantly doing magic, his core grew a little, and he was able to last a little bit longer with the most advanced transfigurations and animations. His occlumency though was already at a level greater than Dumbledore's and Voldemort's.
He constantly got letters from Hermione and he replied to each and every one. She was the only friend from his childhood that still tried to stay in contact with him. He learned that she got a job in Florish and Blott's and worked there as a librarian, and Ron worked in George's joke shop. He knew even back then that nothing would amount of the lazy and carefree redhead. Hermione was very much surprised that Harry stayed at home and continued learning magic. She even joked in one letter, saying that he was attempting to become the next Dumbledore.
After that letter the truth of her words hit him. He really wanted to be like Dumbledore. He had the option of stopping in his studies when he reached McGonagall's level in knowledge and power in transfiguration, and subsequently get a Mastery in transfiguration and become a transfiguration professor at Hogwarts, but he had decided to forgo it for Dumbledore's level.
It was then that he realized that he had no life but his ambition to become like Dumbledore, and maybe even a more powerful protector of the weak. He was twenty eight years old, and he didn't have a wife, didn't have children, hell, he didn't even have a girlfriend. So he opened a drawer in his desk one morning and decided to look over the marriage contracts that were sent to him after the defeat of Voldemort. He didn't accept any of them, but this was the only way he knew how to get a wife. He decided not to rush things. So he checked the marriage contracts, and he was interested in five of them: Padma Patil, Parvati Patil, Susan Bones, Hannah Abbot and Daphne Greengrass. He went to the Ministry's Marital Department and inquired all of their marital statuses. It turned out that only two of the girls weren't married yet; Susan Bones and Daphne Greengrass. He asked the clerk why the girls haven't married yet, and he got the most curious answer.
"Well, Mr. Potter, you see, after the war with you know who, many wizards died, and now we find ourselves with a much larger number than witches, so naturally some of them would remain not married. It turned out that the Bones and Greengrass families had very little to offer, almost no money and only several relics and their respected book collections. Considering this, no pureblood wizards decided that they were worthy of marriage and since they both kept to themselves, no half-blood or muggleborn has gotten to know them enough to propose." answered the unnamed clerk with a balding head.
"Yes, but now I have to choose between these two, and frankly I can't figure out which one to court first." answered Harry after the clerk's explanation.
"Oh, boy! You still have to learn a lot about pureblood tradition. You are the Head of two Ancient and Noble Houses, Potter and Black. Thus, you need two wives to produce heirs for either of them." said the clerk, grinning like the cat that got the canary.
"Two wives, you say?" asked Harry with raised eyebrows. The clerk only nodded while still grinning.
"Hmm." hummed Harry in thought before thanking the wizard and exiting the ministry, going home to mull on the new developments.
So he courted both of the girls. After six months of courting, he realized that he will never get married. It just stood in the way of his work. Dating two girls at the same time took a huge chunk of his time, and if he got married to just one, he realized that he would have to decrease his pace of studying, and then the whole process would crumble and fall. On the other side, he knew that he was a target for Dark wizards, and he just didn't want to paint a target on the two wonderful girls' backs.
He realized that a relationship with a woman was like a beautiful flower. It demanded constant light, care, attention and love in order to grow. So he understood that right now he didn't have time to pay attention and care to one relationship, let alone two, and that pushed him to decide that would stay single and move on with his work. Susan and Daphne were sad about his decision, but they understood. They got married to each other though, and being the first lesbian couple in seven hundred years, they were under a lot of scrutiny. They had even decided between themselves that Harry was the father they wanted for their babies, so they called him up and told him of his decision. After much debate, he agreed to do it on one condition. They would tell no one that he was the father to their children, for he was a constant target, and some of the death eaters that got off scot free would just love to get their hands on a child spawned by him. So he became a biological father of two children, a boy from Susan and a girl from Daphne, even though he rarely visited them, and they didn't know he was their father until they were seventeen years old.
So he trudged on through the world of magic, soaking up knowledge and constantly increasing his memory speed and potential. He traveled through the world for fifteen years, picking up much knowledge in the ways of the ever elusive wandless magic and core manipulation techniques. It was in Tibet that he learned how to enhance his core without the use of rituals, and in India he learned how to sprout tentacles from it and move them about. He picked up the wandless magics all around the world, from places where wizards were "primitive" and haven't invented focuses, mostly from Africa and Australia where there were entire villages of wizards, but only the oldest of them were powerful enough to use magic wandlessly, and they were called shamans or witch doctors. The rest behaved just like muggles.
He was interrupted in his travels when a letter from Hermione told him that there was a new Dark Lord and he was out for muggle blood. War was stirring in the Wizarding World, so he came back to deal with the new Dark Lord.
Not a month passed that the Dark Lord Mortanius, which was really Draco Malfoy, got his ass beaten up and captured and carted off to Azkaban, along with the fifty odd followers he had. He was a piece of cake compared to Voldemort, so he was easy to deal with. Harry caught him in one of his raids on Diagon Alley, watched him and the last of his followers torching the business of a muggleborn wizard that had decided to build trunks for living.
He had fired the only battle spell he knew back then, the sonic boom spell, and watched as Malfoy and his followers fell down like dominoes from the spell which had the effect a jet flying low in mach three had. All the glass windows around them broke and Harry quickly summoned all their wands and promptly broke them. The people of Diagon Alley cheered as Aurors apparated in the alley, thanking him for taking care of Malfoy and proceeded to bind the criminals before portkeying them to the ministry.
So this was the life of Harry James Potter, always saving the day never wanting any gratitude from the people he saved. He had received countless gifts and gratitude donations, but most of what he received he gave away to charity foundations and orphanages around the country.
He had continued looking for more magics to study all around the globe, and came across powerful Spartan battle magic. He could cast the easiest of the spells quite easily after studying them in detail, but the strongest ones found him lacking. So he had continued with manipulating and expanding his core, as well as compressing the magic within and developing his magical canals. His control got to the point that a simple "incendio" he cast he could use as a cigarette lighter, or a flamethrower that he could keep for hours on end.
He had lost half of his left leg, from the knee down, and his right hand in a duel with the next Dark Lord, a man that had graduated from Drumstrang several years before he was born and only recently started to gather followers, but was almost as powerful as Voldemort himself. He had been foolish to underestimate him, expecting an easy fight like the one with Draco Malfoy, and he had paid with flesh, bones and blood. He was lucky that Rosmerta from the three Broomsticks apparated him to St. Mungos immediately, for he would have died of blood loss for sure. It was there that they implanted him with a wooden leg, one like Mad Eye used to wear.
After losing his right hand he couldn't cast half the spells he knew with his left one. It just wasn't coordinated right. So he worked with mediation and occlumency and developed the coordination in his left hand to the point it was on par with the coordination his right and use to have. Meanwhile he had researched how to regrow limbs, but hit a brick wall, so he developed an artificial hand made from stainless steel and dragon nerves. He used his knowledge in transfiguration and animation to create hollow bones made from stainless steel, through which he inserted nerves from a dragon. The nerves were spelled with strong numbing spells and spelled not do degrade or rot. After assembling the skeleton like hand he connected the nerves with his severed ones in order to let magic flow through the metallic hand and enable him to cast spells through it.
At first there was some magic bleeding through the cracks where the dragon nerves and his connected, but he fixed that with oak rings around the cracks, making the flow of magic stable. Next, he created an animation spell to make the hand move through commands of his sub-consciousness. In the end, the metallic hand felt weird, but he got used to it within a week of practice. One thing that surprised even him was that the hand had more strength than his original one had, but he guessed it was because it was held together by magic and empowered by it, so sometimes when he was in a rush he would break the doorknobs and handles when he just wanted to open a door.
Time flew by. Several Dark Lords from the younger generations got defeated early by him, not giving them any time to develop into something more powerful and sinister. He had learned most of the wand and wandless magics he could find anywhere by now, so he started dabbling in alchemy a bit. Before he knew it he was over one hundred and sixty years old and Hermione was on her deathbed. She had requested him to come and talk to her one last time, so he had apparated to St. Mungos in order to send her off to the next great adventure.
"Hi Harry. How are you?" asked a weak one hundred and sixty four year old Hermione, her eyes shining with pain as her body continued to give up.
"I'm as well as it can be expected considering my age. I just feel tired, no matter how much I sleep and how much I rest, I feel tired, but I guess that is to be expected." he said pleasantly.
"Yes, I remember being like that when I hit one hundred and thirty. I guess you will live to see at least a hundred and ninety." she said serenely.
He just nodded, and a one minute silence followed, in which Hermione seemed to consider telling him something.
"Harry, I called here because I had something I wanted to tell you. Something that I think you should know, that you should have known ever since our Hogwarts days." she said hesitantly.
"Hermione, I'm still the same old Harry. I like to think that I have matured a bit over the years, but you know you could tell me anything back then, and you can tell me anything now." he said while he reached and took her hand in his left one, the one that still could feel.
"I know Harry. Listen. I just wanted to tell you that… that I love you. I loved you ever since our sixth year in Hogwarts. I just kept quiet, thinking that I was unworthy of you, so I went to Ron; the only one that I knew wouldn't turn me down. One thing led to another and I found myself married to him and having two of his babies. I loved him too, but only as a friend Harry. I regret my cowardice all those years ago. I should have left the Sorting Hat place me in Ravenclaw. I'm no Gryffindor and I've suffered for pretending to be one." said Hermione softly as tears slid from her eyes and traveled down her wrinkled cheeks.
Harry took a handkerchief and whipped her tears down before he sighed and started with his own confession.
"I think I loved you too, ever since I saw you on the hand of Viktor Krum on the Yule Ball in our fourth year. It was just that, it seemed to me that Ron fancied you from much earlier, what with all the quarrels he instigated with you. And it seemed to me that you seemed more interested in him than in me, so I let it slide. Oh the irony, I stood up to such great evils to protect others and their happiness, but I realized that I have never stood up for myself. Never in my life. How pathetic is that. And here we both are: old, alone and miserable. Hell, I was miserable ever since the final battle with Voldemort. I think I suffered a small heart attack when I saw Ginny kiss Michael Corner in a classroom just after the final battle. You were occupied with Ron, and my "consolation prize" went with some twit that cowered when I fought Voldemort." said Harry with a bitter chuckle.
"I busied myself these past years with studying too Harry." she said slowly, which made Harry curious, as she had changed her subject quite abruptly.
"Oh? What did you study." asked Harry.
"Time travel. If I could just send a note to my past self, telling her that Harry loves her and that she should admit his feelings for her, all of our misery can be sidestepped." she said slowly.
"Interesting, although it wouldn't change anything for us. You cannot change the present through the past no matter how hard you try, for it is impossible. If you got a note then and we got together, there would be no reason to send a note back in the past, and the loop-that-never-was would be broken. The best you can hope for is that when you send the note back, your past self will make a choice to tell me that she loves me and create an alternate universe that will run with parallel with this one where they live happily ever after. And even then, if you don't remember receiving a note like that ever, there is no way to change the past events that you definitely know occurred. We could only save Sirius and Buckbeak in our third year because we haven't witnessed their deaths. There is no hope for us. We are doomed." said Harry.
Hermione sighed. He waited for her to speak more. But after five minutes of waiting he realized that something was wrong. He stood up and moved closer to her, bent over and placed his ear to her chest. Her heart wasn't beating. He sighed as tears welled up in his eyes. He reached with his left hand and gently closed her glassed out eyes. He got out of the room and called the healers, informing them that Hermione had passed away. They wrote down the time of death and transported the body to the morgue while the rest of the Weaslys repeated the performance from the lawns of Hogwarts all those years ago, hugging, crying and grieving.
He got home and for the first time in a hundred and forty years he got totally drunk. He passed out with the half full Firewhiskey bottle in his hand and another one that rolled under the couch. Needless to say his hangover the other morning was monumental. After casting a spell to make the horrible feeling in his gut and throat disappear, he considered what Hermione told him. She was now dead, so she couldn't fix what went wrong all those years ago. But he was alive, and he had around thirty years to figure a way to change the past.
After two years, he figured out how to send notes in the past, but he never tested the spell, nor he knew a way that it could be tested, since the note would theoretically disappear and appear somewhere and sometime in the past, and create an alternate universe, with no connection with this one. But he was selfish. He wanted a good life, and a counterpart of his in a different universe just wouldn't cut it. And he felt that after all he had done for the world, the fates owed him another chance, and that he had the right to a good life. So he started searching for spells or artifacts that could bring him to the past.
He needed something to bring only his soul in the past, because his body was now, at the age of one hundred and sixty, nearly useless. He needed to be young again. To be born again. So he searched. After more than twenty years of searching, he found something, but he didn't know exactly what it was.
The artifact was a black steel fifty four centimeters long (around 22 inches) wakizashi, with strange and powerful enchantments on it. It had a golden pommel stylized to look like a half-breed between a lizard and a dragon, exactly how dragons were envisioned in ancient China. Its wings were folded and its eyes were milky white, and it looked like it was blind.
He tried every different revealing spell he knew, but he couldn't detect all the spells on the sword and its sheath. In fact, the only spells he revealed were an ever sharp spell and a spell to keep the blade from tarnishing and rusting. The rest of the magical power that emanated from the sword was from three spells that every revealing spell indentified them as "unknown enchantment".
===== Fall, Year 2172 =====
He inspected the illustration thoroughly and concluded that the artifact he had found almost ten years ago was the legendary short sword called "The Golden Dragon". He leaned back in the comfortable office chair and weighed his options. One, he could use the sword and perform the seppuku ritual, with a fifty-fifty chance of either dying a and going to the afterlife or being reborn again and having another shot at his life; or two, he could just forget about the ritual and live the several years he had remaining of his natural life.
It didn't even take him a full minute to decide to do the ritual. Even if he failed, all he had to lose were several years as an old man, but if it worked, he could have his youth and strength back, and another shot on life, this time, hopefully, with Hermione and his family.
He stood up and went to an old battered wooden chest. He muttered a password, and the top sprung up, giving way to the neon light and revealing six yellow cake-like objects with small digital LCD display screens attached on them. He took the C4 explosives and placed them evenly around his hideout, carefully setting them on the ground and timing each to explode in thirty minutes. If any wizard got his hands on the Hallows, or even just the Elder Wand, the world would fall into darkness again.
He sat down on his office chair as the clock continued to tick. He opened a bottle of Firewhiskey and took a gulp before lighting one of his cigarettes. He let the smoke out slowly and took his time to enjoy himself, knowing that if the ritual worked, he couldn't have a cigarette or a glass of Firewhiskey for seventeen years, after which he would be the legal age to drink and smoke all he liked.
He checked the watch as he pressed the butt of the cigarette and gulped down what was left of the whiskey in his glass before he got up and opened his old school trunk with a spell he personally designed. He peered inside and saw the Hallows lying innocently on the wooden floor of his old trunk, alongside the golden dragon and several other objects, one of which was a time turner. He took the sword and levitated the trunk to the nearest C4 package. He wanted those items destroyed after he wasn't there anymore to guard them.
He checked his watch again, and saw that there were only twenty minutes before the whole hangar exploded. He got down on his knees slowly and removed his jacket and shirt. His wrinkled body had several scars from his scrapes with dark lords over the past two hundred years, but they would all go away soon. He unsheathed the black blade with a flourish and placed the sheath in front of him. He grasped the wakizashi with both hands and positioned it to his stomach. He took a deep breath and exhaled half of it as he plunged the black blade deep within his stomach. Pain coursed to his body but he ignored it for several minutes as his vision blurred and after that he finally passed out from blood loss. His heart took nearly three minutes to stop, after which Harry James Potter was officially dead.
Two minutes before the C4 explosives blew up, the golden dragon which was actually the pommel of the sword which Harry impaled himself with blinked. Its eyes gained a bright green color and black slits, and the dead body and the sword erupted in white light. From the dome of light erupted a sixty feet dragon made of golden light, before it shot up and went through the roof like a ghost. It sailed up in the night sky until a circle of blue light appeared above it. It speared through it and the circle of light closed down after the tip of its spiked tail disappeared through it. The only magical person in the area was a blind ninety year old squib who didn't see anything of this magical spectacle, but heard the explosion that followed not two minutes after it.
The Aurors arrived on the scene to find a huge area totally destroyed and flaming. They doused the flames with "aguamenti" charms and cast revealing spells around the area. A charred body held the magical signature of one Harry James Potter, and they realized that the legend of a man was dead. Of the rubble nothing was salvaged, and they buried his charred body in a public funeral, where all the wizards and witches of Britain attended to honor his legend.