A/N: Pure Crack!Fic! A fanfic writer is dragged into an HP fan-verse by a rabid plot bunny. Hilarity ensues. WARNING! M/M slash implied (Harry/Draco), bashing of just about everybody else. Canon? You've got to be kidding….
Disclaimer: I own nothing, making no profit, please see end of fic for places I borrowed things from.
"There are times when the world is in flux and the right voice in the right place can move the world"—Peter Wiggins (Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game)
Note: conversations with the film crew inside the author's head. May also represent personal letters. Or spells. Or, just random comments floating through the fic. Or, just emphasis. You'll figure it out.
Harry Potter and the Cliché of Death
It was mealtime in the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, and all of the teachers and faculty were in their usual places, eating the piles of scrumptious food that the house elves had lovingly prepared for them.
Well by now, you've probably figured out the whole thing's a load of rubbish, haven't you? Scrumptious food...in Scotland? Lovingly prepared by house elves? Oh, please...if you're lucky, you'll get the bits without so much spit in them, not to mention the extra chunky brown bits in the gravy--best not to wonder too much about them, just like Chinese food in low cat population areas of the world, especially American strip-malls. And which meal time? As if it matters...stupid house elves probably make vats of the same things for each meal, and people just get in the habit of politely ignoring the runny eggs and soggy bacon in the evenings, just like they ignore the stringy beef and lumpy potatoes in the morning. Of course, it does help out on those odd days when you really want eggs, sausages and bacon for supper, I suppose.
Eh, the haggis is probably almost as old as the barmy old Headmaster...nobody ever touches it, and it always looks the same. Probably a stasis charm or some such rot….
So, let's try this one again.
It was breakfast time at Hogwarts, and most of the students were still dragging in, yawning. The ones that weren't were jostling each other at the ONE coffee station in the Great Hall--seriously bad planning, that--or drinking stale tea, thumping their biscuits on the table to drive out most of the weevils.
It was not commonly known by the students, but in 1874 Hogwarts purchased a large quantity of surplus rations from the Royal Navy at a rock-bottom price, and the house elves decided that humans must like their biscuits with the extra crunchy little bits. After all, the house elves liked them better that way, too. At any rate, calculating using the average rates of consumption for the past three years as a baseline, the last crates of the 1874 purchase should be exhausted sometime between 2017 and the end of the world. Give or take a decade or three.
It was a rather large purchase, of a rather large surplus quantity, and the price was really quite reasonable...at least, that's the story that was put out by the Governors.
Meanwhile, at the Head Table, the Headmaster was the only one who appeared even remotely happy to be there, his eyes twinkling, his tangerine and fuchsia gown nicely set off by the British Racing green cap on his head. The Assistant Headmistress sat to his left, primly proper as she sipped her tea (freshly conjured, not that swill the elves provided). Professors Sprout and Flitwick routinely brought their own breakfasts, sneaking them in under concealment charms, while Hagrid, Keeper of the Keys and Grounds, actually seemed to enjoy the Hogwarts fare...especially the haggis.
Except for Snape, the other Professors...er, Sinestra...and Vector, yeah, that's a name from the books...and, er...quick who's gonna be the DADA looser?...what do you mean you don't know...dammit, I thought you had all of that worked out by now...what's that? no name...okay, I can do that...except for Snape, who (being a vampire, duh) drank his meals from a plastic bag, the other Professors rarely ate in the Great Hall, or even existed at all except as cardboard cut-outs which were occasionally placed around to make people think that there actually WAS a staff. Of course, the DADA professor wasn't present on this fine morning (actually, it was overcast and a fine mist was falling outside and, due to a sporadic malfunction with the enchanted roof of the Great Hall, or maybe just a wandering hole, over the lower half of the Ravenclaw table—oh well, it's only the lowbie Ravenclaws, screw 'em), because somebody forget to make one up and it won't matter for this story, anyway.
At any rate, it was breakfast time, and the Golden Trio of Potter, Weasley and Granger were striding confidently into the Great Hall, eagerly looking forward to another fine day of education and adventure at the greatest school of wizardry in the known universe!
*snicker* Yeah, as if....
What was actually happening was that Hermione Granger, bookworm and naggy female without equal was dragging her lame-arse excuse for a boyfriend into the Great Hall, while Harry Potter slouched behind. Neither of the boys had bothered to do anything which could even be remotely considered 'grooming' that morning, relying (as usual) on Hermione's grooming charms for what little presentable-ness they had.
Harry, for his part, absolutely hated it, but he had learned early on (like, in his first year) that it didn't matter what he did, Hermione would find fault with it and cast the grooming charms anyway. So, firmly beaten down into a state which is often described by muggle psychologists as 'learned helplessness', he followed along, the natural magic in his hair easily winning the battle against Hermione's rather puny grooming charm.
The three had just seated themselves at their customary places (Hermione barely managing to snatch the haggis away from Ron, who had gone into feeding mode prematurely this morning) when the doors to the Great Hall opened once more, admitting Draco Malfoy and his entourage of Slytherins.
Now, wait just one minute! How come the doors to the Great Hall never close, but always open dramatically when Draco comes in? And weren't they already here, and seated, when the Trio came in? Where's the scene coordinator? What? Not here yet? It's quarter of nine, woman, don't tell me she's not here yet! Eh? Oh? Taking a personal day? Well, what idiot approved that? Oh, I did? Well, er, okay, then. Never mind, keep rolling, er, writing.
The doors to the Great Hall swung back, banging against the wall and making the usual hideous racket. Of course, everyone flinched, even Draco, but he hid it well after years of practice.
Striding to their places (and only slipping a little bit as they skirted the puddles around the lower end of the Ravenclaw table) the senior Slytherins made their way to their seats, and sat.
Immediately, a flock of owls descended from somewhere in the general vicinity of the eaves of the roof, bearing copious moisture (which their flight shook over all and sundry) and the morning (soggy) mail. Oddly enough, on this particular morning both Harry and Draco received identical letters written on moist parchment in a particularly lurid shade of purple ink.
Harry was the first to open his letter, having snatched it out of a bowl of...something rather resembling porridge but otherwise best left undescribed...before Ron could think it was a piece of toast. Carefully unfolding it, he read:
I'm still here, and my minions are closing in around you. I know enough of the prophecy to want you dead, dead, dead. Your demise is what I think of every night when I engage in self-abuse. Once you are dead, nothing will stand between me and global domination. I shall sweep to power first here in England, then across Europe, and from there to Iceland, where Reykjavík shall be mine! Make your will, Potter!
Harry raised one eyebrow at the slashes underneath his name. Apparently, Tom had the idea that each one represented a 'curse' or 'hex' (just as 'Xs' and 'Os represented hugs and kisses), so seeing them was nothing new. However, it was a rare day indeed when he merited NINE of the bloody things…six was usually average. Something must be up, he mused, only to be rudely interrupted by Hermione's "here, Harry, let me see that!" His face expressionless, he quickly cast a wandless, wordless charm which turned the letter from his arch-nemesis into a bill for an extremely becoming pair of Bermuda shorts just as Hermione snatched it from his hand.
"Honestly, Harry! You need to pay this bill, at once! Otherwise, you'll just forget, and then you'll get another bill, which you'll also forget!" And on, and on, and on, in that nasal, whinging voice which no one else could quite managed but did achieve total annoyance in everyone within a twenty foot radius.
Across the Great Hall, Draco lifted his letter from off the muffins where it had been dropped by a particularly scruffy-looking owl, and opened it before Pansy Parkinson could snatch it out of his hand and read it for him.
My Dearest Draco:
I continue to plan my inevitable triumph, and with you among my minions my victory is assured! There is a prophecy which states that I will destroy my nemesis, after which I will live forever happily with you, my soul mate. Your glorious visage is what I dream of every night as I engage in manual autoerotic stimulation. Once Potter is dead, nothing will stand between us. I have discovered a spell which will make your 1/256 Veela part dominant, rendering you a pure Veela male, able to bear my children as well as making you an irresistible sex-on-legs boy toy who will be mine forever. Be sure to dress warmly.
Draco shrugged, burning the letter to ash with a flick of his wrist. The Dark Lord had seen him once during a brief trip to Malfoy Manor, and had been instantly enamored of the blond boy. Only long years of practice allowed himself to control his features when he received such a letter, rather than give in to the urge to hurl in a manner which would be most undignified for a Malfoy.
As if, thought Draco, smiling an empty smile at the vapid look on Pansy's face. Maybe, he mused, he could use the Dark Lord's fascination with him to convince Voldemort to let him feed Pansy to a large beast of some sort. Since that seemed to be the only way to convince her that Draco (a) wasn't interested because (b) he was a flaming poofter, it might actually be more kind in the long run. Certainly it would be more interesting, and easier on the ears than listening to Pansy's nasal voice for the rest of his life.
Turning away from Pansy's sneeze (Draco had deftly managed to blow some of the ash from his letter into her face, where it had tickled her nose), Draco looked across the room just as Harry turned his head away from Hermione's irritating drone. Their eyes locked across the Great Hall, silver-gray and emerald flashing at each other as a covert look of simmering passion passed between the two secret not-quite-yet-lovers, causing their faces to flush and their pulses to race....
When the doors to the Great Hall exploded inwards, shattering into thousands of pieces!
So, obviously, somebody had closed them again, right? Right? Now, where was I? Oh, yes....
...shattering into thousands of pieces! Every head in the Hall snapped around just in time to see two large forms, locked in mortal combat, roll and tumble into the Great Hall. Spitting, cursing and snarling as they went, the pair thrashed to and fro, smashing tables, crushing several no-name nonentities—but they were all lowbies, and none of them had anything to do with any story, ever, so screw 'em—and sending platters of food flying everywhere!
Except, of course, for the Head Table, which (as we all know) is protected by a highly secret, nigh-unbreakable food shielding charm. Sodding Professors.
As the titanic struggle progressed, those surviving students managed to draw back against the walls, out of the area of destruction which now seemed to be concentrated in the center of the Hall, where the combatants continued to struggle with one another. Then, with a herculean effort, the darker of the two gave a huge shrug and flung his adversary across the room, revealing...a water buffalo-sized...rabbit?
Yes, it was indeed a rabbit...all white fur (now a bit soggy and matted), with burning pink eyes.
"Awwwww...." went about half of the girls (and a few boys) in the Hall at the sight of the massively cuddly thing.
Then, the bunny let loose a basso snarl, revealing six-inch long fangs and a mouth full of razor-sharp teeth dripping with foetid saliva. Digging its long, bloody claws into the stone floor the stupendous Leporidae gathered itself to lunge on its adversary once again. However, before it could leap, the hooded figure raised one hand and called out "Corpus Invertus!"
With a horrible squeal, accompanied by a sound somewhere between a flop and a squish, as well as the rapid-fire cracks of bones breaking...the rabbit turned itself inside out!
Before the now-enraged, bleeding, pulsating mass could gather itself once more, the second figure took one step forward and intoned in a deep, rolling voice:
"By the organ summoning of Thoth Amon,
Lepus spine to my hand come!"
A nauseating series of pops and snaps followed as the creature's spine was ripped from its body, pelvis to skull, to sail across the Hall and into the outstretched hand of the conjurer. Unsupported by anything resembling an axial skeleton, the carcass of the huge rabbit slumped to the floor, twitching.
Complete silence settled over the Hall like a blanket...a very wet, smelly, soggy, blood-soaked blanket.
Suddenly, a low chuckle came from within the cowl of the figure in the center of the Hall as he casually tossed the dripping spine in the rabbit's general direction.
"Not so tough without a spine, now are you?" the voice came. Wiping the gore from his hands (for it was, indeed, a male voice) on his outer garment, the stranger reached up and pushed back his hood.
Short gray-brown hair on top of a round head showed first, followed by a plump face wearing gold-framed glasses. A two-day growth of grayish stubble wrapped around the face, not doing anything to hide the double chin. Looking around, bright blue-hazel eyes took in his surroundings carefully as a satisfied smile began to give way to a look of mild horror.
"Er...hello, sorry about the mess," the stranger said. "Damned plot bunny attacked me out of nowhere, and" he shrugged, "you know how that is." He said this last as though he expected it to completely explain the situation, and turned towards the ruins of the doors. "I'll just be going now, don't mind me...oh, and I'd burn that thing ASAP, or it might come back for some of you." Nodding towards the still-pulsating carcass, he began walking towards the entryway with only a minor limp, obviously intent on leaving.
"Hold, stranger!" Dumbledore's voice rang out. "Who are you, and how did you come to be here?"
The man stopped, sighed, half-turned and looked over his shoulder. "Look, I said I was sorry about the mess; just be sure to burn the rabbit, okay? I need to be going, and I really shouldn't stay any longer."
"But Hogwarts' wards..." Professor McGonagall burst out, only to be waved to silence by the stranger.
"Hogwarts' wards didn't slow us down in the slightest, Minerva; but we didn't disturb them, either. They'll be fine," he nodded, then turned once more.
"I'm afraid that we'll need to know more before we can allow you to depart," Dumbledore said, waving his wand and immediately repairing the doors to the Great Hall. Another, second wave dropped a large crossbar across them, effectively sealing everyone in the Great Hall. "Now, won't you please tell us who you are, and how you came to be here?" the Headmaster asked politely.
The figure gave a huge sigh, then turned, his hands on his hips. "You just won't take no for an answer, will you?" he asked. "Not even if I tell you that you really don't want to know?"
"I'm afraid not," Dumbledore replied, smiling broadly. "Can we offer you some breakfast?"
"Why don't you clean up this mess while I get my own," the figure said, clearly resigned. As he went to the coffee station, Dumbledore and the other Professors set about putting the Great Hall to rights. "Coffee...must have coffee...."
As the figure approached the coffee station, those few students who were standing there scattered to the four winds. Grimacing, the figure looked down at his tattered raiment. "Oh, yuck, need to fix this," he said softly, then muttered a few words while making passes with his hands up and down his cloak. In seconds, the bloody tatters transformed themselves into a black t-shirt, sweat pants and sneakers. On the t-shirt was the legend: "FOOLS! I Will Destroy You All! Ask Me How!" After he fixed himself a coffee (medium roast, black) he turned and faced a now-rabbit carcass-free Great Hall. One of the students glanced at his shirt and began giggling, and he smiled back at the young man when he asked, "How?"
The man assumed a mock-fierce expression, with one hand raised above his head, index finger extended, his mouth a twisted grimace and one eyebrow noticeably higher than the other.
"Through SCIENCE! Muhwahahahahaha!" His maniacal laughter (evil laugh #4, good for initial declarations of malicious intent and also moments of impending triumph over the Forces of Good) echoed from the vaulted ceiling.
At that, the muggleborns nearby burst out into peals of laughter while the magically-raised just looked confused.
Not too terribly many minutes later, as these things are measured, the strange man was ensconced in a chair at the Head table, his coffee set carefully to one side as he looked askance at the food slowly coagulating on the platters there. Cocking his head to one side thoughtfully, he called out softly, "Yo! House Elf!! FRONT!"
Immediately there was a soft popping sound as three Hogwarts house elves materialized beside and behind a chair.
"How is we to be serving the Master?" one asked quickly.
Turning and smiling down at the trio of elves, the man asked, "Let me guess...none of you have ever been out of Scotland, have you?" When all three elves shook their heads, he just nodded, his suspicions confirmed. "Well, then, none of you would know a grit from a gorilla, would you?" Without waiting for an answer, he went on. "Okay, let's make this easy on you. I'd like three eggs scrambled with cheddar cheese, six strips of bacon extra-crispy, toast with butter, orange juice and a pot of coffee. A large pot. Can do?" he finished.
All three elves grinned broadly, nodded, and popped away. His breakfast ordered, he turned back around in his chair, sipped his coffee and looked around carefully. For several long moments he pointedly ignored the fact that every eye in the Great Hall was fixed on him as he surveyed his surroundings; then he grinned, stared directly at a young girl at the Hufflepuff table and slowly, deliberately crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue. After a few seconds, he rolled his tongue into a U-shaped tube and began waggling his eyebrows up and down.
The girl blushed furiously and whipped her head away as a ripple of giggles spread out across the Great Hall. Satisfied, the odd man held the ludicrous face for a few seconds before he let it lapse, winking at his victim as he did. Feeling the looks he was getting from the other Professors, he turned back and forth, looking at all of them.
"What? You people act like you've never seen a funny face before."
"I should say not, under these circumstances," McGonagall began, only to be cut off by a rude sound.
"Pffft! Come on, Minnie, lighten up! To borrow a phrase, Merlin knows this place could use a few laughs." Grinning, he reached out and gently poked the Transfiguration professor, who recoiled in shock and horror. "Don't worry...I'm not going to turn you all into newts or anything, at least until I get my breakfast. Just chill out, m'kay?"
The Headmaster chose this moment to cut in smoothly, forestalling an explosion by his Deputy Headmistress.
"Stranger, you still have yet to give us your name."
The stranger nodded, then sipped his coffee. "Nope, and not gonna, either." At the shocked looks from the professors, he snorted. "Oh, for the love of...come on, people, you're wizards...you ought to know that a true name gives you power over a thing! Now, if you behave yourselves, I'll give you a nome de guerre, maybe de plume, but my real name? Go fish!"
Several of the professors sat back, shocked at the temerity of the stranger in speaking so bluntly to the venerable Headmaster, but that worthy himself merely smiled. "You are indeed correct, sir," he said, eyes twinkling merrily. "So, then...is it to be de guerre, or de plume? Or perhaps, you would prefer a title of some kind?" he asked slyly.
The stranger gave a small nod, acknowledging the Headmaster's attempt, then chuckled. "Nice try, Dumbles, I'll give you that. Tell you what...it's actually 'Doctor', but since I'm not in practice anymore, I won't be real anal about that if you won't, okay? But, since I really don't want to be spending the rest of the day answering to 'hey, you!' or 'hey, you, lardarse!'" and here he grinned hugely, "call me...Guru. Yeah, that'll do...Guru."
"Very well, er, Doctor Guru...."
"Just Doctor, or Guru...or Doc, if you're in a hurry."
"Just so. Well, then, Guru...could you tell us why you came to be here so abruptly, and how?" the Headmaster inquired.
"A better question would be what was that thing I killed in the middle of your dance floor just now," the Guru said nonchalantly. He looked as if he was going to say more, but just then a plate of eggs, bacon and toast—accompanied by a large glass of orange juice and a carafe of coffee—appeared in front of him.
"Thanks, guys!" he called to the air, before looking down at the plate and sniffing appreciatively. "Jubal Hershaw, eat your heart out," he muttered, before tucking in.
Momentarily taken aback by the man's answers, and also a bit reluctant to interrupt him as he tore into his eggs and bacon like a starving man, Dumbledore motioned Hagrid over to him with a wave.
"Hagrid, I banished the carcass of that...creature...to the fields not too far from your cottage. Be so good as to go take a look at it, and then burn it as he suggests."
"Aye, Perfessor," the half-giant rumbled, before striding out of the Hall.
That chore done, Albus leaned over to his right, and began speaking in a quiet voice with his Charms professor.
"Filius, have you ever heard of the second spell he used? The one that pulled out the beast's spine?"
The diminutive Charms Master shook his head. "No, Albus, never. And, I'm not familiar with the first spell he used, either. Just judging from the effects, I'd say that it must be terribly Dark, but there's little question that he used it in self-defense. And, possibly, in our defense, as well."
"I agree. He is a bit odd, but then again, we know nothing of him. He doesn't strike me as one of Tom's followers, now does he?"
Flitwick shook his head. "No, not at all." He paused, then chuckled. "I rather doubt that a Death Eater would have been making faces at a muggle-born girl, either. No, whatever he is, a follower of You-Know-Who he probably is not."
"Thank you, Filius. I didn't think so, but I wanted another's judgment, as well. So, then, what should we do with him?" Albus paused, giving a quick nod of his head to his left. "I doubt that Minerva would be very objective right now, were I to ask her for an assessment."
"Probably not," Flitwick agreed dryly. The stern woman's temper was well known, and the looks she was currently trying to kill the new arrival with were all too easy to read. "I'd tread carefully, Albus. He's obviously a powerful wizard, and conversant with magics that we have little or no knowledge of. Probably it'd be best to ask him what he wants, and if it's reasonable, grant his requests."
"My thoughts exactly, Filius. Again, thank you. Still, just to be safe, keep your wand handy, eh?" the Headmaster finished their conversation and leaned back in his chair.
By now, the Guru had finished demolishing his eggs and bacon and was sitting back nibbling toast and occasionally sipping his coffee. His eyes were still sweeping back and forth across the Great Hall, taking in the view before him, his face a neutral mask. Occasionally his eyes would linger on one person or another--Harry and Draco each garnered an extra second or two, as well as subtle winks that had each of them wondering--and even a dark glare or three. Hermione Granger made the mistake of trying to give him an ugly look, but after almost a minute of unblinking stare she broke first, turning away with a huff. The stranger's only reaction to this was a snort of what was probably amusement before he once again went back to scanning the Hall.
He was interrupted once again by the Headmaster.
"So, Guru...I believe that you mentioned that the beast which you so handily dispatched was a...plot bunny? Is that correct?"
"Yeah. Stupid Digitallace set the damned thing on me, what with her 'Shaun of the Dead' crapola, and I couldn't throw it off. Damn thing latched on to me and wouldn't let go, so it would up dragging me here. Of course, as soon as I realized where I was, I knew it had to be killed and burned post haste, or else it would have started spawning zombies left and right. So, I turned it inside out and ripped out its spine...and I hope that Hagrid has the sense to burn it like I said." Shaking his head, he took another sip of coffee. "Probably wouldn't be a bad idea to burn the head, body and spine in three different fires, now that I think about it...then scatter the ashes in three different places. Right off the top of my head, I'd use the North Atlantic, Loch Ness and your lake, here. Let the wretched thing deal with Nessie, the Squid and the icebergs, if it can. 'Course, if it manages to re-manifest after that, you'll have no choice but to put some of it in the Arctic, some in the Sahara, and some ten feet down in the Great Salt Flats." Another sip, and he went on matter-of-factly. "Don't think this one'll require the Salt Flats...you usually only have to do that for demons, devil-possessed items, stuff like that. The salt wards off demonic forces, don't ya know."
By this time the entire Hall was staring at him like he had gone stark raving mad.
Seemingly oblivious, he took another sip of his coffee before continuing. "Anyway, while I was wrestling with the plot bunny it dragged me here, but it's dead now so I can be on my merry way. I do thank you for breakfast and the coffee, though," he nodded, and began to stand.
"But, that doesn't begin to answer our questions," Dumbledore put in hurriedly. "Won't you stay, at least for a little while? Obviously, you are a most puissant wizard, and we could learn much from you."
Guru smiled at the Headmaster's phraseology. "You know, I never expected to be called 'puissant' anything in my entire lifetime. But, I'm really not sure that I should stay…my magic, as you call it, might be a tad…disruptive to your world, and that might not be entirely to your liking."
"I'm sure that we can manage any disruptions which you might cause," the Headmaster said smugly. "After all, our staff are some of the finest witches and wizards in the world."
The stranger's eyebrow rose slightly at this, and his voice made it all too clear that he was not terribly impressed by the Headmaster's statement. "Oh really? Okay, I'll grant that McGonagall, Flitwick and Sprout are first rate in their field, and Snape, too…although Severus couldn't teach his way out of a wet paper sack, if you ask me. As for you, Albus," he said, his eyes narrowing. "Nice wand you've got there. Looks like the kind of thing an elder would use, doesn't it? Bet it's really death on a stick in a duel, isn't it?"
Albus Dumbledore blanched at the stranger's words, but hastily recovered. "Yes, I suppose you could say that…but Guru, you've just convinced me that I simply must have the chance to speak further with you before you depart from Hogwarts."
The Guru rolled his eyes, shook his head and sighed. "All right, you've talked me into it…but don't say I didn't warn you. Now…I suspect that it's getting close to time for the first class to start, so why don't all of you just go about your business and don't mind little old me."
"And just what do you think you're going to be doing?" McGonagall snapped, still quite angry.
The Guru grinned toothily. "Well, I thought I'd start out by having a little talk with Mr. Potter, just to get oriented. Then, who knows?
Harry Potter was not at all surprised when the odd man in the muggle attire came down from the staff table to talk with him. After all, he was Harry Potter, all right? The smart money said that anytime anything weird happened at Hogwarts, he'd be dragged into the middle of it in short order. Once upon a time this had concerned Harry, but then he'd just resigned himself to sitting back and waiting, secure in the knowledge that he'd eventually get sucking into whatever it was, whether he wanted to or not.
Seeing the look on Harry's face, the Guru smiled.
"Relax, Harry…I'm not here to make your life any more of a living hell that it already is. In face, while I'm here I might as well throw my weight around and make things a little better for you." He chuckled at this last joke, patting his ample belly to emphasize that he indeed had plenty of weight to throw around. "Now, first things first…what year are you?"
"Sixth, sir," Harry answered carefully, looking down.
"Sixth, hmm…okay, workable, not too late, then, except for Cedric and Sirius," he mused, talking to himself. "Okay, I didn't get a good look around outside on my way in, for obvious reasons," he grinned. "What month is it?"
"October, sir," Ron burst out, trying to slide closer to make sure he was noticed.
"Shut it, Weasel. I'm still low on coffee, and not terribly happy about being here to start with. Don't make me do what I want to do to you…or you, either, Granger," he went on, turning his head slightly, cutting off the bushy-headed girl just as she was going to speak. "Harry might put up with you for the sake of friendship—and Harry, if I'm here long enough, you and I are going to have to do some serious intensive therapy sessions about your abuse and self-worth issues, you're much better than either of these two—but I certainly don't have to. So, why don't you just beat it, and let Harry and I get down to business."
Ignoring the gaps, stares and gobsmacked expressions, the Guru looked around. Spotting the person he was looking for quickly, he raised his voice enough to carry. "Yo, Neville! Yes, you, Longbottom! Don't run off, I want to have a talk with you later." Turning his attention back to a shocked Harry, he smiled and went on. "Relax, Harry, I really am on your side. You'll see," he grinned. "Now, just wait here—I've told the staff you'll be a bit late for classes today, don't worry about that—I need some more coffee."
Rising, the Guru went over to the coffee station, trailed by an excited Ginny Weasley.
"Oh, Mister Doctor Guru, sir, I'm so excited to meet you. I'm Harry's girlfriend, you know, and I was wondering…." She stopped abruptly as the Guru burst out laughing.
"Honey, I hate to tell you this, but I know for a fact that you're not Harry's girlfriend," he chuckled.
"But…why not? We're dating, and I just know that he loves me, and we'll eventually marry and have at least three children, and…"
"Enough!" the Guru snapped his fingers, irritated, and where Ginny had been standing was…a cardboard image of Ginny, propped up by a leg of cardboard secured to the back.
"There," the Guru said, admiring his handiwork. "I always said she wasn't anything more than a cardboard cut-out. Stupid little Mary Sue," he grumped, going back to fixing another cup of coffee. Turning, he noticed that he was now on the receiving end of an interesting collection of horrified smiles and a few smug grins.
"What? What? Okay, so we all know that she's got about as much personality as a cut-out, so are you really surprised. Besides, it won't last for more than another few hours," he said, sipping his coffee. "I think…."
Ron Weasley looked like his head was about to explode. "You…you…turn my sister back, or I'll…"
What Ron might have done to a figure who had already demonstrated more power than Ron would ever hope to have will never be known; the Guru merely looked at him, snapped his fingers and said "Cephalabrassica!" Immediately, Ron's head was replaced with a large, round turnip!
It was purple, with a large cluster of purple-shot green leaves on the top, rather like a green crown; and a root sticking down from where the chin would be, reminiscent of a beard. Of course, since it didn't have eyes, ears, nose or mouth it rendered Ron blind, deaf and mute, but he was still managing to breathe just fine, somehow. Probably magic….
Predictably, this set Hermione off. But, rather than drawing her wand, she used a weapon more horrifying and terrible than any spell—her voice.
"What have you done? Just what gives you the right to come in here, slaughter that poor innocent giant bunny, insult and demean our faculty and then assault our students? Have you no shame? Have you no decency? Have you no AAH-OOGAH!! AAH0OOGAH!"
Hermione abruptly shut her mouth, as her last words had come out sounding like an antique auto horn. When she opened her mouth again to continue her diatribe, the sound of a circular saw and hammering was all that issued forth. A third attempt yielded the sound of a jet engine throttling up, while a fourth try (persistent girl) sounded like a jackhammer.
Through it all the Guru merely stood there, calmly drinking coffee and smirking.
When Hermione finally wised up and shut her yap, silence descended on the Great Hall.
"Well, if I do nothing else, you three have made my trip worthwhile," the Guru said, satisfied with himself. Then he grinned hugely. "And I didn't feed anyone into the wood chipper…aren't you all proud of me?" he asked, looking around.
Still more horrified looks were directed his way, along with a few admiring ones. Seamus Finnegan was the first to speak.
"Brilliant! That's got to be the most brilliant spell I've ever seen!" he crowed. "Finally, somebody got Hermione to shut up!"
And with that, most of the people nearby gave it up and started laughing along with the very-relieved Gryffindors. Of course, watching Ron knock over his sister before banging face-first (if he'd still had a face) into the wall was also great fun, while Hermione could only sit there, mouth clamped tightly shut, steaming.
Through it all, Harry Potter just sat quietly, watching intently.
It was shortly thereafter that Harry and the Guru were walking through the corridors, alone for the first time.
"So, are you going to turn me into something horrible?" the Boy-Who-Lived asked.
"Why…were you trying to get your pick in early?" the Guru replied casually. Then, shaking his head at the dirty look Harry gave him, he answered. "No, not planning on it. Look, here's the deal. I need to ask you some very personal, very private questions, just to orient myself to exactly what the situation is around here. Then, I want to work with you to finish…whatever I've got to finish, which probably includes helping you kill Moldyshorts, before I leave. Okay? I'm sorry about your friends, and all that, yada yada yada, but still…you're actually better than those losers, and if Dumbles hadn't been such an idiot—leaving you with the Dursleys like he did, oh, that just steams me!—you'd realize that."
Harry didn't say anything for a long minute while he processed all that he had just been told. "So…you're here to help me kill Tom?" he finally asked.
"Yeah, probably. See, it has to do with story arcs," the Guru began to explain. "When Dumbledore barred the door to keep me here, I felt the story drop into place." At the blank looks he was getting, he sighed. "Look, here's the deal," he said sitting on a bench and waving Harry to set down beside him. "I'm a writer…of fan fiction, among other things. In my world, you're a character in a wildly popular series of books. That's one of the reasons your life sucks so bad, I'm afraid, Harry…you're the main character."
Harry's eyes went wide as saucers at this revelation. "You mean…I'm just a bloody character in a book, like…Sherlock Holmes?" he gasped, beginning to hyperventilate.
"'Fraid so, kiddo. In fact, you're so popular that literally thousands of people all over the world have taken to writing their own stories about your adventures as they thought they ought to be written. This has created thousands upon thousands of 'Harry Potter Universes', of all types, where basically everything that could possibly happen, has or will happen." The Guru paused, then looked down. "I probably shouldn't tell you this, but I've done it myself, which is one of the main reasons I would up here."
"You…you've written these stories? About me?" Harry asked softly.
"Actually, about you and Cedric Diggory," the Guru gave Harry a small, encouraging smile. "My main work to date has been a series of stories about you and Cedric, being together here at Hogwarts."
"But Cedric died during the third task! How could he..?" Harry burst out.
The Guru smiled, and nodded. "I know, Cedric died here, and in most of the worlds. But, I thought it was horrible that he did…and after all, he was really too cute to die, wasn't he?...so I 'fixed' it in my stories."
"You…'fixed' it?" Harry asked carefully.
"Yep…I arranged for him to not be killed by the AK that Wormtail cast…then I created a plot gimmick to load him up with money, magic and as much technology as I reasonably could—I had him pulled into the future by a techno-spell—then sent back to help you." The older man smiled. "Oh, it's still underway, but by this point in the story you two are well and truly enamored of each other, and Cedric is working hard to make 'his' Harry's life better. Trust me, it'll ultimately have a happy ending, because I can't stand angsty endings. Life is angsty enough as it is," he finished, looking into the distance in a way that told Harry there were other stories besides his that this man could tell.
"So, you're actually 'in' this story, now?" Harry asked, feeling a bit overwhelmed.
"Yep, looks that way," the Guru sighed. "And, there's a logic to these things and the way they work. Years ago, I read a book about interdimensional travel called 'The Incredible Umbrella'…wish I had a copy for you to read, it'd make things much easier for both of us…but the gist of the thing is that once you get involved in a story arc, you can't leave until that particular arc is resolved."
"Meaning you're here to help me kill Voldemort," Harry said, more confidently.
"I think so," the Guru nodded. "But, there's probably a number of other things that I can do while I'm here, if you don't mind. For instance, there's a certain Slytherin Prince that I suspect you would like to get closer to, isn't there?"
Harry initially looked shocked, then frightened, then realized just who he was talking to. "Yeah, I guess. Can you help with that?"
The Guru ignored that question, choosing to press on. "Then, there's the matter of Dumbles, and how shabbily he treated you. I'm definitely going to dish out a little payback, if you don't mind…putting a child into an environment like that and leaving him there is beyond the pale, and the 'greater good' can bite my hairy butt!" The Guru snorted in anger as he thought about it. "Trust me, Harry, if I had landed here a few years ago, I'd have rescued you then, but I didn't, so I can't. Still, paybacks are hell, as they say." He grinned at Harry evilly. "Now, I'm thinking this is a 'draft' universe, with a bunch of plot lines that have come and gone but never been brought to completion. It's probably the reason the plot bunny could bring me here so easily. So, I want you to describe for me everything that's happened to you since you got your Hogwart's letter—I'll need to know just what the background is for me to help you fully."
"And then, you'll help me kill Voldemort, right?" Harry asked. "And I'll actually survive?" The young Gryffindor was literally bouncing in his excitement.
"Harry, Harry, Harry…didn't I say that I only like happy endings? Duh, of course you survive…and Draco, too. But," the Guru said, holding up one finger in a cautionary manner. "I'm not promising anything about the bi…Hermione, Mr. Turnip Head, or Miss Ginny Mary Sue Weaselette. Fair enough?"
"Brilliant," Harry answered.
And so, for the next two hours, Harry Potter sat and told the story of his life to the strangest man he had ever met.
A few hours later found Harry Potter and Doc Guru, as Harry had started calling him, standing in front of the gargoyle that guarded the entrance to the Headmaster's office.
"I don't know the password," Harry said. "Usually I just try guessing sweets until I hit the right one," he said, shrugging.
"Don't sweat it, Harry. Let me do the heavy lifting for a while…Merlin knows you've done enough the last five-plus years." Stepping forward, he looked the gargoyle straight in the eye and grinned evilly. "Life is all about choices," he began, his voice low and threatening. "You can choose to open up…or you can choose to be a pile of granite dust."
Harry thought he heard a gravelly 'eep', then the gargoyle moved aside, revealing the moving staircase.
"Good choice," the Guru said to the gargoyle, waving Harry ahead of him. Once in the Headmaster's office, the two found themselves face to face with the man himself: Albus Brian Percival Wulfric Dumbledore, Supreme Mugwump of the ICW, etc. etc. etc.
The Guru nodded politely to the Headmaster, and without waiting, helped himself to a lemon drop.
"Not bad, Albus, not bad…usually I'm more of a chocolate man, myself, but there's a certain classic elegance to the good old lemon drop."
"I'm glad you approve, Doctor," Albus smiled, his eyes on full twinkle. "And, I trust that you and Harry had a long and fruitful conversation."
"Don't you know it," the Guru replied, locking eyes with the Headmaster. It was the opening that Dumbledore had been waiting for, and without hesitation he threw his mind forward into that of his visitor.
For nearly a minute Harry sat there, watching the two men. He'd been told what would probably happen buy the Guru shortly before coming here—inside of a translucent bubble of a shield spell the Guru had called a 'null zone'—so he wasn't surprised. What did surprise him was that the Guru's expression didn't change at all, while Dumbledore immediately grasped the arms of his chair and began sweating profusely. At last, the Headmaster snatched his head away, cursing softly, between dry heaves.
"Oh, and I should warn you, Albus…I practiced emergency medicine for a number of years, as well as psychiatry, including a stint in the prison system…plus I'm just a sick, twisted fornicator…so you enter my mind at your own risk." The Guru made the statement evenly, then helped himself to another lemon drop. "Now, how about some coffee? FRONT!"
A pop announced the arrival of the three house elves from earlier.
"Boys, be dears and bring up a tray of snacks, a pot of tea for these limeys and some coffee for me, if you would," he said, before they could speak. Nodding, they popped away.
"Now, Albus, if you've had your fill of playing mind games, can we carry on like civilized men? Or would you like another dose?" he grinned.
"No, thank you, I've had quiet enough," the Headmaster said carefully. He still looked a bit green around the gills, but pulled himself together with an effort. "I'm curious to know just how you managed those transfigurations of Mr. and Miss Weasley, as well as Miss Granger."
"Magic," the Guru said, grinning. Then, he waved his hand negligently. "Oh, don't worry about them; it should wear off in another couple of hours, leaving them hopefully just a little bit wiser than they were."
Dumbledore nodded, and let the matter drop. He'd already had Madam Pomphrey's report that the children weren't actually harmed as far as she could tell, but that she had no idea how to reverse the changes. Suppressing his sigh, he pressed on, asking the newcomer his next question. "Now, what I really need to know from you is your position with regards to the Dark or the Light. I really do not think that you are a supporter of Lord Voldemort, but I must be sure."
"Actually, Albus, I'm pretty sure that there's not lick-spit difference between you and Voldie, but that's another issue," the Guru began, then waved Albus down when he started to deny it. "Don't even start. You dumped Harry at the Dursleys, and left him there to be horribly abused. Where I come from, that's grounds to have you kicked out of this position, and probably sent to prison on any number of charges. Still, what's done is done…but I'm not going to let you abuse any more innocents, and your 'greater good' can be damned to the lowest depths of Baptist hell, as far as I care. SIT DOWN AND SHUT UP!" he thundered, as the Headmaster went to rise. The force of his will slammed Dumbledore back down into his seat and sealed his mouth firmly shut. "Now, you brought this on yourself, by not letting me leave, so I'm going to work out a lot of mad on you…and Voldie…before it's through. Got it?" he asked, then waved his hand once more. "Oh, you can speak now, and move," he added.
Albus Dumbledore seethed, but controlled himself with an effort. Their visitor was obviously very, very powerful, and just as obviously, not a fan of one A. B. P. W. Dumbledore. "So, then…what are we to do?" he asked carefully.
The fat man looked uncertain for only a moment. "For the moment, not a lot. I'm going to be working with Harry to collect up Tom's horcruxes, and destroy them. Then, I want to pull Sirius back from beyond the Veil, if that's even possible for me to do." He shrugged. "I don't know, but it's worth a try. Then, Tommy boy gets his…and then I leave. Good enough?"
The Headmaster looked pained, but he nodded. "Harry, what is your opinion in this?" he asked.
Harry Potter smiled an evil smile at the man who had manipulated his entire life and made it what it was. "I think this is the most brilliant thing that's ever happened to me," he said, then started laughing at the look on the Headmaster's face.
A/N: This is ALL the fault of Digitallace! Blame her, not me. She's the one who got me started thinking about Harry Potter, and zombies (which would be just WRONG)…and then the damned bunny dragged me here. While your at her profile (writing messages to her, blaming her for this horror that is ALL HER FAULT), make sure you check out her most excellent fics.
Thoth Amon and his Organ Summoning, the Arduin Grimoire, Girl Genius (read the comic, seriously...hey Phil, here's your gratuitous plug!), Stranger in a Strange Land, Witness for the Prosecution, Shaun of the Dead, Monty Python, The Incredible Umbrella (Marvin Kaye, NY Dell, 1980) are all just borrowed, not owned by me. No profits are made by me from this fic (except for the warm, fuzzy feeling that it gives me).
Next Chapter: I don't know…should there even be a next chapter? Should I press on, or just let this one die a quite death in the Desert of Unfinished Fics? You tell me….