Harry Potter & the Science of Magic
Harry Potter, holder of too many titles to mention, and probably the most powerful wizard in the world following the death of his mentor Albus Dumbledore in his sixth year and his defeat of Voldemort in his seventh, was sitting on an old crate in a cavern hundreds of meters below Gringotts. He wasn't even really sure why he was here, but he had been drawn here today by some unknown feeling that had for some reason told him that this was where he needed to be. He had no idea why, but the frustrating old git had told him that when he had an urge to come here then he probably should. Putting that out of his mind as much as he could, his mind began to wander to a topic that he had been thinking about a lot lately. 'What the hell was he going to do with the rest of his life', and he had to admit, even if only to himself, that he really had absolutely no bloody idea. It wasn't that he was lacking in opportunities or choices. No, he was the savior of the wizarding world and he supposed he could do whatever he chose to. The problem was that after spending most of his life battling dragons, dementors and basilisks, not to mention slaying a megalomaniac half blood dark lord and a good percentage of his insane pureblood followers, or simply surviving all those years at the Dursley's, the normal pursuits of a wizard his age seemed to lack a challenge for him.
It had been four years since he had led the light side to the downfall of the dark lord and in the time since he was proclaimed by practically the whole wizarding world as their new leader, as unofficial as that title may be, and whether he wanted it or not. Even though it was now more than four years since he had defeated Voldemort, every time he set foot in public he was mobbed by well wishers and he couldn't open his mouth without being quoted in wizarding press. For someone like Harry, who had never had even the slightest desire to seek the spotlight, it had become tedious very quickly. He'd had to resort to glamour charms to even set foot in Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade without bringing them to a complete standstill.
Upon leaving Hogwarts Harry was immediately accepted into the British Auror academy and spent two years learning all that the auror trainers had to teach. By the time he was done even he would admit that he had become a formidable wizard. He had mastered everything the trainers had to teach the group of post war recruits with such an ease that his training was separated from the rest of the group within weeks of joining the program. None of his fellow trainee's, or even the trainers, could hold a candle to him in a duel and even when he was facing them in groups they were unable to defeat him. Even if they managed to separate him from his wand, his ability to use his magic wandlessly with either hand and the fact he no longer needed to verbalise his incantations still left them a facing formidable, if technically unarmed opponent.
Knowing this the Minister, Kingsley Shacklebolt, had allowed him to spend time learning from the best people the ministry could find in many fields, including some time spent with both the unspeakables and obliviators. All of this was done at the expense of the ministry, and when it came for final testing, Harry had immediately qualified in more fields with higher scores than any auror recruit in history.
At the end of his training Harry had elected not to pursue a career as an auror working for the ministry. He just didn't feel he had the passion for chasing down petty criminals and reversing jokes played on unsuspecting muggles in peacetime and even though the ministry was bitterly disappointed at his decision, they accepted it and assured him that the door would always be open for his return should he ever so desire. He suspected that the people of wizarding Britain were happy that they had the 'great' Harry Potter in reserve should they ever need him to pull their arses out of the fire in an emergency or to slay the next fool who tried to achieve immortality as the next dark lord.
After a couple of months break Harry had approached Gringotts and had been accepted as an apprentice cursebreaker. He had thoroughly enjoyed his two year apprenticeship and had traveled a good part of the world raking over old ruins and previously undiscovered tombs while working with the goblins. According to the goblins he had a real knack for this type of work and seemed to be able to sense wards and curses that had been missed by their other employees, wizard and goblin alike.
This thought bought him back to the reason he was here today and he thought back to one of his first tasks as an apprentice with Gringotts where he had been required to learn about his own history and family tree. The result of what he had found was the only reason he was sitting here in this underground vault today. The goblins believed that to be able to learn anything about others and the curses and traps they may have set around their legacies, one must first know oneself. Harry hadn't minded this, as being an orphan he craved knowledge of his own family and their history so he took to the task immediately. It took him many weeks in the Potter library and the muggle births, deaths and marriages offices but he enjoyed learning of his ancestors immensely, even if most of it did end up being names and dates on a tree. On completing the task he had to present what he learned to his goblin master trainer Axeroke.
He had completed a comprehensive history of both sides of his family tree going back almost a thousand years on each side and was quite pleased with what he'd accomplished. The final part of this task was to undergo an inheritance test in the ritual chamber deep below the bank to find how his blood compared to what his mind had managed to uncover. After slicing his palm and dripping his blood into the mithril bowl in the centre of the goblin chamber, the goblin master had to complete a long and detailed chant in an ancient tongue long forgotten to all but the goblins. As the auto quill started to write out his family tree he was watching closely and was happy to see that it was coming out just as he had recorded. He was feeling very pleased with himself as the quill continued back beyond twenty generations and the family tree was practically an exact copy of his own. After almost 30 minutes of meticulous recording by the quill Harry had to stifle a gasp as it continued much further back than he had managed to go and he was most shocked to see the name at the very top of his fathers line. Merlin. He was a god damn heir to Merlin. He couldn't believe it and just sat staring at the parchment for what seemed like an eternity once it was done.
In the corner of his eye he could see his goblin master smirking as if this was something he had known all along, or at the least was unsurprised by, but Harry was horrified. This was the absolute last thing he needed. It was hard enough for him to go out in public without this bit of information getting out so he had tried to get Axeroke to swear an oath never to reveal this to anyone. Unfortunately for him, he was informed by Axeroke that a notification would have automatically been sent to the King of the British and European goblins, Ragnok, who was the one responsible for keeping a watch out for the heir of the first vault, as Merlin's vault was referred to by the goblins.
Harry was quickly escorted to a meeting with the goblin king and given the details of what being heir to Merlin and the first Vault entailed. "Greeting Lord Potter-Black, it seems being the head of two ancient and noble houses isn't enough for you now is it?" the king welcomed him with a laugh in his voice. Harry just looked at the King not knowing whether to laugh or cry. He bowed before the king, "Apologies King Ragnok, but this is just the last thing I expected or needed. Can you please give me an explanation of what this means for me?" Both Ragnok and Axeroke had to stifle their chuckles as they gazed upon they young mage they already knew to be both powerful and honorable and his obvious discomfort at the situation.
"Lord Potter-Black, there is nothing to be alarmed about, if anything you should be honored to know you're the last of the great ones line. Many in our society would kill to be able to proclaim an ancestry such as yours." Ragnok paused and reached into a drawer of his desk to remove a glowing crystal on a long chain made of a material that Harry wasn't sure he recognized then said, "Even though you are the last descendant of the great one by blood, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will be the heir. First we must see if the first vault will accept you, or whether it is to lie in wait for yet more years and a descendant further down the line."
Harry listened attentively as the Goblin king continued, "You see young Harry, Merlin left his vault in our care not for just anyone related by blood. It was left for a particular person that Merlin said would shape the future of the cosmos. We goblins are not privy to exactly what he meant by that, however he left us with this gem which would be the only way to determine the true heir and even I do not know whether you will be chosen or not."
"This gem has been handed down from each goblin king to the next for over 1500 years and even if you are able to access the first vault, we have no idea what you will find inside. The only choice we have at this time is to travel to the vault together and have you insert the crystal into the vault door and see if it opens. I myself have never had anyone attempt to make a claim on the vault, however my predecessor did witness one of your ancestors attempt to access the vault unsuccessfully over 300 years ago." Harry's mind immediately began to wonder what was in store for him should he choose to try and claim the vault and be unsuccessful. Wondering about some of the defenses he had heard of on other Gringotts vaults which people had tried to claim when they were not entitled to them. He suppressed a shiver at these thoughts but was snapped out of his internal pondering by another chuckle from the goblin king.
"Do not fear young Harry, if you are unsuccessful, the door will simply not open. It would not be prudent for the only remaining blood relation to be destroyed by the vault while trying to gain access. All that would be achieved would be the end of the Merlin's line, and I doubt that would be his aim." Harry let out a relieved sigh to the king's answer to his unasked question.
"Come Harry, let us take a cart to the First Vault and get this question answered once and for all. I am sure you must be a little curious about what he may have left for his heir. I know I am most intrigued to find out what we have been storing for the last millennia and a half myself." The aged king slowly stood from his chair and gestured to Axeroke, "Please arrange for my chariot and then return to your duties." "Yes my King", was all he said as Axeroke scurried out the door as quickly as he dared in the presence of the king.
Ragnok led Harry towards a door at the side of his office that he had previously failed to notice and once on the other side found him self standing at the edge of a familiar goblin cart track. Not thirty seconds later a slight rumble could be heard as the fanciest goblin cart he had ever seen came into view and slowed to a stop right in front of the two. "Off we go Harry", Ragnok claimed as he gestured Harry toward the cart. He had never seen a goblin as excited as the King seemed to be as he hopped in beside him. Ragnok waved his hand over the cart and it shot forward at an extreme rate. What was surprising to Harry was that though he could tell they were moving at a ridiculous velocity, he barely felt that they were moving at all, it didn't seem that even his hair was being ruffled by the wind as the barreled through the caverns. He could sense some sort of strange magic at work, but really had no idea what it was. Figuring it was some sort of goblin magic he was yet to learn of he dismissed it and looked over at Ragnok who seemed to have all his teeth bared in what could only be classified as a goblin smile, "You know Harry", he said, "I don't think I have been this anxious over something since the first time I was to become a sire. I am most interested to see what may happen if the vault accepts you."
Harry couldn't help but feel that same way. It wasn't that he was wanting for money after all he was practically the sole heir to both the Potter and Black fortunes as it was, and after the war he had been swamped with gifts and gratuities from the wizarding population, so he'd never have to work at all if he didn't choose to. But he couldn't help but be a little curious about what he would find in a vault that no one had set foot into in such a long time.
Even at the speed they were traveling it seemed to take forever to reach the vault. It was almost 20 minutes racing through various caverns before the cart began to slow. Finally they came to a stop in front of a small wooden door. It wasn't quite what Harry was expecting for the vault of the great Merlin, in fact it looked far less impressive than the entrances to both the Potter and Black vaults which he already had access too.
Ragnok seemed to know what he was thinking as he said, "The most wondrous of things can be found in the simplest of places Harry. Grandeur means nothing in the overall scheme of knowledge and happiness." Harry was startled at this. Especially coming from Ragnok, whose elaborate office they had just left in the fanciest cart or chariot as he'd called it, he had ever seen.
Ragnok handed him the chain holding the crystal and said, "We'll soon know if you're the heir Harry. Just place the crystal in the keyhole and we'll see if it opens." The King was almost bouncing in anticipation as Harry approached the door. With a deep steadying breath Harry raised the crystal and firmly pushed it into the cobweb covered lock. For a second nothing seemed to happen. Harry looked over at Ragnok to see what he thought and saw the King make a shrugging gesture which seemed to say, "I don't know, it's my first time here too." After what seemed like an eternity, which was probably closer to fifteen seconds, the lock clicked once and the door slowly opened inwards. Both Harry and the goblin peered into the darkened room but were unable to make out anything inside. They looked at each other once again, both seeming to say, "Well lets get it over with", but in reality neither said anything at all, and Harry pushed the door fully open and stepped inside. As he did the room lit up in a soft light that seemed to come from both nowhere and everywhere at the same time. The room wasn't full of gold or gems, or even books like his other two ancestral vaults, but rather there was a modest pile of gold plates, cups and some coins that he'd never seen the like of before. There were a some strange items that had had no idea what they even were and as he looked to Ragnok, he saw confusion on his face that made him realize the goblin king had no idea either.
Once both were fully inside the vault, they noticed that there seemed to be two passages inside the vault leading off to both the left and the right. As they stepped further inside the large cavern Harry noticed that toward the back of the vault there was a large stone with a sword stuck into it. He moved toward the stone and placed his hand on the hilt of the sword wondering if he had to try and pull it from the stone to get some answers, but as soon as his hand touched it the area in front of him was bathed in a soft white glow, brighter than the rest of the room yet not so bright that he couldn't look at it.
In the centre of the light something seemed to coalesce from nothing into the figure of a withered old man. Harry wasn't sure what was happening, but at first glance he almost thought the was looking at his old mentor Albus Dumbledore. As he moved closer to the figure he realized that the old man seemed to be looking directly at him. Harry was too shocked to speak and continued to stare at the image of the old man dressed in robes that would still probably pass for fashionable attire for the elder gent in the wizarding world of today. The image before him could be no other than Merlin.
He continued to move toward the image it seemed to take a breath before it spoke to him. "Hello Harry," it simply said. Harry had no idea how to respond and just continued to stare. "Got nothing to say to your old Grandfather then?" the image of Merlin said with a chuckle. Grandfather. The word seemed amazing to Harry as he continued to take in all he could about the aged figure. Finally he opened his mouth, but only one word was uttered, "Grandfather." If anything Merlin's chuckle only grew louder, "Yes Harry, I am you Grandfather, though there are a few greats in there somewhere, but let us not bother to count them. It would only make an old man feel more ancient than he already is. Back when I was still walking among the living so many, many years ago, my Grandchildren used to refer to me as Pop." "Pop", Harry just repeated stupidly, still too shocked to speak and this only made the image of the ancient wizard burst out laughing before calming and saying, "It would warm an old mans heart if you would care to refer to me as Pop as well Harry." Harry just continued to stare and once again uttered the single word, but this time with great emotion, "Pop".
Harry was snapped out of his musing, by Ragnok stepping up beside him. "My Lord Merlin, I am the current goblin King. My name is Ragnok and it is a huge honor for my self and my clan to be the one to finally escort your heir to this chamber we have guarded for centuries. I hope you are pleased with the care that the goblin nation has taken to make sure your treasures were protected and that your wishes were carried out."
Merlin bowed his head toward the goblin and returned in the formal way the goblins, "Of course King Ragnok, it is clear to me that the goblins are still as honorable and trustworthy today as they were in my time. You bring great honor to yourself, your clan and to Gringotts, and for this you have my eternal gratitude. May your pockets always be filled to overflowing and your enemies delicious when served at your table."
Ragnok bowed deeply, something that Harry had never seen the King do before, then looked over to the still immobile Harry and said, "Lord Potter-Black, I will leave you in the capable hands of your ancestor. I am sure you have much to discuss. When you are done, you may take the remainder of the day off from you apprenticeship and return to us tomorrow to continue. I will inform Master Axeroke of this. Also, the crystal that opened the door is now a portkey. It can only be used by yourself and it will bring you directly to the vault whenever you need to come here. When you are done, simply hold it in your hand and think of leaving and it will return you to the main lobby of Gringotts so it will seem that you have just left your vault like any other normal customer. Know that you are now the only being in the world with a portkey that will work through the Gringotts wards. It is something that I myself do not even possess." With a final bow towards the image of Merlin, who acknowledged him with a nod, Ragnok backed out of the vault leaving Harry alone with Great wizard from the past.
Merlin and Harry were standing face to face about 6 feet apart gazes locked. Harry was trying to take in every detail of the only magical relative that he had ever spoken too, even if so far his side of the conversation totaled about 3 words. Merlin's eyes were almost identical to his, though he did notice that they seemed to have a similar twinkle to his old Headmaster. Little did Harry realize but in the last few years as his magical prowess had increased, he now displayed a similar twinkle in his own eyes. In the eyes of his 'Pop' though, he felt that the twinkle belied intelligence, pride, love and perhaps even a measure of mischief. Finally bringing himself out of the stupor he had been in practically since the image had first appeared he took a another deep steadying breath as if looking for something profound to say and hopefully make a good impression on the great man in front of him who was apparently his grandfather. Unfortunately for Harry's pride all he could manage was a blurted, "how the hell can I be heir to Merlin?"
Merlin chuckled, "Worry not young Harry, I sense that one day your deeds may even surpass my own."
Over the next hour the two had a long discussion about life, love and the state of the wizarding world, both as it was at the time of Merlin and as it was now. Harry was surprised that Merlin seemed to think that not much had changed in the attitudes of the magical world in the last millennia or so. Merlin had his own rivals and enemies in his age just as Harry had in the present, and he further explained that racists, bigots and plain stupid idiots were just as common in the past as the were today. Harry had built up a bit of an ideal about how perfect the wizarding world was back in the time of Merlin & the later period of the Hogwarts Founders, but upon reflecting on his Pops words realized that his view was naïve. 'Of course it wasn't perfect', otherwise why would Merlin and the Founders be so famous for bringing about the changes and advances that they had. Not to mention that there was no wizarding world as such before the time of the Founders, as the magical populace simply lived among the muggles.
Merlin revealed no great pearls of wisdoms on the secret of life or magic as most people would have expected of such a meeting, but instead they had a long discussion about what was important in their lives and about their shared belief in doing what was right over what was easy. Merlin encouraged Harry to continue with this belief that he first remembered discussing with Albus Dumbledore in his office many years ago.
"Harry there is one subject that we must discuss which we have yet to touch on."
"What is it Pop?" Harry was still struggling with the concept of calling the all mighty Merlin by that name, but each time he said it, it seemed to come off the tongue with more ease.
"Well Harry, it may be a bit hard for you to understand or accept, but the fact is that you are not a wizard." Harry just stared at his Pop unsure of how he was expected to react. 'Was Merlin trying to make a joke? Of course he was a wizard, he'd spent half his life in the wizarding world now, attended the finest school of witchcraft and wizardry in the world, played quidditch on a broomstick, while dodging enchanted balls trying to kill him, battled a full grown and very angry dragon and he'd even faced his very own dark lord. How could he not be a wizard?' After all these thoughts running through his brain what he actually said was, "Huh?"
"You see Harry, there really is no such thing as a witch or wizard except for the fact that that is the name your people seem to have given themselves in the time since I left this world. Magic doesn't truly exist either." Merlin paused after this groundbreaking revelation to give Harry a chance to take it all in.
"Well how do you explain everything we do with 'magic' then?" Harry stammered out, steel reeling from the shock of Merlin's previous statement.
"It's quite simple really, a person who seems to have the ability to produce magic is merely a slightly more evolved type of a normal human. The next step if you will. As the human race has evolved it has grown from an almost ape like creature that lived in caves and communicated with gestures and grunts, to the society that we have today. A man early in the evolutionary chain born to a life of hunting everyday doesn't need the same skills or brain function as a man born today who have any number of professions. Perhaps a banker, an auror or maybe even a teacher." Harry was still looking confused as Merlin continued, "You see Harry as each generation grow up more knowledgeable than the one before we effect changes in our environment. Changes, such as our housing, or farming and most importantly Harry, schooling. As a result of these changes the following generation is born slightly different to fit the new living conditions. In the way the human race is in a continuous process of evolution as we continue to alter our world. Do you understand Harry?"
Harry considered for a second before he replied, "Yes Pop, I understand what you are saying about us constantly growing and changing, but how has this got anything to do with magic? And if this was true then wouldn't the number of magical people be increasing as more people evolved further along? As far as I know from the ministry and the level of enrollments at schools like Hogwarts, the number is actually decreasing."
"Ah", said Merlin, "that is an excellent question. What if I told you that none of the humans on this planet have yet evolved far enough to use 'magic'?" He had to pause at this point to stifle a chuckle at the completely dumfounded look on the face of his many times grandson.
"But I don't understand," Harry protested, "there are thousands of magical people in the UK alone. How can we not have evolved enough to use magic if we already are?"
"Its actually quite simple Harry, this is not the first time or the first place that humans have evolved. The 'magic' users of this world did not evolve here." Here Merlin paused again letting the latest bombshell wash over his young heir.
After quite a long pause in the conversation, Harry finally managed to formulate another question. "What does that mean exactly?"
"Well Harry, in simplest terms, what it means is almost ten thousand years ago a group of humans who were further along the evolutionary path returned to this world and settled among the less advanced humans of this world. Their descendants form today's 'magical' world."
Harry was just getting more confused and was starting to wonder about the sanity of his new found Pop, but couldn't resist another question. "Ok, so if that is the case, does that mean you were one of these 'more evolved' humans? And what do you mean returned to this world? Had you been here before?"
The old man chuckled again. He really seemed to enjoy confusing the crap out of him and Harry was half tempted to start throwing curses around. Before he could get that far though, the old man started to speak again. "They are all good questions Harry, but some answers we must seek out for ourselves in order to truly believe them. What I will tell you is this. Yes, I was one of those humans who returned here and yes we had been here before. Our race evolved to the point where the current human's of this world are now millions of years ago." Merlin paused here and had a good long stare at Harry as if assessing how much of this information was sinking in. "As we passed further along the path our knowledge as a society grew and with this growth, so too did our races ability to retain it increase. In other words our brain function continued to grow. Where the current human race of this world rarely uses more than 12 percent of their brain function, our people had evolved to the point where we were using over 50 percent. With this growth came awareness of other aspects of our environment that we had previously been unaware of. One of these was the ability to sense and interact with what your people refer to as 'magic'."
Harry listened intently to his Pop's words and even though he didn't really understand all of it, in a small way, what he was saying actually made sense. "OK, if that is the case, then what did your people think magic was?" Before his question was answered he quickly spoke again, "And what did your people call themselves and why have I never heard of them?"
A large smile from Merlin preceded his next words, "Very good Harry, but let me answer the second question first. We called ourselves Alteran, or 'Of Terra' which was the name of our world……and I guess you've never heard of us because we never advertised the fact that we were different. We tried to blend in with the society growing here, rather than hide from it as your people do today. As such we were never open about our abilities, though there were occasions when were seen using them."
"As to your other question Harry, the Alteran's called what you refer to as 'magic' zero point energy."
Harry had never heard of this zero point energy and Merlin could clearly see the confusion on his face. Before he could formulate his next question, Merlin decided to cut him some slack and continued. "As our race grew so did our science and this led to many discoveries that I wont bore you with today Harry, but the important one for our discussion is that we realized that the reality we inhabited was only one small layer of the many layers that make up existence. The increased function of our minds allowed us to sense these layers and our increased science allowed us to study them. We found what we were sensing was in fact energy bleeding through from one of these other 'layers' which for simplicities sake I will refer to as subspace. This dimension was essentially empty of what we would refer to as matter that could be touched or interacted with, but completely full of zero point energy. As we evolved enough we discovered we were able to manipulate this energy to our own means by bringing it through to our layer of reality and bending it to achieve our will. Eventually we understood it well enough to be able to harness it to such an extent that we used it to power our technology and really our whole way of life as well."
Harry jumped in at this point, "But that doesn't make sense. Technology doesn't work around magic? And what happened to all this technology?"
"Not the technology of this world Harry, but our scientists and engineers were thousands ahead of the current level of where this world is now. But that is beside the point we are getting at here today."
"My point is Harry, is that the so called magical people of today's world are actually partly or fully descended from the Alteran's that returned here so long ago. And the 'magic' being used is actually remnants of the zero point energy manipulation that our people learned over the many centuries we were alive."
Harry could see nothing that seemed completely wrong with what he was being told, but it was still hard to accept that what he had been taught for the last decade was, though worth learning and very useful, it was not the truth. It seemed somewhere along the line the knowledge of what was actually happening was lost and people started to refer to it as magic. "So what you're saying is that wizards and wizards are actually Alteran's who remember how to manipulate this energy, but just became too dumb to remember what it actually is?"
This blunt statement got another chuckle from Merlin before he replied, "I would never put it like that Harry, but it is basically the truth. Somehow over the generations the knowledge of ZPE was lost, but the ability to use it remains. Some have a greater ability to access and wield the energy than others. This mostly comes down to how complete the particular person's genes are. You Harry, are able to wield this energy more powerfully than most others because your make up is the closet genetically to what the Alteran's were in our time. Does that make sense?"
After taking a second to ponder all he had learned in the last few minutes, Harry nodded before posing another question. "So what else can you tell me about ZPE and when can I learn more about it? And what about the technology you mentioned? Where is it now?"
Here Merlin sighed, "Well Harry that is where I have to stop. As I said before, some things one must learn for oneself, and this is one of those things. Some of the technology we used is contained in items that remain in the vault." He gestured to some of the strange devices piled around the vault. "Never doubt that you will have a chance to learn more, however I will not be the one to teach you as it is forbidden." Here Merlin paused again and his expression changed to one that left Harry in no doubt that what he was about to hear was both serious and important.
"One of the highest laws of our kind is to never become involved in the affairs of lesser races." Harry opened his mouth as if to protest at being a lesser race, but Merlin raised his hand to forestall him. "I mean no offence Harry, and I know you are my heir and therefore technically you are an Alteran, but this is knowledge I am unable to impart. I can say only this. The reason I created this chamber was to facilitate that learning. Both for your self and for the normal human's evolving on this planet." Harry was about to ask how, but Merlin continued before he could. "When it is time for you to return here for you next lesson you will know. I can not tell you how you will know, but rest assured that you will know when the time has come." Harry was frustrated with this answer and felt like he had more questions now than when he first entered the vault, but Merlin refused to budge on the topic any further. 'Why do these stupid old goats always have to withhold information from me' he pondered before the conversation drifted back to lighter topics.
It turned out that this meeting was most likely the only one they would ever have as Merlin's image had a finite life once activated, so Harry had cherished the only enjoyable discussion he had ever remembered having with a blood relative,
That conversation with Merlin was now almost two years ago and it was the reason he was sitting in the vault today. He'd pondered his Pop's words often since he'd heard them, but today was the first day since then he'd been back in this vault. He just had a feeling he couldn't explain that told him to be there, so there he was.
As he continued trying to keep himself from being bored while waiting for whatever was to happen to well….happen, he continued going over his recent life looking for answers for what he wanted to achieve in the future.
He'd recently completed his two year curse breaking apprenticeship with Gringotts, but similar to how he had felt after completing his expanded Auror program at the ministry, he just didn't feel it was right for him in the long term. So he'd told a disappointed but understanding Axeroke that he was moving on. The goblin master was extremely proud of has latest student, and if he was totally honest with himself, realized that he'd most likely never have another chance to train such a prodigy again. He knew that Harry was a once in a generation wizard and that he was lucky enough to be able to have the chance to train him.
Harry Potter, now a 21, almost 22 year old man, fully qualified as both a curse breaker and auror, yet still not knowing what he wanted to do with his future. What he did know was that at the moment he was getting frustrated and bored sitting down in this ancient vault waiting for something, but not knowing what it was he was waiting on. So he continued to ponder his recent past as a way to occupy his mind. His mind drifted to the post war period and what remained of his relationships with his friends.
He realized that while in training the last four years he had allowed himself to slowly drift away from most of the people he had thought would be his lifelong friends while he had been at Hogwarts. Romantically his relationship with Ginny had never really started up again following the war, sure he'd been on a few dates with her but he felt that they were just not really suited to each other any longer. He'd been paraded around by the ministry to various balls and social events following his triumph and Ginny was more than pleased to be on the arm of the savior of the wizarding world. She lapped up the attention and paraded him in front of the media and it would be a rare day when their picture wasn't featured prominently on the pages of the wizarding press and Harry hated every second of it. Ginny just didn't seem to understand how he could feel that way and eventually he had to tell her it was over. At the time he thought she'd been heartbroken, or maybe furious, but she must have recovered quickly as not long after their break-up Ginny had been back in the arms of one of her high school sweethearts Micheal Corner.
The last time he had seen Ginny had been at her wedding two years ago and there had been a huge argument between Harry and the female Weasleys. Apparently Ginny had wanted a dream wedding and with the Weasley family's financial situation as it was, she had achieved this by selling the exclusive rites to publish details and photos of the wedding to Witch Weekly. This was on the understanding that their savior would be in attendance. Harry not knowing about the deal had attended the wedding wearing a glamour charm. He didn't want to take the attention away from the couple on their big day so he'd decided to blend into the background and quietly catch up with his old friends.
Most of his friends had understood his position and thought he'd been simply showing respect for the happy couple on their wedding day. Not Ginny or Mrs Weasley though. They had been furious when Mrs Weasley had tried to point him out to the photographers and reporters so that they could catch their exclusive only to realize she couldn't find him. She finally found out about him hiding under his glamour when she had asked Hermione why Harry wasn't there, only to have her point out that he was indeed in attendance but he'd chosen to hide in plain sight. Mrs Weasley had stormed over to Harry and dragged him into the house to demand he remove his glamour but he'd refused and had ended up leaving the ceremony before the vows had even been exchanged. The following day he had received a vicious howler from Mrs Weasley claiming he had deliberately tried to sabotage her babies wedding. He was dumfounded by this response and to this day had never returned to his quasi family home, the Burrow. Since that time Harry had not been on a single date, as he felt he could never tell whether ladies were interested in him or his wealth and fame. He refused to use legilimency on a prospective partner, even though he was probably the most skilled practitioner of the art on the planet today.
Ron, his best mate from school had achieved his lifelong dream of being a professional quidditch player. His whole life he had dreamed of nothing but playing for his beloved Cannons and following the war had nominated for the quidditch draft. He had spoken to the Cannons team manager about playing for them prior to the draft and was told that they didn't really need a keeper at the present time, but if he could convince Harry to play as their seeker, then they would also draft him. Ron thought it was a done deal. However when he approached Harry about it he was astounded when Harry told him he had no desire to play professionally. "But Harry, we've always dreamed of playing professionally for the Cannons and holding up the cup together", he had said. Harry just looked at him incredulously while trying to explain that while it was Ron's dream, it certainly hadn't been his. Ron had eventually been drafted by the Wimborne Wasps as a 3rd round pick and after two seasons of playing in the reserves and occasionally getting a few minutes in the big league he was now a starting player and seemed set for a decent career. Although they had never really discussed it, he knew that Ron believed that he'd been betrayed by Harry and as a result their friendship had trailed off over the years and now it seemed that while there was no animosity between them, these days they only exchanged Christmas and birthday greetings.
Neville and Luna, his other close friends during his years at Hogwarts, had married not long after Luna completed her final year. Neville had completed his herbology mastery under Professor Sprout within three years of leaving school and Luna had spread her time between writing some articles for her father's magazine and working towards mastery in Magical Creatures. Last year they had set up a huge farm on part of the Longbottom estates where Neville could grow his crops of magical plants and Luna had begun to collect and raise whatever magical creatures she could find. They had recently started a business selling potion ingredients collected from both Neville's plants and Luna's creatures and seemed set to only increase the Longbottom wealth into the next generation.
Surprisingly one of their biggest customers, if not the biggest, was Draco Malfoy. Following the war and his acknowledgement of his life debt to Harry, Draco had decided he wanted no further part in playing the role of pureblood supremacist and had decided to follow in his godfathers footsteps and pursue a mastery in potions. This ensured the Longbottom's would always have a market for whatever they produced and Draco was always keen to get his hands on samples of any new plant Neville had grown or various bits of previously unheard of creature that Luna had discovered. Luna could never hurt her creature friends, but was remarkably adept at getting the creatures to donate hairs, scales, tears or blood without causing them any undue stress or harm. It was a mutually beneficial relationship for all concerned and some of the new potions Draco had created in his so far short career were amazing. His wife Pansy had started a business in selling the products of her husbands work and amazingly the new generation of the Longbottom's and Malfoy's seemed destined to be lifelong partners and friends.
His last and probably truest friend from Hogwarts, Hermione, was still a student and somehow Harry thought she always would be. Her greatest passion for as long as he had known her was learning, so after the final battle she had enrolled in muggle university and after only three years she had earned a double degree in history and archeology. She was now working on her PhD in history as well as pursuing a third degree in ancient languages. He was proud of his friends over achieving ways and her desire to investigate the old legends of the muggle world, while comparing them to what she knew of wizarding history. He firmly believed some of her papers were going to shatter the way people thought about the history of the planet, in both wizard and muggle circles someday. In a similar way to Ginny and himself, she and Ron had grown apart after Hogwarts to the point that he didn't think they even had any contact with each other these days. It saddened Harry that his two best friends didn't see each other anymore, but they were just too different and it seemed to be the best thing for both of them that they had gone their separate ways.
Hermione still came over to his house at least once a week for dinner and they had a regular lunch appointment with her parents on the second Sunday of every month. Since Harry had made a deal with the Ted Snr and Andromeda Tonks to spend time with his godson Teddy Lupin most Sundays he was often found chasing Crookshanks around the Grangers back yard at these get togethers. While the adults enjoyed their BBQ lunch and a glass or two of wine, they watched and laughed at the antics of the two playing.
Now that Teddy was four he had much better control of his metamorph abilities and could change himself to green all over to match the grass and plants of the Grangers back yard in a useless attempt to hide from the all knowing nose of the bandy legged kneazle. One occasion that stood out in Harry's memory was of an afternoon where both cat and the young metamorph had gone suspiciously quiet and when Harry had looked for them he had found the two asleep under the shrubs at the back of the property. There was nothing unusual about this except that the cat had perched on Teddy's chest and it seemed that while he was sleeping Teddy had morphed to match Crookshanks ginger stripes. It was hard to tell where one ended and the other begun and the photo Mrs Granger had taken had become one of Harry's absolute favorites.
Harry loved these afternoons with the Grangers and wistfully wondered if his parents would have been like them had they survived all those years ago.
He'd never shared the secret that he was Merlin's heir with anybody. The only ones in the know remained the three who'd been present on that day almost 2 years ago, Axeroke, Ragnok and himself. He'd not even shared it with Hermione, even though he knew she'd most likely understand what he'd been told better than he did himself. He knew she'd find it especially interesting considering how relevant it was to her studies at muggle university. He figured one day he'd tell her everything, but the more time that passed, the more he started to actually fear her wrath once she found out he'd been keeping this hugely interesting information from her. He actually shuddered when he considered what her reaction to withholding it from her may be. 'Oh well, I'll just wear my dragon hide vest & cloak the day I tell her' he decided. His thought's continued to jump about as he continued to sit and wait for whatever was to come. He just hoped it would come soon. His bum was getting sore from spending his afternoon sitting in this bloody vault.
Almost a day before Harry had felt the urge to return to the First Vault, Dr Daniel Jackson found himself lying in a bed in the infirmary of the SGC. He didn't know who he had tortured in a previous life to have bought about the hideous luck he had endured in the last 24 hours.
He'd been packing the last of the books and relics from his lab in the SGC in preparation of boarding the Dedalus for his maiden voyage to the Pegasus Galaxy and Atlantis. He was known to be the world's foremost expert on the culture and language of the race they referred to as the Ancients. He was eagerly anticipating his trip and had high hopes that while working along side Dr Rodney McKay, who was the expert on Ancient technology, the two of them would be able to achieve great leaps while working in the ancient city.
Then his world had shattered around him and all but completely fallen apart. He had been summoned to the gate room by General Landry to meet a guest who had bumped into one of the off world teams and claimed to have information that could lead them to a great cache of Ancient artifacts that she believed was hidden on Earth. He inwardly groaned as he recognized Vala Maldoran being escorted through the gate by a team of marines. After a quick debriefing with the General and new SG1 team leader, Colonel Cameron Mitchell, he's agreed to the Generals request to check out the tablet their visitor had bought along.
After a brief look at the tablet, he had planned on slipping away to make his trip. However before he could get away, Vala had produced another item which she had claimed was 'loosely' related to the ancient tablet. It appeared to be made of gold, was about eight inches long, two inches wide, and about as thick as a piece of cardboard. As he moved to get a better look at the carving it seemed to depict, Vala swiped the item toward him and to Daniel's alarm it had wrapped around his wrist and now appeared to resist all attempts to be removed. Before he could summon the guards, she had produced a second device and attached it to her own wrist. She then explained that the devices were wedding bracelets and would bind the pair together until they were removed. Once activated they could not separate by too much before Daniel would be struck by an illness that could only be reversed by bringing the bracelets back into range of each other. She refused to consider removing them until they had retrieved the treasure mentioned on the tablet.
Vala had been moved into a holding cell while Dr Lee had tried in vain to remove the bracelet from Daniel's wrist, but Daniel had quickly given up on that and escaped when Dr Lee had started to become desperate and begun talking about removing his hand. It became apparent not long after, that the person that Vala had stolen the bracelets from had not disclosed all there was to know about them to her, as once Daniel got too far from Vala's cell they had both collapsed and been taken to the infirmary. Once in closer proximity both had resumed consciousness fairly quickly.
When Daniel awoke he found Teal'c sitting by his bed. He'd been summoned from Dakara by the General while they were unconscious to see if he knew how to remove the devices or could shed any further light on their operation. While he didn't know all the details he was able to confirm that the bracelets were actually designed to transport prisoners and had all sorts of fail safes included to make sure that the jaffa assigned the duty to transport duty had no choice to complete his task. If they were separated by too great a distance, they would both die. If they tried to remove the bracelet, they would both die. If one of them of them died, then so would the other. It seemed that Daniel was stuck. Especially since he'd been informed that while he was unconscious the Dedalus had left and he'd missed his chance at a trip to Atlantis.
Despite the revelation of the true nature of the device, Vala though shocked that she had put herself at risk as well as Daniel, still refused to disclose the procedure involved in removing them until, "we've found the treasure and I've got my fair share." She had looked particularly smug after the statement and reclined on her bed with her arms crossed in defiance and a large smile playing across her face.
Colonel Mitchell had almost seemed pleased by this and after a quick conversation with the General, to gain his authorization, had convinced Daniel to examine the tablet in more detail to see if he could determine the likely location.
The following morning Daniel had called the group, consisting of himself, Vala, Teal'c, Colonel Mitchell and General, to the briefing room to disclose what he'd learned. Knowing of Daniel's talents in this area none of the group were surprised that he'd been successful in determining not only the author of the tablet, but also a possible location to search. After attempting to present a brief history lesson on the legends of Merlin and the Knights of the round table, General Landry interrupted, "Yes Dr Jackson, get to the point!" Daniel cut his planned speech short and revealed that the author of the tablet was none other than the mythological legend known on Earth as Merlin. He believed that the location of the cache was under Glastonbury Tor in England and requested the General give them permission to search for it. The General then gave his approval to the group to board the Odyssey and use its powerful Asguard sensors to search the location.
Once they'd changed into their combat gear and retrieved their weapons from the armory they were beamed directly to the Odyssey and in very short order were scanning the target location for energy signatures looking for indications of ancient technology. It didn't take long to realize that the area for miles around was protected by some king of barrier that had preventing the scan form picking up any energy signature, however the sensors did indicate that there appeared to that there seemed to be a space hundreds of meters below the surface which may be what they were looking for.
Due to the existence of the barrier that was mostly blocking the Asguard sensors they would be unable to beam down and it had seemed the mission was over before it had even begun. Vala, knowing from her previous experience on the Prometheus that the Earth ships possessed them, had then suggested using the ships ring platform. She pointed out to the group that despite the ring transporters being the transport method favored by the goa'uld, that it had originally been designed and used by the ancients. Daniel almost slapped himself for forgetting this fact, but quickly dismissed it as unimportant once a scan had been done and a ring platform located it the cavern. He'd realized the mission was back on and he was one step closer to getting that god forsaken bracelet off his wrist. Well, that and he soon might be in possession of more Ancient writing and perhaps some artifacts to decipher and study. At this point he wasn't sure what he was most pleased about.
Mitchell briefly protested Daniel's presence in their exploration of the cavern after pointing out that if Daniel went they'd have to have Vala along too. Daniel also paused at this revelation as he wasn't sure how far the alien female who'd bought them the tablet could be trusted either, especially given their previous experience with her. In the end it was decided that the risk of having her along was outweighed by Daniel's potential ability to translate what they may find. After a short protest by Vala at not being allowed to carry a gun, the group huddled together on the ring platform and give the signal to transport them down.
Far below the Odyssey still sitting in the First Vault, Harry Potter's bum was now number than he could ever remember. He was also completely and utterly bored out of his mind. He had almost decided to activate his portkey out of the vault, but the unknown instinct that had bought him here today, was still compelling him to stay. It had been hours and nothing had happened and despite thoroughly searching the vault he couldn't understand what he supposed to be doing to get his next lesson. He'd tried the sword again, but it no longer caused the image of his Pop to appear and he was at his wits end. He decided to give it another thirty minutes before he gave it up as a bad job. Just as he was looking at his watch to confirm the time he heard a strange whirring noise and he lifted his head and stared about looking for the origin of the sound. To his immense shock, rings that he hadn't even noticed were there due to the centuries of dust, began to rise from the floor. As the sixth and final ring rose from the floor, creating a cylinder about eight feet high and about six feet in circumference, there was a flash of light, before the rings began to recede back in to the floor from where they had come. Once the rings had disappeared completely Harry couldn't believe his eyes. It appeared that four people, who looked a lot like they may be muggles, had appeared in the middle of the vault of his ancestor, by means of a strange ring device that he had never seen before.