Disclaimer: No JRK owned characters were hurt in the creation of this fanfiction. Er, almost none.
Author Note: I was writing up this idea to give it away and realized I had most of a story, so I finished it.
"Reading anything interesting, Harry?"
Harry looked up from the tome he had been flipping through in the Grimmauld Place library where he, Ron, and Hermione were hiding out after the attack on Bill and Fleur's wedding.
"No, still searching."
Hermione shook her head. They had had this conversation before. She just couldn't change Harry's mind.
"Just because you have 'a power he knows not', that doesn't mean you even have to know it, you know."
"If it's something I have to develop or learn how to use, I better know before hand. Beating or getting away from Snake-face by luck is getting old. And one of these days, I'm going to run out of luck." He picked up the next book, African Influenced Caribbean Magical Culture, a monograph published in 1910. Harry's eyebrow raised up when he noticed the name of the author, Fredrik Charlus Potter.
"Hmm, maybe this was written by one of my ancestors," he said, opening it up to read the introduction. It turned out to be just that, as the inscription was from Fredrik to his grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Charlus and Doria. "Just something I wrote during a vacation. Had it published by the Muggles. Made a few galleons from it. Found this copy lying around, and thought you'd like it. - Grandpa Fred"
That would make the author his great-great grandfather, Harry thought. He started reading with more enthusiasm than he had any of the other books he'd looked at that day. Of course, he realized as he read, having been published for the Muggles, there was no practical magic included. But Harry quickly realized that when the author wrote "they believe such and such happens" he really meant "they magically do such and such."
One phrase kept flowing through his mind, as they were driven from the the old house after stealing Slytherin's locket from Umbridge - "sympathetic magic." Harry couldn't shake the feeling that it was important.
"Where's Harry?" Ron entered the magic tent and asked Hermione as she cleaned up the kitchen area.
"I haven't seen him since this morning, Ron. He's been really brooding about the locket. I hope it isn't possessing him, like the diary did to Ginny."
"Not Harry. He's too strong."
"But where is he?"
"You checked his room, right?" Ron asked as he headed into the room he shared with Harry.
"Did you read the note?"
"The one he left on his bed, addressed to both of us?"
"Give me that!"
Hermione pulled the note from Ron's hands, and started reading out loud.
"Dear Ron and Hermione,
I had an idea on how to defeat Voldemort, but it requires magic none of us know. Have left the country in search of a witch or wizard who can help. If this works, we'll not only be done with the horcruxes, but Voldemort himself. If not, I expect to be back in less than a month. Will be in contact with your parents, Ron. But don't expect anything from me for at least two weeks. And be subtle when you do contact your parents, Ron.
"Out of the country?" Ron asked, angrily. "What are we supposed to do now? Search for horcruses without him? We didn't know where to look before, and now our expert on Riddle's background is gone! What are we supposed to do?"
Hermione just looked at the letter. She didn't know.
Harry sat on the dirt floor feeling frustrated. Maybe he should have taken Hermione into his confidence. Maybe she could have had more success.
What he wanted to do was often considered Dark magic, so he doubted that she would have agreed.
Nor would she had done the dancing. Well, they called it dancing. It was more wild shaking your body to music. Or drums. He was told that sometimes they used metal drums, so there would be actual melodies, but somehow he wasn't convinced that he would recognize them as such. But the dancing was actually a lot of fun, especially when his teacher's granddaughter joined in.
"You are not in the right frame of mind. You cannot invoke the spirits like that. You are too agitated."
"I know. I don't think I'll be able to learn this."
"Not the way you are going, you won't." The old black woman sighed. "You treat this learning as a fruit, something to pick up and consume. It's not. It's a stew, to be prepared and simmered and finally to experience with friends and family."
She shook her head, and made two cups of what she called 'tea'. It was some concoction of dried leaves with an herbal taste, but nothing a proper British subject would have mistaken for tea. "Tell old Grandmère Shawl what is it you really want to do."
Harry sighed too. He had come to trust the old woman who everyone called Grandmère Shawl. "I read about sympathetic magic and thought I might be able to use it against the Dark Lord in England. I'm prophesied to be able to defeat him with some power he doesn't know, and I had hoped this would be it." He picked up a rag doll from the table. "I had hoped to learn how to link a doll with Tom Riddle and kill him using it, without having to even confront him again."
"Ah, child, such a spell could not work through a doll. Your Tom Riddle is too powerful. Besides," she removed the rag doll from his hands, "you can only do this if you have something very important to your victim. For such a spell, you would almost need his very heart."
The sounds of the Haitian countryside drifted through the ramshackle hut as Harry grinned.
"I do have something very important to him," Harry said, pulling the locket from his pocket. "I have a piece of his soul."
The old woman's eyes widened, and her mouth turned up in a smile that was something other than pleasant. "Do ye, now," she said, tossing the Voodoo doll she had taken from him on the table. "If you have what you say, a doll isn't needed. Useful, yes, but not needed.
"And to kill him, we will need a very powerful ritual, conducted by a very powerful priest."
"So it can be done?"
"Of course, young Harry."
"What about this priest? Do you know someone who would help us?"
"Indeed, I do. We will get the whole Lodge together, and there will be a very big dance. As for the priest, for this, we must have the Baron himself!" The old woman smiled at him, as she opened an old trunk. She pulled out a worn top hat.
"Baron Samedi," she answered, placing the hat on Harry's head with a smile.
Harry wasn't sure about any of this. He was dressed in a black, long tailed suit and the top hat that Grandmère Shawl had shown him two weeks ago. He had learned chants and some actual dance moves (that still seemed very random, but there was an order to their movement). His face was painted white with black circles around his eyes, his nose a black triangle, and lines to simulate teeth drawn on his whitened lips. He looked in a mirror and a very skull-like face looked back at him. A girl, about his age, smiled at him. She was Cici, Grandmère Shawl's actual granddaughter.
Her skin was a beautiful cafe 'o' lait color and her frequent smile shone bright against her brown complexion. Her eyes were a light brown that seemed to follow him whenever he was in her presence. She almost had a predatory look to her. She was about his height, which a lot of the girls at Hogwarts weren't, so it was nice not having to look up to look a girl in the face. Her breasts weren't large, but they were a lot more prominent than the Hogwarts robes allowed his classmates' to be. The fact that she didn't wear anything under her shirt or dress was often apparent, and Harry found himself checking her out frequently. Her current costume hid those assets at the moment, and he was glad, as he would need his concentration for the ritual he was about to perform.
Cici turned back to painting his hands. They, too, had gotten the 'bone' treatment, with his finger joints blackened to emphasize the white bones. He also had hand bones painted on both his palm and the back of his hands. It was, he thought, rather creepy.
Cici herself was costumed in a colorful dress adorned with scarves that gave her the impression of floating when she moved quickly. The scarves fell over her chest, hiding her curves from his sight. She was his partner in the ritual.
His hands done, Harry picked up the rag doll that wore Voldemort's locket. He hoped this worked. Theoretically, the connection between the image and the target would allow curses on one to effect the other. It was very hard to cause actual death with a Voodoo doll as the connection for that had to be very pronounced.
Grandmere Shawl said the soul fragment was a powerful enough link. That had always been Harry's hope; it was the reason he had come to Haiti and searched for a practitioner of Voodoo. But to execute the kill required a ritual invoking the death god Baron Samedi, which was why Harry was dressed as the guy.
Usually, the Baron was played by someone taller. Grandmère said that once the music started, no one would care.
Harry and Cici made their way out of the village to an abandoned cemetery. Harry snorted to himself. Figured it would be something like this for a ritual involving a death god. He placed the image of Voldemort in the center of a clearing that was surrounded by scented candles. There was a crowd around the edges, mostly hidden by the night. He stepped to the edge of the clearing as Grandmère Shawl waved him over.
"Drink this," she said, handing him a metal goblet of some liquid.
"What is it?"
"It's important for the ceremony. And it has a lot of booze in it. It will loosen you up for the dance."
"I don't know if that's a good idea. . . ."
"Trust me, it's important."
Harry drank it, and it was like fire going down. He couldn't say much about the taste, only it didn't taste bad like most potions he had had in his life. He couldn't say it tasted good, because there was too much burn, but it certainly didn't taste bad. It had an aftertaste that reminded him of Grandmere Shawl's tea. As he handed the goblet back, he noticed Cici had just drank one, too.
"And finally, put this next to the target," Grandmère handed him a machete. Harry did ,eying the very sharp edge nervously, and as he stood up he swayed from side to side. The drink really was potent. He saw Cici entering the clearing and then the drums and kettle drums started, and he began his dance and chant.
As he moved the area around him grew less and less distinct. The smell of damp earth seemed to become very pronounced. His head spun, probably from the alcohol, but he tried to concentrate on the words and movements. Cici spun and danced around him, and he would have bet a bag of galleons that she really was floating. Outside of the circle, he could see the other members of the Lodge also dancing.
He was lost in the drums and the chanting and the dance and the earth and clapping and the floating colors surrounding Cici and the spiced candles getting dimmer and dimmer and the spinning and his head felt light and the light was fading and the drums kept drumming. . . .
Harry woke up damp and cool. He was lying outside with dawn lighting the sky. His naked shoulders were exposed to the cool air, the sleeping bag he was lying on felt damp from the earth's moisture, and the one on him was moist from the dew. He was warm where a body was curled up next to him, though. He jumped away from what turned out to be the naked body of Cici. She muttered something in French before opening her eyes and recognizing him.
"It is too cold. Come back, Harry."
He almost missed her words, mesmerized by the sight of her exposed chest. She looked at his reaction and smiled. As he realized what she was looking at he tried to cover himself with his hands.
"Oui, that is what I want again. Come back, Harry," she lay on her back and opened her arms to him.
He glanced around. They were near the cemetery, but there was no one else around.
"Come, make me feel good again, Harry."
"Under the blankets, then I'll tell."
Harry, not seeing his clothes around (or hers) did get under the top sleeping bag. He saw his glasses on the ground nearby, but left them there as he tried to get comfortable and Cici tried to get him to enter her. He was too embarrassed and perhaps too cold to succeed at the moment, though. Cici still pulled him on her.
"During the ceremony, the Baron took over your body. He is a rude man, but sometimes very funny. During the dance he saw the doll and approached it. He started laughing at it, calling it a fool for trying to cheat death. Then the doll answered, calling the Baron by your name and promising pain and death, which made the Baron laugh harder. He said that you, Harry Potter, weren't here, but," and her voice lowered as she tried to imitate a man's voice, "I will pass on your message, not that it will do any good, as you will be dead before it is delivered."
She returned to her own voice and continued, "Then he picked up the machete and sliced doll and locket in half with one blow. The scream!" and she tightened her arms around Harry, reminding him that he was with a beautiful naked girl which started to wake his lower anatomy. "It went on and on, and most of the people ran. But eventually it stopped, and the Baron told Grandmere that it was finished, but he wasn't finished with you. You are to stay here and learn, and Grandmere agreed to teach you."
Harry was distracted from the last statement when Cici reached between them and made her wishes known. Harry's mind and body were otherwise occupied for a while. Later, they sneaked through town wrapped in the sleeping bags and made their way back to Grandmere Shawl's hut. They found a party going on once they reached it, and, while the neighbors cheered and jeered at their embarrassment, they slipped into the bedroom and put on their clothes. Harry was happy to find his wand with the rest of his clothes, not that he had used it much since coming to Haiti. He also realized that the skull makeup was gone, probably before he woke up.
He finished dressing, and joined the party at Grandmere's and Cici's insistence. She held his arm and helped him with his French as they celebrated his victory (over who or what, most of the party goers weren't really sure, but they were ready and willing to share the joy) and the visit from the Baron. There was plenty of food and drink; the villagers, though poor, shared all they had on hand. Harry briefly realized that he was drunk at some point in the afternoon, but didn't find it worth bothering about.
He woke up in his own hut, the one Grandmère had given him when she took him on as a student. He was once again naked in bed with Cici. This time, his head pounded and he felt the results of the alcohol. Cici's groans as she came conscious told him that she was going through the same thing.
They helped each other through the morning and ended back in bed, just cuddling, still too hung over to do more. In the evening, Cici made him dinner, and they went to bed and made love.
As he lay in bed, he wondered about the message that the Baron had given Grandmere. This wasn't his place; would the Baron follow him back to England? Would there be some way to keep him here? He tightened his arm around Cici and let sleep wash over him.
Ron and Hermione sneaked through the brush and around the chicken coop into the Burrow. Mrs. Weasley had cleaned the kitchen and turned off the lights early, as agreed.
They made their way through the dark house to Ron's parents' room, where they knocked quietly. It had been three months since Harry had disappeared. There had been one note near the beginning saying that he had found a teacher, but nothing since.
"Come in, Ron and Hermione."
"Hi, Mr. and Mrs. Weasley," Hermione said, entering the room. The Weasley parents held out a note for them.
"Harry did contact us. I don't know what to make of this, though," Mr. Weasley said, handing over a muggle envelope. Hermione opened it and read it aloud.
"If you haven't heard, Voldemort is dead and he won't be coming back this time. Any problems with the Death Eaters are your own. I am staying here to learn magic, but more importantly, to learn to live, close to the land, close to the people, close to the spirit world, and close to some people who mean a lot to me.
"I will come back some day, but things are very busy here, and I don't foresee getting away for a long time.
"May all your days be happy ones,
"Voldemort's dead?" she asked. Looking at the note she saw it was dated almost three weeks ago.
"That date coincides with some disruption in the Ministry," Mr. Weasley said. "But beyond that, there's been no change."
"But if Voldemort is dead, why aren't things better?" Ron asked. The four magicals looked back and forth between each other, unable to answer that question.
29 months later
Hermione made her way through the back roads of Haiti. The place was awful. People lived in abject poverty, filth, and squalor. She finally reached the village of her destination.
Follow the money. That and 'find the girl' were the ways fictional detectives solved mysteries. Not knowing if there even was a girl, Hermione finally convinced Bill to violate Gringotts rules and check on Harry's finances. The money led to Haiti.
Once there, her inquiries into Harry Potter led nowhere. The muggle government had the paperwork from his entry into the country, but that was all. It was by chance that she overheard someone talking about the Evans Foundation while eating at the hotel's restaurant. Her research into that group led her to this little village.
One thing that struck her, as she approached her destination, was the road was in better shape than most of the ones she had been on. Still a dirt road, but just better maintained. Which was good, because the car she was in had no suspension. Reaching the town, she was immediately struck by the brand new school and several other new buildings. She stopped the car and walked around.
The local people, who seemed to think she was another reporter, were happy to explain that after building an orphanage, which was at the other end of the town, 'Papa Harry' built a school so the orphans and other children could be educated. He had also bought up a large, abandoned sugar cane plantation and rented out land to anyone who was willing to work it, for just a small portion of the yield. With the land once again producing, he was now building a factory to process the cane, and had worked with the government to widen the roads into the area to allow the sugar to be shipped.
He had gained the name 'Papa Harry' from the orphans, which was where he worked after the building became usable. He still worked from his office there.
As Hermione walked through the town, she saw a lot of construction going on, houses being built or improved, drainage ditches dug, water pipes being installed. Hermione finally reached the orphanage, where a large group of children of many ages were playing in a well maintained playground under the supervision of several adults, including one Caucasian who seemed to be right in the thick of a group of children, playing with them. As she approached the familiar, unruly black hair told her who the man was, even though she was sure it was him before she could see any details.
As she approached, Harry noticed her, and disentangled himself from the children, except one toddler who refused to let go of Harry's leg. He walked awkwardly towards her, the child laughing and holding tight as he balanced on Harry's foot.
"Hello, Hermione," he said with a smile.
"Harry James Potter! How could you abandon us like that?"
Harry lost some of his smile, and child hid behind his leg, but was reassured as Harry's hand came down for him to grasp.
"I didn't abandon you. I killed Voldemort, remember?"
"How could you do that? You weren't even in the country!"
"I had a piece of his soul, if you remember. When you think about it, you know how witches and wizards are so careful not to leave hairs and fingernail clippings around, in case someone uses them in in a spell against the owner? How much dumber is it to leave bits of your soul around. It was the perfect opportunity to strike at him in a way that he couldn't strike back."
"But then, why didn't you come back? Until your note, we didn't even know that Voldemort was dead. The Death Eaters were still in charge. We could have used your help with overthrowing them."
"I'm sorry that it was hard to fix your problems, but what was I supposed to do?" Hermione tried to interrupt him, but Harry didn't let her. "I know how hard it is to change the government. If I didn't have a lot of money to spend, most of what I've accomplished around here wouldn't have happened; you think the Ministry was corrupt? Try the government here!
"But I killed Voldemort. I killed him, Hermione. I felt I deserved a bit of something for succeeding." He picked up the toddler, a child probably a year and a half old, who hid his face from Hermione. Harry whispered softly to him in French.
"This is what you want for killing him?" she pointed at the orphanage.
"No. But as I became a part of this place, I realized that it was needed, so I built it. And the people needed work, so I started the farm program. And we needed a school, so I bribed enough officials that one is being built. And the people are starting to work on their own improvements, as they have money coming in. So my pebble is starting an avalanche of improvements around here."
"But why did you stay? Your home is in England."
"Where your heart is, is home, Hermione."
A voice interrupted them from down the street, "Harry! Iago! Hora de comer." Hermione saw a young, brown girl walking down the street towards them. The child in Harry's arms squirmed out and ran towards the woman, who, Hermione noticed, was pregnant.
"Where your heart is. . . ?" Hermione whispered.
"Yes, come join me and my family for dinner."