Disclaimer: Harry Potter its characters and settings are the exclusive property of JK Rowling, Scholastic books and Warner Bros. Films. I get nothing for the stories I write using these characters and settings. All I get and I love when I get them is reviews from my readers. This story is a collaboration with Darkshaddowedrose. Betaed by Alix33.
A/N: Some of you have asked how old is Harry now. He's approaching 25, he was almost 18 when he left his home universe, one year in the Yet Another Universe universe making him almost nineteen, then almost three years in Grindelwald and Dumbledore's court and another three making contact and climbing the ranks of the resistance. To all of you who have said you're liking this one more than the first, Thank you. The first was an exercise in keeping myself writing despite writer's block, I freely admit it used a fair number of fandom cliches. But when Darkshadowedrose and I saw the first suggestions of doing a sequel we looked at each other and said it has to be different. This is the result and I hope you continue to enjoy.
A/N2: Congratulations to transportation who undertook and has finished the story, Still Another Universe, written in response to my challenge. Well done! My apologies for the long delay RL and muse issues.
Bonding with Hogwarts had shown Harry how the original Headmasters and Headmistresses were chosen. Originally it was done by consensus between the guardians, Fawkes,the phoenix who had been bonded to Helga Hufflepuff, and Bathsheba, the basilisk, and the administrators, the Hat and the Castle herself. They originally looked for powerful individuals that embodied and balanced the traits of the four founders. That the Basilisk in the Chamber was counted as one of the guardians had surprised Harry. Unfortunately late in the fifteenth century, the Headmaster and the chosen successor had died when muggles attacked the castle. The result was the wizard's council of the era had appointed the most powerful and well-connected witch of the age to the job and the muggle repelling wards were placed. While not ideal, Hogwarts worked with the political appointees a well as it could. But since most didn't have enough open-mindedness to accept that the castle was sentient and had their own agendas, Hogwarts had drifted into an apathetic sleep rather than be closely tied to the long string of idiots and political animals; many of whom had things other than the welfare of the students in the forefront of their minds. Not that they were for the most part bad or incompetent, most merely allowed personal prejudice to blind them to their own foibles and allowed their views to create division between the houses. They had been strong enough to hold the wards and caring enough that most magical children were able to function as members of magical society after graduation, which was why Hogwarts stayed open. But after the death of Dippet, the Empire's chosen replacement was so bad the castle had closed itself rather than uphold the appointment.
Harry had exited the castle with Fawkes one night early in his stay and retrieved a dozen sheep from an Empire sheep farm. Together they brought the sheep to the Chamber. Harry had called the basilisk and fed it. Bathsheba had mostly hibernated since the death of the last correctly chosen Head of Hogwarts but hunger was slowly driving her mad. The Wizards council of that era had trapped her beneath the castle and while she had been able to catch rats and survive she needed larger prey to thrive. After she ate the sheep she had spoken to Harry before going back to sleep. Fawkes had encouraged Harry to let her rest and they agreed that she needed a couple of months of rest and steady food to recover from the six centuries of isolation and near starvation. Harry came to the conclusion that Bathsheba in his own world had tumbled over the edge into madness when Tom Riddle of his own universe had spouted his hate rhetoric while still denying her her basic need to eat.
Harry had figured out what he would teach each of the twelve weeks that resistance members were going to be at Hogwarts. He had laughingly named the twelve week course for adults boot camp and he was now working on planning curriculum for kids. But he had the same problems for both groups: where would he get text books?
Harry went to the source he had found for the books to teach the girls hoping beyond hope the man could get his hands on more books.
"Gov, I can maybe get you a copy maybe two but there's no way I can get my hands on two hundred. I can only slip seven or eight out a month or it gets noticed it does."
"Out? As in out of a storage facility? "
The man flushed. "What of it?"
"How many books are in this storage facility?"
"Dunno. Lots, books that have been banned or that were taken from muggle places mostly. A whole warehouse full."
"Why didn't they get burned then?"
"How much profit do you stand to make on the books you sneak out of there?"
"I dunno I usually sell six or seven of them in a month. That order I did for yeh a couple years ago was the most profit I made in years."
Harry thought about the shady bookseller he was speaking to, he was actually one of many Harry had made contact with since coming to this universe. He thought about what he knew of the man's habits, then nodded to himself. He said, "I'll make you a deal. You give me details: location, guard schedules and whatnot to that warehouse, and I'll give you gold, one thousand pounds of it." Harry was figuring since a pound of silver had bought him the twenty books for the girls, this weight in gold would get him the information. He watched as the man's eyes widened and his jaw dropped. He reached into the pocket of his robe where he had stashed a brick earlier and set it in the man's hands. "This brick and 499 just like it, and all you have to do is give me information."
By the time Harry portkeyed back to Hogwarts he had a plan and he intended to implement it posthaste. Unfortunately he was met on his arrival by Lily and she had other plans.
"Where have you been? You do realize people are arriving next week and we still are lacking materials to teach not to mention teachers." He followed her to the potion lab she worked in.
"Yeah, I'm working on that. Where are the twins? I need their help."
"I need to get a sizable resistance crew together for a heist."
""I need to get a crew together for a heist."
"What is it you think the resistance needs to steal?"
"Textbooks? You want me to authorize a couple resistance cells to steal textbooks?"
"Yeah, we're going to need them for students and this is where I found that I can get them. Now are you going to authorize the cells or not? I could do it myself but the odds are highly unfavorable that way. If I get two to three cells I can carry it out and be in and out with no one the wiser."
"And the Imperials aren't going to notice a warehouse of books going missing?"
"Actually I thought a nice little failure on a fire suppression ward would cover the theft nicely."
"Oh. Fine, I don't approve and somehow I doubt Thomas would. But I can see by the sparkle in your eyes, even if I don't approve it you do it anyway-"
"Thanks, you're the best."
"Where is this warehouse?"
"Tell the twins cells twenty seven, thirty, and fifteen."
"Has anyone ever told you you're annoying?"
"All the time. Hermione.." Kit suddenly turned quiet as an extremely sad expression crossed his face. Harry hadn't really thought of his friends for a few years. He wondered if Hermione and Ron had gotten married. He wondered if that world had followed his advice about what changes needed to be made he wondered about Luna, Neville, even Ginny. He wondered if McGonagall was still Headmistress and he wondered if Kingsley was still Minister of Magic. He gave himself a mental slap and said, "Focus. Sorry, my mind wandered for a moment. You said cells thirty, twenty seven and fifteen?"
"Yeah, they are close to Dover and were recently restocked on the potion for the golems."
"How many people are we talking about?"
"Between those cells roughly twenty-six magic capable people another eight non."
Harry nodded. "Thanks, it's good to know. There's a bit of spell work I need to pull together for this then we're good to go."
"KIT ! What do you mean a bit of spell work to pull together!"
Harry grinned as he almost skipped away from the potion lab. If there was one thing he'd noticed about the Empire they weren't terribly imaginative. By default that also meant that for the most part the resistance wasn't. Thomas and his spies being the exceptions. He had been really surprised that Thomas hadn't had a larger plan to defeat the Empire or a strong plan of what to replace it with before he'd come along. But in retrospect he could also see why, Thomas was- much as he himself had been in his home universe- very focused on just surviving and being a thorn in the Empire's side. He hadn't ever been interested in politics except in how it had affected him directly and he didn't have the expectation that he would ever need knowledge of them. Abraxas Malfoy had actually done most the political planning for the resistance early on and his sudden death due to Dragon Pox twenty years before had hindered the resistance. Thomas had become leader of the resistance more or less by default, due to being the strongest non imperial magical; something else Harry understood very well. Thomas had never had plans to rule the world. He'd been content to study wards and curse breaking with the goblins at Gringotts. Something that utilized his creativity which was Thomas' main advantage against the Empire. That creativity was also why he was still alive.
In the last universe Harry had found himself enjoying coming up with new spells to do his pranks on Dumbledore. He still shook his head about how naïve, stupid and gullible he'd been in his home universe. If he'd grown up in a good home instead of getting squashed by the Dursleys and the magical world's expectations he would never have considered being an auror and probably would have become a spell crafter just because it was so much fun. Of course he had also come to appreciate politics in the last universe as well, if only so he could fully appreciate mowing over the opposition. Little had he known just how useful that training would become.
Here spell creation was as much about surviving by doing the unexpected as it was about the fun. Politics, well, they were a different sort of fun. Having a plan in place to replace the Empire was just common sense. What made Harry the happiest about it was the fact that the replacement government he and Tom had planned already had addressed his biggest peeves about the government in his home universe, everything else could be negotiated later.
He headed to Rowena's library and headed for the Index. The Index was a nifty feature of Rowena's Library. The Index cross-referenced the entire library and allowed him to use just a few key words to find the information he needed by giving him specific locations of specific books to help him. The library was massive and had many books of what was considered dark material or highly advanced material. By reading Rowena's journal in the last universe Harry had understood the original purpose of the library. Since bonding with Hogwarts, Harry had learned that the restricted section of the main library had evolved after the knowledge of Rowena's library was lost, around the same time as the politically appointed headmasters began. Harry now knew that the library had not been lost so much as hidden. Harry had with the elves' help gone through and transferred the restricted section to Rowens's library.
He knew what he was willing to teach and what he wasn't . He planned to focus on making sure the resistance fighters were rock solid. He would keep his eyes peeled for the most creative members of each group and he would keep them in the castle for an additional three months, using them as trainers for the groups coming behind them. Lily would be teaching Potions, Tamara would be teaching first aid. Harry would be teaching battle magic. He would start off by assessing each group. He would be looking for those that could teach and were the most adaptive. Hoping that each group would have people who could teach something, in addition to coming to learn new things. As for the kids that would be coming he had Heidi, Arundhadi, and Dominica who would be teaching the basic educational skills that were likely to be quite rough in the resistance's children and first year magical materials. Anyone with notable gifts would be paired with an adult for additional learning. Harry felt as if he had made as much in the way of plans as he dared until he actually was dealing with people.
He shook himself, he needed to focus on the transportation spell he planned to create. It would be similar to a portkey spell but was intended to take crates of books from a warehouse through the Hogwarts wards. He figured the resistance would have an hour window to steal the books but he needed an easy method of transporting them to the castle. Portkeys were powered by the user's magic. Harry wanted a way to transport the goods without decreasing the manpower at the warehouse. It took him a few hours, but he found what he needed in the library. Now it was a matter of adapting it for his purpose.
It was hours later and Harry's stomach was growling when he finally left the library. He had the spell ready for testing. Toby popped beside him. "Headmaster sir is not taking care of himself, he is skipping meals."
"Sorry, Toby, I've been working on getting textbooks for the students. I got a lead on a warehouse of textbooks and have been planning how to get them here. Is there a large room where I can send them?"
"There is the Trophy Room. Most other large rooms is full of stored food and potions stuff.
Harry thought about the layout of the trophy room. "Bring me some food, just a sandwich, some carrots and a piece of fruit, to the trophy room. I'll be working in there for a couple hours."
"Yes, Headmaster sir."
Two and a half hours later Harry stood up and eyed the magical circle he'd etched onto the largest open area of floor. He moved to the doorway, took a small square of parchment and drew the same diagram on it that he had put on the floor. He charged it with magic and smiled as it disappeared from his hand and reappeared in the larger circle across the room, he went and picked it up and proceeded around the castle testing what happened when he stuck the square to progressively larger and heavier things that got farther and father from the trophy room. After he transported a block of stone the size and weight of a VW Bug to precisely the center of the diagram he smiled. And shrank the stone so he could move it back outside.
He reviewed the schedule and details of the warehouse one more time, then he went to find the twins. Using their talents he made arrangements with the cells that Lily had suggested for a meeting when he would brief them on the mission. Before those meetings he had Fawkes flame him to the warehouse and spent four hours studying the wards under his invisibility cloak. He took notes so he could plan on how to bring them down. He went back to Hogwarts and slept for nine hours, barely rising in time for the castle's daily update.
Lily started the meeting. "I've got golem potion that needs to be transported to the drop point. I've stocked the infirmary with the potions Tamara requested so we should be fine in the event of training accidents. I've put together a list of eight of the basic healing potions that I'll be teaching. As per your suggestion, I'll begin with the simplest and move to the hardest, that should cover half the potion curriculum. The second portion with be poisons and their antidotes, and the final two weeks will be combat potions I will only teach those to the people that have successfully brewed all the other potions. I don't fancy having incompetents brewing finicky potions."
"Don't blame you. I approve of the line-up. Not much theory behind them, since we're at this point more interested in competence with the important healing potions. It's a good plan. Do take note of anyone who's more interested in the theory side of things; if they're competent we ask them to stick around and learn more." Harry affirmed. "Tamara?"
"The infirmary is as ready as I can make it."
"Good because as soon as we get people here for training you'll probably be busy. You can't teach or learn combat without injuries."
"I've got a basic first aid course laid out and I should be able to tie in with Lily's healing potions curriculum easily."
"Good. Toby? Arundhadi?"
"We've got tentative work schedules put together. We've included some flex to allow for personal preferences. We've set up student dormitories for the kids, separate from the adult areas, we've got a men's barracks, a women's barracks, and about two dozen married quarters."Arundhadi said.
Toby spoke next. "The castle is clean, menus have been planned keeping in mind what you urged, Headmaster. Even though it made the lead kitchen elf less than happy."
"Yeah, well, we're dealing with wartime conditions: these people are likely not to have been eating very well, and the usual diet you like to provide would likely cause problems. We want them fed a healthy diet, but not one that is too rich. Besides, if we feed them too well they won't want to go back and fight."
"Point taken, Headmaster."
"Alright at this point with the exception of the texts we're pretty much set. In two days I'll be supervising the heist of a warehouse full of books mostly textbooks according to my sources. So when people start arriving next week we'll be ready. Good job.
"Toby the day of the heist I'm going to need the elves to move crates from the target zone to elsewhere in the trophy room. I'm figuring it will be ten crates in two minute intervals. Will that be a problem?"
"No, Headmaster, we elves can do that. "
"Wonderful, I'll send a patronus to you when we move. Lily, I'll be out of the castle until after the heist. You're in charge."
Harry smirked as she frowned at him. He didn't know why he enjoyed irritating Lily. Part of it was she took everything so seriously. He frequently wondered if his birth mother had been like that, or if association with the Marauder's had loosened her up, or if this Lily's attitude was solely the outcome of what she had been through.
Everything leading up to the day of the heist ran smooth as butter, which Harry supposed should have set off his internal warning system.
The non-magic resistance member he had doing surveillance had no way of knowing that it was time for the Lord Consort's secretary to do her annual inspection of the Lord Consort's Library warehouses. She and her entourage of ten guards, clerk and personal thrall had portkeyed into the warehouse an hour earlier.
Outside the golems of the leaders of cell thirty and twenty-seven were pulling down all the wards on the warehouse under Harry guidance. Harry was setting up keyed wards outside the wards they were pulling down. It was a precaution he'd started using after his third resistance raid. Anti apparition, anti-portkey wards were tricky because he had to key them so only his portkeys got through especially tonight, plus wards to stop communication in and out except for by patronus. Dividing his attention was so much fun. The end of both tasks coincided. "Okay break into your teams. There should be four guards, keep in teams and knock them out. If they offer resistance take them out. I would prefer they get to go home to their families tonight, but it's more important that you do." It had turned out that only half of the cells members had experience with golems so Harry had more live persons than he wanted. Unfortunately he needed the manpower.
"Got it." Most of the resistance members affirmed.
Harry's "alohomorra" opened the door, but it was hard to say which side was more surprised. Harry hated when snafus like this happened.
Fortunately the resistance fighters with him had the right reactions to the situation: they snapped off stunners before their opponents even had a chance to draw their wands. Unfortunately many of them didn't have much training, and their aim wasn't especially good. Five of the seventeen people in the warehouse were still mobile. Harry threw up a shield with the Elder Wand to protect his side that at the moment was bottlenecked at the door. He held it while with his holly wand he snapped of four reductos to push the additional people back, so they could get in and put their greater numbers to work for them. It was a brief battle and the resistance lost four golems but in the end they were victorious.
The seventeen people on the Empire's side were stunned and tied up, or in the case of three of the actual guards, dead. Harry grimaced over that, but it couldn't be helped. They still had a heist to accomplish. He sent his patronus off to Toby to alert the elves, and a second off to Lily for veritaserum. He wanted to interrogate the people they had captured without having to wonder if he was being told the truth. In the meantime he set some guards for the prisoners, and set the rest to gluing the sigils on the crates.
He had just activated the transfer when Lily appeared in a flash of flames with Fawkes.
"Can't anything you plan run according to plan, Walker!"
"Hello Lily. We ran into an unexpected snag. We have some prisoners, one of whom I swear I saw at court. She looks familiar. Therefore I figured some questions were in order. If you want I'll handle it without you, but I still have my mission objectives to accomplish." Harry charged the second batch of crates. He knew by the time they emptied this warehouse he would be wobbling because there were more crates here than he'd realized.
Lily frowned but she moved to the nearest warehouse guard. Putting her wand to his temple. She said, "Who is the highest ranked person here? Tell me before I reducto your brains all over the walls."
The smell of urine met their noses, while he quickly gave Lily the information she wanted, "Madam Secretary Umbridge, she's in the pink robe."
"Umbridge?" Lily's voice was lifted in surprise.
"Umbridge." Harry's voice was a hostile hiss. The woman wasn't as rotund as the woman in his own universe but there were enough similarities he wanted to kick himself for not recognizing the bitch.
"The leader will be pleased. She's on his list. Excellent ,Walker."
"People of interest to him because of information they have. Or in this case because of who her thrall is."
"My thrall." The ugly woman croaked. "Why would my sweet Jamie be of interest to the leader of you rebel scum."
"Mistress?" the trembling voice of the thrall came. "I'm frightened, Mistress."
Harry turned and looked at the thrall they had tied up. He hadn't noticed the Potter hair but now that he knew to look for it, it was obvious. But that wasn't what caught his attention: the man's eyes were sightless. He felt a strong surge of pity for the man who would have been his father. He turned his attention back to the crates. "Interrogate the bitch, position, details, everything you can get. Find out how she conditioned her thrall, the leader will want to know. If you aren't done by the time we are, she'll come with us but I'd rather she didn't. Don't waste time. Let's keep moving people; we've got lots to do."