A/N I've decided to participate in the Ficmas in July Contest started by Chaos Dragon. This means writing a fanfiction each month for twelve months. This is the first of the twelve. Winner is determined by voting, so please come to www dot ficmasinjuly dot org and vote.
Leafing through his Defense texts of the past five years, Harry Potter sighed. Alright, so he had been able to keep his trunk with him this time instead of it being locked in the cupboard under the stairs by Uncle Vernon. He had his wand, which he was forbidden from using on pain of expulsion. He had some old notes for homework assignments. Fat lot of good that all was.
"And no one bothered to give me some advanced reading," Harry grumbled, "or thought that just maybe I would need more than my OWLs to defeat a friggin' Dark Lord."
"Do you hear me?" he stated aggressively at the ceiling, pretending it was any Order member, "I. NEED. HELP."
"You pathetic humans always do," a voice sounded from atop the wardrobe, "you are really so lucky that I am here, and taking an interest. The others couldn't care one bit, but I, I find you *fascinating*."
Harry stared at the strange man with short dark curls that lay atop the wardrobe, dressed in a rather fancy version of wizard robes. Robes that would put Professor Dumbledore to shame.
"Who are you, and how did you get here?" Harry trained his wand on the intruder.
"Oh, puhlease. That really won't do you any good. You know, regular humans – Muggles, I believe you call them? – and wizards are to us, Q, pretty much all alike."
The man heaved a dramatic sigh. "But that is mostly because to us, your magical powers are not even child's play. They simply don't register with most Q, and they think them unimportant."
The man gave the most pathetic pout Harry had ever seen.
"Is your name Q?" he asked.
Looking around in fake bewilderment the man looked around, almost bashing his head on the ceiling.
"Didn't I say it was?"
"You called yourself 'us'" Harry pointed out.
"I am *a* Q from the Q Continuum, but that is neither here nor there," a/the/sorta Q said.
"Literally, I suppose," Harry muttered.
The Q looked delighted. "Indeed! You are completely right. It IS neither here, nor there. One might argue if it is a place or a state of being…"
"So you are Q," Harry interrupted, "and while you think I am far, far beneath you, you plan to help me defeat Voldemort. Is that an accurate summary?"
Q momentarily pressed his lips together in annoyance before nodding.
"Exactly. I am going to take you to a place where you will learn all you need to know to defeat your little..what did you call him? Volley something?"
"Voldemort," Harry said, "where are you taking me? And when?"
Before he had even finished speaking, his surroundings changed. He was no longer in his small bedroom at Privet Drive. He and Q now stood in a rather large room full of people, who all turned from what was apparently their work to stare at the pair. A man seated in a comfortable looking chair in the middle of the room stood up abruptly.
"JEAN-LUC!" Q returned in exactly the same tones, then smoothly going to flattering. "Long time no see, for you at least, how have you been? Look, I even brought you a present, a brand new apprentice. Now don't you ever say I never think of you again."
Q then turned to the shocked Harry. "Welcome to your new home, Harry m'boy! I'm sure you'll er, fit right in."
And then he was gone.
Harry was left staring at the people in the circular room with some apprehension. A few had strange devices pointed at him – notably a dark-haired man with odd eyes. The others, while not reaching for anything that might be a weapon, most certainly looked annoyed.
The man Q had addressed as 'Jean-Luc' and who was apparently in charge, sighed as he turned to the man on his left, who also had a device aimed at Harry. "Number One, remind me next time it is necessary for me to become Locutus, that I assimilate something that can actually hurt Q, will you?"
The man who apparently listened to 'Number One' – Harry thought that, despite his current predicament, quite humorous as the last time he'd had any reason to use an expression like 'Number One' was in preschool when he needed to pee – grinned wryly.
"Sure thing, Captain. But it seems Q left you a present."
"Ah, yes," the captain turned to Harry, looking stern and McGonagallish, "and who might you be, young man? Another Q?"
Harry gulped. "No, Sir. I'm Harry Potter, not a Q. I don't know what happened, he suddenly appeared in my room and then I was here…"
The captain turned to a woman standing at the back of the room, looking non-threatening.
"He speaks the truth, Captain," was her opinion. The woman reminded Harry a bit of Trelawny.
"Stand down," the captain nodded at the people who still had their devices pointed in Harry's general direction. Harry was glad he'd not bothered to draw his wand. Muggles might've laughed at getting threatened with a short stick, but he wasn't sure about these people.
"Q tends to visit here from time to time, and generally his visits aren't exactly…pleasant,' the captain motioned for Harry to follow him. Number One, the man with the odd eyes and Trelawny also followed to a room off the…whatever. As they walked Harry for the first time – since his back had been turned to it – the massive window that looked out into…
"Space? SPACE? I'm in bloody space?" he exclaimed, "No way! What kind of joke is this?"
"No joke, Mr…Potter, was it? I assure you we are indeed in space. The Alpha Quadrant, about five days travel from Earth at Warp 8."
Harry stared. "Sorry?"
That got some strange looks. The captain frowned. "Follow, and we will explain."
They all sat around an oval table, Harry a bit tentative.
"Would you like something to drink?" the Trelawny-like woman asked, clearly trying to put him at ease.
"Uhm, yes, please. Tea, erm…Earl Grey. If, I mean, do you still have tea?"
The woman's mouth quirked into a quick smile and she shot the captain a look.
"Yes, we certainly do."
Their explanation took several hours and required some visual aids eventually. Harry then in turn tried to explain without breaking the statute of secrecy. Which proved impossible.
"I understand Q dropped you off here to become our…apprentice, whatever it is he has in mind," Captain Picard sighed – introductions had been the first order of business and Harry had since learned that Number One was in fact named William Riker, the Trelawny-like woman listened to Deanna Troy and the man with the peculiar eyes answered to the equally peculiar name of Data. There were others who had been mentioned, but as Harry had yet to meet them he had forgotten most of their names.
"Still, you have yet to answer why he did so, what help you require and where he found you. The truth, Mr Potter, would be greatly appreciated."
"I know," Harry said, unhappy, "but I'm not sure if I'm supposed to tell you."
"If Q told you not to, feel free to ignore him," Commander Riker suggested.
"No, no, it's not that…I just…I mean, I'm in the future, right?"
The lot of them stared at him.
Harry slumped in his chair. "I was born in 1980," he confessed.
Data, who had been playing with what Harry assumed was some sort of game – Dudley had one – looked up.
"Confirmed, the birth of one Harry James Potter on July 31st of that year," he said, "Born to James Potter and Lily Evans. Living with Vernon Dursley and maternal aunt Petunia Evans until his disappearance off the usual records at age eleven."
Deanna Troy looked at him in sympathy. "You went missing?"
"No, I went home," Harry shook his head, "I'm…not supposed to talk about it, I think, but I'm not sure. It's…well…I suppose if I were to tell you we'll find out soon enough if the Ministry still exists and comes to Obliviate you…"
It took another few hours and some more visual aids for Harry to explain magic to the rest of the room. It wasn't so much the magic in and of itself that they were concerned about, he noticed with some amusement, but that it had been possible, and perhaps was still possible, that an entire secret society of wizards had once existed/existed on Earth. Riker was indignant. Deanna Troy tried to reason with herself. Captain Picard was silent. Data looked at the device that, Harry had since learned, was not a game but provided information.
"It is, of course, entirely possible that since this world was hidden by magic instead of something detectable by the sensors – and they seem to have resisted all attempts to analyse and record the magical energies – that there are no records of them. However, from what Mr Potter tells us, this society of British Wizards was not usually overly careful and traffic between worlds was extensive enough that leaks must have occurred. I would estimate that this world no longer exists, in fact, ceased to exist some time ago."
Harry swallowed and remembered something Hermione told him during her Time-turner adventures. "Does…does me coming here create a paradox?"
"Possibly," Picard nodded, standing up, "but the responsibility is Q's, not ours. Let him deal with the consequences. I do not understand why he brought you here – we know nothing of this magic of yours."
"If I may, Captain," Data interrupted, "I suspect that Q intended this as a mutual learning experience. We have the technology now to analyse Harry's magical energy and perhaps find new ways to utilize them. This might benefit both us and Harry."
"Well, it seems Mr Potter isn't going anywhere until Q decides to pick him up again," the Captain sighed, and then smiled at Harry, "and I, for one, am inclined to welcome him aboard as a guest for as long as he may need to stay. Data, if you would work with him? If the both of you could do some preliminary research, see what you can come up with in the way of hypothesis and ideas for testing and give me a report in a day or two. Other crewmembers could assist as necessary, and if we discover some use for your magic, Mr Potter, it would of course be appreciated if you could employ it for our benefit."
Harry nodded. "If there's something I can help with, of course. I'm sorry enough to have to impose on you like this."
"I wouldn't mind having a chat with you either, Harry," Deanna added, "it must be fascinating to hear about your time and your world. And you may have questions and issues, having been torn from what you know and into some unknown future as you have been."
"That is hardly the first time," Harry snorted, "thanks all the same."
"First order of business is having you checked over with Dr Crusher," Data decided, as they walked the long corridors, "who knows what kind of things you brought with you."
Harry looked offended. "I do shower, you know."
"That is not the point. You may have issues your doctors could not yet diagnose or treat. Your eyes, for example."
"What, you can fix my eyesight now?" The thought of it had never crossed Harry's mind, but it stood to reason, he supposed, that with all the advanced technology they'd introduced him to, they had also found a way to correct eyesight.
"Probably," Data acknowledged.
As it turned out, not only his eyesight got fixed, but also a number of other problems that stemmed from his less-than-ideal childhood. When Harry mentioned his gratefulness over not having to take vile-tasting potions, the doctor got highly interested and made him promise to come by sometime and brew some of the basic healing potions he knew for her. Harry smirked at being considered an expert on potions. If only Snape knew.
Life settled into something of a routine. Data, of course, was on duty often but Harry frequently joined him on the bridge, where he picked up all sorts of interesting bits of information from whatever crew members happened to be there. Once, when they were in a patch of very empty space, Geordi even let him fly the Enterprise – at Impulse speed, but still – for a bit.
And when Data was not on duty, they worked together on unraveling the secrets of Harry's magic.
"Yes…yes. One more time. I surmise that if I calibrate the sensors one more time, I should get a result."
Harry nodded and put all his power into a Reducto – working on the Holodeck meant he didn't have to worry about destroying anything. Actually, the Holodeck was what had caused their first breakthrough, when both he and Data realized that the Holodeck absorbed and redirected Harry's magic – which meant that somehow, it detected it as an energy of some sort. Armed with that knowledge, Data had modified a tricorder to see if they could make that energy visible and analyse it. So far, they had gone through dozens of trial-and-error sessions before finally getting to the point where the readings showed something that might be Harry's magical energy.
"The problem is," Data explained as Harry gratefully accepted a Holodeck- provided towel to wipe the sweat off his face, "that your magical energy is used to manipulate other energies around it. Which makes it hard to differentiate between the distorted energy that we usually already pick up, and your magic. At first I was only able to detect the presence of it because of the distortions."
"Like detecting a hole in a donut by the presence of the ring of the donut," Harry nodded.
Data raised an eyebrow. "Not entirely. The hole is an absence of something. Your magic is actually there, but hides behind what it distorts. It…kicks up a lot of dust, to use an expression, with which to hide it's presence."
"So we need to find a way to get past the dust," Harry mused. "What would happen if there is no energy for my magic to manipulate? No dust to hide behind?"
"It might be easier to find a way to calibrate the sensors to ignore the dust," Data manipulated his tricorder a bit, "Perhaps your magic functions as adjustable anti-matter."
"Anti-matter has quantum numbers opposite to that of the corresponding particle. It annihilates with matter and gives rise to energy. This is no strange concept – annihilation happens with particles frequently. It is however possible that magic is anti-matter that is capable of adjusting to any particle and thus become its corresponding anti-matter. The question of course remains how exactly this happens and how you have control over it. The wand seems to amplify the ability inside the wizard."
"Some wizards are capable of magic without a wand, or without words and a wand even."
"Without words seems to be a simple matter of practice," Data observed, "there is no logical reason why the words themselves add anything to the process, except enabling the wizard to utilise the ability, but apparently the need for words can be eliminated entirely. Wands, whatever strange materials they are made of from our point of view, seem to act as an amplification device. The ability in some wizards is strong enough that they can achieve some results without it, from what you tell me."
"Yes," Harry nodded, "only exceptionally strong wizards have been known to do magic wandlessly. They are almost unbeatable with a wand. But children sometimes under stress perform wandless magic as well, but the results are random. Accidental magic, we call it."
"If magic is the ability to manipulate and control the formation of antimatter, then it might be hereditary. If a wand is required for the control, then it stands to reason those with the ability are also capable, under the release of adrenaline, to spontaneously access the ability without the control."
"Hermione suggested it is genetic, since most often wizards produce wizards. There are plenty muggleborn as well, however, and wizards sometimes have children that cannot do magic. But how can knowing about this antimatter manipulation help me?"
"If this hypothesis is indeed correct, then it should be possible to greatly refine your control by making the workings of the magic visible to you. As it is now, you and all other wizards waste a lot of energy while performing magic because the manipulation is still fairly random. You may be able to utilize the ability much more effectively."
"What about shields?" Harry asked, "could I learn to create a black hole as a shield, or a wormhole?"
"Before we start researching those kinds of options, let's see if we can find proof for this hypothesis first," Data suggested.
Harry quite liked Data. While Data seemed to have no sense of humour – or rather, a particular sense of humour – and seemed a bit formal a lot of the time, he was also kind, unlikely to be shocked or disturbed by the things Harry shared about his upbringing, magic, the wizarding world and many other things. He simply took them for facts, found an explanation and moved on. Not being called a liar was already a great help to Harry, and Data's explanations often helped him in rationalizing things that had disturbed him. Data had a very low opinion of the Dursleys, but tended to focus more on Harry's future. Unbeknownst to either, Data was helping Harry grow up.
Deanna Troy on the other hand seemed extremely eager to help Harry grow up and very sure she could help Harry with what she called his 'childhood issues'. She was always exceedingly kind to Harry, in a way that made him feel uneasy. Unused to much positive attention, Harry tended to quickly consider too much of it 'sickly sweet'. He had not shared anything about the Dursleys with her, but apparently having to leave them at age eleven to go to the Wizarding World was a life changing event. Well, he was not going to debate that; but while it had been a shock, he hadn't felt nearly as uprooted as he apparently should have been. He preferred Data's company, and that of Geordi, even Captain Picard, when he had time. The captain definitely knew how to make a decent cup of tea and seemed to appreciate listening to Harry's tales of the late 20th century while they both enjoyed some. He and Data kept Harry away from any history books dealing with (to him) the future, but upon learning that Harry's education in the Muggle world had suffered as a result of his relatives negligence, Picard did much to correct this, providing Harry with some books dealing with his own era. Harry enjoyed the feeling that he wouldn't have to rely on Hermione for information all the time anymore when he got back.
Six months later (for Harry), six weeks later (for the Wizarding World).
"Harry wasn't on the train, Sir!" Hermione and Ron answered inquiries by the Headmaster and the rest of the staff, "We haven't heard from him all summer, but you told us not to write. We don't know where he is, maybe his relatives wouldn't take him to the station."
Dumbledore sighed. "I will have to go check…"
"HEADMASTER!" Snape stormed in, followed by Flitwick, "Voldemort is here. The wards…"
The Headmaster closed his eyes briefly. "The wards are almost down," he whispered, "I can't get out to get Harry now. Mr Filch, Prefects, lead the younger students to the dungeons. Professor Sinistra, please go with them and create the necessary Portkeys to evacuate them. Students of OWL level and above, you may go with them or you may stay and fight – but I must tell you in all honesty that to stay might also mean to die."
As the younger students and a large group of the older students filed out, Dumbledore turned to Snape.
"There's nothing for it now, Headmaster," Snape replied, "He will demand a loyalty, once he enters here, that I cannot give. Even if this battle is won, he will know where my allegiance lies. If he does not know already, considering I knew nothing of this attack."
Dumbledore acknowledged this with a nod and briefly clasped the Potions Masters shoulder.
"Alright then. We must at the very least delay them until the students have been safely evacuated. Minerva, Firecall the Auror office and contact the Order."
Time slowly ticked away as they all had moved into defensive positions in the Great Hall. Dumbledore seemed to sag a little bit in relief as the castle network – paintings, ghosts and wards – apparently informed him of the departure of each group of youngsters.
"They're all out," he at last reported, and seconds later Professor Sinistra re-entered the Hall from one of the Antichambers where she had Floo'ed. Just in time to see the doors break and a mass of black robes flooding into the Hall.
Behind his troops, majestic, powerful and, truth be told, more charismatic than one legally dead has a right to be, Voldemort strode in. Dumbledore's hand clenched around his wand, ready for the confrontation.
Just then, between the two groups, two figures appeared. Dropped in. No one was quite sure, but suddenly they were there.
"Here you go, Harry m'lad, enjoy." the elder one said, before disappearing just as quickly and noiselessly as they had arrived.
"Q!" Harry Potter exclaimed, "You annoying son of a…Q! A little WARNING next time?"
The annoyed young man grumbled to himself, not even bothered by the fact Voldemort was only a few yards away and an army of Death Eaters, Hogwarts Staff and a number of Aurors and Order members had taken up battle positions.
"HARRY!" Hermione exclaimed, "How…why…"
"Oh, hi 'Mione!" Harry waved, "I guess I missed the train, eh? No matter."
"Well, well, well…Harry Potter." Voldemort hissed.
"Uh…yes. That's me. I know that you know who I am, and I know that I certainly know who I am, so…yeah. Here we are. I guess you are invading Hogwarts?"
"Are you not afraid? Are you not shuddering in pain?" The Dark Lord inquired.
"Well, if I were afraid I'd likely not admit to it," Harry stated, "and as for the pain, no, we solved that problem. Any way I can convince you to leave things be, become a productive member of Wizarding society and give up the whole terrorist thing?"
The Death Eaters bristled, and the Order looked on in shock.
"What do you suggest?" Voldemort sounded genuinely amused.
"You have a wealth of knowledge," Harry argued, "and a lot of power. While I do not really agree with your ideology nor your methods, I do think this society needs a major overhaul. A wizard of your skill could make some major contributions."
Voldemort blinked. "Are you serious?"
"It appears to me no one had ever tried to find a diplomatic solution," Harry frowned, "you did not try to make changes from within the system, and the system did not try to understand your position and make use of your capacities. Things need not have degenerated to this point had both sides made an effort to come to a mutual understanding."
Seeing everyone in the room looking at him – well, everyone whose faces weren't covered with masks – Harry shrugged.
"I am afraid it is too late for that, Harry," Dumbledore shook his head sadly.
"Probably. If you had tried to use your influence to achieve that decades before I was born, it might have stood a chance," Harry conceded, "but it is possible it is too late now."
"You cannot kill me, Potter," Voldemort stated confidently.
"He is right, Harry," Dumbledore said, "there are things I have not told you…"
"Oh? Do tell, then, Professor. If you intended for me to be the one fighting, it would have made sense to make sure I was informed long before now."
Dumbledore eyed Voldemort. "You cannot kill Tom, Harry. He has made, I believe, a number of items called Horcruxes that hold part of his soul…"
Voldemort's face became a cool mask. Harry simply nodded. "I suppose that makes sense. We already suspected something odd about my scar. It does not matter."
He turned to Voldemort. "Do you insist to continue on your present path?"
The Dark Wizard simply inclined his head. "The point of no return has long past," he stated.
"Very well then. Let us do this with a minimum of fuss. If you hold any stock by the prophecy, let us duel, then. Winner takes all."
Voldemort waved his wand and the middle of the Hall cleared.
"Harry, no! You cannot…the Horcruxes have yet to be destroyed…" Dumbledore protested.
Harry stared at the old man intently, but Dumbledore got the distinct impression the boy was not focussing on him.
Then, without a word, Harry turned back to the Dark Lord.
"You know our wands share cores," Voldemort said.
"I don't use one," Harry shrugged.
"No wand?" Voldemort for the first time sounded insecure.
"Don't need one." A dome appeared around them, locking both of them inside the duelling area and separating the Death Eaters and Order on either side.
Voldemort looked impressed. "That is not a shield I have seen before."
"I didn't think you had," Harry agreed, "but that doesn't matter now."
"Indeed. Reducto!" The Dark Lord fired the first spell at Harry, who simply stood. The spell reached him and then seemed to slide around him briefly before disappearing altogether.
"What in the world is that?" Whispers from around the Hall suggested this was not a widely-seen event in the Wizarding world.
"We called it a Black Hole generator, though that is not entirely correct. It is not an actual black hole, though it functions somewhat the same. If it were a real Black Hole, I would be sucked in, considering I am well within its event horizon."
Unfortunately, it seemed only Hermione was following his explanation.
"Now, let me show you…" Suddenly the Dark Lords legs snapped together as if hit by a Leglocker, and he briefly swayed to regain balance.
"You waste so much energy with such an imprecise amplifier as wands are," Harry commented, "and your range is so limited. I've only just begun to discover what I truly can do, and look how far I've already gotten compared to you." He sighed. "I regret the necessity of this."
"You have heard Dumbledore," Voldemort said, for the first time fearful, "I will return."
"No," Harry disagreed, "you will not. The links are severed – I am blocking the reactions. I'm sorry."
With that, only Hermione, looking very closely, could see the air around Voldemort distort just the tiniest bit, barely visible to the naked eye. And to the shock of all, the Dark Lord simply ceased to live. No spells, no blood, no gore – he closed his eyes and life left him.
The dome moved, encompassing the Death Eaters.
"I am blocking their magic," Harry said to the available Aurors, "You may detain them now."
As the stunned Aurors managed to do their duty, his friends moved in on Harry, looking afraid.
"I never saw anything like it," Ron whispered, "that was scary."
"I must concur," Dumbledore nodded, "it is unlike anything I've seen before…such strength…"
Harry locked eyes with Hermione, and saw a different fear.
"I know, Harry," she said, as he pulled her apart a little and assured their privacy, "did you see it? Even in Dumbledore's eyes…he fears you. They would attempt to destroy you, and in their attempts destroy anything else…they may not want to now, but they will. Will you tell me how you learned to do this?"
Her friend let out a breath he didn't know he was holding. "I have some notes and a few books for you. I left them at your parents house. Find some more Muggleborn like you, intelligent and informed, and I think you will figure it out."
Hermione wiped at a tear. "I will miss you…"
"I am leaving you the most difficult job, trying to work with this world," Harry sighed sadly, "I am sorry."
He stepped back. "Q!"
The man appeared. "Oooh, well done!" he cooed over the chaos in the Hall, "Jean-Luc would be proud, no doubt."
Harry stared at him. "I want to go back, Q."
That stopped Q short in his tracks of secretly pointing at Death Éaters to make them trip. "Back? Back?"
"Back to the Enterprise. There's so much research we still need to do and, to be honest…how am I going to live here? Look."
Q indeed looked around and then slowly nodded. "I see your point. Very well, then. For how long do you want to go?"
Dumbledore's eyes widened, not only with surprise but a hint of relief, and Harry couldn't help but dislike the man for it. Ron, despite his fear, now only saw his best friend about to leave, and held up a hand, pleading.
"I'm sorry, Ron, but can you see me having a life here after today?" Harry asked, "but, I am doing one last thing."
He looked at Remus Lupin, who had, typically, held back to assess the situation. "I know you miss him as much as I do," he said, "so…"
A brief rush of not-quite-wind seemed to flow gently around them and suddenly a body lay on the floor, breathing quietly in sleep. "He will wake up soon," Harry stated as Lupin knelt by the somnolent Sirius Black.
Hugging Hermione, he nodded to Q.
Fractions of a second later, he once again stood on the Bridge of the Enterprise. To stay.