First off, a huge ThankYou to the OYA beta group – Snarsha, Rit, Ivy and Bomb. You people be awesome.
Disclaimer: I shall say this only once. Harry Potter does not belong to me. There are no galleons to be made by me from this blah, blah, blah…
The events of this chapter start, as will be apparent, just after the Battle of Hogwarts. Harry has already explained his being a horcrux.
IMPORTANT - The time travel doesn't occur till the seventh chapter. The first eight chapters are rather short, and not all that good. In my defense, I was young and naive, and wanted Harry to be uber-cool. Hence the more-than-one-ultra-awesome-animagus forms.
But, all that said, it does really pick up, as I got more experienced, understood how to improve and all that.
And I'm just too lazy too rewrite the first eight-nine chapters, so... yeah.
To Master The Dark, on the other hand, has my best writing. Now that shameless bit of advertising is done, on with the story.
Harry Potter awoke with a dull headache.
He slowly took in the softness of the bed he lay in, the comfort of the pillow that his head was sinking into. It was familiar, like his… like his four poster bed in the Gryffindor Tower.
But he was on the run, a desperate flight, with only one clear aim – to rid the world of Voldemort. And Hogwarts was definitely not a place he would be safe in.
Then it hit him. He was no longer on the run. It was over. The war was over. He, no, they had done it. The events of the last night and dawn washed over him. Harry struggled with the idea that it was finally over. There were no more horcruxes. He'd stabbed the Diary with a basilisk fang way back in his second year. The ring was no longer a horcrux. The locket was destroyed.
So was the cup, the diadem, the horcrux in Nagini, and – Harry remembered with a rising feeling of elation – the horcrux in him. He had survived death.
He felt somebody sit on his bed. He struggled to open his eyes, and saw – a red haired
Seeing the Weasley triggered the tears. Hot salty tears welled up in his eyes and trickled down onto his pillow. Fred. Remus. Tonks.
And then he laughed, because it was finally over, and Voldemort was gone. He laughed hysterically, as images flashed through his mind. Riding a dragon out of Gringotts. A dragon.
They had ridden a dragon. He remembered the crazy, giddy feeling and laughed some more.
And he laughed and laughed and laughed, until he could laugh no longer, his stomach protesting painfully.
"You've gone barmy," Ron decided. "Just like Hermione. Even she laughed like that.
Hysterically. And she blubbered – there – you're doing it too."
Harry spoke in a louder voice.
"Yeah, I'm Ron. I'm not a death eater. I'm not Voldemort, yeah; he's gone, so I'm not afraid of his name anymore. Because you defeated them. You beat him Harry. You did it. It's not sunk in properly yet, but Harry mate, get a grip on yourself."
"Say it's over Ron."
Ron's tone was gentle. "It's over Harry. You did it."
Harry pushed himself upright.
"Will it sound very cliché if I say – 'no, we did it'?"
Ron considered that. "It was mostly you, but well, that wouldn't be completely false... So yeah, we did it."
Harry hugged him, and Ron clapped him on his back.
"I'm sorry about Fred," Harry said solemnly when he broke away.
"It wasn't your fault Harry," Ron said exasperatedly. "It was Voldemort. And a bunch of asses who called themselves death eaters. And an incompetent Ministry."
Harry sank back onto his pillow, momentarily gathering both his thoughts and his strength.
"Get your glasses on, you'll find robes in the closet. And then get a move on. Everybody wants to meet you. And kiss your hand. And the hem of your robes too. And call you great names. Stuff like that." Ron grinned, "You're gonna love it."
Harry groaned and reached under his pillow. His hands closed over an unfamiliar wand handle, its foreign knots and swirls jutting into his palm. He pulled it out and looked at it. The Elder Wand. The Deathstick. The Wand of Destiny. He was the master of death. The thought sent a shiver down his spine, and he rolled his shoulders to get rid of the sensation.
He felt a strange tingling sensation in his fingers as he properly grasped the wand. As if there was a mist, as if he were in a different place. And then at once the sensation had gone.
Harry shook his head as if to rid it of the disconcerting foggy feeling.
There was great power in the wand. He could feel it. He could feel the power emanating from it.
He silently summoned his glasses and was not surprised when a pair of very bent spectacles flew into his hand. He was not surprised either when he said reparo in his mind and the glasses assumed a wearable shape. He doubted he could do that nonverbally with his holly wand - at least not with such ease.
He put on his glasses and looked around. Ron was standing in the doorway, looking at him with disbelief apparent in his eyes.
Harry shrugged and pointed his wand at the closet.
"Accio robes," he thought clearly in his mind.
The closet doors swung open and emerald green robes flew onto his bed with a flourish.
Again! He felt that strange sensation... There was something, but that something was slipping away… He concentrated and saw a mist all around the dormitory. His vision was not clear, he tried to focus, to see… And all of a sudden, the dormitory was no longer there. A bluish mist surrounded him. He could not move, nor did he feel the need to. His mind went into a dream-like state, and he thought no more.
Ronald Weasley felt as if his heart was going to jump out of his ribcage.
From his point of view, Harry wordlessly summoned his robes. They landed on his bed with a dull thump. An odd look crept onto his face, he screwed up his eyebrows, and then passed out.
Ron just stood there for a few seconds, unsure of what to do, before tearing out of the room.
A couple of tired-looking people were seated around the fireplace – Hermione one of them.
"Get Madam Pomfrey!" he yelled, startling them. "Hermione, come here! The rest of you get healers here, NOW!"
Four stunned faces just stared back at him. Hermione was the first to move; she stood up and exclaimed "Well?! GO!"
Her shrill voice stirred the other three into action.
Hermione ran up the steps to where Ron blankly stood. "What…?"
"Harry. I don't know what happened…"
Hermione gasped and wordlessly followed Ron to where Harry lay.
She held his wrist, feeling for a pulse, then leant over him, her ear close to his face.
"He's alive," she said. "His breathing is normal. Maybe it's exhaustion? Physical, or magical...
Do you know what happened?"
"Shock, maybe?" Ron suggested. "He seemed pretty stunned that we'd pulled it off. That he'd survived. That Voldemort was dead."
"I don't know," Hermione admitted. "He passed out, just like that?"
"We talked, he summoned his glasses, fixed them, summoned his robes, all wordlessly using that…" Ron gestured towards the Elder Wand, held loosely in Harry's hand. "And then he passed out." Ron paused uncertainly, "What about using enervate?"
"Let's leave it to Madam Pomfrey," Hermione said.
It took a little more than two minutes for Madam Pomfrey to reach the dormitory. She was accompanied by another witch whose robes declared she was a healer. McGonagall was with them as well.
"What…?" Madam Pomfrey's voice trailed off as she caught sight of Harry. "What happened?" She asked, moving swiftly to Harry's side and checking his pulse. She drew her wand and made an intricate motion around Harry. A deep violet, pulsating haze surrounded it for a few seconds, before dispersing.
Ron told her about Harry's shock at the battle being over. He told her that Harry had summoned his robes and then an odd look passed over his face and then passed out.
"He's grown!" Madam Pomfrey said staring at her wand.
"What?" McGonagall said.
"His magical power has grown," the other healer explained. "The darkness of the purple haze showed his magical level. I have never seen anything like that. And it's growing. The light was pulsating. That means his power is growing, slowly, but it is increasing."
"Keep him warm," Madam Pomfrey ordered. "Jeanne, with me. I'll be back soon."
She bustled to the door and hurried away, the healer hot on her heels.
"Is there something you're not telling me?" McGonagall asked sternly as Ron carefully put a blanket over Harry.
"Possibly," Hermione said. "I don't know how much I ought to tell you, Professor. There are some things that are better kept secret."
McGonagall's lips arranged themselves into a thin line. For a moment it looked like she was going to admonish them, but then she kept silent and sat down on a nearby bed instead.
"You should know," she said slowly, "that I'm… I'm very, very proud of you three. What you have done, what you have must have gone through to accomplish what you have – I don't know what exactly it was that you three have done, but I doubt it was fun."
"It was no walk in the park, Professor." Ron agreed quietly, not looking at her.
"Well, I rather enjoyed the dragon ride," Hermione said uncharacteristically, with a tiny smile curling onto her face. The smile disappeared when she looked at Harry. Ron knew from her body language that she was exerting her brain, trying to understand Harry's sudden increase in magical power.
Madam Pomfrey returned with three bottles of murky potions in her hands.
"I'm not entirely sure what has happened," she said, "but I think that the sudden increase in his magical powers has caused this. He's running a light fever, maybe it's his physical response to it. This is very rare, but it does happen in some young children, Professor
Dumbledore passed out with increase in magical power a few times when he was a kid, but in these rare cases, it has happened only when the person was very young, about five to six years old."
"If there is something that could help me, some information that you know…"
Ron looked away.
Hermione answered "I'm sorry, Madam Pomfrey, but as of now, there is nothing to tell you."
"Try and understand, Miss Granger…" Madam Pomfrey started, but Ron interrupted her.
"Please, don't press it." Ron's voice was calm, but there was a hardness to it that did not go unnoticed by her.
She glared at him for a few tense moments before turning back to Harry. She made him swallow two of the vile-looking potions. A few seconds later, Harry stirred.
Hermione met McGonagall's eyes, and the older lady stood up.
"Poppy, come with me, let's leave them alone."
"This is a medical situation!" Madam Pomfrey said shrilly. "I-"
"This is an exception, Madam," Ron said. "This person here is exceptional. Please."
Madam Pomfrey moved her wand in the same maneuver. A dark purple haze surrounded it again. It was not pulsating. Her trained eye told her that Harry Potter's magical level had stopped increasing. It also told her that it was not very stable and was likely to grow.
"He's magical prowess is growing to be even more than Dumbledore's," she informed them. "It will most likely grow further. If he passes out again, give him this."
Harry's eyes flew open.
"I expect you three to meet me as soon as possible," she said sternly. She handed Hermione the third bottle and left the room, following McGonagall.
"Harry?" Ron said cautiously.
"You passed out," Hermione informed him.
"No, I was conscious…" Harry's tone was uncertain. "I… I feel disoriented. It felt like I was in another place, and yet I knew I was here…
"There was blue and purple mist all around, and, and… I… I was… Just there. It felt like, like being in a dream? I don't know…"
"Mate, your powers are growing. Madam Pomfrey reckons you're going to more powerful than Dumbledore."
"But…" Harry shook his head. "Don't people develop their power when they are young? I'm already of age."
"Well, if a person is really powerful, like Professor Dumbledore, then it takes more time for the person to reach the peak of his or her powers," Hermione told them. "And there's always room to grow, right up until you become really old. But no one suddenly spurts at your age…"
"I'm not exactly normal, though, am I?" Harry said with a smirk. But it wasn't one of mirth.
"Let's see… You've faced the darkest wizard of all time just few times, gone into the Chamber of Secrets, slew a basilisk, braved dementors, won the Triwizard Tournament, destroyed horcruxes, been hit twice with the killing curse, you've vanquished Voldemort, you've been a horcrux yourself, you're a Parselmouth... There's probably a bunch of other stuff I've forgotten." Ron said with a lopsided grin. "Well… Maybe you are sort of normal."
They laughed, and Harry enjoyed the sensation of laughing without a cloud of death hanging over his head. Then he noticed Hermione wasn't laughing; she wasn't paying any attention to them, she was thinking.
"Well, I have a theory about what has happened," she said.
"That didn't take long," Ron said.
Hermione ignored him. "Let's face it; you were a really powerful wizard even before the horcrux within you was destroyed. I think, that when that bit of his soul inside you was killed, you received Voldemort's power, or whatever power he had when he made that horcrux. And that was when he came to your parent's house, at the height of his powers…"
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