Disclaimer and note: JKR owns it all, and this is NOT H/Hr.
Sunday. It was a Sunday when Harry knew that life as he knew it would never be the same again.
The calendar beside his bed read the 11th of August, 2024 when he woke up. Calmly walking out of bed, he stretched, feeling as limber as he had when he was sixteen.
Being the Master of Death and a powerful wizard had its own perks, he thought to himself, as he smiled and changed into his running clothes.
44, and still going strong, he decided with a smile as he returned nearly an hour later, sweating but pleased. He grinned as he walked into the kitchen and found his wife puttering about the kitchen, making breakfast.
He leaned against the door and stayed that way for a few moments, content to just watch his beloved partner of twenty-five years.
The years had definitely been kind to her. Her caramel eyes shone with wisdom and knowledge, and there was an always-present smile pulling at her full lips. Years of experimentation had finally allowed her to tame her hair, and it was no longer the bushy mane it once was.
He quietly walked up behind her and grabbed her around the waist, making her jump.
It was a mark of how far they had come that she simply jumped and gave a short scream, instead of pulling her wand on him. It had been hard to get out of the Shadow of the war, but they had all made it through somehow.
She smacked him across the shoulder and berated him even though her tone was light-hearted, and readily accepted his good morning kiss.
She frowned as she pulled away, "What's wrong?" Years of living with each other had granted them almost silent means of communication.
He sighed, hating that his thoughts had turned to the War in the morning. "Nothing..." he said evasively, but decided to elaborate when he saw the look on her face, "just wondering, you know? What it would have been like if he'd been alive?"
Thinking about the War always drove him down the same path, after all these years. The death of Ron Weasley. Friend, Brother, and the man who'd been killed in a manner ill-befitting his contribution to the War. He'd simply vanished, and his dead body had been found floating in the Black Lake three days later.
No one knew how he'd died, all that was found in his body was traces of The Draught of Damnation, an extremely rare and painful poison.
Ron's last minutes in the world had not been peaceful.
"Oh, Harry," she said, drawing him into a hug. "It'll be alright, dear..."
They stayed that way for quite some time, as he took strength from the woman next to him, who'd slowly become his everything over the years.
It was past eleven when he and his wife arrived at the Burrow, his children already having spent the night there.
James was now touring the world and studying esoteric magic, much like his father – Harry had truly taken on the mantle of his name after his seventh year, once he was free from the shackles of Voldemort and the Prophecy. The removal of the Horcrux, a leeching effect on his mind and power was an added bonus.
Albus was about to enter the final year of his education at Hogwarts, Head Boy, and easily the best student in his year.
Lily, his youngest, and in her Sixth Year, was no slouch either, being the youngest winner of the International Duelling Meet, held in Jakarta last year.
He was extremely proud of his children, though he sometimes wished they had a bit of him too. Surprisingly, every one of his children had turned out like Hermione, intelligent, ambitious, and powerful. Except for the looks – with pale skin, black hair and green eyes – they were Harrys in miniature.
He supposed they were good-looking children, though none of them had taken an interest in relationships or the like yet.
He still hoped that one day they'd realise that love was indeed the greatest magic of all, and try his hand at them. All through their childhood, he'd made sure that he'd been there for his children, even though they tended to gravitate towards their mother for some reason.
Harry supposed it was something to do with his unapproachable aura, being the Man-Who-Conquered, Order of the Merlin Holder, Prominent Member of the United Mages Organisation set up in 2003, and just Harry Potter in general.
Even though he would never let it, and he was inexpressibly proud of his children, he sometimes wished that they'd be more like children their age, instead of spending their time in a close knit group and buried in books.
He was driven out of his thoughts as all three of them smiled at him when he entered, before he was besieged by a Molly Weasley hug.
"Harry!" she explained, her grin threatening to split her face. 75 and going strong despite the death of two of her sons, Molly hadn't changed one whit over the years. "My, you're looking positively peaky! Hasn't that wife of yours been feeding you?"
He laughed and her eyes twinkled. Leaning over to hug him one last time, she whispered, "There's treacle tart for afters, I made an entire one just for you!"
He pretended to be in awe, stage-whispering, "There's still time, Molly! Run away with me to Fiji!"
She giggled and slapped his arm, while another voice called out, "No! Take me instead! Anything to escape this torture!"
He fixed his gaze on the speaker instead. Red hair, a petite but full figure, and the aura of power around her, Ginny Weasley was as beautiful as she was when they'd dated back in his sixth year.
If the years had been kind to him, they had been nothing short of benevolent to the redhead sitting at the table next to James. Ginny Weasley had honestly come as the biggest shock to him over the years.
She'd always been acknowledged as a powerful witch in her youth, but she'd outdone herself over the years. While Hermione was the brains and paperwork behind the Modern Wizarding World, Ginny was the powerhouse of the practical.
After a whirlwind career of Quidditch with the Holyhead Harpies and two MVP awards, she'd up and joined the Aurors and enjoyed a meteoric rise through the ranks.
Now an Ambassador for the United Mages, she also partook in independent research, much like him. She'd widely been hailed as the female Dumbledore of her age, and he had to agree.
Harry, much to his chagrin, was called the Second Merlin.
He'd always wondered, though, why Ginny had never married. Even now, prospective marriage proposals floated in for her, all of which she refused, much to Molly Weasley's continued chagrin.
He supposed she was his opposite, while he wanted a family, she had never wanted to be bogged down by a husband and kids.
He carefully placed his and Hermione's gift on the pile on the table before greeting her.
"Happy Birthday, Red!" he said with a laugh as he moved over to hug her warmly, which she reciprocated with a mock frown. The nickname was one developed in the field over the years she'd been watching his back in some of the more...confidential missions. "James here still bothering you?"
"I'm just asking her about the virtues of using silver for enchanting instead of platinum!" protested his eldest son.
Ginny rolled her eyes at him, pleading for a way out, and thankfully, Albus popped in with his own opinion. "But platinum would hold the enchantment longer, in juxtaposition to the raw power offered by silver."
"Yeah, but it couldn't be reused, unlike silver," chimed in Lily.
Harry raised his eyebrows as the three children took of arguing. Never having a brother of his own, the bond between his three children, even when they were squabbling, never seized to amaze him.
"Ginny!" said Hermione, coming over to give her a hug, "Happy Birthday!"
Harry rolled his eyes, taking in Hermione's obviously fake cheer. For some reason, his wife had never reconciled with any of his ex-girlfriends, but that was one of the things he liked about her.
He found it cute that she was jealous, because it led to some very...passionate trysts in bed.
And looking at the two woman embracing, he knew that Ginny would always fall short before Hermione and her beautiful eyes, and glowing skin, and big heart.
"Uncle Harry!" came Fred's yell from outside, "We need a Seeker!"
Harry laughed and sprinted out, his enthusiasm for the sport remaining the same even after all this time.
He was surprised to find Ginny trailing after him. At his questioning gaze, she explained, "Hermione joined in the children's discussion, and Mum started talking about some bachelor again, so I had to escape."
"Aren't you too young to be married?" he shot back, and Ginny's eyes sparkled with mirth as he threw back her own long-time joke back at her.
"17, and not a day over, Potter," she replied, smirking at him.
"You definitely look it, Weasley," he retorted good-naturedly. Ginny started for a second, but he kept moving forward, unaware that she'd stopped a few paces and was staring at him with an inexplicable expression on her face.
"Should I warn Hermione about you running off with both my mother and sister, Potter?" came a mock threatening growl, and he turned to see the Weasley brothers coming at him.
"Not unless you want me sleeping on the couch for a week, Brother Bill," he said with wide, innocent eyes. "You guys playing?"
"Nah," said Charlie, "though Angie had to stop George from playing Beater and straining his back."
"Old men the lot of you!" said Ginny as she easily jogged up to them, her kips twitching.
"Well we can't boast of having immense magical power to keep us healthy and sprightly, Gin," said Charlie woefully, "I'd like to have a go at Harry again..."
"What, and beat my Champion?" Ginny asked in mock-horror. "Never! He remains brave and strong still!"
"I'm blushing here," said Harry, raising his hands, and all of them shared a laugh.
"Your kids not playing?" George asked sunnily, his arms wrapped around his wife.
"Nope, they're debating the finer points of Elemental Enchanting with their mother right now," said Ginny with an exasperated look, "I'd spare them the time and tell them that Gold is undoubtedly the best I've used over the years, but they'd hate me for ruining their intellectual discussion."
"Please," said Harry, acting smug, "the answer is just plain old lead, only the power behind the spell matters, and you know it, Red."
"I know something tiny and hanging that'll end up red unless you stop calling me with that nickname, Potter," threatened Ginny, but there was no malice behind it; years of persuasion and even bribery on her part hadn't convinced Harry to stop calling her that. It was common knowledge that she was actually fond of it.
The Weasleys roared with laughter, and Harry held up his hands in surrender. "I bow before your power and knowledge, Queen of the Burrow!"
"And that is how it should be!" said Ginny with a laugh. Without warning, she jumped onto Harry's back and brandished her fists forward. "To the orchard, my knight!"
"As my lady commands!" said Harry with a laugh, holding up her slim figure without any visible effort on his part. "To the Quidditch Pitch we go!"
And they took off, giggling and laughing like a pair of teenagers, instead of one of the most powerful witches and wizards alive.
"If only I had that kind of physical ability," muttered Charlie wistfully, a wistful grin on his face.
His look was mirrored on the other's faces, the two of them had the ability to light up or soothe any room they were in. "You might want to look into ways to increase your power then," said Bill, hugging Fleur as she came out of the house to watch the impending match, "we always knew Ginny would be special, as the seventh child, and Harry...well, he's Harry."
Everybody agreed. A small cough from the background distracted them.
They turned to see Audrey, who'd only married Percy ten years ago, but had wasted no time in adding to the baby boom.
She look quite nervous when she spoke, "I know I haven't been around this family for that long," she said, before anxiously looking around, "but why aren't the two of them together? It's like...seeing them, it's like...magic."
She looked around, a bit frightened that she'd overstepped her bounds while insinuating that Hermione was not the best choice for Harry. To her surprise, she only found solemn faces about her.
"I know this is wrong because she's my sister," spoke up Percy, "but I agree. But then again, it's not our choice that matters, it's Harry's."
Together they walked to the orchard, keeping their conversation silent, but still experiencing the guilty pleasure that comes from gossiping.
"I know," said Charlie, and then added as though it physically pained him, "and she's prettier than Hermione too, but Harry'll be to argue that. It's almost like he's dosed with love potion."
They'd arrived at the orchard, and the match was already underway.
Knowing that this conversation was an end, Fleur chipped in with her two knuts, "I suppose, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder." She'd lost all of her French accent during her time in Britain. "Hermione is utterly devoted to Harry, she has this look in his eyes whenever she sees her."
"A look like what?" asked Angelina, perplexed.
"I don't know," said Fleur, "I don't know."
None of them noticed Harry diving nearby as they were speaking, or his eyes narrowing slightly as he head Charlie's words.
An idea, it has been said, is like a virus.
A virus that had just made his way into Harry Potter's brain, and one he was trying to deny as much as possible.
"You could have let our team win," said Lucy wistfully, looking at the two adults sitting side by side at the birthday table.
Harry's eyes twinkled in a manner eerily reminiscent of a certain ex-Headmaster of Hogwarts. "That should teach you not to be so confident about beating us 'old-timers' as Roxanne said."
The girl in question blushed and looked sheepish.
"Can you lot stop talking and eat faster?" asked Ginny, "I want to open my presents!"
Hermione, who was on Harry's side, rolled her eyes. "Honestly, Ginny, would it pain you to act adult?"
"Honestly, Hermione, will you ever get that stick out of –"
Harry coughed. "Now now ladies," he admonished. "Play nice. And Ginny, make sure your crown does not fall into my food."
Arthur snorted, it had become tradition to mention Ginny's Princess Crown as many times as possible during her birthday lunch despite her murderous glares. She'd loved it when she was four, and he'd blackmailed her into wearing it every year ever since.
Even though Harry grinned at the titters that followed, his mind wasn't in it.
It's like he's been dosed with Love Potion.
His instincts, honed over years of fighting Darkness, were screaming at him. Normally, his brain would try and rationalize, but a very, very small corner of his brain was nudging him slowly.
Like it was urging him to remember a very small truth, a dream for a dream, lost in the sieve of time.
He frowned. He was immune to Amortentia, a side effect of being a true Occlumens – his mind was his own.
Unless the dosing had been started before he learnt to Occlude his mind.
He shook himself, shaking such thoughts of his mind and cursing himself for berating his lovely wife.
Both Ginny and Hermione looked at him in concern, but he gave a small sign to reassure them.
Instead, he concentrated on his children's conversation across the table.
"Why shouldn't it happen?" James was asking Victoire.
Albus, who was next to her, nodded. "It's a very real possibility. Every year, more and more Muggle-Borns or Half-Bloods enter the Magical World and are disillusioned by it."
"And with their superior understanding of weaponry, they could wreak havoc. Imagine the power," said Lily. For a second, her eyes sparkled, and Harry was taken aback by the look on her face. It reminded him too much of another witch from his childhood, the one who'd killed his Godfather twenty nine years ago.
"There have actually been Muggleborn revolts," said Hermione, "expressing their displeasure. Imagine what they could do with proper leadership. But they can do nothing as long as Pureblood leadership in the Ministry remains."
Was it the growing nagging of the voice in his head playing tricks on him, or did she sound slightly regretful about that fact?
He shook out the cobwebs in his head as Lily noticed him listening in, and turned to him, "What about you, Dad? Think about what those Purebloods did to you when you were younger. Would you lead the revolt if asked?"
Everyone around him was talking, but very obviously listening in on the conversation.
"Of course he wouldn't!" scoffed Ginny next to him, and almost like clockwork, all three heads of his children turned towards Ginny. "This is Harry we're talking about, he wouldn't start any act of violence if his life depended on it."
"Or if someone he loved was in danger," chimed in Teddy.
Harry smiled, gladdened by their support, and said, "Violence is never the answer. Change is coming, but it'll be a gradual process. There's no point forcing it and causing bloodshed."
Lily nodded her head and went back to her meal, and Harry convinced himself it wasn't disappointment in her eyes.
He convinced himself Hermione's eyes hadn't narrowed when he shook his head again, and politely declined a Potion when Molly asked him if he was feeling alright.
"I wouldn't say no to some more chilled Pumpkin Juice, though," she told him, and he beamed.
"I'll get it," offered Hermione immediately, and their children shared a grin amongst themselves, as if there was a private joke between them about how Mum always took too much care of Dad.
At least, that's what Harry tried to convince himself again.
The niggling in his mind grew, and for a second, he closed his eyes and concentrated.
There, in one corner of his mind!
He couldn't believe it. He, Harry Potter had been Obliviated without his knowledge.
And in his arrogance, he'd never deigned to let anyone enter his mind and find the effects, even Ginny.
Secrets, a voice in his head sneered, Secrets and Lies...
No, this was all a lie!
A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, and he was hyper-aware of it, icy cold against his warm skin.
He prodded a bit, and the blocks gave way, no match for his power.
He sat back in bed, wondering whether Kreacher would bring him a sandwich.
"I think...I think all of this calls for a celebration," said Hermione, conjuring three glasses out of the air. She pulled a bottle of wine out of her bag, and Ron goggled.
"Blimey! You had that all this while, and you never told us?"
"Getting drunk wouldn't get you anywhere, Ronald!"
"Guys, you've snogged each other, already, why this fighting now?" asked Harry, rolling his eyes and promptly shutting the two of them up.
Hermione handed the two of them their glasses, before raising hers, "To victory."
"To friendship." Said Harry, smiling at them, his heart bursting with love.
"To the end of it all." Finished Ron solemnly.
"The end," agreed Hermione, smirking as if it were a private joke.
And they clinked the glasses together, and Harry took a sip. He marvelled for a second at the vibrant, almost unnatural red of the wine, and the flowery bouquet it gave off. That faint smell of flowers which intoxicated him...
The scene vanished, and Harry found himself clenching the table so hard that his knuckles were white.
He got up from his chair sharply, knocking it over. If what he had seen was true...
He started rummaging in the closets, his hands shaking.
"What's going on?"
"Are you alright?"
Ginny, meanwhile, born of years of practice, had her wand out, and was covering the entire room.
"What's going on, Harry?" she asked, her eyes hard. For the first time in a long time, a faint smell assaulted him as she neared.
The smell of flowers, the same smell he'd once experienced down in the dungeons of Hogwarts.
There was no time to get an antidote.
"Ginny!" he said, fighting, fighting to keep calm. "Do you have your kit in the house?"
She nodded, "I need you to get it, now!" he ordered, and she dashed up the stairs, not even questioning him.
People shuffled in their seats and made to speak, but he lost it. "NOBODY MOVE!" he roared, "and keep shut!"
Nonononono...his mind went, now in a full panic. What horror had he unleashed on the world?
"Harry, what's going on?" asked Hermione, as she came back into the dining room with a flagon of pumpkin juice.
He covered her immediately with his wand. "Put the drink down on the table, Hermione," said Harry concisely, trying not to let his temper get the best of him again.
"Harry?" she asked, uncertainly, and for a second, he was almost overwhelmed by her beauty, the pain in her large eyes.
"PUT IT DOWN!" he yelled.
"Now look here..." began Percy, but the rest of the adult Weasleys stood stock still. Their trust in Harry, whatever he did, was unshakeable.
Hermione looked like a cornered rat, but she complied.
"Now go stand behind your children," said Harry.
"My children?" she asked, her voice high-pitched, a sure sign she was about to explode. In all their years of marriage, they'd never once fought, strange as it was.
It all made sense now.
"Harry, what is going on?" asked George, a tinge of fear now colouring his voice. Magic was coming of Harry in waves, and he cut an imposing figure instead of his normally jovial bearing.
"Angie," said Harry, through clenched teeth, "you're a Potions mistress, I want you to analyse that drink."
Hermione paled, and all three of his children stiffened. Angelina's eyes widened drastically, but she complied, as she pulled her wand out and began muttering spells.
Ginny had come downstairs meanwhile, and Harry seized her kit at once and began going through it. He found the vial within a second – it was he himself who'd commissioned that carrying of this kit around for the Aurors and Hitwizards.
"No, Harry, don't!" shrieked Hermione, positively hysterical as he lifted the vial containing the murky brown antidote.
Angelina's eyes widened as she completed her spell, before she disbelievingly started another.
Harry ignored her, downing it in two strong gulps. Almost suddenly, his world blacked out for a few moments as years of enchantment took leave from his system.
He heaved drastically and then vomited all over the floor, barely hearing the sound of spellfire around him.
He straightened weakly, to find Hermione tied to a chair by magical ropes, and Ginny standing over her with her wand to Hermione's temple.
Harry's children looked outraged, but did not move for fear of angering Ginny. The one thing, the only thing they truly cared about, was their mother.
It all made sense now.
"Amortentia," proclaimed Angelina nervously, and there was dead silence. Everybody in the room was old enough to know what that implied.
Molly gasped and fainted, and while Bill moved to help her, nobody else moved an inch.
The silence in the room was palpable, until Harry spoke.
"What have you done?" he whispered, his eyes wide. "What have you DONE?!"
Hermione was crying now. "You have to understand, Harry! We were meant to be, it would take you years to realise it!"
"You bitch!" screamed Ginny, her wand tip lighting up with a spell, and only extreme training held her back.
"Do you have any idea what you've unleashed?" whispered Harry, his brain threatening to shut down. Hermione, Hermione had killed Ron.
Everything made sense now. Those 'hot chocolate' weekends he'd have with his wife, the long hours spent debating Muggleborn politics...the change in her after Malfoy Manor.
A laugh split the silence in the room. Lily, lovely Lily, his Lily, was laughing. Only it wasn't innocent anymore – cold fear gripped him as he looked at the identical mocking expressions on the faces of all three of their children.
"Surely you don't mean that, daddy?" she asked, her voice as sweet as poison.
"Harry, what is going on?!" asked Teddy, panicking. True to his Auror training, he was backing his Godfather up, but he was obviously puzzled.
"Amortentia," said Harry mechanically, "does not produce love. All it does is imitate it."
"No, Harry! You love me!" screamed Hermione. A flick from Ginny's wand silenced her.
"Nearly a hundred years ago, a witch called Merope Gaunt dosed a Muggle named Tom Riddle, Sr. with love potion." Everyone at the table looked mystified, but Harry's children, his little babies, had cold smirks on their faces.
Harry's entire world was crashing down around him, his very soul was getting torn apart.
Tears trickled down Harry's face as he kept talking.
"One of the parents was under the effect of a love potion, and it had a severe effect on the child. Later studies showed that though immensely powerful, the child was incapable of ever feeling true love, and only could feel apathy and anger and hatred. His name..." Harry's voice broke, and he sank into his chair, the tears falling fast and hard now.
Ginny, who knew intimately who Tom Riddle was, had a horrified expression on her face.
"His name was Lord Voldemort."
Everybody gasped, and all eyes in the room turned to the Potter children.
As one, they smiled. Cold, cruel smiles.
"Now, now, Dad," said Albus, his voice cold and mocking, as James got up to comfort his mother, "is that any way to talk about your children?"
"What have I unleashed?" asked Harry, his voice broken, his mind blank, "what have I unleashed?"
"Come here and give me a hug, Daddy," cooed Lily, simpering sweetly, "and I think we'll let you live."
Laughter, high cold laughter filled the room as the doors and windows magically slammed shut.
26 years had passed since Voldemort's death. All was about to go to hell.
Author's Note: Rather morbid one shot, but hey, I had to get it out of my head, even though it didn't come out as well as I had imagined it.
Now, here's the catch. I realise this sounds less like a one-shot and more like a prologue.
Huzzah for you people out there, then, because this is my very own challenge, up for grabs.
The basic idea – the Purebloods had their turn at war, why don't the Muggleborns get their chance too? The basic premise, Hermione went a bit crazy after the torture at Malfoy Manor. She and her three children will be leading the fight.
Hermione will still be obsessed with Harry, but the pairing HAS to be Harry/Ginny eventually, no compromises. Even better if you can drag it out.
NO going back in time to fix the errors, the war has to be fought in the present. No overpowering characters. Voldemort cannot make a return, though he can make a short cameo. Other than that, it's your call.
PM me within the week, and the author I like best will get the plot (creations I've already enjoyed by the author, especially finished ones will give you extra points). All he or she has to do is put up a disclaimer along with the normal one that the original one-shot and story idea belonged to me in every chapter. You can change the story name to whatever you like, though. Even modify the Prologue, if you want.
PS- No, I won't write this story. The Legend of Harry Potter takes up enough time as it is.