September 2001

Paris is amazing. It's the only word for the city.

Well, not the only word. When Harry's grumpy, he just wishes all the tourists would either move faster or stop to the side instead of halting in the middle of the pavement.

But most of the time, Paris is amazing. Who knew that a croque monsieur could completely redefine what Harry thought of a simple ham and cheese sandwich? Or that crepes were so versatile and delicious? Don't even get him started on macarons! More importantly, how amazing his body would feel once it was detoxed of the fatty British food he had once thought was normal? The food, the outdoor walks, the caf├ęs, the beautiful sights. It all left him unimaginably refreshed.

Harry owned an old town house near the centre of Paris. The property was bought by the Blacks in the 1700's, and the house had been rebuilt in 1852. He wasn't quite sure which arrondissement he lived in as the property had been bought before Paris had been restructured to hold twenty arrondissements as opposed to the original twelve, and thus the records were slightly confusing. It would probably be relatively easy to figure out, but to be blunt Harry didn't particularly care about what to call where he lived. The neighbourhood was wonderful, and it wasn't as if Harry was about to buy another property in Paris or sell the one he had. He didn't really have anyone to tell about it either. So what did it matter?

(And maybe, it was possible, perhaps, he was too shy to ask his neighbours)

Harry generally spent his days eating in various restaurants and idly studying in the many parks that dotted Paris. He'd either pack his laptop, or the master book, his master journal, and one of the linked journals (he had to choose, the laptop wouldn't stand for being in close contact with magical things), and go out for the day, only returning once the sun had set. As he'd finished his Muggle education to his satisfaction, Harry would instead study fields of magic, his family's records, and the family businesses.

The easiest way to explain the concept of the master book would be to compare it to the internet. The master book held a wealth of information, all of it 'uploaded' by the other books that were linked to it. Much like only the creators of websites could alter what was on those sites, no information in the master book could be altered by simply writing in the book itself. Everything had to be altered through the books that were linked to the master book, as they were the original copies. The master book was just a way of conveniently carrying around a whole lot of books at once. In essence, it was comparable to a computer that only displayed PDF files.

Also similar to the internet, the master book was full of blank pages, only displaying information from one of the books linked to it if you summoned that book to it's pages. The back of the book had an index listing all of the books linked to it, and tapping one of these titles with your wand would lead to the the master book becoming a copy of that linked book.

The master journal worked in the same way, however the master journal had been created by Harry as a study aid, whereas the master book had only been updated and further protected by Harry. Originally, there had been two master books, one for the Potter family records, and one for the Black family records. As he was the now the Lord of both Houses, Harry had bought a new leather-bound journal in the Muggle world, and transferred the enchantments from both master books to the journal. After adding a few protective enchantments of his own, he'd deemed it the new master book for both the Potter and Black records. He'd also bought another journal and linked it to the master book in order to begin keeping records again.

As for the master journal, well, Harry was doing a lot of studying. He had Muggle journals with different coloured covers for each of his subjects, and they were all linked to a master journal. Whenever he studied, he brought the master journal, and the journal for the subject he was studying. That way, he could take notes while also being able to look up anything from other subjects that connected to what he was studying. It was immensely convenient.

Unfortunately, all the organization and knowledge and lovely cities in the world couldn't save Harry from his own paranoia. Harry had always had issues with this part of himself. This anxious, writhing, jittery part of himself. It was the part of him that was created in his early years at the Dursleys, the this-is-too-good-to-be-true part, the always-check-over-your-shoulder part, the don't-you-dare-let-anyone-in-because-they-will-tear-you-to-pieces part. The part of him he desperately sought to leave behind, to cleanse, but couldn't, because it had saved his life too many times. Because it still saved his life. The biggest problem wasn't that ugly, dark part of him. It was that his life was ugly and dark enough that he needed it.

On the outside his life was nearly perfect. But on the inside he still felt like the wretched-twisted-lost-angry-pathetic freak he'd been ten years ago. His growth felt superficial, and his accomplishments empty. The world had changed, but his world was still the same. People were still the same. He was still the same.

So what was there to live for?

A/N: God, this took for-fucking-ever and I'm so sorry. Writer's block is a bitch, especially when you're getting inspiration for everything you don't need inspiration for. Hopefully the curse has been lifted. Please tell me if you see any mistakes! The last three paragraphs or so were written in ten minutes, and after months of editing and rewriting this chapter, I couldn't stand to do any more of it. Hope you like it :)