Title: "Harry Potter and the Train To Nowhere"
Summary: Harry Potter, the Chosen One, dies. He took one of the trains in the dream with Dumbledore instead of going back, where all his close friends and Ginny had already been killed. The train takes him to... an arcade?
Disclaimer: JKR owns HP and all related characters. Unedited version contains spoilers for the novel, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows". Other crossovers, if any, will be noted when and where and if they happen.
Level One: "The Arcade"
Harry watched as Dumbledore walked away, disappearing from view, his final words hanging in the air. Alone once more in the empty and oddly white version of Kings Cross Station, Harry considered his choices. It was odd. Having choices. So much in his life, before, after, and during Hogwarts, it all felt so out of his control that he never truly had many choices. Certainly never much opportunity for exercising his ability to make those choices in the first place.
First choice, obviously, was to do as Professor Dumbledore suggested and go back. But, he had to be honest with himself, he didn't exactly have much to go back to. When he'd left the castle to fulfill his destiny, he'd seen the casualties of the earlier fighting. Remus and Tonks were dead, orphaning their infant son. George and Ginny Weasley were both dead. He'd broken up with Ginny last year to 'protect' her, but all it had done was delay the inevitable. Hermione was lethally injured by that damned snake, managing to deliver her own killing blow as cost. Madam Pomphrey hadn't been hopeful. Ron was... Ron was a shell, waiting to die himself. And Voldemort had just killed his last Horcrux by using the Killing Curse on him one final time, thereby ensuring his defeat. No family, no friends, no girlfriend, no enemy to defeat. Nothing to look forward to.
Harry sat down on an open bench, his self-examination putting him in a bit of a depression.
Second choice, not as obvious but certainly implied, if Harry either stayed here or 'got on a train', then it could very well take Harry to Heaven where he would be reunited with his parents, Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Ginny, George, and soon to be Hermione. Where there would be no more pain, where there would be no more... of pretty much everything his life has been up to now. It was tempting. More tempting than it had any right to be. He believed it was wrong when a person found death more attractive than living their life. In fact, the only thing that stopped him from getting up and running 'into the light', in spite of that belief, was the idea that if he did that it would be the same as giving up. That did not sit well with him at all. He may not have always won, but he never just gave up without doing everything else he could have first.
Third choice... Did he have a third choice? Were his only options to go back or move on? A living hell, or a heaven where he'd quit?
"Wish there was a way I could just go back and do it all again," he mused out loud to the empty space. "But like they say on the telly, life isn't a video game, where you get as many chances as you want to get it right."
Before he could consider anything else though, a deep, soul-shaking rumbling began to shake through the station. Looking around nervously, he wondered if maybe he'd worn out his welcome in the peaceful place and was about to get cast back into life whether he wanted to or not. Thankfully he was not left to wonder for long.
Coming into the station, right in front of him almost, was a pure white gleaming silver steam locamotive, only instead of cars like the classic locamotives or the Hogwarts Express, what trailed behind it were more like what one encountered in the Underground. Subway cars in other words. As it slowly came to a stop, the doors right in front of him opened with a hiss and then everything was quiet, waiting for him to make his choice. Looking down the way Dumbledore had gone, Harry could see nothing beyond a blinding white glare past a certain distance. Looking in the opposite direction, the distance was eaten up by shadows, not total darkness but it was clear if he went that way he was choosing to go back to the life he no longer wanted. Then he looked ahead.
Six steps, that is all it took for him to walk from the bench where he sat to the open doors and to enter the train car. The doors closed with a hiss and then he was in motion. He couldn't be certain but... if he had to guess he would have thought the train was taking him in the direction of the shadows, but again he couldn't be certain.
Harry was not away of how long he stayed on that train. It might have been a few minutes, it might have been a few centuries. The next thing he knew for sure though was the train coming to a stop and the doors opening upon a place he'd only seen from the outside before. It wasn't a real place of course, but he recalled the times that the Dursleys had taken Dudley to a popular arcade in London for one of his birthdays. Minus the hundreds of kids and adults, this place was very similar.
It was a wide, open space, the ceiling almost thirty feet high, and the floor was literally covered with standing arcade video games, all lit up with animations and making noise and music pulsing in the background. The spaces in front of and between the games made the whole thing one giant, colorful, noisy maze. Hesitantly stepping off the train, he head the doors hiss shut behind him, but was too distracted by everything to pay much attention. It wasn't until a minute later that he realized he wasn't hearing sounds of the train leaving.
Turning around, Harry gaped in open mouthed amazement. Behind him was a single video game, different from the others in that it was larger and more of a booth than something to stand in front of. There was no sign of there ever having been a train in the place at all!
"What the bloody hell?" Harry said to himself, the question lost amongst the noise of the arcade.
Stepping forward, he took a look at the painted graphics on the side of the larger-than-normal video game booth, to see what game it was. He found himself stunned once more, and not from a Stupefy. "What the bloody hell?" he repeated himself as he read the title of the game.
In bold silver and reflective lettering, stylized so the 'Y' and the 'P' both tapered off into mini-lightning bolts, the games title boldly proclaimed it to be "Harry Potter and the Arcade". The graphics further supported this by having a painted charicature of him beneath the title, robes waving dramatically in an unmoving wind, hair as messy as ever, scar proudly displayed, round glasses worn like some kind of superhero mask, and wand at the ready, charged with some unknown spell. There were also images of snitches, brooms, hippogriffs, a phoenix, stars, a couple Death Eaters masks at the bottom corners, and a flaming cup.
He went all the way around it, intrigued to note there were no other games nearby, leaving an open space all around it. Furthermore, there were no wires coming from the game itself. No power cables, no fiber cables, no nothing. Also, he found out why it was bigger than the rest, and even bigger than other 'booth' arcade games, which usually had a bench or seats for the players to sit upon. There was no bench, and there was actually enough room inside to stand up straight, or lay upon the floor quite comfortably without feat of cramping. When he entered the booth, the moment the curtain was closed, all the noise from the rest of the arcade was cut off with such finality that Harry's ears were left ringing at the sudden silence. He suspected it was some kind of silencing charm, and given his experiences of the day so far, he wasn't about to question a silencing charm being placed on the inside of a giant video game that was in the middle of some impossible arcade that he got to by boarding a train in an unreal Kings Cross Station, after having been hit with the Death Curse.
There was a single screen inside the booth, providing the sole source of illumination, and it was displaying an aerial view of a beautiful 3D graphic representation of Hogwarts Castle. There was a single button beneath the screen, glowing an iridescent white, the words printed in black on it; "PRESS HERE TO START". Despite looking for them, Harry found no other controls anywhere in the booth.
Faced with the prospect of the overwhelming noise outside, and just hitting the button to see what would happen, Harry decided to go ahead and get it over with. He reached out and pressed the button.
The screen faded to white. A bright white. A very *BRIGHT* white! The screen soon was so bright that Harry had to shut his eyes, and pretty soon he could see nothing *but* white!
When finally he could see again, everything had changed.
He wasn't in the video game booth anymore. There was no video game booth. For that matter, he didn't have a body either! He was in the open air, some five hundred feet, give or take. Then he began to descend. No, scratch that, he was falling, but without the coresponding sensation of falling. Weird.
Soon he recognized that all too (unfortunate) sight of Privet Drive from the air and pretty soon he was right in front of the door to Number 4. Odd music had begun to play. It started off with just a few notes every other second, but now it was playing ominously in the background. There was something familiar about the melody, but he couldn't place it. (AN: "Harry Potter Movies Theme Music")
Just as it reached a crescendo, the same logo he'd seen on the outside of the booth appeared in mid-air right above the door to Number 4. One by one, additional words appeared beneath the logo, seemingly on the door itself from his current point of view, but they were in mid-air the same as the game title. The words were the same silver metallic color as the title, except for two of them, which were still legible but completely black. They read;
- New Game -
- Load Game -
- Options -
- Help -
"What is this?" Harry asked himself, and then stopped as he realized that he'd heard that. Somehow, he didn't have a body, but he could still hear and speak.
Having grown up with the Dursleys, Harry hadn't had much opportunity to play any sort of video game, but Dudley was nothing if not careless with things that bored him. So while it often ran the risk of extra chores or punishment, he had once or twice gotten his hands on a game to see what it was like. Unlike Dudley who always just played it and dove right in not understanding how to even use the controller to properly play the gang, Harry always read through the instructions and read the hints and other bits of information in the games tutorial before playing so he knew what to do. Having not been given any manual or set of instructions, he decided to go with what he had to work with.
"Help," he said out loud and watch as the word was highlighted and seemed to flicker, before a harsh tone sounded as a message in a clear box appeared over the menu.
*The Help function is not available at this time. To Unlock the Help function, please see your manual.*
"What manual?" Harry cried in frustration as the view went back to the original menu.
Still, that probably explained why it was in black lettering like that. Just to be sure, he said, "Load game."
*You have no saved games at this time. There are no games to load. Please try again later.*
"So, being blacked out like that means I can't choose that one," he said to himself. "Well, I'm not about to start whatever this is without knowing more. Options." Immediately the same clear screen appeared, minus the harsh tone.
*You have 0 Achievements.*
*You have 0 Medals.*
*You have 0 Unlocked Features.*
*You have 0 Secret Areas Discovered.*
*You have 1 Avatar Unlocked.*
*You have 3 Unlocked Challenges.*
After a few moments, it reverted back to the main menu. Harry began to get angry.
"Well that was helpful! NOT!" he yelled at the words. Seeing no other path available to him, he growled out, "Fine! New game."
Suddenly he found himself spinning around and facing the street and, one by one, the street lamps began to go out until the whole street was dark. After a few moments of absolute darkness, it lifted and suddenly Harry found himself in a very different version of the pure white Kings Cross station. For one thing, it was no longer a train station, but an appearingly infinite white void... filled with pedestals... with statues of him on them...
At least he had his body back, he discovered momentarily. Going to the nearest pedestal/statue, he noticed a small plaque at the base with a button beneath it. The statue, near as he could tell, was an exact likeness of him—at 11 years old. Of course coming from a world where paintings move, talk and can even visit other paintings, the exceptional lifelike statue was nothing too impressive.
Bending over to read the plaque, it read;
Harry James Potter (11) - "Son of James and Lily Potter, was orphaned at 15 months, and sent by Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Rubeus Hagrid to live with his only living relative, Petunia Dursley. Raised like a House Elf, Harry is eager to make friends, but shy and reckless as he has no experience in social situations. Magical and Physical abilities are well balanced, a good choice for beginners, able to branch out into any specialty or maintain the balanced settings at a cost of making any significant development." Special Skills: Natural Flying Talent, Parselmouth.
"Bizarre," he muttered. Despite the cavernous atmosphere, the sound dropped dead at his feet, making him feel very alone and uncomfortable. Before moving away, he did notice the button below the plaque was glowing softly and it said 'SELECT' right in the middle. Harry decided against pushing that for the moment. Moving to one of the other statues, he saw an immediate difference.
The first was was very lifelike, almost like it was him and ready to jump off the pedestal and run off to Hogwarts at the first opportunity. This one he was looking at now, it was... well, it was a statue. An unpainted statue, well, except for some kind of 3-D shaded image of a closed padlock on its chest. Curious, Harry went ahead and read the plaque for this one as well.
Harry Granger (11) - "Adopted son of Dan and Emma Granger, parents of Hermione Granger. When picking their daughter up from pre-school one day, Dan and Emma noticed her playing with a young boy in rather poor clothing. After hearing young Harry's story, and witnessing how his Aunt and Uncle treated him first hand, the Grangers got the Dursleys arrested for child abuse and adopted Harry and raised him as their own. Raised by dentists with Hermione as his sister, Harry is intelligent, observant, but follows the rules regardless of the situation and is slow to trust new people. Magical abilities come more easily to this avatar, while Physical abilities take longer to level up." Special Skills: Photographic Memory, Skill Bonus: Spells (Learning and mastering spells take half the time and effort), Parselmouth.
"What the hell?" he jumped back after having gone through the entire description. He moved to the next one, which was also just a plain statue and looked at it, noting as he did that it depicted him smiling in a way that oddly reminded him of Dudley and Malfoy together.
Harry Dursley (11) - "Son of James and Lily Potter, was orphaned at 15 months, and sent by Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Rubeus Hagrid to live with his only living relative, Petunia Dursley. Raised as the equal brother of Dudley Dursley and beloved son of Petunia and Vernon, Harry is confident, outgoing, but more than a bit reckless and while he makes friends easily with everyone he meets, sometimes has trouble making the right choices in who those friends should be. Physical abilities far outstrip Magical abilities, has trouble grasping simple concepts of magic, Prerequisite of Martial Artist Harry and Harry Gryffindor." Special Skills: Stamina+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Sports (Anything having to do with sports of any kind is easily mastered), Skill Bonus: Fight (Learning and using fighting skills take half the time and effort to level up), Parselmouth.
"I'm in Hell," he cried, falling back from the statue. Getting up off his arse, he decided he wouldn't stand for not understanding what this was, so he moved on to the next, hoping to get some answers eventually. He kept moving on to the next and the next after that, pausing only long enough to read the plaques and examine the basic features of each statue.
Harry Black (11) - "Godson of Sirius Black, who did his duty as Godfather and took care of baby Harry when his parents were murdered by Voldemort. Raised by his father's best friend, but also the reinstated Lord Black, Harry is confident, mischevious, and well educated in all levels of Wizard Society. Magical abilities are considerably higher than Physical abilities, but there is no bonus nor detriment to either. Prerequisite of Minister Harry, Prankster Harry, and Harry Slytherin." Special Skills: Charisma+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Social (Persuasion and Social based skills are learned and mastered more easily), Natural Flying Talent, Parselmouth.
Harry McGonagall (11) - "Godson of Minerva McGonagall, who was the one to retrieve Harry from his house instead of Hagrid, and never gave him up in the first place. Raised by the Hogwarts Professor's niece and her husband and later children. Harry is outgoing and intelligent, excelling at sports and physical activity, but no slouch in his education or magical skills. Default Physical abilities for this avatar are higher than the Magical abilities, but there is no inherint bonus for either. Prerequisite of Harry Gryffindor." Special Skills: Health+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Sports, Skill Bonus: Transfiguration (All Transfiguration spells are learned and mastered more quickly), Natural Flying Talent, Parselmouth.
Harry Dumbledore (10) - "When Albus saw those green eyes looking up at him, everything changed. He gave little Harry Potter to his brother to raise, often visiting every chance he got during the years. Raised by the Dumbledore brothers, Aberforth for everything a mother and father would do, Albus as the 'favorite uncle' that always brings treats, Harry is scary smart and extremely observant and insightful. Default Magical abilities are considerably higher than Physical abilities, but there is no detriment to raising the Physical abilities, but a large bonus for raising Magical abilities and related skills. Prerequisite of Harry Ravenclaw." Special Skills: Eidetic Memory, Intelligence+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Spells, Skill Bonus: Politics (Politics Skills are a wide variety, this bonus gives two for every one to those skill sets), Natural Flying Talent, Phoenix Call, Parselmouth, Child Genius (Start Hogwarts a year early!).
Harry Bones (11) - "When word got out about Harry Potter's circumstances, the Wizarding Community cried out and their most trusted member was called forth to care for their young savior. Raised by Amelia Bones alongside Susan Bones as his sister/fiancee, Harry is open, friendly, loyal and well educated in all levels of Wizard Society. Magical abilities and Physical abilities are higher than the default, but depending on player choices could go either way. Prerequisite of Harry Hufflepuff." Special Skills: Agility+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Chance (For every game of chance or high risk situation you encounter the better your odds the higher this skill gets), Natural Flying Talent, Parselmouth.
Harry Malfoy (12) - "When word got out about Harry Potter's circumstances, the Wizarding Community cried out and their most trusted member was called forth to care for their young savior. Raised by the Malfoy Family to be their secret weapon in the coming years, Harry is disillusioned towards reality and a sociopath by design, only able to express mimicry of emotion after observing others for sufficient time. Default Magical abilities far outstip Physical abilities, and there is a significant bonus on increasing Magical aligned skills over Physical ones, though no detriment to raising Physical abilities at all. Prerequisite of Harry Slytherin." Special Skills: Magic+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Social, Skill Bonus: Assassin (All skills related to the Assassin Rank and Title are given a 2 for every 1 bonus), Skill bonus: Politics, Parselmouth, Extra Training (Starts Hogwarts a year late, but stats are more than double for everything).
Harry Moody (11) - "When Albus saw those green eyes looking up at him, everything changed. He gave little Harry to his most trusted ally to prepare for the coming conflicts. Raised by Alastor 'MadEye' Moody, Harry is a paranoid little fucker who plays dirty and is an even worse prankster than the Marauders and Weasley Twins combined! Default Magical abilities are considerably higher than Physical abilities, but there is no detriment to raising the Physical abilities, but a large bonus for raising Magical abilities and related skills. Prerequisite of Harry Hufflepuff." Special Skills: Luck+10 per level, Skill Bonus: Chance, Skill Bonus: Assassin, Natural Flying Talent, Parselmouth.
Runaway Harry, Martial Artist Harry, Thief Harry, Spy Harry, Auror Harry, Mercenary Harry, Geek Harry, Minister Harry, Dragon Tamer Harry, Cursebreaker Harry, Prankster Harry, Marauder "Rednose" Harry, Potions Master Harry, Unspeakable Harry, Angry Harry, Harri Jamie Potter (and that one really threw him for a loop), Creature Harry, Casanova Harry, Harry Pendragon, Harry "Merlin" Ambrosius, Harry Le Faye, Harry Uzumaki, Harry Son, Harry Kurosaki, Hollow Harry, Harry D. Potter, Mr. Black... it went on and on and on and ON!
Eventually he came back to the lifelike statue, which was the same "Harry James Potter (11)" he'd first found. It was the only one of its kind. All the others were still and colorless. Just to see what would happen, he'd pressed a few of the buttons on the cooler looking statues. He got a screen saying something about an error, but he couldn't understand it. Having grown tired of running around with no answers, he impulsively hit the button, but instead of the same error, something different came up.
-WOULD YOU LIKE TO SELECT THIS AVATAR?-
"Avatar?" Harry repeated. Then his face lit up as the proverbial light bulb went off. "Video game," he said. "This is all a video game. Avatars... different versions of the same character, or just different characters, to play the game with. Sometimes they even have—they have different abilities... Whoa." He looked around the hall of statues—of avatars with new eyes.
"But they're all locked. Except this one. Which is me. Hey—what does it mean I've got no experience in social situations?! Whatever. Yes!" he selected the Avatar, and suddenly he was back in front of the Dursleys front door without a body. A new menu screen appeared.
*Would You Like To Play The Tutorial?*
"Now this is what I'm talking about," he said with some relief. "Yes!"
The screen disappeared and the music stopped as the door opened on its own and suddenly Harry was swallowed by the darkness beyond the threshold.
END Level One.