AN: I had the idea for this in my head one day whilst trying to write the next chapter of Liberation, and really needed to write it down before I could think about Middle Earth anymore. I always thought there was a dearth of 'grown up' Harry stories, almost all start in First Year, so I wondered how to write a story where he's gone through life.
Also Id been playing a lot of Skyrim recently, and it sort of got in my head.
Sunset broke over the castle grounds as the Headmaster of Hogwarts reclined in his chair. He was old, so old that he no longer remembered the faces of his friends. They were but flashes of colour, gone in a twinkling. He sat back, stroking his silver beard; he could feel through his robes the inlaid wood of the chair. That chair was even older than him, reinforced and repaired with countless charms and spells to allow it to actually stand, let alone bear any weight.
He heard a chime from across the room. A small bell sounded to let him know someone was coming up the stairs. He lifted his wand and cast a Transparency Spell on the door. An old trick, just smoke and mirrors he had learnt from the Old Man.
"Come in Ms. Perkins." He called softly.
The door opened, a young witch, young by his standards, around forty came in.
"Headmaster." She nodded.
"What is it?" he asked back.
"The last of them are gone."
Ah. That was good, earlier than he had expected. Hogwarts was not the castle it once was, now a veritable ruin in the wake of the three wars it had gone through since he was a first year.
"You go yourself." He said, "I will, as one might say, 'turn out the lights'"
Ms. Perkins sniffed, and he conjured a handkerchief, levitating it over to her. She sniffed again, dabbing her eyes.
As the Headmaster stood up he felt a flutter in his chest. Conjuring another handkerchief for himself he coughed into it for several seconds. Gasping he dropped back into his chest.
"Headmaster-" Ms. Perkins called and stepped forward, then stopped herself, she did not want to offend the Legend of the Wizarding World by helping him stand. She watched the Headmaster dap at a spot of blood at the corner of his mouth. "You are not well." She said finally, "Let me call them back, please!"
"'Not well' indeed." Scoffed the Headmaster. "I am dying Ms. Perkins, and have been for a long time, my body is worn out."
"But the Hallows." Ms. Perkins insisted.
Yes, the Hallows.
That had all come out after he had been elected for his fifth term as Minister for Magic, some enterprising young reporter, no doubt the spawn of Rita Skeeter knowing his luck, had noticed the similarity in his and Dumbledore's wands. Not just similar, but identical. Then they had noted the ring with a cracked stone on his finger, and after a little digging, uncovered the stories of his youthful trespassing using the Invisibility Cloak.
"The Hallows prevent death certainly, but that simply means that I will grow increasingly old and decrepit." He told the young woman, "I am simply in an extremely advanced state of old age, and will continue to be so, do not concern yourself in the troubles of an old man."
"Yes Sir, and…thank you, for everything."
"You are most welcome." He replied, smiling, "Now leave me, I have one last spell to perform." He told her as she walked out shutting the griffin handled door behind her. "The last spell of Harry James Potter."
Throughout his fourteen decades of life he had fought. From his school years against Voldemort, to his twilight years against the demons of entrenched bureaucracy, the two wars after he had 'vanquished' his first Dark Lord, to the day to day difficulties of running the remnants of a nation. But soon that would be over, for years he had researched the spell, and now, at last, he was ready.
After Voldemort, there came a period of rebuilding, for several years Harry had played the Auror, fighting against the darkness as a 'magical bobby' as several of the papers referred to him. Even with the death of Voldemort, many Death Eaters had escaped, in fact only around half of the inner circle had been captured or killed. Three years to mop them up, but in those three years he had found out more about life than he had at any other.
The rebuilding was one of those times when the world needed heroes, and Harry Potter, the Man Who Conquered, was happy to oblige. He had been wined and dined by the finest of people; the most 'pure' of blood that the Wizarding World had to offer, and subsequently for this reason found that he did not enjoy alcohol.
There had been a rather awkward period when the various eligible young witches from around the country attempted to ensnare him in various ways, but with each he had declined. After all, what would Ginny say? Well, probably not a great deal, three weeks after the Battle of Hogwarts she was murdered by Augustus Rookwood, the man cut out her heart and sent it to Harry by Owl Post. Harry cut out the Death Eater's in return.
Eventually he had made Head Auror, and later, surfing on his success in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement he had run for Minister for Magic. Of course he won a landslide victory as the only candidate, the others having backed out after they heard he was standing in the election. Two terms there, eliminating the prejudices in the Wizengamot and cutting back on the various discriminatory and archaic laws after he was elected Chief Warlock.
However, soon the second of the three wars he had fought in began. The casus belli was the lamentable death of a Muggleborn family at the hands of some young Pureblood heir. Scorpius Malfoy got off on some technicality but was later torn apart by a mob in Diagon Alley, igniting a series of similar massacres of other Muggleborns in retaliation. The Weasley's had been attacked, no-one was hurt but Harry was forced by his position to stand with the Purebloods. That was the beginning of the Muggleborn Rebellion, an unholy marriage of experimental science and older magics had given the more numerous Muggleborns an advantage over the inbred, but richer and more influential Purebloods.
Those were sad times for Harry, on one hand you had the Purebloods howling at you for 'decisive action'. On the other Hermione sobbed and begged for him to pardon the prisoners he had to deal with, telling him to give them a chance to change, to forgive them, that was what Dumbledore would have wanted, oh yes, follow in the Old Man's footsteps and everything will be fine.
Sufficed to say, it hadn't. Dumbledore's strategy of unlimited second chances didn't pay off, actually making the Muggleborns fight harder, laughing at him. That had lasted for another month before Harry acquired a new title.
Draco Dormiens Nunquam Titillandus
Never tickle a sleeping dragon.
Harry had left his office late one night. Later he had come back, the Daily Prophet had reported the aftermath; Harry Potter: 3,224 Muggleborn Faction: 0
Hermionie had cut of all contact with him after that, soon whispers emerged that he would lead his own muggle genocide. 'The Dragon' resigned his post after the peace had settled, and retired to the newly built Potter Manor in south Wales, just outside of Godic's Hollow. There he had devoted himself to the study of Magic. He had always been a powerful Wizard, only realising in those years in exile how incredible it was for a child of thirteen to produce a corporeal Patronus.
That was one of the things that interested him.
The Muggleborns used logic to explain magic; they measured it and poked at it. Their attitude disgusted him. Since his first sight of Hogwarts, that incredible starlit view as he rose from a crouch under the rock wall onto the Black Lake, he had though magic to be, well, magical. Magic was what had liberated him from the Durselys, and magic was, through the Hallows, what had for a brief time reunited him with his parents.
Instead of Logic Harry used Emotion to power his spells, his Charms became filled with joyful enthusiasm, his Transfigurations driven by Will, his newly learnt Dark Arts spells fuelled by his growing desire for power.
Finally, after intensive study and musing on the nature of the Patronus Charm he cast it again. But this time it was not a stag that erupted from his wand. This time it was a dragon. He had become his namesake.
That had filled Harry with a terrible sense of loss. He felt he was losing his humanity; becoming as cold as the blood in the lizard his Patronus was now. He had cut himself off from most human contact, become a recluse. Luckily though he still used a bathroom, rather than milk bottles stacked along his skirting board in the manner of Howard Hughes.
So, the year 2039 was marked as the one in which Harry Potter emerged once again into the public eye. He became an exemplar of the community, wandering about helping people. He always had a 'saving people' thing, and it came out then.
People started to talk about the jovial Mr Potter and how he saved them all. He became a folk legend, popping in and out of Diagon Alley and Hogsmede on occasion. He ran a small book shop on the old site of Weasley's Wizard Wheezes, the living half of the twins having sadly vacated it now.
Of his old friends the only ones he kept in touch with were his godson's growing family and Luna Lovegood. Teddy Lupin was the first one to suggest the idea of a book shop, and Luna came to help in the running of things. Most people now acknowledged her as quite mad at that time, but she and Harry built up an understanding of sorts, and through her, he had acquired a new, well, perhaps not a sister, but a close female friend of indeterminate relation.
This arrangement went on happily for many years.
The Wizarding World in Britain had finally begun expanding for the first time in centuries. One sociologist wrote a most flattering article in the Prophet describing in detail how dark wizards and creatures were being deterred from starting anything solely because of Harry's public presence.
'Never tickle a sleeping dragon' became popular vernacular amongst the populace when referring to anything to be careful of, Luna however, took great relish in bursting into Harry's bedroom at attempting to do just that. Sometimes several times a night.
Eventually though time caught up with them, and one by one, his new friends died or moved away. He personally buried Luna after a potions accident. That was a very sad day. He summoned her shade afterwards and made a tearful goodbye. Luna finally confessing that she had loved him for years but had never been able to tell him.
Harry mournfully retreated back to the manor, immersing himself once again in his books and the pursuit of knowledge. He worked on the more exotic and esoteric branches of magic, on the magics of the Soul and of Nature. He even contacted several religious groups for research purposes and struck up a friendship with a druid in a nearby forest.
After he had explored these paths as far as he could without actually dying he didn't know what to do with himself.
So Harry Potter went traveling. All post was redirected to a pocket dimension he had created and he took a world tour, of both the muggle and magical communities around the globe. He broke curses in Egypt with the sons of Bill Weasley, he trained in every martial art he could find, he won the Tour De France one year on a Penny Farthing.
However on his travels he also found his own share of wars. The Middle East was aflame, literally in the case of the oil fields of the Arabian Alliance, China had absorbed several smaller nations around that area and a South American Front was forming. Some political critics said that the Second Cold War had begun. As he travelled he helped those he could, but went ever onwards, around the world till he once again found himself in England.
In almost record time, no sooner had he stepped through the door an envelope flew in the letterbox. It was a summons to the Prime Minister. Harry answered and asked to once again assume the mantle of Minister of Magic, apparently the country needed a stabilising influence, 'even among the magicals'. So Harry served as Minister for another three terms.
It was during this time that the Necromancer emerged. Reports of graveyards being raided, of ghosts and other spirits ranging about the countryside flooded in. The Dementors of Azkaban vanished, no one know where to, just that they were gone without a trace. However, soon the attacks began in earnest. Harry felt the first souls depart the first casualties of the war. The Necromancer swiftly became Harry Potter's second nemesis. His second Dark Lord to put down, and in 2067 the Minister for Magic led the charge into his fortress, a magical construct built on a dark cloud that moved at the will of its master. The Necromancer was defeated, Harry prevailed, and there was much celebration.
Then the bombs dropped.
Nuclear war had broken out on the continent, and soon spread to Britain, millions died in the UK alone, Harry felt every soul through his connection to the Hallows. Some argued that the Resource Wars were over religion, some argued over oil and other materials, some said it was God's Wrath incarnate.
Harry thought that if there was a God he would not use nuclear fire and the click-click of Geiger counters to teach his worshipers.
The Magicals survived better than most though, their sheltered communities and houses protecting them from the widespread radiation, but Magic itself was scarred, Apparition became a thing of the past, as did most external magic. Harry was one of the few Wizards left who could perform spells. The rest concentrated their powers inward, enhancing their physiology for the most part, preventing the Green Death from entering their bodies.
The world turned, and humanity survived, not changed, not the same, but it survived. The Wizards retreated further into their communes and Harry retired from office again, this time turning his considerable talents to teaching. He became Headmaster in short order, and spent three decades leading the shattered remnants of Britain. Not just the Wizards, but muggles and magical creatures as well. They all respected him for some reason or other, but the title 'Headmaster' lost its original meaning, now 'Headmaster' meant Harry Potter.
Hogwarts was one of the few places untouched by the holocaust, its centuries-old wards and protective enchantments keeping the blasts and nuclear winter out. Years later it was discovered that there were significantly fewer children being born, the radiation and subsequent magical meddling with their bodies had rendered most of the Wizarding population infertile. Harry himself was fine, but had fathered no children regardless. Both the two women who might have been the mothers to his offspring were long dead.
The Wizards were slowly dying out, if the other nations had not taken similar measures they would have been mutated beyond recognition by the radiation anyway, so Harry felt rather depressed about it all. He had experimented with the Elder Wand to try and fix, or at least slow down the degradation, but to no avail, virtually every non-human species of magical creature had become extinct, and there were now a scant two hundred in a castle that once held thousands. Ms. Perkins would do her job, and Harry would do his. The world had moved on, and he could not now move with it. It was too different; he was, as Heinlein had written, a 'stranger in a strange land'.
So Harry stood at his desk, his aged bones cracking and popping as his legs straightened. He took one last look at the sun, and then around him, threw the Cloak around his shoulders, grasped the Wand, and turned the Ring, then he incanted the words of a spell in an ancient language he had discovered. The room shook, the windows exploded outwards, Hogwarts crumbled around him as its magic was torn away, the foundations cracked and groaned and the stones warped and flexed.
The Hallows glowed brilliantly together, and Harry chanted the last words that would throw his soul out into the Cosmos.