Full summary: {AU!} After society as we know it collapsed, humanity struggled for survival. Following a decade of chaos and anarchy, a new society begins to establish. Lords try to assemble the best followers around them and battle other groups for territory. Young Harry Potter tries to stay out of trouble, but when a new lord with unconventional ideas sees the potential in his unique talents, his quiet life soon gets turned upside down. Armed only with his wits, Harry has to take on one catastrophe after the other, all the while trying to uncover his own past and teach a certain smug bastard the meaning of personal space. [LV/HP]

Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. All characters belong to JK Rowling. No money is being made. If there is anything else you recognise it's not mine either.

Warnings: This story will be slash in the future. If male/male relationships are not your cup of tea please leave now. However, it will probably take some time for the relationship to develop, so if that's the only reason you read you will be disappointed. Plot comes first.

Rated: M for the future, some violence and language. Squint your eyes to avoid grammar mistakes :P

A/N: This is a non-magic universe. However, several of Harry's inventions seemingly based on science would never work in our world. You could call it science-fiction or steampunk if you are familiar with that. The first chapter will be mainly used to explain the setting, it should get better after that so bear with me :).


Chapter 1

20 years ago society collapsed.

There was no other word for it; one day it was still there, barley being kept upright, the next day there was nothing. It was amazing really, that humans fought successfully against increasing natural disasters, climatic changes and the most vicious viruses, with a seemingly infinite amount of new innovations, techniques and ideas that allowed them to adapt ever so quickly to anything nature threw at them.

Until the hunger came. Until there were simply too many mouths to feed.

And everyone started to concentrate on one task alone: find, steal, produce, share, kill for food.
The society that was so successful due to the specialisation of every human, was doomed the moment there was only one goal worth concentrating on.

Without the maintenance of basic public services and the production of medical drugs, chaos and diseases spread throughout the world, allowing only the luckiest ones to survive. What once was a normal pneumonia became a death sentence, and due to the lawless environment no one was safe; your neighbour for ten years might shoot you every second now if he saw you had a leaf of bread.

The incredible high number of individuals that humans spent the last few centuries on producing was decimated to several thousand in only a few years.
That might have the survivors allowed to start over again, but once society was destroyed it could not be revived that easily, even though the cause of destruction – too many humans - was not a problem anymore.

After about 5 years of total anarchy and pure chaos, humans once again proved that – even though if it came down to it you only looked after yourself – they were in fact social creatures and began to form groups.

Completely random in the beginning, without any meaning further than social interaction and shelter, few years later they formed the core of the new society.

Persons known as 'lords' began to arise, forming a group of selected people around them. Even though group dynamics was still an ever-changing process – new groups constantly being formed and disbanded, split into several smaller groups or merging with others – now the lords provided an unchanging centre, around which it all gravitated.

Strong groups did not automatically have more members. The ability of the lord to lead them and establish discipline was far more important. Strong lords had the power to conquer more and more territory from other, weaker groups, leading to more food and shelter and thus even more power.
Of course raw physical power of the members was an important factor in these fights, but as the years passed, clever strategies, new weapons and alliances often were far more important.

When humanity finally settled down in this new system and started once again - slowly - to bring up children, 10 years had passed.

Every child conceived during the first 10 years of chaos was abandoned and had no chance of surviving. The same counted for the little children before the collapse. When families died or parents were killed there was no one to look after the children. Any child that couldn't keep up with the adults had little chance to find food for himself, thus everyone that wasn't at least 10 years old before the collapse had almost no hope to survive.

The last decade before the collapse and the first after led to a roughly 20 years gap between the newly conceived children, in the new society known as 'first generations', and the fully grown-ups - veterans - who survived the chaos, all now at least in their thirties.

The gap between was known as 'lost generation'; not cared for like the first generations and not sharing the memories of another world with the veterans, the new society had little use for them.
It was amazing that even after all what humanity has been through, there was always a group of people who didn't belong.

Harry Potter was one of them.

How he had survived was a mystery even to himself. He was one year old when society collapsed. He had no memory of his parents or anyone else, only his birth certificate somehow remained with him.

Now 21 years old, he was exactly in the middle of the lost generation. It did not help that he looked even younger. If he looked older, he could have pretended to belong to the veterans. As it was, he was a rather small but elegant young man with a beautiful face, pitch black unruly hair and startling green eyes.

If he had had a different personality, his looks would have provided him with enough to 'earn' his living among the veterans. He couldn't care less. Most of the time his face was covered with black coal dust, his delicate hands covered with blisters and small cuts and his too big but comfortable clothes covered in grease.

Remus called him an engineer. He said that was the term that was used for people who invented new stuff, exploring machines. Harry didn't argue since he did built new gadgets but his passion was science. Chemistry especially. Building self explosives or nerve gases with a mixture of otherwise harmless chemicals fascinated him.
He knew everything about science and technology that was ever written in a book, even though most of the things described there, he never saw in his life. Remus found it odd that of all people, a lost generation with no memories or education of the old world, was probably the best engineer that remained in the new world.

Whatever you wanted, Harry could build it. You wanted something to transport you over a wall? He built a package with airscrew worn on the back that could hold you in the air for 2 minutes. You wanted a new weapon to take out dozens of people without killing them? He built a gun that produced sonic waves that rendered everyone within 10 meters immobile.
The things he built bordered on magic. And no matter who examined the gadgets afterwards, no one could rebuilt them, too complex was the inner machinery.

That's why no one in the town bothered him. You didn't want to get on his bad side, the pen he was holding in this moment could be a deathly weapon for all you know.



Harry let out an annoyed sigh. He was searching for his newly invented knife. Well, he didn't invent the knife, the customer wanted the knife to be unnoticeable so Harry had mixed together a paint that adapted to the background like a chameleon.

'I should have waited with the application though', he thought, furious at himself. For the life of him he couldn't find the blasted thing that was now conveniently almost invisible.

Finding something in his workplace was a challenge by itself.

He lived and worked in one room that was more a storeroom than a house.
The front had shelves who were organised with some space for the customer and a sort of counter, but behind it was what Harry called 'organised chaos'.
Hundreds of little pieces and half-finished inventions were piling up in shelves or lying on the floor, papers with scribbled notes on it over everything like a blanket.

On the other side of the hall was a bit cleared up space with a small kitchen, a table and a bed. The huge shelves between store and living space provided sufficient cover – and protection for if an outsider crossed the hall, he was likely to step on some explosive device.

Harry sighed again. He would have to buy a new knife and mix the paint again. The customer would not be happy about the delay.

Through the window he saw Remus Lupin walking hurriedly towards his shop. Remus was a veteran and one of the few people who visited Harry not for business.

He and his partner Sirius lived together in a close part of the town. They didn't talk much about the past, but from what Harry gathered they were childhood friends. Two friends who went through the chaos together and both stayed alive was a very rare thing.
Almost no one knew each other from before the collapse.

Harry liked the pair. They respected him and treated him like an equal, not like some young weirdo who was just plain lucky to survive. They knew Harry's skill made him invaluable and it was his intelligence, not his luck that played the major role in his surviving.

Remus arrived in his shop. He came smiling towards Harry, almost jumping with excitement.

Harry had to stop himself from rolling his eyes in exasperation. He knew his friend well enough to know what could possibly cause him to be this excited.

"Hi Remus."

"Hi Harry, is it safe?" Remus asked , grinning as he thought of the last time Sirius stepped into the shop and spent the next hour immobile suspended in the air by a force field before Harry finally returned home.

"As safe as it gets," he grinned back and Remus took some more cautious steps.

"What's up? Need something?"

"No, not today. Have you heard the news?" Remus asked with barely contained excitement in his voice.

The question was unnecessary, Remus knew Harry didn't keep track on the local happenings.

"Nope. Is it good or bad?"

"Hmm well it could be both," Remus began, "you see there's this new group…"

"Remus how many times do I have to tell you I'm not interested?" sighed Harry slightly annoyed.

Remus and Sirius were both members of the group 'phoenix', led by lord Dumbledore and since quite some time the strongest group in town.

They were as friendly as a group can be, allowing the smaller ones some territory and didn't mind nonmembers. It was the reason Harry stayed in London. It was one of the only places he'd heard where you don't have to be in a group.

Harry didn't like the idea of serving some lord, especially since as far as he could tell they only cared for themselves, manipulating people to join them by flattering them and making promises. Then after you joined, you never even saw the lord again and if you didn't fulfil your role or got injured they cast you away.

Harry was happy living on his own. He knew is inventions were often used for group fights, but he never asked and he wasn't forced to choose a side in return. All in all he tried his best to stay neutral and not to get involved with group politics.

Remus and Sirius initially wanted Harry to join their group, since they saw his potential and knew he would make any group really strong with his quick mind and arsenal of unknown weapons.

But after one short chat with lord Dumbledore – alias lord phoenix - he decided that as much as he liked his two friends, he couldn't bring himself to swear his alliance to an old meddling man who pretended to be a friendly perfect grandfather, even though he ordered to kill a small group of 20 people just the night before, because one of them violated some rule.

Harry knew you had to kill to survive, he wasn't stupid. But if you did so then you should say it straight out and not making it as if you had no other choice, as if it was for the greater good and everyone was happier now.

But even if he didn't like lord Dumbledore, he didn't leave town. There weren't many places where you could live if you weren't in a group. Some time ago the strong groups began to send out small scouting parties, searching in other towns for promising talents, recruiting everyone that wasn't already in a group.

When it became clear Harry wouldn't join the phoenix group, Remus and Sirius seemed to have set themselves the goal to find Harry another good group to stay. He appreciated that they cared, but every lord he met was just another uninteresting individual and Harry always wondered why in the world people would follow them.

The worst one so far had been lord Lockhart who, surrounded by women, had, in exchange for Harry's inventions, offered him he could teach him the pleasures of the flesh – surely an invaluable asset in live for Harry? Needless to say Harry had left without another word and when met with Remus' and Sirius' inquiring eyes, simply told them Lockhart was very lucky to be alive.

Since then he refused to meet another lord.

"Come on Harry, at least let me finish!" Remus whined.

"Fine," grumbled Harry. Oh the things he did for his friends!

"Sooo, there's this new group, well it isn't that new I heard, but they come from quite far away..."

"Wait, the whole group travels the land for scouting?" Harry interrupted slightly surprised.

That was rare. Usually the lord just send a little party to bring back the new recruits. And most groups gave up on scouting since everyone was in a group.

Strong groups just waited for people to come to them, begging them for an invitation to join. The lord then tested the contestant and if he showed a promising talent – strong fighting skills, medical knowledge or other useful things - he took them in.

It also often happened that a contestant's skill was better than that of the member who currently held the position, and so the member got unceremoniously kicked out. If you wanted to stay in a strong group, you had to be the best at what you did.

Another reason Harry was reluctant to join. After all, what could he offer? 'Hello I'm good at building things?'

Of course, Harry knew he would be a valuable asset, but most lords didn't think outside the most common talents and Harry's mind could only be used to the fullest if he was actually involved in the plans, so he could come up with the perfect gadgets. That however meant that a newbie like him was involved in the most important plans. Not to mention he was a lost generation.

"I heard they keep their base a secret."

"Nothing new there then,"Harry mused .

A group either had his headquarters in a specific town or somewhere hidden on the land.

"No, no wait," Remus said hurriedly, "the lord himself is traveling I heard. With part of his group as protection of course, but he scouts himself."

"Hmm, so he doesn't mind to get his hands dirty with some decent work, huh?"

"Exactly!" Remus grinned . "Come on Harry, you always complain about how lords assemble the best talents without being strong themselves"

"Just because he travels doesn't mean he has any talent except manipulating" Harry retorted and began to sort through the counter. Maybe he had set the knife down here somewhere?

Remus looked a bit hurt and Harry winced at the expression. He hated to disappoint them damn it.

"So, do you know what he's like?" he asked and saw the hope returning in Remus eyes with Harry's interest.

"Well, I heard he has an amazingly strong group. There are rumours that some members were lords themselves before they joined!"

"Must be one hell of a flattering bastard if he got them to join."

Remus shot him a disapproving look. "Lords are clever Harry, and very proud"

"Stuck-up is the word I'd use..."

Remus ignored him. "If he is able to make lords join him as mere members, there must be something different about him!"

"He's even more stuck-up?" Harry suggested with a crooked grin.

Remus frustrated threw his hands in the air. "Harry, you have to join a group somewhen..."

"Not if I can help it..."

"Somewhen soon," said Remus seriously. "Even lord Dumbledore begins to think it would be easier to only have phoenix in town."

Harry snorted. "He's been thinking that for a long time Remus. I'm amazed he hasn't killed off the smaller groups yet."

Remus looked at him with a sad expression. They never discussed Dumbledore's politics because they knew they weren't on the same side.

"Sorry," Harry murmured.

"It's alright Harry, I know it, I'm not stupid. But we care for you, we don't want you to get hurt. I would have recommended to leave town, but where could you go? Please Harry we just want you to be safe. And the world isn't safe, especially if you have no one there to protect you! Could you not at least consider to meet this new lord?" Remus looked at him with puppy eyes. Damn him!

"I can protect myself," Harry snapped .

"I don't doubt that stupid! But there's more to life than sit around alone inventing new traps to keep out intruders!"

"Well I never knew another life!" Harry shot back.

"Why do you think we want to show it to you so desperately?" Remus cried .

It hurt to see him so sad. Harry sighed. "Look I'm just not a person who follows others. I just don't trust them enough like you do with Dumbledore."

Remus smiled sadly. "That's because everyone is an idiot compared to you. No one trusts someone who is stupid in their eyes."

Harry couldn't help but return his smile. "Was that a compliment or an insult?"

"I heard this new lord is exceptionally intelligent…" Remus began innocently.

"Oh for Christs sake Remus! I've never met a person more stubborn than you!" Harry laughed .

"You should meet yourself then," Remus retorted grimly, "I'm nothing compared to you."

"Fine whatever! You win! How do I meet this marvellous lord?" he asked, just to make Remus stop nagging him.

Remus face lit up with excitement. "I heard he holds something like a party in the local inn tonight. Apparently he'll invite anyone he wants in his group."

"There you go, maybe he won't even invite me," Harry said, trying not to sound too hopeful and failing miserably.

"I seriously doubt that. And if he doesn't, then he's not clever at all and doesn't deserve our little Harry," teased Remus.

"I'm not that small!" protested Harry, but Remus just laughed at him and walked to the door.

He turned to him with pleading eyes. "Just promise me you'll go."

"If it makes you that happy..."

"It does."

"Fine, I promise." Remus beamed at him and walked out.

Harry turned away from the counter - still no sign of the knife - and wondered how he would get invited if the new group didn't even know him.

Oh well, if he didn't get an invitation all the better; he could use the evening to mix the new paint for another knife.

At 10 o'clock in the evening, he decided that he would indeed not get invited. He really didn't mind, but he couldn't help but wonder why.

It wasn't unusual to scout members of other groups, hoping they would change their alliance, but nonmembers were far easier to get to join. And as far as Harry knew, he was one of the last nonmembers in town.
But whatever, he had promised Remus to go if he got invited, so he still would be able to keep his promise.

He closed the shop and went to bed.



He awoke with a start. Something had exploded.

He heard violent cursing and screaming. There had to be at least three people in his hall.

He got up quickly and headed for the commotion. He was armed, but he didn't think they wanted to harm him. No one ever attacked him, who the hell were they?

Sure enough one man lie on the floor; his face twisted in pain, his left leg separated from his body, blood pooling from the wound. Three others kneeled beside him, cursing.

"What the fuck was that?" yelled one.

"A small portable mine I'd say. But it shouldn't have been on the floor, did he touch the shelves?" Harry asked cooly.

"Who are you? Did you put that there you bastard?! Just wait 'till I get my hands on you!" yelled another, his face an angry grimace.

The injured man was obviously their friend. Harry felt bad for the man - a cripple would not survive long. It was true that most of his inventions were rather harmful, but Harry had always valued people's lives.

"I suggest you wait with that until after he's been to a doctor" Harry replied calmly.

Damn, why couldn't they keep their hands to themselves! He hated it when someone got injured out of pure stupidity. They looked angry, but more so desperate and the man wouldn't live if they didn't stop the blood flow soon.

He wasn't really concerned that they were going to hurt him. As far as he could tell no one wanted him dead, he was way more useful alive when his brain was still working. And they hadn't even moved towards him,despite their threats.

Harry set down his flash gun in favour of pulling a few bandages out of one shelf. Nothing much, but it was a start.

Just when he began to walk towards the injured man, someone grabbed him from behind and roughly pulled something over his head. Harry cursed and began to kick. He couldn't see anything and his flash gun was somewhere in the next shelf. Brilliant.

'How stupid can they be?' Harry thought furiously. They've seen he wanted to help them, what the hell could be more important than their friend?

"Harry Potter I assume?" came an even voice from behind, "you're coming with us." The fourth man obviously didn't care for the injured man as the others did.

Harry wanted to tell them that their friend was going die if they didn't let him help, but something hit his head hard and he blacked out.


A/N: I know nothing has really happened yet but if you could drop a little thought on the basic idea that would be nice :)
This is my first fanfiction ever so...please don't kill me?