Beta'd by: Euphonia
Chapter 1 – The Path Diverges
Zelretch or, as he is sometimes known, the Wizard Marshall was contemplating a curiosity of his. As most in the Clock Tower know, when Zelretch gets an idea then running is most likely futile. Fortunately, for them at least, the Wizard Marshall had directed his attention elsewhere.
It had been a curiosity of his to mess with alternate dimensions on occasion, but he had thought little of it until now. He had been relaxing and thinking on his long past and, quite by accident, he found himself reminiscing in thoughts of his battle with Crimson moon Brunestud, and the price that had fallen on him. It has been remarked that since then the Wizard Marshall has been slower or weaker but few could fathom a reason why. He was the Zelretch! He had mastery over his specific true magic, the Kaleidoscope, didn't he?
The truth however is that the price that was paid for defeating Crimson Moon Brunestud was high. He had had to connect to his alternate selves throughout the multi-verse and they combined all their prana to put an end to the stalemate that it had thus far been. The price was a heavy one as a number of his alternates had ended their lives in that fight.
It was this that the Wizard Marshall was currently contemplating: If there are worlds where he died, then they would be different to the one he inhabits, eventually becoming so different that they become almost unrecognisable. This leads to the idea that, somewhere in the multi-verse limited, there might be worlds where he and his selves no longer exist.
It was a perplexing thought. Or, at least, he thought it a perplexing thought to think, and a thought that he did not think upon was a thought wasted... he thought. His idea was this: If there are realities in which he no longer existed then were there realities in which he never existed?
He was bored and curious. A very bad combination, especially when one forgot that this was the Wizard Marshall, the great troll Zelretch, who was in this state. It was this that led the rather aged man to collect to himself as much prana as he could and, instead of focusing it on a reality as he usually did when utilizing the Kaleidoscope, he focused it on the exact opposite of what he would usually do.
With a lazy sigh the Wizard Marshall looked a trifle disappointed and went to get out of the cosy fireside chair he was currently ensconced in.
At this point I would like to point out that at times Fate is a real bitch, especially when she misses her monthly ice-cream guzzling fest due to over-working.
Fate had noticed this large amount of prana hanging useless and already beginning to dissipate and decided to have a little fun. She was rather sorry for the trouble she had to cause one green-eyed child she liked to keep a motherly eye on.
Though she wasn't allowed to interfere directly as her existence as a concept forbid it does not mean that she couldn't get a little creative when an opportunity arose, an opportunity like this!
So moving with as much haste as she could she gathered all the prana there was (and there was a damn sight more than she really was expecting from a mortal realm!) and funnelled it all towards her desire. She may be unable to act when she wanted to but the rules never said anything about using a mortal's emissions to her advantage.
She thought of what she could do with all of this prana and then thought of that little green-eyed orphan she liked keeping an eye on. She cast a critical eye on the prana she had collected.
"Should be good enough to alter the destiny of about three dozen all told or at least put a blip in the damn thing"
So saying she funnelled the prana she had gathered out into the multi-verse, specifically at the 36 most unfortunate alternates of the child she had decided to claim as her duty, even beyond the norm.
She waited with baited breath.
She waited once again after taking another breath.
And then she felt the changes. Some were simply minor things that would escalate in due time. One such was a cat Animagus delivering a letter instead of a half-giant, one was a chance conversation with a snake at age nine, one was getting into a car accident that was being driven by a pair of dentists and their bushy-haired daughter and another was passing out with heat exhaustion and fatigue in sight of a nosy librarian.
Some, however, enacted greater changes in a more immediate time frame, and not all of them where pleasant. This was the risk of destiny, it will be fulfilled one way or another, but dammit if it won't fight you for every inch it can give and remain as damn ambiguous as it can right 'till the end. One such was the awakening of a soul fragment inside the boy that aggravated his mind until he became a piece of the soul fragment, an extension of its will. This soul however didn't want to play nicely with it's greater counterpart and would end in a bloody war spanning four decades and leaving the earth drowning in a sea of blood that flowed from the cadavers of almost seven billion human corpses. Another would spark the paranoia of an old man with a long white beard that would then build until our young hero would have to face not one but two dark lords simultaneously, even if one of them had an army of mutated and reinforced giant lemon drops for minions.
None of this was what had captured Fate's attention right now. There was one reality, which had warped and twisted itself almost inside out before settling. What caught her attention here was that she could no longer sense anything from this reality but an intense sense of joy and sorrow, life and death, right and wrong. She focused completely here and came across a fierce pair of burning green eyes staring back at her with such potential for both benign and malignant ends. This world now balanced on a knife's edge and she had accidentally put the future of an entire reality into the hands of a now five year old boy.
She glanced away in contemplation just in time to miss those green eyes flicker a penetrating grey, then purple, then back to green as they faded from her mind. This was most unexpected. The last thought she had on this reality before she decided to turn away to view the rest under her domain is just what would be so comforting about the scent of blood?
But this is not the story of Fate, but of that one child that now holds the balance of the world. What will he do? Will he raze it to the ground? Will he build it up even grander than ever before? Will he rule over it? Will he be remembered in history as a great champion or will he be scorned as a monster? Or perhaps he will fade into the halls of history taking his legacy with him.
Only time will tell where even Fate can no longer see, But for now let us turn our gaze onto the world in question and see what fruit whether wholesome or rotten will be born from this ordeal.
Harry Potter was no ordinary child. The neighbourhood of Privet Drive where he lived with his aunt and uncle at number four was as normal and regular as could possible be obtained while straitjackets for rosebushes had yet to be invented. The houses were identical right down to the door colour, everything was so exact that if it weren't for the different company cars parked outside you may be forgive for thinking this place a setting for dolls blown out of proportion. Harry however was not a regular child by any stretch of the imagination.
When at a distance he could be mistaken for homeless or perhaps, if he stood still, a scarecrow. When one got closer however they would find themselves pinned against the nearest flat surface, like a bug under a microscope, when confronted by the piercing green eyes of this child. If one could allow their eyes to flicker up they would notice a jagged and ugly wound on his forehead that looked as fresh as it had the day he was left on the doorstep of his relatives. Thankfully his messy black hair covered said disfigurement, at least partly, from view.
Appearance aside Harry was still abnormal by local definition. He had taught himself basic life skills ,as was necessary seeing as the Dursleys weren't going to waste time teaching him anything, such as potty training himself at a tender age quickly followed by basic reading and writing. His abilities in said fields were about the equivalent of a 'regular' nine year old.
Whereas in a more normal household such dedication to self-improvement would have been praised in the Dursleys' it was punished instead. And punished most severely. How dare he be better at numbers than his precious angel of a cousin Dudley? How could he make his dear cousin look like an unintelligible monkey with brain damage? How dare he out perform any of his cousin's darling playmates?
Each repeated 'infraction' earned him a punishment. From lashing with a belt to starvation in the cupboard under the stairs where he slept at night - Harry had felt it all and could not have cared less. In his young mind a family cared for their own and took care of them like the vague recollections he had of a red-headed woman's laughter or the chuckles of the messy-haired man with a mischievous grin adorning his face.
He had often thought long and hard on such topics when his behaviour warranted a long stint in his cupboard. He concluded that as family cares for their own and as the Dursleys didn't care for him, much the opposite in fact, then as far as he was concerned then they simply weren't family. If they didn't care for his achievements then so what?
He would do his very best so that whoever would become his real family would be impressed and then he could know what a family was like. He could cocoon himself in them and their love of which he would freely return and any that would dare to harm his family would regret it most dearly.
It was on a day like any other when it happened. Coming home after school Harry had his nose in a book he had borrowed from the school library. They had been assigned to read the story by next week and highlight where they had difficulty for their English lesson. Harry wanted it over so he could read more interesting things than singing cheeses dancing with cats in dresses. Dudley had gotten home first so he could play on his brand new Atari ST and blow up aliens or some such on one of the inane games he usually plays.
Getting in the door Harry caught the whiff of alcohol in the air. Never a good sign, especially as uncle Vernon had a business deal to attend to today. Hoping to slip off to his cupboard unmolested he almost made it but just as he passed by the door to the living room he heard Vernon's slurred tones
"BOY! GET IN HERE NOW!"
Sighing in resignation Harry took off his bag and set it aside before going in to encounter Mount Vernon. It looked like an eruption was already in progress and judging by the number of empty beer bottles down the side of the chair today was not going to be an easy one nor would it be gentle.
Harry looked up just in time to catch a glint of light before his uncle's belt impacted just above his eyes, very close to the scar that rested on his brow.
The pain was incredible and Harry saw lights flashing all around him as he tried to regain control of his faculties and rein in his nausea. Alas it was not to be.
As he managed to open his eyes again without wincing he looked up again at his uncle who became transfixed by his gaze before it further developed Vernon's rage.
"THIS IS ALL YOUR FAULT YOU FREAK OF NATURE! IT'S YOUR UNNATURALNESS THAT IS AFFECTING THIS GOOD FAMILY AND BY GOD ABOVE YOU WILL BE PUNISHED!"
With each word the belt came again and again, faster and more ferocious than ever before. It came down with a meaty thwack across his chest and a wince-inducing crack against his arms again and again until with the last bow it tore horizontally across his face the buckle catching against the whites of his eyes.
Writhing in pain he was barely aware of his Uncles ravings but by all hell he felt that last blow across his face. He was almost out of it as his uncle dragged him out into the passage and wrenched open the door of the cupboard, hinges and all, throwing young Harry bodily into the small space and further dazing him as Vernon replaced the door and ran to fetch boards and nails.
Incoherent on alcohol and rage Vernon babbled on and on "Stay in there forever!.. Never have to look in those god be damned eyes again... been too good to expect any better from an unnatural freak."
Everything darkening around him, Harry wished, he prayed with all his heart, that this truly was the end. An end to what he had suffered the last four years. An end to the abuse and trauma that had been his life so far.
Death had been ready to accept him with open arms and make a deal. She wished to avoid the master of Death irritation that so many of the boys alternates seemed to end up in but alas for Death one of his final thoughts were:
'I wonder what a real family is like?'
And his magic reacted.
Death was denied his chance, and the boy was whisked away from his cupboard, from his relatives, and even from England.
At this point several devices in the office of one Albus Dumbledore slowed and then stopped. Unfortunately for the Headmaster of Hogwarts it had been almost two years since he had last checked them and by now was confident enough in the wards they represented that he no longer felt the need to check them. The dancing instruments now without either audience or purpose stilled their dance and fell silent and no one would be any the wiser.
As this was happening Harry had appeared kneeling on rocky ground. The darkness at the edges of his vision was no longer just a product of imagination. The air around him felt heavy and tainted but he could not find the energy to care. As the last of his vision was swallowed in darkness he caught a glimpse of two young women approaching slowly and carefully.
The odd thing about them apart from their unusual white dresses which where reminiscent of ancient Greece was the colour of both their hair and eyes.