Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter or the characters of his universe, I just play in that sandbox for fun and without pay or any form of remuneration other than reviews and private messages; which are fortunately non-taxable.
AN: Great ideas for minigames, and some other neat ideas that had my muse on overdrive. Lucky for you, I get to sit on a plane for 6 hours at a time on several occasions this week, thus a new chapter is born. Cheers!
'Thoughts are in italics'
"Things Said, or Things Written"
Chapter 8: Moving Out
"Even if you fall on your face, you're still moving forward."
Harry exited the ladder up through the floor of the elementary school's locked maintenance shed to see through the light trickling in from the crack in the door that the room's area was primarily filled with lawn mowers, hedge trimmers, spare toilet plungers, and assorted metal shelving filled with fertilizers and cleaning products.
Harry looked around the room and smiled as a small bottle of Miracle Grow plant food lit up when he looked at it, showing it to be a collectable item; said bottle quickly joined the rest of the assorted gear and junk that Harry had collected on his journeys thus far. The bottle was a nice surprise as when examined in his inventory the trunk's information system informed Harry that by using said small bottle on a plant it would give Harry an associated temporary +5 to that Herbology attempt. A nice find to make upon leaving the rat warren, but nowhere close to how great of a find it was to discover the skill book sitting on the maintenance man's workbench; the name "Willy Greengrass" was scrawled in the front cover, finally giving Harry the name of the school's maintenance man as well as making him wonder if the man had any relation to his former, and soon future, classmate Daphne Greengrass. "The Pugilists Plan for Percussion Paunch Punching" not only gave Harry an immediate +3 to Unarmed but also +3 to Dual-Wielding due to it being a book on how rain alternating body blows on your foes, and once again proving to Harry that the bonus from the Comprehending the Incomprehensible perk was really paying off.
"And yoink, the book goes in the inventory." Harry said to himself with a smile while thinking to himself, 'Whoever said crime didn't pay apparently wasn't stealing the right items, or equipped with a bottomless trunk of inventory.' With that, Harry went to the door and unlocked the latch before exiting into the sunlight.
Just as the school bell for every elementary school student's favorite class rang, namely, recess.
As kids came rushing out of the school and onto the playground and football/rugby/cricket pitch in front of Harry, he spent a moment trying to remember what he used to do during recess and what he should do next.
"Hmmm, don't remember having much fun in recess previously, as Dudley and his friends usually made the most of the free time to torment-"Harry's commentary to himself was cut off by a yell from his cousin.
"There he is! Get the Freak!" Dudley yelled as the rotund lad started picking up speed but quickly being outstripped by the "lankier" members, read as "less shaped like a cantaloupe on toothpicks" as compared to Dudley, of "Big D's" gang of schoolyard bullies.
Harry looked at Dudley and the other boys running at him with an incredulous look, Harry grumbled something about probably getting off for boys being boys and the first day of school, and made a mental note to save the Cat's-Paw for special occasions. "Still, are you kidding me? I spent most of the class beating the stuffing out of him without even trying and he thinks I'm going to run from him now? And what the hell programmers? He still gets recess privileges when he wings a rock at a teacher, well ok I did that, but he accepted blame for it."
However apparently Dudley and his goons were dim enough to try and challenge Harry, as the world around Harry blurred and wavered around him while a message popped up on his screen, stating, "Combat Initiated!" and Harry found himself in combat attacking first.
Arming the Hufflepuff Shovel and Surrey Slugger in a Dual-Wielding stance, an evil sneer grew across Harry's lips, "Let's dance," and Harry gained the first attack.
In what was probably going to be remembered as an epic arse-kicking that would be told and retold through the annals of Surrey's Whinging Elementary School playground, Harry repaid Dudley and gang for several of the more memorable instances of Harry Hunting that Harry had experienced in his previous life.
Every forceful imprint of Hufflepuff's Shovel to Dudley's face cured Harry's memory of years of torment and repaid that annoying extra bouncing on the stairs above Harry's cupboard.
Every barbwire-wrapped cricket bat blow to the testicles of Piers Polkiss cleansed Harry's mind of viewing Ms. Polkiss on the kitchen table with the milkman between her thighs.
And when Harry introduced his shovel point to the Spleens of Malcom, Gordon, and Dennis, ah well, with the shear euphoria earned by meting out the blows, Harry was sure that three Angels had just earned their wings and Harry had a possible candidate for a Patronis happy thought.
"TaDa!" "You've Defeated Dudley Dursley and Big D's Gang, +300 Experience earned, +1 to Dual-Wielding, +1 to Armor Wearing. Loot bodies, Y or N?" The game asked him as Harry smiled wickedly down over the unconscious figures of Dudley and gang, shovel in one of Harry's hands, cricket bat in the other. Each of the downed bully's showed that their health bars were blinking at 1 health point due to Harry's savage and very satisfying, at least to Harry, beat down.
"Yes and double yes yah bloody wankers, who's taking whose lunch money now, bitches." Harry responded and put extra emphasis on the word "bitches"; in a statement that would have sounded a lot more badass if it was not flowing from the mouth of a 10 year old.
"You gained 50 Pounds muggle money, 2 comic books, 5 strings of licorice, and one container of Turkish delight. *Warning, enemy is un-killable and thus un-strippable, but you really didn't want to see them naked anyway.*" The message popped up into Harry's vision, and he found himself shivering and nodding vigorously in agreement to the warning's last statement.
Harry would have taken a few more moments to gloat, perhaps relieved his bladder on Dudley's face, but that's when the Playground Monitor spotted Harry standing over his downed foes and shouted at Harry.
"Hey you Hooligan! Stop right there! No fighting allowed!" The doughty looking Playground Monitor yelled. Harry's head whipped to the side to see the older pear shaped woman charging towards him wearing a baggy pink sweater, mom-jean versions of pink jeans, and pink trainers; the lady could have been Umbridge's long lost muggle relative given the amount of pink the woman was wearing and the fact that both Umbridge and the Playground Monitor looked to have booth hit every branch of the ugly-tree on their way down.
Harry's vision lit up with flashing blue and red lights as a yellow badge appeared in the top of his sight, as Harry watched the pink monstrosity charging across the playground at him; while on his mini-map the red dot with a red cone of vision appeared on his mini-map and was pointed right at him.
Harry took off at a sprint, hop, a skip, then bunny jumped in a perpendicular line to the incoming teacher who was hot on his trail but losing ground due to Harry's speed.
"Bah ha ha ha ha! You'll never take me alive copper!" Harry chortled as the chase had effectively made his decision for him on whether or not he would be wasting his time sitting around school or go out and explore the wider world.
Harry zig-zagged through his two dimensional classmates who were playing ball, and then jumped through a set of two dimensional girls skipping rope.
"Zoing!" The sound effect once again accompanied Harry's escape perk.
The momentum of the perk slingshot Harry mid jump up and over the school playground's monkey bars and landed him on top of a jungle gym made out of large colorfully painted tractor tires, basically cubes made out of 6 foot diameter tires stacked together in blocks and bolted together so that it was two cubes tall by three cubes wide on each red, yellow, blue, or green painted side.
Harry looked back and saw that the Playground Monitor had gotten waylaid by the jump rope and was working her way around the guards, and for that moment at least, Harry was just outside the edge of the red cone of vision shown on his mini-map/radar.
"So long sucker." Harry quipped with a smirk and then hopped off the other side of the jungle gym, dropping the almost 4 meters to the ground and successfully breaking any line of sight by the playground's adult supervision.
With a jaunty skip and then sprint speed bunny hoping, Harry poured on the acceleration and slid around the closest corner of the red brick school building, putting Harry along the backside of the school and towards the dead end corner where the school kept its waste bins.
Stopping at the corner, Harry paused as his vision stopped flashing red and blue and went back to regular vision, the gold badge in the middle top of his screen starting to blink off and on.
Holding his breath so he could hear better, Harry heard the Playground Monitor's voice say, "I thought I saw him go this way? Hmm, I must have been wrong, oh well."
Peeking around the corner, Harry saw the Monitor turn her back towards Harry and walk back to the playground and the kids playing there, causing Harry to sport a devious smirk.
"Excellent." Harry said, while disarming his shovel and cricket bat and turning to head towards Surrey; a direction that would take him around behind the school and away from the Monitor's active guard path.
Doing so took Harry right by the blind alley and the mission exclamation point labeled, "Up On The Roof Top Like St. Nick." Which caused Harry's left eyebrow to rise for a moment as he tried to rack his memory about what it could be, only for the memory to come back to him in a flash.
Harry slowly smiled and respond to himself, "I'm going to learn how to Apparate."
Harry remembered the trouble with magical travel that he had experienced in his previous life, and he now knew that a success in his previous walkthrough of his life did not guarantee a success in this life. Thus Harry's first action before entering the alley with the mission was to open his menu and go to the save screen rather than just doing the quick save-game command that he normally used.
"Save game slots" The menu read. With to the right of that message were three slots with a title, dates, and times denoting what they were.
1. "Auto-Save Slot" - "Revenge of the Freak, aka The Freak Strikes Back"
2. "Saved Game 1" – "Fiery ROUS Nest"
3. "Open Slots 2+"
Harry looked at the saved slots and was happy to realize that he could have as many saved games as he liked, but in this case he didn't have a need to keep the Saved Game 1 save file from back after he had killed the rats and leveled up.
"Save game in slot two." Harry commanded.
To which the game responded, "Are you sure you want to save over the file already in Slot 2? Y or N?"
"Yes, let's get this going." Harry impatiently ordered before seeing the game pause around him and save before allowing him to move towards the exclamation point in front of him.
Harry marched into the blind alley, stinking overflowing trash bins full of month old macaroni-necklaces and empty glue-paste bottles from the kindergarten class rotted in a bin to his right while last week's mystery-meat from the cafeteria gathered flies in the bin to Harry's left.
All together not a very auspicious location for Harry's first remembered bought of accidental magical travel. Then again, given his life up to that point and his inauspicious home life with the Dursleys and all around getting crapped on by the Wizarding world in his previous life, well, perhaps a trash laden alley was fitting given fate and the programmer's interest in screwing his life over every chance they could; and twice on days ending in the letter "Y".
Harry punched the exclamation point for "Up On The Roof Top Like St. Nick" and the world seemed to burp and shiver, suddenly Dudley and his gang appeared around the opening of the dead end alley, and a message appeared in Harry's vision as the world paused, "Accidental Magic perk Unlocked! Magical Transportation Skill Unlocked, Magical Transportation set to 1!"
It was at that point that a horizontal line labeled "Destination" with a vertical line bisecting it labeled "Determination" appeared in the middle of Harry's vision as an X like you would expect to find on a map. A third free standing horizontal power bar was aligned to the side of the ex and had a growing rainbow of colors starting with white at the bottom, green in the middle, and bright red at the top where it was labeled "Haste" at the top, "Deliberation" in the middle, and at the bottom the white area was labeled "Sloth." And along these three lines a meter bounced from one side of each line then back the other direction, and all three meters almost moved almost too fast to track. Other than the labels, no directions where given.
"What the bloody hell am I supposed to do with this?" Harry groused as he noticed that as Dudley and his gang moved closer down the alley, the meter for the line that read "Haste, Deliberation, & Sloth" went faster, and faster.
And just like in Harry's previous life, he hadn't a clue how to deal with the controls for the mission.
Unlike in his previous life, Harry had turned on the tutorials for this version of the game.
"Ding!" the tutorial message popped up with its cheerful bell sound, a tutorial that was ominously labeled: "Um, I Think Your Arm Fell Off." Harry didn't like the sounds of that, but fortunately the world had paused around him, so he kept reading.
"Congratulation! You've just unlocked your Accidental Magic perk and are attempting to flee a beating from your cousin by Apparating to the roof of the school; your Magical Transportation skill has been unlocked. Accidental Magic is fun! Accidental Magic is your friend! Well, at least when it isn't accidentally disappearing the underwear off of the woman's field hockey team and then leaving said panties in your lap while being well in sight of said women who are armed with long wooden sticks and a penchant for throat punching and groin stomping. The less said about that the better; however you should be thrilled to reach this step of physical development! Next you know you'll be waking up in the middle of the night with unexplained sticky accidents; an accident that has absolutely nothing to do with accidental magic. Please note that Accidental Magic does not require a focus (wand, etc.) to be used. Your Accidental Magic will rarely activate, and only in cases of extreme emotional and/or physical distress."
Harry just shook his head at the description of the new perk, though it was a bit amusing. The tutorial continued to scroll in front of his eyes.
"Welcome to your first chance at Apparition. Due to your current Magical Transportation skill of 1 and your reliance on uncontrolled Accidental Magic, the chances of Splinching yourself and leaving behind important body parts are somewhere between "Almost Assured," and "You weren't really using that leg anyway." All magical travel is controlled by your Magical Transportation skill; this includes Portkey use, Apparition, and transport through the Floo Network. When you have a low skill level you'll fly out of the Floo while flailing through the air, fall on your arse and knock the air out of your lungs when using a Portkeys, and the meters controlling how accurately you control the three requirements of Apparition (Destination, Determination, and Deliberation) will seem to fly by in a blur; especially when you are stressed which is the only times that Accidental Magic can trigger. The key is to practice, practice, practice, oh, and hope you lock in the destination at the point where it meets your determination to get there, and to do so without haste or sloth but rather Deliberation. Merely make a mental command of "now" when you see the meter hit the correct spot, and you will succeed. The goal is to make your target hit the middle with each meter, X-marks the spot and be Deliberate. The greater your skill level in Magical Transportation the slower the meters move, and the larger the middle target area will be for each meter. Right now your skill level is a grand total of 1 point, the lowest it can go, good luck!"
The world activated again.
The meters seemed to fly back and forth on their corresponding lines.
Dudley and his gang moved closer.
And Harry Potter gulped before thinking, "Now! Now, and… um, Now!" Only to see the last meter peg the spot at the top of the Deliberation power bar and right in the red zone for "Haste."
The world around Harry went black, and it felt like he was simultaneously being squeezed by a super powered Molly Weasley hug across his whole body while at the same time being pulled through a salt-water taffy stretching machine and then forced through a funnel.
A pop sounded in Harry's ears and the world reappeared with him looking down at the alley below him which housed the same trash cans, one Dudley Dursley, three young bullies, and Harry Potter's waist, crotch, and legs standing on the concrete below and slowly toppling over and hitting the ground.
"Ouch!" Harry yipped as his splinched lower half landed on his tailbone, a tailbone that was now disconnected from his spine yet connected through some phantom means to the torso and arms that were sitting on the ledge of the roof looking down at the alley below.
"Apparition Failed!" A message popped up in Harry's vision, as if it wasn't obvious already, what with his torso resting in an upright position flat on the roof of the school.
"Whoa, look at that would ya." Dudley said wide eyed as he stood over Harry's lower half and toed one of Harry's legs with his trainer.
"Oh, Hey! Stop that!" Harry shouted down at Dudley who had just kicked Harry's thigh again.
Dudley looked up at the roof wide eyed and opened mouthed, only to see Harry glare down at him and Harry biting his tongue in thought.
On the roof Harry grunted in concentration, only to see his lower half in the alley below kick its right foot up and between Dudley's spread legs.
"Heh heh heh, ok, now game, load previous saved game." Harry smirked. Sure he had splinched himself, but at least he had fun doing so.
A half hour was filled with multiple retries and game reloads following increasingly humorous splinches where Harry got to experience life as: bald Harry, Harry's imitation of Voldemort ala Harry without a nose, backwards head Harry, Harry the one legged man, Harry with legs swapped with arms, and Harry the eunuch. Finally, Harry found himself appearing on the roof once again, but this time standing and looking down at the alley below him; and not with his head looking down his back and towards his buttocks.
"Testicles and important stuff, check, head shoulders knees and toes, check! Everything's pointing in the right direction, check! Woot!" Harry quickly groped and patted himself down, only to find out that he had successfully Apparated using Accidental Magic.
"Apparated to the roof without Splinching! Up On The Roof Top Like St. Nick mission success! +500 Experience, +5 to Magical Transportation."
Harry smiled, flipped a two fingered salute to Dudley and his group below who were digging through the garbage to find Harry and not realizing Harry was instead looking down on them from the roof.
Harry continued smirking as he backed away from the ledge overlooking the alley, and instead turned to look out over the roof of the school and at the towns of Big and Little Whinging surrounding the school.
Every street looked the same, row of houses backing up to other identical rows of houses, all appearing to have been built by the same architect and developer in order to make a panoramic view of bland suburban sprawl.
"What a boring mess of normality." Harry looked out over the row upon row of identical houses with identical normal mundane muggle yards, cars, and yards.
Harry sighed while thinking to himself before shaking his head and smiling, 'I'll never be one of those wanker blood purists, but there really is something to be said for the crazy mix of life and styles in the wizarding world; even if most wizards look like they hired Boy George or the artist formerly known as Prince for a clothing designer.'
Beyond the rows of bland houses, and far in the distance, Harry looked at where he thought the city lay. From the height of the school's roof Harry could just make out what he thought was London, but was in reality probably just the outskirts of the city.
Nonchalantly walking across the roof of the school, the gravel on the roof crunching under his combat boots, Harry made his way to where a tall tree bordered the wall of the school and reached a height accessible from the roof. Taking a leap off the roof and onto a fork in the trunk of the tree, Harry caught himself on the trunk, then reoriented his trajectory to take into account the order of branches growing from the tree for his path down to the ground.
Bouncing down the oak tree, thick limb to limb before finally dropping the final eight feet to the ground, Harry brushed himself off before heading off the property of the school.
"Best to do one more sweep of the neighborhood before I ditch this place and head to the city." Harry said to himself, for if there was one thing Harry had learned in this video game called life, it was that thoroughly exploring everything had its advantages, and it was better not to assume that nothing had changed now that the tutorial was over.
"Save game," Harry ordered, and then hopped off towards the Dursley's house.
"Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's off to the zoo I go…" Harry shook his money maker while standing in the driveway of Number 4 Privet Drive and sang his little ditty; the only difference being that this time he was clothed while gyrating in front of the Dursley's house.
Hovering next to the front door of the Dursley's house was a gold star titled "Quest: A Trip to the Zoo with the Walrus & Giraffe."
Harry remembered that the trip had originally been for Dudley's birthday during his first life, but perhaps that was just because in that life he had somehow triggered the quest during the summer without realizing it rather than the quest being a time specific event. Either way, in this case the quest was available to him, and that meant that Harry could gain a ride to London and a chance to practice his parseltongue, if nothing else.
"Oh," Harry got a gleam in his eyes as he thought of the possibilities, "Maybe even find a store where I can sell this crap and possibly gain some new loot!" His smile stretched across his face at the potential.
Harry touched the floating star to start the Quest and a message popped up, "Starting this Quest will progress time to the next morning and initiate travel to London and the Zoological Society of London—London Zoo. Are you sure you want to start this Quest and leave Little Whinging, Y or N?"
Harry crossed his arms before his chest, the leather of his punk rocker jacket making soft raspy sounds as it stretched over his elbows and shoulders. Trying to be normal and nothing special had led to fifteen years of putting up with crap and spending countless wasted doing chores, sitting in boring classes, and hours lost brooding rather than leveling and grinding to be all he could be. And now the game was asking whether he really wanted a break from the shite that was the Dursleys and Privet drive?
"Yes, get me away from this hell hole of normality." Harry replied, and the gold star disappeared in a sparkle of motes of light that disappeared before they reached the ground.
The door to the front of the house opened up and Petunia and Vernon exited, both wearing their bland tan and brown coats, looking like your everyday suburbanites.
Vernon locked the door and turned towards Harry, "The school called and doesn't want Dudley in class tomorrow due to some mix-up with those damn bureaucrats running the public school system. I won't have my Dudley missing out on joy of the first week of school and meeting back up with his mates. So, the parents of Dudley's friends and I have agreed to take the day off from work and take them to the zoo tomorrow." At this point Vernon sneered at Harry.
"Unfortunately Ms. Fig has come down with something that looks like Chicken Pox, and there is no possibility that I would leave you in the house unsupervised and able to wreak your freakishness around the place. But that doesn't mean I want you with us." Vernon pointed his finger in Harry's face, making sure to drill home the point that Vernon didn't care for Harry, not one bit.
Harry just looked up at his uncle with a blasé expression on his face, used to the usual vitriol that came out of Vernon's mouth and not all that scared of the man at the moment; Harry waited with his arms crossed, combat boot tapping in annoyance as he tuned out his Uncle's normal threats and orders.
"That said, I have no choice but to bring you along. So, you're coming with us, but when we get to the zoo I don't want to see you or even have to deal with you for the rest of the day, and if you're not at the entrance to the zoo and waiting for us an hour before the zoo closes, then you can get your own ride home." Vernon made a squinty eyed look and puffed himself up while trying to tower over Harry as if to threaten Harry into obedience. In Harry's eyes, however, the squinty eyed puffed up look only made Vernon appear like Vernon had forgotten to use the facilities before locking the house and was now wavering between constipation and trying to clamp down with his anus so as not to soil himself.
The humor of the look, coupled with the possibility of being left behind in downtown London, something that perfectly fit Harry's schemes, was enough to make Harry beam with joy, "Yes, absolutely understood Uncle." Harry replied with a huge smile on his face.
Vernon blinked at Harry's response before shaking his head and growling as he made his way to the car. Harry smirked and quickly jumped into the back of the car, he was going to the Zoo, how could anything ruin that?
As the car left the drive way, Harry felt like he was having an out of body experience as his point of view was sucked upwards out of the car suddenly was looking down on the car and Privet Drive; his point of view zooming away until the panoramic rooftop view of Little Whinging was visible, and far in the distance was the city of London.
The clouds picked up speed moving across the sky, the sun moved its course in a matter of seconds, and the stars popped out before Harry's view started to black out at the black edges crept towards the middle in an ever shrinking circle of view. A middle view where Harry last saw the car driving down the street, and then the screen went black as the day had passed.
AN: So out of school, out of the Dursley's house, and off to London… WOOT! So thank you so much for the mini-game ideas, I tried to take elements of the ideas listed and put them into the Apparition mini-game which should be a pain in the arse to deal with for plenty of humorous future engagements. Shorter chapter compared to previous, but out to you a lot quicker than the last time, and I'm still on travel and able to write so hopefully the Zoo chapter will come out quickly. One can only hope. Anyway, after the zoo it's into London. Of course Harry will be getting to Diagon and Knockturn eventually, but I need ideas of places in London to go that will have missions. I've already heard the classics of the tower and tower bridge, parliament building with the clock tower, Buckingham etc., but I need some scummy places or not so nice places in London for ideas. Specifically, what type of tasks could you see happening at the docks? How about in the grimy crime ridden areas? That's right, Harry is going to be introduced to the criminal factions of the muggle and magical world, so send those ideas my way and thank you for the help. Cheers!