Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter.
For some reason this got stuck in my head, and I need to write it out in order to focus on Konoha's Maelstrom.
This story is loosely inspired by 'The Future Remapped' by Shezza88, which was sadly abandoned and taken down a long time ago. It's still floating around the net though. This isn't a rewrite, and I'm going to hold off on rereading the original until this takes on a life of its own. I'm approaching this very differently than I am Konoha's Maelstrom. For one, I'm writing this knowing the eventual pairing. So without further ado…
In case you managed to get this far without reading the summary. It's not going to be a smutfest.
As far as I'm concerned, the Lily in the story isn't Harry's mother. Yes, they are genetically related, but she didn't give birth to him or raise him. Harry doesn't really even have any memories of the Lily that did give birth to him. He's not going to be gooey eyed over her at first sight, and he's going to have a weird enough time interacting with her even before romance becomes an issue. Like I said, the pairing is eventual.
Narcissa and Bellatrix aren't going to be closet blood traitors, and they won't have functionally identical personalities. There will be real character development. How the pairing will develop is going to be a major part of the plot, which brings me to the next big difference from my Naruto story. The plot is up in the air. With KM, I've got multiple versions of the plot planned out to like three arcs. With this, I've got… well, a few vague ideas. It's a bit of an experiment. I've got a good feeling about it though.
Consider yourself warned on the romance issue. I'm not cutting the pairing down. If any of that is intolerable to you, I'm not quite sure why you're reading this. Although if you've gotten this far I don't see any reason you can't stick around a little longer.
Harry will be powerful from the start. In some senses not quite as powerful as Voldemort or Dumbledore, but he's pushing into their league. The reasons for that shall be obvious.
Well, the past is pretty much canon up to Order of the Phoenix, and becomes less and less canon compliant from then on. I'll try to make things clear as we move along.
Special thanks to Last of the Ancients, for being an awesome sounding board.
~~~~~~~~~~~Throwing Out the Script~~~~~~~~~~~
~ Chapter 1: Traveling Light ~
It was a beautiful night.
The full moon and stars were set exquisitely on a pitch-black backdrop, bathing the forest in soft light. Leaves were rustling in a light wind, an owl was hooting almost musically, and there was the vague chirping of some sort of insect off in the distance.
It felt wrong to Harry that Voldemort was planning to do an evil ritual on such a nice night. There should be thunderclouds, and eerie silence broken only by twigs snapping under his feet at the wrong moment. This was completely the wrong mood for a showdown.
To be fair, it wasn't like he knew that the ritual was evil. It could be that the Dark Lord was trying to grow back his hair. The whole baldness thing Voldemort had going was pretty comical at times. But all things considered, Harry doubted the ritual was going to be something harmless like that.
There they are, Harry thought as he felt the foul presence of Death Eaters on the edge of his senses. All he had to do to find them was head towards the icky feeling. He made his way towards them stealthily, ignoring for the moment his magic roiling in anticipation. It always reacted to the presence of the new and 'improved' Death Eaters by urging him to utterly annihilate them.
It used to be that the Death Eater starter kit consisted of an ugly mask and an uglier tattoo, but Voldemort had upped the ante the year before. Now many of them were artificially empowered by… something. Something that seemed to taint magic itself, giving them the moniker 'The Tainted'. Anyone with a talent for sensing magic couldn't stand being around Tainted Death Eaters.
Except Voldemort, somehow.
Harry soon found himself at the edge of a clearing. A dozen or so Tainted were up to something in the middle of the clearing, about fifteen meters away from him. He crouched down, hiding a large tree and some bushes, pulling a large diamond out of his pocket and burying it in the ground.
The diamond was a marvelous artifact that had cost him a pretty penny. It had cost him quite a lot of pretty pennies actually. It had a plethora of runes etched along its cleavage, and it was primed to put up incredibly strong wards to stop any kind of teleportation at a moments thought.
It was tied to his mind, and could be activated and deactivated with a thought. It needed to recover from being used, so he couldn't deactivate it to apparate behind his opponent and reactivate, but it was an incredibly useful escape mechanism. On deactivation it would also tear down any wards of a similar nature that were weaker than it. That meant wards that weren't anchored, and a lot of ones that were.
It was worth every single one of the five thousand galleons it had cost him. Even if it was a bit irritating having to go and retrieve it later when his enemies had vacated the area.
"Be careful, you fools!" an irritated female voice rang out from the clearing. "Those eggs are fragile!"
Lestrange, Harry thought with mixed feelings. The opportunity to kill the witch was something he'd been hoping to get for a long time, but her presence here was going to make things quite difficult.
Harry zoomed in on the scene with his glasses. He'd had his eyes fixed by Madame Pomfrey when he was sixteen, but Albus had enlightened him as to the reason that many wizards and witches wore glasses when poor eyesight was a problem rather easily fixed by magic. You could put all sorts of nifty spells on glasses. Unfortunately any Wizarding clothing shop proprietor with half a brain put privacy enchantments on their wares, so the transparency functionality was not quite as fun as Harry would have liked.
The Tainted didn't look as bad as they felt on his senses, but that was a testament to how disgusting their magical presence was as they were damn ugly. Their skin was pale and sallow, dry and cracking in places with dark blue veins showing in stark contrast. Pupil-less yellow eyes filled with malice and insanity completed the horrid image.
In exchange for making them certifiably insane and painful to look at, the Taint granted its possessors a considerable boost in their powers. Even annoyances like Draco Malfoy and his goons became serious threats. Although Malfoy had managed to maintain his place as an annoyance with his crazed ranting. He was mostly unintelligible, but every third or so word that came out of his mouth was some derogatory reference to Harry's scar, face, and oddly enough his bum. That aspect of Draco's obsession was something that Harry really could have done without learning about.
The Taint was most helpful to the least skilled, as it stripped away most tactical thinking in favor of uncontrolled urges to perpetuate mindless violence. Their simple-mindedness wasn't much comfort when their flipendos were suddenly lethal battering rams of force. Especially when they tended to use much worse than flipendo.
The one very surprising exception to that was Bellatrix Lestrange. It was like her original crazy had already been so bad that the new crazy had pushed her so far that she looped all the way back into saneness. Or relative saneness, at any rate.
A sane Bellatrix was more dangerous than a bat-shit crazy one, and she'd been a formidable foe even when she was a few bludgers too many for a Quodpot game. A sane Bellatrix with Taint empowered magic was really fucking dangerous, even to Harry. And to top it all off, the last vestiges of her once legendary beauty had been brutally wiped away by the Taint.
"Used to be that if you'd die at her wand, you'd at least be able to enjoy the view on your way out," Moody had complained to Harry over a bottle of Ogden's Finest, back when Harry had still been running with the Order. "Now it's just a totally shitty fucking way to go." Harry had valiantly resisted the urge to point out that anyone Moody took out would have a similarly unsavory view on their way to the afterlife.
Harry liked to think of her vanished beauty as karma, but he could understand the sentiment. The pictures of Bellatrix from her schooldays were certainly… well, he wasn't going there. Not even theoretically.
That's a little better, Harry thought as he watched her vaporize the unfortunate lackey for being clumsy with the dragon eggs again. Not that it would help much. Twelve Tainted would be difficult but possible to take down if he decided to go in wand blazing. Eleven Tainted plus Lestrange was straight up suicide. He'd have to take her out first to even stand a chance, and he wasn't sure it was even worth the risk of trying yet.
Turning his attention to the items they'd gathered for the ritual, he tried to figure out what the plan was. With Lestrange here to oversee, it had the potential to be something quite significant. He'd managed to find out about tracking certain black market transactions and finding a disturbing pattern. Even though Voldemort had been in charge of Magical Britain for two years he still maintained regulations on trade, and had to go through the less than legal channels to acquire something things. Like three dozen dragon eggs and twenty three liters of Veela blood.
Clearing his mind of all distracting thoughts, Harry loosened the mental restraints on the remnants of Voldemort's Horcrux in his head. He looked over the items that he could see and waited for any kind of recognition. There was a faint sense of something about the combination of purified silver and Dwarven wrought iron, but nothing really got triggered.
He wasn't about to delve into Riddle's memories while on the battlefield. That sort of thing had to be done very carefully in a safe place so that he didn't risk absorbing something from Riddle that he didn't want.
It was at the beginning of his sixth year at Hogwarts that Albus had revealed to him all the details about Voldemort and the war that he'd been holding back, most importantly that Harry was carrying around a piece of the Dark Lord in his head. The reason for the sudden honesty was that the Headmaster had acted stupidly and impulsively by putting on a ring that he should have known was trapped.
The old man's impulsiveness had saddled him with The Withering, a nasty curse that consumed its victim bit by bit every time they used magic, even unconsciously. With less than a year to live even if he never cast another spell Albus had decided to change his plans.
They'd had many discussions about what was to come over the first school term, and many lessons on the mind arts. And on the winter solstice they'd performed a ritual that burned out the 'living' part of the Horcrux in Harry's head by imprinting Albus mind onto his own.
Albus Dumbledore began his next great adventure that very night.
That was how Harry Potter ended up with the knowledge of 1981 Tom Riddle and 1996 Albus Dumbledore tightly sealed in his head.
He didn't automatically know everything they knew, or even anything they knew. Their memories and skills were tightly sealed up so that he didn't become some unholy schizophrenic combination of Voldemort and Dumbledore. Sixteen years of Harry Potter would be crushed under the weight of the two Titans lives. Although the resulting psychopath would probably have a fondness for treacle tart.
What he very carefully did was absorb bits and pieces, starting with Legilimency and Occlumency. Even then, he had to smooth out the differences of between their approaches and deal with any stray thoughts that had hitched a ride. After every battle, he would carefully absorb knowledge on whatever had caught his interest.
There were definitely problems, as learning spells this way came with their originators habits if he wanted to take their skills with the spells as well. Early on Harry had nearly blasted Ron's head off for trying to get him to rejoin the Quidditch Team too persistently before realizing how deeply personality was embedded in knowledge. That hadn't been the last of his problems with personality contamination either.
When the war had started up in earnest, Harry was still a relative nobody in terms of skill. He was good deal better than anyone else his age, but still not match for the kinds of opponents he would be facing in his quest to destroy the Horcruxes. He'd come up with what he thought was a foolproof trick to help out on that front.
He connected his reflexes to the Riddle memories. There was no memory or skill transfer involved. If Harry didn't know how to deal with something, Riddle's memories would react for him. If he cast a spell like that, he wouldn't know how to cast it afterwards.
He would have preferred using Albus's memories for the trick, but there was a fundamental difference between a shattered Horcrux and the impression of his mentor seared into his mind. Riddle's memories resided in the husk of the Horcrux, a further barrier between them and Harry's mind.
Albus hadn't parted with a piece of his soul, so his gift was far less insulated. The transfer of knowledge and skills was easier, but the risk of mental contamination and the difficulty of removing that contamination were both much higher.
Harry's first tentative explorations into that method of linking to Albus's reflexes had left him with a fondness for smoking Gleamblossom from a pipe. And the urge to grow a long beard so that he could look like Gandalf while doing so. He didn't mind that particular habit as Gleamblossom had a purifying effect on his magic, and smoking a pipe reminded him of when he wanted to grow up to be Sherlock Holmes.
He did purge the desire for a beard though. That took a week's worth of meditation.
All in all it had been relatively harmless. But the next time he tried might not be so easy to brush off. With his luck he would end up pining after Gellert Grindelwald. That piece of the Headmaster's history had him treating Albus's memories with extreme caution. He'd much rather make stupid anagrams with his name than deal with that.
Ron and Hermione had expressed concerns for his increasingly dark tactics, but Harry had waved them off. They didn't know about the memories, so they couldn't understand that he was just harmlessly borrowing Voldemort's expertise from time to time. He didn't realize that it wasn't so harmless until a pensieve review of a battle had revealed the cold smile on his face as he beheaded Marcus Flint.
By that point Ron, Hermione, and most of the Order members they collaborated with enough to see him in battle were wary of him. Scared even. No one knew about the memories, and even if he wanted to telling them would likely make it worse. So he'd distanced himself from them, and not even his two oldest friends had put up a fuss. There were traces of Voldemort's ruthlessness in battle that he would probably never be able to rid himself of, but he'd been much more careful about contamination since then.
The hairs on the back of Harry's neck raised, and he found himself spinning around almost not of his own volition.
There was a sound like an electrical zap as he batted away the mass of writhing tentacles made of purple energy bearing down on him. He responded with a concussive wave of force.
His opponent was undaunted by the attack, slashing his wand straight down and seemingly slicing through the blast. The ground on either side of him was ravaged by the spell but he stood unharmed, continuing the downward motion of his wand to stab it in the ground.
Harry abandoned his next spell in favor of pumping magic into his legs and launching himself ten meters into the air and back into a flip. The ground where he'd stood erupted into a pillar of lava. He landed partway into the clearing, his instinctive shield catching the few globs of hot magma that had splashed his way when the pillar came crashing down.
I don't think I'm getting my diamond back, Harry thought forlornly as he looked at the pond of lava that covered where he'd buried his enchanted gem. My precious…
But the diamond was fair trade for getting a chance at taking out the Dark Lord, whose presence actually increased Harry's chances of success.
"Lord Voldemort," Harry greeted calmly as his nemesis strolled across the lava casually, ignoring the fact that it should incinerate him.
"Harry Potter. How delightful it is to see you again after all this time. You've been doing rather well for yourself, I see."
Still bald I see, Harry joked to himself as he looked at the Dark Lord properly for the first time in over a year.
During what had ended up being called 'The Battle of Hogwarts' Ron had gloatingly revealed that they not only knew of the Horcruxes, but had also destroyed them all. He'd been provoked by Lucius Malfoy commenting on how he and his whole family were useless dead weight, and reacted in his typically hotheaded manner. Rattled by the possibility that he might not be immortal anymore, Voldemort had done the smart thing and fled the battlefield. He'd never put himself in direct confrontation with Harry since, as splitting his soul further wasn't possible.
Voldemort was grinning like the cat that ate the canary, setting the Boy-Who-Lived on edge. He was the canary in that simile, and he was completely uneaten. Wasn't he?
Something's up, Harry realized. Fuck, I hope he hasn't made himself immortal again.
Under normal circumstances, being surrounded by the Tainted, Bellatrix Lestrange, and Voldemort would mean that he was about to be squished like a bug. Even just facing Voldemort on his own would end with the same result. A bigger, meaner bug – maybe with a stinger – but a bug all the same. But Voldemort had the Elder Wand.
Harry was the Master of Death, although he had no idea what that actually meant. When Albus, the previous owner of the Elder Wand, died possession had fallen to Harry. That made him the owner of all three of the Deathly Hallows. Supposedly that was pretty special, but there weren't any records on why, and he certainly hadn't noticed anything to do with it.
Albus had been buried with the wand. Voldemort had been searching for the legendary deathstick, so a few subtle clues had led him to think he hit the jackpot. A bit of grave robbery later and the Dark Lord thought he was unbeatable. Which he essentially was, but only on his own merits.
It was a cautionary measure on Harry and Albus's parts. If Voldemort at any point realized that his Horcruxes were being destroyed, or were destroyed, he wasn't likely to put himself in a dangerous position. But if he thought that he had a wand that made him undefeatable he wasn't going to hide away. Even if he never caught on to his loss of immortality, believing he was unbeatable would make him more eager to fight Harry when the time came.
The owner of the Elder Wand wielding the Elder Wand was unbeatable. But more importantly for Harry, the owner of the Elder Wand with the wand being used against him was unbeatable. Neither situation guaranteed the defeat of one's opponent, but as long as he was fighting back they wouldn't be able to take him down. And if it meant being able to take down Voldemort, Harry would suffer even absorbing Albus's love for lemon drops and Gellert Grindelwald.
But only as a last resort. And then he'd go into isolation for however many years it took meditate that out of his brain.
With Voldemort using the Elder Wand, they could not defeat Harry.
There was still the problem of why exactly Voldemort had shown up. He'd somehow clearly known that Harry would be there. He'd avoided Harry like the plague even with the wand for over a year, so what had changed?
The sound of a spell hitting something behind him startled Harry.
He reflexively activated the 'Eyes in the Back of My Head' feature of his glasses, one lens showing the what was going on behind him while he kept the majority of his attention on Voldemort. There was a quickly fading glow in the air behind him, as though something had hit a shield.
I've got a bad feeling about this, Harry thought as he noticed a slight silvery glow by his feet.
There were silver lines in the ground around him, forming complex runes. A quick glance showed that he was in a in a pentagon of runes. The pentagon he was in was in between two other pentagons, and he could see they were set in a circle around the clearing comprised of a lot more pentagons. Without counting, Harry would guess there were probably thirty-seven in total. One for every dragon egg, and then one for him.
"Good help is so hard to find," Voldemort said in mock disappointment. "Bella, dear."
Bella dear obliged by cursing the Tainted who'd tried to attack Harry into gory bits.
"I don't know why you even bother with them," Harry said, hiding his tenseness at the realization that he was probably trapped. "The Tainted are so ugly. And stupid. And smelly. And did I mention stupid? Oh, and perfringo!"
The powerful silver light of his shield piercer screeched as it dissipated harmlessly against the invisible barrier between him and Voldemort, who merely smiled at the attempt on his life.
"I'm onto you now, Harry Potter." Voldemort drew out his name as though savoring it, ignoring Harry throwing powerful curses against the shield. "It's quite clever of you, fishing for any information you might be able to check against that nifty little Horcrux in your head."
The Dark Lord was smiling like a cat that had just eaten five canaries and was looking at another ten. A big, dangerous cat. Like a saber tooth tiger. Well, no use denying it at this point. Harry gave up trying to break the barrier with spells for the moment.
"Ok, you got me," Harry shrugged, loosening the protections on Albus's knowledge. Whatever these runes were, they were something far more sophisticated than Voldemort had been comfortable working with in 1981. "What gave it away?"
"Oh, the little things. How you always seemed to know things you shouldn't. How your dueling style seemed to match mine."
"Rookwood," Harry realized. "Should have never let the bastard get away." He'd had other priorities at the time.
"Oh yes, the memory of that fight was quite enlightening," Voldemort said smugly. "And from there it was a simple matter to give you breadcrumbs to follow. I thought you might be watching my old procurement networks, so I simply let you solve a few puzzles so you thought you were being clever. And you so obligingly led yourself straight to your own defeat."
"Don't count me out so quickly," Harry said. "But by all means, continue with your evil overlord monologue laying out all the details of your plan, so that when I do break free I can foil them. You know, run of the mill hero stuff."
Albus's imprint wasn't reacting to the runes any better than Riddle's Horcrux, so it was all bravado on Harry's part.
Brute force it is, Harry thought to himself. Again. A few slashes of his wand drew a rudimentary disruption matrix on the ground around him.
"I'm afraid you shall not be the Hero today, Harry Potter. This is how Merlin sealed away the thirty-seven Rabisu demons, outside of time and space."
"Demons? Is that how you made the Tainted? And stop saying my name like that. It's creepy. Even if there are other's Harrys around here, it's pretty obvious you're talking to me."
Nothing Voldemort was saying was resonating with the dead Horcrux. It could just be that he was making shit up, though Harry wasn't betting on it.
Harry reached into his pocket, pulling out a vial of dark red liquid. He popped the cork and downed it as quickly as he could, struggling not to retch. Dragon Heartblood was not to be taken lightly, and he was definitely going to be feeling it in the morning. If he survived to feel it. The tingling, pins and needles, and itching began almost immediately in his extremities.
"Still trying to drag my secrets out of me? You remind me so much of myself sometimes, Harry Potter, that it seems almost a shame to that you'll soon be gone forever. But I shan't regret it. You see, Harry Potter, you'll soon be sealed outside time, protecting my Horcrux for all eternity. And history shall write its way around you as though you never existed. Even I shall forget you, Harry Potter, and that is why I say your name. A final gesture of recognition and respect for my last great adversary."
Oddly enough, Harry was ever so slightly touched Voldemort's gesture. It was still weird and creepy, but he thought it might be genuine. But if it was a petty attempt at annoying Harry, it was working pretty well.
He thinks the Horcrux in my head is still 'alive', he thought, keeping the triumph he was feeling off his face. Voldemort was mortal, and didn't even know it. But would this count as a defeat for Harry, switching the allegiance of the Elder Wand? If he continued to exist, even outside space and time (whatever that meant), then he didn't think it counted. But he wasn't going to bet on it.
"Wait a minute there," Harry said as he realized something. "First off I appreciate the sentiment, really, but it's still weird. Also, if Merlin sealed these rabbitu demons outside of space and time and history erased them, how did you find out about them?"
"It is a riveting tale, Harry Potter, and I truly wish I had the time to regale you with it. Alas, the time for our parting draws near."
Voldemort walked through the barrier as if it wasn't even there.
Harry automatically tried to burn him to a crisp with white-hot flames, which went through him like he was a ghost or projection. Harry stopped the spell in disappointment.
"Harry Potter," Voldemort admonished, and Harry's eye twitched at the repetition of his full name. He wasn't feeling the slightest bit recognized or respected by it. Just annoyed. "We aren't even on the same plane of existence any more." He proved his statement by walking straight through Harry and the other side of the pentagon to join his minions.
"That could be a problem," Harry muttered as he turned to face the inside of the clearing. The effects of the blood he'd consumed had almost reached his heart, and the window of opportunity for escape seemed to be closing fast.
"Bella, my most loyal." There was something in the Dark Lord's voice, an edge that belied his words. "I have decided that you shall have the honor of activating the ritual."
"Master?" Bellatrix asked, her voice trembling slightly. And not with joy. She seemed to be struggling with something for a moment before becoming resigned. "Thank you, Master."
Where's all the respect and recognition now? Harry thought a bit petulantly as he watched Voldemort levitate the dragon eggs into the other pentagons. Or… oh.
The look on Bellatrix's face as she approached clinched it for him. Activating the ritual wasn't an honor. It was a sacrifice.
Voldemort assuming power over Magical Britain had been a rude surprise to just about everyone, his supporters included. Whatever they thought the Dark Lord's rule was going to be like certainly wasn't what they got. He didn't give a shit about the Pureblood Agenda, and when their support wasn't essential to his power base he dropped all pretense of caring.
When he started empowering with the Taint, it was the pureblood families who received it first. Especially those that expressed even the slightest discontent with the way things were turning out. It turned them into utterly loyal, psychotic minions, who didn't care that Voldemort was desecrating everything they thought they were fighting for.
Except for Bellatrix Lestrange.
She saw her master's disregard the traditions and customs her family had held in such esteem.
She saw his callous disdain for the nobility of lineage, his amusement at the once great families falling into ruin.
She watched as he twisted, corrupted, and destroyed the society that he promised to restore to its former glory.
And now, there was no room in the new world order for Bellatrix Lestrange. No room for a lieutenant who wasn't a hundred and fifty percent behind his tyrannical rule.
Harry wanted to revel in the broken look in her eyes. This was the woman who killed Sirius, who tortured Neville's parents into insanity. This was the woman who delighted in hunting down muggleborns and violently ending their lives.
She stood for nearly everything in the world he was vehemently against. Discrimination. Abuse of power. Sadism. The list went on and on.
She deserved to be broken and shattered.
But as Bellatrix Lestrange stood before him, lacking the fire in her soul that had defined her, Harry couldn't help but feel that it was wrong. As horrid as her methods were, she had fought for her ideals, twisted though they may be.
Harry couldn't bring himself to rejoice in her shattered dreams. Not even a little bit.
She gave him a wan smile as their eyes met, almost as though she could sense the unexpected turn of his thoughts. Harry shrugged, uncomfortable with the whole situation. Sympathizing with Sirius's murderer wasn't something that he would have thought even remotely possible, and it was seriously wigging him out.
Thankfully, standing still and being wigged out would have to wait for later. The irregular pounding of his heart and sudden dizziness signaled that the Dragon Heartblood had fully saturated his system. His hands were shaking with nervous energy.
Harry flipped his wand into a reverse grip, and stabbed downwards with a loud yell, falling to one knee and shoving every bit of magic at his disposal into the spell.
There was a gong-like noise as he embedded his wand all the way to the handle into the ground. The vibrations from the sound reverberated through him, making his jaw ache, but he continued pushing his magic as far as it would go.
"It is time, Bella," Voldemort drawled unconcernedly. It seemed that Harry's efforts to break his cage wasn't worth the slightest bit of worry.
Bellatrix drew and ornate, jagged dagger from her robes. Her hands were trembling as she extended the free hand palm up, bringing the knife above it.
Their eyes met again.
Harry wanted to say something pithy, like 'I'll see you in Hell!' but the humming feedback of his spell had him clenching his teeth too tightly to get a word out.
Suddenly, Bellatrix was smiling. The fire had returned to her eyes, making her look crazy again. She brought down the dagger, but not on her hand.
Mirroring Harry, she came down on one knee, slamming the blade into the outermost runes. There was a shower of sparks where the dagger met the runes.
Harry looked on in shock, almost losing his concentration on his spell completely. She stabbed at the runes one, two, three, four times – each time accompanied by enough sparks to make a Weasley Wizard Wheezes firework jealous – before a black tendril of cloth snaked around her neck, halting her fifth stab.
Voldemort's roar was inhuman, howling through the air like a thousand voices crying out in agony. Harry could feel the force of his magic behind his voice pressing down like a physical presence.
There was a moment of perfect stillness. Bellatrix shrugged as her eyes met his for the last time, her smile playful, and then she was yanked backwards so abruptly he could hear her neck snap.
"GO!" the Dark Lord screamed, and the Tainted he was looking at was actually launched towards Harry as if he had been banished.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHH!" Snakeface was not happy in the slightest. There was a wet crackling and squelching sound, but Harry dared not spare a glance to ascertain the fate of Bellatrix's corpse.
The hulking figure that Voldemort had sent to him skidded to a stop clumsily, scrabbling for the dagger that had been dropped. Harry recognized that it was either Crabbe or Goyle – he'd never bothered to learn which was which. Well, other than that time with the polyjuice, but his brain had probably purged the distinction as unnecessary after that. They always went around as a pair, so what was the point?
Crabbeorgoyle sliced down on his hand, spraying black blood on the runes, which burst into green flames. The flames quickly traveled to all the other runes, and up the trail of blood to catch the Tainted on fire. Crabbeorgoyle screamed, a piercing feminine sound, and tried to run away. The flames actually reached out and grabbed him, slamming him against the runes. His screams faded into a wet gurgling sound that wasn't any better as he writhed and struggled to get away from the flames that were consuming him.
Harry couldn't spare any more thought to anything but the spell he was powering. The activation of the ritual had slammed down on him, and the edges of his vision were darkening as pressure threatened to make him black out. It was getting harder and harder to breathe, and his entire body felt like it was being crushed, grinded, and warped.
There was nothing. Nothing but the pain, the pressure, the pain, the pain, the pain…
And then he could breathe again. So he did, with hacking coughs while holding down the urge to vomit.
Riddle's instincts came to the fore in his panicky state, and he swung his wand in a wide arc to summon Fiendfyre in all directions so as to drive off his enemies. Or at least, that was the plan.
"What?" Harry asked dumbly when nothing happened. The shock allowed him to shove Riddle's instincts down and assert control.
He had no wand in his hand. He had no robe in which to search for his wand. He had no bloody clothes on at all.
Oh, and it was daytime.
And he was BLOODY NAKED!
Harry squinted as he looked around the clearing, crouching so that he was ready to move at a moments notice. His nethers dangled distractingly at the movement, but thankfully it seemed as though Voldemort wasn't there to witness it. There would be no recognition and respect from his nemesis after seeing this spectacle.
Everything was blurry, as though his vision had reverted to its original horrendous near blindness. That was not great.
He was naked, without a wand, blind as a bat, aching all over, and even his bloody magic was hurting. He was definitely feeling the effects of that stupid Dragon Heartblood now. The pain was the worst in his left hand, which was feeling very stiff. He raised it to eye-level so he could squint at it.
Ah shit, Harry thought as he was the crisscrossing veins of gold and black seared into his palm, the back of his hand, and partway up his middle finger. There goes the Resurrection Stone. Fuck. Well, at least he knew where one thing ended up.
He carefully walked to the edge of the clearing, wincing as the ground victimized his poor soft feet. Even blind as he was, he should have seen some evidence of the ritual, or the battle. But there was nothing. Not even the faintest hint that the ground he was standing on had been a pond of lava not ten minutes before.
Harry had the sinking feeling that something wasn't quite right.
How long have I been sealed away? Harry wondered. At the very least, it had to have been ten hours, judging by the daylight. But the lack of any evidence of that night suggested far longer. Was it a month? A year? Years even?
There was no sign of his stuff anywhere, so he decided to get the hell out of there before someone could come and take a picture of the naked Boy-Who-Lived. Or worse.
It was a bit of a challenge to center himself enough to risk apparating with his headache and other woes, but he did so and firmly pictured Grimmauld Place in his mind. He pushed, his magic protesting painfully, but he found himself in the familiar tube of pain and misery otherwise known as apparition. Other than the initial hiccups, everything went fine. No pieces left behind, brushed up against the wards and–
"FUCK!" Harry squealed in an unmanly fashion as he was slammed back into the clearing, falling to the ground. "FUCKING FUCK BLOODY FUCK!" He curled into the fetal position, holding his head in his arms and trying not to cry. It was like someone had driven a red-hot iron pick-axe into his brain.
When apparating, a wizard or witch was always supposed to be cognizant of unfamiliar wards. It wasn't terribly difficult to abort, although it was the highest contributor to splinching. Harry had felt the wards. They were his wards, so they should have let him through. The Black wards were pretty darn strong, so he needed to push his way through them even when he was granted access. That meant that he'd essentially slammed straight on into some of the most temperamental anti-apparition wards he'd ever felt as hard as he could, and they'd smacked him down and stomped on his balls. Metaphorically, at least.
"What the FUCK!" Harry screamed for good measure. He lay there for ten minutes, waiting for the new headache to ebb enough to stand up again. He climbed unsteadily to his feet.
Don't panic, he told himself. He was totally panicking. Ok, contingencies. What exactly was my 'I'm naked, wandless, and locked out of my house' plan? Uh… nothing. Because this SHOULDN'T FUCKING BE HAPPENING!
Then the light bulb went off in his head, ratcheting up his headache a bit, but it was worth it. He had an emergency stash in his old room at the Dursley's house, hidden under the loose floorboard and some Notice-Me-Nots. It even had a spare wand, which would be really useful right now. It didn't have any clothes, unfortunately, but those he could just steal from Dudley. Or transfigure.
It was much harder to summon up the concentration necessary for apparition this time, but he still managed it. He forced himself into the horrific tube of pain, misery, and suffering once more. This time, he was carefully watching for any signs of wards. Pulling that stunt twice in a row would turn him into a vegetable. Or worse, Crabbeorgoyle. Actually, that thug was dead. Goyleorcrabbe then.
Thankfully, there were no wards and he arrived safely. He did fall to his knees gasping for breath though, as his magic was really protesting all the abuse it had been taking lately.
"What the…" Harry said as he got up and took stock of the room. It was his old room… but not. The wallpaper was different, the floor looked nicer. And there was a twin-sized bed that looked a lot nicer than his decrepit old cot even with its pink covers.
Did the Dursleys move? Harry wondered as he caught sight of the boxes. Someone had either just moved in, or was in the process of moving in. Not my problem, he decided.
The first sign of trouble was the total lack of any Notice-Me-Not charms. Then, the loose floorboard was quite a lot tighter than he remembered. To top it all off, his wonderful stash had been replaced by a tin box filled with plastic soldiers.
"Today can not get any worse," Harry decided. An odd shiver of foreboding ran through him as he said it. "Screw you Murphy, this literally cannot get any worse."
He wanted to sit on the comfy looking bed, or better yet sleep in it. But that seemed rude, what with his exposed danglies and all.
A little curious now that he had no idea what to do next, Harry found himself gravitating towards the desk. There was an envelope made of a familiar material, and a scent that was niggling at him. He picked it up and brought it closer to his face. Written in overly ornate calligraphy was the word Lily, and he recognized the scents as he got a better whiff of it. Ashwinder eggs and peppermint. But that would mean–
His creeping suspicions were cut off by a high pitched scream, and Harry spun towards the door, almost tripping and falling.
Harry saw a girl with red hair holding a floor lamp. Then the lamp was rather forcefully introduced to the top of his head, and he decided that it would be an amazing time to take a nap.
Chapter 2: For Want of a Wand
"There's a perfectly good explanation for why I was naked in your room, sniffing your letter." Harry frowned. "That sounded way worse out loud than I was expecting."
AN: I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out. The premise for the botched ritual could be used for just about anything to do with time travel or dimension travel, so I think I might be reusing it down the line.
In case anyone is wondering, the future timeline where Harry came from doesn't exist anymore as far as this story is concerned. It's been unwritten.
Gleamblossom is a flower in Skyrim, which has the properties resist magic and regenerate health. And some bad stuff that isn't relevant. I thought it was a fun little reference.
Rabisu is a demon in Mesopotamian and Akkadian mythology.