|SIYE Time:1:20 on 14th December 2017|
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Category: Alternate Universe
Warnings: Mild Language
Story is Complete
Summary: This just silly. It started as a nice little story about time travel, and now it’s just got silly. His hair is too long for a wizard, too…
Hitcount: Story Total: 5321
Awards: View Trophy Room
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
No, this isn’t ‘Thorny Rose 2’, is it? Truthfully, I’ve made a few technical errors in the writing of that story and it’s taking a bit longer than I planned. I should start posting it in early January, however, assuming Mr Cock-up doesn’t pay me another visit.
This extremely silly little tale has been sitting on my hard-drive for nearly a year. I didn’t post it originally due to Mrs Brennus’s stinging criticisms that it was misogynistic, puerile and extremely cruel to hedgehogs. Feeling in the mood for a little ridiculousness, I dusted it down, removed the most offensive bits and smartened it up a bit. Remember kids, you can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.
Huge wobbly thanks to Arnel for her wonderful, speedy beta work. Look, Sharon, I did a one-shot!
Note: no hedgehogs were harmed in the writing of this story.
Harry lay on his bed staring at the ceiling in despair. He had barely moved since returning to Privet Drive three days before. Although outwardly he appeared inert and emotionless, on the inside his stomach burned with acid and his heart ached. His beloved godfather was dead, and it was his fault. He knew he was close to a complete mental breakdown.
Letters from his friends sat on the bedside table unopened. His school trunk lay at the foot of the bed and similarly had not been touched. Nothing could rouse him from the pit of despair that he was falling into. Or at least nothing could until a small man wearing a pencil-thin moustache and a crumpled brown suit appeared in his room with a small pop.
With reactions honed from combating Dark Lords, rampaging dragons, deadly basilisks and one particularly nasty hedgehog, Harry grabbed his wand from the bedside table and flung himself from his bed. Crouching, he aimed his wand directly at the man who regarded him with calm detachment.
“Mr Potter?” the man enquired in an annoying nasal voice.
“What? I mean, yes. Err, um, who the hell are you?” Harry managed to blurt out.
“Mr Harry James Potter, 4 Privet Drive, Little Winging, Surrey?” the man enquired again.
“Yes, that’s me!” Harry snapped, becoming angry with the officious little man. “I asked, who the hell are you?”
“My name is Smythington, and I represent the Conjunctional Upset Negligence Tribunal, and no, we don’t believe in using acronyms. It has come to our attention that a deviation from the authorised time-flow caused, to wit, by issue of a defective creature, has occurred and you are directly affected. I have been sent to apologise for the said error and offer the appropriate recompense.”
“What?” Harry asked with the complete conviction of someone who has absolutely no idea what was going on.
The small man rolled his eyes and huffed.
“Just once I would like to encounter someone with intelligence,” he muttered. “To explain simply, Mr Potter, an error has occurred in the cosmic time-line and destiny has been diverted away from its intended course. The organisation I work for, CU…err, I mean, the Conjunctional Upset Negligence Tribunal, have authorised me to offer you a choice of different forms of compensation for the said event as you are the primary injured party.”
“What?” asked Harry again, clearly feeling he hadn’t made this point strongly enough previously.
“Something went wrong with time, everything got screwed up and I’m here to fix it,” Smythington snarled.
“Well, why didn’t you bloody say so?” Harry yelled. “I knew things couldn’t be this bad! I knew something had gone wrong! What was it? Sirius shouldn’t have died? The prophecy was wrong? No, wait! Voldemort shouldn’t have survived when I was a baby, I bet that’s it!”
The small man looked at his clipboard.
“According to my records, a faulty Acromantula was issued,” he said calmly.
“What?” asked Harry, really flogging a dead horse as far as lines of questioning go.
The man sighed.
“I understand that on the 24 June 1995 you took part in the final task of the ‘Triwizard Tournament’. It appears that that near the end of the event you and one Cedric Diggory were attacked by an Acromantula which delayed your progress, correct?”
“Yes,” Harry confirmed, starting to suspect that his brain had finally snapped and he had gone mad. On the whole he had to admit insanity wasn’t what he expected. He thought it would involve more drooling, for a start.
“Well, it appears the Acromantula issued was of a defective standard and did not fulfil its intended purpose.”
“Okay, what was its intended purpose?” Harry asked.
“To bite Mr Diggory’s foot off,” Smythington said.
“What?” Harry shouted. By this point, even he had realised that repeatedly yelling this was getting him nowhere, but really didn’t have a better plan. The little man huffed again.
“Mr Diggory was, at that point in time, supposed to have his foot bitten off and thus be unable to complete the challenge. It was intended that you would then continue to the end alone, grab the Portkey, be transported to the graveyard in Little Hangleton and face Voldemort by yourself, and, ultimately, defeat him.”
“So Cedric wasn’t meant to die?” Harry wailed.
“No,” the man confirmed, “at least not at that point.”
Harry tried to digest all the information he had been given and make some sense of it. Unfortunately, he was dangerously close to just saying ‘what?’ again so he kept quiet.
“The organisation I work for, err, you know the name by now, are responsible for identifying such deviations from destiny’s plan and offer compensation where appropriate. As such, I am delighted to present you with this Apology Form 2B.”
Smythington handed Harry an A4 piece of brown paper with the word ‘Apology’ written in bold at the top.
“What the hell is this? A written bloody apology? Cedric’s dead, my life is in ruins, Voldemort’s still on the loose and you give me a stupid bloody written apology?” Harry proceeded to tell Smythington exactly what he could do with his apology. The method he described was likely to cause chaffing later.
“If you would care to examine the form, Mr Potter, you will note that two separate types of compensation are offered, and you just have to select your preference where indicated at the bottom,” Smythington droned, tapping the form with his pen.
Harry stared at the form, but understanding was beyond him.
“I don’t understand what I’m being offered,” he told Smythington. The man nodded, clearly not surprised.
“Firstly, we could, if you so choose, return you to the point in time the deviation occurred and let time run its natural course,” he explained.
“So I could go back in time, Cedric would only get injured, I would confront Voldemort alone and defeat him? No one else would get hurt?” Harry asked with mounting excitement.
“Err, not exactly,” Smythington frowned.
“What?” asked Harry, falling back into bad habits. “Why?”
“According to records, you do confront Voldemort alone, but are nearly overpowered. You manage to return to the Portkey, but the Dark Lord grabs you and returns to Hogwarts with you. There is then a major battle, where your wands work against each other. This causes a massive release of energy which results in an explosion which kills you both,” Smythington explained.
Harry’s shoulders slumped.
“But I finish him off, right? No one else is hurt? Ron, Hermione and Ginny can live their lives in peace?” If his friends were going to be alright, the price would be worth paying.
“Um, no. I’m afraid not. The explosion was rather large. In addition to you and Voldemort two-thirds of all those present were killed. Most of the rest were hideously maimed or at least mentally scarred for the rest of their lives.”
Harry stared at him in horror.
“Yes, well, we figured that option wouldn’t be too attractive to you,” Smythington said, “so we have provided an alternative: time in lieu.”
“What do you mean? Time in lieu?”
“We are prepared to offer you the period of eighteen months outside of the current time-line. This period may be spent in any time period, other than the future, and once completed you will automatically return to this point in time. Our organisation will put protections in place to ensure that no alterations to the current time-line will occur. It was felt that you may appreciate this time to help prepare for future challenges.”
This brought Harry up short. Now he knew that he alone had to finish Voldemort and he needed to prepare. He silently cursed Dumbledore and his determination to keep things from him, just to allow him a childhood. Screw that, he thought, what I need is to become a kick-ass, ninja-style, mega-wizard. He needed training! A thought occurred to him.
“Do I have to spend the whole eighteen months in one place or can I move about?” Harry asked.
“A good question! Finally.” Smythington added the last part quietly. “Due to the extensive period being offered to you, you will be permitted to split the time between two separate time zones. If you select this option you will need to write your intended destination on the bottom of the form provided. When you’re ready to leave your first destination you just need to write ‘complete’ where indicated on the form and you will be transported automatically to your next selection. At the end of your time at the second destination you will be transported back here without further action being required.”
“Cool! Hold on a tick.” Harry dived to his school truck and began looking through it. Soon, he found the two books he was looking for: ‘A History of Magic’ and ‘Hogwarts: A History’. He flicked through them seeking the information he required. When he had what he wanted, he grabbed a quill and completed Form 2B. He then handed it back to Mr Smythington.
Looking at the form, the small man nodded briefly before producing a small stamp from somewhere and thumped it against the bottom of the form. He then signed it and split the form into three.
“Your copy, Mr Potter. When you are ready, all you need to do is place your finger on the first of your desired destinations and say ‘activate’. You will then be transferred to your requested location. Well, I think that concludes our business. Pleasure to meet you.” The small man offered his hand which Harry shook enthusiastically. Smythington then vanished as quickly as he had appeared.
Harry leapt to his feet. Grabbing a small rucksack he began filling it with spare clothes and various toiletries. He also added a couple of books and his Invisibility Cloak. He had a quick look around his room and, seeing nothing else useful, he took hold of the Form 2B. Carefully placing his finger in the right place, he clearly said the word ‘activate’. A second later he was gone.
Harry was surprised that there was no discernible sense of movement. One second he was standing in his cramped bedroom and the next he found himself in a field with a large forest stretching out in front of him. Turning, he saw before him a magnificent stone fortress and knew he was in the right place.
“Camelot!” he cried, knowing that this was the real thing and not some imitation erected just to provide the author with a cheap joke. With determination, he marched up to the gate and addressed the pair of guards who stood there.
“Greeting,” he cried, getting into the spirit of things, “I am a powerful wizard who has travelled from distant lands to seek an audience with the great mage, Merlin! Can you please direct me to him?”
One of the guards looked him up and down.
“Not another one,” he groaned. “Look, mate, if I was you, I’d just forget it. He probably won’t see you and even if he does, it rarely goes well. He hates timewasters.”
“You insult me, sir!” Harry cried, beginning to suspect that talking in this manner was just making him look a berk. “I assure you, I’m a wizard of great power and I seek council with my magical brother!”
“Prove it, yah wimp!” the guard snarled.
Not feeling in a terribly forgiving mood after being insulted, he pulled out his wand and instantly changed the guard into a hedgehog. The other guard gasped and raised his spear with the point just a few feet away from Harry’s chest. Harry, in turn, pointed his wand at the guard and contemplated turning him into a newt. He was sure the man would eventually get better if he did.
“What’s going on here?” a voice cried. The guard turned and instantly fell to his knees.
“My Lord Merlin, this man approached the gate claiming to be a powerful wizard and sought an audience with you. When challenged, he turned my comrade into a hedgehog.” The guard looked at Harry reproachfully.
“Solid evidence, I should think, that he was telling the truth,” Merlin noted before turning to Harry. “What is your name wizard, and why do you seek me?”
Harry bowed his head solemnly.
“Great Merlin, I come from a place far, far in the future where the world is threatened by an evil Dark Lord. He seeks to subjugate the Muggles and destroy all magic users not of pure blood. I seek training from you that I may vanquish him and stop his evil reign.” Harry really wished he had a cloak he could swish dramatically at this point.
“Your quest sounds worthy, young one. How long do you wish to apprentice yourself with me?” Merlin asked.
“I seek to remain under your tutelage for a year, oh great one!” Harry cried.
“Oh, don’t think I can manage that,” Merlin said doubtfully, and pulled a small book from his pocket which he studied. “No, see, I’ve got to stop a Saxon invasion in October and that will take up all my time. I can give you three months.”
“Six months?” suggested Harry as a compromise.
“Oh, why not. You seem a good lad and god knows there’s sod all else to do around here at the moment. Come this way.” Merlin held out his hand and guided Harry through the gate towards his quarters. Behind them the remaining guard watched them go.
“Err, excuse me. What about Bernard?” he called, but sadly neither wizard seemed to hear him. The guard stooped and picked up the hedgehog. “Don’t worry, Bernard. I’ll look after you. I’ve always wanted a pet.” The guard returned to his vigil, absently stroking the quills of the small animal in his hand.
Harry ’s time at Camelot passed incredibly quickly and this was not just as a result of the author being too lazy to write about it.
The legendary wizard had proved to be an excellent, if demanding, teacher. With only two weeks of Harry’s time at Camelot left, the two wizards were currently sitting in Merlin’s study, reviewing what he had learnt and deciding what to do for his remaining fortnight.
“Right,” said Merlin, “let’s go over what you’ve covered so far. Advanced Transfiguration and Charms?”
“Yeah, we covered all that in the first month,” Harry confirmed.
“Potions training and Alchemy?” Merlin asked.
“Done that, including brewing a cure for Lycanthropy and how to create my own Philosopher's Stone,” Harry acknowledged.
“Animagus transformations?” Merlin said hopefully.
“Eight different forms including wolf, falcon, dragon and hedgehog,” Harry summarised.
“Occlumency and Legilimens?” Merlin suggested.
“My mind is a fortress and everyone else’s is an open book,” Harry clarified.
“Hugely impressive offensive spells not mentioned in any of the spell-books from your time?” Merlin asked, carefully hiding a 3rd edition D&D rulebook under a cushion.
“Fireballs, Magic Missiles, Ice Storms, Lightning Bolts, Cloudkill, Flame Strike…”
“That’s a Cleric’s Spell!” Merlin objected.
“…Meteor Storms and Summon Monster VIII. Oh, and an interesting Sex-Change Hex I found in that big, red spell-book that you always keep hidden behind all your potion supplies.”
“Magical beast taming?” Merlin asked, while hoping Harry hadn’t looked too closely at his hidden book. That spell for conjuring cucumbers was for personal use only.
“Got them all covered, including Dragon tickling,” Harry declared.
“Divination?” Merlin tried.
“See, I knew you’d ask me that!” Harry said smugly.
“Removing that sliver of soul belonging to an evil Dark Lord which allows him to project images into your head and ultimately will mean your death as you have in effect become a Horcrux?” Merlin took a stab on.
“Yeah, we…wait! What?” Harry exclaimed.
“Excellent!” Merlin said happily. “A little project to keep us busy for the next couple of weeks. And here was I thinking we’d have to spend the next fortnight down the pub.”
“Can’t we destroy the Horcrux in me and then go down the pub?” asked Harry.
In the end, it took a whole week of valuable drinking time to remove the sliver of Voldemort’s soul from Harry. The process had been extremely complicated and had involved complex rituals, fiendishly difficult spells and a large suction-pump. As a by-product of the process Merlin had been able to present Harry with a list detailing the exact location of all the Horcruxes Voldemort created back in his own time, which was nice.
With Harry at last free of the influence of the evil Dark Lord, the pair of wizards immediately headed to the nearest Inn to celebrate. Day four of their epic bender found them at a table in the ‘Frog and Leprosy’ (a dubious establishment situated in Camelot’s Chinatown district) in deep philosophical discussion.
“Remember, Harry,” Merlin slurred, “with great power comes great responsibility.”
“I love you,” Harry replied drunkenly. “You’re my best mate, you are.”
“You have been given a great gift!” Merlin declared, spilling half his pint in the process. “You must use it wisely.”
“I wish you was my dad, I do,” Harry said happily.
“For instance,” continued Merlin, “It would be totally irresponsible of me to use magic to vanish all the undergarments of that busty barmaid over there,”
Harry stared glassy-eyed towards the bar where the young lady Merlin had indicated stood. “Boobies,” he noted.
“Exactly,” agreed Merlin. “But just because I can, doesn’t mean I should!”
They both paused to drain their glasses and yell at the barmaid for another round. She soon came laden with two large mugs of ‘Old Dirty Bastard’, a particularly fine brew which only occasionally resulted in the drinker going completely blind.
“Harry, I’ve come to think of you like a son,” Merlin continued.
“That’s beautiful,” Harry said, bursting into tears and hugging the old wizard.
“Not that beautiful,” Merlin disagreed. “I already have a son and I loathe the little bastard. But anyway, when you get back to your own time, I want you to do me a favour. I want you to tell everyone what sort of person I was. Not the legends of great deeds and awe-inspiring tales of my bravery and wisdom. I want you to tell them about the real me. The man behind the stories. The simple, caring, compassionate man, who would do anything for his friends, was kind to small animals, especially hedgehogs, and tried to live a good life. Tell them that, Harry.”
“I will, Merlin, I will,” promised Harry.
“Great,” Merlin smiled. “Now chug your beer and let’s do a runner before the barmaid notices we haven’t paid yet.”
The two brave wizards snuck out of the Inn, fortuitously using the distraction caused when, in a remarkable coincidence, all the barmaids' clothes suddenly vanished.
Harry awoke to find himself in a grassy field near an instantly recognisable castle. He’d rather lost track of the days and was surprised to see he’d leapt forward in time already. On the whole, he was grateful as he didn’t think his liver could have taken much more abuse.
Standing and brushing himself down, Harry cast a few cleaning spells to remove most of the stains from his robes. One particular chilli sauce stain proved troublesome and Harry again marvelled that they actually had done kebabs in Merlin’s time. It certainly explained the vomit stains on his trousers, anyway.
Deciding that he looked in a reasonable condition, he started to walk towards the familiar gates of Hogwarts. There were several noticeable differences about the castle in this time period, notably the lack of a satellite TV dish mounted outside Dumbledore’s office. Another difference was that a pair of guards were stationed at the gate. Harry confidentially marched towards them.
“Greeting,” he cried, getting a strange sense of déjà vu, “I am a powerful wizard who has travelled from distant lands to seek an audience with the legendary four founders of Hogwarts! Will you let me pass so I may seek them?”
One of the guards looked him up and down.
“Alright, in you go,” he said.
“What… just like that?” Harry said. “Don’t you want to check I’m who I say I am?”
“Nah,” replied the guard. “You look like a wizard.”
“That’s your entire security system, is it?” he questioned. “I look like a wizard, so that’s okay?”
“Look, mate, I’m not paid enough to mess with wizards,” the guard stated. “Do you know my great, great, great, great, grandfather was turned into a hedgehog by a wizard!”
“Really?” said Harry, suddenly feeling a bit guilty. “What happened to him?”
“He was run over by a cart one day,” the guard explained. “Bloody traffic round here is murder.”
Feeling he had pushed his luck far enough, Harry hurried pass the guards and up into the castle. As it was the unreasonably early time of eleven fifteen in the morning, he assumed everyone would be at breakfast. He marched into the Great Hall and sure enough found the founders sitting at the head table enjoying a hearty meal. He strode up to the table.
“Greetings,” Harry addressed them. “I am called Harry. I have travelled from the distant future to seek your help. In my time an evil wizard seeks domination and I beg your assistance in training to defeat him. Will you help me?”
This time Harry had made sure that he did have a cape to swirl dramatically. He was starting to understand why Snape enjoyed doing it so much.
“Greetings, young wizard,” said a grave looking, but beautiful witch. “I am Rowena Ravenclaw and I can sense the enormous magical power within you. You have great potential. It would be an honour to teach you.”
“GREETING, MY BOY,” bellowed a large, dangerous looking man. “MY NAME IS GODRIC GRYFFINDOR. IF YOU WISH TO DEFEAT AN EVIL WIZARD, YOU’VE COME TO THE RIGHT PLACE! BY THE TIME I’M FINISHED WITH YOU, YOU’LL BE EATING DARK WIZARDS FOR BREAKFAST!”
“Oooh, ‘ello, ducks,” said a rotund and rather grubby looking witch. “I’m Helga Hufflepuff. Of course I’ll help you, dear. Whatever you need!”
“Greetings,” murmured a shifty looking wizard dressed all in green. “I am Salazar Slytherin. May I ask how long you intend to remain among us?”
“I seek training from you for a full year,” Harry said, delighted at the warm welcome he was receiving.
“Right,” said Salazar, conjuring a quill and a large sheet of parchment. “That’s a full year's schooling, bed and board, school supplies, uniforms plus tax and insurance. That will be six hundred and forty galleons, please!”
“What!” gasped Harry. “How much?”
“In cash please,” added Helga. “No bartering considered.”
“AND PLEASE DON’T ASK FOR CREDIT,” shouted Godric, “AS A PUNCH IN THE MOUTH CAN CAUSE OFFENSE!”
Muttering to himself, Harry pulled out his moneybag. As he had recently created his own Philosopher's Stone, he had more gold than he could ever need, but that wasn’t the point. It turned out that the Hogwarts Founders were a greedy bunch of gits. He counted out the required amount of Galleons and handed them to Salazar, whose eyes had filled with delight at the sight of so much gold. The green-robed wizard carefully checked the coins Harry had given him, before splitting the gold into four piles. He then pushed a pile towards each of the other three Founders before pocketing the last pile himself. He turned to Harry with a warm smile.
“Welcome to Hogwarts, Harry,” he said sweetly.
“YES, AND DON’T WORRY, MY BOY. WE’LL TRAIN YOU SO WELL THIS EVIL WIZARD WON’T STAND A CHANCE!” Godric thundered. He drew a large sword and swung it about his head. “HA! TAKE THAT YOU WICKED BUGGER! I’LL MAKE MINCEMEAT OUT OF YOU!”
Harry carefully slid over to the other three Founders who were watching Gryffindor destroy a chair with his sword.
“Um, you guys will be doing most of the teaching, right?” he asked
All three turned their heads and nodded reassuringly.
T ime passed quickly within the confines of the familiar castle, once again allowing the author to get on with more important things than writing this tripe. Although Harry’s training with Merlin had been extensive, all four Founders were masters of their arts and imparted much valuable information to him.
Slytherin was a Potions Master beyond compare and revealed all the secrets of his profession to Harry. The man was also a wonderful Charms teacher and Harry learnt many powerful spells.
Ravenclaw was a genius and instructed Harry on complex runes, advanced Transfiguration spells and fiendishly difficult mathematical formulas. Her diligence was matched only by her beauty.
Gryffindor was a tireless taskmaster. He drilled Harry in combat against the dark arts in all its forms. Harry was taught to duel with both wand and sword, and quickly became a fearsome fighter. Godric was also in charge of his physical education and worked Harry until he was ready to collapse. After only a few months, however, the results of his hard work began to show and Harry began to develop an impressive set of muscles that a sixteen-year-old could only develop in this sort of corny fan-fic.
Hufflepuff had rich soil under her fingernails and taught Harry the gentle arts of plant care and herb management. There was not a magical creature in existence that she did not know about and she could tame the most vicious of beasts. Her bakery skills were also superb and she imparted on Harry her secret recipe for scones.
Harry was delighted at the progress he was making, and felt he was well on the way to becoming the most powerful wizard of his age. By the time he returned to his own time, he was confident he would be able to challenge Voldemort on his own terms.
The only slight problem he had was that Rowena Ravenclaw had started to develop an attraction to him. While he was flattered by the beautiful woman’s attention, she was old enough to be his mother, and, besides, MILF’s wouldn’t be invented for over a thousand years yet. He kept his head down and tried to avoid being alone with her.
He’d been at Hogwarts for around four months and things couldn’t be going better. It was a warm summer’s day when, hurrying alone down a corridor to get to his next lesson, Harry overheard raised voices.
“I tell you, Helga, the Muggle-borns should be excluded from education at Hogwarts. They have no place here!” Salazar’s voice boomed.
“Nonsense, Salazar,” he heard Hufflepuff reply. “They have as much right to be here as anyone else!”
Harry felt his blood boil. This was how the Founders had fallen out and the dispute was at the heart of his conflict with Voldemort in his own time. Harry refused to stand around and let Slytherin spout his vile lies about Muggle-borns. He stormed into the room.
The four founders were all standing round a large table, which was covered in papers and parchments. Salazar himself was holding a long parchment in his hand, which he was waving at his colleagues. Harry marched straight up to him.
“How dare you!” he yelled. “How can you spread these vile lies about Muggle-borns? Back in my own time, the smartest witch in the whole of Hogwarts was a Muggle-born. My own mother was one and she was one of the brightest pupils in her time, as well!”
“Err… that’s good to know,” Salazar said in apparent confusion.
“Well?” Harry shouted. “How can you continue to state that Muggle-borns are inferior when you know that?”
“Muggle-borns inferior?” Salazar repeated. “I don’t understand.”
“This hatred of Muggles and Muggle-borns that you have!” Harry growled. “It has to stop!”
The four founders looked at each other for a moment before they all burst out laughing. Harry stared at them in bemusement.
“Oh, Harry,” Helga laughed. “Salazar doesn’t hate Muggles. In fact, there’s a rather attractive milk-maid that lives in the next valley over that knows exactly how much he appreciates Muggles!”
“Humph, well, we don’t need to go into that,” Slytherin exclaimed, blushing red. “But, Harry. How did you ever get the idea that I hate Muggle-borns?”
“You just said that you wanted them excluded from Hogwarts!” Harry protested.
“Well, yes,” Salazar confirmed. “It’s simply a matter of economics. The pure-bloods tend to come from wealthy families and have no problems paying their school fees. Muggle-borns tend to come from poorer families and are always having trouble paying. I said it was a mistake offering that multi-instalment payment scheme to low-income families! I spend half my time chasing missed instalments!”
“But with the added interest built into the payments that scheme is a real money-spinner!” Rowena protested.
“I don’t see you bloody writing threatening letters to people behind with their instalment,” Salazar retorted. “If I wanted to have become a debt collector, I would have just become a Dark Wizard from the start! The Cruciatus Curse is always the best way to ensure prompt payments.”
“You mean this is just about money?” Harry gasped.
“There’s no ‘just’ about it,” Salazar snapped. “Do you have any idea how much this place costs to run? The heating bill is astronomical! I said this when Hogwarts was being built: why do we need a huge bloody castle, I said! It could have been half the size and a quarter of the cost!”
“WE NEED TO BE SAFE IN CASE OF ATTACK,” Godric said. “THIS PLACE CAN FEND OFF AN ARMY!”
“This is a bloody school!” Salazar shouted. “Why do we need to fight a sodding army?”
“WELL, YOU NEVER KNOW,” Godric said quietly. Or at least, as quietly as he ever got.
“Gah!” Salazar exclaimed. “At this rate we’ll be bankrupt before the end of term!”
Silently, Harry backed out of the room, leaving the Founders bickering. He pondered that recorded history had really got quite a few things wrong. A thought suddenly occurred to him: Hermione was going to be devastated when she found out how inaccurate ‘Hogwarts: A History’ was!
Whistling a happy tune, Harry walked back down the corridor.
Harry headed into the Great Hall after receiving a summons from Salazar. Once he arrived, he was surprised to see the four Founders sitting round a table looking worried.
“This will be the final straw,” Salazar was moaning. Interestingly, he had a small snake wrapped around his neck which he was stroking absently.
“Hello, everyone,” Harry greeted them. “What’s going on?”
“Disaster!” Salazar cried. “It’s the end for Hogwarts! The end, I tell you!”
“What are you taking about?” Harry demanded. “And why have you got that snake wrapped around your shoulders?”
“This is my little princess,” Salazar said, lovingly stroking the head of the snake. “She has a wonderful calming effect on me.”
“Err… when you call her a snake, do you actually mean basilisk?” Harry asked, thinking he recognised the creature.
“Well, yes. Technically my little princess is a basilisk, but she’s perfectly harmless,” Salazar protested.
“What, you mean apart from the incredibly toxic venom and the whole Petrifying people thing?” Harry asked.
“Oh, fiddlesticks. It will be years before she’s any danger to humans and I’ll take her to the basilisk sanctuary at Lyme Regis long before then,” Salazar explained, fussing over his pet. “We’ll find you a handsome basilisk boyfriend, won’t we Princess Poopie?”
“Princess Poopie?” Harry repeated.
“A rather unfortunate habit the beast has,” Helga explained. “I’ve never seen an animal so small produce so much poo.”
Well, that at least explained those strange stains down the back of Salazar’s robes, thought Harry. Probably best not to mention to Salazar that back in his own time he’d stuck a sword through Princess Poopie’s head. No need to bring that up, he decided.
“So, ignoring the snake’s toilet training problems, why is everyone looking so dejected?” Harry asked.
“It’s the elves, Harry,” Helga explained. “They’re on strike again.”
“Elves on strike? What do you mean?” he asked.
“It’s those money-grabbing, back-stabbing, union-worshipping elves,” Salazar spat. “Apparently there’s been another breech of their working terms and conditions and they’re out on strike again! They’ll be using this as another excuse to demand more concessions and increased pay. They won’t be happy until they’ve bankrupted us!”
Harry smiled, happy that the elves in this time appeared to enjoy more in the way of workers’ rights.
“Well, I think it’s great that the elves have a proper union. They need someone to stand up for them,” he exclaimed.
“Stand up for them? They’re bleeding us dry! Why do you think we needed to increase our income so much? It’s just so we can pay the elves increased wage demands! Some of those little buggers are on higher salaries than the teachers and they do half the work,” Salazar complained.
“It’s true, Harry,” Rowena confirmed. “We simply won’t be able to keep the school open any longer if the elves demand more pay. Over eighty per cent of all school income goes straight to them as it is.”
“What?” Harry exclaimed. “That’s outrageous. But what is this to do with me?”
As if in answer a loud popping noise signalled the arrival of over two dozen elves. In front of the group stood a belligerent looking elf who wore a strange hat that looked suspiciously like a flat cap. He also spoke with a thick Yorkshire accent which Harry suspected the author had arranged to confuse his American readers. Think Brian Glover or Sean Bean, if that helps.
“Ayh-oop, lads. The trouble-maker’s here,” the elf declared, pointing at Harry.
“What? What have I done? And who are you?” Harry demanded.
“Names Tollithorpe, lad, and I’m Chief Shop-Steward of the Federation of Working House-Elves, Gnomes and Goblins Affiliated, Domestic and Catering Sub-committee. And you, my lad, are in deep shit.”
“Why?” Harry asked again, not particularly liking the confrontational elf at all.
“I would remind everyone present of the rules regarding division of labour, working-rights and health and safety that have previously been ratified at the bi-annual, official sanctioned, sub-committee conference and subsequently incorporated into the contractual agreement made between the union and Hogwarts, specifically point two hundred and forty-seven, paragraph five, clause fourteen,” Tollithorpe declared.
“What?” said Harry, proving his conversational skills really hadn’t progressed that much since the opening scene.
“Did you, or did you not, in clear breach of agreed regulations, last night enter a restricted workplace without permission and engage in activities likely to cause detriment and potential loss of income to one of our members?” Tollithorpe accused.
“I have no idea what you are on about,” Harry said defensively. This elf was really starting to annoy him.
“To whit, did you not, young wizard, enter the kitchens and perform duties in clear violation of agreed practices?” Tollithorpe pressed.
“Oh, yes. I got peckish in the night and went down to the kitchens to make myself a sandwich,” Harry said, finally understanding.
“Eh, lads, the scoundrel admits it!” Tollithorpe howled in triumph.
“What the problem?” Harry demanded. “It was only a bloody sandwich!”
“What’s the problem?” the elf yelled. “Demarcation, that’s the problem! By attempting to do the work of a trained professional, you have deprived the said worker from earning a respectable living. That’s ignoring the health and safety issues! Have you been trained in using the correct equipment involved in a job like that? I think not!”
“Correct equipment? I was only making a sodding sandwich,” Harry yelled.
“It may be just a sandwich to you, lad, but to my skilled workers it’s an art-form! Why, young Smeggy here spent five years at the Advanced Sandwich Making School in Doncaster learning the required skills. And you think you can breeze in and undermine that! Slapping a few bits of cheese between two pieces of bread does not constitute a proper sandwich!” Tollithorpe yelled.
“Yes, it does!” Harry roared back.
“Typical bloody arrogant wizard,” Tollithorpe shouted to his fellow elves. “Thinks he can do better than a skilled professional!”
“Shut up!” Harry yelled.
“Depriving a highly-trained elf of perusing his trade! This wizard will only be happy when we’re all Knut-less and cast out onto the streets!”
“Shut up!” Harry screamed.
“How will we be able to put bread on the table, and feed our loved-ones?” Tollithorpe demanded. “Once again the bourgeoisie attempt to repress us, brothers and sisters! I vote we strike immediately until Hogwarts management offer us suitable compensation!”
“JUST SHUT UP!” Harry howled, his anger rising out of control.
It was at this point that Harry regretted Merlin teaching him that Fireball Spell. He certainly never meant to cast the spell at the officious little elf, but his temper got the better of him. The next thing he realised he was looking at a small pile of ash that used to be the Chief Shop-Steward. The other elves all stared at him in horror.
“Oh… err… whoops,” Harry stammered, moving towards the assembled elves to apologise.
“Epp!” cried the nearest elf. “We is sorry! We’ll not be causing trouble again!”
“Yes! Yes!” cried another, trembling in fear. “We’ll behave from now on! It was only Tollithorpe that made us act that way!”
“So, no more threats of going out on strike?” Salazar called out from behind Harry.
“No, no!” the elves all cried. “We likes working! We go back to work immediately!”
“No more demands for pay increases?” Rowena asked.
“Absolutely not! In fact, we demands a cut in pay!” the elves shouted, eyeing Harry in fear.
“Harry, my boy,” Salazar said quietly to him. “I do believe you’ve solved all our problems!”
A short while later, Harry left the Great Hall munching on an extremely tasty sandwich that Smeggy had made for him. It was true that craftsmanship really did count. He briefly felt a pang of guilt that he had inadvertently been responsible for enslaving the elves, but on the plus side Smeggy had promised to bring him sandwiches whenever he wanted.
Probably best not to mention to Hermione when he got back his own time. No need to bring that up, he decided.
Harry sat pensively looking out of the window of the highest tower at Hogwarts. Time had passed swiftly in compact, easy to write paragraphs, and he would soon be returning to his own time period. He had received a wonderful education during his time with the Founders and earlier with Merlin. He was now confident that he was one of the most powerful, best trained wizards in history. Voldemort was going to get his arse kicked!
But he would be sad leaving this era. He had made many friends and had grown in body and mind. He had studied the mysteries of magic and examined the fabric of the universe. Power radiated from his fingers and the most complex of spells came to easily now. His body had become a strong, muscular machine and he had become a great warrior, as skilled with weapons as he was with his bare hands. Admittedly, Rowena regularly pinched his bottom, but that was a small price to pay, he felt.
Despite the time he had spent hiding from Ravenclaw, often in the Dung Cupboards (although no one could ever explain why Hogwarts actually needed cupboards for dung) he yearned for female company. Preferably of a similar age to him.
Could he repair his fractured relationship with Cho Chang when he returned to his own time? He suspected the girl may still have feelings for him, but did he really want a relationship with someone he had so little in common with? Emotionally, they were oceans apart and he saw no way the two of them could ever connect as human beings. Besides, she had munchkin boobies.
So Harry was shallow: he’s a teenage boy, what do you expect?
Knowing that he lacked the eloquence required to woo women, Harry decided that he should concentrate his search for a companion among girls he already knew. The three girls he was most familiar with had accompanied him to the disastrous mission to the Ministry. Would any of them be suitable partners for him?
Hermione was the most obvious choice. But Harry was certain that his feelings for his friend were largely platonic. The two of them, with their shared Muggle background, had faced many dangers together and had become more like brother and sister than potential lovers. Besides, although she’d had her teeth fixed Harry still always imagined her as looking like a beaver. And with that hair she always looked like she’d been pulled through a hedge backwards! No, it was safe to say Hermione left Harry’s libido limper than a slightly effeminate piece of lettuce that had been left out in the rain.
Luna could be an interesting choice, but Harry just didn’t think he could be in a committed relationship with the blond-haired girl. Come to think of it, he doubted that Luna would even realise she was in a relationship most of the time. That girl was strictly loony-tunes.
And then there was Ginny. Now why hadn’t he thought about her before? The feisty, strong-willed girl was developing into a beautiful, intelligent young woman who had already proven she could be a good friend and valuable ally. Nice rack, too.
But hadn’t Hermione said that Ginny had given up on him? That wasn’t the same as getting over him, right? She’d also said something about ‘choosing’ Dean Thomas, so she might be unavailable anyway. Well, all he could do was express his interest and see what she said. Briefly, he felt a slight pang of guilt about plotting to steal the girlfriend of one of his friends, before some ancient words that Merlin had said to him came back to him: never give a sucker an even break.
Humming happily to himself, Harry headed back to his room to prepare for the journey home.
With a thump, Harry landed back in his cramped bedroom in number four, Privet Drive. A glance at his watch revealed he had returned just a few moments after he had originally left.
He stretched to his lean, muscular frame and stood upright, displaying to advantage his increased, six foot two height. The Dursleys were going to crap themselves, he thought happily.
Mentally, he began to list the things he needed to do during the summer holidays. He needed to collect all of Voldemort’s Horcruxes and establish the size of his enemy’s forces. He also needed to visit Gringotts and gain control of his finances and secure his inheritance. Oh, a bit of shopping would be a good idea, as well.
“Boy! Get down here and start your chores!” Aunt Petunia’s piercing voice same from the foot of the stairs.
“Coming, Aunty, dear!” Harry called sweetly.
This was going to be fun.
Ron, Hermione and Ginny stood on platform twelve and three quarters (nine and three quarters was closed due to maintenance work), looking around for their friend. They had not seen Harry at all during the holidays and, amazingly, when Dumbledore had sent a message saying he would be able to spend the rest of the break at the Burrow, the raven-haired young man had declined saying he was too busy.
The three of them fretted, wondering just what state their friend would be in when they saw him. When they had left him at the start of the holidays, he had been an emotional wreck, grieving for his lost godfather. After spending all summer with the Dursleys, he was likely to be a physical wreck as well, by this point.
“Hi, guys,” said a voice from behind them.
The three of them spun and found Harry standing behind them with a wide grin on his face. Rather than the physical ruin they were expecting, however, they were confronted with the sight of a dark-haired god standing there.
He had grown nearly as tall as Ron, and was much better built. His muscles could be seen bulging through the tight-fitting t-shirt he was wearing. His skin-tight jeans also seemed to have something budging through them, but it didn’t appear to be a muscle. He looked older, and gone was any trace of his previous boyish appearance. Razor-sharp cheekbones complimented his strong jaw-line. Finally, he had dispensed with his glasses and his brilliant green-eyes observed them with amusement.
“Harry?” mumbled Ron in shock.
“Harry?” exclaimed Hermione in disbelief.
“WOO-HOO! HUBBA-HUBBA! OH, YES! COME TO MUMMA!” Ginny noted.
“Had a good summer everyone?” Harry asked casually.
“Where did you get those muscles?” Ginny demanded, squeezing his biceps.
“I’ve had a busy summer,” he confirmed. “Ginny, can I just say how much I appreciated you coming to the Ministry with me? Your support really meant the world to me.”
“That’s quite alright, Harry,” Ginny said, lowering her eyes demurely while taking the opportunity to run her hands over his abdominal muscles.
“We were there, too,” Ron pointed out.
“Yeah, cheers, Ron,” Harry mumbled before turning back to Ginny. “I can’t say how much you standing by me meant to me. I’ve been thinking about you a lot over the holidays, Ginny. I’ve really missed you.”
“Oh, Harry! I’ve missed you too,” Ginny gushed, while checking out his muscular thighs.
“Hi, Ginny,” said Dean, who had just arrived.
“Who are you?” Ginny asked dismissively before restarting her exploration of Harry’s burly chest.
“It’s me, Dean. The guy you agreed would be your boyfriend this term?” Dean prompted.
Ginny turned to him in irritation, before a more sorrowful expression came onto her face.
“Dean, I’m sorry, but this relationship just isn’t working for me. We’re just too different. I’ve changed and I just don’t feel the same way anymore. It’s not you, it’s me. I’m sorry, but the time we had together will always mean the world to me. I hope we can still be friends. Bye!” Ginny said, before turning and grabbing Harry’s arm. “Come on, Harry. Let’s grab a compartment. I can keep you company while Ron and Hermione are off on prefect duties.”
Dean stood and watched the pair disappear into the crowd.
“Tough break, mate,” Ron sympathised. “Better luck, next time.”
“Just remember, Dean,” Hermione told him. “It is better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all! See you.”
The two of them hurried off in pursuit of Harry and Ginny, leaving a slightly stunned Dean standing on the platform.
“Bugger,” he said.
From Harry’s point of view, the train journey was going very well. Ginny had readily agreed to become his girlfriend and they had enthusiastically discussed the new arrangement until Ron and Hermione returned from the prefect’s meeting. Ron had scowled a bit at the sight of Ginny hurriedly doing up the buttons of her blouse, but had wisely kept his mouth shut.
Of course, a journey on the Hogwarts express just wouldn’t be complete without a visit from Draco Malfoy and his cronies and frankly the author was too near the end of the story to start worrying about clichés now.
“Well, well, well, what do we have here?” Draco drawled, rather unoriginally. “Sweet Merlin, Potter! Couldn’t you do any better than the Weaslette for a girlfriend? Still, I suppose she’s cheap. How much do you charge a go, Weasley?”
Harry sighed and stood up. Why did Draco never learn? He stretched to his full height and smirked at the look of fear that came into Malfoy’s eyes. Harry fully intended to do something so hideous to Draco that he would wish that he had never been born (or, if the blond boy was thinking clearly, wished that Harry had never been born).
He walked up to Draco until he was right in the boy’s face. Worryingly, Draco smelt faintly of lavender and Harry could see that the boy maintained a strict skin moisturising regime. Along with his perfectly groomed hair, he was really starting to worry about Malfoy. He briefly wondered if the blond boy knew that spell for conjuring cucumbers.
“I’m sick of you, Draco,” Harry explained in a bored voice. “If you ever insult my friends again, blah, blah, blah. Oh, sod it. I’m just going to hit you!”
Draco’s eyes went wide as Harry’s fist came towards him very fast. One punch was all it needed before the Malfoy heir was flat on his back, unconscious. Crabbe and Goyle, being too stupid to indulge in independent thought, stood and stared at Harry dumbly.
“Pick him up and get out of here!” Harry ordered the two bulky Slytherin boys. He felt slightly cheated that Draco had fallen after one punch. Next time he would have to work out a way to ensure the slimy git suffered for longer. Still, when Draco woke up he was going to discover his hair was badly messed up, which would probably traumatise him badly anyway.
The rest of the journey passed without incident and the four friends were able to enjoy the trip. Before they knew it, Hogsmeade Station came into sight and they were able to disembark. One short Thestral-propelled trip later, the group were entering the Great Hall in anticipation of the welcoming feast. Dumbledore was there to meet them.
“Hello, Harry, I hope you… WOO-HOO! HUBBA-HUBBA! OH, YES!” Dumbledore commented, having caught sight of Harry.
“Err…hello, Headmaster,” replied Harry, edging behind Ginny for protection. In turn, the short redhead was glaring at Dumbledore and fingering her wand.
“Well, I must say it looks like you’ve had a good summer, my boy,” the Headmaster continued, having got control of himself somewhat.
“Yes, I’ve had an excellent summer,” Harry confirmed. “I studied hard, got plenty of exercise, got myself a girlfriend…”
“Yes, well, let’s not talk about that now,” Dumbledore said with his eyes twinkling like a nuclear powered Christmas tree. “Why don’t you come up to my office after the feast? We can discuss what you’ve been up to. You can have a lemon drop and sit on my knee while we talk.”
Fortunately, Harry was saved from coming up with a plausible excuse by the arrival of Professor McGonagall and the first years. Seizing the diversion, Harry and his friends made their way to Gryffindor’s table to watch the Sorting.
The Sorting Hat’s song this year proved a big hit and it treated the pupils to a funky little R&B number complete with brass section. The first years were then duly Sorted into their respective houses on the flimsy premise of whatever their major personality trait happened to be at that point. Of course, everybody knows that eleven-year-olds have finished developing and no child EVER changes their personalities during their teenage years. Probably.
Harry was just about to tuck into the feast when a loud alarm sounded.
“The wards!” Dumbledore cried. “We are under attack!”
No sooner had the Headmaster spoken when a loud voice boomed through the hall.
“The school is surrounded,” a hissing voice informed them. “I, Lord Voldemort, have come with an army of Death Eaters at my heels! I will be merciful, however, if you give me one thing: Harry Potter!”
“Righty-o!” Harry called cheerful before standing and making his way out of the hall. There was a very brief pause before all the teachers and pupils leapt up to follow him.
Outside, Harry made his way out of the main courtyard and out towards the path that led towards Hogsmeade. Once there, he was confronted with an impressive and terrible sight.
Voldemort stood at the head of an army of nearly five hundred Death Eaters. Harry could clearly see Lucius Malfoy, Bellatrix Lestrange and Peter Pettigrew standing at the Dark Lord’s shoulder. On the flanks were countless Werewolves, Banshees, Vampires, Trolls, Redcaps, Goblins, Giants and even a few Orcs who had somehow got mixed up in the wrong franchise. It was a bowel-loosening vision of terror that was guaranteed to strike fear into the heart of the stoutest warrior.
“Potter!” Voldemort snarled. “Bow before me and I will let you live!”
“No thanks,” Harry said. “I think it’s more appropriate if you bow before me!”
“What!” the Dark Lord spluttered. “Arrogant child! Why should I, the greatest wizard who ever lived, bow before you?”
“Because I spent most of the summer destroying your Horcruxes?” Harry asked.
He pulled a tiny bag out of his pocket and enlarged it. Reaching in he, in turn, withdrew a ruined ring, a destroyed diary, a collapsed cup, a lidless locket and a destroyed diadem, all of which he threw at Voldemort’s feet.
“Oh, that reminds me,” Harry declared before whipping out his wand and, faster than everyone could react, casting a curse at Nagini, which caused the snake to explode into a million pieces.
“Noooooooooooooooooooo,” cried Voldemort, overacting in a manner that only the best of established British actors can get away with.
“You are mortal now, Tom! Surrender to me!” Harry declared, putting his hands on his hips in a dramatic manner. After all, after this was over he might want to get a role in pantomime one Christmas.
“Attack!” Voldemort screamed, waving his army forward.
It turned out to be a very bad afternoon for the forces of evil, insomuch as they were all killed. Harry hurled spell after spell into the massed ranks of Death Eaters, decimating them. He summoned massive Elemental monsters that ripped the giants apart. Lightning bolts tore through the assorted beasts frying them to a crisp before fireballs burnt the banshees to ashes. All in all, it was the most spectacular battle ever witnessed in the history of the world and far beyond the talents of the author to describe. Just use your imaginations, okay?
When it was all over, Voldemort stood looking over the wreckage that was once his mighty army.
“Give up, Tom,” Harry cried. “Your army is defeated.”
“No, it’s not,” Voldemort said.
“What?” Harry exclaimed. “Look around you. Everyone’s dead!”
“No, they’re not,” Voldemort insisted, hastily trying to hide what might have been part of Malfoy’s head with his foot.
“Just look,” Harry said in exasperation. “Your army is one big pile of gloop!”
“It’s supposed to look like that,” Voldemort sniffed.
“You really are a loony, aren’t you?” Harry suggested.
“I am Lord Voldemort! I am immortal! I’m the bestest wizard ever!” Voldemort insisted going for his wand.
“Oh, sod this,” Harry said and promptly changed Voldemort into a hedgehog.
As hedgehogs go, it was an ugly little thing. Its red eyes glared at Harry and it hopped around performing an angry little dance. Or at least it did until it was suddenly flattened by a six ton, fourteen wheeled articulated lorry that thundered out of nowhere.
What a lorry was doing driving through the grounds of a magically hidden school hundreds of miles away from any Muggle roads is open to speculation. Perhaps its satellite navigation system had gone wrong? Yes, that sounds plausible; let’s go with that.
Harry stared at the small bloody stain on the grass that used to be Lord Voldemort for a second before he turned to face the assembled residents of the school.
“Voldemort has been defeated!” Harry shouted.
“Hooray!” yelled the pupils.
“His Death Eaters are no more!” Harry called again.
“Hooray!” yelled the pupils and teachers.
“Let’s party!” Harry shouted a third time.
“Woo-hoo!” yelled everyone before hurrying back to the Great Hall to start what promised to be the celebration of the century.
Harry hurried over and managed to catch Ginny before she disappeared inside.
“What do you say the two of us nip off and have a private celebration, just the two of us?” he asked.
Ginny blushed slightly and looked down demurely. This modesty lasted a whole three seconds before she grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him back into the school.
As the young lovers departed to a more private location, the screen faded into black in a desperate attempt by the author to guarantee the story got a decent age rating, and ensure he didn’t have to post it on one of those dodgy sites full of stories that are little more than badly written porn and stuffed with Harry/Draco slash fics.
Because no sane person wants that, now, do they?
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