Magic Knows No Boundaries But Those We Believe In @nonsensicalrants
10: Networking Part 2

Magic Knows No Boundaries But Those We Believe In

By NonsensicalRants

Chapter 10:

Networking Part 2


Sometime in 2003:

The trio exited the Las Vegas night club in a fuss. Harry, as usual, was the most fussy of the bunch. Loud, crowded places with unwanted sexual attention never suited him. And yet his friends kept insisting on trying to acclimate him to it.

"Seriously Harry. We're sorry." Said Dudley. "We're just trying to share what we enjoy with you. Never again."

Draco handed him an ice pack he conjured.

"Never seen that happen before." Said Malfoy. "Where did that girl get off accusing you of spiking her drink?"

"Might have had something to do with me rejecting her really atrocious attempts at flirting." Harry answered as he put the ice pack to his forehead where that asshole smashed a bottle of irish rum on his head. "If you consider groping a flirting tactic. Can't say I've ever tried it myself."

He understood the attention from girls they got when they went out. There was Dudley, built like a brick house from years of professional boxing. There was Draco, with his aristocratic aura balanced with the heavy serving of humble pie and wit he'd developed over the years. And then there was Harry who was… still just Harry.

"You showed a lot of restraint in not beating that guy into a puddle of sludge." Complimented Dudley.

"Same to you." Quipped Draco.

"Can we just go somewhere quiet to enjoy the lights and stars." Pleaded Harry. "I'm tired of talking about drunk idiots acting like drunk idiots."

Draco knew a place and led them there. A place he himself owned.

Ever since finishing their post-Hogwarts studies they got bored with Europe very quickly. They would still visit whenever they wanted to be surrounded by women who weren't fat, but otherwise the United States of goddamn America was their playground. Wellz their favorite playground at least. They got up to plenty of mischief in other countries.

The boxing, mixed martial arts and club scenes were what enticed his cousin on his mother's side. The unlimited opportunity for entrepreneurship is what enticed his more distant cousin on his father's side.

In just the few short years since the war Draco had become something of a schizophrenic business tycoon. Schizophrenic in the sense that there was absolutely nothing he wasn't willing to try. He would make a fast food restaurant where customers used the ingredients of the establishment along with recipes to cook their own healthy meals one week, and a straight up toothpick factory the next. Believe it or not, both were equally profitable.

The goblins absolutely loved him, not for the money he brought in, but for his creativity and business acumen. To say nothing of his name constantly being attributed with excellence. Harry was convinced the Malfoy heir could walk up to any Gringotts bank, ask for a loan to open a sex shop for nuns, and they'd approve it just to see if he could pull it off. He probably could. The man had the ever elusive "it" that made salesmen into millionaires and innovators into billionaires.

Good thing he hadn't had this weaponized force of personality during their Hogwarts days, or Harry most definitely would have landed in Slytherin.

Harry though? Harry still hadn't figured out what to do with himself. One day they would be in Florida snorkeling with manatees, the next they'd be in the gulf of Alaska surfing waves exceeding 30 feet, only to end the day enjoying shots of high quality tequila and margaritas in Mexico while ogling the scantily clad, yet still somehow classy, latina sweethearts. He'd then follow it up with a cooking class in Italy the next day, a blacksmithing course in Nippon, a belly dancing course in India and… well, you get the point.

He couldn't find his purpose. With Voldemort dead and gone his destiny was fulfilled and he was aimless. His time studying under masters of different crafts in the wizarding world - from wand making with Ollivander, to potion making under the same man who trained Severus Snape himself - all went rather well. But none of them really spoke to him.

And now? Now he was in a funk that Draco and Dudley were doing everything in their power to try and get him out of.

"Alright, third floor up here." Draco said as they came upon a highrise like any other in the city of sin.

They took the elevator and were spat out into a football stadium sized patio you never would have known was there from the outside. A quiet lounge, where people sat in booths to eat and talk. Each booth sat beneath a tree that mutated between species constantly. Harry saw one turn from Japanese cherry blossoms, to purple westeris, to sweet at magnolia, to weeping willow and a blue wisteria tree as they walked along. Each blooming with their vibrant displays of color and raining petals down on the customers where they vanished into particles of light upon touching them or the tables.

"My worldwide lounge." Draco announced. "Private booths for people to relax, talk, and meditate. No alcohol, no junk food or any other poisons of the body. Just a place to be at peace with a healthy mix of beautiful nature and classic architecture, none of that horrific brutalist crap."

He looked at Harry.

"You inspired the idea." He explained. "There are a lot more people in the world who, while despising the loud music and blatant sexuality of night clubs, still want to go out and socialize, but in a more reserved manner. I saw that nobody was capitalizing on the market and decided to fix that. I plan to have one of the capital cities of every state and country in the world."

Goddamnit Draco! Why do you have to keep throwing curve balls and impressing me like this?!

"The capital of Nevada is Carson City, you dolt." A pretty waitress commented as she passed by with a tray of hot tea.

She planted a friendly kiss of greeting on Draco's cheek and waved to Harry and Dudley before continuing on her way.

"Well. Populous cities of the world." Corrected draco. "Which usually equates to capital cities, except in the states. Tokyo's is almost finished if you feel like visiting Sue and her fiance next week?"

He hadn't seen the quiet Ravenclaw in forever, so he agreed to the date instantly.

Draco led them up a spiral metal staircase to a raised catwalk with more booths, these ones fancier than the rest and with a much better view of the Vegas skyline. There they sat down and sunk into the unnaturally soft cushions.

Harry noticed dials on the armrest of his seat and pressed one to discover that each one was also a massage chair.

"How do you keep the cost down to have a more ruffian clientele." Dudley asked as he surveyed the booths around them.

Indeed, many looked to be more of the blue collar worker variety than upper class such a lovely place would suggest.

"The Thrasher Trees, named after birds that can mimic sounds by the way, are really expensive to produce but I can sell them at a high enough profit to richer clientele who want them in their gardens." Explained Draco. "This really helps to keep the cost down as I can charge less here. And my employees are all trained to be able to transfigure the tile and booths. Most are dropouts so I don't have to pay them as exorbitantly as many more well-trained trasnfigurstionists, but I still pay them well and a lot leave more skilled than when they arrived to get better jobs. Plus without needing to pay licensing fees to serve alcohol, tobacco or food keeps the cost down.

Harry was sure the business tycoon had left out at least a dozen more cost-cutting techniques and profit motives around the business. He resisted the urge to tell Malfoy that he didn't need to reassure him that everything was not only legal, but considerate and beneficial to his employees. They were so far past that.

"And where do these Thrasher Trees come from?" Asked Harry.

"I had the idea and commissioned Pomona." He confessed. "Now that Longbottom is taking over most of her duties in his apprenticeship to be the new herbology teacher she has a lot of free time to work on her own projects. And oh boy did it turn out she's been hiding her true power level all these years!"

This was true. And if professor Sprout considered Neville to be a prodigy by comparison to her then he shuddered to think what kind of masterpieces of biology and herbology he could come up with decades down the line when he himself retired. The future was a bright and interesting place.

"Speaking of, " Said Dudley. "Have you considered trying to work with her and see if you find your calling there? You said yourself that you're intent on dipping your toes into every little thing the world has to offer, after all."

Harry pulled out the handy dandy notebook he kept in his breast pocket, turned to the bookmarked section on possible careers, and added herbology to the list. He still had a couple hundred to go through. From restaurant dishwasher to astronaut, but he was sure he could fit "creating abominations against god and nature with Pomona Sprout" somewhere between the two.

Another server came by with a tray of jasmine tea and, after giving Draco a fist bump, served them before leaving. The former ponce was a king in all of his domains and if not friendly with then at least respected by all of his employees.

Just then the thrasher tree of their booth turned into cherry blossoms again.

"Why do you two do this?" Harry asked.

He elaborated when they looked at him quizzically.

"Why do you guys put so much time and money into helping with all…" he made a motion about his head. "The problems I have up here."

They weren't the only ones who did everything in their power to drag him, often kicking and screaming, out of his man cave at the refurbished Grimmauld Place, but they were the most insistent.

It was a funny story, actually. After the war he had taken on so much responsibility trying to help everybody else recover from their wounds, physical and spiritual, that he forgot to take care of himself. Reuniting lost lovers, raising Teddy, and all around just helping people with the wars within themselves; it all kept him so busy. He must have kept a really good poker face as he did so, because it was years before somebody thought to ask themselves "Hey! Now wait a minute. This guy who gave the most, lost the most and hurt the most during the war… maybe he isn't alright?"

And he wasn't alright. But once one person figured it out, they all found out. The speed at which everybody in his generation, from all four houses and beyond, switched gears to make time for him was so very heartwarming if a bit annoying at times. Not to mention confusing, as each person tried to share their coping mechanisms with him.

Dean would take him out to the ball game(any ball game really, but usually football). Hermione kept wanting to share her joy of learning, but eventually gave up on making him read dry scientific journals and instead watch documentaries on movie nights. Ron was great. He would invite him out and they would just sit there. Quietly.

Then there were the girls. Several tried dating him and a few succeeded. However, something about a girl dating you because they think you're broken and their "divine pussies" will somehow cure it turned out to be creepier than it sounded in hindsight. Most of them were worse lays than the fangirls he, regrettably, allowed into his life. So he quashed future attempts at that. Especially after a few weeks with Daphne "I design my own lingerie and you have to see/touch me in ALL of them!" Greengrass. She actually cut it off herself when she realized she was a bit too much for him to handle. Her unashamed and unrestrained sexuality nearly fried his much more shy and demure brain to a crisp She was still sweet to him years later though.

He stopped dating entirely after that. Between his experience with the idol-worshippers, the pitt fucks and Luna when he was studying with Ollivander, he realized he had no business dating. It was inconsiderate in the extreme to waste other people's time building relationships you weren't ready for because you haven't worked your own shit out yet. So he didn't.

There were more people who tried to help him, but everyone was a bit too busy adulting to put too much time into him. All recently married, pregnant or raising their new kids. Everyone except Draco and Dudley. Together they were the three "manchildren" as the bitter girls they refused to marry called them. And boy did they have fun. The concept that men didn't have to marry women on women's time schedule but could choose to do so on theirs was just a foreign concept to many. They planned to stop enjoying the bachelor life if and when they wanted to, thank you very much!

"That's a ridiculous question." Said Draco. "We owe you."

"Everyone owes you." Added Dudley. "I barely get around to Diagon or Hogwarts to substitute in Muggle Studies anymore, but I know people haven't forgotten about you or how much you've done."

Harry shook his head.

"No! Like. Why do you guys put so much more time, effort and energy into it than anybody else?" Harry elaborated. "And don't say because you have the free time, between your thousand side hustles and your constant training and boxing matches you're both a lot busier than you pretend."

The two blonde men shared a glance. Dudley nutted up first.

"Harry. My childhood was pretty much perfect." He explained. "I was too spoiled, too fat and too happy. And that happiness came at the proveable cost of your happiness."

… it wasn't the worst explanation. Dudley wanting to make up for all the Harry hunting and sleeping under the stairs made sense.

"A bit of the same for me honestly." Added Draco. "My parents should have been imprisoned at the end of the first war, not the second, and our mostly-misbegotten wealth distributed to victims on both sides of the conflict much earlier."

A lot of people were suspicious when Draco liquidated his entire heritage of his own accord and spent it all helping to rebuild the magical world after his parents went to the newly rebuilt(and dementor-free) Azkaban. But that new leaf he turned over was genuine. And after living with his aunt and Harry for a little while, helping around the house and being an extra parent to Teddy, he decided to get up and leave in order to build up a new empire of businesses, small and large, brick by brick when one day he just decided that he missed being rich. But he wanted to earn it this time.

He really did just get up one day and announce to Harry and Andromeda "I'm tired of being a bum. I'm off to go get rich again. See you in a few months." Before walking out the front door with just the clothes on his back. And forsooth, when they next saw him, four months later, he had a budding real-estate business and a produce shipping company. He was already expanding into other little things even then.

"Instead I grew up in one of the richest families in the country. To say little of how awful I was to you in our school days." Draco finished.

"And there's the little, teensy-weensy fact that you saved my life and soul!" Bellowed dudley. "Literally and figuratively."

"A lot of the former literally for me, even more of the latter figuratively." Draco amended.

Harry considered this. He'd saved a lot of people's lives, and several people's souls over the war. Both literally and figuratively. But none of them had such a sordid history of benefitting at his expense. So yeah, they sort of did owe him, but that didn't mean he wanted it. He was about to say as much when Draco's next words shut him up completely.

"Everything I've built up from nothing. All of my wealth, resources and contacts. All of it and my life belong to you." Said Draco. "If you merely ask I will hand it over to you or burn it to the ground and start anew."

Harry was so starstruck by the heartfelt confession that he could only glance at Dudley.

"Oh yeah, no, what he said." His cousin added before sipping his tea awkwardly.

Harry was so touched by the declarations of fealty that he could do nothing but drink his tea in silence. A silence which they respected until the tea was gone.

"Oh by the way, the Harpies are in town training for their match with the Arizona Phoenixes." Draco said. "Ginevra invited me, and by extension you, to spend the weekend playing pickup games with them."

Oh Ginny and her team were here? Well who was he to deny an ex-girlfriend the chance to pummel him in a Quidditch match.

"Who else will be playing?" He asked.

"Viktor is dropping by since their current seeker is out of it and they asked him to help train her up." Draco explained. "I also got George, Lee and Angela to take a break from running the joke shops to join us."

"So you want me to play seeker while you and Angelina play chaser and George and lee do the beating?" Harry summed up. "Against the Holyhead Harpies, who have three of the best chasers ever to play in the circuit, not to toot Ginny's horn too loudly…"

"Her horn deserves tootin, but continue your whinging." Said Draco.

"To top it off they will have the single greatest seeker in the world playing on their side." Harry summed up. "Are we going to follow it up by accepting an arm-wrestling match with Hagrid?"

Draco kept that unbearable smirk on the entire time Harry let loose his diatribe.

"Well for one we have one of the best beaters to have ever lived, and yes I actually crunched the numbers on George's fitness tests and it was in the top ten." Draco said. "I'm just shy of being a professional level chaser myself. And Ginevra will be playing on our team."

Harry was silent for a moment. That was almost a fair matchup.

"It's just practice isn't it?" Said Dudley. "They're not inviting you to humiliate you but to help build up their new guy."

"Girl. They only have girls in the Holyhead Harpies." Draco corrected.

"Can't they get sued for descrimination?" Asked Dudley.

"Nope." Draco answers without further explanation.

"I'm in." Harry said before their conversation could go any further. "But my old firebolt is hardly up to modern professional broom standards."

Draco looked like Sylvester after successfully catching Tweety bird. He reached underneath his seat and pulled out what could only be described as a motorcycle helmet designed for war in space.

"We have also been recruited to test out the new prototype Auburn brand racing brooms."

"The car company?" Asked Dudley.

"Yup. Both teams will be completely fitted, but just for these practice games." Draco explained. "We get to fly the most dangerous brooms yet designed, and they get data with which to make them less dangerous. Win, win."

When he said it like that it sounded like a really good deal. But there was a part of it he wasn't quite catching.

"But why the helmets? Won't we be playing with nets and cushioning charms anyways?" Harry asked.

"Oh of course. We're insane, not stupid." Said Draco. "The helmets and suits aren't to protect us from impacts. They're to protect us from the air catching under our eyes or noses and ripping our faces off."

Suits? He looked at the helmet and figured there must be some nascar-like onesies to go with them. He's worn dumber things in the past

But what he said was true. There weren't any charms or enchantments to help with wind resistance, at least not ones you can put on human skin. And if there were they would be banned in professional Quidditch as performance enhancers anyways, same as the impervious charms he needed to put on his glasses during particularly stormy games. Or at least used to, before getting lasik surgery. He still wore glasses most of the time, but they were dummy lenses and more for comfort than anything else. If you spend the first 20 or so years of your life wearing glasses you'll feel naked when you no longer need them too.

"It sounds like you might be overselling me on how impressive these brooms are." Said Harry.

That weekend proved Draco was not, in fact, overselling him on the capabilities of these experimental brooms. The first time he went full speed he nearly went into cardiac arrest(exaggeration, but only barely) from the sudden change from zero to six g's. With that lesson learned they were all ready to play ball again.

Maybe it was how great it was seeing Ginny, George, Lee Jordan and Viktor again. Maybe it was just that he missed the sport and maybe it was just because he ABSOLUTELY DEMOLISHED the Holyhead Harpies' backup seeker and managed to make Viktor sweat for his win. But by the end of that day he was sold on his career path, even if he was in agony the next day from being so out of practice and having overexerted his body. So he would need to be trained back up.

He happily crossed off "creating abominations against god and nature with Pomona Sprout" from his handy dandy notebook. Along with every other possible career path, big or small, he had yet to try.

Quidditch really was in his blood. And on that day he discovered what so many people had meant when they had told him "you have to start working eventually."

The usual remark he refrained from making was something along the lines of "I inherited the fortune of the Black family, I don't have to work a single day for the rest of my life unless I so choose." But work makes the souls sing and keeps a man humble and strong. Not to mention sane.

Viktor and Draco had him starting a three-month Quidditch bootcamp a week later.

This was all rather surprising considering their team had lost, and lost badly.


August 1996, Different Universe

Dumbledore led Harry around his new property and seemed to be trying his hardest to downplay how great the property is.

Harry knew full well, even without his expanded senses, that the structure was in far better condition than it appeared. The cracks, chipped paint and dirt, not to mention boarded up windows, were all surface level. The equivalent of soaking paper in coffee to make it look more aged than it was.

Harry himself got tired of Dumbledore's - admittedly obvious and humorous charade - about the place being haunted and the multiple contradictory stories about the horrors that had taken place there. And so, with a wave of his hands he began his first display of wandless magic for the old man.

Clearing out all of the debris, trash and rocks in the first thirty meters around the property and following it up with a weak ,large-area of effect cutting charm to remove the overgrown weeds, grass and bushes. After a few minutes they all sat neatly in a pile on the newly cut lawn. From there he ripped every single board covering the windows and doors of the house, nails and all.

That last one had taxed him enough to make him sweat and start to breathe laboriously. So with calm, deep breaths he focused on slowly levitating the unwanted boards and nails from their individual places in the sky down into the same pile of stone, trash, grass, weeds and bushes.

He only had one last thing to do on the exterior, save for clearing out the remaining debris, trash, rocks, trash, weeds and bushes in the ten or so acres of land surrounding the shake. He allowed his magic to slowly wash over the exterior surface of the building, and crawling along it peeled away the ancient, ruined paint. This wasn't a spell, but wild, focused magic bending to his will and skill as opposed to any magical foci, years of theory and practice. It was the magical equivalent of scrubbing a house down with an invisible sheet of sandpaper.

When he was done the shack, which itself was a fully liveable home, looked almost ready to move into. The dark wood exposed to the air was nearly pristine and needed only a new paint job. A proper one, done by hand.

"Whoo! I need to exercise more." Harry joked when the exhaustion finally hit him and he bent over to catch his breath.

He'd be lying if he said he hadn't been trying to impress the old man, and the look of approval on his face showed it had worked. Damn, did that feel good!

"That was such beautiful magic, mister Morrigan." Complimented Dumbledore. "Thank you for giving me the privilege of seeing it."

"Stick around. You haven't seen anything yet" - Harry wanted to say, but refrained. He needed to remain humble, so instead he said:

"I foresee seeing much more beautiful magic, and beautiful acts, come from you in this, your final year." He said in all honesty. "As the sun sets on your life you will see the world you love begin to live up to the great promise it always held."

It was always a great pleasure leaving old folk speechless with flattery, especially when it wasn't a lie to butter them up.

"Is that a deduction or divination?" Dumbledore asked.

"A little bit of both." Harry answered half-honestly. "Door?"

"Hm? Oh!" Said Dumbledore as he fumbled for the key to the front door.

Finding it, he unlocked the entrance and swung the door open. The air suddenly reeked of dust, disrepair and neglect. Dumbledore motioned for Harry to stand back before drawing the elder wand.

With a few swishes through the air he created a delicate gust of wind that he sent inside. Harry wasn't familiar with the spell, but it was loud. He heard furniture being thrown aside, dishes crashing and curtains being torn asunder as the whirlwind tore through the building.

Dumbledore had the gall to hum a cute tune and twiddle his thumbs the entire time.

"Ah! I think it should be safe to enter." Said Dumbledore when the spell ended.

As they did so it was to find a home in disrepair, but bereft of dust and furniture. The wallpaper would all have to be replaced, as would most of the plaster from the deep claw marks Remus had left during his monthly confinements here. Plus, the wood - all of it - would need to be sanded and polished.

There goes his weekend.

"Would you mind opening a few windows?" Harry asked.

With a wave of his wand Dumbledore opened every last one and they continued the tour. From the entrance hall to the living room - where the whirlwind had deposited all of the ruined furniture and dust of the home into a pile reminiscent of the room of hidden things - everything was in far better condition than could be expected. The cellerx which he had never been in, was large enough to serve as a storage area for all the options ingredients he would ever need and the food pantry beside the kitchen was nearly as large as the master bedroom - which he planned to turn into military style barracks. Same for the living room and the other bedrooms.

"It's perfect." Said Harry as they exited the attic, would of course be converted to an office.

"I'm glad you like it. But might I ask, of all the buildings in the world to turn into a refuge for werewolves near the full moon, why this one?"

Harry shrugged.

"Walked past it one day and got the overwhelming feeling it would be a great place for a werewolf to hide." He said. "And then as I thought about it, I realized with eh wide open spaces around it and proximity to Hogwarts it would allow a good range of visibility to see any would be hunters and make it more plausible for younger people afflicted to attend Hogwarts, if parents could be assured that their children would be safe during those days. But that's a bit further down the future, isn't it?"

Now he was outright lying, but he had the excuse of being a seer to lean on when he needed to explain how he knew things he shouldn't, so you're damn right he was going to abuse it. He didn't mean to make Dumbledore's eyes twinkle so hard as to be blinding.

"I can vanish the old furniture unless you want to repair it?" Dumbledore offered as they passed the living room again.

"Oh no! I'll burn it in a bonfire tonight." Said Harry. "Vanishing things makes me… uncomfortable."

Dumbledore looked at him curiously.

"Whatever does it do?"

"Are you familiar with the laws of thermodynamics?" Asked Harry.

"Of course."

"Well many a wizard has asked, if matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, then wherefore does matter erased through magic go?" Harry explained. "And some have found the answer. It is horrifying. I'd rather not talk about it."

Dumbledore nodded consideringly.

"I'll have to look into that myself then." He eventually said. "And I shall refrain from vanishing to dispose of things until I find the answer. Is there a similarly terrifying answer for the origins of conjured matter?"

Harry scoffed.

"You know as well as I do, conjured matter isn't real. Just magic shaping into a form of our imaging and imitating the properties we want it too, and all conjured things eventually return to nothing."

Dumbledore nodded approvingly, and only then did Harry realize he was still being interviewed, this time in his theoretical knowledge in regards to transfiguration. Albus Dumbledore had always been openly biased in favor of skill in Transfiguration as the mark of a great wizard. He had a point too.

"Well, the transfer in ownership for the deed is signed and sealed and sent off to Gringotts." Said Dumbledore. "As soon as they approve the transaction and transfer the money, I'm sure they will allow you to pick it up."

Harry nodded and shook Dumbledore's hand goodbye. For now at least.

"And if you need any further help setting up your nonprofit, I know a few people who would be happy to help." He said before leaving with not a crack, but a whisper on the wind.

Harry immediately re-entered the shack and began checking for any residual magic with his senses. Wards, spying charms, cursed objects, anything. When those turned up squat he went down the back hall to where the passage to the whomping willow ought to be.

There was no trapdoor, nor was there anything beneath the trapdoor. He could feel that it had once been there's but not for a very long time.

He would have suspected Dumbledore of having sealed it up ahead of time knowing he might be selling the property, but three that aside. More likely, with the war of attrition going on endlessly and being a more worldwide phenomenon than strictly English - as it had been in his world -, the headmaster likely sealed it up after Remus graduated.

It would not do to have an easily accessible passage into the castle. He wondered to himself if the others had been sealed up too. To his knowledge, all of the Marauders were alive in this universe, and allied with Dumbledore. They were bright men, and would surely have shared their knowledge of the passageways with him.

He breathed out a sigh of relief he advanced onto the living room. With a flick of his wand he levitated all of the crap and dust and guided it all through the front door. Depositing it onto the now doubly-large pile of trash to be burned he took a deep breath and sat on the grass.

And like that all motivation to do work left him.

Even though he was nowhere near magical exhaustion, dealing with Dumbledore had taken its toll on his mind and energy levels. Be wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again, so stressful had his meetings with the old man he loved dearly.

It was then that he heard the fluttering of wings and looked up to see Hedwig - significantly slimmer than when he purchased her - coming in for a landing. He smiled as she glided to his side and nestled into his side.

Their familiar bond was finally starting to form. His old Hedwig could always tell when he needed her comfort, which had been often. He stroked her feathers as he got lost in thinking about nothing.

It was a lovely afternoon. Warm sunlight with intermittent clouds and the smell of freshly cut grass all around him. Shame he only had Hedwig to share it with, and crookshanks wasn't the cuddliest - plus he didn't feel like picking him up from Ollivander's and coming back.

"Expecto patronum." Harry whispered, then spoke to the stag which appeared. "Bellatrix: I just purchased the Shrieking shack. If you aren't too busy, won't you join me here? Please bring a blanket if you can."

He sent off the message and eased back into resting on the ground. For a few minutes he continued to enjoy the silence in his mind when a loud crack announced the arrival of his impromptu date.

"Must you keep aadg waiting!" She called once she reached earshot, a thin picnic blanket held to her chest. "I've heard nothing since dinner the other day!"

Fair point. And so, he made no excuses but instead scooped Hedwig into his arms and stood up to introduce them.

"This is my familiar, Hedwig." Said Harry. "We met just a few weeks ago, and I've been working overtime on helping her lose weight. She's doing great."

Bellatrix smiled at the amber-eyed owl and stroked her brow with a single finger in greeting. Hedwig did not object.

"Is this a comfy place to put down the blanket and have a lay down?" Bellatrix asked. "I presume the interior is not yet presentable?"

Harry nodded and soon he, Hedwig and Bellatrix were sitting together. Him sprawled out and propped up by his elbows, utterly relaxed and her with her legs folded beneath her and sitting upright like royalty. They sunbathed for a few minutes but the conversation simply had to begin anew.

"I really am sorry about not writing to you earlier." Said Harry. "I've had a rather busy week thus far and only just caught a breather."

"Oh, you don't need to tell me. I'm a lady, don't you know?" She said mysteriously. "And we can tell when a man, any man, has had a very stressful day."

She looked at him crookedly and held a finger to her bottom lip as if deep in thought.

"You present me with a difficult choice here. I have two sisters in very different marriages. One takes her husband having a bad day as the opportunity to whine and make it worse, mostly for her own amusement but also to get things out of him. The other moves mountains to make him feel heard and wanted." She explained. "Which one should I imitate?"

Harry grinned at her joking and had no difficulty guessing which sister was which.

"I think I shall take my lessons from the sister who has built a loving home and family, one that can be happy with or without the finer things in life." She decided. "Here you are exhausted, and here I am with a perfectly soft lap to lay your head. Come. Rest, and tell me all about your day "

She patted her lap and he took the invitation. With one beautiful bird laying in his arms, and he laying in the arms of another beautiful bird, he spilled his guts. He told her the truncated and selectively edited version of his day. How he had come to Hogsmeade to interview with the great Albus Dumbledore and got the position, only to then also convince the old man to sell the Shrieking shack. This then led the conversation back around to the nonprofit he was trying to make.

Bellatrix kept quiet the entire time, making no judgement or criticisms of his plans, even as he went into detail about them. Keeping her promise to listen.

He considered telling her about Dumbledore's impending death and how sad that had made him, but he wasn't sure if he trusted her enough yet with that information. She was after all still Bellatrix Black. And knowledge can be dangerous.

"I'm probably going to spend the rest of the day cleaning up the interior and then tending to the grounds." Harry finished. "And tomorrow I have to go back to Gringotts to meet with the board of nonprofit funding."

That was the one thing she couldn't bite her tongue over and audibly winced.

"I don't want to shoot down your aspirations or anything, but maybe reconsider that meeting." She said. "That board hasn't approved funding for any nonprofit in… ever."

Harry looked at her.

"Really? Why not?" Asked Harry.

"They're goblins. They will not invest in a thing if it does not make money, and the whole point of a nonprofit is to be unprofitable." She explained.

Harry frowned.

Neither of those statements were true in his experience.

Goblins care about profit, sure, but they care more about success and doing great things no matter the expense. If they failed to approve any charities in so long, it's because none of them showed promise in achieving their mandate.

As for charities being profitable, plenty of places have tried and succeeded in giving free food in exchange for a smidgeon of labor, usually dishwashing or cleaning, and even Draco had options available at his healthy cook-it-yourself restaurant for those who were broke. Cook the food for ten others, get a meal for yourself. Hell, some people became de facto employees this way and he paid them.

And like that the possible applications of a hundred fully lucid werewolves as laborers suddenly struck him… Holy shit, if only he had his Draco there right then so they could hash it out. He had planning to do.

"I bet you they'll approve mine." Harry said with a devilish grin.

"Oh yeah, and what is it you're betting?" She challenged.

"I bet you one long, wet sloppy his" he tapped his cheek "right here."

"I see." She said, returning his grin. "And what do I get if you fail?"

"I'll clean your house, or, er apartment?" He said

"I rent my own apartment." She confirmed.

"I'll clean it top to bottom, and in men's lingerie." He finished his bet. "But for your eyes only."

She didn't even bother to consider it before offering her hand.

"Why Mister Morrigan, I do believe you have yourself a deal." She said as they made for the world's most awkward handshake(due to their body positions).

It was a fun kind of bet to be made.


Notes:

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I worked really hard to drive home tlhe maturity and improvements the entire cast has made in their adult lives in that first half of the chapter. And I think I nailed it!

Reviews:

I will not be responding to the reviews regarding politics or even Economics. I gave the disclaimer ahead of time. Several people disagreed with me (Some of them even honestly) and some of them agreed with me and confided they don't know where to flee if the worst should come to pass.ck am HAPPY to debate/discuss these things either in private messages or in my discord. Take it there.

stylo1 Wrote:

a chapter every week? i'll need to see it to believe it coming from someone who barely updates his stories once every two months.

it is a crackfic no doubt, if it was not meant to be then there is a lot wrong with it, mainly a sense of priorities. also like so many other alternate dimension fics, a civil war that last 32 years? yet it took voldemort less then 2 years to take over the world after he was reborn... yeah that is just impossible.

it is somewhat funny though some humour is rather lame

Response:

I know I already responded to this review I nthe previous chapters, but I'm going to keep responding it with every new chapter if for no other reason than to say "NEENEER NEENER NEEEEENER!"

I'm petty like that sometimes.

Valiryo Wrote:

Wow.. let me guess, Shapiro is your hero?

Response:

No. My hero is a man named Norman Borlaug(which I can never spell without checking first.)

What's that, you've never heard of him? The GREATEST man to have ever lived? Who saved over a billion(no I did not misspell million) lives by the 80s and probably double that by now? That you and most everyone has never heard of him depresses me.

Shapiro? Meh. I neither like not dislike him. He's fun to mock for being a rich blonde suburbanite princess who had daddy buy her everything, but in the body of the happy merchant the younger years. He talks funny, and has a few zingers, not to mention sells fake gold certificate(Which is exactly the kind of thing that gets our people kicked out of countries over 500 times, right up there with defacing currency to used the chips broken off of it to smelt into gold, thus collapsing the entire economy. I like history. A lot.) Also his sister's Khazar milkers are so wholesome and inviting as to end all racial tensions. Amen.

I genuinely have no idea where this review even came from.

Shieldbro Wrote:

(First paragraph retracted for being slightly political)

With that aside do you plan on having Harry reveal his origins to Dumbledore or someone else besides Bellatrix (as holding a large secret like that from your partner feels kind of mean) as that could be a opportunity for some character development.

I enjoyed Dumbledore's interaction with Arianna Gellert through the resurrection stone, so did Gellert Grindelwald die in his legendary duel with Dumbledore or sometime after it? IIRC he was killed by Voldemort while residing in Nurmengard unless it happed the same in here? I probably just missed it.

happy writing!

Response:

The how and when Gellert died in this story isn't important, just that he is, in fact, dead and the Dumbledore is using the stone as a crutch to keep a grasp on his motivation to hang on and keep fighting. I meant for it to be more sad than funny, but it was such a good chance at interesting conversation that I couldn't pas it up.

And eventually everyone will know. More people already know than even Harry suspects. But I won't spoil that.

Samael Kishi. Wrote:

Ooh, awesome, new chapters! So glad you updated. I've really enjoyed this story. I greatly look forward to whatever cracky ridiculousity you put forth.

Cheers!

Response:

It's NOT a crack fic!!!! Grrrrr..

Sable1212 Wrote:

(First paragraph redacted for being political)

Also, really enjoying the story! AN2: Reminds me of lucky louie- scene with lucy asking why. Probably not it but it's worth a youtube search :P

The most blasphemous thing about you?...typing it all on your phone you psychopath! :)

Response:

Not even close. It was a reference to one of my favorite episodes of Rollie Pillow Ollie, where the daughter starts asking why about every single thing

Everpeach Wrote:

#Mountain Dew salutes the Israeli Mossad for demolishing 3 towers on 9/11!

Response:

You little shit poster you. I don't understand the joke, but I do like you.

ChangeMe4574 Wrote:

I look forward to seeing more of Bella.

I did *not* expect divinity to show up in this story. But you haven't shown me any reason to believe that you'll fuck it up.

Also, it's good to see Voldemort moving beyond England

Response:

Actually, one major difference in this universe is that Voldemort never focused solely on england but has been doing his thing all over the world at once, hence the slower takeover. He's going for the big payout.

And yeah, it does tend to get fucked up. My secret to not fucking it up is that I won't be introducing actual divinity. Faith itself is just a form of magic not understood, and very powerful. Demons, or what are called demons, will be revealed to be a whole host of misunderstood things. I will say no more.

Eldersprig Wrote:

Interviewing Harry in a dive bar shows Dumbledore as a non-professional creep. I've often assumed that the interviewing Trelaney was a fake, but if we take everything in canon as face value, it does not show Dumbledore in a good light.

"There were Death Eaters to woe " woo

Response:

The wizarding world has a lot of practices that would be considered inappropriate or outright disturbing. All detentions being one on one without proper supervision from third parties to avoid any kinds of abuses, particularly sexual being one of the big ones in my mind.

As for it being a dive bar, all of the private rooms are just tables and chairs for parties and business meetings. That's my head canon, I'm sticking to it.

Homarid Wrote:

That stuff about the bug chasers was awful, sometimes I hate people.

Anyway I did not in fact know about getting dogs drunk, which is hilarious. The part about the sword of gabriel was great since I love new lore. The interview was fun. At first I thought Dumbledore had the stone for a while and just kept ghosts around because he was weird.

Response:

I advise forgiveness and compassion regarding bug chasers and gift givers. They are mentally sick. If you've ever watched Hellraiser, that's what it is. Trying to find a greater high, a more degenerate sexual activity.

And if you think that's nasty, wait until kthe Mexican Sugar Dancing joke I have lined up for Marauding Champions… go ahead. Google it. You know you want to.

PSA:

Do not, I repeat, do NOT give alcohol or drugs(unless otherwise specified by a veterinarian) to any pet. It is not funny. It is cruel.

And expect a whole lot of new lore.

2T1mmy

Actually expected another authors note saying some bs about the last one, or sorry for no new chap this week. Was happily surprised by a new chap. Btw if you do a AN chapter and then delete it. None can review again on this 'new' post. As they already reviewed on the authors note.

Keep up the good work!

Response:

So THAT'S why nobody could review the correct chapter. Thanks for the info. I'll be more careful I'm the future. Like I said, already abused my authors alert chapters up to now.

Also, NEENER NEENER NEEEEENER!

RyTheGuy Wrote:

The story got WEIRD here. Introducing divinity aside, you deciding to go on a political, economical, and conspiracy theory rant with the goblins came so far out of left field, especially compared to the rest of a pleasant story. It's like you suddenly decided this fun story wasn't topical enough. I'll give the next chapter a shot, but if it is more of what this chapter was it's gonna be a pass on the rest of this story.

Response:

I agree, hence the forewarning in the last chapter and apology in it. Which I will not be repeating.

But here's something I need to understand.

I enjoy the narcissistic supply of getting reviews as much as the next author, but it's not my primary purpose here. My primary purpose here is to improve as a writer(And oh boy do I have a long way to go!) My creative ability and to entertain.

I don't know if you meant it this way, but I would appreciate it if you got off your throne and join us mere mortals down below? Your review makes it sound like you're god of this website.

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