Magic Knows No Boundaries But Those We Believe In
Visiting the Dead
Bellatrix woke up laying on top of the lumpy mass of an unconscious man currently pressing into her backside. It would have been a more pleasing thing to wake up to, had they not slept on the couch without having bothered to extend the sofa's hidden bed. No amount of stretching would cure this kind of muscle stiffness. It was made even more uncomfortable by the fact that they were both clothed and hadn't been intimate the night before.
As such, in lieu of waking her man - as she know fully thought of him - with sensuality she woke him with a chaste kiss on the mouth before breaking into an uncomfortable stretch. Uncomfortable for both of them, but fun and flirty all the same.
"Oh, there really isn't enough room on this couch for either of is to be doing yoga." Morrigan grumbled..
Lacking the wit to properly retort to his charm she instead responded by planting a much firmer kiss onto his lips. He moaned into it and deepened the intimacy ever so slightly before breaking away.
"Oh god, is that my breath?" He said as he smacked his lips in revulsion at the taste.
She stuffed the throw pillow into his face to try and hide her laughter at his joking. Why? Why did he make her laugh so easily? Why couldn't he let her be serious, and cold and tough? It was infuriating.
"No, I suppose it's mine. I'll go shower and freshen up while you make breakfast, then the bathrooms all yours." She told him as she got up from the couch and finished her light stretches.
He imitated her by stretching himself and gave her a light spank as he squeezed past towards the kitchen. She left him to his work with eggs and potatoes and grabbed a clean set of clothes. One quick shower later and she returned to her tiny dining room to a full plate of scrambled eggs and steamed, garlic potatoes.
"And this morning, we feast." She said as she sat opposite him.
"That we do. Doped ice-cream isn't exactly a well balanced dinner." Hadrian said. "I put it back in the freezer by the way."
She nodded as she sprinkled some black pepper onto the eggs and dug in.
"So. What was last night about?" She asked.
"My meeting with my new business partners went very well, actually. They were all a bit odd, but I'm one to talk." He explained. "I also talked to my mother. She uh, does not approve of my dating a cougar. But that's hardly going to make me change my mind about dating you."
"Cougar?" She dared to ask.
"Muggle term, for middle-aged woman who dates younger men." He explained.
"I regret asking. Continue." She said between mouthfuls.
"Well from there I had some... bad memories resurface and I also foresaw some things. Worries about potential futures. Had to go somewhere secluded to blow off steam before seeing you. Wiped myself out." He finished.
It was amazing how this man could tell such interesting stories without saying a single thing.
"Will I get to meet these parents of yours? "
"In good time I suppose."
"How much time is good time?" She pressed.
"Not a clue, if I'm being completely honest." He admitted. "Not only am I uncomfortable exposing her identity to anybody at this point in time, but I'm also going to be keeping busy for the next year. And so will she."
She could understand that. It didn't make it sting less though. It stung almost as much as seeing him without his usual zaniness and good humor. Last night she expected him to opine all night about his first week of work, about his favorite students and the troublemakers - which his Haiku insinuated included Draco. Their actual evening together turned out to be much less interesting. She needed to get him back into his usual self. Bet how to do it?
"We're having dinner with Andy, Ted and Nym tonight." She declared as she finished the plate.
"Er, we are?" He asked.
"We are." She affirmed. "So, you go take care of whatever errands you have planned for the day, visit whoever it is that you know can help you recharge your unique brand of crazy, and tonight we will have a wonderful time, the time we should have had last night."
Hadrian seemed to accept that with a nod before finishing off his own plate, which she took along with her own over to the sink.
"I'll take care of these, you go on and take a shower and be on your way." She instructed. "What's on the itinerary?"
"Register the name for my nonprofit, not sure what else." He admitted. "Maybe visit some people that can recharge my unique sense of crazy."
He excused himself to the shower and ten minutes later he returned freshly cleaned and his clothes freshly pressed. She could only assume he was a master of household charms, even wandlessly. She was useless at them, hence washing dishes by hand.
"Well, I'm off. Diagon Alley awaits." He announced as he made his way to the door.
"Nuh uh, not without giving your girlfriend a kiss goodbye you aren't." She said, stopping him in his tracks.
"Oh? My girlfriend are you?" He challenged as she walked up to him.
"Well I'm certainly not your booty call and sure as hell not your wife. Now lay one on me." She demanded, presenting a cheek.
He did as instructed and left her there with a hand massaging the war spot on her face where he had placed his lips. Yeah, she did good job in picking him. Shame Andy and Cissy needed more convincing before they came to the same conclusion.
Harry's first order of business for the day was to drop in on Garrick.
"Well you're certainly looking more well-kept than when last I saw you." Harry announced as he entered the otherwise empty store.
"Not having a loudmouthed, alleged boy lover here stirring up the rumor mill and driving me nuts did wonders for my health and hygiene, yes." Ollivander quipped from where he was reading the latest Prophet.
Indeed, he was freshly shaven and seemed well rested, no longer obsessively pouring over Harry's memories. Which brought them to the crux of his visit.
"You done using the pensieve to steal my world's Garrick's work?" Harry asked.
"Yup. Already got your memories bottled up and ready to be inserted back into that twisted mind of yours." Garrick said, pointing to the work area in the back.
Harry followed the well-trekked path through the stacks of wands to the workshop where he discovered Garrick's latest experiments. He recognized them instantly as single knot gambler wands. Wands that, like the Elder Wand, build up a blockage along its length until a certain type of spell is cast. Some built up a charge when any kind of spell aside from charms are cast with it, releasing said building when a charm is cast. Others did the same with curses, healing magic, jinxes and so forth. The Garrick in his world got as far as three knots before reaching a road block he couldn't overcome, but both he and Harry believed Luna would one day surpass him in skill and further the research into creating gambler wands.
Even those three knot wands sold out whenever he made them, and sold for a whole lot of money. They were usually custom made for duelists based on what type of magic they preferred.
"I see you've mastered single knot gambler wands!" Harry yelled back to the front as he found the bottled memories and began scooping them back into their home.
"Of course!" Ollivander yelled back. "Took longer than I feel was necessary, but that's because I kept getting sidetracked experimenting with two and three knots. Getting ahead of myself."
Harry nodded to himself at the excuse, knowing it to be perfectly valid, and finished up with the memories. He made his way back to the storefront.
"Planning to master double knots next?" He asked.
"Actually, I'm thinking about putting that off until later." He said. "I want to take your idea about experimenting with the two identical wands and seeing what kind of results I get out of it. Might reveal the key to developing a duel-core wand."
Harry couldn't stop his eyebrows from racing to his own hairline at that. Wandmakers have been trying to make wands with duel cores for centuries. The why is long-winded and complicated and, at risk of breaking my own rule against fourth wall jokes, Ollivander will in all likelihood explain the many advantages of a duel-core wand in a future chapter.
"I also want to experiment with creating more focused gambler wands." Ollivander added. "To overpower a specific spell to an even greater degree than if you cast them with a more general knotted wand like these."
That did sound interesting. But for the life of him Harry couldn't figure out how Garrick planned on making such wands. The utility of such wands, on the other hand, were rather obvious.
"So a housekeeping witch could order a set of wands that each specifically builds up a charge for different cleaning charms. Or a ward in Saint Mungo's could have a set of wands each specifically overcharging different counter curses or healing charms." Harry concluded.
Ollivander gave Harry an approving nod.
"I see one problem with the idea." Harry said. "It's difficult to create wands that are omni-loyal, so the highly specialized wand would need to be custom made for the individual witches or wizards involved. That could get pricey, and would by necessity of their nature only be useful to people in highly specialized roles, like a mind healer or nuclear waste vanisher."
"Right you are, or else very general medical practitioners who would need a set of wands for damn near every medical charm ever. Doable, if I had an apprentice." Ollivander explained, giving Harry a pointed look.
Harry groaned. The old man really wanted to know who is apprentice was going to be. And up until now Harry had resisted the pressure... however. Luna was starting her fifth year now, which is when they're supposed to get career counseling. Hmm.
"Luna Lovegood." Harry answered the long overdue question.
Garrick blinked. No doubt he thought Harry was pulling his leg.
"Not even joking. You two were meant for each other, believe me." Harry explained, recalling vividly their almost psychic connection when working together in his world. "Speaking of, I think I'll visit the Lovegoods after I'm done with my business here. It would be nice to meet Luna's mom and I have some business with Xeno."
Ollivander considered him for a moment, before glossing over that Harry just revealed Mrs Lovegood's terminal case of death in his world.
"If I recall correctly, Pandora Lovegood is a brilliant spell inventor. Maybe put in a good word for me with her to see if she wants to collaborate sometime?" Ollivander pleaded.
Harry raised his arms up in a "well duh" gesture.
"What are friends for?! Is their floor address still The Roost?" Harry asked.
"Sure is." Ollivander confirmed.
Harry nodded by way of goodbye and exited the shop. "I'll be back later to use your floo."
Harry's next order of business was to find the address for Weasley Wizard Wheazes. It ached his heart to see the store moved from the massive three story building in the middle of Diagon Alley, to a mail order only business managed from an apartment somewhere in a side alley off of Diagon.
But baby step lead to giant leaps, and the economy still wasn't quite what it used to be. His efforts to cheer up the peoples of Diagon Alley only went so far in lifting the dreary mood of the town, and while the transformation since his first arrival was outstanding, it still wasn't exactly a bustling place.
He found the door to Weasley Wizard Wheezes LLC at the end of a shoulder-width side alley with thick moss growing in the cracks between the cobblestone ground. It was oddly cozy.
He knocked on the shop door and seconds later he was surprised to come face to face with the exotic beauty of Angelina Johnson in a kilt and button up shirt. And this is why boyfriends shouldn't dress their girlfriends. It tended to be too sexy.
"Hello Miss Johnson. My name is Hadrian Edward Morrigan." He greeted tightly. "But you might know me as your benefactor, H E M."
Before he finished his first sentence two human bludgers pushed Angelina aside in order to look at him.
"Hadrian!" They greeted in unison.
"Good to finally meet ya!"
"Can we call you Harry?"
"You look like a Harry."
"Much less of a mouthful than Hadrian."
"Honestly, what kind of ponce comes up with a name like Hadrian?"
Harry was already laughing at their antics. Which probably went a long way to encouraging them further. Still, at least they had confirmed that they did, in fact, know his identity.
"It does sound like a made up name doesn't it George." George said to Fred.
"Right it does Fred. I think we should just call him Harry." Fred said to George.
"Yeah, you can call me Harry." Harry told them. "Under condition that you invite me inside and stop pretending to be each other."
"Deal!" They chorused before stepping aside.
Entering the tiny shop was like walking down memory lane. With so many long out of print wheezes products, and failed experiments he even recognized, it felt like home. Doubly so with the entirety of the Gryffindor Quidditch team present at their separate work areas.
"It feels so good to see you all again." He said to the store at large as Fred and George squeezed past him.
Harry, not caring how weird it was, grabbed Fred by the shoulder to stop him then brought him into a manly hug.
"Especially you Fred. God, we all missed you so much." He said, proud that his voice didn't crack at all during the entire thing.
Fred awkwardly returned the hug, then broke it quickly when Harry signaled it was time to end it by patting the redhead on the back.
"Ahhh, seeing us all together puts me in the mood to go trounce Slytherin on the Quidditch pitch for old times sakes." Harry told his confused audience. "But first, I suppose I have some explaining to do. Come children! Gather round."
Katie, Alicia and Lee all shared shrugs with each other before getting up from their packaging workbench and joining Harry, Angelina and the twins at the dining table.
Harry drew his universe's elder wand and layered a few extra privacy charms around the room. Ranging from language jumbling, to anti-lip-reading, to several detection wards. All minor stuff, but supercharged with the elder wand? More than sufficient.
He then placed his wand on the table with the tip pointing towards himself as a sign of good faith.
"I am fully aware that you all are fully aware of my identity as Harry Potter, though you are ignorant of the importance of this revelation, and that you got this information from the Marauder's Map." He revealed before reaching into his coat pocket and withdrawing his checkbook and multicolor pen, which he filled out and signed in front of them.
He didn't wait for them to confirm or deny this accusation. Or even question how he could possibly know what he did.
"Alright. I'll start negotiations pretty simply. Here is a blank check, signed and dated." He handed said check to George. "Put whatever price you like on there, whatever you find reasonable, in exchange I get to borrow the map for the remainder of the year."
George took the check almost reverently.
"It says here you're paying us in exchange for advertising your nonprofit." George read. "What nonprofit?"
"A werewolf rehabilitation center in Hogsmeade. I'm almost finished ratifying it. All it needs is a name, a few more volunteers and to have the word get out." Harry explained. "And I can't exactly make the check out as payment for letting me borrow the Marauders Map now can I? Two birds, one stone."
They couldn't rightly argue with that.
"So you're paying us to keep your secret, advertise for you and lend you the map?" Clarified Katie.
"Nope. I'm only paying you for the map and the advertising." He told them.
"Then why would we keep the secret at all." Asked Angelina testily.
"Well because you don't know my secret." Said Harry. "Only a part of it. And in exchange for keeping my secret, I offer to tell you the whole secret. As I know you're all nosy enough to want it more than money itself."
The embarrassed laughs of his former teammates and Quidditch announcer confirmed his suspicions.
"But first, why don't you all tell me what you THINK my secret is?" Harry goaded.
"Well, your name is Harry Potter." Said Alicia. "And you look exactly like the famous Auror James Potter but with the eyes of his wife."
Harry nodded to each point.
"But you look too old to be the baby they lost back in 1980. So we have four theories." Said Lee.
Harry did a double take at that one and let his jaw hang open as Gred and Forge listed their ideas.
"They lied about their miscarriage and had you in secret, which would make you 16, and you're using an aging potion or ritual to make yourself look older, but took on the guise of a lost Morrigan heir to enter society for whatever mission you're on." Said Fred.
"They actually got pregnant with you while still on Hogwarts, had a shotgun wedding, had you in secret and passed you off on a relative to raise you for the last 20 someodd years." Said George.
Harry tried to do the math on that one. For it to be true they would have had to been sexually active in their second year of Hogwarts. Disturbing, but plausible.
"You're actually the brother of James Potter, meaning Charlus and Dorea Potter managed to have a very late baby just before their deaths a few years before James graduated." Said Fred.
"Or you are the secret love child of James or Charlus Potter and one of Lily's female relatives, either her mother in the case of Charlus or her sister in the case of James." George finished.
Harry stared with mixed horror and disgust as their theories got increasingly strange. James Potter and Petunia? Oh the thought made his skin crawl. He didn't know enough about his grandparents on either side, but the idea that they decided to swap wives after meeting their prospective in-laws took quite the imagination to come up with.
"Is it safe to say we completely missed the mark on those?" Asked Katie with an inappropriate amount of glib.
"Yes. Completely." Said Harry as he shook off the last shudder from those ideas. "But to be fair, you would have to be pretty unhinged to come up with the actual secret. Trust me when I say you are not ready for what I'm about to tell you. But I'll tell you all the same. But first... I'll need you all to vow to keep said secret, you know, secret."
They looked at him like he was insane.
"Not an unbreakable vow!" He quickly backtracked. "Your word is enough. Just promise me you will keep my secret on this and that'll be good enough for me."
They all chorused a simple promise and, as he promised, that was good enough for him. He began his story.
"So. I am the son of Lily and James Potter, the one they apparently miscarried, but I'm from an alternate universe." He began, pushing on past their looks of disbelief. "In my universe Voldemort killed my parents when I was a year old, and he then vanished for 13 years because mom took him down with her, although I got the fame for it despite being a baby."
He didn't give them any time to ask questions.
"From there I spent the next ten years of my life raised by Muggle relatives, who were awful, and was completely unaware of magic until I got my Hogwarts acceptance letter which Hagrid delivered it to me on my eleventh birthday. I met the Weasley clan for the first time at the entrance to platform 9 3/4 where Molly showed me how to get on. She accused you of blowing up toilet seats, Percy was being a pompous git about being a prefect, you promised Ginny to send her a Hogwarts toilet seat, Ron and I became friends on the Hogwarts express, Draco and his goons became our mortal enemies, I was sorted into Gryffindor, proceeded to become the youngest seeker in a century, played with ALL of you - except for Lee - as my teammates up until around fifth year, by which time I had..."
He paused to take a deep breath.
"Helped Ron save Hermione from a troll that got into the castle, killed a defense professor possessed by the shade of Lord Voldemort, confronted the colony of acromantula Hagrid keeps in the forbidden forest, discovered the entrance to the chamber of secrets, rescued Ginny who had been kidnapped and secreted away into said chamber, killed a basilisk within using a sword, killed ANOTHER shade of Lord Voldemort, learned to cast the Patronus to protect myself from the army of dementors placed at Hogwarts after a mass murderer escaped from Azkaban specifically to hunt me down and kill me, discovered said mass murderer was innocent, captured the real culprit, nearly got mauled by a werewolf, visited the Quidditch world cup with your family, spent several summers with said family, got forcibly entered into the revived Triwizard tournament where I faced off against a nesting Hungarian horntail, a mer colony, a maze filled with deadly creatures, enchantments and traps, got kidnapped by an escaped Death Eater, witness Lord Voldemort's resurrection, dueled said resurrected dark lord, escaped him and his entourage..."
He took another deep breath.
"Reported said resurrection only to be smeared by the entire ministry and media as an attention-seeking liar, survived an assassination attempt by a ministry official, got tried for protecting myself from said assassination attempt, formed a militia of students to train in secret in preparation for a war that most of the world wanted to pretend wasn't coming and then broke into the department of mysteries, fought our way through Voldemort's worst Death Eaters and exposed his return to the world at last. Then the second war happened. And it was ugly."
He stopped to catch his breath and give them time to process a fraction of what he said. Time they used wisely by glancing at each-other in disbelief.
"You lost an ear." He said pointing to George, before pointing at Fred. " You lost your life. And I lost a good friend whose project I funded entirely, and who had been kind enough to have gifted me a map by Messyrs Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot and Prongs during my third year so I could sneak out to Hogsmeade... And by the way, their real names are Remus Lupin, Peter Pettigrew, Sirius Black and James Potter respectively. I'll introduce you sometime."
His audience could do little else but stare at him. The first to move was George, who withdrew a sneakoscope from his pocket - a rather expensive and accurate looking one at that - and poked it curiously, as if to see if it was on or not. It hadn't made a peep the entire time Harry was there.
Fred reached into his pocket, withdrew the Marauder's map, and handed it over to Harry.
"What happened to your copy from the other universe?" He asked as Harry took it.
"Gave it to my friend Dennis, after making him solemnly swear that he was up to no good, who later gave it to a younger housemate, who later gave it to my Godson when he entered Hogwarts." Harry answered truthfully.
"I don't mean to rush you out, but I think we all need some alone time to process all of this." Said Angelina as she rubbed her temples.
"Before you inevitably decide to load us with more info on what happened in your world." Katie added.
Harry nodded, knowing full well he'd simply have to come share more with them some time. It felt good to share some of the weight on his shoulder, especially with such good friends. In fact, an idea struck him and he added "Share memories of wheezes products from other timeline with Fred and George so they can replicate them" to his notebook.
"I'll see myself out, and I look forward to your letters." He said confidently.
He was nearly out the door when Katie called out to him.
"You beat him, didn't you?" She asked.
He turned back to her with a raised eyebrow.
"That's why you're here? In our world. To stop him like you did in yours." George added.
Harry shook his head.
"I wasn't the one to defeat Voldemort in my world. It was a group effort, and I've been fighting alone since I got here. It's about time I fixed that. Starting with you all." He told them.
"You're barking!" Said Lee. "We run a joke shop and play a ball game, and not very good without our keeper."
Olliver! Harry would have to go see him sometime. Somehow he completely forgot about the man who taught him everything he knew about Quiditch.
"What can we do against the dark lord?" Lee finished.
Harry flashed Lee his most brilliant and encouraging smile.
"You can do exactly what you just said. You can run a joke shop, and play ball." He said truthfully. "Laughter is one of our most powerful weapons against evil. And with your help we can humiliate Voldemort into an early suicide."
He returned to Garrick's store to fulfill his plan to use the floo. A pinch of powder went into the fireplace and his head soon followed.
"Hello?" He called out into the familiar mess that was the Lovegood household and Quibbler main office.
When a head appeared to gaze at him in the fireplace he momentarily thought Luna from his universe somehow followed him here. Until he spotted the differences between Pandora and her daughter. She looked just like her younger clone, but more, well, defined. Namely the big difference was that Luna was much thinner due to being childless, thus lacking the developments that came with having children. God, did maternity ever do wonderful things to a woman's body.
... Yeah, he definitely had a thing for older ladies.
"Yes? May I help you?" Pandora greeted nicely.
"Hello Mrs Lovegoo. My name is Harry, er, Hadrian Edward Morrigan. I'm the new divination professor at Hogwarts and I was hoping to speak with you and your husband." Harry explained.
Her naturally wide eyes, so much like Luna's, got even wider.
"Did my little Xenophilius cause some kind of trouble? Is Luna okay?" She asked seriously.
Harry noticed the implied assumptions in her question but decided not to comment on it. Surely this woman knew Luna was the more likely one to cause serious trouble... although that might explain why she was concerned for the girls safety over the boys.
"Perfectly fine, I'm actually visiting in my capacity as the head of my nonprofit, not in regards to my duties as a professor." He said. "I'm hoping to sponsor the Quibbler."
"Oh my! That's wonderful!" Pandora said with a clap, before turning suspicious. Her mannerisms were so cartoonish and fast-changing it could give a man whiplash. Just like Luna. "Are you having a go at us?"
"No ma'am. I want to advertise in the magazine and sponsor an article." Harry said.
"Well then come on in!" She beckoned. "I'll open up the floo for transport and go fetch my husband."
Harry pulled his head out of the fireplace, grabbed a fistful of powder, threw it into the brick orifice and walked into the green flames. He exited into the circular first floor room of the Lovegood household to no fanfare. Pandora hadn't returned with Xenophilius yet.
He took this time to glance around and compare the differences between this world and his. It was a habit at this point... He found none, aside from the place being more tidy and having a feminen touch. More bright colors, superfluous pillows on the furniture, overly intricate blinds and lamps. That kind of stuff.
"Professor Morrigan?" Xenophilius greeted as he came down the stairs.
He advanced on Harry in his usual excitable jitteriness and offered a hand, which Harry shook in equal excitement. Another person with a happier life and whose appearance showed it. Beautiful/brilliant wife, gorgeous home, adorable and kind son and daughter with great futures ahead of them and his own company so that he was his own boss. The guy was winning at life, and by an enormous margin.
"Please, call me Harry. I expect us to have a wonderful friendship. May I call you Xeno?" Harry asked.
"But of course! Come, sit down." Xenophilius offered, indicating the couches.
"Would you like something to drink?" Pandora offered. "We have tea, coffee..."
"Gurdyroot infusion, if you have it." Harry interrupted.
He tried not to laugh at their look of excitement at meeting somebody who drank that swill.
"My ex girlfriend got me hooked on the stuff." He told them. "It tastes like troll snot, but I haven't had indigestion or gas once since she started me on the stuff."
Pandora beamed at him before meandering to the kitchen island to make them the drink.
"So. Tell me about your business." Xenophilius coaxed him.
"Well it's a non-profit. A shelter for werewolves during and near the full moon. Providing shelter, wolfsbane potion where it can be given and other treatments where it can't." He told the man.
"And you wish to advertise in my magazine to get the word out to werewolves in need?" Xeno clarified.
"And to get volunteers to help. I have so many responsibilities, and so do the members of my board." Harry explained. "In addition to this I would like you to tour the facility for your first article, stating your conclusions and criticisms, and again after our first batch of werewolves come in. To report on how we did."
Xenophilius nodded cheerfully as Harry explained. The man was always hard to read, seeing as you could tell him the world was ending by means of a giant meteor and he'd cheerfully comment on how exciting it was that they'd have an entire new ocean in the middle of the Eurasian continent.
"Here you are Harry." Pandora said as she offered him a steaming cup on a saucer.
"Heated?" Harry asked. "L-, uh, my ex preferred it cold."
"Ew." Grimaced Pandora. "No it's supposed to be heated like tea. That way the honey and other goodness will melt into it."
Harry took a sip and was amazed at how not disgusting it was. In addition to the aforementioned honey he tasted a hint of... lemon? No, lemongrass. Definitely lemongrass, with a hint of nutmeg. It would actually taste rather nice were it not mixed into what tasted like liquidized sauerkraut.
"I can say without a hint of hyperbole that this is the best cup of gurdyroot infusion I've ever had." Harry said honestly as he downed the drink.
"So you're commissioning two articles, honest articles, and want to advertise to our readers." Xenophilius concluded. "And you won't retaliate at all in regards to any criticisms I write?"
Harry finished trying to lick the inside of his mouth clean from the drink and answered.
"Not only will there be no retaliation, but additional payment if you find flaws with the program and give constructive feedback on how to improve it." Harry said honestly. "The same goes if your readers write with any concerns or feedback... and it actually helps."
He needed to be careful to add that caveat at the end. Paying for the mountains of hate mail from the average idiot gossiper with nothing better to do than write bubotuber-filled letters to fourteen years old girls based on the nasty writings of a known liar... He should look into Rita Skeeter. Nobody ever had figured out what happened to her during the war. Harry suspected she met a rather sticky end. HE added it to his notebook.
"Well, I speak for both of us when I say that, so far, we are very interested in your offer." Said Pandora. "But I'm not sure if I should charge the usual rate or less. We've never advertised for nonprofits before. We should probably give a discount from our usual rate for the, admittedly rare, advertiser and article commission."
Harry nodded in agreement.
"Plus you would have to see the facility, make sure it's all above board, all of that." Harry said. "And I don't even have a name for the nonprofit yet."
"Oh! That won't do at all!" Pandora beamed. "You surely need a name. How about... Professor Morrigan's Werewolf Sanctuary!"
Harry didn't quit like it. It sounded like a museum for werewolves by a scientist trying to study them. Like one of those butterfly sanctuaries Dennis had taken him to.
"I'll have to think on it." Harry said. "But I would like to subscribe to the Quibbler while I'm here, and buy some back issues. I need to get a bit more up to date on the latest going-ons."
Xenophilius shot up out of his seat and went to a closet where he withdrew a box of Quibblers.
"Last two years of issues. Somebody else had ordered it but canceled at the last minute." Xeno explained. "Very rude thing to do, I think it's a prank meant to make us waste money on printing because it keeps happening."
"Oh, don't say that sweetie!" Pamona chastised. "Nobody would do that to you. What could they possibly have to gain?"
Harry suddenly understood Luna's strange and unreasonable sense of optimism. An optimism that had given him and others so much strength in dark times.
Yup. Xenophilius Lovegood was winning at life.
"Well let me know whenever that happens and I'll make sure you get paid for them. I love your stories." Harry told them as he took the box. "And am in the process of making friends to gift them to anyways."
He paid for the two years of weekly back issues and made to leave. He was stuck wondering how in the world he was going to spend the rest of the day before joining Bella at the Tonks household, when he remembered something.
"Say, Xeno. Are you familiar with highland cows?
It was dark out by the time Harry and Xeno had finished with their favorite pastime whenever they met. A good old rousing round of making up bullshit.
They had spent hours talking and laughing and theorizing and arguing. It was perfect. And all the while Harry made a conscious effort to soak in every detail about Pandora. Her mannerisms, her sell, the sound of her voice. Things that his Luna would weep in sweet melancholy when... if he ever got back to her and the others. He also might have been crushing on her a little bit, but with a woman like Bellatrix waiting for him he wasn't tempted to stray.
But as a result of getting too caught up with the Lovegoods he was nearly late for dinner and arrived at the Tonks household to the smell of a an already served meal. He reached up to knock but Bella was there waiting for him and had opened the door before his knuckles could rasp on its surface. She was glowering at him.
"What?!" Harry said defensively.
She glowered harder.
"What?! You never specified a time!" Harry said in as much seriousness as he could muster.
"I also never told you the address, and yet you somehow managed to make it here." Bella countered.
This was true. But Harry already had a ready-made excuse for how he knew so many things he ought not.
"Psychic!" Harry whispered, making use of his jazz hands.
Bella broke down and smiled at him for that.
"So. Did you take my advice and recharge your crazy batteries?" Bella said.
Harry faked a downcast look.
"No. I mean, I tried, but didn't quite succeed." Harry explained. "So I brought my battery chargers with me! Alright guys come on in!"
Fred and George led the charge, carrying a box of - perfectly safe - cream pastries that were at risk of going bad before being converted into wheezes snacks.
"Hi Bell." They greeted in unison as they pushed past her.
"Ogden's finest, for the iron-bellied." Ollivander said, shoving a bottle of fire whiskey into her arms and pushing past.
"Hi miss Black."
"Please don't hurt me."
Alicia, Katie and Angelina greeted as they walked past with their own dinner goods.
Xenophilius and Pandora brought up the rear with a jug of gurdyroot infusion apiece. They really shouldn't have, and yet they did.
Bella glared at him the entire while, her lips pressed so tightly together that she could almost be confused for Minerva. But even that wasn't enough to properly mask her mirth at the situation.
"Come inside girlfriend of mine." Harry said. "I must serenade you with he wonders of my first week as a teacher. About my adorable students I've already fallen in love with, the troublemakers I'm even more in love with, and all my woes and joys."
And so they entered the rambunctious Tonks household, to join the many hugging and handshaking people in the laughter and face stuffing. Life was good.
Voldemort managed to throw up the last of the potion into the black, glassy water as the last of the terrible visions - or perhaps memories - faded away.
The bomb run sirens, explosions tearing apart his foster siblings in the orphanage, his weeping over said siblings and praying to an apathetic god to spare his life from the German Socialists flying above and raining hell over London. You'd think by the age of seventy he would have conquered these demons, but stuff like that never leaves you.
He took deep breaths, and with a flurry of his wand vanished the putrid water from his body.
The defenses of the cave were absolute. Even he could not reach the locket without drinking the Potion of "Nostalgia". A nasty concoction by an eighteenth century mediwizard in Austria. Meant to help soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder. Naturally, it tended to make things worse.
Even he wasnt strong enough mentally to resist the devastation it caused to the drinker's mind, nor resist the bottomless thirst it gave him.
Fortunately the army of inferi beneath the water were programmed to not attack him, but gorging on the necrotic water which held them in his terror-addleddelirium was still an unpleasant thing to come out of a hallucination to. Even if he knew he'd suffer such indignity ahead of time.
Perhaps the ward he setup around the island to vanish any water brought onto it was a bit overzealous? It didn't matter now. After today the protections here would no longer be needed. He would probably find some other use for the cave eventually, but not yet.
He stood by his own power and reached into the basin, retrieving the family heirloom he inherited from his mother. He felt the piece of himself inside of the locket, calling out to him. The magic keeping the shards of his soul separate became tenuous and weak when touching.
He placed the locket around his neck and sat in a meditative position. Mustering up the courage for what came next was no simple matter. He had never been a very brave man, after all. Fear was a deeply ingrained part of him. Fear lead him to study, to advance and court allies from the age of eleven. Fear led him to seek immortality and power through the darkest means possible. Fear was why he never got into a fight or situation he couldn't win, or at least escape from.
And right now he was afraid. Terrified, even. For he was about to undo so much of his work in favor of a new path, and he was uncertain of his victory at heart.
In his mind? He knew it was the right path. He'd checked and double checked his math and he checked it twice. He knew it would work.
Hell, he had known it would work the first he had studied the process of creating horcruxi. That the best methods they'd conceived of for destroying them was something as advanced as the killing curse or as exotic as basilisk venom. When a simple second year charm would do.
And so he cast that second year spell, a cousin to the cheering charm, on himself after meditating hard on his memories of creating said horcrux. So as to artificially insight a deep and overwhelming sense of - not joy - but remorse.
And all he knew was pain as his soul stitched itself back together.
I took extra time on this one. It was slow going, and I know the previous chapter was on the stranger end and I promise it will make sense in good time. I'm happy with how this chapter turned out.
I went back and made some edits to earlier chapters. I have a lot more editing to do though. Which is part of why this chapter took more than 3 weeks, but only a small part. Just usual financial troubles and laziness mainly.
You would not believe how many times I mistyped Pandora as Pamona.
No review responses today. Sorry.