Tony and Harry meet Albus, Tom plots from the diary, Draco reveals some history to Harry, The 'Claws ponder, and Harry starts his research.
Harry Potter and The Invincible TechnoMage
Chapter Twelve - Year Two Research
August 12, 1991:
New York City
Stark International Corporate Headquarters:
“Mr. Stark?” Pepper had returned to the door. “Mr. Albus Dumbledore.”
“Thank you Pepper.” Tony Stark rose from his chair in full business mode, all smiles and an extended hand, with the old man dutifully shook. “Tony Stark Mr. Dumbledore. I understand you would like to discuss my son Harry. Take a seat please.”
The old man sat in the chair Tony had indicated, balancing his bowler hat on his left knee. Tony touched a control on his desktop and several machines extruded from the walls, ceiling and floor all focused on the visitor.
“I wouldn’t make any sudden moves if I were you Mr. Dumbledore, especially toward that wand in your inside jacket pocket. My defensive systems would take that as another hostile act on your part.”
“What is the meaning of this Stark?”
“Oh, I don’t know. You come to my office, you place some sort of magical compulsion on my assistant to get in to see me, and you purposefully destroy one of my security cameras. I really can’t imagine why I would suspect you of anything.”
The old man colored a bit. “I was a bit overzealous perhaps, I was not sure how much you knew of magic, and there is an international agreement that requires I maintain a certain level of secrecy.”
“Ah your ‘International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy’ an international agreement unique in history as to having no actual nations being a signatory to it.” Stark looked at the glowing panel on his desk. “I’m sure that you are aware, in as much as you are the ‘Supreme Mugwump’ of the International Confederation of Wizards, yet another instance of magical internationalism not recognized by any actual nations, that the United States Department of Magic is not an signatory to nor does it recognize or enforce your Statute of Secrecy, the same goes for the Canadian Ministry of Magic, and the Mexican Oficina Federal de Magia.”
“You seem exceptionally well informed about the magical world and its workings Mr. Stark.” Dumbledore said trying to think of some way to salvage the situation.
“I’m raising a Wizard Mr. Dumbledore. I need to know how your world works. So why don’t you tell me what you want, and why you are willing to break US laws to get it.”
“As your assistant must have told you,” Dumbledore said still somewhat surprised that Stark’s electrical devices worked while he was in the room, “I am the Headmaster of Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“Yes she did. Now that you mention it, I recall my son telling me that he received an acceptance letter to your school, an offer that he declined.”
“Harry Potter has been on our rolls since he was born.”
“That’s very interesting Mr. Dumbledore, but I don’t see why you are here. You offered him enrollment, Harry declined. My son is happy at his present school. Why should he wish to cross the Atlantic to attend a boarding school for ten months out of the year?”
“Hogwarts is the premier school for magic in the world.” Dumbledore said with pride.
“Really?” Stark had decided that he didn’t like this man, not in the slightest. “What is your math department like? What sciences do you offer? Will an education at your school give Harry the grounding he needs to pursue his goal of becoming an engineer?”
“Our Arithmancy Mistress is without peer in the world.”
“Arithmancy? I’m afraid I’m not familiar with that subject. Does your math department cover analytical geometry? Integral or differential Calculus?”
“I’m afraid I’m not familiar with those subjects.” Dumbledore said.
“Well, what about chemistry, biology, physics?”
“Not as such, no. We cover astronomy and our potions program is not terribly unlike chemistry.”
“From what I’ve seen of the potions taught by the tutor I’ve hired for Harry, potions have far more in common with cooking than with chemistry Mr. Dumbledore.”
“Our care of magical creatures class is certainly biological…” Dumbledore cursed himself for coming to speak to this man so ill prepared.
“So that’s a no. What about history?”
“The History of Magic, certainly.”
“I see.” What did they teach at this school Stark wondered. “Little science, little history, depending upon what precisely ‘arithmancy’ is little math, what of your English department?”
“Excuse me? Why would we have an English department? Part of the requirement for attending Hogwarts is to be an English speaker.” The Headmaster asked in confusion.
“So you don’t teach them how to write? You don’t introduce them to English language literature and poetry? You’re a school in the nation that produced Shakespeare and you don’t teach his words?”
“We at Hogwarts produce Witches and Wizards Mr. Stark.”
“It sounds to me you produce Witches and Wizards without teaching them how to think or express themselves Mr. Dumbledore. So, just so we are clear, your school doesn’t cover any of the basic subjects that would lead to Harry achieving his goals in life, wouldn’t you say that was accurate?”
“Mr. Stark,” Dumbledore responded, attempting to use his normal aura of grandfatherly wisdom. “One’s life goals at eleven rarely survive to adulthood.”
“That is true enough.” Tony admitted. “When I was eleven I wanted to fly jet aircraft. It turned out that among other things I design the systems that allow jet aircraft to fly, AND fly them. An eleven year olds dreams should be allowed to grow, not be stifled Mr. Dumbledore.”
“Might I at least be allowed to make the case to Harry that he has the opportunity to follow in his parents’ footsteps and attend the school that they chose for him?”
Stark touched some controls on his desk and the mechanisms aimed at the Headmaster returned to their storage positions. The technologist stared at the school teacher for a moment. Stark then opened one of the drawers in his desk and removed a business card.
“Eight o’clock tonight at this address. I’ll allow you to speak to my son. A word of warning old man. If you try any of your mind games with Harry or anyone else associated with me my magic-hardened defensive systems will make you wish you had never been born. I will turn what’s left of you over to the Department of Magic to deal with. They owe me a few favors. You would probably have a most unpleasant stay.”
Harry grabbed his favorite seat in the Great Hall for the first evening study group of the new school year. Hermione and Padma had taken it upon themselves to mentor a pair of the shyer first year Ravenclaws. Harry had looked around to see if any of the male
firsties needed the same kind of assistance, but the four new boys all seemed to be bonding to each other well, so he wasn't needed. Since the girls were both showing their new charges around the castle, neither of his normal study partners would be around for a while.
Harry looked up to find Ron Weasley from Gryffindor.
"Hi Ron. How was your summer?"
"Not bad. Harry, this is my sister Ginny." The tall redhead pulled a small girl, also with flaming red locks from behind him. "She's been bugging me to meet you all summer."
Not this again, Harry thought as he smiled. "Hi Ginny. Congratulations on getting into Gryffindor."
"Nice to meet you Harry." The girl said in a very small voice.
"Will you be joining our study group Ginny?"
"I don't know." She responded.
"I don't see the point myself." Ron sniffed. "We get enough of this during class. Hey, there's Ollie, I'll see you later Harry, and I’m going to find out when Ollie's scheduling the Quidditch tryouts." With that the redhead ran off.
"Quidditch crazy isn't he?" Harry asked of the young girl.
"You should see his room; it's a shrine to the Chudley Cannons." Ginny said, forgetting for the moment who she was speaking with
"So, you’re in Gryffindor at the same time as four of your older brothers. I can see how that could be both an advantage and a disadvantage."
"Hmph." Ginny huffed. "I'll let you know when I find an advantage." She looked across the table at the roll of parchment he was writing on. "What are you working on?"
"Charms assignment. `Six uses for warming charms not related to cooking or personal comfort."
"That sounds… interesting."
"You mean dull. Yeah it is, but you've got to build on a strong dull foundation if you want to achieve anything… I guess." Harry grinned. The girl seemed to have loosened up a bit. "How are your classes so far?"
"There's a lot of writing." Ginny said. "A lot more that Mum's classes prepared me for, but I think I'm getting the hang of things." The young girl spotted someone across the Great Hall. "There's Cassandra. She and I are working together in Herbology; I'm supposed to get with her to figure out what went wrong today." She rose from
the table. "See you later Harry."
"Anytime Ginny." Harry smiled as he returned to his essay.
A relative quiet surrounded Harry for a moment before a familiar drawl announce Harry had another visitor.
"You need to be careful Harry."
"Evening Draco." Harry looked up and spotted Malfoy's entourage. "Vinnie, Greg, how are you guys doing?"
"Good Potter." Crabbe grunted while Goyle nodded.
"Why do I need to be careful Draco?"
"The Weasley girl." The blond boy said as if the three words explained everything.
"What about her?"
"She'll be looking to get her hooks into you."
"What? Draco, she's eleven."
"Eleven and poor. She's looking to improve her lot in life by marrying into a rich family."
"Draco, that's a horrible way to think. We're all way too young to worry about things like that." Harry smirked a bit thinking of Julie Power, "Besides, I like my girls a bit older and a whole lot more blond."
"I'm sure." Draco said looking across the Great Hall at one of the more developed sixth year Hufflepuffs, certain that this was likely the woman to whom Harry was referring. "But the fact remains, you are going to be a target for every girl looking to improve her standing. You need to protect yourself. Father had me memorize a lot of procedures to keep myself safe."
"Draco, what makes you think that anyone would think that being with me would improve their standing? I mean my Dad has money, but it's all in the Mundane world, I doubt many here would know about that."
"Why?" Malfoy said incredulously. "You're the last Potter. You're rich."
"I am?" Harry felt oddly… blasé about this news. How strange, he thought, isn't being rich a good thing?
"The Potters are a rich family." Draco continued. "I mean, not Malfoy rich, but rich. You're the last Potter. The family fortune is all yours."
"Hmm. Maybe I better contact Gringotts at Christmas to investigate this. I wonder why no one ever said anything?"
"They probably thought you knew." Draco shrugged. "I mean, you're the Potter."
"Draco." Greg Goyle interrupted. "House meeting."
"Ah. We've got to go. House meeting tonight." The blond stood. "I've done a bit of research for our debates Harry. I'm going to destroy you this year."
"Woe is me." Harry grinned. "Goodnight Draco, you too Greg, Vinnie."
Hermione slid into the seat across from Harry with Melody Spinnet, the younger sister of Alicia the fourth year in Gryffindor at her side, while Padma and her new shadow, Luna Lovegood, sat to Harry's right.
"What was that all about?" Padma asked.
"Draco warning me about you gold digging Witches."
"Why would he do that?" Hermione asked.
"Oh, it turns out I'm rich." Harry explained.
"Of course you're rich. Your Dad's a billionaire."
"No, I mean rich in my own right. Draco says that I'm the last of the Potters and I inherit the family fortune."
"As if we would care if you're rich." Hermione huffed. There was a slight pause before the bushy haired witch continued. "How rich?"
"Down girl." Padma laughed.
"My Dad always spoke of the Potters as property owners." Melody said. "I think he rents some of his warehouse space from the Potter trust."
"They were property owners." Luna said from Padma's side. "I guess they are, I mean, since you're the last Potter. But you don't have to worry about Witches being after your money. Families as old as the Potters probably have at least one Marriage Contract on file for you."
There was a soft clatter as Harry dropped the fountain pen he was using to do his homework. "Excuse me?"
The blond girl with the large gray eyes looked startled at his reaction. "I'm sorry, was that rude?"
"What do you mean by `Marriage Contract'?" Harry asked.
"A magical contract used to ensure line mergers." Luna explained. "Not all that common anymore, but still in used by most of the older lines… Like the Potters."
Oh hell. Harry thought.
"Still," The blond continued. "Your father married a Muggle born, so it's possible that the Potters decided at some point not to do that anymore."
"Thank you Luna." Harry said as he hoped against hope that her last suggestion turned out to be true. "I hope you're right."
"You seem unusually knowledgeable about Harry's family Luna, why is that?" Padma asked with a sly smile.
"Oh, Daddy ran a series of articles in the Quibbler on Harry and his family following his adventure in front of the Wizengamot last year." Luna said airily before turning to Harry. "Daddy was most impressed with your friendship with the Odinson, in his last letter he asked me to ask you if you might be able to arrange an interview with the Thunder god."
"Thunder god?" Hermione asked looking up from her notes.
Harry shrugged. "I'll ask the next time I write. I don't know if Thor gives interviews."
"Daddy wants to confirm a report he found from the time of Merlin. An ancient manuscript he's uncovered claimed that Thor and his brother Loki followed Merlin himself around for a month pointing and laughing whenever he cast a spell."
Harry grinned. "That sounds like Thor. I don't know if he ever really hung out with Loki, they don't really get along."
The girl pulled the drapes that hung above her bed closed with an impatient jerk. She then touched her wand to three very specific places on the headboard to reveal the hiding place for the diary. Tom had told her how to go about creating the space in the headboard, the man in the diary had given her specific instructions as to how to go about the difficult spell. It had been exhausting, that was how she knew she had done magic far in advance of her years.
Withdrawing the diary and her favorite self inking quill she began to write.
Hello. I have been waiting for you. What did you learn today?
There was a minor disaster in Herbology, but it’s fixed now. The important news I’ve got is that I’ve met Harry Stark!
Did you? Tell me about him.
He’s very nice. We spoke for a while, and I could tell he cared about what I had to say. It’s unusual to find a second year boy who will pay attention to a little firstie like me.
Don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you two are meant for one another. Sometimes you have to take chances to secure your future.
I don’t know Tom. Harry’s nice and all, but he’s so focused. Not focused like Ron or even Percy, I get the feeling that he couldn’t care less about Quidditch or a future career, but focused toward goals. He wants to win. He doesn’t really care about the game; it’s winning that’s important to him.
What did he say that gave you that impression?
Nothing. It is simply an impression I got from him, if you could speak with him Tom, you would understand. I was with him for only a short time, but….
As I’ve been telling you, you were meant for each other. The time has come for you to start taking the steps you will need to secure young Harry’s attention. Riddle then explained what he wanted her to do.
You cannot be serious Tom. Why would I want to do any of those things?
To meet your destiny of course.
Tom Riddle pushed a bit more magic into the pages. The girl was resistant. It was time to take control.
Padma stood next to the chalkboard with a piece of chalk in her hand. “Ok, does anyone have any suggestions?”
The second year Ravenclaws save one stared at the blank board.
“Maybe we should list the various disciplines.” Terry Boot suggested. “Having the sources might make coming up with a fusion easier.”
Padma turned back to the board and started listing the classes, starting with Potions.
“Is anyone planning on taking Divination?” Hermione asked. At the chorused ‘no’, Padma drew a line through that subject.
“What about Care of Magical Creatures?” Padma asked.
“I am. My family is in the Potions ingredient business, Care is a cornerstone.” Michael Cornfoot said. “But in all honesty, I can’t see that being used in a multi-discipline project.”
“I’m not sure that the History of Magic will be a useful course for the project either.” Su Li added.
Silence reigned for several moments as the assembled Ravenclaws continued to stare at the chalkboard.
“Come on people!” Lisa Turpin said. “We’re supposed to be the brilliant house; at least one of us must have an idea.”
Anthony Goldstein looked around. “Where’s Harry?”
“Harry said that he had an appointment this evening. He’ll try to make it back before we finish.” Hermione explained.
“I haven’t got a single bloody idea.” Terry said. “We’ve got fifty days before we’ve got to turn in the preliminary outlines, and I’ve got nothing.”
“I think,” Hermione said, “that rather that trying to think up something exciting and original to do, we should try to fix something about the school.”
“Like what?” Anthony asked.
“Maybe before we decide what we’re going to do, we should decide how we’re going to do it.” Padma said. “I mean, are we looking for a huge uber-project using all of us, will we each break off into individual projects, or will it be a mixture of both, with multi-person groups as well as singles?”
“The ‘Puffs are banding together into a single project.” Lisa said. “Something about personal wards. The Gryffs are all going their own way with individual efforts. I haven’t heard what the Slytherins are doing, if anything.”
“Has anyone asked Harry if he has any ideas?”
Harry knocked on the door to the Professor’s office.
Entering the office, Harry crossed the room to stand in front of the desk, while the grey haired woman continued to write. Once she finished what she was working the woman looked up.
“Ah, Mr. Stark. I was a bit surprised to find your request for a meeting since you aren’t in any of my classes, until I recalled you were a second year.” The woman smiled. “Every year I get at least one Ravenclaw coming to me for suggestions of what they should do for their project. I’m sorry Mr. Stark, no shortcuts are available here.”
“I am here to speak to you about an idea for my project Professor Babbling, but the help I’m looking for is your evaluation of the feasibility that my project to determine if what I want to do can even be done.”
Bathsheba Babbling felt a small sense of déjà vu. Lily Evans had approached her in exactly the same way with the beginning ideas of her project.
“Alright then Mr. Stark, Why don’t you show me what you’ve got in mind.”
Harry opened the folder he carried and began showing the Ancient Runes Professor what it was he wanted to do.
The meeting was scheduled for twenty minutes. The time for the end of the meeting came and passed without comment from either the Professor or Harry. At the one hour mark. Professor Babbling rose from her desk and crossed the room to the fireplace, took a pinch of floo powder and tossed it into the flames.
“Yes Bathsheba?” the Arithmancy Professor’s voice drifted from the hearth. Harry had never seen this method of communication before. He found himself wondering why no one had ever invented a magical intercom.
“Septima, I think you should come through to my office. There’s something here I think you need to see.” Babbling stepped back from the hearth and a few seconds later Professor Vector stepped out.
“Mr. Stark.” Vector said. “I didn’t expect to find you here.”
“Mr. Stark came to me asking the feasibility of his proposed OWL Project. Take a look.”
Vector leaned on the desk to examine Harry’s notes and ideas.
“Morgana and Maeve.” Vector breathed. She looked up at Harry. “Are you serious about this? Really serious?”
Harry shrugged. “If I can emulate the flow using runes, yes. As I see it I’ve got three possible outcomes, a spectacular failure being the most likely, a moderate success is possible, or something totally new to all of our experiences is a remote possibility. Only time and luck will tell.”
“If you are planning to attempt this alone, I would agree that a spectacular failure is the most likely result.” Vector said before diving once again into the drawings.
“Actually I’m hoping for a team of at least six. A mixture of Ravenclaw and Slytherin.”
“No one from the other two houses?” Babbling asked.
“I’ve asked the ‘Puffs I know and they’re not interested in a project outside their own house, and none of the Gryffs I know were interested in tying their fortunes to a team. I haven’t actually spoken to any of the Slytherins yet.”
“Professor Vector and I were both in Slytherin in our youths.” Babbling said. “I for one find it reassuring that you would include our old house in your plans.” She sat at her desk. “What is your first step Mr. Stark?”
“As I see it, I have to find out if what I want to do can be done via magic. I will need a simple proof of concept device before I’m confident enough to bring it to those I’m considering for my team.”
“I can’t be part of the project, but I will want regular updates as to your progress.” Septima Vector said.
“The same for me Mr. Stark.” Babbling agreed. “I can help you with your proof of concept device. Shall we say each night at nine? I believe I can free up an hour.”
Harry gathered his notes. “Thank you both. I really think this will help the school quite a bit. Good night.”
After the door closed behind the boy, Septima turned to the older witch. “I think I might be around for his hour sessions as well. Do you think he can do it?”
Babbling shook her head. “I have no idea. We’ve discussed wanting to try this before Septima, but we had no idea where or how to start. Mr. Stark seems to know the starting point at very least.”
Hermione woke slowly. Saturday morning. Her second birthday at Hogwarts. She smiled to her self recalling how down she had been last year. She rose and made her way to the bath, and rushed through her morning rituals. Returning to her room, she dug in her trunk to find the headscarf and blouse that Padma and Harry had given her the year before. After she had dressed, she found her parent letter for the week. Despite having the Stark Messaging device that they could use to send letters at anytime this year her parents had persisted in supplying her with a letter for each Saturday of the term before she left home. Hermione read her letter, feeling the love of her parents wash over her. She wasn’t as lonely this year as last, her friendships with Harry and Padma and the rest of the house gave her a sense of belonging she had never known before.
She opened the gift and smiled. A beautiful wristwatch. Mum strikes again. She knew it was her mother because Daddy would have gotten her something little girlish or a book. She sat for a moment imagining her parents and what they would be doing today.
Hermione stood from her bed and tied the scarf around her unruly locks, then put one her eye patch and tucked her plastic sword into the sash around her waist, before making her way down the stairs.
“Avast ye swabs! Where be my faithful crew? Yarr!” she said bursting through the door to the common room.
The Ravenclaw common room had perhaps a dozen members of the house in residence, all of whom turned to look at Hermione in her pirate gear like they were looking at an escaped lunatic for perhaps fifteen seconds before everyone in the room returned to their prior conversations and studies.
Somewhat embarrassed by the utter lack of pirate related clothing in the common room, and mortally embarrassed by her entrance to the Common Room, Hermione crossed the room to the table where a smiling Padma and a laughing Harry sat.
“Am I to assume that we aren’t doing the pirate thing this year?” Hermione said through clinched teeth.
“Wasn’t planning on it.” Harry gasped out between bouts of laughter.
“You should have seen your face Captain.” Padma giggled. “What made you think we were going to repeat ourselves?”
“We had fun. I thought we would have fun again.”
“But you’re not a kid anymore Hermione. You hit the big One-Three. You’re a teenager now; you have to leave childish things behind you.” Harry grinned. “I think I’m gonna call you ‘Granny’.”
“As long as you don’t mind me calling you dead.” Hermione said sweetly, pulling the scarf from her head and sitting at the table. Her favorite breakfast foods suddenly appeared in front of her.
“Oh.” Hermione said. “You did have something planned.”
“Of course we did.” Padma laughed as she pushed a delicately wrapped gift across the table. “We just didn’t expect you to make an entrance.”
“Though it was quite entertaining.” Harry agreed setting his own gift in front of the brand new teenager. “So I guess you’ll be ditching us to hang out with the other teenaged girls, doing your hair and nails, and gossiping about the ‘hot guys’, right?”
“Harry, you are such a prat.” Hermione said smacking his arm.
“Yes he is, but at least he’s housebroken.”
“Hey! This is picking on Hermione because she’s getting old day.” Harry groused.
The trio’s banter was interrupted by a shout.
“I said no Tom! I won’t do those terrible things. You can’t make me!”
Harry looked over. It was Padma’s friend Luna and she was shouting at a… a book? The blond girl rose from her chair, gripping a small black book as if it were likely to attack her, and marched over to the table the trio sat at.
“This is for you Harry.” She said her face a mask of rage. “This unspeakable… bastard wants me to talk to you, to seduce you, and he’s trying to make me kill some helpless chickens. You take him.”
“Seduce me?” Harry asked incredulously amazed at the level of hatred the girl was emoting against a book. “This book wants you to seduce me?”
“Yes. Write in it.”
Harry examined the cover of the leather bound volume, finding a barely readable ‘T. M. Riddle’ embossed on the cover. Wondering for a moment who T.M.Riddle might be, Harry pulled his fountain pen from the inside pocket of his robes and opened the book. It appeared to be nothing more than a cheap personal diary. Flipping through the pages he found that they were all blank.
Hello? He wrote. After a few seconds the ink seemed to be absorbed into the page.
Hello. Faded into view on the page. You’re not Luna, to whom am I speaking?
My name is Harry Stark.
Harry! I so wanted to meet you. My name is Tom.
“Oh, that’s not right.” Padma breathed.
“I agree.” Hermione said. “No inanimate object should be that self aware.”
Harry closed the book, and stared at it for a moment. “I’m going to turn this thing over to Professor Flitwick.” He looked up into the face of the now calmer Luna Lovegood. “You should come too Luna, the professor will probably have questions about this thing.”
August 12, 1991
New York City
“Harry, this is Professor Dumbledore, he’s the headmaster from that school that sent you that acceptance letter via the owl.”
The young man couldn’t quite keep the surprise off his face when he saw the odd manner of dress of the older Wizard. “Nice to meet you Professor. I’d never gotten a letter via owl before, and I wasn’t sure it wasn’t all an overly complex joke from some friends.”
The old man smiled. “The Post Owl has a long and honored history in European magical society Mr. Potter.”
“Stark.” The boy said.
“Excuse me?” Dumbledore said.
“My name is Harry Stark Professor. I left being a Potter behind when my life began.”
That was an odd turn of phrase, Dumbledore thought. When his life began. “Very well Mr. Stark, as you wish. I am here to offer you your place at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.”
“What’s the difference?” Harry asked.
That question confused Dumbledore. “Excuse me?”
“You said that your school was one of witchcraft and wizardry. What is the difference between witchcraft and wizardry?”
“Well, there is no difference really, that’s just always been the name of the school.”
“So tradition is a good reason to do redundant things? I mean wouldn’t calling it a school of magic be far more accurate?” Harry asked.
Dumbledore saw that the boy was asking from honest curiosity rather than snark. But still, to question the name of Hogwarts? “Perhaps that is something I should think about.”
“Patronizing me Professor? I think we both know you aren’t going to even think about changing the name of your school. You said that you were here to offer me a place at the school. I thought that you had already done that with your owl. I declined the offer then Professor and I still don’t see any reason to leave my family and home to go to a school in the UK. I’m quite happy where I am.”
“Harry, your parents put your name down the day after you were born.”
“They did? My birth parents were magical?”
“Of course they were Harry.”
The boy shrugged. “I recall my Uncle telling me that they were both alcoholics who died in a drinking related car accident, the accident that gave me this scar.” The young man indicated his forehead. “If they were magical, why would he have told me that?”
“Truly Harry, I’ve never really understood why Vernon Dursley did half the things he did.” Dumbledore said trying to think of some way to salvage the situation. “James and Lily Potter were anything but Alcoholics. Their deaths were hardly an accident, they were murdered. In the short time they had with you, they loved you with all their hearts.”
“I’m sure they did Professor, most parents do.”
“They wanted you to attend Hogwarts my boy. They signed you into the class as soon as your magic was confirmed Harry. Your attending the school they both loved so much was their fondest wish.”
“Really? Odd that they didn’t see fit to arrange for a caring home for me. I have no memories of the Potters, but I remember the Dursleys. I remember the punishments and the name calling and the pain. I remember being hungry all the time. I remember watching their son opening Christmas gifts while I received nothing.” The boy fixed the old man with a glare. “There is something going on here that you’re not telling me. I find it hard to believe that the Headmaster of a major school of magic would expend as much energy in tracking down a legacy student as you have with me.”
“Mr. Potter, you have a destiny, your parents…”
“Professor Dumbledore, that man sitting right there is my father.” Harry gestured toward the elder Stark. “The woman I think of as my mother is probably getting home about now because she’s a perfectionist who works far too many hours. Despite this she has been at every school function I’ve ever been part of. I have so many surrogate aunts and uncles who care for me I can’t begin to estimate how lucky I am. You sir, are lying to me, about what, I don’t know, but you’re lying.”
“Smart kid I’ve got there, wouldn’t you say Professor?” Tony said from his chair.
Albus Dumbledore was in the midst of a most unusual experience. He was being told no and his wise counsel was being actively ignored. Harry Potter had to attend Hogwarts. If he didn’t there was no way to stop Tom from returning.
“I have other business in the United States that will keep me in the country for another day.” The old man said, while he produced a small pile of pamphlets with a flick of his wand. “I would like to leave you these handouts to peruse. Perhaps I could stop by tomorrow evening before I leave?”
The elder Stark held the older man’s gaze for a few moments, and then nodded. “I don’t see a problem with that Professor.”
Jarvis appeared at the door with Dumbledore’s hat. Harry reflected that someday he was going to figure out how Jarvis always knew when Dad was finished with a visitor. The Starks were silent as their visitor was escorted from the house.
“Very astute Harry. I wasn’t sure that you would spot what he was doing.”
Harry shook his head. “I wonder what’s going on that he wants me at that school so badly.”
“If his school is anything like the one my father sent me to, your attendance is probably tied to some sort of bequest. Odd though, the Dursleys didn’t seem all that wealthy… Perhaps it’s tied to your paternal heritage.”
“Is it ok that I want to stay here?” Harry asked.
“Yes you rotten kid. Fishing for complements? How pathetic is that?”
“Hey, even us superior kids need the occasional ego stroke. Besides, without me around who would keep Frank in line?”
Tony Stark stood and wrapped his son in a hug. “Always the humanitarian Harry. You know of course I’m going to tell Pepper you think of her as your mother.”
The boy paled. “No! You know what she’ll do.”
“Yep. Better you than me kiddo.”
A/N: A few thoughts.
Thanks for the reviews, both the picks and the pans.
One particular review brought me pause: Hhaahaha! Wow! For how old you are, you're really good at writing young people.
What can I say to that, other than “Get off my lawn, you young whippersnapper. Quit listening to that horrible music, it’ll rot your mind, and get a haircut!”
Ok, my notes from the last chapter caused some people to believe I’m discontinuing this story. No, what I’m discontinuing is the ‘who’s who’ unless I introduce more than one or two new characters from the Marvel universe.
There’s a lot of Ginny hate out there, and I have to admit that I have a rather checkered history with writing the youngest Weasley. There will be no Ginny bashing, and as far as I’ve got plotted out she isn’t going to be the slut I usually write her. I’m not going to be picking on her brother either. I’ve done too much of this in the past.
A few reviewers (from the user names, I’m guessing mostly women) seemed to believe that I’ve got Harry and Neville ‘noticing girls’ too early. I think I’m going to break a bit of gender security here (almost on par with what you ladies to when you all head off to the restroom in groups): Most of that ‘Girls are icky’ stuff from most boys is for public consumption. I recall most vivid fevered imaginings about a simply gorgeous classmate from 4th -8th grade (call it 9 through 14), named Audrey Stoner, long before I was biologically capable of anything at all, I knew I wanted to be with that young lady. Conversations with friends at that time usually drifted toward girls during those ages as well. Audrey was of course was completely unaware that I existed. [sigh] Anyway, preteen boys notice girls. Really they do. Most men will tell you that, if their honest.
I think that with this chapter it becomes very evident that canon is now a distant memory, and there is zero chance of Ginny opening the chamber and releasing the basilisk… But how could I let that scene go untold?
The dark haired man waved Harry’s wand once, and the letters of his name rearranged themselves:
I AM LORD VOLDEMORT
“You see?” he whispered. “It was a name I was already using at Hogwarts, to my most intimate friends only, of course. You think I was going to use my filthy Muggle father’s name forever? I, in whose veins runs the blood of Salazar Slytherin himself, through my mother’s side? I, keep the name of a foul, common Muggle, who abandoned me even before I was born, just because he found out his wife was a witch?”
“You anagramized your name? Are you kidding me? You chose your nom de guerre by anagramizing your name? How old were you when you decided that was a good idea? Seven?”
“No, Harry, I fashioned myself a new name, a name I knew wizards everywhere would one day fear to speak, when I had become the greatest sorcerer in the world!”
Harry just stared at the shade of the Dark Lord’s teenaged self, and started to laugh. “The greatest sorcerer in the world? You? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“What’s so funny?” snapped Riddle.
“You’re not the greatest sorcerer in the world,” said Harry, gasping for breath. “Sorry to disappoint you and all that, but the greatest sorcerer in this and any other world is a man named Steven Strange. Hell if you even qualify as a sorcerer, you wouldn’t even be in the top five hundred. All you became is the primary nightmare of a very small inbred society too frightened to stand up to you.”
The smile had gone from Riddle’s face, to be replaced by a very ugly look.
“If this Steven Strange is so powerful why isn’t her here to face me?” he hissed.
“You aren’t worth his time you delusional idiot.” Harry snorted. “I always get stuck dealing with his skut work.”
Riddle opened his mouth to respond, and then seemingly changed his mind.
“Now, Harry, I’m going to teach you a little lesson. Let’s match the powers of Lord Voldemort, Heir of Salazar Slytherin, against famous Harry Potter…” Riddle strode to the space between the high pillars and look up into the stone face of Slytherin, high above him in the half-darkness. Riddle opened his mouth wide and hissed, but Harry understood what he was saying…
“Speak to me, Slytherin, greatest of the Hogwarts Four.”
Harry turned to look up at the statue, was this imitation of a teenaged Riddle actually going to call for the Basilisk? That question was answered when Slytherin’s gigantic stone face was moving. Harry watched the statues mouth opening, wider and wider, to make a huge black hole, and something was stirring inside the statue’s mouth. Something was slithering up from its depths.
Harry knew then that he had no choice any longer, “Techsuit:” he said quietly shrugging off his work robes. “Power up.” The vibranium/ceramic armor stiffened as the powertap system tapped into Harry’s magic and powered up the suit. From his belt Harry removed the helmet that transitioned from a cloth like rag to a rigid shell as soon as it made contact with the collar of his tech suit. Gloves slid onto his hands and became hard as steel. “Techsuit: Sonar mode”
The eye slits of the helmet’s faceplate irised shut and the internal heads up display initialized.
Something huge hit the stone floor of the Chamber. Harry felt the ground shudder, almost instantly the Techsuit’s AI built an image of the huge monster snake on the HUD. Harry hoped that he wasn’t going to have to fight this monster, but…
“What is that?” Riddle found himself staring at the blue and bronze armor clad form that had replaced the Potter boy. “Do you actually believe that mere armor would protect you from the King of the Serpents?” Riddle hissed an order to the basilisk. “Kill him.”
“You have a choice” Harry hissed in return as a pair of structures unfolded from the shoulders of the armor. “You have lived a thousand years creature, attack me and you die today. The world has changed since the time of Slytherin.”
The huge snake never responded, and moved to strike.
Harry triggered his sound system, and the crow of several dozen roosters ripped through the air.
The basilisk froze in mid strike, and then started convulsing in agony as the crows of the cockerels destroyed its nervous system. It took most of a minute but the snake finally died.
The shade of Riddle stood staring as the pods folded back into the shoulders of Harry’s armor. “What the hell was that?”
“Five thousand watts of Dolby sound reproducing the crow of several roosters better than the original. One of the advances made since your time Tom.” Harry said as he strode to the body of the snake and grasped one of the exposed fangs and pulled.
The venom from the fang hissed as it ate into the palm of his gauntlet. “Everything seems to be tied to this diary. This anchors you doesn’t it?” Harry said gesturing to the small back book. “I’m tempted to try my laser on it… That’s something else you don’t know about Tom. I recall someone tried to burn this thing, but it was fireproof. I wonder if it could stand up the temperatures of the surface of the sun? An experiment for another time.” Harry raised the fan and drove it into the small black book, “Sometimes you’ve got to go with the classics. Oh by the way. My name is Stark.”
Harry wondered for a moment if it was wrong to enjoy the screams of the teenaged Riddle quite so much.
Ben Russell-Gough came up with this idea for the aftermath of Hermione’s entrance to the common room:
“Avast ye swabs! Where be my faithful crew? Yarr!” she said bursting through the door to the common room.
The Ravenclaw common room had perhaps a dozen members of the house in residence, all of whom turned to look at Hermione in her pirate gear like they were looking at an escaped lunatic for perhaps fifteen seconds before everyone in the room returned to their prior conversations and studies.
"Who's that?" the pureblood first year looked at the muggleborn witch in horror.
"Granger," was Marietta Edgecombe's terse response.
"What's she doing?"
"Celebrating her birthday."
"By dressing up like that and talking like an escaped lunatic?"
"Yep," Marietta said. After a moment, the dark-haired third-year decided that she should elaborate, if only to impress the Firstie with her wisdom. "Granger was born on something called International Talk Like A Pirate Day, so she acts like that on her birthday. I think it is some kind of compulsion charm put on Muggle kids who are born on this date at birth."