Another dimensional cross-over Harry? A Dark Grey Harry and a very innocent one combine when Voldemort tries to bend a Light Ceremony to his will. Hopefully not cliché-ridden.
Late June, 1994
Voldemort was elated that a follower had finally searched him out, although he was a bit disappointed that it was Pettigrew of all people. Still, he was making do. The fact that a Ministry employee had blundered upon them was also fortuitous. Voldemort had then used blood and poison from his familiar, blood from Wormtail and the woman, and a stolen Muggle toddler to create a temporary host for himself. Now, he had to decide how to restore himself more completely.
Granted, there was a ceremony which he could use, based on flesh, blood, and bone, but the best blood was Potter’s, off in England and protected by the Old Fool. The flesh would have to be Wormtail’s – hardly first rate. And, while his oldest followers had known him as Tom Riddle, Voldemort did not relish creating another connection to his Muggle father.
There was also another ceremony which seemed to offer a better prospect, which Voldemort was drawn to, but which he admitted to himself he did not fully understand. Whereas the first ceremony was Dark magic, the second was Light, and had to be based on good intentions. Voldemort claimed there was no Light or Dark, Good or Evil, just Power, and those who either commanded it or who were commanded by it. Therefore, he was trying to convince himself that it was the good he would be doing for himself that counted, not ‘Good.’
In most realities, Voldemort would reluctantly finally dismiss the second ceremony as too risky. In this reality, he decided to risk it, having convinced himself of two things: 1) since he believed magic conformed to will, since he willed that his good was truly the Greater Good (it seemed to work for Dumbledore, after all), then his restoration and future conquests were Good and Light; and 2) if this did fail, he should be able to carry on with the convoluted plan he was developing to get Potter for the first ceremony. After all, simple was often best . . . wasn’t it?
Voldemort sent Pettigrew, the helpless Jorkins, and Nagini away for the night, glad that Pettigrew had taken his wand from the Potter cottage and had kept it all these years. Voldemort invoked all the Powers of Higher Magic, demanding (instead of begging in supplication, as he was supposed to) that a suitable form be brought to him, from whatever time or dimension needs be, so that he could confound his enemies (as opposed to the enemies of Light, as again the ceremony demanded).
The Powers of Higher Magic were not amused.
A Servant of the Light made a suggestion, and was sent off. Higher Magic had already allowed one innocent to be Marked as the counter of this self-proclaimed ‘Dark Lord.’ The poor boy was not supposed to have suffered as he had suffered, but that was due to the arrogance of a former Instrument of Light Magic, Albus Dumbledore. The Child was supposed to have been brought up to be a true Warrior of the Light. Harry Potter had the soul for such work, but had been stunted in his development. In most realities, he would turn out at best a rather dim Champion of Light, not the Mighty Light Lord he was supposed to be.
The Harry Potter of this reality was currently no better off than most Harry Potters, although fortunately no worse than average at the moment. The odds against him, however, were growing even worse, in fact far worse, than usual. A Servant of Light was sent to find help to restore not Voldemort, but Harry Potter, so that he could be the warrior he was meant to be. Ideally, a Warrior of Light, but at this point Higher Magic was willing to trade a fair amount of Grey for power and independence of spirit, not to mention the need not to upset the balance of other realities.
The Servant of Light found a possible candidate, but wondered if perhaps this candidate’s Grey was too Dark. Higher Magic was willing to accept Grey, but could not directly accept one this Grey, and so appealed to the Highest Authority.
And the Highest Authority merely said, “And so it must be.”
At a different point of Universal Time, in a very different reality, Harry Potter was twenty-seven years old, and looked older. He had won his war against Voldemort just over nine years before, but had known little of the Light. All he knew was fighting and killing, and so he had kept doing so, albeit always for the Light. Still, mercy and compassion had been beaten out of him twenty-five years before. This Harry had not gone to save Hermione Granger from a troll, only doing so by accident because Ron had had the stupid idea of capturing the troll and becoming a hero and Harry had followed his only close acquaintance at the time out of curiosity more than anything else.
Hermione had introduced Harry to the ideals of the Light, albeit in an uncompromising and bossy way. He acknowledged these ideals as good things, but not ones he would ever feel deeply himself. Hermione’s murder by Draco Malfoy in the final battle with Voldemort had insured that Harry had executed every survivor with a Dark Mark, which had in turn caused his own exile from Britain when none of the surviving Purebloods had had the guts to actually arrest him. Since then, he had been a ruthless paid mercenary, although a fairly picky one.
He had just taken down a cell of Dark Warlocks in Afghanistan, and was relaxing in a Muggle hotel in northern India with a bottle of mediocre but expensive gin when he was aware of another presence in the room. To his surprise, he did not immediately hex the being, but only because he was frozen in place from the neck down.
The being was rather androgynous, with blonde-white hair and a deep skin tone that could have been but wasn’t a dark dark tan. The being was surrounded by light in the dim room, and looked a bit like Luna Lovegood.
“Hello, Harry Potter, wand-for-hire,” the being said. “How would you like a second chance?”
Harry was allowed to answer, but not to otherwise move. “A second chance at what?”
“Do you like your life-style, Harry Potter? Having no intimates, let alone friends? Killing for living?”
“They hurt people,” Harry answered simply.
“They do,” the being agreed. “But you kill them with hate in your heart, not regret.”
“That would make it alright to kill?” Harry snapped.
“How about if we say ‘less wrong’,” the being answered.
“So, a second chance at what?” Harry asked. He was not interested in debating morality.
“I can send you to another reality, the summer before your fourth year,” the being replied. “There, you can combine with the Harry Potter of that reality. You will have your current magical powers and most of your physical skills, but they will continue to grow as all adolescent mages’ grow. We will heal that body to a large degree as we impart the physical skills and fuse the magic, which will also help that new version grow and strengthen over time. You will have your knowledge and skills, but your soul will be that of both of you.”
Having seen so much in his life, and having had his life formed by prophecy, Harry was willing to accept the idea of Higher Magic and alternate realities. “Kind of harsh on that Harry Potter, isn’t it? Or does his life suck as much as mine did back then?”
“Not quite as much at that point. His Dursleys were slightly less abusive, and especially were rarely physically abusive. However, if we do not intervene, then this Harry Potter will probably be injured at the World Cup, and therefore crippled by the First Task. Crouch will be able to kidnap him early, and Riddle will destroy him.”
“Probably?” Harry asked.
The being nodded. “Because we are inserting you earlier in the time-line, we can not be certain. In this case, there is a five out of seven chance for that course of events if nothing changes.”
Harry thought about the offer. “How quickly would we integrate?”
“It should take about twenty-four hours. It will look like a mild case of the flu, but you won’t be aware of it. We will insure that the Dursleys leave you alone for that period. After that, it’s up to you.” Seeing the evil smile on Harry’s face, the being stated, “Remember, these Dursleys are not nearly as cruel as yours were. They are miserable human beings, but there is little need for you to hurt them. Well, at least don’t kill or cripple them.” Then the being smiled. “Feel free to scare them, if you wish, though.”
“The greatest temptation will be to expose Barty Crouch Junior at the World Cup. If you do so, you will make your task more difficult. As it is, with your knowledge and skills, you will hopefully destroy Voldemort in a year or less, and then. . . .”
“Are the horcruxes the same?” Harry asked.
“Except for a bit less abuse at the hands of the Dursleys, everything in your life is much the same at that point, including the soul containers,” the being answered.
“Any hints on how to get the bloody Cup out the Lestrange vault?”
“You’ll think of something.”
Harry made a face, but carried on. “Will I be considered dead here?”
The being nodded. “However, since you just updated your will last May, that should present no problem.”
“Can I at least bring my current possessions with me?”
“Not really. About the only thing we could get you is the amount of money, as replacement for what you have here can be found. The more individual items, no.”
Seeing Harry still hesitated, the being added, “As I said, you will not only keep your current skill and level of magic, but we’ll be able to greatly improve the gestalt’s physical being. You’ll be the same height as you were at that age – we’ll add in an extra growth spurt – but you’ll have an increased muscle mass and your current level of physical abilities.”
Harry shrugged. “Then let’s do this.”
Vernon Dursley frowned mightily as he got out of bed early. The fact that the Freak was ill had bothered him far more than it had Petunia. She was just glad that, so far at least, there was nothing she might have to clean up while the Freak was still ill. She didn’t seem worried that the disease might be contagious.
Coming out of the bathroom, Vernon’s frown deepened when he saw the door of the room the Freak occupied was open. A glance confirmed that the Boy was not where he was supposed to be. “Should have locked ‘im in again,” Vernon muttered as he went down the stairs.
Somehow sensing Harry was in trouble, Dudley had rolled out of bed as well, three hours early. He was out of the bathroom and at the top of the stairs as his father paused to glance wistfully at the cupboard under the stairs. Life was so much easier when the boy had been kept in his place.
Catching a whiff of food, Vernon marched into the kitchen, and was shocked at the sight of the Boy eating a full breakfast, something that he was denied due to Dudley’s diet. “Boy! What the hell do you think you’re playing at! You’ll pay for this, and I don’t just mean with chores!”
Vernon had rarely gotten physical, other than the odd shove, but his fear was feeding his temper. He made a move to undo his belt, and really give the Freak a beating.
Harry was out of his chair in a flash, and Vernon was wheezing on the floor, trying to catch his breath. In less than two seconds, he was joined by Dudley.
Harry pushed Vernon on his side with a foot and leaned over the older man. “Listen, you piece of filth,” Harry growled, “raise your hand to me again and I’ll kill you, that sorry excuse of an aunt of mine, and your pathetic spawn. Do you understand?”
Still unable to breathe properly from the blow Harry had delivered, Vernon could only gasp.
Harry kicked Vernon in the left kidney. “I asked you a question, idiot. Do I need to get your attention again?”
Vernon shook his head.
“Now, here’s the deal. You and yours will not try to retaliate, and I will not have my meals with you. I will be out every morning, and will be left alone, just as I will leave you alone. Leave the bedroom door unlocked, unless you want me smashing it down. You hate me; I loathe you. I could leave here today, and nothing would happen to me, but you and the other two would be killed in less than a week. I don’t really care, but would prefer not to have even that slight responsibility for your deaths, unless, of course, you force it on me. Do you understand?”
Vernon again nodded.
“Do you believe me when I say I will kill you if you try anything?”
Vernon again nodded.
“Do we have a deal?”
“We have a deal,” Vernon wheezed.
“I left some sausages. I suggest you eat them before Dudley blows his diet for the week.” With that, Harry strode out of the back door and went to call the Knight’s Bus.
“Why?” Dudley managed to gasp.
Vernon had managed to get himself up off the floor. “You won’t have to do National Service,” he said. “I did my part, you know.” Dudley managed to nod, although he wasn’t ready to get off the floor yet. “I met some very tough men. Some of them looked the part, some were as scrawny as Potter, and everything in between. I learned then there were some men who are killers. I don’t know how or when it happened, but Potter is a killer. He won’t kill for fun, but never doubt if he’s pushed into a corner, he will kill.”
“But. . . .”
“No,” Vernon said firmly. “He’s a freak, and because of that he has no reason to like us. He will kill, Dudley. We need to make sure it’s other freaks he kills. I think, if we leave him alone, it won’t be us.”
Dudley nodded, and looked longingly at the sausages.
Harry spent the morning shopping in Diagon Alley, after a brief stop at Gringotts for money, to inquire about his finances, and to unshrink the trunk he had found next to his wand. It did not contain all the wealth the alternate Harry Potter had controlled, but there was in excess of a million Galleons. He opened a new vault for that and made certain the goblins agreed to keep it secret from anyone else. He didn’t like goblins, but they at least stuck with the letter of agreements. He was pleased to find his finances were being well-handled at least and that no money was being stolen or diverted from his accounts. He exchanged the foreign currency he had also discovered when he had woken up into just under 25,000 Sterling, and then did his necessary shopping before leaving to get decent clothes in Muggle London.
To his surprise, the Dursleys left him alone that afternoon and evening. Harry decided these three must be at least marginally smarter than the ones he had known.
Harry had also decided that his conscious mind was primarily that of the Harry of the other dimension, which made sense if he was to use the powers he had brought with him. On the other hand, his emotions and morals were a good mix. The Harry from the other dimension would have at least seriously injured the two Dursleys, not just winded them.
The next morning, Harry took the Knight’s Bus to Norwich, to visit his best friend.
Hermione was shocked speechless to have Harry on her front stoop at 9:00 am. Not only that, this was a much healthier-looking Harry than she had left just the week before, and one that was well-dressed. “May I come in?”
Hermione gestured him in, and then , after shutting the door, hugged him tightly.
To her surprise, Harry hugged her back. “I’m glad to see you, too,” he said, just barely containing an emotional outburst that would have overwhelmed the pair of them.
“Harry, what’s wrong? Why are you here? I mean, I’m glad you’re here, but still, you’ve never come over, or even called, before. Is Hedwig alright? Is it Sirius? Is it. . . . mmurf!”
Harry had leaned in and kissed Hermione gently. “I hope that didn’t offend you, but if you’re going to ask so many questions, you have to pause so I can answer,” Harry teased. “In short, the Dursleys’ tried to assault me yesterday, and I showed them I could defend myself without using magic. I think they’ll behave. If they don’t, I’ll call the police. It that happens again, by the time Dumbledore memory charms everyone and hunts down the paperwork, it should be September. If they’ve actually learned their lesson, then I’ll let things go.”
Hermione considered that. She did not like the implications for either the Dursleys’ treatment of Harry or the fact that Dumbledore not only knew of the abuse but had apparently covered it up in the past.
“As for why I’m here. You probably have heard how poorly I sleep.” That, although he did not know it, was true for nearly every Harry Potter.
“I have,” Hermione agreed.
“I’m making myself a dream-catcher. . . .”
“Oh! Good idea!”
“Thank you,” Harry said drily at the interruption. “I need something from the woman who means the most to me, and that means you, of course.”
Hermione blushed prettily.
“I’m afraid I need at least eight strands of your hair, including the root,” Harry added.
Hermione winced, but gamely said, “Do I need the pull them, or can you?”
“I should, and I’m sorry. . . .”
“It’s a small price to pay,” Hermione said. “Now?”
“We can get it over with,” Harry agreed. He pulled off the small knapsack he had with him and pulled out a long tube. Hermione, to Harry’s surprise, simply knelt in the entrance hall in front of him. She steadied herself with her left on hand Harry’s hip and took the tube with her right.
And Harry, part of whom had killed hundreds of people, had to steel himself just to pull the eight hairs out, wincing at each little grunt of pain Hermione made. “You better take a few more, just in case one breaks,” Hermione said as the eighth one was taken.
“Right.” Harry took four more. “I’ll destroy any I don’t use.”
“Why?” Hermione asked, looking up into Harry’s eyes.
“To insure no one can use them against you,” Harry answered. “Once used in something like a dream-catcher, they can’t be used for sympathetic magic.” Harry leaned down and kissed the top of Hermione’s head. “Thank you.”
“Harry. . . .”
“You’re my best friend,” Harry said. “I can’t say I’m sorry I was angry with you about the Firebolt, but I am sorry I let Ron turn it into so much more than it should have been.” He helped Hermione to her feet.
“Am I really your best friend?”
“Ron’s my mate, my pal,” Harry agreed, “but I think our friendship runs deeper than anything we’ll ever share with Ron, unless you fall in love with him.”
Hermione wrinkled her nose at that idea, not knowing that most Hermione Grangers inexplicable fell for Ron Weasleys, even though few Hermiones were ever able to mold their Rons into the sort of man they most wanted.
“I do need to get going,” Harry said reluctantly. Realizing he was still holding Hermione’s hand, he raised it and kissed the back of it.
“Harry. . . ?”
Harry smiled at Hermione. “I don’t know,” he answered. “I’m very independent, and, no offense, but you’re pretty bossy as well as very pretty. I don’t know if we could work out as a long term couple.”
“How about short term?” Hermione asked, squeezing Harry’s hand.
“Hermione, my wand, and my heart, always at your service. No one alive but you has any sort of claim on my soul. We just need to learn how that might work out, if you want.”
Hermione grabbed Harry in another strong hug, and, after a long kiss, somewhat reluctantly, they parted.
“May I drop by again?”
Hermione merely grinned.