Learning the horrible truth of what the future holds Harry begins his quest to become the perfect wizard and change the future of death and destruction he's foreseen. Not realizing just what the co...
Preparing for the girls camping trip was a completely different experience than he thought it would be. He'd setup a tent once before, when Dudley wanted to become an explorer when he grew up and Harry was the one forced to put it all together. But that was nothing like this.
The first thing he realized was that, when together, girls were confusing. Mr. Bell, Lee, and he found themselves being hugged and thanked by three hyper girls, for volunteering to move all the furniture into the tents for them. To say Harry was confused was an understatement. He didn't mind moving the furniture, it was just that he'd been talking to Mr. Bell and Lee for a while, waiting on the girls, and knew none of them volunteered.
"I wouldn't plan on trying to understand women Harry." Mr. Bell said with a laugh, when he mentioned his confusion. "That's a long wait for a train that won't come."
The first tent looked like a normal two person Muggle tent from the outside, but was completely magical on the inside. There were three rooms in the tent; a small bedroom with a bathroom attached, a kitchen, and a small family room. They moved a kitchen table, it's chairs, and two sofas into the family room. While the girls turned the bedroom into storage area for food and other supplies for their month long camp out.
The second tent was just one large room, about twelve meters wide and eight meters deep, which the three girls were going to use as their bedroom. He nearly laughed when he saw the furniture they were going to move into the small tent; three beds, three large comfy armchairs, three large armoires, one dressing mirror, and a vanity table. He was used to redoing chores over and over again, so re-arranging the furniture was no big deal to him. Lee, however, shot Angelina a deadly glare after the third time and refused to do it again. He wasn't sure what Angelina said to him, but Lee came back about ten minutes later in a much better mood.
Harry didn't mind all the work though, he'd done far worse for the Dursley's and would rather do something than do nothing, he hated feeling useless. He knew, of course, that the Dursley's would never be pleased with anything he did, but he still helped as much as he could. He hated feeling that maybe they were right; maybe he really was useless and didn't deserve anything. He never realized, until now, that helping someone could feel... so good. But seeing the happiness on the three girls' faces when they finished the tents was and amazing feeling, one he hoped he'd feel again soon.
The walk to the camp site was only about thirty minutes from where they floo'd to and he had a lot of fun talking and joking around with them. Harry was actually surprised, and quite happy, with how much fun he was having with Katie, Angelina, Alicia, and Lee. At school he used to feel like an outsider because of how well they knew each other, but things were different this time.
After spending so much time talking with Katie, and Ollivander's help in learning to pay attention and be an active participant in the conversation, he found himself not only being more involved in a lot of the conversations, but actually leading several of them. He'd just be talking to Katie like normally and, to his surprise, find the others joining it as well. No longer was he standing towards the back of the group listening to everyone else, but in the middle, with Katie, and having a great time.
After finishing putting both the tents back together Harry spent an hour or so goofing around with them before deciding to head back to Ollivander's. As he turned around to walk back towards the Floo, Katie invited him to have dinner with them the following night, to show how much she appreciated all his hard work.
Harry smiled as the feeling he felt at seeing them so happy earlier came back. He accepted and then Katie did something which completely stopped him in his tracks, she hugged him and gave him slight kiss on the lips.
He wasn't use to physical affection, even Hermione's hugs still made him feel a little awkward, but another part of him enjoyed it. Katie appreciated his hard work, appreciated him, and that alone made it all worthwhile.
"Ah, the frustration has set in yet you are still practicing I see." Ollivander said as he watched Harry make unnaturally rigged and controlled wand movements for the spell. "Good, good. A little longer than I thought it would take, but that is a testament of your dedication. Yes, very good indeed."
"What do you mean good? It's bloody horrible!" Harry nearly shouted as he ran his hand through his hair, frustration getting the best of him. "I can't even cast a first year spell anymore!"
"That is exactly what I wanted Mr. Potter. There are times when you learn more in failure than you do in success."
"But I haven't learned anything! It only took me a few hours to learn the spell the first time, and it was my first spell! I've spent nearly 20 hours on this now and I only seem to be getting worse!"
"You have learned more than you realize Mr. Potter." Ollivander said in calm and collected voice, "That is why I am here today, to help you understand. Do not concern yourself with the hours you spent on this, until you learn to truly use magic I would not expect you to perfect more than one or two spells in a month's time."
"But I can use magic!" Harry replied, then thought about this last week and added, "Well, most the time anyways."
"No Mr. Potter, you have been taught to cast spells. You know little of magic and how to truly wield it, but worry not, you will learn. First however, tell me what you have done with this task."
Calming down slightly, Harry explained how the first two days actually went well for him. On the second day of casting the spell nearly non-stop he began to notice a few details about the effects of the spell and experimented with them. By the end of the day he was able to slightly change how the levitation spell picked up an item, making it more stable.
Ollivander nodded, he expected nothing less than for Harry to notice the differences.
"What really started all the problems was when I noticed that sometimes the spell worked better than others, for now reason. I checked and re-checked, but it kept happening. I tried paying attention to every detail when casting the spell, but it didn't work. My spells became worse and worse, and eventually I couldn't even cast the spell at all! I don't know what I'm doing wrong!"
"Do you not see what you did wrong Mr. Potter? The harder you try to force magic to do as you command, the less you succeed correct?"
Harry nodded and Ollivander continued, "Who are you to force magic to submit to you? Magic has existed since the beginning of time. Your wand has existed for more than 50 years and knows far more about how to cast spells than you. Why should they submit to your will? You, who is not yet 14 years old, and have only known of magic for 3 years."
"I don't know!" Harry snapped. Though he wouldn't admit it, Ollivander's words struck far too close to home. He normally managed to keep it buried, but it was always there, always a nagging thought in the back of his mind. The self-doubt about being a wizard, about being the Boy-Who-Lived. Why he was a wizard? What made him so special?
"Of course you do not, because there is no reason."
Harry's heart plummeted in his chest. Maybe the Dursley's were right, /He thought to himself. /Maybe he was as worthless as the Dursley's always said.
"True Magic is perfection Mr. Potter. The spell's design may be flawed, the wand may be flawed, and the wizard may be flawed, but magic, magic is flawless. No wizard can control, or force, magic to do as they command. This is the important part Mr. Potter, magic allows the wizard to cast the spell, the wizard can not force it."
"You must learn not to try and force the magic, but to trust it. It knows what it is doing, just as your wand knows what to do. Do not worry about the effects of the spell, magic will do it's part. Your wand, through you, will understand the currents you feel and know what changes must be made to it's movements. Concentrate only on yourself, on the feeling of your magic and the magic around you."
Ollivander stopped for a moment and looked Harry in the eyes, "Trust, Mr. Potter, is the key. Trust in magic that the spell will do what it should, trust in your wand to do as it must, and trust in yourself that the spell will succeed."
Harry's mind whirled with everything that he had just learned. Magic was alive and he had to trust it? Why had no one ever told him about that before? And how could he feel magic? Did Hermione know?
"Um, sir?" Harry said, trying to straighten out his thoughts. "What do you mean by feel your magic?"
Ollivander looked at him a second then asked, "Do they not teach you to feel magic at Hogwarts Mr. Potter?"
"No sir. I mean, they haven't taught me at least, and I'm pretty sure my friends don't know how either. I remember some of the older students mentioning something about it before, but I think they were talking about Apparating."
"Yes, being able to feel your magic is an integral part of Apparation, but it is far more than just that. It was once one of the primary lessons taught to wizards. How do they expect you to learn magic properly with out being able to feel it? No matter, it seems the other lessons must be put on hold for the moment, this is more important for you to learn."
"Hold your wand and close your eyes Mr. Potter. Concentrate on the feeling of the wand, on how it felt in my shop the first time you held it and continue to due so even after you succeed."
It was nearly an hour later that he realized he was no longer concentrating on the memory, but actually feeling it! He couldn't believe that he'd ever forgotten the feeling, it was amazing! Warmth encompassed his entire body like it had years ago, only it was more now. His entire body, from his toes to his hair felt invigorated, alive. By the time he fell asleep that night he could bring back the feeling at will, though he'd loose it the moment his concentration broke.
The happiness he felt faded the next morning as Ollivander informed him that had only been the first step.
Harry sucked in ragged breaths as he tried to get his breathing under control from running so hard. He really shouldn't have slept in late.
Having dinner with Katie, Alicia, Angelina, and Lee, ended up being loads of fun, especially with not having to work this time. Unfortunately time flew and before he knew it, it was far too late for him to leave. Not that he wanted to leave, far from it in fact. Blushing as the thoughts of last night raced through his mind, Harry took a few calming breaths before entering Ollivander's shop.
"It is wise, Mr. Potter, to prepare a change of clothes when spending a night with your young-lady." Ollivander commented with a grin, "That you are wearing the same outfit as you were yesterday suggests much about your night indeed."
Mortified, he was sure his face was redder than Ron's hair. He wasn't sure about what happened last night, or at least why it happened...
"Ah, the splendor of youth." Ollivander said with a laugh.
"Spend the rest of the day studying Mr. Potter. We will not leave until night comes. You may also wish to get something to eat now as you will not eat again until tomorrow."
Angelina found Katie just where she was last time, sitting on her bed hugging a pillow to her chest.
"You've been sitting around like that since he left over an hour ago! Are you going to tell us or what?" She asked, sitting down next to Katie.
Alicia decided her own shower could wait and dropped herself on the other side of Katie. "Yeah, spill it girl! You two disappeared for hours last night, did you finally kiss?"
Katie blushed at the question and nodded her head.
The two older girls shared a grin, "Well, how was it?"
"Incredible, amazing even!" Katie quickly told her friends with a smile, "But also confusing, and even a little terrifying. I don't know how to describe it really, it was so different than anything either of you ever described."
Alicia and Angelina shared a look. Just what did the two of them do /last night?/
Katie continued before they had a chance to ask though. "I knew he'd have to go back soon, and wanted to tell him Happy Birthday first. His reaction was anything but what I expected though."
She stopped a moment to hug the pillow a little tighter and continued. "I heard the rumors you know. About his family and what Fred and George said after second year, but it never really clicked. Did you know that no one has ever said Happy Birthday to him before? Not once! I was the first."
"When he told me that..." Katie sighed softly to herself, "He looked so adorable and his voice was so innocent, so honest. I just knew it was the right moment; I leaned forward and kissed him. He stiffened in surprise, which I half expected, but when he didn't kiss me back after a few moments I broke it off. I thought maybe I misunderstood, maybe he didn't like me... But then his arms shot around me and pulled me back into him."
She smiled for a moment and then continued, her voice softer now. "The next kiss was just like him, so soft, so shy and unsure, but there was something else there too, something cold and powerful. So very powerful."
She shook her head, as if trying to shake off the memories. "That's when it happened. I opened my eyes during the kiss and looked at him. His eyes were looking directly into mine, they drew me in. There was so much power in them, in him. So much raw emotion. He was completely open to me, I could see directly into his soul, and what I saw there... I'll never forget."
"He was desperate, desperate for the affection, for the love he's been denied all his life, but he was scared too. He was scared of me, of what he was feeling, and scared I'd hurt him even worse than he already has been. And pain, Merlin was there pain. His past, his future. It was like his very soul was crying out for help, for someone to take away the pain."
"And there was the power too, so much power." Katie said, her voice shook slightly but gained fierceness as she continued speaking. "It drew me in like a moth to a flame, trying to swallow me whole, overwhelming me. I wanted to run away and never look at him again, never even think of him again. But I didn't. I deepened the kiss instead. It could have been the worse kiss in history and it wouldn't have matter, the raw emotion of it all was enough to knock me off my feet."
A moment of silence fell where Angelina and Alicia did nothing but just stare at her. She felt uncomfortable and decided to lighten the mood a little. "Did I mention that his arse felt so much better than I imaged it would?"
That was enough to bring her two friends back and they quickly demanded to know what else their innocent young friend did last night.
"Where are we doing the ritual sir?"
"My family's estate in Greece." Ollivander answered him as he continued to pack some magical components he'd need for the night.
"Greece?" Harry managed to ask through his shock. "How can we be going to Greece? I thought this was only going to be for a night? And how can we even get there? I thought you could only Apparate yourself? At least that was what I was told."
"I will not be Apparating." Ollivander replied, disgust evident in his voice. "There are many other forms of travel Mr. Potter. It is detestable that grown wizards still Apparate, even more so that many do not even learn that much."
"I'm sorry sir," Harry said quickly, afraid he had upset, or worse, disappointed, Ollivander. "I didn't know."
"Of course you did not Mr. Potter," said Ollivander, his voice becoming calm once more. "Not with things how they are today."
"Apparation is mealy one of the many steps in the process of mastering Teleportation. There was a time when one would not even be considered a wizard until he had mastered Traveling, the fifth step of Teleportation. Alas, that was long ago during the golden age of wizardry, before the plague of lethargy set upon our society. Today it is rare for a grown wizard to even know what Traveling is."
"Before Hogwarts existed, Mr. Potter, Wizards were apprenticed to a master of the art and spent many years watching, learning, and perfecting magic. They did not have common spell books to learn from and spent much of their time creating new magic to do what needed to be done. Today's wizards live off the greatness of those who came long before them, but do nothing to add to it."
Ollivander sighed sadly. "No longer do wizards create magic to do what is needed, instead they change their needs to fit the spells already known. With each passing generation our once great society is becoming more and more stagnant."
"Enough lecturing for now though," said Ollivander, his wand appearing in his hand. "We must leave for your ritual."
One second Harry was in the backroom of Ollivander's shop, the next he was in a courtyard. Harry gasped in surprise, he hadn't felt anything! One second he was in Diagon Alley and now he was in Greece!
Looking around he saw the courtyard was in the middle of a large home. The walls were made of brick and all but one had large windows and doors leading into the house. The one wall without them had a beautiful mural of a large gathering in the courtyard painted on it. The mural looked incredibly life like, there were about a dozen people in the painting and an old man near the north wall seemed to have everyone's attention.
"Oratory was very important to the Greeks." Ollivander said from right behind Harry, "On many occasions the family would watch and listen as stories were told, or debates held. This scene depicts the oldest generation passing down stories and knowledge to the younger generations."
Ollivander walked up to the painting and spoke a few words Harry didn't understand to the old man. A moment later Ollivander ducked slightly and walked straight through the painting!
Since entering the wizarding world he'd seen a lot of magic, but sometimes it still amazed him. He quickly followed Ollivander through the painting and found himself in a narrow tunnel. It smelled of earth and damp stone, and descended steeply beneath the ground. Harry walked blindly through the tunnels until his adjusted and he saw a faint light ahead, followed by another, and then another. Finally a few minutes of wandering in the dark he reached the bottom of the tunnel and came out into a large cave. Faint light from the masses of luminous fungi on the walls lit up the cave which looked to be about twenty meters across and continued back as far as the eye could see.
Ollivander led him down another passage, jagged rocks shot out from the floor and ceiling like the teeth of a giant dragon, to a cavern which glowed red. With each step the humid air grew warmer and warmer until Harry stood beside the scalding waters of a vivid red spring.
"I finished most of the preparations for the ritual earlier, but there are a few more that must be completed as the time of your birth grows nearer. For now rest on the altar, the preparations will take some time to complete and should make you quite drowsy."
He'd been concentrating on the spring and hadn't even noticed the rest of the cavern. There was a stone altar to the right edge of the spring and beyond that row after row of benches were carved into stone floor. On the other side of the spring was a large boulder with runes etched into it and a passage way leading further back.
While he was used to not sleeping on the most comfortable of beds, the hot, humid, air made it hard for him to get any rest. After only a few moments he found himself covered in a thin layer of water, a combination of sweat and humidity, which made his clothes cling uncomfortably to his body. Ollivander was right though and his mind became more and more muddled with each passing second. It was almost like he was awake, but dreaming at the same time. He could still see, and hear, what was going on around him, but it felt like it was happening to someone else. Like it was a dream, not reality.
He saw the runes on the boulder glow, heard the spring become more violent and the air become rotten and acidic. The water level of the spring rose and soon the edge of the spring was touching the altar. The water vaporized the moment it touched the altar and began to hover in the air above his body, growing and surrounding him like a cocoon until it suddenly entered his body.
The detached dream like state fled as blinding pain engulfed his body. He could feel it everywhere, every limb, every finger and toe, even his skin and hair felt like they were on fire. It was as if he was being cooked alive, only from the inside out. He wanted to scream, to shout, to run away from the pain, and to curl up in a tight ball and give up. But he couldn't, and was almost as bad as the pain itself. He was a prisoner now. A prisoner in his own mind, no longer able to control his body.
The cloud of vaporized water began to enter his body faster and faster, the pain becoming more intense with each passing moment. Finally after what seemed like an eternity Harry couldn't handle the pain anymore and he screamed.
Only it wasn't a scream that came out. A giant roar emanated from his throat and then, moments later, flames shot forth out of his mouth.
The very air itself seemed to be set alight by the flames. It was an awe-inspiring sight, seeing the entire cavern engulfed in fire. He found it odd that he wasn't the least bit worried of being burnt alive.
The flames burnt themselves out and Harry saw himself lying naked on the altar, remnants of his clothes smoldering. The pain was gone now, but the odd feeling of being in a dream had returned. It was then that Harry noticed the spring had frozen over was glowing blue now, not red.
He felt himself be drawn towards the frozen spring, down and down he floated until he saw it. A shinny black gem, gleaming with a torrent and pulsating with energy. The longer he starred, the more intense it burned. Suddenly Harry had an urge to touch it and extended his hand with out hesitation.
He felt as if his hands were frozen to the gem as the chill swept through his body, racing along his veins in angry waves. Voices of a foreign tongue filled his head and images began flashing through his mind. Some of the images Harry knew. His childhood with the Dursley's, of Hogwarts, his friends, and a few of the bleak memories of the future. But there were others too, ones that he knew he'd never seen before, hadn't been alive to see.
Suddenly the voices died down and Harry was left feeling cool and refreshed, at ease with what had happened. He smiled.
As if mocking his good mood the gem flashed red and he found himself being flung backwards up the spring and headlong into the Altar. He screamed from the blazing pain and darkness rushed up to engulf him.