Harry knew killing Voldemort wouldn't be easy, he knew he wouldn't fulfill the prophecy without great sacrifice. What he didn't know was just how much it would cost him, and that his fight would la...
Failure is not an option. To fail means to lose what I love most, more then any person, more then any possession, more then anything. If I am to fail, I am to lose my purpose in life, lose what defines me. After all, what's a Saviour of the Wizarding World with no magic? A hero, that children hear stories about and look up to, wondering if some day they will be able to be like him. Wield magic like him, save the world as they know it.
I slump heavily into a tan plush chair, my dull eyes scanning the room for inspiration, anything that would give me a clue, something to go on. I had read more books than anyone I know, raided the entire Hogwarts library, and bought hundreds of rare books all over the world.
The Unspeakables had no answer, nor did the healers at St. Mungo's. I had gone abroad, searching for that one name, the one name that had consumed so much of my time. I had consulted the greatest healers in the world, magical experts from every branch thinkable, thinking that I had missed something.
Now without two knuts to rub together I was back where I started, on my own.
I think back to seven years ago, when I was desperately fighting, fighting the "darkness" trying to keep the evil at bay. I used to think then it would all be over when Voldemort was gone. Not realising that as long as there was such a thing as human will evil would exist; those choosing what is easy, not what is right.
I can't help but chuckle at my hypocrisy; I have bathed my hands in the blood of my enemies, delved into the darkest of the arts. No, not out of thirst for power, hunger for supremacy, but for what I thought was right.
That is what I always thought separated me from Lord Voldemort, he searched for power, and desired to rule. I just want what I think is right, no strings attached, no side benefits, but I am willing to use any means to get there.
It is the out come of your actions that define you, not the path that leads you to them. That is my theory, my motto even, or perhaps it's just what I say to justify my actions. Regardless, I live my life by those words...if you can even call my pale existence a life anymore.
I can't remember the last time I enjoyed anything, appreciated the finer things in life, been satisfied or content with how my life has gone. Charting my life out is rather depressing. The first eleven years I spent locked in a cupboard, nothing happening, just living out my sad secluded life. The next five years were the high point of my life, although they are nothing to brag about either, the three after that I spent leading a bitter war, defending everything I valued. In a sick way I almost enjoyed those years the most; at least I was out there, doing something, fighting for what I believed in and using my considerable talents in the ways I wanted them used.
Now seven years have passed since the fall of the "Greatest Dark Lord" in history. Yes, you could say I won, good triumphed; I should still be riding the high of my victory almost a decade later. But no victory comes without cost; and this victory's price was great - my magic.
I remember Voldemort's last words well, still fresh in my mind, always running through my head. "You will become what I hate most," I mutter his words to myself.
The blade he had buried into my side was anything but ordinary. It was tainted with an unidentifiable poison, which I have now inferred belonged to his snake, Nagini. I have no clue what the poison's name is, but I do know its effects. It's slowly stripping me of my magic, turning me into a squib.
It's ironic really, that the answer to my problems will probably come from the same person who caused them all. Parseltounge has been a great aid to me in my search, expanding my knowledge of the reptiles to an unsurpassed level, perhaps beyond even that of Lord Voldemort himself. But there is still one bit of knowledge of the species that eludes me, and that is what type of snake Nagini was.
What remains of the great snake lies in a small room to the left of my sleeping quarters. The creature has been dissected and observed to every last detail and nothing about her matches any species I have found, I'm starting to wonder if she's a snake at all.
Her scales are almost nonexistent, her skin so smooth it feels as though I'm touching a human; fangs, with tiny holes, smaller than needle points all over them, whether those are natural or not, I cannot tell. Leading onto the strangest feature of them all, the great beast's eyes, milky white, nothing but endless white, and untouchable. Many an hour has been spent trying to examine her eyes, to no avail. Nothing has worked, I cannot explain it, yet I think the answers I yearn for reside in those, endless, empty eyes.
My reclusion from the Wizarding World has not gone unnoticed. Rumours have been spread that I am looking for immortality, why and where these rumours started can not be known. But they are wrong, for it is not death that I fear
For the first time in seven years I am taking the night off, no books, no meetings with strange scholars, just me and a bottle of Ogden's finest. I'm not a heavy drinker, quite the opposite actually, I can count the number of times I've been drunk on one hand. But there is only so much one man can take, and perhaps the answers lie at the bottom of a bottle.
I sip my drink absently, my thoughts wandering, wondering what has become of my friends. I visit rarely, but I try to keep in touch. Writing the occasional owl, asking how their families are, how their careers are faring. Mundane things that remind me that there is life, people living their lives still, trying to keep going and get past the horrors of the war, forget about the loved ones they lost. And I realize that life does not halt for others because of my problems and I wonder when I became so selfish.
I tip the bottle over my glass once again, filling it half way full with the amber liquid before taking a long drink from the bottle. I had made many acquaintances during my travels, some that I may even consider friends, but it's hard to keep friends when you have a secret you keep so close to your chest that everyone that you've ever told is now lying six feet under.
I am the reason there is a severe lack of magical experts in the world, and the reason why the world has never moved on. As long as I am, there will still be terror, my selfishness getting in the way of any morals I may have once had.
In the beginning I had Obliviated them, wiping their memory of any encounter with me, content that my skill would keep my secrets from being spilled. But there is a reason that memory charms are worth a twenty-five years stay in Azkaban, and why only highly trained Ministry specialists are authorized to use them. They are probably some of the most difficult spells in existence. Only those with a gift can use them.
I snort remembering Lockhart, as much as I hated to admit it the man was certainly gifted in memory charms, could have easily led the department.
As my magic weakened so did the effectiveness of the powerful spells. These were not just ordinary wizarding folk I was dealing with; they were the top in their fields, and respectively powerful individuals.
My paranoia got the best of me after a Charms Master in Sweden mentioned seeing me in the papers. That was two years and twenty-seven specialists ago. I suspect if I was at the magical level I am now coming out of seventh year I could still have made the Auror academy, whether or not I could have graduated is another question entirely. I am still a fearsome opponent, able to crush most with shear breadth of my knowledge, casting spells no potential enemy would even have heard of.
I look over to the half empty bottle and take another long drink before capping it and putting it back in the cupboard, retiring to my bed for another restless night.
I groan and rub my eyes as I step out of bed, recoiling slightly as my feet hit the frigid floor. I slip on a pair of slippers and pad into the kitchen, trying to decide what to do with my day. Perhaps, it's time to make a public appearance. I need to pick a few things up anyways.
Slipping into some casual robes I dissaparate with a muffled crack, going straight to the heart of magical Britain, Diagon Alley. It's been a long time since I've been here, it's changed. There are several new shops lined up along the dusty streets but Gringotts still stands proud, towering over all the other buildings.
I remember back when I was the goblins' best friend, unfortunately my favour with the creatures ran out with my money. Apparently the affairs of wizards don't affect them. I got not so much as a second glance the last time I was in, to withdraw a spectacular twenty-four galleons and twelve knuts. There's not so much as a coin to be seen in my vault as it is now, only a few items that I would not leave anywhere else than my fairly high security vault, which is going to be moved if I don't submit a substantial deposit within the next month.
I sigh as I think about the money that there is to be made, just by using my fame. I could pull in thousands of galleons for nothing but a photo shoot, probably more if it was a less than respectable magazine. I let a smile cross my lips as I think about the stir that would cause. Harry Potter, not seen in a paper in years, first appearance is in "8 inch broomstick". Honestly, the names of those magazines make me wonder about the mental stability of their founders.
I take my first step out of the alley, wincing at the bright light, I need to get out more, I can almost feel my skin burning already. I casually stroll down the streets, hoping I can get to my first destination without being noticed.
Ten steps into the alley, and no one notices.
"Is that Harry Potter!" some one shouts and I contemplate running.
I think of fleeing from the crowds and going back to my house, finishing that book on obscure medical cases from 1628. A hand grabs my arm and I recoil on instinct; hand flashing to my wand, I have it in a vice grip before I realise where I am, and who I'm dealing with.
Apparently this is not the reaction they expected and the entire crowd stepped back as one. If I had to guess I would say that there are at least thirty-five people there, of all ages. I make a mental note to never come between the months of June and September. School is almost over if I remember correctly, it's May 28th.
Lost in my own world again, I look back and see the people still standing there. "Sorry, still a little twitchy, as you may have noticed" I mumble.
This draws a light chuckle as the crowd eases back up, just a tad. One brave soul who must have been a Gryffindor takes a tentative step forward and extends his hand, "It's good to see you again Mr. Potter..."
He trails off as I take his hand in a firm grip, I can tell there is more he wants to say.
"Any questions?" I ask.
Apparently that's what they've been waiting for, I see more quick quotes quills come out in five seconds flat then I thought was possible! How many wizarding reporters are there? Maybe it's the new craze to hit the magical community? God knows it would be the weirdest thing these people decided was a great way to spend their free time on.
The expected flurry of questions comes, not being able to decipher anyone's question I raise my voice, "One at a time please!" The questions die down slowly, taking a few moments to get relative silence. "Ok, let's do this one at a time, but please keep in mind that I have things to do."
I point at a random person in the crowd, not really caring at this point, just wanting to answer a few questions and go home.
"Where have you been Mr. Potter?"
Predictable, "I've been travelling, and just enjoying my free time, relaxing and just trying to live a comfortable, quiet life."
This couldn't have been farther from the truth but I know it's what they want to hear, or close, maybe I should have said something a bit more exciting? But then they'd expect more of me yet if I told them I was off hunting dragons. There I go again, drifting off, letting my thoughts overtake my being aware of the moment.
I point out randomly, not even sure I'm pointing at any individual person, red is a common colour, "You, in the red jumper."
"Will you be staying, Mr. Potter, or are you just in for a visit?"
"I can't answer that at this time, but I will be around more than I was previously, hopefully without the press conference next time," I give my answer, let the reporters give their customary light laughter and look out over the crowd again. There must be at least fifty people here now. I'm already sick of talking and I've only answered two questions.
I sigh and point to a man in green robes, hoping he has an easy question for me to answer, one I can answer truthfully even.
"How did you defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named?"
I give a wry chuckle; I don't know why I hadn't expected this question. "Well, we didn't get along very well," I start, cracking a grin, getting some honest laughter out of the crowd. I figure if I answer this question well, I can leave.
"He kept trying to kill me you see, nefarious schemes and all that, It was a long three years, I'm not going to lie and say it was easy. It took everything I had out of me. My first year out of Hogwarts.... getting to the point though, he tried to kill me, and I got my chance and struck back. I'm not going to go into details, they're not pretty," I finish weakly, not really wanting to speak anymore. "Now if you'll excuse me, I have many things to do today."
I walk forward, hoping they'll accept that, and just let me do my business and leave. They let me pass, but most of them follow at a reasonable distance, apparently respecting my wishes but not enough to pass up a story like this.
Won't they be surprised when they see the stores I go into? I have enough money for lunch and that's it, but I have a number of items to trade.
I keep walking farther then anyone was expecting, all the way out of Diagon Alley to Passmore Alley. A district where barter is still a recognised form of trade. Many shopkeepers probably like me, just looking for more information, trying to expand their knowledge.
I know where I'm going, right into Jackaman's Miscellaneous Magical Wares, catchy I know. I know what I'm looking for, a small Petri dish is all, obviously it's anything but just a small dish, it should be able analyze my blood, the poison. My hands shake in anticipation as I remove it from the shelf and bring it to the counter.
This is a prearranged deal, I wanted it done quick and clean. I have a few other things to pick up, no where near as important as this. I look at the shopkeeper who looks almost as excited as me, eyes bright with anticipation, the reason why I would choose dealing here over any other place in magical Europe. I look outside and see the crowd has thinned, no one entered the store.
I place the small pouch containing a small box, supposedly un-openable, this shop keeper, like many before him believed he had unlocked the secret. I left the store quickly, anticipation coursing through my body, I had kept calm until I saw the store but I'm almost giddy now. I got in and out of the stores as fast as possible, getting random things that would seem almost pointless to some. Twenty minutes later I find myself at the apparation point in Diagon Alley, preparing to take what could be the beginning of the end of my seven year quest.
I burst through the door of my house, the door banging against the wall and remaining slightly ajar as I rushed through my living room. I entered my small lab and placed the dish on the counter I had previously cleared. I quickly pull my wand out and mutter a short incantation before tapping it against the dish, a small blue cloud exuded from the end of my wand, slowly expanding almost painfully slowly.
Once it had finally separated completely from my wand I reached over into a drawer and pulled a small razor out. I quickly ran it under the faucet and wiped it before placing it on my thumb and making a small cut, just enough to let it drip. I placed my hand directly over the dish and squeezed either side of my thumb causing several drops to fall directly into the dish.
After about ten drops or so had splashed in the shallow dish I pulled my hand away, running my hand underneath the tap before dragging my wand across it, successfully sealing back up. I watched as the dish reacted with my blood, a small amount of steam now coming off the top. I quickly summoned a chair and sat down; never taking my eyes off what could be the answer to the question I had wasted seven, long years of my life on.
They say a watched pot not never boils, who they are I do not know, nor do I desire to know, the important thing is, someone said it, and it was turning out to be completely true in this instance. Roughly ten hours had passed since I first spilled my lifeblood into the small dish. The same small constant stream of steam was coming off. I had studied this artefact well; I knew what it was supposed to do. Where are the thick plumes of steam that were supposed to come out? Why isn't the steam reaching me?
It's supposed to completely engulf me after fifteen minutes and when it clears away, I'm to have a detailed blood analysis of myself fresh in my mind. This is a powerful artefact, the only one of its kind, rumoured to have belonged to Morgana herself at one point. Yet here I am, more then ten hours later, with nothing but a light steam. I want results damn it!
I stare into the small mirror over my bathroom sink, taking the last shard of glass out of my face. Apparently accio was not as effective at removing glass from one's face as I first thought it would be. The amazing result I got of that venture was half a face freed of glass that ended up embedded in my summoning hand instead. I sigh, thinking back on my day; having not been this let down since...well I can't actually ever remember being this let down. Though, I suppose, I learned one valuable lesson today, be careful what you wish for.
Fourteen hours in I was still staring intently at the small Petri dish, just wishing for some results, something to happen, anything. Then I felt a small rumble beneath me and I immediately glanced down. The entire house started shaking and I snapped my head up to stare at the dish which was shaking uncontrollably. Refusing to take my eyes off it, refusing to move, I waited. The shaking slowly died down, the dish still sat on the counter as though nothing had happened. The dish exploded into hundreds of small shards, going off in every direction, an unfair amount directly in mine.
There was no time to move, no time to duck, I took a face full of glass. I barely felt it, it's nothing compared to the loss I feel at losing what I thought was my best chance at finally getting to the bottom of this... this mystery? This death sentence.
Even now I have a hard time thinking of a proper name for what I am trying to solve, I usually just call it a question, makes it seems as though it something that can be solved, out of a book or by word of mouth. Perhaps I am still deluding myself into thinking I can cure myself of Voldemort's last curse. No matter, I would rather be fighting and delusional than resigned to my fate, and letting Voldemort do to me what he himself may have feared more than death.
Now I'm standing taking out glass from both my palm and face with new renewed resolve.
I pull the covers up and slowly climb underneath them, pulling them tight up to my chest, my mind going a mile a minute, thinking about what possible option I haven't already tried. Perhaps I could just bleed myself dry and get a complete blood transfusion, have all my muscles removed and replaced with new ones, and get a new brain - this one was getting awfully full anyways.
I'm not getting much done here, I think it's time to travel again, no matter how much knowledge I may have amassed in this little hovel I call home, it can't compare to what I know lies out there. But, with the amount of time I have spent searching, and the amount of time I believe I have left, just searching and researching wouldn't cut it anymore.
I had to go to straight to the source, or as close as I could get to it at this point, and that was the un-captured Death Eaters, and whatever knowledge Voldemort had left behind.
This had to be done before I got too weak to be able to confront a Death Eater, let alone capture one and make them spill everything they know about their late master. I have not set my self an easy task, considering that there are only six well known Death Eaters still on the loose. They all have proved themselves very adept at avoiding detection, having been at large for as long as they had.
I tick them off on my fingers: Bellatrix Lestrange, Augustus Rookwood, Damien Mulciber, Avery, Antonin Dolohov and Fenrir Greyback.
I shudder as I tick off the last name; I wasn't looking forward to trying to get anything out of him, let alone capturing him. I can't help but let a small smile grow on my face as I think of the size of the bounties on the Death Eaters heads, the least of which was ten thousand galleons. They would most definitely be turned in once I was done with them. Perhaps, should they give me what I want, they could fund my retirement.