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Magic Knows No Boundaries But Those We Believe In (Harry Potter)

Discussion in 'Creative Writing' started by NonsensicalRants, Jun 17, 2022.

  1. MadRatSly

    MadRatSly Getting out there.

    Jul 24, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Very fun story. Divination gets a bad rap but I love imagining Destiny being a supreme troll here, punting Harry into the universe then creating such a convoluted chain of events to slot him into the story, winking and grinning smugly all the while. Wonder how Tom would react to knowing that the universe itself is pulling Deus Ex Machinas to fuck him over?

    Also appreciate taking the time to draw out Harry's strengths and weaknesses. Always love the occasional supremely competent Harry story, but having Harry acknowledge where his strengths and weaknesses lie, accepting he's not the second coming of Dumbledore but has strengths elsewhere is a breath of fresh air, so kudos. Also acknowledging he's a total jock, which people seem to be reluctant to do for some reason :V
  2. NonsensicalRants

    NonsensicalRants Know what you're doing yet?

    Jun 15, 2022
    Likes Received:
    So much to agree with here.

    Only disagreement is that the Fate's aren't just fucking with Voldemort. He fucked with them first and caused this entire series of event, as you'll find out later. But yes, they are trolls.

    Yes, a competent Harry, under the age of 120, will not be the second coming of Dumbledore OR Voldemort under (almost) any circumstances. And as with both DUmbledore and Voldemort his weaknesses more than make up for his strengths.

    But the line I couldn't agree with more is "Also acknowledging he's a total jock, which people seem to be reluctant to do for some reason". Harry is and always has been an absolute jock, and if it weren't for the world constantly trying to kill him, even without his celebrity status, he would have absolutely dominated the Hogwarts social hierarchy. Best "Jock" Harry I ever read was "The Death Eaters of Hogwarts" where it just portrays him as a really active teenager.
    MadRatSly likes this.
  3. Threadmarks: Chapter 9: Networking Part 1

    NonsensicalRants Know what you're doing yet?

    Jun 15, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 9:
    Networking Part 1:

    "I really appreciated the bouquet, but you didn't have to visit." Professor Marchbanks told Harry as he entered his hospital room.

    The all-white curtains, linen, walls and floor matched his full-body bandages perfectly. Harry never would have recognized the older man were it not for his voice.

    "I disagree. It was completely necessary." Said Harry as he placed a gift basket of fruit on the end table. "I feel strangely responsible. Like my warning wasn't enough to protect you."
    Marchbanks chuckled in a wheezing way.

    "Nonsense. If you had made the prediction and it helped me to avoid the eventuality you foresaw, then would it have been a prediction at all?" He said.

    The man had a point. But he would have rather been a failed seer than to have a good man put in such a pitiful state after an attempted murder.

    "So what was it that he offered you?" Harry asked.

    Marchbanks nodded to indicate a box at the foot of his bed. Harry could already feel something… light coming from it. Whatever was inside gave off a similar impression to his magical senses that an old, abandoned chapel would, or an even more ancient set of ruins in an archeological site might. It was warm and bright but like unto dust.
    "May I?" Harry asked, indicating the box.

    Marchbanks nodded and Harry opened the container.

    A beautiful sword of copper and stone magically fused into a new material, but a weapon had been shattered as if it were made of glass. Touching it revealed to him what it was.
    A sword of fire. One of divine purpose and religious origins.

    "The sword of Gabrielle." Marchbanks said. "The one set at the entrance to the Garden of Eden to keep us children of Adam from ever returning. A garden sunk beneath the Persian gulf after the great flood."

    It was certainly ancient enough that Harry could almost believe the story. It had been used in rituals for going on eight or more millenia. Ranging from the cutting of marriage bonds to human and animal sacrifice. It told such great stories of tribes ranging from the Hebrews to the sea people, and even those wholly unmentioned in religious or historical texts of any kind and whom Harry and never heard of. There was so much history and devotion in this object, all of it lost and nothing more to his magical senses than a whispered echo in a language he could never know. But one thing was certain to Harry.

    "It's not the genuine article." He said. "It doesn't predate creation like the divine beings and their tools would."

    "I know." Marchbanks confessed. "But a replica with its own history holds value almost as great as a genuine article, minus the dangers to health and sanity."

    Harry looked at the wounded man curiously.

    "You would risk your life for a mere replica?" He asked in disbelief.

    "Absolutely. Each copy of the testaments of Jesus, or the dead sea scrolls or the lost gospels hidden and abandoned by the church are hugely valuable, and belong to the whole of humanity." He said. "Our history, our ancestors put their faith and devotion into this. It was valuable to them in the same way as common wisdom, folklore and other things meant to be passed down to their children are. Only they haven't been passed down, but forgotten. Lost heirlooms. And that is a tragedy most horrible."

    Harry was not a man of faith. Which - considering his ability to literally feel the power of faith permeating in places of worship and religious value, not to mention his run-in with a literal demon that one time - said more about his hard-headedness than his nonbelief. He just couldn't put his faith in others, not even god, like that. Trust issues and self-reliance and all that. But he could respect it.

    "Was it broken when Tom gave it to you?" Harry pressed on.

    "Ohoho! Somebody knows more about the dark lord than the average bear." Marchbanks said with a wink. "And no, it was intact if a little frayed around the edges. It broke taking the killing curse meant for me… after I used it to fend off two of Tom's best."

    An impressive man. To not only draw Voldemort's attention, but to fend him off too. Even if it left him half alive.

    "You are a formidable man, Professor Marchbanks." Harry said honestly. "May we never cross wands."

    "The same to you, Mister Morrigan. I have another visitor coming soon." The older man said by way of dismissal.

    Harry bowed slightly and left the private room and down the hall. It wasn't a particularly busy day in saint Mungo's so he didn't encounter anybody on the way to the elevator.

    He was rather surprised when he pressed the button to call the lift, for who should step out of it, but Albus-bloody-Dumbledore. Neither he nor the headmaster showed any indication that they recognized each other by their posture or facial expressions.

    "Professor Dumbledore." Harry greeted with a nod.

    "Mister Morrigan." Dumbledore reciprocated with a nod of his own.

    They passed each other, each going their opposite ways, when the old man piped up.

    "Oh and since I have your attention." He said. "I have accepted your application and I will be interviewing you personally this Wednesday, as my deputy headmistress will be indisposed and cannot do so. A letter detailing the time and place should be waiting for you at your residence by now."

    Harry nodded.

    "Brilliant. I look forward to it." He said.

    "And is Alastor well enough to be accepting more visitors?" He asked.

    "Fit as a fiddle, if a little melancholy and strangely satisfied with himself despite his condition." Harry answered truthfully.

    "That is most excellent news! Well. I won't take up anymore of your time. I'm sure you're a very busy man." Dumbledore dismissed him.

    "Says the man juggling three 80 hour per week jobs." Harry retorted with a wink as he pressed the button to the first floor.

    As the door closed Harry barely managed to spot the old man's own wink and he finally let the avalanche of emotions flood his body.

    Joy at seeing his grandfather figure alive, sadness at remembering his tragic life and death in his own world, nervousness at the possibility of being found out doing the many naughty things he was doing by an authority figure(A psychological tick that few Hogwarts alumni ever overcame.) Above all else it was shock. Shock at seeing the dead brought back to life. And not the faux shades of the dead brought by the resurrection stone, which he himself confirmed weren't actually the souls of the dead and Hermione double-confirmed with her own experiments.

    He had to brace himself against a wall and fight back tears. It was all so overwhelming. To see a man he adored and cherished so much throw him a wink and joke in his old man humor. To say nothing of the smell. Every person, especially old people, have their own smell. And when that person is a loved one a single hint of that smell can bring up all manner of memories all at once.

    He would need to spend the rest of the two days until the interview bracing himself to not break down while getting the third degree from the headmaster.

    He managed to calm his nerves with a deep breath before the lift doors opened and deposited him onto the first floor of the hospital and made his way out. He had many more errands to take care of today, and it didn't do well to drown in melancholy.

    Besides. He learned an important new piece of information that he needed to place into the bigger picture.

    Why is Voldemort collecting religious artifacts and recruiting those who value them?

    "So." Began Ragnok. "Is there a particular reason you advised one of my premier hedge fund goblins to short two of the largest and fastest growing tech companies in the Muggle world during an economic boom specifically surrounding the tech industry?"

    And like that the meeting he requested with the goblins went from optimistic to being reminiscent of sitting on the wrong side of a teacher's desk. This was decidedly not what he had come here for.

    "Well you see, I'm not a qualified financial advisor and can't be held liable for…"

    "That's not going to fly with me." Ragnok interrupted.

    "Okay fine! I was annoyed that everybody kept coming to me asking for advice on everything and I started screwing with people, as I'm wont to do when people annoy me." Harry confessed. "Happy?"

    "No!" Ragnok answered. "They took your advice to heart and lost millions!"

    "Well the advice was still good. There is a bit of a crash coming soon. With a bit of cleverness you can make a bit of profit. A large bit of profit." Harry explained.

    Ragnok was silent for a little while.

    "Elaborate." He demanded.

    He did.

    "Well there was, or er, is a bubble right now. Dot com bubble I think it's called. I think it burst in 1996 or so." Harry explained. Then checked his mental duel calender. "So about nowish. But it lasted a good half decade. So you guys have five years of fun ahead of you."

    Ragnok leaned forward in his chair.

    "Is it a slow burn or a sudden crash?" He asked.

    "Well, you know how the old joke goes." Harry said. "How did the former millionaire go bankrupt? At first very slowly, and then very, very quickly."

    Ragnok nodded with a wicked grin.

    "And if you think that has the potential for capitalizing on, wait until I tell you about the housing crash!" Harry went on.

    "Let me guess." Said Ragnok. "The American administration's subprime mortgage mandate, forcing banks to give out loans to people who can't afford to pay them back is going to backfire spectacularly? So badly, that housing will become overpriced fifteen fold, that foreign entities and crime syndicates begin buying and selling houses as a form of money laundering leaving fewer houses for people to actually live in and inflating the prices ever further, and from there the banks, desperate to make a profit on the terrible investments they were forced to make by government regulation, will concoct quasi-legal debt-selling schemes thus spreading the crisis to the investment market?"

    Gee Ragnok. When you say it like that it almost sounds as if this kind of thing has happened before and that anybody with a basic understanding of economics ought to be able to see it coming a decade ahead of time. Why, it was almost as if your own economic analysts in the bank already see it coming. But that's just crazy talk!

    "On the bright side if you save properly in the leadup to the crash, you'll be able to buy up a tonne of properties around the world for dirt cheap." Harry went on. "And you could use them as an added benefit for curse breakers. Better lodging during their trips to the worlds deadliest places."

    Ragnok hummed dismissively at the idea.

    "And if you want me to I can give you the information I know on which companies will be going out of business so you really can short them and invest long-term in the stocks of companies I know will survive and thrive."

    Ragnok outright snarled at that suggestion.

    Gringotts didn't, or wasn't supposed to, take part in short term stock exchanges. Least of all shorting companies. It went against persueing excellent, of achievements over profits. Especially shorting, betting against a company or country and the livelihoods of those therein was dishonorable in the extreme.

    Harry was under no delusions that the goblins who took his malicious advice were still employed. Or at least not in their former positions.

    "So. Economic woes ahead of us?" Ragnok surmised.

    Harry nodded.

    "And what was it you called people who shy away from chasing fortune and excellence in economic downturns?" Ragnok asked.

    "Pussies!" Harry repeated. "And speaking of chasing fortune and excellence during economic downturns, have you had time to read the proposal I wrote?"

    Ragnok reached into a drawer and pulled out the large manilla envelope he had sent with Hedwig. More as a challenge for her than the necessity of a speedy arrival.

    "You wish to liquidate what investments you have in order to invest in a large parcel of undeveloped land to grow, and I quote, 'aconite, giant moonwarts, Commiphora myrrha, hops and marijuana.' As well as a property in Hogsmeade for the purpose of serving as a shelter for werewolves." Ragnok read aloud.

    "That is correct." Said Harry.

    "Okay. I have several questions and even more misgivings." Ragnok said. "I understand that aconite, moonwart and myrrh are the primary ingredients for the wolfsbane potion. But why hops and marijuana? The latter of which you need a very difficult to obtain license to grow."

    "Well, have you ever encountered an asshole who thought it would be funny to get their dog drunk on an ale?" Harry asked.

    "Can't say that I have."

    "Well it turns out drunk dogs are incapable of doing much of anything besides whimper and piss themselves. Same for werewolves. Marijuana calms werewolves down the same as it does humans. They're the best alternatives for people suffering from lichenism who have bad reactions to wolfsbane." Harry explained.

    Ragnok nodded.

    "And with the profits from selling my ingredients to potioneers who want to make other potions that use them, along with my own private brand of THC laced ale, I'll be able to fund the shelter when my initial funds run dry." Harry finished.

    Ragnok nodded again.

    "You must know that I already set a team to dismantle your business plan and poke holes in it, right?" Ragnok asked.

    "I'm all ears." Said Harry.

    "First of all marijuana grows best in temperate climates, which the United Kingdom is not."

    "Who said anything about buying the parcel of land in the United Kingdom?"

    Ragnok made a note on one of the pages in the envelope.

    "And what countries would you be most interested in buying this parcel of land?" Ragnok asked.

    "Whatever will give me the most land for least cost." Harry answered. "Quantity over quality. None of these things require particularly good soil."

    Ragnok made another note.

    "The best bets are the West Sahara, India and the United States then. Likely Florida. All of which present their own problems." Said Ragnok. "I advise against India as dealing with the headache of bribing a laundry list of government agencies is just how business is done there. And due to regulations making it illegal for you to personally do any foreign bribing you will have to hire local intermediaries as all companies have to do."

    Yeah… that sounded like a deal breaker.

    "With the United States the big problem you'll have is shipping to the U.K in a timely manner." Ragnok continued. "In all three cases you will have to deal with Death Eater attacks on shipping routes, but it will be most pronounced in the middle east and west africa where the dark lord is putting his greatest effort into recruiting dark wizards."

    "Sahara it is then." Harry concluded.

    Seeing Ragnok sputter in confusion at his unintuitive decision was always great fun.

    "You want your shipments to be attacked by Death Eaters?" Ragnok concluded.

    "Quite." Said Harry. "Amateur Death Eaters are easily dealt with, and I will time my shipments on weekends so that I can ride along and defend my property. Quicker shipments to the U.K, I get some exercise, the Death Eaters have fewer resources with which to harass other shipments and Voldemort's forces dwindle. Win, win, win, win."

    Harry was lying of course. If only partially. With the recent revelation that Voldemort is collecting Judeo-Christian Artifacts AND recruiting in the middle east, he simply had to set a couple roots down in the area. Something fishy was going on and he needed to figure out what.

    Ragnok pinched his brow in frustration.

    "Okay! Okay. I will approve that half of the business plan." Ragnok conceded. "But there are even bigger problems with this shelter for werewolves you proposed."

    "Lay them on me." Harry said.

    "Well for one, homeless shelters are scams that do nothing to help the homeless and only ever serve to enrich the organizers and make volunteers feeeeeeel like they're doing good without actually doing a damn thing to reduce homelessness.'

    "... Huh?" Harry said dumbly.

    "Oh yes. There has been a whole host of scientific studies comparing the benefits of homeless shelters, food programs and the like compared to just handing the homeless money." Ragnok went on. "Canada did one where they just straight up gave a number of homeless individuals 7500 dollars and acted shocked when, instead of using it to overdose on crystal meth, they used it to get their lives back together. And that's just one of many such studies, all of which show the same result."(AN-1)

    Harry had not been aware of that. But was it really surprising to learn that a bunch of assholes used faux charities to enrich themselves and justified it by promoting bullshit stereotypes about the downtrodden? Hardly. Something something Clinton foundation stealing billions from the Haiti relief effort, something something Catholic Church, Mormons and Jesuits hoarding the wealth and properties bequeathed to them by widows.

    "The same is true for food banks and jobs programs for the homeless." Ragnok finished. "usually government food stamps programs, again just giving the homeless money - proves more effective."

    "Well it's a good thing I'm not making a homeless shelter." Said Harry. "I am creating a shelter specifically for werewolves to self-quarantine near the full moon and only during the full moon. Nothing more."

    Ragnok made yet another note in the stack of papers.

    "That will significantly reduce the cost I estimated for your charity." Said Ragnok. "I would be tempted to approve your nonprofit on that factor alone if it weren't for untoward elements in the werewolf community."

    That put Harry on edge.

    "What kind of untoward elements?"

    "There is a large subgroup of werewolves who are intent on spreading their condition through a whole host of tactics." He explained. "Doping water supplies with saliva, blood and other bodily fluids in the leadup to the full moon in the hope that it will mutate outside of their bodies under the moonlight, thus infecting anybody who comes in contact with it."

    "Does... Does that actually work?" Harry asked.

    "Consensus is out on that one. But worse, there are non-werewolves obsessed with catching the disease themselves. So you would have to be very discriminatory in your hiring practices."

    Harry both groaned and cringed at the revelation.

    "Great. There are bug chasers and gift givers in the werewolf community." Harry concluded. "I'll have to root them out and blacklist them. And boy will that be tough."

    "Gift givers?" Asked Ragnok. "Bug chasers?"

    "Gift givers and bug chasers are terms referring to a large section of the homophiliac community in America." Explained Harry. "They intentionally go around spreading or catching HIV, often intent on collecting multiple strains of the virus in the hopes it will mutate and become airborne. In fact, the first ever confirmed aids patient deliberately went around to bath houses spreading it to other homophiliacs."

    The look of disgust on Ragnok's face was harrowing.

    "That is borderline apocalyptic." He said in horror.

    True, there was no proper cure for aids, either magical or mundane. And the closest humanity has ever achieved was prohibitively expensive.

    "I know. My friend and I watched a documentary called The Gift once." Harry explained. "And despite being one of the most open-minded people I've ever known she went from love-is-love to bash-the-fag in two hours flat after viewing it. I convinced her to get back around to loving her fellow man eventually, but after that she stopped forcing me to watch documentaries with her every Saturday."

    "So how do you plan to counteract these... gift givers and bug chasers in your shelter?" Ragnok asked.

    "By hiring people I know I can trust." Harry answered. "And beating into the heads of everybody there about the dangers of these... bioterrorists."

    Yes. That was a good word for them.

    "It will be one hell of a trial." Ragnok warned.

    "Story of my life." Said Harry. "And nothing I've ever done that was worth doing was ever easy. Why would this be any different?"

    Ragnok approved both his business plan and nonprofit proposal. Or at least the first stage of both. His assets were liquidated later that day and Griphook was assigned the task of hunting down an appropriate parcel of land for his agricultural pursuits. They negotiated the rates for the goblin accountants to register his LLC and begin the process of finding trustees to begin the process of forming his charity. But that was something to deal with later, and would hardly be difficult.

    For now he had to find a property for housing werewolves near the full moon. He already had the perfect place in mind to purchase.

    Dumbledore climbed the stairs to his brother's bar in his search for the private room he had reserved. He had been looking forward to this interview with the enigmatic Hadrian Morrigan despite himself and upon finding the correct room he reached out to knock.

    "Enter." Morrigan's voice called out before he could make a single rasp on the aged wood.

    The shade of his former lover glanced at him.

    "I think he's expecting you, Albus." Said Gellert.

    Arianna's shade giggled at the humor. He always had a way of charming her.

    He opened the door and greeted his interviewee.

    "I take it you 'foresaw' my arrival." Dumbledore asked jokingly as he entered the room.

    For a split second a look of horror crossed Hadrian Morrigan's face at seeing him but it was gone so fast that Albus assumed he imagined it.

    "Not at all." Said Hadrian in a friendly manner. "I heard your footsteps outside and it just so happened to be exactly 630 on the dot, as your missive detailed. Half of a man's ability to predict the future comes solely from deduction."

    "Ah. Good." Said Gellert. "He doesn't use mentalism or attribute common sense to some mythical inner eye. He's either a decent seer or smart enough not to try that nonsense on you."
    Indeed. The basics of mind tricks, reading people and their body language and speaking to them with sophistic tactics were well-ingrained in him, and he knew how to do battle against them.

    "And the other half?" Albus asked as he took a seat opposite Mister Morrigan at the lonely table.

    Arianna's shade took this time to go kneel near Hadrian's legs and stare up at him with her best owl impression. If Mister Morrigan could see souls brought back by the resurrection stone Albus was certain he would either find it adorable or annoying. Seeing as he couldn't, there was no harm in her childish behavior.

    "At risk of sounding like a hippie, believe it or not, most of Divination - or at least my particular brand of it - can be boiled down to going with the flow." Hadrian explained. "The world around you, if you know how to pay attention to it, will always push you in the right direction. Call it fate, call it god, something is always looking out for you. With the right frame of mind you can walk into any situation with complete confidence that everything is going to be alright. And it will. Things do have a way of working themselves out. It does not do to dwell on fantasies of what may or may not be and forget to live."

    Albus perked up at that turn of phrase. It smacked of stoic philosophies and life experience. He may very well have to steal it.

    "So… having the sight has little to do with your style of Divination?" Dumbledore summarized.

    "It's definitely part of it, just not a core aspect, especially if I'm going to be teaching." Hadrian explained. "When teaching somebody to fight you don't teach them to kick, you teach them how to punch, block and dodge, as they are far more effective, whereas professional martial artists strongly debate if kicking is effective in a fight at all. So, I would prefer to teach my students how to recognize when destiny comes knocking on their door and how to follow her instructions, then to try and peer into her mind and gain the rare privilege of glimpsing her horrifying machinations."

    Albus found himself nodding in agreement, and approval, despite himself. This man knew his stuff. And he knew his stuff in a manner Albus wouldn't have been able to conceive of before this meeting.

    "I strongly approve of this man." Said Gellert's shade. "But I don't have experience hiring for the premier magical school in western Europe.

    Albus refrained from correcting the Durmstrang alumni and reminding him that it was the premiere school in ALL of Europe. It would not do to have an argument with the dead in the presence of a man who could not see them.

    "I don't understand most anything he's saying." Admitted Arianna, still staring playfully at the man.

    "I don't suppose you can display any ability in the more applicable skills of divination while we're here, could you?" Asked Albus.

    "Certainly!" Said Hadrian. "Don't expect me to make a fully-fledged prophecy on demand, or anything like that, but I think I might be able to knock your socks off."
    He rolled up his sleeves and motioned for Albus to give him his hand.

    Albus hesitated on which hand to proffer, as one bore the Gaunt family ring and the other bore a curse taking his life. He opted for the one with the ring, as it was not gloved.
    "Your other hand, if you'd be so kind." Hadrian corrected him.

    "If it is your intention to read my lifeline, I think it would bode better for you to use my left." Albus complained while still offering his right.

    Hadrian did not dignify the joke with a response as he peeled away the leather glove hiding his wound. The moment Hadrian's skin touch his own Albus could feel the other man feeling him. It was a most strange sensation, like a legilimancy probe but of the flesh, and both flinched away from one-another.

    If his ability to feel magic by touch wasn't so refined he probably wouldn't even have noticed it. He put his poker face on as to not let on that he had caught wind of whatever ability the man had just displayed. He was confident that his prospective new professor hadn't caught anything, as he was shaking off the trauma of experiencing the cold agony of the withering curse eating away at him.

    "Okay. Let's try that again." Hadrian insisted and indicated he was ready to take the headmaster's hand again.

    Albus offered it back to him and this time he focused intently on the feeling of Hadrian probing his flesh. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced before, or even heard of. As if, for a time, their flesh and spirit was as one and Hadrian had complete bodily and mental awareness, not of his own body and mind, but of Albus'. Stranger still was that this ability was completely one-sided, as Albus could not feel anything from Hadrian's side of this connection.

    Morrigan squeezed his eyes shut as he did whatever it was he was doing and so thankfully missed the look of awe and wonder on Albus' face, but it remained there as the man sitting opposite him dug his senses deeper into the wound. Beyond feeling the physical pain that Albus himself now lived with every day he started to draw upon the past. Echoes of what had been seeped through his hand into Hadrian's and he stole from Albus every smidgeon of information about the wound so thoroughly he might as well have been using a legilimancy probe on a baby.

    Whispers of the past several days since their meeting at Saint Mungo's flowed freely through magic. His taking down of the wards around the Gaunt shack. The battle with the inferi worm(A-N 2) that guarded the treasure there. The putting on of the ring. All of these memories were now his as if he had been the one to experience them himself. And there was nothing he could do to defend himself from it.

    His next words shattered Albus' world.

    "You obtained this wound destroying a soul." Said Hadrian. "One piece of seven."

    Albus couldn't stop the look of horror from dawning on his face, and he didn't care that Hadrian saw it as he opened his eyes and released his hand.

    Seven horcruxi? Seven?! He had thought there was only the one, and he had come across it by pure happenstance. Voldemort was still immortal, and truly mad to have shattered his soul so thoroughly.

    This man, Hadrian Morrigan, was going to be a trump card in this war. Dumbledore simply had to have him. Even if he didn't fully believe Arianna Figg's testimony regarding his battle divination abilities, which he now did, his power of sight alone could win it all.

    "You really are a true seer." Dumbledore concluded.

    "Really?!" Squeeled Arianna Dumbledore's shade. "A real psychic? What number am I thinking of? Why is the sky blue? Why was our family dog named spot? Why, why, why, why why?" (A/N)

    Albus barely kept a straight face at his sister's antics, but failed completely when Hadrian turned to the little girl and looked her dead in the eye.

    "No idea. The sky is blue because air oscillates light in the blue spectrum faster than red, plus our eyes are more sensitive to blue light and usually when a dog is named spot it's either because they have a great big spot on their coat or left a great big spot on the carpet." Hadrian answered the shade he shouldn't be able to see in the first place.

    He then turned to Gellert's shade and gave him a wink.

    There was dead silence in the room for nearly a minute.

    "I shouldn't be saying this before the board of governors have approved you for the position." Began Albus. "But allow me to formally congratulate you on being hired onto the position of divination professor."

    Albus made to leave but just before he opened the door Hadrian stopped him.

    "I don't mean to patronize you, especially considering how little time you have left in this world and your much greater wisdom than mine." He began. "But I would advise caution in using the resurrection stone, especially considering your possession of the elder wand and ease of access to the cloak. Do not seek to request that your friend loan or give it to you and unite the three that ought to remain separate."

    Dumbledore looked to Hadrian with confusion.

    "You know where the cloak of invisibility resides?" He asked in surprise.

    "You don't?" Hadrian asked in equal surprise.

    Albus shook his head.

    "I presume somebody I know owns it based on what you just said." Albus concluded.

    "Indeed. But do not seek it out. It is by far the most dangerous and unnatural of the hollows and is best buried instead of used." Hadrian warned.

    Albus nodded.

    "You have given me enough reason to take your advice seriously. And so I shall take it. Now if you'll excuse me, I have another meeting to be getting to in the next room over." Albus excused himself.

    Hadrian nodded and Albus left. Just as he closed the door he felt Hadrian cast a litanny of privacy wards on the room. A curious act, but one he wouldn't pry into.

    As soon as Harry finished setting up the wards he allowed the emotional dam to collapse and broke down then and there. Openly weeping without shame.

    Dumbledore, the man he considered a grandfather figure, the man who had risked the fate of the entire world just to save Harry's life and give him a chance at happiness. The man who orchestrated the most complicated set of circumstances to allow Harry himself to return from death, through a combination of him being the master of the the deathly hollows and playing into Voldemort's own character flaws.

    And how did Harry repay him now that he had the chance to see him alive again? By killing him.

    That cursed wound. That agonizing disability slowly draining the life out of the headmaster? It hadn't been there days earlier when he encountered the man on the elevator. And in failing to warn him, like he should have known to, he had killed him. He had less than a year to live and it was all Harry's fault.

    And for what? Because he was too much of a coward to trust and put his faith into a man that, in another world, put all of his trust and faith into him?

    His decision to shoulder all of the responsibility in this world instead of sharing what he knew, even if only selectively, had just cost him dearly. And now he was committed. Now he had a time frame with which to complete his mission.

    Voldemort was going down. And he was going down within the next year. Albus Dumbledore's sunset on life will be as a man gazing out at a world without a dark lord, with the war concluded and a bright future ahead of it. That would be Harry's gift to the old man. That would be Harry's sole mission from here on out, even if it killed him.

    No more screwing around. No more stalling. No more hesitating in trying to determine what is and is not different in this universe. His hope that Voldemort had not made the Horcruxi had now been shattered and he knew what he had to do. But it would take so much more than to simply hunt down the artifacts and destroy them.

    There were Death Eaters to woo into switching sides, people on the Muggleborn side of the war to teach empathy and assimilate into a culture they have been aweful guests in and an economy to lift, kicking and screaming, out of a great depression. Not to mention werewolves, vampires and other beings who go bump in the night to reinfranchise. And he was the man to do the job, but from now on he wouldn't be doing it alone.

    It was time to go to war, but not war as it had been done in the past. The peaceful war he had spent the last several weeks contemplating and scheming, until every man, woman child and beast opened their eyes to the love they secretly held for each-other and stopped their nonsense, turning as one against the sociopathic bastard that twisted the legitimate concerns and suffering of the pureblood community into something ugly and unnatural.

    "Dumbledore. Prepare to sit back, relax and enjoy your final days as I take care of everything. You've worked hard enough." Harry said with conviction as he wiped away the errant tears that flowed freely down his face.

    He cast a cooling charm over his eyes to get rid of any puffiness and washed his face in the sink over in the corner. He canceled the privacy charms now that he was finished with his much needed mourning and exited the room.

    Walking to the next room over he knocked on the door.

    "Enter." Dumbledore's voice invited him in.

    The look of confusion and worry on his face at seeing him again got a quick chuckle out of Harry.

    "Right then." He said. "Let's discuss the purchase of the Shrieking Shack. I think you'll like what I plan to do with it."

    Dumbledore's genuine laughter was enough to make the hefty price tag on the property worthwhile all on its own.

    - I will not tell you which organizations to donate to if you want to be charitable, but I will suggest that you be charitable to individuals in your community first. So far, the only legit organization I ever found was the innocence project, who try and prove the innocence of people wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. But there must be others. Just be careful. There are evil people who prey on the nature of good people. Find people in person who need help. Help them, one at a time.
    A-N 2
    Go read "The Unforgiving Minute" by "Voice of The Nephilim." One of the best fics ever written. Period.
    A-N 3
    Any Rolly Polly Ollie fans here? No? Okay then.​
    Become a Patron:
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    Last edited: Sep 17, 2022
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  4. Threadmarks: Chapter 10: Networking Part 2

    NonsensicalRants Know what you're doing yet?

    Jun 15, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Chapter 10:
    Networking Part 2

    Sometime in 2003:
    The trio exited the Las Vegas night club in a fuss. Harry, as usual, was the most fussy of the bunch. Loud, crowded places with unwanted sexual attention never suited him. And yet his friends kept insisting on trying to acclimate him to it.

    "Seriously Harry. We're sorry." Said Dudley. "We're just trying to share what we enjoy with you. Never again."

    Draco handed him an ice pack he conjured.

    "Never seen that happen before." Said Malfoy. "Where did that girl get off accusing you of spiking her drink?"

    "Might have had something to do with me rejecting her really atrocious attempts at flirting." Harry answered as he put the ice pack to his forehead where that asshole smashed a bottle of irish rum on his head. "If you consider groping a flirting tactic. Can't say I've ever tried it myself."

    He understood the attention from girls they got when they went out. There was Dudley, built like a brick house from years of professional boxing. There was Draco, with his aristocratic aura balanced with the heavy serving of humble pie and wit he'd developed over the years. And then there was Harry who was… still just Harry.

    "You showed a lot of restraint in not beating that guy into a puddle of sludge." Complimented Dudley.

    "Same to you." Quipped Draco.

    "Can we just go somewhere quiet to enjoy the lights and stars." Pleaded Harry. "I'm tired of talking about drunk idiots acting like drunk idiots."

    Draco knew a place and led them there. A place he himself owned.

    Ever since finishing their post-Hogwarts studies they got bored with Europe very quickly. They would still visit whenever they wanted to be surrounded by women who weren't fat, but otherwise the United States of goddamn America was their playground. Wellz their favorite playground at least. They got up to plenty of mischief in other countries.

    The boxing, mixed martial arts and club scenes were what enticed his cousin on his mother's side. The unlimited opportunity for entrepreneurship is what enticed his more distant cousin on his father's side.

    In just the few short years since the war Draco had become something of a schizophrenic business tycoon. Schizophrenic in the sense that there was absolutely nothing he wasn't willing to try. He would make a fast food restaurant where customers used the ingredients of the establishment along with recipes to cook their own healthy meals one week, and a straight up toothpick factory the next. Believe it or not, both were equally profitable.

    The goblins absolutely loved him, not for the money he brought in, but for his creativity and business acumen. To say nothing of his name constantly being attributed with excellence. Harry was convinced the Malfoy heir could walk up to any Gringotts bank, ask for a loan to open a sex shop for nuns, and they'd approve it just to see if he could pull it off. He probably could. The man had the ever elusive "it" that made salesmen into millionaires and innovators into billionaires.

    Good thing he hadn't had this weaponized force of personality during their Hogwarts days, or Harry most definitely would have landed in Slytherin.

    Harry though? Harry still hadn't figured out what to do with himself. One day they would be in Florida snorkeling with manatees, the next they'd be in the gulf of Alaska surfing waves exceeding 30 feet, only to end the day enjoying shots of high quality tequila and margaritas in Mexico while ogling the scantily clad, yet still somehow classy, latina sweethearts. He'd then follow it up with a cooking class in Italy the next day, a blacksmithing course in Nippon, a belly dancing course in India and… well, you get the point.

    He couldn't find his purpose. With Voldemort dead and gone his destiny was fulfilled and he was aimless. His time studying under masters of different crafts in the wizarding world - from wand making with Ollivander, to potion making under the same man who trained Severus Snape himself - all went rather well. But none of them really spoke to him.

    And now? Now he was in a funk that Draco and Dudley were doing everything in their power to try and get him out of.

    "Alright, third floor up here." Draco said as they came upon a highrise like any other in the city of sin.

    They took the elevator and were spat out into a football stadium sized patio you never would have known was there from the outside. A quiet lounge, where people sat in booths to eat and talk. Each booth sat beneath a tree that mutated between species constantly. Harry saw one turn from Japanese cherry blossoms, to purple westeris, to sweet at magnolia, to weeping willow and a blue wisteria tree as they walked along. Each blooming with their vibrant displays of color and raining petals down on the customers where they vanished into particles of light upon touching them or the tables.

    "My worldwide lounge." Draco announced. "Private booths for people to relax, talk, and meditate. No alcohol, no junk food or any other poisons of the body. Just a place to be at peace with a healthy mix of beautiful nature and classic architecture, none of that horrific brutalist crap."

    He looked at Harry.

    "You inspired the idea." He explained. "There are a lot more people in the world who, while despising the loud music and blatant sexuality of night clubs, still want to go out and socialize, but in a more reserved manner. I saw that nobody was capitalizing on the market and decided to fix that. I plan to have one of the capital cities of every state and country in the world."

    Goddamnit Draco! Why do you have to keep throwing curve balls and impressing me like this?!

    "The capital of Nevada is Carson City, you dolt." A pretty waitress commented as she passed by with a tray of hot tea.

    She planted a friendly kiss of greeting on Draco's cheek and waved to Harry and Dudley before continuing on her way.

    "Well. Populous cities of the world." Corrected draco. "Which usually equates to capital cities, except in the states. Tokyo's is almost finished if you feel like visiting Sue and her fiance next week?"
    He hadn't seen the quiet Ravenclaw in forever, so he agreed to the date instantly.

    Draco led them up a spiral metal staircase to a raised catwalk with more booths, these ones fancier than the rest and with a much better view of the Vegas skyline. There they sat down and sunk into the unnaturally soft cushions.

    Harry noticed dials on the armrest of his seat and pressed one to discover that each one was also a massage chair.

    "How do you keep the cost down to have a more ruffian clientele." Dudley asked as he surveyed the booths around them.

    Indeed, many looked to be more of the blue collar worker variety than upper class such a lovely place would suggest.

    "The Thrasher Trees, named after birds that can mimic sounds by the way, are really expensive to produce but I can sell them at a high enough profit to richer clientele who want them in their gardens." Explained Draco. "This really helps to keep the cost down as I can charge less here. And my employees are all trained to be able to transfigure the tile and booths. Most are dropouts so I don't have to pay them as exorbitantly as many more well-trained trasnfigurstionists, but I still pay them well and a lot leave more skilled than when they arrived to get better jobs. Plus without needing to pay licensing fees to serve alcohol, tobacco or food keeps the cost down.

    Harry was sure the business tycoon had left out at least a dozen more cost-cutting techniques and profit motives around the business. He resisted the urge to tell Malfoy that he didn't need to reassure him that everything was not only legal, but considerate and beneficial to his employees. They were so far past that.

    "And where do these Thrasher Trees come from?" Asked Harry.

    "I had the idea and commissioned Pomona." He confessed. "Now that Longbottom is taking over most of her duties in his apprenticeship to be the new herbology teacher she has a lot of free time to work on her own projects. And oh boy did it turn out she's been hiding her true power level all these years!"

    This was true. And if professor Sprout considered Neville to be a prodigy by comparison to her then he shuddered to think what kind of masterpieces of biology and herbology he could come up with decades down the line when he himself retired. The future was a bright and interesting place.

    "Speaking of, " Said Dudley. "Have you considered trying to work with her and see if you find your calling there? You said yourself that you're intent on dipping your toes into every little thing the world has to offer, after all."

    Harry pulled out the handy dandy notebook he kept in his breast pocket, turned to the bookmarked section on possible careers, and added herbology to the list. He still had a couple hundred to go through. From restaurant dishwasher to astronaut, but he was sure he could fit "creating abominations against god and nature with Pomona Sprout" somewhere between the two.
    Another server came by with a tray of jasmine tea and, after giving Draco a fist bump, served them before leaving. The former ponce was a king in all of his domains and if not friendly with then at least respected by all of his employees.

    Just then the thrasher tree of their booth turned into cherry blossoms again.

    "Why do you two do this?" Harry asked.

    He elaborated when they looked at him quizzically.

    "Why do you guys put so much time and money into helping with all…" he made a motion about his head. "The problems I have up here."

    They weren't the only ones who did everything in their power to drag him, often kicking and screaming, out of his man cave at the refurbished Grimmauld Place, but they were the most insistent.
    It was a funny story, actually. After the war he had taken on so much responsibility trying to help everybody else recover from their wounds, physical and spiritual, that he forgot to take care of himself. Reuniting lost lovers, raising Teddy, and all around just helping people with the wars within themselves; it all kept him so busy. He must have kept a really good poker face as he did so, because it was years before somebody thought to ask themselves "Hey! Now wait a minute. This guy who gave the most, lost the most and hurt the most during the war… maybe he isn't alright?"

    And he wasn't alright. But once one person figured it out, they all found out. The speed at which everybody in his generation, from all four houses and beyond, switched gears to make time for him was so very heartwarming if a bit annoying at times. Not to mention confusing, as each person tried to share their coping mechanisms with him.

    Dean would take him out to the ball game(any ball game really, but usually football). Hermione kept wanting to share her joy of learning, but eventually gave up on making him read dry scientific journals and instead watch documentaries on movie nights. Ron was great. He would invite him out and they would just sit there. Quietly.

    Then there were the girls. Several tried dating him and a few succeeded. However, something about a girl dating you because they think you're broken and their "divine pussies" will somehow cure it turned out to be creepier than it sounded in hindsight. Most of them were worse lays than the fangirls he, regrettably, allowed into his life. So he quashed future attempts at that. Especially after a few weeks with Daphne "I design my own lingerie and you have to see/touch me in ALL of them!" Greengrass. She actually cut it off herself when she realized she was a bit too much for him to handle. Her unashamed and unrestrained sexuality nearly fried his much more shy and demure brain to a crisp She was still sweet to him years later though.

    He stopped dating entirely after that. Between his experience with the idol-worshippers, the pitt fucks and Luna when he was studying with Ollivander, he realized he had no business dating. It was inconsiderate in the extreme to waste other people's time building relationships you weren't ready for because you haven't worked your own shit out yet. So he didn't.

    There were more people who tried to help him, but everyone was a bit too busy adulting to put too much time into him. All recently married, pregnant or raising their new kids. Everyone except Draco and Dudley. Together they were the three "manchildren" as the bitter girls they refused to marry called them. And boy did they have fun. The concept that men didn't have to marry women on women's time schedule but could choose to do so on theirs was just a foreign concept to many. They planned to stop enjoying the bachelor life if and when they wanted to, thank you very much!

    "That's a ridiculous question." Said Draco. "We owe you."

    "Everyone owes you." Added Dudley. "I barely get around to Diagon or Hogwarts to substitute in Muggle Studies anymore, but I know people haven't forgotten about you or how much you've done."

    Harry shook his head.

    "No! Like. Why do you guys put so much more time, effort and energy into it than anybody else?" Harry elaborated. "And don't say because you have the free time, between your thousand side hustles and your constant training and boxing matches you're both a lot busier than you pretend."

    The two blonde men shared a glance. Dudley nutted up first.

    "Harry. My childhood was pretty much perfect." He explained. "I was too spoiled, too fat and too happy. And that happiness came at the proveable cost of your happiness."

    … it wasn't the worst explanation. Dudley wanting to make up for all the Harry hunting and sleeping under the stairs made sense.

    "A bit of the same for me honestly." Added Draco. "My parents should have been imprisoned at the end of the first war, not the second, and our mostly-misbegotten wealth distributed to victims on both sides of the conflict much earlier."

    A lot of people were suspicious when Draco liquidated his entire heritage of his own accord and spent it all helping to rebuild the magical world after his parents went to the newly built(and dementor-free) Azkaban 2.0. But that new leaf he turned over was genuine. And after living with his aunt and Harry for a little while, helping around the house and being an extra parent to Teddy, he decided to get up and leave in order to build up a new empire of businesses, small and large, brick by brick when one day he just decided that he missed being rich. But he wanted to earn it this time.

    He really did just get up one day and announce to Harry and Andromeda "I'm tired of being a bum. I'm off to go get rich again. See you in a few months." Before walking out the front door with just the clothes on his back. And forsooth, when they next saw him, four months later, he had a budding real-estate business and a produce shipping company. He was already expanding into other little things even then.

    "Instead I grew up in one of the richest families in the country. To say little of how awful I was to you in our school days." Draco finished.

    "And there's the little, teensy-weensy fact that you saved my life and soul!" Bellowed dudley. "Literally and figuratively."

    "A lot of the former literally for me, even more of the latter figuratively." Draco amended.

    Harry considered this. He'd saved a lot of people's lives, and several people's souls over the war. Both literally and figuratively. But none of them had such a sordid history of benefitting at his expense. So yeah, they sort of did owe him, but that didn't mean he wanted it. He was about to say as much when Draco's next words shut him up completely.

    "Everything I've built up from nothing. All of my wealth, resources and contacts. All of it and my life belong to you." Said Draco. "If you merely ask I will hand it over to you or burn it to the ground and start anew."

    Harry was so starstruck by the heartfelt confession that he could only glance at Dudley.

    "Oh yeah, no, what he said." His cousin added before sipping his tea awkwardly.

    Harry was so touched by the declarations of fealty that he could do nothing but drink his tea in silence. A silence which they respected until the tea was gone.

    "Oh by the way, the Harpies are in town training for their match with the Arizona Phoenixes." Draco said. "Ginevra invited me, and by extension you, to spend the weekend playing pickup games with them."

    Oh Ginny and her team were here? Well who was he to deny an ex-girlfriend the chance to pummel him in a Quidditch match.

    "Who else will be playing?" He asked.

    "Viktor is dropping by since their current seeker is out of it and they asked him to help train her up." Draco explained. "I also got George, Lee and Angela to take a break from running the joke shops to join us."

    "So you want me to play seeker while you and Angelina play chaser and George and lee do the beating?" Harry summed up. "Against the Holyhead Harpies, who have three of the best chasers ever to play in the circuit, not to toot Ginny's horn too loudly…"

    "Her horn deserves tootin, but continue your whinging." Said Draco.

    "To top it off they will have the single greatest seeker in the world playing on their side." Harry summed up. "Are we going to follow it up by accepting an arm-wrestling match with Hagrid?"
    Draco kept that unbearable smirk on the entire time Harry let loose his diatribe.

    "Well for one we have one of the best beaters to have ever lived, and yes I actually crunched the numbers on George's fitness tests and it was in the top ten." Draco said. "I'm just shy of being a professional level chaser myself. And Ginevra will be playing on our team."

    Harry was silent for a moment. That was almost a fair matchup.

    "It's just practice isn't it?" Said Dudley. "They're not inviting you to humiliate you but to help build up their new guy."

    "Girl. They only have girls in the Holyhead Harpies." Draco corrected.

    "Can't they get sued for discrimination?" Asked Dudley.

    "Nope." Draco answered without further explanation.

    "I'm in." Harry said before their conversation could go any further. "But my old firebolt is hardly up to modern professional broom standards."

    Draco looked like Sylvester after successfully catching Tweety bird. He reached underneath his seat and pulled out what could only be described as a motorcycle helmet designed for war in space.

    "We have also been recruited to test out the new prototype Auburn brand racing brooms."

    "The car company?" Asked Dudley.

    "Yup. Both teams will be completely fitted, but just for these practice games." Draco explained. "We get to fly the most dangerous brooms yet designed, and they get data with which to make them less dangerous. Win, win."

    When he said it like that it sounded like a really good deal. But there was a part of it he wasn't quite catching.

    "But why the helmets? Won't we be playing with nets and cushioning charms anyways?" Harry asked.

    "Oh of course! We're insane, not stupid!" Said Draco. "The helmets and suits aren't to protect us from impacts. They're to protect us from the air catching under our eyes or noses and ripping our faces off."

    Suits? He looked at the helmet and figured there must be some nascar-like onesies to go with them. He'd worn dumber things in the past.

    But what he said was true. There weren't any charms or enchantments to help with wind resistance, at least not ones you can put on human skin. And if there were they would be banned in professional Quidditch as performance enhancers anyways, same as the impervious charms he needed to put on his glasses during particularly stormy games. Or at least used to, before getting lasik surgery. He still wore glasses most of the time, but they were dummy lenses and more for comfort than anything else. If you spend the first 20 or so years of your life wearing glasses you'll feel naked when you no longer need them too.

    "It sounds like you might be overselling me on how impressive these brooms are." Said Harry.

    That weekend proved Draco was not, in fact, overselling him on the capabilities of these experimental brooms. The first time he went full speed he nearly went into cardiac arrest(exaggeration, but only barely) from the sudden change from zero to six g's. With that lesson learned they were all ready to play ball again.

    Maybe it was how great it was seeing Ginny, George, Lee Jordan and Viktor again. Maybe it was just that he missed the sport and maybe it was just because he ABSOLUTELY DEMOLISHED the Holyhead Harpies' backup seeker and managed to make Viktor sweat for his win. But by the end of that day he was sold on his career path, even if he was in agony the next day from being so out of practice and having overexerted his body. So he would need to be trained back up.

    He happily crossed off "creating abominations against god and nature with Pomona Sprout" from his handy dandy notebook. Along with every other possible career path, big or small, he had yet to try.

    Quidditch really was in his blood. And on that day he discovered what so many people had meant when they had told him "you have to start working eventually."

    The usual remark he refrained from making was something along the lines of "I inherited the fortune of the Black family, I don't have to work a single day for the rest of my life unless I so choose." But work makes the souls sing and keeps a man humble and strong. Not to mention sane.

    Viktor and Draco had him starting a three-month Quidditch bootcamp a week later.

    This was all rather surprising considering their team had lost, and lost badly.

    August 1996, Different Universe
    Dumbledore led Harry around his new property and seemed to be trying his hardest to downplay how great the property is.

    Harry knew full well, even without his expanded senses, that the structure was in far better condition than it appeared. The cracks, chipped paint and dirt, not to mention boarded up windows, were all surface level. The equivalent of soaking paper in coffee to make it look more aged than it was.

    Harry himself got tired of Dumbledore's - admittedly obvious and humorous charade - about the place being haunted and the multiple contradictory stories about the horrors that had taken place there. And so, with a wave of his hands he began his first display of wandless magic for the old man.

    Clearing out all of the debris, trash and rocks in the first thirty meters around the property and following it up with a weak, large area of effect cutting charm to remove the overgrown weeds, grass and bushes. After a few minutes they all sat neatly in a pile on the newly cut lawn. From there he ripped every single board covering the windows and doors of the house, nails and all.

    That last one had taxed him enough to make him sweat and start to breathe laboriously. So with calm, deep breaths he focused on slowly levitating the unwanted boards and nails from their individual places in the sky down into the same pile of stone, trash, grass, weeds and bushes.

    He only had one last thing to do on the exterior, save for clearing out the remaining debris, trash, rocks, trash, weeds and bushes in the ten or so acres of land surrounding the shake. He allowed his magic to slowly wash over the exterior surface of the building, and crawling along it peeled away the ancient, ruined paint. This wasn't a spell, but wild, focused magic bending to his will and skill as opposed to any magical foci, years of theory and practice. It was the magical equivalent of scrubbing a house down with an invisible sheet of sandpaper.

    When he was done the shack, which itself was a fully liveable home, looked almost ready to move into. The dark wood exposed to the air was nearly pristine and needed only a new paint job. A proper one, done by hand.

    "Whoo! I need to exercise more." Harry joked when the exhaustion finally hit him and he bent over to catch his breath.

    He'd be lying if he said he hadn't been trying to impress the old man, and the look of approval on his face showed it had worked. Damn, did that feel good!

    "That was such beautiful magic, mister Morrigan." Complimented Dumbledore. "Thank you for giving me the privilege of seeing it."

    "Stick around. You haven't seen anything yet" - Harry wanted to say, but refrained. He needed to remain humble, so instead he said: "I foresee seeing much more beautiful magic, and beautiful acts, come from you in this, your final year." He said in all honesty. "As the sun sets on your life you will see the world you love begin to live up to the great promise it always held."

    It was always a great pleasure leaving old folk speechless with flattery, especially when it wasn't a lie to butter them up.

    "Is that a deduction or divination?" Dumbledore asked.

    "A little bit of both." Harry answered half-honestly. "Door?"

    "Hm? Oh!" Said Dumbledore as he fumbled for the key to the front door.

    Finding it, he unlocked the entrance and swung the door open. The air suddenly reeked of dust, disrepair and neglect. Dumbledore motioned for Harry to stand back before drawing the elder wand.

    With a few swishes through the air he created a delicate gust of wind that he sent inside. Harry wasn't familiar with the spell, but it was loud. He heard furniture being thrown aside, dishes crashing and curtains being torn asunder as the whirlwind tore through the building.

    Dumbledore had the gall to hum a cute tune and twiddle his thumbs the entire time.

    "Ah! I think it should be safe to enter." Said Dumbledore when the spell ended.

    As they did so it was to find a home in disrepair, but bereft of dust and furniture. The wallpaper would all have to be replaced, as would most of the plaster from the deep claw marks Remus had left during his monthly confinements here. Plus, the wood - all of it - would need to be sanded and polished.

    There goes his weekend.

    "Would you mind opening a few windows?" Harry asked.

    With a wave of his wand Dumbledore opened every last one and they continued the tour. From the entrance hall to the living room - where the whirlwind had deposited all of the ruined furniture and dust of the home into a pile reminiscent of the room of hidden things - everything was in far better condition than could be expected. The cellerx which he had never been in, was large enough to serve as a storage area for all the options ingredients he would ever need and the food pantry beside the kitchen was nearly as large as the master bedroom - which he planned to turn into military style barracks. Same for the living room and the other bedrooms.

    "It's perfect." Said Harry as they exited the attic, would of course be converted to an office.

    "I'm glad you like it. But might I ask, of all the buildings in the world to turn into a refuge for werewolves near the full moon, why this one?"

    Harry shrugged.

    "Walked past it one day and got the overwhelming feeling it would be a great place for a werewolf to hide." He said. "And then as I thought about it, I realized with the wide open spaces around it and proximity to Hogwarts it would allow a good range of visibility to see any would be hunters and make it more plausible for younger people afflicted to attend Hogwarts, if parents could be assured that their children would be safe during those days. But that's a bit further down the future, isn't it?"

    Now he was outright lying, but he had the excuse of being a seer to lean on when he needed to explain how he knew things he shouldn't, so you're damn right he was going to abuse it. He didn't mean to make Dumbledore's eyes twinkle so hard as to be blinding.

    "I can vanish the old furniture unless you want to repair it?" Dumbledore offered as they passed the living room again.

    "Oh no! I'll burn it in a bonfire tonight." Said Harry. "Vanishing things makes me… uncomfortable."

    Dumbledore looked at him curiously.

    "Whatever does it do?"

    "Are you familiar with the laws of thermodynamics?" Asked Harry.

    "Of course."

    "Well many a wizard has asked, if matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed, then wherefore does matter erased through magic go?" Harry explained. "And some have found the answer. It is horrifying. I'd rather not talk about it."

    Dumbledore nodded consideringly.

    "I'll have to look into that myself then." He eventually said. "And I shall refrain from vanishing to dispose of things until I find the answer. Is there a similarly terrifying answer for the origins of conjured matter?"

    Harry scoffed.

    "You know as well as I do, conjured matter isn't real. Just magic shaping into a form of our imaging and imitating the properties we want it too, and all conjured things eventually return to nothing."

    Dumbledore nodded approvingly, and only then did Harry realize he was still being interviewed, this time in his theoretical knowledge in regards to transfiguration. Albus Dumbledore had always been openly biased in favor of skill in Transfiguration as the mark of a great wizard. He had a point too.

    "Well, the transfer in ownership for the deed is signed and sealed and sent off to Gringotts." Said Dumbledore. "As soon as they approve the transaction and transfer the money, I'm sure they will allow you to pick it up."

    Harry nodded and shook Dumbledore's hand goodbye. For now at least.

    "And if you need any further help setting up your nonprofit, I know a few people who would be happy to help." He said before leaving with not a crack, but a whisper on the wind.
    Harry immediately re-entered the shack and began checking for any residual magic with his senses. Wards, spying charms, cursed objects, anything. When those turned up squat he went down the back hall to where the passage to the whomping willow ought to be.

    There was no trapdoor, nor was there anything beneath the trapdoor. He could feel that it had once been there's but not for a very long time.

    He would have suspected Dumbledore of having sealed it up ahead of time knowing he might be selling the property, but three that aside. More likely, with the war of attrition going on endlessly and being a more worldwide phenomenon than strictly English - as it had been in his world -, the headmaster likely sealed it up after Remus graduated.

    It would not do to have an easily accessible passage into the castle. He wondered to himself if the others had been sealed up too. To his knowledge, all of the Marauders were alive in this universe, and allied with Dumbledore. They were bright men, and would surely have shared their knowledge of the passageways with him.

    He breathed out a sigh of relief he advanced onto the living room. With a flick of his wand he levitated all of the crap and dust and guided it all through the front door. Depositing it onto the now doubly-large pile of trash to be burned he took a deep breath and sat on the grass.

    And like that all motivation to do work left him.

    Even though he was nowhere near magical exhaustion, dealing with Dumbledore had taken its toll on his mind and energy levels. Be wanted to fall asleep and never wake up again, so stressful had his meetings with the old man he loved dearly.

    It was then that he heard the fluttering of wings and looked up to see Hedwig - significantly slimmer than when he purchased her - coming in for a landing. He smiled as she glided to his side and nestled into his side.

    Their familiar bond was finally starting to form. His old Hedwig could always tell when he needed her comfort, which had been often. He stroked her feathers as he got lost in thinking about nothing.

    It was a lovely afternoon. Warm sunlight with intermittent clouds and the smell of freshly cut grass all around him. Shame he only had Hedwig to share it with, and crookshanks wasn't the cuddliest - plus he didn't feel like picking him up from Ollivander's and coming back.

    "Expecto patronum." Harry whispered, then spoke to the stag which appeared. "Bellatrix: I just purchased the Shrieking shack. If you aren't too busy, won't you join me here? Please bring a blanket if you can."

    He sent off the message and eased back into resting on the ground. For a few minutes he continued to enjoy the silence in his mind when a loud crack announced the arrival of his impromptu date.

    "Must you keep a lady waiting!" She called once she reached earshot, a thin picnic blanket held to her chest. "I've heard nothing since dinner the other day!"
    Fair point. And so, he made no excuses but instead scooped Hedwig into his arms and stood up to introduce them.

    "This is my familiar, Hedwig." Said Harry. "We met just a few weeks ago, and I've been working overtime on helping her lose weight. She's doing great."

    Bellatrix smiled at the amber-eyed owl and stroked her brow with a single finger in greeting. Hedwig did not object.

    "Is this a comfy place to put down the blanket and have a lay down?" Bellatrix asked. "I presume the interior is not yet presentable?"

    Harry nodded and soon he, Hedwig and Bellatrix were sitting together. Him sprawled out and propped up by his elbows, utterly relaxed and her with her legs folded beneath her and sitting upright like royalty. They sunbathed for a few minutes but the conversation simply had to begin anew.

    "I really am sorry about not writing to you earlier." Said Harry. "I've had a rather busy week thus far and only just caught a breather."

    "Oh, you don't need to tell me. I'm a lady, don't you know?" She said mysteriously. "And we can tell when a man, any man, has had a very stressful day."

    She looked at him crookedly and held a finger to her bottom lip as if deep in thought.

    "You present me with a difficult choice here. I have two sisters in very different marriages. One takes her husband having a bad day as the opportunity to whine and make it worse, mostly for her own amusement but also to get things out of him. The other moves mountains to make him feel heard and wanted." She explained. "Which one should I imitate?"

    Harry grinned at her joking and had no difficulty guessing which sister was which.

    "I think I shall take my lessons from the sister who has built a loving home and family, one that can be happy with or without the finer things in life." She decided. "Here you are exhausted, and here I am with a perfectly soft lap to lay your head. Come. Rest, and tell me all about your day "

    She patted her lap and he took the invitation. With one beautiful bird laying in his arms, and he laying in the arms of another beautiful bird, he spilled his guts. He told her the truncated and selectively edited version of his day. How he had come to Hogsmeade to interview with the great Albus Dumbledore and got the position, only to then also convince the old man to sell the Shrieking shack. This then led the conversation back around to the nonprofit he was trying to make.

    Bellatrix kept quiet the entire time, making no judgement or criticisms of his plans, even as he went into detail about them. Keeping her promise to listen.

    He considered telling her about Dumbledore's impending death and how sad that had made him, but he wasn't sure if he trusted her enough yet with that information. She was after all still Bellatrix Black. And knowledge can be dangerous.

    "I'm probably going to spend the rest of the day cleaning up the interior and then tending to the grounds." Harry finished. "And tomorrow I have to go back to Gringotts to meet with the board of nonprofit funding."

    That was the one thing she couldn't bite her tongue over and audibly winced.

    "I don't want to shoot down your aspirations or anything, but maybe reconsider that meeting." She said. "That board hasn't approved funding for any nonprofit in… ever."

    Harry looked at her.

    "Really? Why not?" Asked Harry.

    "They're goblins. They will not invest in a thing if it does not make money, and the whole point of a nonprofit is to be unprofitable." She explained.

    Harry frowned.

    Neither of those statements were true in his experience.

    Goblins care about profit, sure, but they care more about success and doing great things no matter the expense. If they failed to approve any charities in so long, it's because none of them showed promise in achieving their mandate.

    As for charities being profitable, plenty of places have tried and succeeded in giving free food in exchange for a smidgeon of labor, usually dishwashing or cleaning, and even Draco had options available at his healthy cook-it-yourself restaurant for those who were broke. Cook the food for ten others, get a meal for yourself. Hell, some people became de facto employees this way and he paid them.

    And like that the possible applications of a hundred fully lucid werewolves as laborers suddenly struck him… Holy shit, if only he had his Draco there right then so they could hash it out. He had planning to do.

    "I bet you they'll approve mine." Harry said with a devilish grin.

    "Oh yeah, and what is it you're betting?" She challenged.

    "I bet you one long, wet sloppy kiss" he tapped his cheek "right here."

    "I see." She said, returning his grin. "And what do I get if you fail?"

    "I'll clean your house, or, er apartment?" He said

    "I rent my own apartment." She confirmed.

    "I'll clean it top to bottom, and in men's lingerie." He finished his bet. "But for your eyes only."

    She didn't even bother to consider it before offering her hand.

    "Why Mister Morrigan, I do believe you have yourself a deal." She said as they made for the world's most awkward handshake(due to their body positions).
    It was a fun kind of bet to be made.

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  5. randomchance

    randomchance Not too sore, are you?

    Sep 3, 2018
    Likes Received:
    This is fantastic, thank you!
    NonsensicalRants likes this.