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From one Potter to Another

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Eighteen-year-old Harry Potter, The Boy-Who-Live, The Chosen One, The Vanquisher of Darkness, and whatever other rubbish people were calling him now, loudly slammed his book closed. Running his hands though his hair he stood and stretched thankful that dust had not choked him after his violent treatment of the book. The library in Grimmauld Place, while still gloomy, was dust free thanks to Kreacher’s efforts. The whole house was now cleaner than it had probably been in the last half century.

Harry shook his head and leaned over the table to glare down at the NEWT level Potions book. He had opted out of returning to Hogwarts to take the seventh year he had missed while gallivanting across the country running from Death Eaters and search for Horcruxes. The school held too many painful memories for him now and he could not bear to see any of the new ghosts. However, as Hermione had so helpfully pointed out, he still needed to pass his NEWTs if he ever wanted to do anything with himself. And so he had found himself spending hours trying and often failing to decipher various books on subjects that he had not spent adequate time thinking about in the past. Granted, surviving each school year had usually taken up most of his time and energy, but now he had no excuse to slack off.

A soft pop made Harry look up from his staring match with the book.

“Yes Kreacher?”

“Master Harry bees having more letters from Gringotts, sir,” the old elf croaked, letters clutched in his gnarled hand. “Would Master like me to be putting them with the rest, sir?”

“No. I’ll deal with it,” Harry took letters with a resigned sigh. “Thank you Kreacher.”

The elf bowed and disappeared with another pop.

Harry looked down at the summons from Gringotts. He had been avoiding the goblins since he successfully broke into the bank and stole one of the security dragons and a piece of shriveled soul hidden within an ancient gold cup. He was not looking forward to whatever they had in store for him, but he would need to go eventually and it would be an efficient, if not pleasant, distraction from studying.

Harry picked up his wand form the table, slid it into a wrist sheath next to the Elder Wand, and grabbed his cloak from the where it hung by one of the shelves before leaving the library and heading to the door. With a resounding crack Harry disapparated, giving an old muggle quite the fright.

Harry appeared in the courtyard of the Leaky Cauldron, slipped the hood of his cloak over his face and cast a notice me not on himself before tapping the bricks on the wall and entering Diagon Alley. There was no sign of the war to be found in the Alley. People had truly done a wonderful job cleaning up and moving forward with their lives. In all honesty Harry found it more than a bit disconcerting. It seemed as though he was the only one having a difficult time leaving the past where it belonged.

A few Halloween decorations could be spotted in some of the shop windows making Harry cringe. Something horrible always happened to him on Halloween. Maybe his very first Halloween had been different, perhaps his parents and their friends had dressed themselves and him in silly consumes and eaten more candy then was advisable, not that it mattered considering he couldn’t remember it. Maybe this year would be different, maybe having completed his destiny Harry would be freed of whatever curse had been enacted when Voldemort had failed to kill him on this very day seventeen years ago. Maybe now that Voldemort was gone, the day would lose its apparent dislike of Harry. Perhaps, being orphaned and sentenced to ten years in muggle hell later followed by lonely candy less days, trolls and other various disasters had been enough. Hopefully this year the day would be calm and peaceful and utterly boring, but then perhaps not, Harry was on his way to meet with angry goblins.

Harry took a deep breath and headed to the doors of the Wizarding World’s only bank. When he reached the top step, one of the goblin guards fell in behind him with a nasty smile. Harry gulped, and opened the large double doors. He was mildly surprised to see no sign of the damage caused by his last visit to the bank. Magic really was wonderful, he thought with a small smile that soon disappeared when the guard behind him jabbed him with the butt of his spear.

“This way,” came the gruff voice to Harry’s right, and the goblin behind him jabbed him again. Harry was escorted through one of the doors to the side and into a corridor lined with private offices. Half way down the corridor two new guards took up position on either side of Harry and sent the door guard back to his post. They entered the last door on the left. The two guards stationed themselves on either side of the door effectively blocking any chance for Harry to escape. An ancient looking goblin sat behind a large desk a wicked looking battle-axe hung on the wall behind him. Harry hoped that he had not just walked to his death again. He didn’t think that the goblins would ruin the expensive rug that he was standing on with his blood, but you could never bee sure with goblins.

“Sit Mr. Potter,” the old goblin’s voice cracked like a whip. Harry sat. “Do you know why you are here Mr. Potter?”

Harry swallowed, “I believe it has something to do with the fact that I broke into Lestrange’s vault and stole Hufflepuff’s cup.”

The old goblin inclined his head and gave Harry to toothy grin, “You are correct Mr. Potter our first order of business does concern the crimes you have committed against this bank. What follows will depend on the outcome of that discussion.”

Harry nodded; now reasonably sure that he was not about to be killed and that he might even have a chance to defend his actions.

“I will ask you a series of questions and you will answer honestly and completely,” the goblin gave another tooth smile. “I will know if you lie or hide any of the truth. Do you understand?”

“Yes, er I believe so,” Harry said with a jerky nod.

“Good. Now Mr. Potter, why did you break into Grinngotts?” the goblin leaned a bit over the desk to look into Harry’s eyes.

“Er well, you see…uhm,” Harry swallowed. “You see, Voldemort made Horcruxes and well, he gave one to Bellatrix and she put it in her vault. I needed to destroy that part of Voldemort’s soul before I would be able to kill him and well the only way I could think to get it would be to er… break into the bank,” Harry finished quietly, then looked up at the old goblin again.

“Hmmm, I see. Why, Mr. Potter, did you not simply report the presence of such an artifact to the bank and have us remove the soul shard for you?” the goblin frowned.

Harry’s eyes widened, “You can do that?”

“Of course Mr. Potter. Goblins deal in all manner of inheritance magic, including blood and soul magiks. We cannot simply allow people to leave pieces of their souls lying around, such magic is unacceptable, and split souls cause all sorts of problems. Horcruxes especially are to be destroyed upon discovery. An accidental split is one thing, and easily fixed, but to split your soul intentionally,” the goblin shook his head.

“So, you know how to remove soul shards without destroying their container,” Harry questioned. “Even if say… that container was alive?”

The goblin grimaced but nodded.

“And this is common knowledge?” Harry’s voice had risen; despair and betrayal making him feel nauseous.

“Yes, this information can be found by anyone if they looked for it,” the ancient goblin confirmed. With great effort Harry shoved his betrayal and resentment toward his old Headmaster into a dark corner of his mind where he would not have to think about it. Perhaps this was what Snape had wanted him to do in those disastrous lessons?

“Now, we can move on with our next order of business. It is clear that greed was not the driving force behind your break in. You have, however, still committed a crime through your ignorance. Your uncorrupt though misguided intentions will have consequences, though they will not be near as severe as they would be if you had been corrupt and driven by greed,” the goblin said gravelly, but Harry thought he could detect a little more warmth in his tone. “First I would like you to return to us the item that you stole from the Lestrange vault, do you happen to have it with you?”

“Er, yes actually,” Harry reached into a pocket and withdrew a drawstring bag. Hermione had enchanted it for him not long after the end of the war, and he had taken to keeping it on him at all times. The bag was packed with anything he could need in an emergency (including a tent he had found in Grimmauld place, one which luckily did not have any particular smell to it). Harry reached his arm into the bag and withdrew the slightly mangled cup of Helga Hufflepuff and placed it on the desk. He had kept all of the old Horcruxes, well except for the diadem, which had been destroyed with the Room of Requirement. He had even taken one of Nagini’s scales in his strange need for the objects. Perhaps, it was because he felt some type of kinship with them, after all he too had housed part of Tom Riddle’s evil soul, and he too had been destroyed for it. They reminded him of what he had been.

“This shall be considered re-payment for the theft from the Lestrange vault, but there are still the damage costs caused by the dragon as well as the theft of the dragon itself. If it is agreeable, we will deduct the amount from your vaults and our business will be concluded,” the goblin snapped his fingers and a document appeared.

“Sir, I’m not sure that my vault will cover the damages,” Harry regretfully admitted.

“Mr. Potter, I assure you that the Potter fortune alone will cover the cost. You are aware of your holdings are you not Mr. Potter?” the old goblin was frowning now.

“No, sir. I was only ever told about my trust vault,” Harry confessed, confused by this turn of events.

“Ridark fetch me an inheritance test at once,” the goblin barked, his frown turning into a deep scowl. One of the guards at the door jumped then bowed and hurried out of the room. He returned a moment later carrying role or parchment, a stone decorated in intricate runes, and a similarly decorated knife, all of which were placed on the desk in front of Harry.

“Now, Mr. Potter, lay the parchment flat out in front of you. Good, now place the stone in the middle of the parchment. Cut a shallow line down your left hand,” continued the goblin, “starting at the tip of your middle finger and ending at the base of the palm then place that hand on top of the stone.”

Harry did as he was instructed, wincing only slightly as he cut the shallow line into his own hand. When his entire hand rested against the stone he felt a slight pull in the center of his chest, the feeling turned into a tingle as he felt the stone draw his blood and magic though the cut. The stone warmed against him and glowed with a slight golden light as his blood ran through the cared grooves of the runs and onto the paper. After a moment the tingling stopped and Harry removed his hand, the cut had healed without a trace. He watched with fascination as the stone pulsed different colors until all of the blood had seeped into the paper. The goblin reached over the desk and removed the stone and picked up the parchment, he tapped it with his index finger twice then saying something in Gobbledygook, for a second the parchment glowed the same golden as the stone had before diming. The goblin grunted and then laughed before handing the parchment to Harry.

“It seems Mr. Potter that you truly had no reason to break into the Lastrange vault, after all, according to this, you have owned that vault since Sirius Black’s death. You may, of course have this back,” Harry placed the mangled cup back into his drawstring bag before looking at the parchment.

Harry looked at the parchment in amazement. It turned out that he had inherited three vaults along with his trust vault from the Potters. It seemed that two had money while one was filled with books and other artifacts. The Blacks had a main vault and many smaller vaults. Harry had been given control of all Black assets as the new Head of the Family. The vault that Bellatrix had hidden the Horcrux in had been her dowry vault and Harry had been given control of it when she killed the head of her birth House. Farther down the parchment there was a list of various properties that he had inherited. A tad overwhelmed Harry folded the parchment and put it in his pocket for later perusal.

“It seems that you were correct that I would be able to pay for any damages my misguided break in and subsequent release of the dragon may have caused,” Harry blushed slightly. If only they had known this sooner the whole ordeal would not have been necessary.

“You simply need to sign this and the correct amount shall be taken from your vaults,” the goblin slid the document he had conjured earlier over to Harry who quickly signed it. “Good, now there is one more piece of business,” two black ring boxes were pushed in Harry’s direction, “simply slip the rings onto whichever finger you like and you will be officially recognized as the head of your two houses.”

Harry quickly put the two rings on the index finger of his left hand where they resized and melded together to form a new sigil unique to Harry that represented both families. Harry could feel his blood and magic singing as knowledge of family history and properties sorted itself into Harry’s mind to be looked at later.

“Well done,” the goblin nodded at Harry, “is there anything else you would like to discuss Mr. Potter?”

Harry frowned, “Actually yes, could I speak to Griphook?”

“What about?”

“I made a deal with him and would like to uphold my end,” Harry said, he wanted to ensure that there was no bad blood left with the Goblins and that there would be nothing they could use against him in the future. He understood now what Bill had meant about Goblins being different than humans and did not want to have any further trouble. In all fairness Griphook had helped them break into Gringotts, he just did not help them break out.

“Ah,” the goblin smiled, “so you have Gryffindor’s sword?” Harry nodded, the goblin grinned. “And you wish to return it to the goblins?”

“Yes, I said I would and I shall,” Harry said. “Although I made the deal with Griphook and I would not be comfortable giving it to another.”

“Ah well then, worry not Mr. Potter, I am Nokhook,” Nokhook’s grin widened, “Griphook’s clan head. The sword was made by my three times great grandfather, it belongs to me.”

Harry gulped at the too sharp smile Nokhook was giving him, then reached into his bottomless bag and summoned the sword of Gryffindor to his hand and placed it on the desk. “The blade is imbued with basilisk venom and well… the sword seems to like to appear to Gryffindors in need so I cannot guarantee that it will stay with you, but er… here it is.”

“I believe our business is concluded Mr. Potter. If you would like to see your vaults ask one of the guards to bring you a guide on your way out.”

“It was nice to meet you Mr. Nokhook,” Harry said before walking to the door, the guards fell in on either side of him. “I would like to see the Potter artifact vault.”

“Of course Mr. Potter I will find you a guide when we reach main atrium,” Ridark, the goblin who had brought in the inheritance test, said. Harry smiled; maybe this Halloween really would be different from the rest.

Chapter Text

Harry found that the descent into the depths of Gringlotts did not compare to escaping the bank on dragon back and felt a trickle of disappointment before remembering that he wanted a quiet life without anymore life threatening adventures. The trip on the rickety cart was longer than going to his trust vault and shorter than going to the Lestrange’s and overall rather uneventful.

The door to the vault looked like most of the surrounding doors with the exception that there was no keyhole of any kind. In fact, it did not appear to be able to open at all. This was not particularly odd for a door in the Wizarding World though it was slightly alarming to Harry because a door without a handle or keyhole always had some other, rather secret, way to enter and Harry did not know what the secret was to opening this particular door. For a second he feared that it had been a family secret passed on from one generation of Potters to the next only die with his father.

The Goblin guide looked at him expectantly only for Harry looked back blankly, “Well, hurry up and touch your ring to the door, we don’t have all day.”

Harry hesitantly laid his hand against the door. Warmth rushed up his arm starting at the ring, and the door swung open.

The vault was enormous. It reminded Harry distinctly of a more organized Room of Hidden Things. He flinched as he glimpsed a flicker of torch light at the edge of his vision and forcefully pushed all thought of fiendfyre from his mind. With a steadying breath he entered the vault. The door swung shut behind him.

Upon closer inspection, Harry realized that while there was a distinct resemblance to the Room of Hidden Things the vault was quite a bit smaller. It seemed to be organized into sections. The backmost right-hand corner was devoted to books with at least as many shelves as there were in the Black family library, while the far left held rows of stacked trunks. To Harry’s immediate left was stored an assortment of furniture, rugs, carpets, wall hangings, tapestries, paintings, and anything else that would be used to furnish a house. To the right were shelves of what Harry would consider artifacts, jewelry, crystals, strange objects that could only be magical items, old wands, and what looked like a suit of armor and a weapons rack toward the back. Harry found it all rather overwhelming and stood staring before shaking himself and heading over to the section of house hold related items.

The paintings were all frozen and stacked together. Harry lifted a stack and brought it over to one of the couches and started to sift through them. The landscapes he put aside and focused mostly on the portraits. There were dates and names under each painting, most of which were quite old. There were a few empty portraits and Harry assumed the subject was off in a different frame leaving this one to be frozen and stored away. Harry was struck by how features carried through wizarding families so strongly. Here and there he would recognize a brow, nose or eye shape that reminded him of classmates. Sometimes it was ears or hands or hair. Many held some resemblance to Harry, though he noticed that the distinctly messy hair did not enter the Potter family until the eighteenth century and seemed to have originated from one Everleigh Potter neé Max who married into the family sometime in the early eighteenth century. Harry thought that he had seen some of the people before, perhaps when he had looked into the Mirror of Erised?

“They aren’t here,” Harry sighed in frustration as he put the last painting down. He had hoped to find his parents here somewhere. It would have been nice to talk to them even if it was only by way of portrait. His hand slid up his sleeve to rest on the pouch attached to his wand holster. He quickly retracted the hand and stood abruptly. He wouldn’t use the stone! No matter how tempting it was. He knew the story and had fought the temptation of the stone ever since it had appeared to him the morning after the Battle of Hogwarts. He had tried to get rid of it, but the damn thing wouldn’t leave him alone, none of them would! He couldn’t leave them anywhere, they would just pop up wherever he went. He had eventually decided that it was better to know where the creepy stalking objects were than worry about when they would appear and if they would do so in front of company.
Harry shoved his hands through his hair making it stand more on end then usual. Perhaps he should check the library section for a way to get rid of the Elder Wand and the Resurrection stone? The Potters had kept the Invisibility cloak for generations, and they were descended from the Peverells. There might be more solid information about the Hallows then want could be found in a children’s story. But, he had come here to avoid reading musty old books. Maybe he could bring Hermione down here during the Christmas break and she could help him search, though that would mean telling her about the Hallows and he didn’t want to make her worry. It wasn’t like the Hallows had actually done anything, they just wouldn’t leave him be. He could figure it out himself without worrying anyone, even if it did mean reading old boring books.

Harry took a step toward the bookshelves. He had asked for this, he wanted a quiet life, and what could be quieter then books?

A wail broke the silence of the vault and Harry spun around. There was nothing there, at least not that he could see. Wand in hand Harry walked quietly into the section of shelves and tables laden with various artifacts. The wail came again before trailing of into a hiccupped sob. It sounded like a very small child or perhaps a baby. The sobbing grew louder again and Harry thought he could maybe make out the word Mamma in the mix of anguished crying.

Harry rushed toward the sound. It made no sense that there would be someone else in the vault with him, let alone a child. It made no difference that it should be impossible for a baby to be there, all Harry could think was that there was someone who needed him, who needed his help. The reaction drilled into him, written into the very center of his being, the instinct to help those who needed it, to save those who were too weak to save themselves overwhelmed any logical thought.

Harry tripped with a great clatter and skidded for into a weapons rack only to quickly roll out of the way as a great axe imbedded itself in the ground where his head had been a moment before. The vault was now silent. He gingerly got to his feet casting around for what had tripped him or what had made the awful crying sound. There was nothing. Harry could not see what he tripped over and not see or hear any sign of life.

“But of course there isn’t anyone here Potter,” Harry muttered. “After all you’re locked in a vault that only you have access too.”

Harry pried the battle-axe from the floor and hung it on the rack, cursing as one of the swords cut him. The damn thing had shuffled over on its own to cut him. He supposed that some magic swords were simply more bloodthirsty then others. At least it was a relatively shallow cut, nothing to worry about.

A soft sigh and little whimper had Harry whirling around. There was still nothing there. He stood still barely breathing trying to discern where the sound had come from. Another little whimper like the sound Teddy made when he was having a nightmare came from a medallion on the shelf to Harry’s left. He reached for it and brought it up to his ear. It definitely sounded like there was a child connected to the artifact. Perhaps it was a recording device of some kind or a magical baby monitor? Harry held it up into the light. The medallion was ringed in gold with a dark ruby in the center. There seemed to be an inscription on the gold. He squinted.

“Blood of my blood soul of my soul I shall protect thee brother; nothing can stop my quest, be it time, distance, earth, air, sea, or magic. So I swear it so may it be,” Harry murmured as he read, running his bloody thumb over the crystal absently.

There was a great flash of light and Potter family artifact vault was empty.

Chapter Text

Harry Potter cursed his luck. Not literally of course, putting a curse on your own luck would be counter productive, but now that he thought about it perhaps someone else had put a curse on his luck, one that always seemed to take Halloween into special consideration. Truly, it would be a fitting explanation for how he suddenly appeared behind the hedges of Number Five Privet Drive while a very alive Albus Dumbledore put the street lamps out with his Deluminator.

This was not something he was prepared for, not something he was ready to face. Harry thought that he had made his peace with the Headmaster, thought that seeing him in the place between life and death had healed some of the betrayal. But seeing him here, alive, Harry felt a deep hollow ache settle in the pit of his stomach as his mind went blank and his heart turned horribly, horribly numb. Was it hatred he felt? Betrayal? Fear? Desperate longing for a man he had lost? Love for the old mentor he had seen as family? Something else perhaps, despair? Perhaps all perhaps none. He wanted to fall to the ground and sob, wanted to run to the man and hug him, tell him how sorry he was that he could not save him, wanted to curse him to the deepest pits of hell, wanted to make him suffer as Harry had suffered, wanted to make him understand what he had done with his lies, wanted to thank him for making him who he was, wanted to condemn him for it.

Harry couldn’t move, eyes locked onto that wonderful, horrible face of a person who was too many things to him, even when the darkness swallowed his visage as the last orb of light disappeared into the Deluminator.

It was as Dumbledore walked toward Number Four that Harry felt and odd shuffling in his head. It felt similar to a legilimens rifling through his thoughts though not painful at all. It seemed that his thoughts, feelings and memories were being analyzed, categorized and filed away. It was incredibly disconcerting and Harry shivered as his mind locked away his conflicting feelings about Dumbledore in what seemed to be a section of his old Hogwarts trunk.

“Fancy seeing you here, Professor McGonagall.” Harry watched as Dumbledore sat down on the wall of Number Four next to a cat that soon reshaped itself into much younger Professor McGonagall than Harry was used to. Even in the darkness of the street Harry could tell that there was very little gray in her hair at all.

Harry listened with half and ear as he took the Invisibility cloak from his bag and slid it over his shoulders, whatever this was, he didn’t want to be seen.

“How did you know it was me?” she even sounded a bit younger, maybe it was the disgruntled tone at being found out?

“My dear Professor, I’ve never seen a cat sit so stiffly.” Harry couldn’t see it but was sure that the Headmaster’s eyes were twinkling with that remark.

“You’d be stiff if you’d been sitting on a brick wall all day,” said Professor McGonagall.

Harry frowned, why would the Professor spend a whole day sitting on the wall of Number Four, could she be guarding him for the Order? Surely he must be in the past or at the very least in some type of memory for Dumbledore to be alive.

“All day? When you could have been celebrating? I must have passed a dozen feasts and parties on my way here.”

Harry felt a bit nervous about where this was going, sure this wasn’t that night…

Professor McGonagall sniffed angrily.

“Oh yes, everyone’s celebrating, all right,” she said impatiently. “You’d think they’d be a bit more careful, but no - even the Muggles have noticed something’s going on.”

Harry tuned her out; he had a lot of practice not listening to tirades, experience gained mostly from a long and close friendship with Hermione. As the two Professors talked on for a while, Harry failed at coming up with a way to get out of this mess, not that he was entirely sure what type of mess he was actually in. He had just decide that the first step should be figuring out what was going on and then getting out of it, while not the usual way Harry did things he figured now might be a good time to give it a shot, when some of his fears were confirmed.

“A fine thing it would be if, on the very day You-Know-Who seems to have disappeared at last, the Muggles found out about us all. I suppose he really has gone, Dumbledore?”

The Professors sharp voiced comment had Harry’s heart sinking into his stomach. Oh no, it really was that night.

“It certainly seems so,” said Dumbledore. “We have much to be thankful for. Would you care for a lemon drop?”

“A what?”

“A lemon drop. They’re a kind of Muggle sweet I’m rather fond of.”

Harry tried to distract himself with the sudden knowledge that Dumbledore had not been addicted to lemon drops his whole life, but Professor McGonagall seemed disinclined to assist Harry in his distraction.

“No, thank you,” said Professor McGonagall coldly, as though she didn’t think this was the moment for lemon drops. Harry fervently wished that she had. “As I say, even if You-Know-Who has gone -”

“My dear Professor, surely a sensible person like yourself can call him by his name? All this ‘You-Know-Who’ nonsense - for eleven years I have been trying to persuade people to call him by his proper name: Voldemort.” Professor McGonagall flinched, but Dumbledore, who was unsticking two lemon drops, seemed not to notice. “It all gets so confusing if we keep saying ‘You-Know-Who’. I have never seen any reason to be frightened of saying Voldemort’s name.”

Harry’s frown deepened into a scowl. He knew that Voldemort had put the taboo on his name during the first war; he had experienced the sudden fear that came with the sound of that name. How could Dumbledore just ignore that danger? Harry had felt the guilt of people dying because he had told them not to fear a name. Why would Dumbledore want to put people in danger in that way? Surely he wasn’t that insensitive?

“I know you haven’t,” said Professor McGonagall, sounding half exasperated, half admiring. “But you’re different. Everyone knows you’re the only one You-Know-Who- oh, all right, Voldemort, was frightened of.”

He supposed that was true, Dumbledore truly didn’t have anything to fear from saying the name, but not everyone had that luxury.

“You flatter me,” said Dumbledore calmly. “Voldemort had powers I will never have.”

“Only because you’re too - well - noble to use them.” Professor McGonagall’s voice definitely was admiring this time.

Harry felt ill. The man was a sham, willing to dirty others but not himself. If he had used all the power he had perhaps Harry would never have had to fight. The war could have ended years ago. Harry himself had resorted to darker means to win the war. Mrs. Weasley had killed to protect those she cared about. What had Dumbledore done, other than convince others to sacrifice themselves, condemn them for using force? He had forgiven people who should have been stopped! Harry locked away the overwhelming disappointment to be dealt with later, but he could not shake the crushing knowledge that Dumbledore should have done more. Harry realized that he had missed part of the conversation. They were talking about him now.

“…couldn’t kill Harry Potter. Voldemort’s power somehow broke - and that’s why he’s gone.”

Harry wasn’t sure he wanted to hear this part of the conversation. Actually, Harry was completely sure that he wanted to be able to forget the entire conversion. He didn’t want to know this, didn’t want to see this happen. He looked around; perhaps there was an exit somewhere? If this was a memory he would have to live through it but that didn’t mean he had to pay attention right?

“…I don’t suppose you’re going to tell me why you’re here, of all places?”

“I’ve come to bring Harry to his aunt and uncle. They’re the only family he has left now.”

Had Sirius already been arrested?

“You don’t mean - you can’t mean the people who live here?” cried Professor McGonagall, jumping to her feet and pointing at number four. “Dumbledore - you can’t. I’ve been watching them all day. You couldn’t find two people who are less like us. And they’ve got this son - I saw him kicking his mother all the way up the street, screaming for sweets. Harry Potter come and live here!”

Harry grinned; at least someone was on his side. It was nice to know that someone had fought to keep him from Dursley hell.

“It’s the best place for him,” said Dumbledore firmly. “His aunt and uncle will be able to explain everything to him when he’s older. I’ve written them a letter.”

Harry wanted to laugh. As though the Dursleys would ever tell him anything!

“A letter?” repeated Professor McGonagall faintly, sitting back down on the wall. “Really, Dumbledore, you think you can explain all this in a letter? Theses people will never understand him! He’ll be famous - a legend - I wouldn’t be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future - there will be books written about Harry - every child in our world will know his name!”

“Exactly,” said Dumbledore, looking very seriously over the top of his half-moon glasses. “It would be enough to turn any boy’s head. Famous before he can walk and talk! Famous for something he won’t even remember! Can’t you see how much better off he’ll be, growing up away from all that until he’s ready to take it?”

Professor McGonagall opened her mouth, changed her mind, swallowed, and then said, “Yes - yes, you’re right, of course. But how is the boy getting here, Dumbledore?”

But he isn’t right! Why wasn’t she fighting harder? He can see she’s not completely convinced. There were so many other options. Why didn’t she see that? And why had Dumbledore already decided to give him to the Dursleys even before Sirius was in Azkaban? Nothing made any sense.

Harry stopped listening.

A low rumbling sound had broken the silence around them, it swelled to a roar and a huge motorcycle fell out of the air and landed on the road in front of Number Four.

Hagrid dismounted the bike. In his vast, muscular arms he was holding a bundle of blankets.

At least he didn’t sit on me on the way here. Harry snickered silently as he remembered the cake Hagrid had made him for his eleventh birthday. He immediately felt a bit bad about it; none of this was Hagrid’s fault.

“Hagrid,” said Dumbledore, sounding relieved. “At last. And where did you get that motorcycle?”

“Borrowed it, Professor Dumbledore, sir,” Hagrid said. “Young Sirius Black lent it to me. I’ve got him, sir.”

“No problems, were there?”

“No, sir - house was almost destroyed, but I got him out all right before the Muggles started swarmin’ around. He fell asleep as we was flyin’ over Bristol.”

Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall bent forward over the bundle of blankets. Harry wanted to shift closer but didn’t want them to notice him.

“Is that where -?” whispered Professor McGonagall.

“Yes,” said Dumbledore. “He’ll have that scar forever.”

“Couldn’t you do something about it, Dumbledore?”

“Even if I could, I wouldn’t. Scars can come in handy. I have one myself above my left knee that is a perfect map of the London Underground. Well - give him here, Hagrid - we’d better get this over with.”

Dumbledore took Harry in his arms and turned toward the Dursleys’ house.

“Could I - could I say good-bye to him, sir?” asked Hagrid. He bent his great shaggy head over the bundle. Then, suddenly Harry jump as Hagrid let out a howl like a wounded dog.

“Shhh!” hissed Professor McGonagall, “you’ll wake the Muggles!”

“S-s-sorry,” sobbed Hagrid, taking out a large, spotted handkerchief and burying his face in it. “But I c-c-can’t stand it - Lily an’ James dead - an’ poor little Harry off ter live with Muggles - ”

“Yes, yes, it’s all very sad, but get a grip on yourself, Hagrid, or we’ll be found,” Professor McGonagall whispered, patting Hagrid gingerly on the arm as Dumbledore stepped over the low garden wall and walked to the front door. He conjured a basket on the doorstep then laid Harry gently in it, took a letter out of his cloak, tucked it inside Harry’s blankets, and then came back to the other two. For a full minute the three of them stood and looked at the little bundle; Hagrid’s shoulders shook, Professor McGonagall blinked furiously, and the twinkling light that usually shone from Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to have gone out.

“Well,” said Dumbledore finally, “that’s that. We’ve no business staying here. We may as well go and join the celebrations.”

“Yeah,” said Hagrid in a very muffed voice, “I’ll be takin’ Sirius his bike back. G’night, Professor McGonagall - Professor Dumbledore, sir.”

Wiping his streaming eyes on his jacket sleeve, Hagrid swung himself onto the motorcycle and kicked the engine into life; with a roar it rose into the air and off into the night.

“I shall see you soon, I expect Professor McGonagall,” said Dumbledore, nodding to her. Professor McGonagall blew her nose in reply.

Harry watched as Dumbledore turned and walked back down the street, at the corner he stopped and relit the lamps. He stood there for a moment, and Harry thought he might have said something, then he turned on his heel and with a swish of his cloak he was gone.

Harry waited for the memory to fade but it didn’t. There wasn’t a new memory either. Everything just stayed as it was. This couldn’t be it could it? They didn’t really just leave a baby on the doorstep on this chilly evening, right? Something else had to happen.

Harry waited, but nothing new happened. The street was quiet no one else appeared. Dread started to set in. Maybe he really had somehow ended up in the past, well there was one way to find out.

Harry took a deep breath, upholstered his want and cast Tempus. His hands shook slightly as he gazed at the floating 12:42 November 2, 1981.

He re-holstered his wand then slid off the invisibility cloak. With slightly faltering steps he walk out of No. Five’s yard, and stopped in front of No. Four. He should leave, really he should go. Harry walked up to the doorstep and looked down at the sleeping baby.

Okay, he looked, now it was time to go. Yes, Harry just leave a poor defenseless baby on the doorstep. He could cast a warming spell before leaving though right? No harm done, and at least baby Harry wouldn’t get cold.

The baby shifts in his sleep, and makes that awful whimpering sound, the one that Teddy makes. The same one Harry heard come from the artifact not so long ago. Harry picks up the baby, just like he would Teddy, and the baby quiets immediately.

All right, it was really time to leave now. Harry looked down at the baby in his arms and groaned. The baby remained fast asleep completely oblivious to Harry’s predicament. Harry shifted the infant and looked down at the basket resting on the doorstep of Number 4 Privet Drive. He should leave it. There was every reason to leave the baby. He couldn’t take it. He couldn’t! What would he do with the baby any way? He should just put it back into the basket and find a way back to his calm and peaceful life. Really, this wasn’t hard he just had to put the thing - baby - himself - whatever - back into the basket and walk away. Everything would be fine; he knew that, he had lived it.

Harry looked from the door to the baby in his arms and back again, then leaned over and pick up the basket sitting on the step. He sighed and turned around without a backwards glance. If Hermione ever found out about this she would kill him. “So much for the peaceful life,” he glared down at the freshly orphaned Boy-Who-Lived before stretching out his wand hand to call the Knight Bus.

Chapter Text

The bus didn’t come.

Harry stood there for a good ten minutes and still nothing happened, except for his arm getting tired from holding the sleeping baby. Maybe this was a good thing. It’s not like Harry actually had a destination in mind when he tried to call the bus. It was just, well, they couldn’t stay at Private Drive.

It was probably best to operate on the assumption that it was 1981 until he found proof otherwise, and there was no one in this time that Harry could go to. All of his friends were infants like the one in his arms. And even the adults he knew wouldn’t be much help if he couldn’t find them. He had no idea where Sirius was or Remus for that matter, and Andi wouldn’t know who he was. He couldn’t very well take baby Harry to the Leaky Cauldron where various party wizards, or worse Death Eaters may recognize him. To the best of his knowledge at the very least the Lestranges were still at large, and oh God that meant that Neville’s parents were in danger!

Baby Harry’s head shifted off Harry’s shoulder. There was nothing he could do about that now. He couldn’t help Sirius or the Longbottoms or anyone else right now. He needed to find a safe place to take Harry and make some type of plan. Grimmauld Place would still be occupied by Sirius’ horrid mother so they couldn’t go there. And really they couldn’t go anywhere if the Knight Bus wasn’t working for whatever reason. It wasn’t safe to apparate with children under the age of five.

It seemed they might have to stay there for a little while at least. Harry grimaced at Number Four. Maybe they didn’t have to stay here exactly, the park wasn’t far and if memory served there was a decent sized area that would fit his tent and with proper warding no one would even know they were there. Harry set off down the street.

Except for the swing set looking new, the park was exactly how Harry remembered it. It was a bit disturbing how nothing about Privet Drive or the surrounding neighborhood seemed to change very much. Even with the inhabitants’ disgust for anything different, there really should have been more noticeable changes between now and well, seventeen years in the future. The whole place made his skin crawl; Little Whinging didn’t hold any pleasant memories for him. His resolve firmed; the baby in his arms would have as happy a childhood as he could give him.

Harry walked over to the edge of the grass field and set the basket down under a large oak. However, when he went to set little Harry down the baby clung to his shirt as tightly as his little fists would allow. Harry gently pried one of the fists off his shirt and laid the baby in the basket. He then set to work unfastening the other fist from his shirt. The baby began to whimper quietly again. Harry sat down on the grass next to the baby and carded his hand through the child’s wild black hair, his hand grazed the scare on the baby’s forehead and Harry jerked his hand back. He could feel the Horcrux, his stomach turned. He really needed to get that parasitic soul out of baby Harry as soon as he could. The baby reached out in his sleep searching for comfort, Harry let him grab onto one of his fingers.

He had never really thought too hard about what having a Horcrux in his head for most of his life might have done to him. It must have affected him somehow, all of the other ones had had a noticeable effect on the people around them. Would he be who he was today without that little piece of Dark Lord in his head? He pushed the thought into his school trunk where it could war with ideas of Dumbledore’s influence on how he had become who he was. He wondered briefly who had shaped him more Dumbledore or Voldemort before dismissing it as irrelevant. He was who he was now and he didn’t want to think too hard about how he got there.

The baby had settled so Harry gently removed his finger and began to cast the perimeter wards. Most of the wards were the same ones that he had learned while searching for Horcruxes, though a few he had found in the Black library. One or two extra he had never learned fell into the scheme without him noticing. It took surprisingly little effort to finish the wards. His magic had been stronger since the second time he had assisted the Dark Lord with suicide via backfiring killing curse. Or perhaps it was since getting rid of the soul leach. He sighed and stowed his wand. Right, now he had to try and find the tent in his bottomless bag.

Harry, arm shoulder-deep in his expanded bad, was beginning to wonder if he had left the tent at home. He could feel the edges of books, potions, another bag that he knew was filled with clothes, but no tent. Why didn’t these bags come with some type of organization? He sighed frustrated and then wanted to laugh at his own stupidity; the bags didn’t come with organization because they were made for wizards who could simply cast and accio to retrieve whatever they were looking for.

He re-drew his wand and summoned the tent, and with a simple tap the tent began to set itself up. Really, magic was very useful when you remembered that you could use it.

With the tent set up, Harry picked up the baby and carried him inside. It was a nice large tent with four bedrooms, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a common area. If he had to Harry supposed the two of them could live there for quite sometime, though they would have to move camp. Harry didn’t want to stay in Little Whinging longer than he had to.

He picked a bedroom at random and gently transferred little Harry from the basket to the bed. And settled down beside him after casting a few baby safety wards to keep baby Harry from rolling off the bed or wandering away. Harry closed his eyes, perhaps when he woke up it would turn out that this was all a very bizarre dream.

***

Antares Hardwin Potter reached up as high as his small frame would allow, even stretching up onto his tiptoes but he still couldn’t reach the jar. Mother had said he wasn’t allowed to have another one but Mother was sleeping so as long has he didn’t wake her up she would never know. All he had to do was get that jar down grab a chocolate and return the jar without making a sound. It was just too high! Maybe if he climbed up onto the counter he would be able to reach?

Antares jumped up pressing all of his weight into the counter and sung a leg up onto the countertop. He then reached and grabbed onto the cabinet to pull himself the rest of the way up. He pressed down with his foot and tried to stand but the counter was slippery under the wool sock and he slipped backwards off the counter.

Fear gripped him. He was going to die!

He stopped falling. Oh no! Mother must have found him! Antares looked around preparing for a scolding, but Mother wasn’t there.

Accidental Magic! An impish grin spread across his face, now if only he could float himself up to the jar.

He looked at the jar and wished as hard as he could that he could be level with it, nothing happened. He tried wishing the jar would float down to him, but still nothing happened. He couldn’t seem to move anything!

Antares scowled, this wasn’t fun at all! What if he got stuck here! Mother would know what he had been trying to do and he wouldn’t get chocolate and he would never be able to go anywhere ever again because he would be stuck floating in this one spot FOREVER!

Suddenly his face was almost level with the jar. He reached to snatch it. The door to the kitchen opened. Antares heard a gasp and spun around. His mother was standing in the doorway.

He stopped floating and started to fall. Scrambling to find something to hold onto he nocked the jar down and sent it tumbling too. He landed on the floor with an, “Oomph”.

The jar crashed down on top of his head. Warm blood trickled down his forehead and he began to cry. His mother rushed over to hug and shush him and pepper his with kisses. Mother checked him over but found no true damage, only a jagged cut on his forehead, which she left to heal the long way in a vain hope that such a scar might teach her little boy caution.

There was a whirl of color and Father was teaching Antares his first spell. He was using Father’s wand because he wasn’t yet old enough to get his own. Father laughed and ruffled Antares’s hair fondly when the spell went awry.

A whirl of color and Antares got his first wand. Another, he was reading books on magical defense. More swirling color and he was looping through the sky on a broomstick. He wondered if he would be able to learn to fly without one. Again, and he was looking over a family tree, tracing all the names down until they connected to him.

Another swirl of color and twelve year old Antares stood before a monster his arm dripping blood. A team of witches and wizards finished the creature off as his mother poured a drop of clear liquid onto his wound from a small glass vial. The bite closed and his mother held him tight as she scolded him.

More whirling color and he saw a dragon. Again, and he cast a Patronus. Again and he attempted his first ritual using blood magic. More images followed, a sphinx, a Cerberus, a village of merpeople, a book on light and dark magic, laughing with his parents, learning warding from a dark-skinned witch who ruffled his hair and called him little nephew.

Twisting turning images, only half seen, partial memories, colors, smells, a beautiful ancient temple. Antares stood outside, wishing he could go in. They had asked him to wait until it had all been checked over before accompanying them. A few years ago he would have tried to follow them but he was seventeen and an adult, if he wanted them to treat him like one he needed to behave like one. Something changed in the air; there was a rumble deep in the ground. Antares shifted nervously hoping to see the team of curse breakers, he called family, come out of the temple. The ground rumbled again, louder. He sifted again, and then started toward the entrance to the temple.

He had taken three steps when a great boom was heard and the temple began to crumple in on itself. The ground shook tossing him to the floor. Antares scrambled to his feet and sprinted down the hill to the temple.

He was too late.

Antares searched the ruins but found nothing. He stayed there for a week or longer hoping that someone had survived and would return. Everything and everyone he had ever loved was gone. His friends and teachers were gone. His parents were gone. He sat looking down at the ruins in the valley bellow, silent tears rolling down his face.

An infant’s broken sob shook the memory. 

***

Antares Hardwin Potter opened his eyes. No, wait maybe it was Harry James Potter? Though perhaps not seeing as the Harry James Potter of this time was sitting next to him sobbing his little heart out. Well, whoever he was, Harry or Antares, he needed to somehow comfort the baby next to him.

Perhaps if he tried picking the little guy up? He reached out only for little Harry to scoot away from him. Through the sobbing cries Harry/Antares could make out a repeated word, mamma. Little Harry kept looking around crying as loud as he could for his mother, who presumably had always come running to comfort him in the past. But she wouldn't be coming this time; she wouldn’t be coming ever again.

Antares’s heart broke. Shuddering to think of how Aunt Petunia had dealt with this the first time around, he scooped the baby up, despite his squirming, and rocked him slowly from side to side as he had seen Andromeda do with Teddy.

“Ssshhh little Harry. I’ve got you. I’ve got you. You’re safe. Sssshhh, I know. I know you miss her. Ssshhh, I know,” a tear made its way down his cheek as he missed a woman he had never met but somehow remembered as his mother.

The baby continued to cry.

Chapter Text

Harry rocked, bounced, and paced with the baby trying to get him to calm down. He didn’t know how to make a baby stop crying, nothing seemed to be working, although little Harry had stopped trying to get him to put him down. Talking had no effect; perhaps singing would help?

He had never really tried to sing and had no memories of anyone singing to him. He wasn’t even sure that he knew any songs. Harry had a few vague memories of Aunt Petunia singing to Dudley but as hard as he tried he couldn’t remember what she had sung.

Mother stroked his hair as she hummed softly. He felt warm and safe tucked into bed, his eyes were beginning to feel heavy but he struggled to keep them open.

“Mother,” he murmured sleepily.

“Yes, Antares?”

“Sing the one about the star,” his eyes were unbearably heavy now and they slid shut as Mother began to sing.

Harry blinked, little Harry was still crying. Where were these memories coming from? It had felt real and there seemed to be more. Like he had two lives crammed inside his head. Though maybe ‘crammed’ was the wrong word as his mind was perfectly organized. He hoped he hadn’t taken over someone else’s life when he had accidentally found himself in the past. But no, that couldn’t be it. He had arrived with all of his belongings from the future and he most definitely still felt like the same person just with an extra 18 years worth of memories. Did he still look the same?

Little Harry wailed again.

Right, deal with the identity crisis after sorting out the crying baby. So, ruling out miraculously having the ability to sing, what could he do? Distract him, maybe? Babies are easily distracted right?

Teddy always liked colorful sparks, he had never tried it with an upset Teddy but it was worth a shot. Shifting the baby around Harry unsheathed his wand and shot off a few colorful sparks.

The baby stopped crying watching with wide teary eyes and then smiled, proudly displaying his few teeth.

Perhaps now would be the time for interdictions, “I’m Harry by the way. I’ll be looking after you from now on.”

That was met with an emphatic, “No.” The baby pointed sternly at himself and said, “Hawwy.”

“Ah, right. That would be confusing.” Harry murmured. “Yes, you are Harry. I … I guess I’m Antares then.”

“Anwes?”

“Yes, Antares. And I’ll be looking after you from now on Harry.” His stomach growled, little Harry giggled. “I bet you’re hungry too. What should we have for breakfast?”

The baby grinned at him and then made a grab for the wand still in Antares’s hand, “Gik!”

“Right, more magic coming up,” Antares cast the sparks again and then set off toward the kitchen.

Cooking was much more complicated with a baby around. He didn’t want to leave little Harry to wonder around on his own but he couldn’t hold him and cook at the same time. He wished fervently that he had thought to put a high chair in his bottomless bag. Really, he should have had some baby stuff in there in case he had Teddy during an emergency, but then he hadn’t ever been the best at planning ahead. Antares ended up levitating the bed with the baby safety wards into the kitchen and putting Harry on that. Thankfully Hermione had been in charge of stocking him with food and he found that he had a good supply under preservation charms. Between insistent calls for more magic and his own distracted thoughts Antares was able to able to make simple scrambled eggs.

He lifted set one place at the table, figuring it would be easiest to simply feed Harry from his plate and carried Harry over to the table. Breakfast was spent with little Harry’s incessant baby babble, and Antares trying to keep the eggs from ending up on the floor.

“Now that breakfast is done, our first order of business will be getting the nasty piece of soul out of you’re forehead. What do you think?” Harry tugged on Antares’s ear and babbled a bit. Antares smiled, “I’m glad you agree. And while we are at it we can see about getting the Horcrux out of the Lestrange vault and sorting out our living arrangements. I can’t properly take care of you without any gold, though according to this,” Antares wiggled his fingers in front of Harry’s face showing off the Potter family ring which thankfully still sat there, though it seemed that the Black family ring had disappeared. Harry shrieked and made a grab for the wiggling fingers, laughing when the swept down to tickle his belly, “we should have all the money we need.”

“Da haiw,” Harry said, reaching up to pat Antares on the head.

“Ah, you’re right we do need to find some disguises. After all, I can’t go waltzing into Diagon Alley carrying around the Boy-Who-Lived. And well, I should check to see if I look different before thinking about a disguise for me.” Antares said tapping a sponge with his wand to activate the cleaning enchantment before heading off to the bathroom with Harry in his arms to take a look in the mirror.

Antares was a little anxious to see what he looked like. He didn’t particularly want to look different but if he did it could be very useful, after all they couldn’t have two Harry Potters running around. With a steadying breath, he stepped in front of the mirror.

He looked the same. No actually he looked very, very different. His eyes were grey like Sirius’s. Really, he looked a lot like Sirius had before Azkaban except with some very Potter features added in here and there. For instance, his hair was all Potter, and his nose was very Potter as well. Really, he looked quiet a bit like his parents, or rather his memories of Antares’s parents. Looking different really wasn’t the problem though; no, it was that he expected to see this face in the mirror. He had expected to see a face in the mirror that he had never seen before, he remembered having seen this face his whole life.

He looked at the jagged scar on his forehead and could remember getting it from a falling jar but also from the killing curse. He looked down at his hand and could remember the ambient magic of a Pyramid carving the words ‘I must not tell lies’ into his skin after trying to pass a test through trickery but he could also remember slowly carving the words into his own skin over and over during detention with the Toad. It was uncomfortable, like how he thought of himself as both Antares and Harry. He wondered absently which name he would write down first. Would he have to remind himself to write Antares before Harry, or would that come to him as naturally as it had been to write Harry only the day before?

“Hawwy,” Harry exclaimed pointing to himself in the mirror.

“Yes, that’s right, you’re Harry. And I’m…Well, I’m not anymore.” Maybe this was a good thing, being Harry James Potter the Boy-Who-Lived had only brought him pain. Maybe being Antares Hardwin Potter would be better. He looked at little Harry maybe no one should be Harry Potter. If little Harry was going to have a normal life maybe his best chance to do so would be to become someone else. Though how would he explain that to a one year old?

“Anwes,” Harry pointed at Antares in the mirror.

“Yes, I’m in the mirror too. Now how should we disguise you?” Antares smiled at Harry. He could worry about giving Harry a new identity once they got rid of the Horcrux.

Harry peered up into Antares’s face, “Mamma?”

“She isn’t here anymore Harry. But I’m here; Antares is here. I’ll take care of you as best I can.” Antares prayed that this wouldn’t start another fit of crying.

“Gik?” Harry grinned up at him, Antares sighed in relief.

“Yes, we really should get started on disguises.” Antares drew his wand. “Now it would probably be best not to look particularly Potter like, and considering the time it would probably be better not to look too much like a Black. So…what do you think of ginger? If anything they will think we’re Weasley cousins, and probably won’t give us a second thought. Well, lets give it a try.”

Antares set Harry on the bathroom counter so he would have full use of both his hands. Focusing on the exact shade of orange he wanted, Antares poked at his hair and muttered the color changing charm. Childish giggles rang through the bathroom. Antares frowned at the mirror, the shade wasn’t quite right but it was close enough.

“Hawwy!” Harry said pointing at Antares’s newly ginger head. “Hawwy!”

Antares smiled, “Yes, I’ll give you Weasley hair too. Just hang on a second.”

Antares didn’t know if performing magic directly on small children was detrimental to their health. Sure, magical transportation like apparition wasn’t good for kids but that probably had more to do with the natural dangers of apparition and wiggly children, then the actual magic preformed. At least Antares hopped that was the case, because magic was going to be necessary in get Harry to Gringotts without being spotted.

“Hold still,” Antares lightly poked at Harry’s hair trying to match the color to his own. Harry laughed at his new hair in the mirror, reaching up to pull at it and laughing again. “I’m glad you like it,” Antares grinned at the giggling boy. “Now its time we packed up.”

After a quick trip to the toilet, the discovery that Harry luckily had a magical nappy that vanished any mess, and the quickly transfigured baby carrier later the two of them left the tent. Harry took great delight in watching the tent fold in on itself and Antares tucked it away into the extended bag. He then went to dispel the wards, remembering only at the last minute to take of his robe and stuff it into the bag as well. It wouldn’t do to go around muggle London and the even more muggle Little Whinging in a wizarding robe.

A quick walk and a short conversation later, Antares and little Harry were on a train headed into London. Antares had found to his great relief that all of his money was of the proper mint and none of it would raise any alert as being fake because it had the wrong year on it. Harry enjoyed the train ride immensely and babbled on to Antares about, well Antares didn’t actually know what he was babbling about but he responded as best he could. Navigating their way through the Underground was a little confusing at first but Antares soon got the hang of it. As Harry Potter, he had never spent much time in the muggle world and even less time in the muggle world outside of Privet Drive, and according to his memories Antares had even less experience.

Antares was relieved when they reached Charing Cross they stood across the street for a bit watching the Leaky Cauldron.

“Okay Harry, we’re here. I want you to play a game, listen carefully,” Harry looked up at him expectantly. Antares wasn’t sure how much of what he said Harry understood but figured it was best act like he could understand him, hopefully this would work. “I want you to pretend something for me, can you do that?” Harry babbled a bit.

“Er, right. Okay…Harry can you show me what you look like when you sleep? Can you pretend to sleep?” Harry grinned widely babbled a little and then became very still. He scrunched up his face and closed his eyes. A few seconds later he opened his eyes and laughed delightedly. Antares smiled.

“Good. You are very good at pretending to sleep. Now can you pretend to sleep until I tell you to wake up?” Harry babbled. “This better work.”

Antares cast a quick ‘notice me not’ on both Harry and himself then crossed the street to the Leaky Cauldron. “Alright Harry, can you pretend to sleep? Remember, don’t wake up until I tell you to,” Harry scrunched up his face and closed his eyes. Antares pulled open the door to the Leaky Cauldron.

Chapter Text

They were met with a wall of sound. The Leaky Cauldron was the most crowded Antares had ever seen it. Every seat was filled with people standing along the walls and crossing between tables when their shouts were lost amongst the chatter. The interior was also much larger than Antares had ever seen before. Perhaps Spatial Expansion Charms that were usually inactive and had been activated? Did they have to be manually activated or did the magic recognize the number of people in the building and expand to accommodate them? Whatever the case, one of the usually dark nooks had been expanded and cleared for dancing. The Floo flared and an older wizard stumbled out, he was obviously already deep into his cups probably coming from another celebration at the Three Broomsticks or the Hogshead.

“No sweep!” Antares looked down at a very awake looking ginning Harry.

“Well little guy, you’re lucky no one can hear you. Come on lets get going before anyone notices us.” Physical contact would allow someone to break through his Notice Me Not spell making it increasingly hard to navigate the room.

Someone stumbled into Antares as he neared the door leading to the courtyard almost nocking him over. There was a startled grunt and then a heavy arm was swung over Antares’s shoulders.

“A’right there lad? Sorry ‘bout that, didn’ see you.” A slightly scruffy face grinned down at Antares. “Come, celebrate with us,” the man tugged Antares toward a nearby table.

Antares had to dig his heals in to stay in place. “Actually, I’ve got some business in the Alley,” he smiled nervously up at the stranger, and motioned in the direction of the courtyard.

The man peered down into Antares’s face, “Not a Death Eater are ye?”

“What? No!” Antares almost shouted indignant and startled.

The man grinned again, “Course not. didn’ think so, not with hair like that. Weasleys are good folk.” The man ruffled Antares’s charmed hair and released him with a little shove toward the door. “Well, go ‘bout your business, but stop by for a pint on your way out yeah?”

Antares nodded, and continued to the door. It was a relief that no one else tried to stop them. Thank Merlin the man hadn’t noticed Harry despite his persistent babbling, that could have ended badly. Even if he didn’t know it was Harry Potter, Antares would prefer no one knew he was carrying a baby around until he sorted out exactly what to do with little Harry.

The sound cut off as the door closed behind them. The courtyard was blessedly empty. Stepping up to the wall Antares drew his wand and tapped the correct brick.

“Gik!” Harry clapped and made a grab for the wand as Antares went to holster it.

“No Harry you can’t have my wand.” Antares held the wand out of reach. With a start he saw that he had accidently used the Elder Wand. Scowling he holstered the wand brushing his fingers along the other sheath in his wrist holster. His stomach dropped, his wand was gone! Quickly pulling up his sleeve he stared blankly at the wrist holster. His wand was gone. His wand was gone. His wand was gone! He had no idea when it had disappeared. Had it not come with him when he traveled back in time? Cold tendrils of panic rapped around his chest. They grew tighter and tighter it was hard to breath.

Harry giggled and pointed into the Alley saying something utterly incomprehensible.

Antares sucked in a lungful of air.

Right, he couldn’t stand here forever staring at the empty slot for his wand. He had to get to Gringotts and get the evil parasitic leach out of the forehead of the little boy strapped to his chest. Feeling deeply uncomfortable he stepped into Diagon Alley.

He was again struck by how little things had changed in the seventeen years. There was no Weaslys’ Wizard Wheezes and the many of the store fonts had some obvious signs of disrepair, there were even a few ruined buildings. But other than the more obvious signs of war the Alley was as it had always been; Antares wondered how quickly everyone and everything would return to normal in this time. Many of the shops were closed, signs clearly stating that their customers would have to come back after the victory celebrations had finished.

It was truly a marvel how quickly information spread. People had been celebrating the end of the war since November 1st at the latest. Antares wondered who had told everyone that Voldemort was gone, how did they even know? It wasn’t like there had been a body so why would any one think he was gone in the first place? Was there more to October 31st than the attack on Godric’s Hollow? Maybe there was a large Death Eater take down, perhaps that’s how they knew, the faded Dark Marks? It was something he should probably investigate at some point, though now was not the time.

Grinngotts loomed up ahead. Antares took a steadying breath and walked up the steps. He dropped his Notice Me Not charm before entering the bank. It was blessedly as empty as the alley, all the witches and wizards off celebrating the end of the war. Antares stepped up to the teller and waited. It took quite a while for the Goblin to look up.
“Well, what do you want?” the Goblin scowled at him.

“I would like to see someone about an issue with Horcruxes.” Antares hoped that getting straight to the point might speed the process along.

“Oh?” the Goblin raised its brow in surprise. “What is your account?”

“The Potter account,” Antares held up his hand so the ring could be inspected.

“Ah, follow me Lord Potter,” the Goblin hopped down and lead the way to one of the side corridors not dissimilar from the one Antares had been lead down the day before. They entered an office midway down the hall where the teller spoke to the Goblin behind the desk in rapid Gobbledygook before giving Antares a curt nod and leaving. The door swung closed with a dull thud.

“Have a seat Lord Potter,” the Goblin nodded to the seat in front of the desk. “I am Snagkag, what is this information you have about Horcruxes?” Snagkag’s smile was nasty. Antares gulped, this might have been a very, very bad idea. Perhaps leaving the Horcrux in baby Harry’s head would have been safer than taking him to the Goblins.

“Tom Riddle made Horcruxes, and I know where and what they are. I had heard that the Goblins have a way to take care of such a situation.” Antares was quite proud that he hadn’t stumbled over any of his words this time.

“Anwes!!! Alba naga awry mowwran ba” Harry excitedly grabbed a strand of Antares hair and tugged.

“Sssh Harry. Yes I’m sure its very interesting.” Antares patted Harry’s head. “Oh, I see. Yes Harry the I’ve let the spell on our hair fade.” Harry smiled and looked at the Goblin with great interest.

“Ah yes, Harry Potter.” Snagkag gave Harry a long considering look before meeting Antares’s eyes. “Your young cousin if I am not mistaken.”

“Yes, James Potter was my uncle.” And how strange was that! His father suddenly his uncle and his father an uncle he never knew he had. It was uncomfortable having both perspectives. And how had no one ever told Harry about his father’s much older brother Hardwin Potter? Did Antares’s father even exist where Harry had come from?
“Now what is it you expect Gringotts to do about these Horcruxes?” Snagkag wove his long fingers together on top of the desk.

“I…. Is it possible to remove a Horcrux without destroying or harming what it was housed in?” Antares felt unsure, Nokhook had said there was but he had also given the impression that goblins hated Horcruxes and would destroy them if alerted to the presence of one. It didn’t seem that Snagkag wanted to rush out and destroy Voldemort’s Horcruxes.

“It is.” It seemed Snagkag was waiting for something.

“And you would do this?” Antares shifted uncomfortable under the goblin’s stare.

“Please Lord Potter, ask me what it is you want to know.”

“I….If…” Antares hesitated then side stepped the issue again. “If the Horcrux where in something living the removal wouldn’t cause any damage?”

“Yes, if I were to remove the soul sliver in young Mr. Potter’s forehead he would be perfectly fine.” Snagkag smiled as Antares flinched and stared at him. “I can see the shriveled thing from here. I assume that this is why you came to us?”

“Will you remove the Horcrux from Harry?” Antares asked hopefully.

“I will. It will take some small preparation. But it will be out in a few hours with no harm to young Mr. Potter.” Snagkag pushed a piece of parchment and a quill across the desk so they rested in front of Antares. “In exchange I would like you to write everything you know about Tom Riddle’s Horcruxes. I shall make ready to deal with the Horcrux and when that is taken care of we shall talk. I feel that there is much more to discuss.” With that Snagkag left the room.

Harry grabbed the quill and waved it around. Antares narrowly rescued it when Harry went to stick it in his mouth.

“You really shouldn’t eat feathers,” Antares sighed an exasperated smile tilting the corner of his mouth. “Now lets write down everything we know so we can get that nasty thing out of your head.”

It did not take long to write it all down although he did almost included Nagini before remembering that she was only turned into a Horcrux after Voldemort returned. Antares wasn’t even sure that she had hatched yet let alone if she belonged to Voldemort. Well, whatever the evil snake was up to he hoped their paths never crossed ever again. If he did come across her Antares thought it might be best to follow Neville’s example and cut her head off just in case. You never could know what giant evil snakes where going to do, even without Dark Lord masters.

There was a short wait where Antares inevitably fell back on casting magic colorful lights to entertain Harry before Snagkag returned to lead them into a different room much deeper in the bank. It was a small stone chamber with a little stone table in the center that looked as though it had grown out of the ground. Around the table was a circle of runes carved into the floor with a matching circle carved along the ceiling. Antares was surprised to realize he recognized many of them. He had seen most of them in various temples and ancient sites all around the world, symbols for soul, boundary, life, and death among others. They were obviously meant to create some form of boundary ward, he even spotted some recognizable patterns from temples in South America and pyramids in Egypt.

Antares wondered briefly if he had somehow taken over the existence of the real Antares when he traveled to the past, because as Harry Potter he had never known any of these runes. It was discomforting but he was also pretty sure that there had never been an Antares Hardwin Potter in the time he came from so perhaps whatever had brought him here had shifted time so that he could exists? The time from the Harry Potter memories had to have been real because he had all of his things from that time, but he also had some of Antares’s things didn’t he? How did any of that work?

“Lord Potter, if you would hand be young Mr. Potter, we can begin.” Snagkag’s gravelly voice broke through Antares’s mild identity crisis.

“Right.” Antares nodded. “Okay Harry, I’m going to hand you to Snagkag and he is going to get that parasite out of your head. Its going to be fine and I’ll be right here.”

“Anwes?” Harry clung to Antares and shook his head firmly.

“I know luv, but you have to go with Snagkag. Everything will be fine I promise.” Antares kissed little Harry’s head. “Now please, you have to let go.”

“Mama?” Harry’s eyes where big and wet.

“I’ll be right here, I won’t go anywhere I promise.” Antares hoped Harry wouldn’t start crying, it had been bad enough that morning. “ Ssh sshh, Harry please let go everything will be fine. I promise.”

“It is all right young Mr. Potter. You might want to be asleep for this anyway.” Snagkag snapped his fingers, not unlike how a house elf would, and Harry fell limp and unconscious. The goblin motioned to Antares who scowled and gently passed the sleeping Harry to the goblin.

Chapter Text

Snagkag activated the warding runes with the touch of a long finger before gently placing Harry on the table. He then moved the dark hair from Harry’s forehead and looked long and hard at the inflamed scar that rested there. Antares wondered if he could see the soul piece.

Snagkag made a humming noise deep in his chest and traced a finger along the scar. He suddenly barked a sharp word in Gobbledygook, making Antares jump. Snagkag made a pinching motion with his with his fingers and slowly pulled them away from Harry’s forehead. A small dark purple glob slid out of the scar, small tentacle like threads reaching back trying to find something in Harry to hold onto. Snagkag gave a sharp yank and swiftly slung the dark glob into the rune covered box, shut the lid and locked it tight. The runes flashed and went dark.

Snagkag reached down and deactivated the ward, then motioned for Antares to collect Harry.

“You are lucky that you brought him to us so soon. If you had waited the soul would have threaded its way into young Harry’s own and there would have been very little we could have done to untangle them.” Snagakag gave a vaguely approving grunt, “As it is, he shall be fine. The soul did not yet reach his.”

Snagkag led the way back to his office, soul-capturing box in hand. Little Harry stayed fast asleep in Antares’ arms and Antares was starting to worry about the magical sleep he was under.

Once settled again in the office, Snagkag sitting with his fingers laced together on the desk next to where he had placed the horcrux box, Antares asked Snagkag about it.

The goblin shook his head, “No Lord Potter, the spell with not damage young Mr. Potter in anyway. It is possible he will have trouble napping later but beside that there will be no side effects. He will awaken in his own time naturally, as the spell is short-lived and only assisted in getting him to sleep.”

“Thank you,” Antares shifted Harry into a better position so that most of his weight was off his arms, and then nodded at the box on the table. “What do you plan to do with the soul piece?”

“We shall keep it until we have gathered each Horcrux and separated them from their host then destroy them all together. I believe that you may be able to help Gringotts with the acquisition of at least one other of these Horcruxes.” Snagkag tapped a finger against the parchment Antares had written the information down on earlier.

Antares shifted, “Which one?”

“Your mother was Lyra Black eldest daughter of Lord Arcturus Black making Walburga Black your aunt by marriage as well as your cousin. As the Blacks are your closest living family and it is said that your mother was your grandfather’s favorite child it should not be too difficult for you to secure an invitation to Grimmauld Place where you could retrieve the locket.” Snagkag drew an inheritance test from one of the drawers in his desk and placed it before Antares. “On another note it would be wise to speak to your grandfather about your duties as Lord of your House as your father never took the title. It is never amiss to have an advisor in such matters. Please slice a thin line down the center of your left palm and place it on stone. It would be best for us to know what exactly it is that you own and are due to inherit moving forward.”

Antares struggled a bit to maneuver around the sleeping Harry in order to conduct the inheritance test. The strange feeling of having magic and blood pulled through the thin cut on his palm was no less bizarre the second time. The resulting parchment listed mostly the expected Potter holdings and estate as well as his mother’s Black vault. There was a surprise mention of being the heir apparent to the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black. With Sirius stripped of his status as heir Black and Regulus dead the heir status had fallen to the closest living male descendent of Arcturus Black III. It of course helped that Antares’s paternal grandmother was also a Black, though from a side branch of the main family, Phineas Nigellus Black’s grandniece or something along those lines.

“Yes, it would be prudent to meet with your grandfather.” Snagkag murmured as he looked at the results of the test.

“I agree that it would be important to speak with my grandfather, however as many members of the House Black supported Voldemort I don’t think it would be the best idea to take Harry into any of those houses or even to let anyone know I have him.” Antares frowned. “Perhaps it would be best for Harry to no longer be Harry Potter. Would it be possible to declare Harry dead, and create paperwork for Harry to become someone else, my younger brother perhaps? That way I could freely associate with my grandfather and gain access to Grimmauld Place to get the locket. And Harry would be protected from anyone looking to avenge Voldemort.”

“Perhaps. I will see what can be done. You may remain here, I will send some refreshments for you as well as something for young Mr. Potter for when he awakens.” Snagkag looked thoughtful as he left the room.

~ 0 ~


Harry woke up when Antares was about half done with his first cup of tea and delightedly ate some pees and roasted carrots then happily drank down some milk. It was became apparent that Harry had a great talent in covering himself in whatever he was eating. Antares was eternally grateful for cleaning charms by the time that Harry had finished. It was quite possible that whoever had created them did more for wizard kind than Merlin ever had, and Antares thought he might look into replacing the use of Merlin’s name if he ever learned the identity of the genius spell crafter.

Antares set Harry on the ground when it became clear that the little boy wanted to explore the office. He was quite a stable walker, Antares thought, not that he had much to go off of what with Teddy having been too young to start walking when he had suddenly appeared in the past. Antares quickly shut down all thought of Teddy or anyone else he had left behind before he was overcome with the knowledge that he would probably never see them again. Harry was what was important now. He was going to give Harry the best life he could and stop the second wizarding war from ever happening by killing Voldemort before he could be resurrected.

Harry looked up, as the door to the office was open. His face shining with hope, “Mama?” he asked.

Antares swooped down and tossed Harry up into the air eliciting a surprised shriek. “No little man, just Snagak. But I’m here. I’m not going anywhere,” Antares promised, tickling Harry’s belly for good measure before turning to Snagkag.

There were two goblins behind Snagkag, one caring a tray laden with…well, Antares wasn’t entirely sure what was on the tray, and another with a small stack of parchment and what looked like a blood quill.

“We have found a somewhat unconventional solution to your Harry Potter problem.” Snagkag began, as the two other goblins lay the materials on the desk. “Creating an identity is more complicated then simple paperwork Lord Potter. For instance should anyone take a sample of young Harry’s blood they would be able to discover the deception. It is doubly complicated because when a wizarding child is born their parent’s magic and blood is recorded on their birth certificate making it near impossible to make young Harry your brother as your own parents have already passed. Ah” Snagkag held up a finer to stop whatever Antares intended to say. “But as I have said, I believe we have found a way around this, although it will be very unusual and perhaps unsuccessful. There is however, no risk in trying.”

“And what exactly is this unorthodox method?” Antares wondered as he gently removed a strand of his hair from Harry’s fist only for Harry to use his other hand to grab a lock from the other side. “Harry stop. We don’t pull hair, its not nice.” Antares said looking sternly into Harry’s face.

The boy promptly waved his hands in the air grinning widely. “Noh Hawwy.”

“Nice try but I saw you grab my hair.” Antares sighed. Babies were exhausting.

“Sorry,” Antares turned his attention back to the goblins, “so what is the plan?”

“We will be using blood magic in a variation of an old spell that used to be used for blood adoptions. This spell will recognize your parents’ blood in you and with a bit of time and mind magic be able to recreate a possible combination for a child that your parents could have had. It shall then change Harry’s blood so that he will be your brother in all ways of blood and magic. Your parents will become his parents. This will take care of any similarities in appearance between Harry, James and Lily Potter as well as make it impossible to discover that Harry was not in fact born your brother.” Snagkag paused as he took in Antares’ conflicted face.

“It will change how he looks? There won’t be anything left of Lily and James Potter?” Antares didn’t want that. It was already bad enough that his own blood had changed when he came into the past. He didn’t want to make the decision for Harry, didn’t want to take that choice away from him like it had been taken from him. He didn’t want to lose the little he had of Lily Potter in Harry’s eyes. But he wanted to keep Harry safe and the best way to do that was for Harry to not be Harry Potter. The best thing would be for Harry Potter to die before ever receiving the title of The-Boy-Who-Lived.

“It will. Perhaps not everything of Lily and James, but magic will no longer recognize him as their son.” Snagkag’s vice was gentle in a way Antares’ had heard from a goblin. “It is the only way to truly accomplish what you asked for.”
“Right.” Antares nodded. “And what about the birth certificate?”

“That, Lord Potter,” Snagkag smirked, “that is the tricky part. As time magic will be involved in creating the traits and blood that Harry will inherit form your parents, there will be a brief moment where their magic and blood will be present in the room. If we act fast enough we will be able to create the birth certificate during this time and record the correct magic and blood. It will then be a simple process to state where and when Harry was born as well as what his name shall be. The paper trail for an infant is near to non-existent and as you have only recently returned to Britain it will not be necessary to create any other documents. It will be only slightly harder to file the death of Harry James Potter, it should be simple enough to sate that he died of complications regarding the Killing Curse and perhaps severe magical exhaustion.”

Antares’s gut twisted. The vary thought of the boy in his arms dying, of facing the killing curse, of going through any of the life threatening things that Antares himself had faced, made him want to be sick. He kissed Harry’s forehead right over the rapidly fading scar. Harry made a sound that Antares was learning meant he wanted to be put down. Antares set him on the ground where Harry swayed for a moment before grabbing onto a fistful of Antares robe for balance.

“Okay. How do we start the spell? And well, is it even legal? What with time and blood magic involved.” Antares wondered aloud.

The goblin who had carried in the stack of papers barked a laugh, “Lord Potter, Grinngotts is sovereign territory of the goblin nation. The laws of the ministry have little bearing on what we do. Besides it is not particularly law abiding to fake a death and adopt without informing the ministry.”

“Right. So how do we begin?” Antares asked staring at the odd assortment of rune covered bowls, vials of unfamiliar powder, paperwork, and a long wicked looking knife that had been set up on the desk.

Chapter Text

Antares looked down as Harry shifted and slowly blinked his eyes open. The spell had been successful and the previously green eyes were now the blue gray color commonly found in the Black family. Antares’s heart hurt to see them.

The spell had been surprisingly simple; perhaps goblins lacked a certain flare for the dramatic that seemed to be a requirement for wizards. Or maybe Antares simply had a grandiose idea about how magic worked, probably picked up from spending so much time around wizards with fantastically large amounts of magic. It wasn’t just his memories from his life as Harry either; many of the wards, curses and creatures Antares had encountered growing up had been ludicrously flashy. Though that may say more about Antares’ life than wizards in general. Whatever the case, besides a bit of scrambling on the goblins’ part to get the magic and blood filed into the birth certificate, nothing had gone amiss with the spell. Snagkag had helped Harry to sleep again and Antares wondered if the boy would get any sleep that night. Any number of sleepless nights would be worth to keep Harry from any pain or discomfort the ritual might have caused.

“What name shall we put down Lord Potter?” Snagkag asked looking up from where he was inspecting the birth certificate.

Antares looked down at those all wrong eyes again. Was there a way for Harry to keep something of Lily and James? If he chose the name correctly he could salvage some of the connection that he had just destroyed? Was there a way to disguise the connection so that know no one would realize the truth? It was painful to realize how little he knew about James and Lily Potter. He couldn’t name Harry for a trait that either had possessed as he did not know them well enough, nor could he name Harry for something the two of them had loved. A variation of Evans would have to work for Lily. Antares was not well versed in flower names and it would be a shame for Harry to grow up hating his name like Tonks had when that name was supposed to represent his mother. Evan was too simple for Antares’s parent’s to have picked it, but Evander would work. For James it would have to be a constellation, as Antares’s mother would have insisted on holding with the Black tradition. The Greeks and Romans had no stag constellations but the ancient Mesopotamians did. The Mesopotamian constellations were no longer in common use for astrology or astronomy but they have some significance in ancient rituals. The constellation Lilum in Sumerian shared many if not all stars with Andromeda. It seemed to Antares to be an acceptable stretch of the Black naming tradition. After all, his family had spent time breaking curses on stashes of old Mesopotamian tablets.

“Evander Lilum Potter,” Antares finally said. It was the best he could do to connect Harry with his parents. But how would he teach Harry that his name could no longer be Harry?

“And the date of birth? It would be an odd coincidence to have three Potters born on the same day.” Snagkag prompted.

“August 3rd.” Antares decided. A few days wouldn’t make too much of a difference and it would protect Harry from being considered for the prophecy. It was bad enough that Antares was born on the 31st of July. Not that anyone would know that without looking. Maybe it was fate that his birthdate stayed the same, he was actively working to destroy Voldemort and he did know many things about the future that the Dark Lord had no hope of knowing. Antares shook his head and locked all thoughts of the prophecy away. He would have to go through everything he had locked up soon before his newfound Occlumency failed and he was overwhelmed with all the different churning feelings.

“Young Evander’s new identity is complete.” Snagkag briskly tapped the birth certificate causing it to promptly disappear, Antares assumed, to the goblins’ record achieve. “I shall work up what exactly we will be saying about Harry Potter’s death. The news should break by tomorrow morning at the latest.”

“Anwes? Mama?” Harry blinked sleepily up at Antares.

“Ssshh little stag. She isn’t here, but I am. I’m your brother now. I’ll take good care of you.” Antares’s heart ached every time Harry asked for his mother. He cringed as he fleetingly thought of how Petunia might have dealt with this. Oh Merlin, Petunia and the blood protection! Antares had completely ruined the blood protection by making Harry Evander. Maybe as Evander, he wouldn’t need it. And with Antares taking care of Voldemort it really probably wasn’t necessary. But his mother had died to make the protection and Antares had just taken it away! He was going to be sick. How could he have forgotten?

“Now for the meeting with your grandfather,” Snagkag began. How could he sit there across from Antares who had just thrown away the protection that his mother had sacrificed her life to give? Could he not see what an awful, wretched, horrible … Antares shoved the thoughts away and locked them in the trunk with contemplations of Dumbledore and Voldemort. He would deal with that later!

“Right, my grandfather.” Antares absently caught one of Evander’s hands as it went to grab onto his hair. “What do you suggest?”

“Ginngotts shall send him a notification about your position as heir apparent and that you wish to meet with him. We will contact you about when the meeting will take place once we receive his reply.” Snagkag sat back. “For now I suggest that you go to one of the Potter estates to rest and prepare.”

“How should I travel with Harry, I mean Evander? I know its not safe to side-along apparate anyone under the age of five.” Antares asked.

“I would recommend you call one of your house elves and have them take you to whichever estate is most ready to have residents.” Snagkag sounded amused.

Antares opened his mouth.

“Not here Lord Potter! They won’t be able to enter. Do it once you are out of the bank.” Snagkag snapped.

Antares blinked and shut his mouth. Then nodded, “Er right. Thank you for all of your assistance. I will see you tomorrow then?”

“Yes,” Snagkag replied. “Have a nice day Lord Potter.”

Antares settled Evander into the carrier on his chest and left the office. Antares was glad that it was only a simple walk down the hallway to get to the atrium, as he knew the bank could be incredibly difficult to navigate without a guide.

Once on Grinngotts’s steps Antares sorted through his Estate folder until he found a list of House Elves belonging to House Potter. He could have of course found the information in his mind where it had been slotted since he had put on the Head of House ring but as that information had not been fully assimilated it was much simpler to just use the file.

A quick call of ‘Tilly’, and short conversation later, Antares and Evander appeared in a little well kept cottage. The rest of the day was spent exploring their new home, casting spells to entertain Evander, speaking with the house elves about what needed to be bought or moved from one of the other properties and trying not to think too hard about anything that had happened in the last few days.

~0~

Antares lay on his new bed with Evander curled beside him. The little boy had not let him leave when he had tried to put him to bed in the nursery room that the elves had set up. In truth Antares was relieved to be able to keep Evander with him. It made him uncomfortable to have the little boy even in the next room over. There had been a few meltdowns when it became apparent that neither James nor Lily were going to show up. Casting magic usually worked well as a distraction but Antares didn’t think it would work forever.

It had been a long day and Antares just wanted to sleep, but he new he had to deal with everything he had locked away. There were unpleasant side effects of relying too heavily on Occlumency, the least of which was having any shut away thoughts feelings or experiences come back with a vengeance as nightmares. Better to deal with it now, besides Antares had always been good at facing unpleasantness straight on. And so with a deep breath he shut his eyes and unlocked the old school trunk shoved in a dark corner of his cupboard.

A spiraling swirl of self hate took form shifting through the faces of friends and loved ones, their mouths twisted in distaste and eyes scornful. “Worthless” they cried, “awful, selfish, ungrateful! To toss away a sacrifice, to say the magic you own mother gave her life for was not worth keeping!”

Antares released his breath; slowly loosening the knot that tangled is his stomach. Lily had sacrificed her life to save Harry; yes the magic she had given him was important and would protect him from Voldemort. But Antares was going to keep Harry safe, he would make sure that that magic would never be needed, never be missed. Lily would not have wanted that magic to force Harry to grow up unloved. Antares would give him everything he could, everything he had never had as Harry Potter and everything he had had in his life as Antares. Lily would rather have her son grow up loved, cared for, safe and protected then have that magic remain. Antares was sure of that.

The shifting slowed and the hatred dissipated to be replaced with fear and self doubt in the figure of Voldemort. He appeared, not in the snake like visage that had risen from the cauldron in Harry’s fourth year, but rather with the face of the Tom Riddle who had gone to Dumbledore to ask for the position as Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor. The figure laughed and there was a small flicker to show the face of sixteen-year-old Tom Riddle form the diary horcrux only to flicker again to the nose less monster that had killed Harry. “We are not so different you and I,” hissed the Dark Lord as he shifted once more to show the waxy almost melting face and muddy red eyes. “You would not exist if not for me Harry. We are the same. How can we not be when you housed my soul for so long, you kept me safe and alive for so long? How can we not be the same when you speak the language only I can speak and your soul and magic mingled with mine?” The parsletongue was a soft sibilant flow, each sound caressed. The mud red eyes flashed brilliant crimson and a smile tugged the near non-existent lips. “I made you, Harry Potter.”

“Yes, you have marked me in irreversible ways. You have shaped my life. I carried your foulness for years, but we are not the same Voldemort. We will never be the same.” Antares stood tall before his own self-doubt. “In some ways we maybe be similar, maybe always be similar. Under the wrong circumstances I might even have become like you, rotten and afraid. But I will not let my fear rule me. And I am not and never will be you.”

The figure of Voldemort hissed and flickered, to be replaced by the young Tom Riddle who was so excited to learn he had magic, so sure that he was special.

“I pity you for what you have done. I pity you for the choices you made and who you chose to be. I will not let fear of your influence change who I am, no matter how much I hate that you have shaped me. I will stop you. I will keep others safe from your madness and put an end to your miserable existence. Perhaps this time you will muster enough feeling to heal your soul so that you may pass on after your death.”

“I can’t die! I made you! You are mine, my creation,” the sneer the stretched across the childlike visage was monstrous.

“Perhaps you helped make me. But I will destroy you. My actions are my own.” Antares’s voice was hard, and sure.

“Are they, my dear boy?” Dumbledore stood before him, a gentle smile hidden in his beard as his eyes twinkled through the half-moon spectacles set upon his crooked nose. Antares’s heart ached.

They stood there for a long moment in silence. The darkness of the cupboard of Antares’s mind illuminated by the silver moons and stars on the false Dumbledore’s robes.

“I do not wish to have this conversation with my own mind Professor,” Antares sighed softly.

“But you must, my dear boy. You cannot run from yourself Harry. And while this is in your mind that makes it no less real then if it were not.” The blue eyes were soft and a little sad.

“I feel too much for you Albus,” the Headmaster’s name tasted odd in Antares’s mouth. “It is too much to simply wish it away, to accept it, to feel it all. This conversation will not heal what has been broken between us.”

“Then why am I here Harry?” the figure of Professor Dumbledore wondered gesturing at the dark cupboard of Antares’s mind.

“I don’t know,” Antares admitted shaking his head. “Perhaps so I might tell you that I love you but will never trust you again. Because that is the truth, I love you Professor but nothing will ever make me trust you again. I will not trust you with Harry, I will not trust you with me, I will question every decision I ever see you make and analysis every word you ever speak to me. I love you, and I think I always will, but I will never again follow you Professor.”

“And if it was all a lie Harry, what then?” even imagined, Dumbledore’s eyes seemed to see through Antares. “If I misused, manipulated and abused you and everyone else, what then Harry?”

“I will stop you, as I will stop Voldemort and anyone else who threatens me and mine.” Antares smiled a sad smile. “Besides, I’m Antares now and even I don’t know what that might mean.”

Chapter Text

Dear readers,
I am so grateful to everyone who has read and commented on my story. I am very sorry to inform you that I will be on an indefinite hiatus. I hope to eventually come back and finish this story but for the foreseeable future there will be no updates. This is largely due to the fact that I started reading fan-fiction as an escapist behavior and have overtime developed a dependency on it. I am attempting to quit completely and focus on my life outside of stories. I hope to succeed and then see if I can come back to fanfiction as an enjoyable hobby and not a desperate escape from reality. I don't know how long this will take or if it will be successful but I am hoping for the best. Thank you all for reading my story. I wish you all the best.
Love,
Dawn

 

New Note!

My Lovely readers,

Ok, so its now January 6, 2019. Happy new year everyone! I have had a crazy (bad type of crazy) last month and the next few will be very busy. Unsurprisingly I have not been able to quit fanfiction. However, I do feel that I have made some improvements on my mindset involving fanfiction and can continue reading and writing in a more healthy way. I really appreciate all of the support it really means a lot to me. Now for the reason for this note! I intend to continue this fic! There are two ways I could do this so I want to know what you prefer. One I could finish the whole story and edit it, then post it one or two chapters a week once it is complete (keep in mind I don't have any idea when I will have this done). The other option is that I write chapters when I can and post them sporadically, then maybe edit the entire story after it is finished and repost it or post it as the edited or rewritten version.  With the second option there will probably be some plot holes and definitely more mistakes and inconstancies. I also must warn you all that life is what it is and so there is always the possibility that the story will not be complete. Please let me know what you prefer. I have every intention of sitting down and finishing this story after my life has settled again, it is my hope that it will be finished by fall of of this year at the latest (but my warning still stands and this is not a guarantee). I hope you all are having a wonderful new year and had a better last few months then I have. 

Love,

Dawn