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A Stranger in the Promised Land Chapter I (part2)  

2009-07-17 13:12:01|  分类: HP转载 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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"Now remember, Pot…Harry," Minerva said, softening her tone as the boy brushed the soot off his cloak. He was dressed in jeans and a red jumper that was at least three sizes too big for him. The seam that should have sat on his shoulders was almost at his elbow. If her suspicions were correct, that was a second hand jumper. This puzzled Minerva as the boy stayed with his Aunt and Uncle in Surrey who were well off, according to Hogwarts records. The poor boy had no confidence, and it was unsurprising, given what had happened to his parents, but that was not it. He seemed to accept minimal things unlike most boys his age. For example, he rarely spoke in her classes, unless asked a direct question. When asked to collect equipment from the front, he would always wait until last, and Minerva knew that the bigger boys, Draco Malfoy for instance, would walk all over him. Poor boy. At least he had friends big enough to protect him. While he was not particularly close to people like Neville Longbottom, Ron Weasley, Seamus Finnigan, he was friends with them and they hung around together, though it was clearly Longbottom and Weasley who held rank in the group.

Harry stood upright, having finished brushing the cloak he wore over the top of his clothes. They stood in the main entrance to St Mungo's. To their right was the shop window, through which they could see Muggles passing by, covered in plastic coats and cowering under umbrellas as the rain thundered down around them. To their left was the reception desk behind which an unconcerned witch was 'helping' ? not that Minerva would call it helping ? the people in the queue.

"It's this way," said Harry meekly, pointing to the doors in the back wall, to the left of the reception desk. "The letter said to go straight through."

The letter he referred to had arrived at during breakfast several hours earlier. It was the tenth of December, only a week before the end of term. A letter had arrived for Harry, which in itself was rare as his Muggle relatives never wrote to him, noted Minerva, wondering how she had never picked up on it before. She made a mental note to speak to him about his home life once they got back to Hogwarts. The letter had been from St Mungo's. It seemed there had been an accident.

Lily and James Potter had been here since 1980, since the night when He?Who?Must?Not?Be?Named had fallen. While Minerva had been off with Tom delivering the chosen one, and seeing to the future, not only of the child but of the country, Lily and James had been on duty, as one of the few husband?Wife Auror teams. They had been set upon by Death Eaters; the Lestranges and Barty Crouch Junior. Since that day, their minds had been lost and their bodies drifted aimlessly around the Long Term ward of St Mungo's, neither awake not asleep, just empty shells of the people they had once been. Yesterday, according to the letter, another patient, incarcerated in St Mungo's after pleading insanity before the Wizengamot, had become violent, throwing things around. Lily Potter had been hit in the head by something he had thrown. She was badly concussed and so the hospital had contacted the next of kin, Harry. He had been called for a visit, and Professor Riddle had permitted it.

Harry's head and shoulders slumped as he walked, staring at the floor in front of him. There was no pride in his movements. He seemed more sombre that ever. He had said three words since he had arrived in her office, ready to leave, and his voice had cracked on them. He was not a particularly bright or able boy, but he was kind with good intent. Minerva pitied him, but secretly wished he would get a grip, and concentrate. She had hoped that Longbottom would show him some guidance, but it seemed he had fallen into their wake, rather than walking proud, by their side.

Minerva followed, a pace behind him. She wasn't entirely sure what to say ? what had happened to his parents was so horrific that there was nothing that could be said. 'It'll be alright', or 'things will get better' wouldn't work as their condition was irreversible. In short, the boy had nothing to hope for. They walked along the corridor, passed Healers dressed in green, and other inmates.

Up several flights of stairs and down another corridor, Harry led them into the Long Term Ward. He paused outside to take a deep breath, before pushing open the double doors and walking in. Minerva followed. The room was large and white with a line of beds down each side, some of them hidden by curtains. There were people in most of the beds, some asleep or vegetative - Minerva couldn't tell, and others were sitting up talking. Harry made for the curtained off area at the end on the right. He slipped through the curtains into the last two beds. Minerva followed, pushing the curtains aside and drawing them again behind her. She turned and saw for the first time what had happened to the Potters.

Lily was lying unconscious on the bed a large white patch on her forehead. She looked deathly pale and thin. Her once soft features were gone, and her skin hung off her cheekbones, waxy and white from the lack of sunlight. The area around her eyes was dark and a little red, giving her a haunted face, which brought a tear to Minerva's eyes. James, the once caring husband was now beyond the capacity for rational thought, or indeed any form of it. He was sitting on the next bed, a wide yet inane smile spread stupidly across his face. He seemed completely oblivious to anything that was happening around him. His son was present and his wife was fighting for her life, but he was completely incapable of caring or even understanding. His mind was effectively that of a baby, a blank slate, though where as babies soak up what happens around them, which is why you should never swear in front of a child, James Potter's mind was incapable of holding anything he learned. He could never recover and every time Harry visited, he didn't even recognise him. Merlin, what would that do to the mind of a young boy? The results were there for all to see: a feeling of utter worthlessness. Minerva definitely had to talk to the boy. As his Head of House how had she missed it all these years? Five he had spent at Hogwarts. She had known what had happened, but had never investigated, presuming him to be a naturally quiet and not very powerful. She had been concentrating so hard on helping another student, she had missed the one who really needed help. Merlin, she had been so wrong, but right here, right now, it hit her.

"Dad?" said Harry, his voice soft and lined with tears.

"Mr Potter, nice to see you again," Minerva turned with Harry to see a Healer enter the curtains, dressed in green. He shook Harry's hand warmly and then turned to Minerva.

"My name is Healer Rushdale," he said, shaking Minerva's hand. "I've been looking after the Potters for the past two years. Rest assured, they are getting the best care." Minerva nodded politely.

"Still hopeless, isn't it," muttered Harry. The doctor didn't reply for a second, and when he did, it was on a different subject. He guided Harry over to his mother's bed and began to explain yesterday's events.

"I'll wait outside, Harry," said Minerva, giving his shoulder a gently squeeze for support. She let herself out of the curtain and crossed to the main door, and stepped out into the corridor. She sighed deeply, having finally seen Lily and James. They had been in the once great Order of the Phoenix before He?Who?Must?Not?Be?Named had fallen. Good people who hadn't deserved what had happened to them. Looking across the corridor, she saw a sign depicting a knife and fork. Minerva needed a shot of caffeine. She turned to her right and headed towards it.

It was horrific what had been done to the Potters. Good thing that the three culprits had gone to rot in Azkaban. Of course, two had escaped this year. That wasn't justice.

"Excuse me, Miss," said a man to Minerva's right. Minerva stopped to face him. He wore long back robes, with a cloak and hood that covered his face. Long rough tassels of black hair escaped the hood. In the light she could see his face, his dark eyes, hooked nose, and steely gaze. "Where might I find the Long Term Ward?"

"It's just down there, the last door on the left," she said to the man, pointing down the corridor.

"Thanks," he said, bowing slightly.

Minerva nodded before resuming her dark thoughts.

Poor Harry: she had utterly failed him as Head of House. It was her job to see to the care of her pupils, and she had massively misinterpreted the signs, keeping all her senses honed on another Gryffindor, whom she'd thought mattered more. How dare she? They were all people and all of them mattered, yet she had neglected Harry. She reached the café after about one hundred metres, and asked for two cups of tea from the young lady behind the counter. As the witch summoned what was needed from the shelves, Minerva turned her thoughts back to James and Lily ? good Aurors and good people. What kind of person could do this to them? It was monstrous.

"Anything else?" asked the witch.

Feeling generous, or more specifically, guilty, Minerva added a slice of Black Forest Gateau for Harry and paid the witch. Turning around she headed back to the ward, carrying two paper cups of tea in her right hand and a plate of gateau in her left. It was the least she could do for the poor boy. She hadn't gone far when the doors to the ward opened, and the man in the black hood came out, heading swiftly down the passage towards her.

That was a quick visit, noted Minerva. The man walked swiftly towards her, causing Minerva to sidestep as he passed without even acknowledging her. As she moved she nearly lost her grip on the plate she carried. How rude. He hadn't even said 'excuse me'. Merlin, manners cost so little. She had also spilt a little of the tea on her robes, which she would have to clean once she had a free hand. Grumbling silently to herself, she carried on towards the ward.

She was only ten feet away when the doors exploded.

BOOM!

A jet of fire blasted both the double doors off their hinges and into the far wall, unleashing a fireball into the passage. The floors and walls shook under the force of the explosion. Minerva was launched off her feet by the force of the explosion, the cups and cake flying through the air. She landed hard on her back, and slid along the polished floor. The glowing crystal lights above her shattered, plunging the corridor into darkness. The passage was suddenly full of smoke. The orange glow of flames came from inside the ward, and a river of black smoke ran along the ceiling.

Sweet Merlin! Harry was in there! Covering her mouth with her sleeve to protect her lungs, Minerva surged forward towards the ward. As she peered in, she saw everything was covered in flames. The air was thick with smoke, making it hard to see. She cast the Bubble?Head charm on herself to help her breathing and then lit her wand light and held it up.

"HARRY!" she shouted into the flames. "HARRY! Where are you?"

Looking around she could see no way through the blaze. The heat was incredible - it hurt her to even stand in the doorway. Oh Merlin! There was movement in the fire. Minerva watched in horror as a burning figure staggered through the flames, flapping its arms in a futile effort to put them out. The man never made it to Minerva, crashing to the floor just in front of her.

"Aquamenti!" A jet of water shot out of her wand and Minerva doused the still, fallen body with water, putting out the flames. Was this Harry? Was this person dead? Using her foot, and fearing what she would find, Minerva rolled it over. She found herself staring into the lifeless hazel eyes of James Potter. His skin was burned black and his hair had completely gone. The whites of his eyes stared unseeingly up at Minerva, while his clothes, now fused into his skin, wrapped him like a mummy, and smoked in the darkness.

"AHH!" the heat on her skin was unbearable. The whole room was on fire and she could feel her blood boiling. Harry? Where was Harry? Minerva covered her mouth in an effort not to be sick as the fumes from the body, the smell of burned flesh, wafted up her nostrils causing her to gag.

"YOU! HANDS UP!" shouted a voice behind her.

Minerva turned to see a man in black with Security written over his chest aiming a wand at her.

"Don't try and arrest me, you stupid little man," seethed Minerva, unable to control her anger. Even her icy precision and control failed at this moment. "Get some Aurors and Healers up here and put out these bloody fires!" The wizard hesitated for a few seconds before darting out the door. Minerva, shone her light around the room again, but there was no sign of movement.

"HARRY!" she shouted into the gloom. There was no reply.

All of the Potters were dead.

~~~~ + ~~~~

"You mustn't blame yourself, Minerva," said Tom softly from behind his desk. He always seemed to be able to read her like a book, not that her feelings were well disguised at this point.

"But Tom, he can't be. I was there, I saw…"

"You did Minerva," said Tom, rubbing his eyes. "I know Harry Potter is dead, and I accept that. However, ninety minutes ago there was a knock on the door and Horace announced that a student wished to see me. The next thing I know Harry Potter steps into the office as close to me as you are now."

"But it couldn't be him," said Minerva. "We know he's dead."

"Exactly what I thought," said Tom, He opened one of his desk drawers and pulled out a piece of parchment. He laid it on the table and tapped it with his wand. "I solemnly swear I am up to no good." To Minerva's astonishment, lines began to appear on the parchment, snaking out in all directions. She began to make sense of what she was seeing.

"It's a map," she gasped.

"Something I confiscated from a young James Potter back in his day," said Tom, with a smile. "A magnificent piece of magic, one that has been most useful, I must admit." He smiled to himself again. Minerva was shocked that someone so young had managed to make such a complicated map.

"As you can see," said Tom. "It shows where everyone is and as far as I can tell, it is never wrong. It isn't fooled by Polyjuice Potion or disguises. As soon as he walked through the door, I checked the map, which happened to be open in the drawer, as I had been keeping an eye on certain students. The boy who stood before me was Harry Potter. I have checked the fingerprints on the cup he used when I offered him tea. I returned his wand to him, and the wand knew it was him. Minerva, that is Harry Potter."

"But how is he alive?" Minerva herself had accompanied Tom to identify the body. Harry Potter had died; she had seen it all. St Mungo's Long Term Ward had been burned to a crisp, all three Potters inside. Whoever this boy was, he was not Harry. "He's not an Inferius is he?"

Tom shot her a look that clearly said, "Please, I'm not that stupid".

"Okay, okay," said Minerva, blushing slightly - it was a stupid comment. "So how did he survive?"

"I could not get that far," said Tom, clearly troubled by something. Luckily Minerva didn't have to prompt him to find out what it was. "Minerva, I am going to be perfectly honest with you. I am more worried than relieved by Harry's arrival here tonight."

"Worried, why?" asked Minerva. "Surely we should be glad he was okay."

"You see the roll of fabric on the side behind you?" said Tom, watching her carefully and pointing to a long bundle of black cloth about a metre high propped up against the cabinet behind her. "Have a look at what's inside." Minerva picked it up and found it was heavier than she had anticipated. He pulled it up onto her lap and began to unroll it. She was ever more aware of Tom watching her every move. As she unravelled the cloth, a gleam of silver shot up into her eyes. She found herself staring down at the jewel?encrusted sword of Godric Gryffindor. Its blade was flawless silver, and the gems laid into the handle gleamed in the light. The name of its owner was carved down one side of it. But that was not all the fabric contained. There was another sword, a Japanese katana, secured inside a black scabbard, with gold at the tip; an armoured vest made from what she was sure were dragon scales; and a shorter stick. The handle looked like that of the katana, but instead of a blade there was a cloudy coloured tube made of some form of glass. Two swords and what looked like a glow?stick that people had at parties.

"Tom, what are…?" she began.

"Harry had those when he arrived," said Tom. What the Hell was Harry Potter off all people doing with these weapons? What was he doing walking around? "I'm sure you recognise the silver one?" prompted Tom.

"It was brought back from the Chamber of Secrets," said Minerva. "It's Gryffindor's Sword."

"Indeed," said Tom, pointing to a glass cabinet on the wall. "And the one that was recovered from the Chamber is still here." Minerva followed his gaze. Behind a layer of glass was a silver sword encrusted with jewels. It was identical to the one in her hands.

"It's a fake then?" suggested Minerva, lifting the one in her lap free from the cloth.

"If it is," said Tom, "Which I doubt, it's the best copy I've ever seen, and I would be very curious to know how it was copied when the sword was buried with its owner until it was pulled from the Sorting Hat, and has not left the office since. How anyone had the opportunity to study it well enough to copy is beyond me."

"How can that be?" asked Minerva.

"I cannot say," said Tom. "Every theory has a glaring contradiction. All I can tell you is what I have seen so far. He came to me armed. He was in hysterics; he was irrational. He started shouting about Albus Dumbledore, who's been dead for fifty years. He accused me of being the Dark Lord and then bolted out of the door. He returned half an hour later, calmer, but clearly distressed."

"Is he insane?" asked Minerva.

"I have no idea," said Tom. "It would explain a lot, but I saw calculation and logic in his eyes. He was thinking rationally. I have sent him to bed to get some rest. But I will tell you one thing, Minerva; I tried to Legilimise him gently as he sat there. Someone has taught him to Occlude his mind, and they've done a thorough job. He blocked me, and that's not something a sixteen year old should be able to do. I could have pushed harder, but he would have known I was trying it, and he is unstable enough as it is."

"Do you think he's a danger to other students?" asked Minerva, thinking that Tom was mad for putting a potential time bomb in the Tower with the Gryffindors. How would she extract him without setting him off?

"Students?" echoed Tom. "I wouldn't have thought so. His anger seemed directed at me, no one else. I think if he bears anyone ill will, it is myself. I saw loathing in his eyes, and his voice was controlled, but lined with anger."

"What do you plan to do?" asked Minerva.

"For now, nothing," said Tom, to her surprise. "But I want you to keep an eye on the boy, Minerva. He is in your house. I want him monitored around the clock, but not touched or segregated. There's something about this boy that worries me."

"It will be done," said Minerva, rising to leave.

~~~~ + ~~~~

News travels fast in schools and Hogwarts was no different. Having lived here, or at least in one version of Hogwarts for a good portion of his life, Harry was well aware of this. It was with a sense of dread that he woke up the following morning. It was midwinter so it was still dark at half past seven, when the sounds of an early riser penetrated the curtains around Harry's bed and rousted him from his slumber. His dreams had been of death, destruction and violence, and waking up warm and snug in the familiar surroundings of a Hogwarts bed, Harry, for one glorious moment, believed he was home. For a few blissful seconds, he genuinely thought it had been a dream, that the four months he had spent as a Stranger in an Unholy Land had been nothing but a horrific dream, and he was now home.

Then, a second later, reality hit home. He remembered coming back to Hogwarts the previous night, and all he had learned. Harry sat bolt upright in the bed as the images flowed back into his mind. Tom Riddle was Headmaster here, but for some inexplicable reason, he was not the evil son of a bitch that Harry knew. But he was the same person. This had to be a trick of some sort - Tom Riddle was a monster, plain and simple.

He had to get out of here. Harry couldn't deal with all this. Sliding out of his bed, he was relieved to see that the others still had their curtains drawn, except for one, and the bathroom door was shut, meaning that he was alone. On the floor next to his bed was a large trunk with the initials HP on it. Harry had never seen the trunk before, but assumed it was his. Riddle had said last night that the other Harry was dead. In a morbid sort of way, that was fortunate, as he didn't have to explain why there were two of them. However, it also might raise the possibility of family, and he should be guarded about that. Not having switched bodies, he had no residual memories to guide him in this world. Any sort of family would know in a second he was not their Harry. Still, there was no use sitting here worrying -he needed to have some time to himself to think things over.

Flipping open the trunk, he pulled out a pair of navy tracksuit bottoms and trainers and pulled them on, along with a white t?shirt. They were huge and baggy over his chest, and Harry had a feeling that they had once belonged to Dudley Dursley. This was confirmed by the DD scrawled in black marker on the label of the t?shirt. Harry stared at himself in the mirror. He looked far from the Dark Knight he had once been. But of course he wasn't the Dark Knight here, or even the Boy?Who?Lived by the sound of it. Riddle had not spoken to him like anyone special, and he had been dead. Therefore, it was safe to assume that here, he was no one. Also if Riddle was the Head, there couldn't be a Dark Lord, so it should be safe. To be safe though, it was probably best to hide his scar.

Harry pulled a handkerchief out of the trunk and with a little magic, transfigured into a black strip of fabric, which he then tied around his head, like a Thai Kick boxer, completely covering his scar. There was no point in advertising who or what he was. He slipped his false glasses back onto his nose, and checked himself in the mirror. Satisfied, Harry turned his attention to his clothes. Using his wand he shrank them slightly so they didn't hang off him quite so badly. That done, Harry slipped out of the room, through the disserted common room and out into the corridor.

There had been between eighteen and twenty Gryffindors in the common room last night, so if that was about average, then that meant there were eighty students and if he included staff, just under one hundred people in the school, none of whom Harry wished to speak to at the moment. He walked in a daze to the entrance hall, replaying last night's conversation over in his head, trying to sort out exactly what he had been told, and seeing if there were any small scraps of information he had not picked up on first time around.

After he reached the Entrance Hall, Harry stepped out into the courtyard. The sun was just rising above the mountains. The air was crisp and cold, but the sky was clear. The morning sun was just enough to light up the valley. Harry didn't really know what he was doing, or where he was going, but he set off at a slow jog across the courtyard. He had never really been running before, but he needed to get away from the castle, to tide things over in his head. He was out of his depth here, and this time he didn't have Flamel or Dumbledore to turn to. Dumbledore was allegedly dead; probably murdered in his sleep by Riddle, and Flamel was God knows where. He was on his own here, as there was no way he could turn to Riddle for help.

Harry reached the outer walls of the courtyard and passed through the gates out into the valley where he broke into a run. The path stretched upward along the side of a mountain, skirting the peak by about one hundred feet. The track ran about ten feet above the canopy of the forest which stretched out before him like a carpet, covering the ground in until it met the lake which shone perfect blue in the winter's sun. The track was uneven, and the morning cold, but Harry's pace soon warmed him up. The cool air filled his lungs as he jogged up the hill. He was not running particularly quickly; aiming at neither distance, speed nor power, just simply as a means to get some time to think about his situation.

He could not go back to the Unholy Land as, for some reason, the key did not fit the Node. Why was that? The device looked identical and there was nothing in the hole. Was he expected to chip away at it to make it bigger? No, that would break it and then he really would be screwed. He wasn't stupid enough to start hitting a powerful magical object with a hammer and chisel - that was a recipe for disaster. He had to find out why it was not working, but of course there were no user?manuals for something like that. He had Flamel's translation of the book in which he had found the Node, lodged in his trunk in the Tower. But if Flamel couldn't answer the question, there was little chance Harry could alone. Maybe he would ask Hermione to go over the Arithmancy of it, if Hermione was even alive here, he noted. How had things gone wrong in the first place? Dumbledore and Flamel, two of the brightest minds in history, could not both be wrong. They had even had Vector check it. How on Earth had they cocked?up?

But there was no use in worrying about that now. He was here and he couldn't go back. Once again he was faced with the choice. Dig in here and make a life or fight for a chance to go home. It wasn't a hard choice. Riddle was headmaster, Dumbledore was dead and the world was screwed up. No, he would fight; he would find a way home, or a way back to his mother. He didn't care which, as long as it was not here. Why did I even leave? Harry thought, cursing himself. If it ain't broke don't fix it. Why hadn't he left well enough alone and stayed where he knew it was safe?

So he would fight to get back. Now how could he do that? When he got back he would read through Flamel's notes (after a shower). If there was nothing to be gained from them, what then? How could be get home?

Come on, Harry, he thought to himself as he continued along the path. The cold air was stinging his lungs, and his muscles protested, unused to the effort of jogging. Some people found this therapeutic. Ha! Not likely! His legs ached, he was out of breath and his heart was pounding.

He had gone about a mile, and he was out of breath. He hadn't noticed, but as his thought became more determined, his pace had increased, until he was full out running. Coming to a halt, Harry put his hand on his hips and took a deep breath, forcing air into his lungs.

Below him was the canopy of the forest, which stretched for maybe fifty or sixty metres before opening up into the lake. A tree next to the path had fallen recently and the canopy had caught it, holding it in place. The log was about a metre thick and stretched out over the canopy like a bridge. Harry stepped up onto it, still panting and walked along a few paces. He sat down, his legs dangling off the edge, and nothing beneath him but the treetops.

Swinging his legs beneath the tree, Harry sat still, trying to catch his breath.

Come on, Harry, he thought to himself. Let's think about this logically. The last time you were in this situation you came to the conclusion that it was all one giant prank, and somehow Voldemort was controlling the entire population. Let's see if you can do better this time. Why does a key not fit a lock? Because it's locked? No, it doesn't fit because you've got a wrong key. That's it! The key back home was the key for that world, but not for this one. If this device was made in this world and then so would it's key. Flamel had said that they had gone exploring and others had come back through the Node. It worked two ways, because each of the other worlds had had a Node. Therefore somewhere in this world, probably in Greece, there was another key, one that would make the device work. It was so simple. He needed to find a key, wherever it was.

But then there was the code, the runes. If the 'address' to get home was wrong, chances are that the other Flamel equation, the one to return to the Unholy Land, would also be wrong and he could end up just about anywhere. He would need to start again, with Flamel's initial digits he gained directly from his blood and spells and do the whole equation again. Harry bowed his head. He didn't even do Arithmancy, and Hermione's homework had always looked very difficult. He would need to recruit Hermione at some point.

Right, so that's it then, thought Harry. Number one: find the key. The clues must be in the book because Flamel found it. Number two: get Hermione to redo the equations. He would not involve Riddle or even Ron and his friends. Last time he had become attached he had allow himself to be sidetracked. He didn't regret that now, but he couldn't afford to become attached here, and he knew that he had to stay as low?key as possible. He was not a soldier here, or a Dark Lord. It was not his world; it was not his fight. This time there was no need to get involved. He would remain distant, he would find what he needed and he would leave, plain and simple. There was no family to keep him here, no war to fight, and no reason to stay. He just had to pass the time.

Harry got to his feet on the log a cheeky grin on his face. He had done it. He was smart enough.

It was simple: he had two jobs to do and then he could go home, and he had worked it out all by himself. It shouldn't take too long. Once he had the key he could go and see Hermione and ask for her help, force her, if needs be, and then he'd be gone like phantom. This world would go on. Harry Potter had died here, this was how it was supposed to be.

Harry jumped back onto the path and set off at a leisurely pace. He felt oddly relieved. It was so simple. He would need what? A month at most before he could get back home? He reckoned if he pushed himself hard he might he able to be gone in a fortnight. When he got it working, would he go back to Rose or home? He hadn't thought that part out yet, but that was far down the pipeline. He would jump that hurdle as he got to it. He jogged faster down the hill, heading back towards the gate.

He could imagine Dumbledore's face as Harry reappeared at Hogwarts. That was what should have happened last night, but it had all gone wrong and now he would have to wait even longer. Fate had a shite sense of humour. Divine Comedy, Harry scoffed, when was he going to get a break?

Harry stopped at the gates, and tried to catch his breath. He wiped his forehead on his t?shirt and tried to catch his breath. His muscles ached after a relatively short workout, but he felt oddly relieved, and much happier than he had been when he had set off. Breathing heavily, Harry slipped back into the courtyard and headed across towards the main doors. He stared at the ground, his mind wandering back home to what his friends might be doing as his feet carried him automatically forwards.

He got to the bottom of five steps that led up to the door. As he stepped onto the first one, another person arrived at the top. Harry struggled not to roll his eyes as the Slytherin adopted the usual arrogant stance that announced that a snide comment was on the way. True to form Crabbe and Goyle were right behind him, the first one standing behind his master, the other leaning against the door, rubbing his knuckles.

"You can train for ever?and?a?day," said Malfoy, his tone condescending. "But you're still nothing but a useless lardbucket."

"Yeah, well not all of us get liposuction and manicures for our birthday" said Harry, wiping his brow on his forearm. Malfoy's eyes grew wide for a second, before he regained composure. Harry was surprised to see his reaction. What was he so shocked about?

"What did you say?" hissed Malfoy, his eyebrows narrowing. He took a step forward down the steps towards Harry, his chest puffed out threateningly.

"Look, Malfoy," said Harry, his tone bored. "I'm sweaty, I'm stinking, and I just want to go for a shower. I am really not in the mood for this, right now. Please ask Tweedle?dum and Tweedle?dee to get out of my way." Harry sidestepped Malfoy and walked up towards the door, which was blocked by Crabbe and Goyle. "Today would be nice," he added.

"What's with you today," sneered Malfoy. "Did you grow some balls since you left?"

"What?" asked Harry. What was confusing Malfoy? Harry was completely lost. What was Malfoy on about?

"So where have you been for the last few weeks?" asked Malfoy. "Not that you were missed. Rumour has it you died, though you're so stupid, you probably couldn't even die properly."

"BACK OFF, MALFOY!" called a voice. That voice was oddly familiar. A girl's voice, echoed out from the Entrance Hall. Harry turned around to see the new arrivals. Neville Longbottom, at least Harry was fairly sure it was him though he looked so different, stood on the right, but it was the girl in the middle that caused Harry to pause. It was Katie Bell, though not the Katie he knew.

"What the…" was all Harry could say. The Katie of this world was somewhat different from the Katie of his world and the other one. She had a fire in her eyes that his Katie lacked. There was pain there, a pain Harry knew all to well. She was dressed all in black and her hair was tied back in ponytail rather than flowing in the wind, perfectly kept and straightened. She had a much stronger presence to her, and a more powerful persona, but that was not the most shocking thing about her.

In the middle of her forehead was a thin lightening?bolt shaped scar.

"Well, look who it is," sneered Malfoy. "The Slut?Who?Lived."


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AUROR’S NOTES

My choice: I feel I should take this opportunity to explain my choice. The idea of this fic changed a fair few times. Parts one and three of the Trilogy were fairly obvious to plan. Anyone who has watched the Scream films knows that the third part of a trilogy links back to the first one. The rules for the second one are quite simple: higher body count, more elaborate death scenes etc. So how does this relate, I hear you ask: well, parts one and three were easy, but part two had to go in between. I knew Harry was to go to another world, in which he was not the one with the scar. I hoped, as with part one, to add my own personal spin and sense of (and I use the word loosely as this is a fanfiction about magic) realism to the cliché. Given this basic concept I had several options.

Firstly, I thought that Harry would arrive and it had been Neville who had been chosen. I would have done the whole 'Brothers in Arms' thing. There were several problems with this - the concept is overdone and more to the point, Harry gets nothing out of it. The whole fic is a string of training exercises Harry puts together for Neville, like a cross between Rocky and GI Jane. This also creates Neville as a photocopy of Harry. Neville becomes a carbon copy in a few weeks. Harry cheated and got his abilities from his other self in an instant. Neville couldn't realistically go from nobody to sword master in a few weeks, and the point of practice is that you repeat until you are proficient. Repeating things is a cardinal sin of authors. It makes for a boring fic and is a nightmare to write. Harry, the character gets nothing. He spends time there fighting and training Neville, getting no help for himself. His character becomes the 1-D teacher, and being the star this cannot happen.

I therefore stumbled across the idea of the Boy Who Lived being the Girl Who Lived. I must confess when on the group you guys started discussing Harry himself becoming a girl I couldn't help but laugh and cringe at the same time. While I am fairly flattered that you believe I could carry off such a ….unique concept and make it interesting, I am also a little disturbed that you could believe I would do something so weird. This isn't Ridikkulus, or a comedy fic. If I did that, it would be a list of sad joke about bras, boobs, shoes, walking in high heals, and pms. Every female in the group would be screaming at me. No thanks. I could not write such a fic.

The temptations for such a fic were to move it into a fluffy romance. I am hesitant to do this as it would be such a change from part one, and you getting arguing ships. Part one was kept ship-free for that very reason - because it distracts away from the basic concept - his family. SITPL offers Harry a temptation, gives his character room to develop - how it will pan out, you will have to wait and see.

Having decided it was to be a female scar-barer, I was then stuck for a candidate. I briefly toyed with the idea of an OC (original character). This gets you into trouble as everyone screams Mary-Sue, even if you do give the character flaws. I made Rose grumpy and stubborn, not to mention a bit 'act before she thinks', but still got the accusation. She was a bit of an MS, so to speak, but in part two, my OC would have been a lead role and so I would have received so many flames I could have had a barbeque. I therefore knew I had to select a character we are familiar with.

Ideally, I would have chosen someone in their fifth year. This would have panned out perfectly, and the dates would line up - you will see what I mean. Unfortunately, in Ginny's year, there were no suitable candidates. Ginny was out because it would remove her from the fic, and the Dark Lord would have had to murder her entire family, removing Ron, Arthur, Molly and the rest. It was too much to remove such a large institution as the Weasleys. I very nearly used Hermy, as there is an ambiguity with her birthday if you check the HP-Lexicon (.org). I chose not to do this as I need her to fulfil another role as mentioned in this chapter - remember, the best laid plans always go wrong. There aren't any other suitable fifth years in Gryffindor. I very nearly used Luna - however, in the given situation, not having lived with her eccentric father, being neglected by whoever took her in she would not be loony, but rather more aggressive and normal. It would destroy her character, and I would be crucified for it. Instead I left her so I can use the comic relief earlier.

Having ruled out fifth years, I tried Harry's own year. Lavender? Nope - too shallow and annoying. Parvati? Nope, would rule out Padma - creates complications and leaves Lavender friendless.

I then went back to Harry Potter and the Emerald Sceptre (seems like an eternity ago). She is one year above him (told you! - people kept saying she was two years above Harry, but JKR proved me right - get in there!). We don't know much about her, giving me a nice blank canvas to work with. It also means that the H/HR and H/G shippers can all shut up, and stop arguing with each other. I can still sit on the fence - go me. I have used H/K before, but hold no loyalty to it. Both times it was used to avoid the HG/HHr argument and to be a little original. The only real problem with using her is that she is a year older. The dates won't line up. You will see in chapter two what I mean.

I hope this justifies my choice, and that you enjoy Harry's adventures in the Promised Land.

Regards

Jono

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