Training and Confrontations


Story Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities grow, and trains for that final confrontation with Voldemort. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G, R/T, and a paternal Ron.

Chapter 53

Chapter Summary:
A sprawling tale set in many places and dimensions, as Harry finds himself, finds his abilities growing, and trains for that final confrontation with Tom Riddle. A H/L/Hr tale, with N/G and Ron/Tracy. Part VI (Chapters 51-53) shows that dealing with Voldemort/Riddle creates more problems, not less.
Author's Note:
The end of the story.

Chapter LIII

Tracy and Harry passed each other again, pacing back and forth. No one was certain how many times they had walked past each other over the previous three subjective weeks.

As bored as the seven were, no one was bored enough to count.

Titus Sergius had arranged a parle of the most powerful sorcerers on seven dimensional Earths. The seven teens also attended. When the teens had asked where they were, Sergius had shrugged his shoulders. Dumbledore had tried to explain, but it required an understanding of Arithmancy that was far ahead even of Hermione's current understanding.

While the sorcerers debated (discussed, debated, contended, argued,, fought, and occasionally hexed each other), the seven had been left in a rather nice, if small, hunting lodge two of the Lords of Magic and Dumbledore had conjured for them. They had nothing to do.

The only small comfort was that time, wherever they currently were, was subjective. They would all be returned to their home planets without having lost any real time.

After three weeks, the lovers had even stopped making love so often. It took most of their collective will not to fight amongst themselves.

Finally, on the 'afternoon' of the twenty-second day, Dumbledore came to talk with them.

"It's about time," Ron groused.

"Ronald, we have all had much to discuss," Dumbledore reminded him, and the others. "Had not so many seers received that Prophecy, it would have been impossible to have reached an agreement of any kind."

"And our fate has been decided, has it?" Harry demanded coldly.

"Your options have been narrowed," Dumbledore acknowledged. "First of all, the Lords of Magic have agreed to cease in their goal of manipulating our world, or any other for that matter."

"They planned on extending their influence elsewhere?" Tracy asked, getting in just before Hermione.

"No," Dumbledore said, "but no one can blame the representatives of the other worlds for not being worried on that point. So, the Lords have also agreed not to help any future wizard to gain immortality, including myself. They therefore have of course also agreed not to try and create any more powerful Dark Wizards, there being no point in it for them any more."

"They just agreed to all that?" Ginny demanded, disbelieving.

"It did take some time, as they sought ways around the Prophecy. They, and we, created many scenarios, models of the world if you will. None succeeded in the Lords' plans working out. Every time, the result was a Dark one."

"And they accepted that?" Tracy demanded.

"They did. They have many faults, as we all do. However, they are all very intelligent, and basically well-meaning people. They genuinely sought power to help people. It took time to prove to them they had not only caused more harm than good in the past, but would cause much more harm than good in the future, no matter how they tried to manipulate that future. They have accepted it."

"And all this took three weeks?" Hermione asked.

"No. All of this took twelve days. After that, we broke into two groups. One ground has created a set of guidelines for sorcerers of our power. The barriers at the gateways between our worlds will also be increased. We will still be able to communicate, but we will never again be able to travel back and forth."

"And the other group decided what to do with us," Harry said, now looking rather determined, and even awesome in his power.

"The other group ran models," Dumbledore said, now seating slightly. "Essentially, you have two options, going forwards or back, as the Prophecy stated. Forward is by far the easier option to take, but slightly more dangerous."

"How so?" Luna asked.

"We can essentially partially slow down the power flow. Other than Harry, you will all be slightly more powerful than you were before you all connected your power flows. Harry would almost be as powerful as he was last June. Those connections between you would also be severed. They are too dangerous to be allowed. In the hundred simulations without partially limiting your power, there was a Dark result forty-five times. I think you would all agree that is too high of a probability outcome."

"I cannot believe any one of us would turn Dark," Luna stated firmly.

"No, none of you would do that," Dumbledore agreed. "Still, we all affect the world around us. With your potential power as a group, the balance of magic can easily be thrown off, just as Riddle did for the opposite reasons."

"And what do your models tell you about what happens if we limit ourselves in this way?" Harry asked.

"In that case, the models turned Dark nine times, which is better than what we expected," he answered.

"I can forego my extra power," Neville said. The other six looked at each other, and all agreed they could live with those restrictions.

"So, what does 'going back' mean?" Harry asked after they had agreed.

"All of the sorcerers, working together, can turn back time on our Earth. This will take a tremendous effort, and in fact, four of the Lords would have to sacrifice their immortality to make it work. In our world, we would all be sent back to June, 1996, except for Titus Sergius, who would be sent back beyond June, 1995. No one in our world, save Titus Sergius, the Lords, and myself, would have no memories, as time is being restarted. The Lords and myself would have our memories slightly modified as we would go back to rejoin our former selves."

"What the hell kind of plan is that?" Ron demanded. "We went through all this shit for the last bloody year, two years, really, for six of us, to beat Riddle! And now you're going to make us do it over? Or will you just kill us and let our past selves live on?"

"We will not kill you," Dumbledore said. "In that sense, you are being reset. As for Riddle, well, I had a fall-back plan. The connections between the worlds have been unusually open these last few centuries."

"Due to the Lords, and Sergius, no doubt," Hermione said.

"In large part," Dumbledore agreed. "Had they not been easily crossed last year, as I said, I did have an alternate plan. Titus Sergius would have to make some alterations in the time line between June, 1995 and June, 1996. . . ."

"Such as?" Harry demanded.

"First of all, Julian Malfoy will have to be stopped. We know from the recent investigation into the MHC that it was only some inspired trickery on his part in July, 1995, that kept the company from being uncovered by the Ministry. We can all say bad things about the Ministry, but they were very good at uncovering money. They would have gone after the Marvolo Holding Company while continuing to deny that its owner had returned to life."

"Why?" Hermione asked.

"Greed," Tracy said. "If the last Marvolo was dead without an heir, the Ministry could basically loot the company, and you can bet that Fudge and his gang would have had very sticky fingers."

"Exactly. Even though it made a fair amount of money, because it operated in the Muggle world Voldemort, as he was then, had little interest in the MHC, until Lucius Malfoy brought his cousin's actions to Voldemort's attention. That set the entire Malfoy plan into action, which resulted in the deaths of the Dursleys."

"You mean, after all you've learned, you really want me to consider going back to the Dursleys?" Harry demanded, aghast. "No, wait, I'm modified or dead or whatever. The Harry of 1996 will be stuck at the Dursleys. Are you mad?"

"We, and you, should consider both options," Dumbledore said. "There are a couple of other minor changes that he must make as well."

"Can he save Sirius from the Veil?" Harry asked.

"I won't lie to you," Dumbledore said. "We ran the model over a hundred times. In a third of those scenarios, Voldemort wins, because Sirius doesn't follow orders, trying to protect you but ending up getting you killed. I wish I could say otherwise."

"And what are the results of the scenario you're tying to talk us into?" Ginny asked.

"Harry defeats Voldemort every time."

"How many times does Harry live to enjoy his victory?" Luna asked.

"He also dies in nine percent of the models. I should add that in none of the models is the outcome a Dark one."

"How many times do we all end up together like we are now?" Harry asked.

"None," Dumbledore admitted.

"You're asking me to give up Tracy, and my son," Ron said.

"That is partially true. Your son is part of Rushak. The remaining five worlds will be cut off from our world, and so he shall be sent back to his original home. My distant cousins and the Dragons will look out for him, and he will have many opportunities. You and Miss Davis, however, come together in only one percent of the models. Actually, the most common outcome, in terms of romance, pairs Harry and Luna, you and Hermione, and Ginny and Neville some forty-two percent of the time. Harry, you wind up with Ginny about twenty-four percent of the time and Hermione twenty-one percent of the time."

"Let's see, I'm dead nine times out of a hundred, plus forty-two, twenty-four and twenty one. What happens the other four percent of the time?"

"We ran this model over six hundred times. Half the time you end up alone, at least through age twenty-one, since that's as far as the models could take up as we looked for possible Dark outcomes. The other two percent come with Susan Bones, with a number of girls taking up the rest."

"So none with both Luna and Hermione?"

"No, I'm afraid not," Dumbledore said.

"Well, sod that."

Hermione frowned, distracted. . . ."So, I, or the old me, end up with Harry twenty-one percent of the time, Ron forty-two percent of the time. . . ."

"Fifty-four, actually," Dumbledore corrected. "You die in four percent of the scenarios, and actually end up with Luna fifteen percent of the time. As for the other six percent, they seemed to be men or women you meet after Hogwarts."

"And I suppose if I don't end up with Ginny, I end up with Luna?" Neville asked, confused.

"Oddly, no, you and Luna never end up together," Dumbledore said. "The important thing to remember is, going ahead is easier, and more dangerous. Riddle is destroyed, but the balance of magic is in a much more delicate balance. Going back, Riddle will still be destroyed, with the possibilities that you will lead personally less satisfying lives, with less power, than you will if we go forward."

Harry gathered his friends around him and they talked for ten minutes.

Finally, he turned around. "My entire life has been manipulated, by this Higher Magic, by the Lords of Magic, by Voldemort, and by you. My parents were murdered, my godfather was murdered. I was locked in a bloody cupboard for almost ten years! I was locked in a bedroom and fed through a cat flap for over a month! I was beaten, abused, and insulted!"

"Thanks to you and the rest of these bastards, I've been ridiculed by most of magical Britain. I was forced to be an accessory to murder before my twelfth birthday. I killed a sentient avatar before I was thirteen and witnessed two murders since then, which were partially my fault because YOU failed to give me the guidance I needed. I've committed murders, even if they were in self-defense."

"The only reason I want to keep as much power as I can is so I can make certain that the next manipulative bastard that messes with me or my friends gets blasted into another dimension, which is no doubt why you want me, this me at least, basically dead! I have two women who love me, and each other. I have four other loving friends. I have close friends back on our world; ones I love like Remus and Dora, and ones I'm close to, like Dean and Seamus. I have a cousin, a blood relative, who loves me. Tell me, under your scenarios, would I ever even meet Rose?"

"Almost certainly not," Dumbledore said.

"You not only want Ron to give up his life and the life of a woman he loves, but a son. A son he will never even know exists! How can you even think to ask any of us to do this?"

"Tell them, Miss Davis," Dumbledore commanded.

"They can ask, because it's what they think is best for the world," Tracy said. "They prefer dealing with damaged, conflicted, powerful Harry, rather than confident super-Harry."

"What do you think I should answer, Tracy?" Harry asked.

"I think you should tell the Headmaster what you feel."

Harry looked at Dumbledore and said, "I think you should take your backwards idea and shove it up your arse, and then fuck yourself with it."

"Harry! Language!" Hermione scolded. "Really, there's no need to be vulgar."

"Yes there is," Ron argued. He looked at Dumbledore, the greatest wizard of the twentieth century. "Fuck you, and the idea you rode in with."

"Sit on a Snorkack," Luna added, getting into the spirit of things.

"Eat fertilizer," Neville agreed.

Ginny raised her boot. "Or come a little closer," she encouraged the old wizard, ready to take aim.

"Either that, or let the door hit your arse while you're leaving," Tracy agreed.

"In other words, Headmaster," Hermione stated, in her plummiest accent, "we suggest you get stuffed."

Luna grabbed Hermione and Harry by their hands. The group joined hands as they felt themselves trapped by a magical power beyond their own. They knew what was coming, and, directed by Luna, with all their power, they took the memories, especially the memories of love, as deeply as they could from the minds of themselves and their friends. They used their combined power to send those memories into the vortex of the spell forming around them. With luck, the memories would be planted so deep into their past selves that it would take decades before they remembered.

But she knew they would remember.

"I am very sorry," Dumbledore said. "I would have greatly preferred that you had take the best road voluntarily. You will have to meet the Half-Blood Prince involuntarily."

And their world dissolved.

Friday, June 27, 1996

Titus Sergius Sapiens stood, invisible, on Platform 9 3/4, watching. It had not been easy pulling off this, his greatest scheme. He had lied to Harry and his friends. He had seen what the Lords had been plotting for over four centuries. His plan had be to even more subtle than the Lords. At this point, his plan had succeeded.

Granted, it had taken a larger toll than he had thought it would. He had not anticipated in having this Earth divided from the other Earths. He would never travel to visit his beloved Dragons and the world he had helped to create. He had never anticipated having to overlay fourteen months of history.

He had not really known Harry and his six friends personally for any length of time, although he had been looking in on the Boy for years. He ached with the pain the seven had felt as their future selves had been erased.

He had argued against that plan at first, hoping they could take refuge with his beloved Dragons. Doing so would have prevented the barriers between the worlds being closed to the degree the other worlds had demanded, however. In the end, he had had to agree to their sacrifice.

Sergius wondered at the seeming ease with which Albus Dumbledore seemed to have agreed to their sacrifice. There was just a hint of pain behind the man's expression, and a distinct lack of the twinkle in his eyes that hinted that perhaps it had not been easy for the man. The most the wizard had said was, "The right thing is rarely easy."

'No,' Sergius thought, 'it is rarely easy.' Still, the Lords were disabled, and their most fanatical members had had to sacrifice their immortality and even part of their magic to help pull off this massive time shift on one world. Merlin had also hinted he might give up his immortality, once young Harry triumphed.

The students had started to stop saying their goodbyes, and some had started to leave with their families. Sergius saw the final, dying elements of the huge time-shift charm start to fade. To his surprise, he saw a new element appear.

He cast a quick diagnostic. His eyes went wide as he saw what Luna had done. He briefly thought about stopping the spell from being completed, but relented. In thirty-five or forty years, the memories of a path not taken would return to any of the seven who remained alive.

Sergius agreed with Luna that they deserved that much.


Hermione suddenly flushed with a very disturbing vision. She resolved to concentrate on Ron; she wanted no more thoughts about Luna naked, which had been plaguing her for weeks. She certainly did not need Harry intruding into her daydreams as well. A threesome? Absurd.

Ron frowned, wondering where the vision of a smiling small boy came from.

Luna was not certain what she had just felt and Seen, but decided it was likely a good thing.

A depressed Harry followed a quietly fuming Vernon Dursley (and cowed Dudley Dursley) out towards the parked car. He frowned. It felt like some sort of spell had hit him. A brief vision of himself, nude on a large bed, kissing the equally nude Luna and Hermione, flitted through his head. He flushed with embarrassment. 'I've got enough problems without having thoughts like those!' he thought.

Harry sighed. This summer was not going to be pleasant.


Author notes: Thank you for reading this to the end, and special thanks to any who have read all 292 chapters and stories that I have spread over the Four Houses here.