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All My Love to Long Ago

They say foul beings of old times still lurk in dark, forgotten corners of the world, and gates still gape to loose, on certain nights, shapes pent in Hell.

~~attributed to Cthulu Mythos, (H.P Lovecraft)

Actual Source: Myrddin 'Merlin' Ambrosius in the fires of destruction and chaos before the Gates of Avalon over six hundred years ago...

Prologue I - This Old Dance

Excerpt from a diary found at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, author unknown:

January 16th, 2018

Any wizard wanting to claim the title of Dark Lord would first have to destroy Harry James Potter - the Boy Who Lived. Potter is a hero to the world, a symbol for everything and everyone that would stand and fight against the Dark Arts. No self-styled 'Dark Lord' could claim power so long as Harry Potter lives.

Yet mere death alone would not undo his life's work. Death would only change one man's quest into a crusade, change a hero into a martyr. Potter must die, that much is certain, but first he must be destroyed.

And what better way to not just kill, but utterly destroy the hope and saviour of the wizarding world, to leave the masses helpless to the rise of a new wave of darkness and iron rule than to attack that which he holds most dear - his family. The man himself would be hard to kill, but to defeat what he stands for is next to impossible... unless the man were to become a monster. Enough emerald flame and hot blood dripping from the throats of his children could do that.

Harry Potter could die a thousand ways, yet his cause must be torn straight from his heart. Then, and only then, will the light and hope of the world be cut deep enough to die... to make way for a new strength reborn in my image.

Two decades ago Voldemort underestimated the power of a symbol, the power of a lightning bolt scar and the strength of love over fear, friendship over control. His arrogance blinded him and Potter made him pay the ultimate price.

Would the Boy Who Lived be as successful against an adversary who understands him? Against an enemy that understands his drive and his defiance? Voldemort considered this ability to love a weakness. Voldemort was right, but for the wrong reasons. And now history remembers the last Dark Lord as nothing but a terrifying failure, defeated before his reign could truly begin at the cost of far too many lives.

In that respect, at least, I must thank Harry Potter. Had Voldemort triumphed there would be no more worlds to conquer. No worlds, wizarding or muggle, worth conquering.

Now there is work to do. The night is young and the castle is never silent. I will do what I have to do, and the consequences will not be kind for the Potter family.

Yet the necessary death of Harry James Potter is but a small part of my plans... plans of darkness and shadow.

Only in death does duty end, yet my duty to the world shall last forever once immortality is mine. Fate is never final, and magic is power...

And I shall be the most powerful wizard to ever walk the earth.

*~*~*~*

September 1st, 2017

Harry crouched down so that Albus's face was slightly above his own. Alone of Harry's three children, Albus had inherited Lily's eyes.

“Albus Severus,” Harry said quietly, so that nobody but Ginny could hear, and she was tactful enough to pretend to be waving to Rose, who was now on the train, “you were named for two headmasters of Hogwarts. One of them was a Slytherin and he was probably the bravest man I ever knew.”

“But just say-”

“-then Slytherin House will have gained an excellent student, won't it? It doesn't matter to us, Al. But if it matters to you, you'll be able to choose Gryffindor over Slytherin. The Sorting Hat takes your choice into account.”

“Really?”

“It did for me,” said Harry.

He had never told any of his children that before, and he saw the wonder in Albus's face when he said it. But now the doors were slamming all along the scarlet train, and the blurred outlines of parents were swarming forward for final kisses, last-minute reminders. Albus jumped into the carriage and Ginny closed the door behind him. Students were hanging from the windows nearest them. A great number of faces, both on the train and off, seemed to be turned towards Harry.

“Why are they staring?” demanded Albus as he and Rose craned around to look at the other students.

“Don't let it worry you,” said Ron. “It's me. I'm extremely famous.”

Albus, Rose, Hugo, and Lily laughed. The train began to move, and Harry walked alongside it, watching his son's thin face, already ablaze with excitement. Harry kept smiling and waving, even though it was like a little bereavement, watching his son glide away from him...

The last trace of steam evaporated in the autumn air. The train rounded a corner. Harry's hand was still raised in farewell.

“He'll be all right,” murmured Ginny.

As Harry looked at her, he lowered his hand absentmindedly and touched the lightning scar on his forehead.

“I know he will.”

The scar had not pained Harry for nineteen years. All was well.

On the way out of the station Ginny walked ahead with Hermione, holding her daughter Lily's hand as Harry and Ron brought up the rear, all of them ducking and weaving amongst the throng of passengers on King's Cross station. Ron kept a hand on Hugo's head, directing him through the mass of people. Hermione was berating the bureaucracy in the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, and Ginny dutifully nodded along as she listened to Hermione's latest attempt to eradicate the streams of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws that had been enforced over the centuries.

Ron was laughing at the quality of the latest Auror recruits that Harry had assigned to him. Not a one of them could catch a raindrop in a thunderstorm, let alone a dark wizard. Harry was only half-listening, his mind still on little Albus and James, off to Hogwarts for the year. He knew they would be okay... Hogwarts was not as dangerous as it had been back in his time there...

And really, it had only been significantly life-threatening for him because of Voldemort.

Still, there was an almost invisible tension in the air... as if the hairs on the back of his neck were slowly rising.

Harry shrugged. All was well. James would look out for Al as he got settled in. And he wouldn't be alone in his own year. He knew Rose, had known her all his life. And no doubt they would both be Gryffindors together. Some things just made sense.

Outside in the car park Harry gave Ron a firm handshake, ruffling Hugo's hair as he did, and spared a quick kiss on the cheek for Hermione. Saying their goodbyes and promising to see each other Saturday night for dinner, he and Ginny each took one of Lily's hands and headed back to the car.

“I miss them already,” said Ginny, as Harry got the car door for her and then Miss Lily, who smiled primly and jumped into the backseat. It really wouldn't be long before her first year now, and then he and Ginny would be driving home alone.

“Me too,” Harry replied. He ran round the car and slipped into the driver's seat. “But we'll hear from them both soon enough. Al won't be able to wait to let us know he's a Gryffindor.”

Ginny grinned. “Are you heading into work today?”

Harry nodded. “I'm meeting Kingsley this afternoon. He wants to discuss keying me into the new wards at Azkaban. A few of the old Death Eater crowd got into the minimum security wing last night. Nowhere near an escape attempt, but still a security breach.”

Ginny was silent for a moment as Harry pulled out onto the main road, heading for the motorway. “You'll be heading over to Azkaban?”

Harry shrugged. “Probably.”

“Thank Merlin the Dementors aren't there anymore.”

“Still a miserable place, though. I'll be home for about seven.”

Lily squeaked from the backseat. “McDonald's!”

Harry drove on past the fast food restaurant shaking his head. “It'll rot your insides, Lily.”

“Mum lets me get a Happy Meal and a muggle toy!”

Harry glanced at Ginny, raising his eyebrows. She smiled sweetly and stroked his cheek. “Only when you've been good, young lady, and telling daddy has locked you out till next year.”

Lily hmmphed and looked back out the window as London sped on by. “Today's not fair,” she mumbled.

“You'll be at Hogwarts soon enough.” Harry slowed to a stop at a set of traffic lights on Hendon Way, near the turn off for the M1. “And you'll forget all about McDonalds and such once you've had a house elf feast.”

“I can't wait to go,” Lily said wistfully. “I can't wait to get a wand and books and a cat.”

“You want to take a cat?” Ginny asked, surprised.

“Like Aunt Hermione,” Lily nodded enthusiastically. “And think about it, mum, if I need to send a letter I can just use Dexter or Merlin. Al's new owl liked me better than him anyway.”

“Well there you go then,” Harry said. “It's a nice owl.”

Al's new owl had been snowy white, with deep intelligent yellow-amber eyes. Feather for feather, it had looked like a very old and long lost friend. Merlin was a good name, a funny name, yet Hedwig would have fit just as well.

“I'll be a Gryffindor, won't I, dad?”

Harry smiled, thinking he would have this conversation more than once with Lily over the next two years. “Sure, sweetheart,” he said, glancing at her in the rear-view mirror. “If you want to be.”

“I do,” Lily whispered.

Such a small thing to be worrying about, Harry thought, yet of the upmost importance to each of his children. It had been important to Harry, too, all those years ago. Although not for the same reasons. He had only wanted a friend. His children thought they had to, in some way, live up to the legend that was Harry Potter.

And Harry Potter had been a Gryffindor, a Quidditch star, the youngest ever Seeker at Hogwarts... but he had also been a slayer of Dark Lords and basilisks, of Dementors and Death Eaters, the Boy Who Lived and the man who had united the Deathly Hallows.

Harry's hands clenched the leather of the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white. Merlin willing, his children would never know the horror of the dark arts or the awesome fury of a wizarding war.

The traffic lights turned green. The Potter family headed home.

*~*~*~*

"Prologue I - This Old Dance", posted on January 11, 2008 at 10:37 am
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