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Harry Potter and the Invincible Technomage
Year Two Projects
A/N: I do not own Harry Potter. Nor any of the Marvel Comics Characters mentioned herein. But you knew that.
Harry Potter and The Invincible TechnoMage
Chapter Eleven - Year Two Projects
July 30, 1991:
Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry
Professor McGonagall's Office:
Minerva was finishing up her supply requisitions for the new school year when one of the Hogwarts Owls entered her office via one of the open windows. She recognized this particular bird as being the one she had sent with Harry Potter's acceptance letter.
How very odd. Why might it have taken a full week for Harry's response to arrive? Conjuring a bowl of water for the owl, she untied the letter from the bird's leg. Paper? Why would anyone make an envelope out of paper? Opening the envelope with a flick of her wand, she removed the letter contained within. Paper again. Why would
anyone use paper for official correspondence? She would have to speak with young Mr. Potter and explain the realities of tradition to him. She opened the letter and began to read.
Her jaw dropped as soon as she reached the part that read `I am confused how I could have been accepted to a school I have not applied to attend.' How could he not know of Hogwarts? She continued to read…
His father? Had that horrible Muggle actually cared enough for Harry to have actually adopted him?
Harry Potter declined his place at Hogwarts? How could that be? What was this about having a magical tutor? North America? What was the boy doing in North America? Stark? The boy's guardian's name was Dursley.
Who was Stark?
Minerva opened a drawer in her desk and withdrew a tall bottle of an amber elixir and a glass. Pouring herself three fingers of the 80 year old single malt, she tipped it back, and then returned the bottle to its place of storage. What had happened? How had she failed Lily and James so thoroughly? How could the little boy she had bounced on her knee no longer even acknowledge his own name?
The rules were clear. She had received a response from the prospective student, and that student had declined the offer. That was the end of it.
But how could it be? This was Harry Potter, Son of James Potter and Lily Evans. He was the Boy-Who-Lived, the defeater of You-Know-Who. This wasn't just any student, this was… Harry Potter. A sickening thought came to her. Enrollment might actually drop if word got out that Harry Potter would not be attending Hogwarts.
Minerva steeled her resolve. Albus had to be informed.
The journey to the Headmaster's office was something of a blur as her mind dealt with the Harry Potter's rejection of Hogwarts as well as the three fingers of single malt on an empty stomach. The gargoyle took one look at her expression and shuffled out of her way. It had horrifying memories of spending a week as a small rubber duck the last time she had looked like that and hadn't been allowed instant access to the Headmaster's office.
"Minerva?" The ancient wizard looked up from the paper work on his desk. He was unused to being surprised in his office. "Is there a problem?"
"You might say that Albus." The Transfiguration Mistress handed him the letter from Harry Potter. "This is the response to Harry Potter's Hogwarts Letter. He declined Albus. Harry Potter declined coming to Hogwarts."
Dumbledore paled. "No. He can't decline. He just can't."
The girl sat with her legs crossed on her bed with the drapes pulled shut. After so many years of anticipation, she could hardly believe that she was actually, finally here. The trip to London had been so exciting, as had the train ride. Upon arriving at Hogsmeade station, she had been a little apprehensive, until she heard the man's voice.
"Firs' years! Firs' years over here!"
The man calling was huge, easily the largest person she had ever seen.
"C'mon, follow me — any more firs' years? Mind yer step, now! Firs' years follow me!"
Along with the other firsties she had followed in the man's wake like ducklings behind their mother. He led them to a flotilla of tiny boats and bade them to climb on board "No more than four to a boat."
With all the others she gasped when the castle first came into view, it was so… pretty. That was when Colin, her boat mate, one of a pair of boys she knew to be Muggle born having met them and shared a compartment on the train, muttered "It's only a model" which caused the other boy to start laughing. She refrained from asking what was so funny and what a model might be. So very soon the boats arrived at a small dock and the huge man led them to a door way in the outer wall of the castle, where he knocked.
The door opened to reveal a witch. "The firs' years, Professor McGonagall," he said.
"Thank you, Hagrid. I will take them from here."
The woman pulled the door wide. The entrance hall was larger than anything she had ever imagined. The first years all followed Professor McGonagall through the castle, until they reached a doorway, where the professor told them to wait.
The girl only had time to grasp the diary inside her robes and wish she had the time and privacy to speak with Tom before Professor McGonagall had returned and was leading the assembled first years through into the Great Hall of Hogwarts, where the Sorting Hat was explained. She waited her turn as Professor McGonagall worked her way through the alphabet. Her eyes searched the sea of pointed hats looking for familiar faces, spotting Percy's smile and nod, as well as the cheerful smiles from the twins. Ron was pointedly ignoring her, seemingly embarrassed by her presence.
Suddenly Professor McGonagall was calling her name, and she approached the stool with more than a little trepidation. After all this could predict the path her life would take. Sitting, she waited for the Professor to lower the hat upon her head.
All in all the experience was surprisingly straightforward. The Hat looked into her mind and asked her a few questions, and then the ancient Hat proclaimed its decision to the assembled school. She stood and removed the hat, remembering to thank the magical construct for its time and effort, and then she quietly walked to her new home and housemates to the applause of the school.
The meal was superb, and the words of the Headmaster were confusing and odd, though in an exciting way. Before long the students were dismissed to their dormitories, so she followed the Prefect to the dorms along with all the other first years. What followed as a short tour of the dorm, common room, and a short interview in the Head of House's office. She then found herself in her own newly assigned dorm room with three other girls that shared her floor in the tower. After a brief period of introductions each of the four exhausted girls crawled onto their four-poster bed, closed the drapes and tried to get some sleep in preparation for the next day.
But sleep wouldn't come for her. With a sigh, she pulled the diary from where she had hidden it, under her pillow, found a quill and bottle of ink in her book bag, and scratched out her thoughts.
Hello. I trust you've had an exhilarating day? How was the train ride?
So very exciting. You were right about everything. I had so much fun, and I made several friends.
Did you? Tell me about them.
Oh, yes. There was a pair of Muggle born boys and three girls from magical families who shared my compartment on the Express. We had fun just talking and even singing Muggle songs that the boys taught us. One of them likes to take photos and he was flashing his camera at us the whole trip. He wants to meet Harry Potter too, he was really surprised when I told him that Harry’s name was ‘Stark’ now.
You should be careful associating with the Muggle born. They are a constant danger to the Magical World.
Really? That thought gave her pause. Daddy always says that they are nice people with the most interesting things. He is constantly talking about the amazing things they do to make up for not having magic.
They've fooled so many people. From deep inside the diary Riddle was wondering if he should back off this topic. Someday everyone will see them for that they are.
I thought you would want to know Tom, I've seen Harry Stark. She wrote trying to change the subject.
Have you? What is he like?
I don't really know. I saw him before I boarded the Express. He was with a huge green woman.
A green woman?
Yes. I'm told that she is some sort of Muggle Hero. You know, a crime fighter?
Tom Riddle considered what he had learned. From his summers in Muggle London he remembered stories of lunatics who dressed in colorful outfits to fight crime. Some of them transitioned to war, fighting against Grindelwald's Muggle forces in Europe. He dimly recalled having actually seen one in action in the spring of 1943. A man in black leather with a stylized version of the Union Flag on his chest who went by the name `Union Jack'.
They allow Muggles on Platform 9 ¾ now?
Oh, yes. I saw many people that could only be the families of Muggle born. It was really exciting seeing the green woman. I've never seen anyone that was green or that large before, but then I met Hagrid. He is much bigger, but nowhere near as green.
So what is Harry Stark like?
Keep the foolish girl focused on getting close to the Potter boy, the soul fragment thought.
I didn't actually talk to him Tom. He was with his friends on the train. Intruding on their reunion would have been rude.
You need to speak to him. He is your soul mate, I'm sure of it.
Well… Dinner was nice. There was so much food and all of it very good…
The girl headed off on one of her tangents. The sooner Riddle could take control, the better.
The first day of classes was over. So far, so good as far as Harry could see. Other than a few snarky comments from Professor Snape no one had said anything about his abrupt leaving the year before and even Snape seemed to be operating more from inertia than any real spite. Since their disagreement at the beginning of the previous year he and Snape had come to something of a detente. They both behaved properly toward one another. Oh, Snape was still an asshole, but he didn’t target Harry or his friends for special attention. Harry could live with that.
At the evening meal Professor Flitwick had come to the table and announce a meeting for all the second year students at 8 pm, an announcement that had inspired a great deal of levity from the upper years, though no one would explain why. Padma, Hermione and Harry were working on their homework assignments to pass the time until the meeting.
Harry was seated at his study carrel having been working on the essay that Professor McGonagall had assigned for Transfiguration, (2 feet on Animate to Inanimate Transfigurations, the Rules and Requirements for Success) for more than an hour when he sat back in his chair.
“ARRGH! I hate these freaking books!”
“Harry…” Hermione started.
“Is a damned index too much to ask for? Is expecting the text to be laid out in a logical understandable manner a sin? Why don’t they have a Table of Contents at very least?”
“Language Harry.” Hermione admonished.
“What’s an index?” Padma asked.
“An index is a cross reference of a books text.” Hermione explained while Harry fumed. Seeing that Padma didn’t understand she continued. “For example if you were looking for ‘Albus Dumbledore’ in a Muggle text, you could go to the index, look him up, and it would list all the page numbers where he is referenced.”
“Oh.” Understanding shown in Padma’s eyes. “I can see how that would useful.”
“Meanwhile I’ve been trying to find all seventeen rules for Animate to Inanimate Transfiguration. I find three rules in chapter five, one in chapter seven, nine in chapter thirteen, and I haven’t found a single mention of rules three, four, fifteen or seventeen anywhere in this damned text. Would it have killed the author or publisher to have had all the rules in a single table?”
“Probably.” Padma dimpled. “Seriously though, like I said, I could see how a shortcut like that would be useful, but isn’t this way a better way to learn?”
“Not really.” Harry was having trouble maintaining his mad with two girls smiling at him. “Having to search for every bit of information teaches you the book, not the topic. Having an index would remove the need to search through every page of the book and you could concentrate on Transfiguration.”
Professor Flitwick entered the common room and all conversation stopped. The Prefects herded the first years from the room and the upper classes left as well. The diminutive Charms Master made his way to his podium, which was permanently mounted at one end of the common area for meeting such as this one.
“Welcome back to Hogwarts everyone.” He said looking out at his twelve assembled second years. “The purpose of this meeting is twofold. The first is to introduce you to the Ravenclaw Library.” The Sixth year Prefects entered the common room each carrying an ornate wooden box. The male Prefect (a boy whose name Harry could never remember, he was something of a non-entity) opened his box and handed an odd rune covered device to their Head of House.
“This is a reader for the Ravenclaw Library; there will be one available for each of you, as you need it. This is one of the advantages of being in Ravenclaw. This device was invented by a class mate of mine, Rupert Mason, Ravenclaw, class of 1903. The Reader displays the text of the books recorded in these crystals.” He accepted a sliver of purple crystal, perhaps six inches long from Penny Clearwater, who then passed out additional crystals of various colors from her box to the Second years to examine. “Over the last 89 years, we have managed to record the images of every book in the Hogwarts Library, including the Restricted Section onto similar crystals. As new texts are added to the Library stacks, they are added to our private library.” The small man’s face took on a serious expression. “Access to the Ravenclaw Library is a privilege. Don’t squander it. It is unlikely that you would need access to the Restricted Section as Second years, but if you should, all access to the Restricted Section is authorized by me, so be prepared to make your case.”
Anthony Goldstein raised his hand. “Professor? Is it possible to submit personal books to the library for archival purposes if nothing else? I know I have several personal volumes that might be useful additions to the House Library.”
“Most generous of you Mr. Goldstein, and yes, if any of you have books that might be useful to the house at large; they can easily be added to the Library. Yes Miss McDougal?”
“Yes Professor, do other houses have similar Libraries?”
“I don’t believe that they do. If my belief is correct then this is purely their by own choice. The original invention of the Reader was publicly made, if none of the other houses chose to make use of it, well that is their choice. Any other questions?”
Seeing that they were none, Flitwick continued.
“The second part of the meeting is to discuss your OWL projects. As some of you may already know part of your OWL grade is a project using at least three of the disciplines you are studying here at Hogwarts. The object of the project is for you individually or in teams to produce an original work by the end of your fifth year. Using my friend Rupert as an example for his OWL project he produced a working prototype of his reader, using runes, arithmancy, transfiguration and more than a few charms. His prototype was the size of a sofa, but it worked. He continued with the project for his NEWT Project and the result is the device you now see.”
Su Li raised her hand. “Professor, you mentioned teams?”
“Yes.” Flitwick nodded. “You may work on your project alone or in teams of any number; teams in the past have even crossed house lines, though I don’t believe any currently underway do. If you do work in teams, the project logs must reflect each members efforts and each member must be able to explain every step of every process in use.”
Hermione’s competitive side was getting away from her. “Professor, how is the project scored?”
“The exact scoring criteria is outlined in the handout Miss Clearwater is passing out now, but among the scoring elements are individual knowledge of the processes of the project, melding at least three different disciplines into the project, and the general usefulness of the end product. The high score from last year’s OWL projects was a self reading tea cup. I’m not the biggest fan of Divination, but I was quite impressed with that project, the young Witch involved was rather ingenious in her approach. As with anything of this type scoring can be somewhat subjective. In the four hundred or so years that the Project has existed, there has been a single perfect score, that being the team of Severus Snape your Potions Master, Remus Lupin the current Defense Against the Dark Arts Instructor, and Mr. Stark’s birth mother, Lily Evans, in 1976. Their project was a work of theory as to the workings of mind magics and artificial means of guarding one’s mind. That was truly a brilliant piece of work. It’s a pity the team fell apart and they were not capable of working to bring their project to a practical completion as part of their NEWT project.”
The small man looked at the faces of his students. “Bear in mind that the object of the project is to have you integrate your class work into practical experience. It is possible to achieve an O on a project that fails utterly as long as your methodology is sound and your documentation reflects what went wrong. It is also possible for your project to work exactly right and for you to receive a lower grade if for example you took short cuts in getting to where you are going or if a single person of a team does the majority of the work. You should also bear in mind that working in a team has its advantages and disadvantages and plan accordingly.”
“I will be expecting your preliminary outlines of your proposed projects to be submitted to me by the first of November for approval with the final outline submitted upon the return from the Christmas hols. Your outlines can be changed over the next two years to refine your project objectives, but the final outline will be set for grading purposes as of November first of your fourth year. Any more questions for me?”
The meeting carried on for another twenty minutes as the assembled second years peppered they Head of House with questions. It was only after Flitwick had left and Hermione was happily chattering away with her plans for her project that Padma realized that Harry had been sitting quietly through Flitwick’s entire presentation, and was even now sitting turning one of the library crystals over and over in his hands, while staring deeply into its facets.
August 12, 1991:
New York City
Stark International Corporate Headquarters:
Tony Stark looked up from his workstation. For Pepper to just walk into his office without calling first on the intercom meant one of two things, either he had done something stupid and she was going to chastise him for it, or there was someone in the outer office that she needed to tell him about, but didn’t want to be over heard.
Tony rapidly ran through the list of stupid things he had done lately that would anger Pepper, and couldn’t think of any she could possibly know about. That meant a visitor.
“What’s up Pep?”
“There’s a man here wanting to speak to you about Harry.”
“He says his name is Albus Dumbledore and he is the Headmaster of a British School called Hogwarts.” She looked torn for a moment. “Tony, he’s… odd. He looks like an anorexic Santa Claus who dresses like a color blind Victorian dandy.”
Stark raised an eyebrow at that. Turning to his workstation, he accessed the building security system, putting the security camera for Pepper’s office on one of the screens. Sitting in the waiting area was a very old man, with a white beard that fell below his belt line. Pepper’s suggestion of a Victorian dandy was very accurate; the man was dressed in a suit that went out of fashion in the 1880s, complete with an old fashioned high domed derby hat. She was right about the man evidently being color blind as well. The suit and hat were an odd electric orange, while the man’s shirt collar was a blinding chromium yellow, the ensemble was completed by a day glow green cravat.
“So he wants to speak to me about Harry?”
“Yes.” Pepper said. “He doesn’t have an appointment, so I offered to fit him in tomorrow.” She hesitated. That immediately caught Tony’s attention. Pepper never hesitated. “He told me that he couldn’t wait, that his time was limited. Tony, I think he did something to me.”
“What do you mean?”
“He looked me in the eye as I was trying to politely tell him to take a hike, and suddenly I needed to let him in.”
Stark’s mouth set into a thin line. Mind games. Some old man comes into my office and tries to play mind games with Pepper? That son of a…
On the screen the old man suddenly seemed to notice the camera, which was a neat trick as the camera was build into the overhead lighting fixture. Tony watched as the old man’s eyes focused on the camera’s lens, then seemed to concentrate, then the display rippled, and the camera failed. Stark’s mouth went dry. He recognized that failure. He’d seen it many times from systems monitoring Harry.
A few keystrokes brought the magic hardened security systems on line, including the offensive systems.
“Show the gentleman in Pep. Dumblebore was it?”
“Dumbledore.” She corrected.
“Dumbledore, right. Show him in.” He started the recording system for his office. “And call Jarvis; have him put the estate into lockdown.”
Remus Lupin watched as the door closed behind Harry Potter… No, not Potter, Harry Stark. He had asked the boy to remain after class so that he might reintroduce himself to the only child of the Marauders. The boy had listened politely to his stories of James and Lily, but there was something about the look in the boy’s eyes that suggested a silent long suffering disconnect. The sort of look a polite child offers to an adult who goes on and on telling stories that the child has no interest in.
Despite Sirius’ warnings, Remus had half expected Harry to remember his ‘Unca Mooie’ and to launch himself into the older man’s arms like he had done so long ago. But of course that unrealistic, more than a decade had passed. The boy had no memories of the time before his parents were lost.
Still, Remus mused, he was near Harry. He could see James and Lily in the boy’s every move, every expression. It hurt a bit, showing Remus what he had lost, but at the same time, it was a glorious reminder that life goes on.
The Werewolf packed his notes away into his valise and exited his classroom heading for the Professors Quarters. Actually being able to enter this part of the castle still gave him a bit of a tingle. Despite multiple attempts the Marauders had never managed to get into the Professors Quarters. The wards were just too good. Too bad really, they had planned some truly memorable pranks. Of course he was above all that now…
His classes were going well. Harry’s class was the last of his series; he had been amazed at how many of his classmates had seemingly been reborn in their children. Neville Longbottom was the image of Frank, and every time Susan Bones spoke, Remus could hear her father Edgar’s voice.
Was it healthy to define so much of himself in relation with the past?
“Neville, am I a bad person?”
Neville Longbottom watched as Harry tossed a stone into the lake causing it to skip across the surface until it was caught by a tentacle. He and Harry had been playing this game with the Squid for almost fifteen minutes. Several of the upper years had claimed that the Squid was intelligent. Neville was beginning to believe it.
“Probably, most of us are on occasion. What brought this up?”
Harry leaped into the air to snag the stone thrown back to him. “Professor Lupin kept me after DADA to tell me he had been a friend of my birth parents, and told me a few stories about them. Before he let me go he told me that I could come to him anytime to learn more about them.”
Neville shrugged. “The Potters were a popular family, your birth Dad and Mum especially. If you want stories about them, my Gran could tell you a few; James and Lily were close with my Mum and Dad and were over at our estate all the time. Hell, Gran tells me you and I played together quite a bit before…”
“Yeah, before. No, what is bothering me is…” Harry hesitated. “I don’t really care about James and Lily Potter. I mean I’ve got no memories of them at all, when people tell me about them, it’s like hearing about ancestors instead of parents, you know? I’ve been shown pictures of them. Lily is pretty, and from what people tell me really smart, and James sort of looks like me, except he wears glasses. I used to, but Dad got my eyes fixed. I just don’t feel a…. a connection to them. I mean I’ve got my Dad, and I’ve got Pepper, and Happy and Jarvis and Rhodey…”
“I can sort of understand that.” Neville said. “I at least know my parents, even if they don’t know me. I used to really feel sorry for myself over that, then we met, and it all got put into perspective.”
“I’m not complaining Nev, really I’m not. I’m just bothered that I’m not bothered, you know? I think I’m SUPPOSED to care about the Potters, but I don’t, not really. I’ve got a great life that I wouldn’t trade for the world, you know?”
“Harry, I think the fact that you feel bad about not feeling bad says it all. You’re not a bad person. You’re just weird.”
“Oh, that makes me feel so much better.” Harry jumped to try for the next stone in from the Squid, but it sailed over his outstretched fingers. He turned and ran off to retrieve it.
Neville tossed his stone onto the surface of the lake managing four skips before the giant squid snatched the rock out of the air and threw it back.
“So,” Harry said returning from retrieving the Squid’s over throw. “Any thoughts on what you’re going to do for your OWL project?”
“No, not really.” Neville heaved another stone. “Something plant related probably, preferably something as unrelated to potions as possible.”
Harry grinned. Neville’s potion prowess or lack thereof, was near legendary. “Flitwick said that cross house teams were allowed. Wanna recruit a ‘Puff and a Snake and shake things up? I’m pretty sure either Susan or Hannah would be onboard, and we could try for that Daphne girl you’re always staring at.”
“Yeah, I’d get a lot done staring at her chest and drooling like an idiot.”
Harry grinned wider. Daphne Greengrass was the first of their cohort to ‘develop’… Neville hadn’t been the only one staring. “There’s a project: The Effect of Female Development on Male Salivary Glands and Generalized IQ. We’d fail horribly, but what a way to go.”
Neville punched Harry in the shoulder. “Prat.” He said, trying not to laugh. Then the blond Gryffindor sobered. “I don’t know if I’d be all that comfortable in a team Harry. On my own, I’d only worry about letting me down; I wouldn’t want anyone depending on me.”
Seeing that Neville was as bored tossing rocks to the Squid as he was, Harry heaved a pair of large Naval Oranges out to the creature. During Hermione’s Pirate Adventure Birthday the previous year Harry had discovered the Squid loved oranges. “You always sell yourself short Nev. You’re as good as anyone and better than a lot of the people around here.” He bumped shoulders with his friend.
“Yeah right. Thanks Harry, but I really think I’ll try it on my own.”
“Ain’t we a pair? Ok. I guess I could go for a cute Gryffie… Padma would be pissed if I went after Parvati, Lavender is getting there… Me and three witches… It don’t get any better than that.”
“If you team with anyone you’re going to team with Padma and Hermione and you know it. They’ll keep you in line Mr. Ladies Man.”
“Sadly, you’re probably right.” Harry sighed. “Ah, cruel fate.”
Neville bumped him again. “Harry you’re pathetic”
“Ah, you’ve learned my secrets!” Harry grinned. “That reminds me, my Dad said that I could have a friend over next summer, so I was wondering, would you like to come over to visit me for a few weeks this summer? I’ve got some buddies would want to meet an honest to god English Wizard.”
Neville gave Harry an odd look. “You’re English, technically. Sort of.” He pointed out. “Also a wizard.”
‘Ah, I don’t count. They’ve seen me. I figured that you’d need some lead time to sell the idea to your grandmother, so I thought I’d ask now.”
“I’d love to Harry. I’ll ask Gran to start thinking about it. Would you like to spend some time with us at Longbottom Hall?”
“I think I can talk Dad into an even swap… Assuming of course I make it all the way through this school year.”
“Yeah, assuming that.