Disclaimer: I own nothing. All Harry Potter characters, settings, and situations are the property of Ms. JK Rowling. The following work of literary insanity does belong to me, though. And I’m proud of it, I tell you! Proud!
Five bloody years.
Standing on the sidewalk across the London street from a virtually unchanged pub called The Leaky Cauldron, a young man who now knew himself to be Harry Potter marveled inwardly over how long it’d been. A whole half-decade from the very anniversary, when the Boy-Who-Lived finally had enough.
Back then, Harry thought life couldn’t possibly get worse, what with the horrible consequences of the battle at the Department of Mysteries: Sirius falling through the Veil, Voldemort back again, and most of his friends recovering from their own injuries after fighting at his side. Except he’d been totally wrong, with yet another ghastly bit of bad news being regretfully told to him by Headmaster Albus Dumbledore in this ancient wizard’s Hogwarts office. Basically, all because of some stupid prophecy, Harry James Potter was fated to battle a Dark Lord vastly more powerful and experienced at magic than him, and it’d all end with either the most formidable evildoer in the wizarding world or
an untrained, amateur fifteen year old wand-wielder losing this vital confrontation.
Losing, as in getting killed. Gee, what were the odds regarding exactly whom this would happen to, unquestionably as painfully as possible?
After wrecking Dumbledore’s office in his display of magical rage, Harry stormed out of that place, ignoring the older wizard’s pleas after him to calm down. Like hell he would calm down! For the last couple of years, it’d been just Harry and one or two friends against that berk who’d killed his mum and dad. During this, the rest of the bloody wizards and witches making up the whole sodding British magical sheeple mainly considered their so-called savior to be a young Dark Lord, a fame-obsessed attention seeker, and a potential enemy of the corrupt politicians running the Ministry of Magic. Often all three at the same time, to boot.
Harry Potter was still supposed to die for them?
Piss on that. Gryffindors might have the reputation for running into danger, but this was completely different from a predetermined, one-sided suicide pact! Maybe he really should
have become a Slytherin, like the Sorting Hat had suggested in his first year here. Judging by their history, those cunning and sneaky members of that Hogwarts House would’ve strolled onto the battlefield well after everyone had slaughtered each other, looted the bodies, and sold off the land as ‘properly-manured’ fields ready for planting crops guaranteed to flourish from the numerous corpses buried there.
Anyway, enough was enough! In his state of blind fury, Harry called for Dobby in the castle corridor, and he ordered this ecstatic little house-elf to apparate them out of Hogwarts. Where? Why, to the one place where he’d been treated in an absolutely businesslike manner, unlike elsewhere in the whole lunatic wizarding world. Which just happened to be Gringotts, the goblin bank.
There, Harry’s already boiling temper reached superhuman levels of sheer ire at learning from his unearthly accounts manager several little details that a certain bearded arsehole never got around to telling the teenage boy. Namely, after surviving the Triwizard Tournament last year, Harry had become an adult in the eyes of magical society, and he could’ve freely lived away from Hogwarts wherever he pleased, far from the Dursleys and possibly with Sirius. Not to mention this same achievement of attaining early adulthood had also opened for Harry the main Potter family vault, and he was rich, rich, rich!
That did it. In a very calm voice, Harry asked a wary Griphook if Gringotts could transfer his entire account into a muggle bank. When the shocked goblin asked what their client was planning, Harry declared he was renouncing the wizarding world. He’d damned well had his fill of betrayals from the people supposed to be protecting and supporting him. No more, not ever. They could one and all deal with Voldemort completely on their own. Harry was leaving the country, getting away as far as possible, and staying away from any more involvement with wizards and witches.
Griphook stared in alarm at the human steadily looking back at the bank employee seated at his office desk and inwardly dreading the prospect of telling his superiors about losing one of their biggest depositors. After several moments of desperate thought, the goblin offered a different option for Harry. These underground-dwelling creatures had their own, special kind of magic, and for a sizable fee plus keeping the rest of his funds at Gringotts, they could place upon him a very singular type of spell to give him a completely new life. This spell would allow Harry to conceal himself from any of his former friends and enemies (who most definitely would both be looking for him) by shielding the teenager from any possible magical search. It would also subtly change his physical appearance to make him unrecognizable by muggle means of identification.
However, there were three major drawbacks to this rarely-used spell. For one thing, it would completely suppress Harry’s magic. He’d be nothing more than a muggle, which was why on the rare occasions this same opportunity had been offered to human wizards and witches, those people had all and sundry shudderingly refused such a horrific choice. Ironically, this would help Harry stay hidden, since nobody in the wizarding world would ever dream he’d in fact chosen this, given the other drawbacks of the spell.
Harry would also lose any memories of his history in magical Britain, up to the very fact he himself was a wizard. Skilled goblin legilimencers would obscure those recollections, making Harry think he’d lived a normal existence like the rest of the magic-lacking world. Griphook told his intent listener it’d be best if Harry kept as much as possible of his past muggle experiences, since it would make it easier for him in his new life. They’d still be altered a trifle to keep any searcher from tracing him by these recollections.
Finally, that same life would last for a good while. At the discretion of the wizard accepting the spell, it could take up his entire lifetime, even to their deathbed. Of course, there were shorter alternatives, but not all that many. For various reasons, the very minimum the spell could be cast until it finally wore off was five years--
“I’ll take it,” briskly announced Harry to an astonished Griphook.
A day later, Harry Palmer, a very wealthy young Englishman newly emancipated from his disgusting Thursleigh relatives, showed his just-issued passport to the customs officer at Kennedy International Airport at New York City. When incuriously asked if he was here for business or pleasure at the United States, Harry happily replied to the apathetic bureaucrat, “Oh, pleasure, of course! I’m definitely going to enjoy my vacation here for a long, long time!”