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Posted November 9, 2005
& June 18, 2008

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Fan Fiction: Third Life's the Charm

Title: Third Life's the Charm

Author: Jedi Buttercup

Disclaimer: The words are mine; the worlds are not. I claim nothing but the plot.

Rating: PG

Summary: HP, SG: Atlantis. Harry Potter may have left the Wizarding World behind, but his life will never be normal. 500+500 words.

Spoilers: Post-series AU for the HP books; General S1 for Atlantis

Notes: A rogue plot bunny ambushed me; I had to get it out of my system. Second part added three years later as a tag for 3.10, "The Return, Part 1"; for ccmom.

Third Life's the Charm

The man who had been Harry Potter stood before a sweep of glass window. Before him, an endless, unEarthly sea spread sparkling below an alien sun, a sight that never failed to fill him with awe. Gating to the Pegasus Galaxy had been like walking into Hogwarts for the first time, a world of wonders beyond his imagining or expectations laid open for him to explore. And even better, though he'd certainly faced dangers in this place as great as any in the Wizarding World, there was no Voldemort, Prophecy, or family legacy here to direct his steps and weigh him down.

It had been surprisingly simple, in the aftermath of the last battle, to walk away from it all. He had no family left to stay for, no friends, and no purpose; everything had been consumed in the Pyrrhic struggle against his nemesis. Staying there with everyone's eyes on him, surrounded entirely by people who cared more about him as a symbol (deified or damned) than as a person, would have been an unending nightmare.

So he'd escaped to America. Wizarding medicine and nutrition had finally overcome the Dursley's ill-treatment to give him his father's height; that, plus a slight change in eye-color, a cosmetic charm to make the scar harder to see, and an experimental Ministry timeturner calibrated to years instead of hours, had been all he'd needed to make himself impossible to find. Starting out had been tough, but after he'd got his GED and eased his way into a career as close to Quidditch as he could find among Muggles, he'd been able to put his wand away and live as if the seven years of his life he'd spent immersed in magic had never happened.

His new life hadn't been perfect. Far from it, in fact. Trouble had followed his steps as insistently in the Muggle world as it had at Hogwarts. But those troubles had all been a normal man's troubles-- and that, for him, had been enough.

Until Atlantis. The lines here were beginning to blur. The year he'd spent hunting and killing Death Eaters, his innate familiarity with the concept of directing the world around him through sheer willpower-- these were aspects of Harry Potter's life he'd never thought would come in handy again. Not to mention being part of a close team again, a level of friendship he hadn't sought since the War had cost him Ron and Hermione.

One of these days he'd slip up in front of the wrong person-- he had his suspicions about Carson's background-- and his secret would be dug up and exposed for public scrutiny. He wasn't looking forward to that. But given everything else? He wouldn't change where he was now, or what had led him to this place, for any price.

The boy who'd lived to become John Sheppard smiled. Rodney was in his lab, Elizabeth in her office, and the Wraith not close enough to threaten. All was right with his world.

Evening the Odds

John didn't know why he hadn't seen this coming. Really, he should have known better; as much as he missed it sometimes, his Aunt hadn't been entirely wrong about magic. The moment it had become a factor in his life again, it had only been a matter of time before everything came crashing down.

He'd only had four years at Hogwarts before the Second Voldemort War had begun systematically destroying everything he'd ever loved; he'd had even less time in Atlantis before Helia had dropped out of the stars and declared her sovereignty as though it were a foregone conclusion.


He hadn't needed to hear the word to understand what the Ancient Captain and her crew were thinking: it was written in every glance, in the tones of their voices. Unclean; unworthy. Had she been a little blonder and more masculine, he might have thought himself three decades in his past, facing a Malfoy.

Never mind that no Ancient had actually lived in Atlantis for millennia: ten thousand years would not suffice. Never mind that it had been their own fault they'd lost the city, that it had been humans who'd given it life again and made it habitable, that John's people had begun to call it home. All the arguments in the world would never convince them that the humans who had succeeded them deserved equal consideration.

And the IOA was just taking it. How long before Helia and her people decided that humanity shouldn't be left in control of the Milky Way, either? How long before they stepped through their Astria Porta, backed by resources and technology Earth couldn't match alone, to kindly show the barbaric Tau'ri how it should be done? When that day came, it would be too late to oppose them.

John had thought long and hard about that as he left Elizabeth's office the night before their scheduled 0800 departure. Life wasn't fair, he'd told her; it was only fairer than death. But there might be something he could do to even the odds, just a little.

"Is it ready?" he asked, slipping into the nearly-bare office where Carson was packing a few last things.

The doctor looked up, blue eyes narrowing shrewdly at the silvery spill of sensor-baffling fabric draped over John's arm. "Aye. Finished brewing three days ago. Planning to use it, then?"

"No time like the present," John said grimly. "It's undetectable, less permanent than most of the other options, and might even encourage them to rethink their attitude a little."

Carson glanced up at the place on John's forehead where the famous lightning bolt lay concealed under glamour, then sighed. "You don't need to justify yourself to me, lad," he said. "It's in there."

John opened the Charmed cabinet and smiled grimly down at the cauldron of extended-release Felix Horribilis.

"Sorry, girl," he said, reaching out to stroke the wall. Then he threw the Cloak over his head and picked up the cauldron.

He had a city to anoint.


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