Hi everyone! Welcome to A Mishap and an Opportunity! For my new readers, this story is currently undergoing an intense rewrite. So as a warning, the first few chapters may not line up exactly. But I promise you won't be missing much. But as a result, there may be some repetition or an unexplained time skip up through whichever chapter I'm revising at the moment. Please forgive this and bear with me as I try to make this story better than it was. Feel free to give suggestions on the later chapters on how I can improve them.
For my old readers, welcome back! And rest assured: the plot is not going to suffer any major changes in this rewrite, nor will the general sequence of events. There will be some details and the occasional scene omitted from the earlier version, and there will be some new content. I'm striving for greater coherency and cohesion between chapters, as well as connecting to an overarching plot, so let me know how I'm doing. Once again, feel free to give me suggestions for improvement, and tell me if there are any scenes you don't want deleted. If I can manage it, I'll keep them in the main story arc. If not, and if enough people want to keep them, I'll post those scenes as a separate one-shot.
Updates will be sporadic as I get bursts of inspiration, and I don't consistently have access to the Internet. So bear with me. But for today, I'll be uploading the prologue and the first two revised chapters as a special treat. Unfortunately, I won't be posting any brand-new chapters until I'm done with the rewrite, because I'm not sure how the story will turn out by then. But I will be finishing this story. It just might take me a while.
Sorry for the long author's note. On to the story! Please read, review and enjoy!
Finally. Harry yawned and stretched as his last OWL paper flew down the aisle onto the ministry official's desk. After getting in contact with Remus at the beginning of the summer, he'd received some good advice about his studies. Among that advice was to study and take the OWL for any subject that interested him that he hadn't already taken the classes for (and that would actually be useful for his future—unlike Divination). Harry had decided to study Ancient Runes and Arithmancy and take the OWLs through the ministry—an option made available to students who were homeschooled, but were open for other students as well.
As soon as he was dismissed, Harry made his way to the lifts, where he would be meeting Tonks. After meeting her the previous summer and staying in sporadic contact through fifth year, they had become friends. When Harry had informed her of his plans, she had offered to escort him to the Ministry of Magic that morning rather than make him take the Knight Bus. Harry, recalling his unpleasant experience with said bus before third year, gladly accepted.
"Finally done?" Tonks asked as Harry approached.
Harry nodded. "Finally. I hardly even got a summer vacation. Term starts in less than a month!"
"And as much as I approve of furthering your education, I still think you're crazy for wasting your summer studying!" She scolded playfully. Harry shrugged.
"Now you just need to teach me to apparate and I'll be all set for adult life. Right?"
Tonks raised an eyebrow and tapped her nose, winking. "Remus disapproves; you're not old enough."
Harry's scoff was drowned out by the screeching arrival of the lift. "Since when did that stop me from doing anything?"
Tonks shrugged and entered the lift. Harry followed. After a jarring ride down one level, they were both jostled aside by several muttering employees.
"Oy! A little courtesy wouldn't go amiss!" Tonks complained. She was ignored.
"—down to the Department of Mysteries. Damn kids, causing all kinds of mess," one of them was muttering.
"Leastways it's nearly done," another replied. Both were wearing long, dark blue robes with the letters "DoM" embossed over the breast pocket.
"Is there any way I could help?" Harry asked, raising his voice to be heard above the grumbling.
"If you've got a few thousand galleons," came the gruff reply, not even bothering to look at the speaker.
"Who would I talk to if I did?" Harry felt bad about the destruction he and his friends had caused at the end of fifth year. He hadn't given it much thought, but now that there was an opportunity to do something about it, he was going to take it if he could.
"Down to the Unspeakables' office, likely. Someone's always on duty there." The lift jarred to a stop. "This is me," the man added, then he left the lift. His companion followed.
Harry turned to Tonks. "Do you mind? I'd like to try to make up for all the damage I caused."
Tonks shrugged. "I suppose. I've always wanted to see what it looks like down there. Didn't get a good look the first time—you know, imminent danger and all that."
They took the lift down to the bottommost level and, after several wrong turns, found the main desk with a very bored-looking witch sitting behind it wearing the same robes as the men in the lifts. After explaining what they were doing down there, she called for someone to show them around.
After a very firm warning not to touch anything, the middle-aged Unspeakable led them through some of the main rooms to explain some of the damages. Harry grimaced at the damage that was still visible, though from what their escort said, most of the loss was in knowledge as opposed to material items. It was certainly going to be a hefty "donation."
The last room on their tour was the Time Room. Harry vividly recalled the smashed time-turners and the Death Eater whose head had gotten caught in a time loop.
"Don't touch anything," the Unspeakable repeated. "Most everything has been cleaned up, but this room is still extremely volatile." He led them to the far end of the room, where the cabinet that held the time-turners had stood. In its place was a pedestal with a huge, roughly cylindrical object.
Inside, a smoky mass of gold-colored particles swirled aimlessly, occasionally bumping against the glass. It sort of reminded Harry of the prophecy orbs. The random motion was mesmerizing, and in the sand Harry caught glimpses of what he was sure were events long past.
"This is the Era Glass. It's where we extract the dust for time turners. It's a very particular process, as it reacts poorly even to gloved hands. It requires a lot of delicate wand work. It's even more temperamental now that—"
"Don't touch it, Harry!" Tonks shouted, grabbing Harry's wrist. Her voice startled him out of his daze and his hand dropped—onto the Era Glass. His entire body seized as with an electrical current. His hand seemed glued to the glass, like with a portkey. There was a violent yank around his navel—then everything went black.