Summary: When Bella Potter meets Death, she takes him up on his offer to be placed in a parallel universe. She wakes up to find herself in the Godric's Hollow graveyard, on October 31st, 1981. Her mission now is to save and protect Harry, and give him the life that she never had. Simple, right? It's only once she's all in that she realises that universe hopping isn't all that easy as it sounds. Especially with a certain doglike man annoying her. fem!HarryxSirius
Warnings: Fem!Harry. Crude language. Will have sexual situations in the future. Rating will most probably go up from a T to an M.
Disclaimer: JK Rowling owns Harry Potter & co. I make no money out of this. This disclaimer is applicable to all future chapters.
Cover image: The cover image is based on a picture called 'Girl Harry Potter' by milky0candy. Used with permission. Check out their profile on DeviantArt . com.
THREADS OF TIME
"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world."
~ C. S. Lewis ~
Bella opens her eyes, to find that she is looking up at the sky. She can see the stars, twinkling. Slowly, she becomes aware of the cold hard ground under her, and that's when her olfactory senses kick in. She can feel the stench of residual Dark Magic that has just occurred. Somehow, she knows where she is.
And if she knows her rather witty friend Death, she knows which time He has sent her to. She groans and stands up, to see that she is indeed in Godric's Hollow. In fact, she's in the graveyard, at the spot where her parents will soon be buried. Death's irony is not lost on her.
She looks down to see what she has. What tools are at her disposal? She has the Elder Wand in her wand holster. She has the Invisibility cloak draped around her shoulders. She can't find the Resurrection Stone anywhere on her, but she decides it doesn't matter. After all, of what use is the Stone?
She stuffs the cloak into the inner pocket of her robe, surprised that it actually fits in. She looks around to get a sense of the directions, and then just decides to follow the smell.
She starts running to the Potters' house. Her house, in a parallel dimension. She stops running only when she comes to the wreckage. The wooden gates are charred and the door is hanging off its hinges. She enters warily.
At the bottom of the staircase she encounters her dead father's body, and her throat closes. His glassy stare makes her want to cry. The first time in her living memory that she sees him, and he's dead. She kneels on the ground and does what she did to Dobby a lifetime back. She closes his eyes, and then kisses him on the forehead.
She walks up the staircase, knowing what she will encounter now. The smell of Dark Magic is the strongest from the room on her right, and she follows the smell. She isn't surprised to find that this whole side of the house is missing a wall. The ceiling has caved in, and she can hear the softest of sniffles.
She walks boldly into the room, keeping her eyes open despite her urge to close her eyes and bawl like a baby. She has to be strong. She sees the baby crying in the crib, its green eyes wide, tears streaming down its face. There's a nasty scar on its forehead, and she quashes down the urge to pick up the baby and comfort it. Instead, she looks down and sees her mother, her dead mother, lying spread-eagled on the floor.
She kneels down next to her, and touches her mother's face, to find that it is wet. Her face is still warm. Bella brushes the fiery red hair of the woman in front of her, and smiles sadly as she feels the tears roll down her own cheeks.
"Thank you for saving me in not just this life but in my own as well, mum," she says softly, her voice shaking. Her green eyes stare at the dead green eyes in front of her, and she breaks down. "Mother, mama, mum, mom, mommy, marmee," she calls out, a bittersweet smile on her face. "You have no idea how long I've wanted to use those words."
The baby starts crying loudly, and Bella knows that it is time to leave. She closes her mother's eyes, just the way she closed her father's eyes, and kisses the cooling body on the forehead. She then stands up and walks over to the cradle, to pick up the baby. Automatically, the baby's hands raise, and Bella picks it up.
She kisses the baby's forehead and smiles down at the green eyes which stare back at her, without blinking. "I'll look after you, love. You're safe now."
She walks out of the door, closing the baby's eyes when they cross their dead father's body. Once out of the ruins of the house, she dabs at the baby's forehead with the sleeve of her robe. The baby winces and wriggles in her arms. She decides against using an Epiksey, as she doesn't know how babies react to magic. She protectively cradles the baby between her arms, and Apparates to the gates of Hogwarts.
She is surprised that no one has stopped her, yet. She makes her way to the gargoyle and starts guessing sweets at random. The gargoyle looks down at her, disapprovingly. She hits jackpot when she says lemon-drop, because the gargoyle springs aside and lets her go past.
The door opens before she can even knock and her eyes meet the twinkling eyes of Albus Dumbledore, a man she thought she would never see again. The baby shifts its head in her arms.
"I knew there was a visitor on campus, but since I couldn't find any malicious intent when you passed through the wards, I decided that you were here, most likely, to meet me."
Bella nods, before taking the seat that he gestures her towards.
"Professor Dumbledore, I have a story to tell, that I hope you will believe. The fate of this world rests upon your faith in my story. I do not mind taking Veritaserum to prove its authenticity."
Dumbledore leans back in his chair, crossing his arms. The twinkling in his eyes diminish as he nods his head.
"Please continue, Ms. -" he pauses.
His eyes widen slightly, and she grimaces.
"Shall I begin, Headmaster?"
The baby makes a sound, and she smoothens its unruly hair. She doesn't know why her parents have kept the baby's hair so short. Shouldn't girls have long hair?
"My name is Isobel Lily Potter. I was born on July 31st, 1980. My parents were Lily Rose Evans and James Charlus Potter. A few months before I was born, a prophecy was made, which stated that I would be the one to vanquish the one known as the Dark Lord. The Dark Lord, Voldemort learnt of just the first two lines of the prophecy from a Death Eater who overheard it being made, and decided to kill me. Because of this, my parents went into hiding along with me, making one of their friends the Secret-keeper. But at the last minute, they switched Secret-keepers. The new Secret-keeper betrayed my parents to Voldemort, and on October 31st, 1981, the Dark Lord visited Godric's Hollow, where I lived as a child with my parents.
"My trusting father didn't even have a chance against Voldemort, for he did not have his wand on him. Voldemort killed him, and moved upstairs to my room, where my mother was protecting me. She pleaded with him to not kill me, but he refused. Ultimately, she sacrificed herself for me, invoking the ancient magick of love. Voldemort next turned his wand upon me and cast the killing curse. However, the curse rebounded, and it hit him. Everyone thought him to be destroyed and dead. The place where the curse hit me left a scar on my forehead."
She brushes her hair aside to show her scar. The old man seems to have aged greatly, just hearing the beginning of the story. His eyes travel to the baby she is holding, where a similar lightning shaped scar is on its head. For some reason, the baby feels like a 'he', not a 'she'.
She continues her tale.
"Soon I was rescued by the Gamekeeper of Hogwarts, Rubeus Hagrid, and upon the Headmaster's commands, was left with my Muggle aunt and uncle. To say they treated me terribly would be an understatement. They kept me locked up in a cupboard under a staircase for most of my life.
"On my eleventh birthday, I found out from Hagrid that I was a witch. I learnt of my true identity then. I shall try to be as brief as possible, as time is of essence. I was sorted into Gryffindor, and you returned my cloak to me. Needless to say, Voldemort wasn't dead. He made his first attempt to come back in my First Year by sharing the body of a Professor. I managed to get rid of him once again, because of my mother's blood that ran in my veins.
"In the Second Year, he returned, in a way, as Tom Riddle. He'd left behind the memories of his sixteen year old self in a diary. That diary fell into the hands of a naive friend of mine. The diary possessed her and let loose the same monster that petrified Hogwarts students forty years back. I managed to destroy the diary, almost dying in the process.
"Come my third year, a supposed mass murderer escaped from Azkaban. That was the year when I started learning about the past. My past. This supposed mass murderer who also betrayed my parents was apparently my Godfather, Sirius Black. The rumour was that he was out to kill me. But I soon found out that he actually escaped prison to kill the real traitor, Peter Pettigrew. Pettigrew was the real Secret-keeper. After my parents' death, he had framed Sirius and faked his own death. When Sirius realised that Peter was hiding at Hogwarts in his Animagus form, posing a risk to my life, he broke out.
"With the help of Remus Lupin, who was the DADA Professor at Hogwarts at that time, Sirius managed to catch Peter and convince me of his innocence. You too were convinced of his innocence. However, before anything could be done, Peter turned into in a rat and escaped. So Sirius was forced to go into hiding.
"The Triwizard Tournament was held in my Fourth Year, and somehow, I was chosen as a fourth champion, despite you placing an age limit. All through that year, I had nightmares of Voldemort killing people. I knew that he was making an attempt on my life once again. The third task was a trap, and a fellow Hogwarts student and I were Portkeyed to a graveyard. The other student was killed almost immediately, and using my blood, Pettigrew resurrected Voldemort. That was the start of the Second War. I duelled him and a phenomenon called Priori Incantetum occurred, spinning a golden web around us. When I escaped and told the story, very few people believed me. If it is of any comfort, you believed my story. The Prime Minister denied everything.
"Voldemort had help from inside the school. Mad-Eye Moody, the DADA professor, was an impostor. The real Moody was tied up and left alone in a trunk. A Death Eater, Barty Crouch Jr., was using Polyjuice. Fudge, the Minister, had him Kissed immediately, in order to prevent the truth from coming out.
"The next year, you restarted the Order of the Phoenix, and Sirius lent you his home to use as headquarters. The Ministry interfered with Hogwarts and I started learning Occlumency lessons from Severus Snape, the very same man who overheard the prophecy. He was the Potions teacher. In order to get the prophecy from the Department of Ministry, Voldemort baited me, planting a false image of a hurt Sirius in my head through the connection. My friends and I broke into the Ministry and we duelled the Death Eaters. Soon, the Order members joined us and all of us fought side-by-side. Sirius died in the process, as he fell through the Veil. Finally, as the battle progressed to the higher levels, Fudge and the other ministers saw the duel between you and Voldemort after he tried to possess me. Finally, the public began to believe the story.
"In my Sixth Year, you started giving me private lessons, now that I knew the contents of the prophecy. Voldemort created certain objects, that anchored him to the mortal world, thereby rendering him immortal. The diary had been one of the anchors. You managed to destroy another anchor all by yourself. Finally, we set off in search of one more anchor. We were working under the belief that he made seven such anchors."
She pauses here, and looks at him uncomfortably. The baby in the mean time has managed to clutch her hair as it sleeps. Its little fist holding her dark hair makes her heart flutter. The baby looks so cute.
"Sir, the next part might be slightly disturbing to hear," she says.
Dubmledore nods his head. He seems much older without the twinkle in his eyes.
"I'm afraid that your story had already deeply disturbed me, Ms. Potter. It doesn't make sense to take into account this old man's comfort level."
"You were killed when we returned to the castle. Voldemort had commissioned a student to do it, but the boy had never wanted to be a Death Eater. He was simply being punished for his father's mistakes. So Snape stepped in, and killed you. No one else died in the battle that night, but everyone knew that Hogwarts was no longer safe from Voldemort.
"My friends and I decided to complete the mission you left us behind with. The anchor that the two of us retrieved proved to be a fake. While Voldemort wreaked havoc on the wizarding public, and Snape became the Headmaster, we found the real anchor, destroyed it, and managed to find most of the other anchors as well. Through my link with him, I knew that he knew the anchors were disappearing, and that one of the last ones was hidden at Hogwarts. Hence began the Battle of Hogwarts. We managed to destroy the one at Hogwarts and that is when I realised that I was the seventh unintentional anchor he created.
"You see, Snape proved to be a spy who worked for you all along, ever since Voldemort killed the woman he loved, my mother. Just before he died, he gave me his memories, in which I saw that you had already planned your death with him, so as to ensure that that innocent student's soul wouldn't be split. You also ensured that he was the only other person who knew that I had to sacrifice myself for the greater good. And though I thought I would be angry with you, I was surprised to learn that I actually empathised with you.
"I sacrificed myself, hoping that I could invoke the same magick that my mother invoked. But despite dying once, I came back alive. I spoke to Death Himself, and he explained that I had to go back. I met you as well, and you explained a lot of things, stressing on the importance of my going back. While I pretended to be dead, a friend of mine killed the last anchor, which was Voldemort's familiar, thus rendering Voldemort mortal. At this point of time, I re-entered the battle, much to everyone's surprise.
"Unfortunately, my sacrifice did not work as my blood ran in Voldemort's veins as well, thereby protecting his Death Eaters through their Dark Marks. That is when I understood the meaning of a particular line in the prophecy. 'Neither can live while the other survives' did not refer to me and Voldemort. It referred to the Dark and Light sides. Soon, people on both sides were dead, and Riddle and I were the only ones left fighting. He cast the killing curse at me one last time, using the Elder Wand. However he failed to take into account the fact that the wand's allegiance was to me. The curse rebounded, and the wand came into my hands.
"What I've failed to mention to you was that I was the owner of all three Deathly Hallows. I was the Master, or rather Mistress, of Death. And I'm sure I don't have to explain it to you, assuming that here too you were once acquainted with Grindelwald?"
She pauses for his response, shifting the sleeping baby slightly. Her arms are beginning to pain, and she is scared to yank her hair out of the baby's hand, lest it begin to cry.
"I'm well aware of the Deathly Hallows, Ms. Potter. Please do continue."
"As I was saying, Death appeared physically in front of me, now that I had all three items on my body. He congratulated me on finishing that thread of time properly, and gave me two choices. To either live out that completed thread and die normally, thereby allowing me to move on to a new thread as a totally new entity, or to immediately move to a different thread where I would retain my identity and my memories. Seeing as everyone I loved had perished in the battle, I chose the latter option.
"And that is how I found myself at Godric's Hollow tonight, waking up just after Voldemort had killed my parents in this universe as well. It felt like coming out of hibernation, to be honest. The last instructions that Death left behind for me was that I'd have to set right everything that went wrong in my thread. And He said that the fabric of time will allow wrinkles to be smoothened."
Bella finally stops and takes a deep breath. She shifts her arm and wandlessly conjures a goblet of water to drink.
Dumbledore leans back in his chair and closes his eyes. When he opens them, his eyes shine fiercely with determination.
"I believe you, Ms. Potter."
She breathes out a sigh of relief, and then replies with a smile. "Please call me Bella, sir. After seven years of being called Bella by you, Ms. Potter seems too formal."
"Very well, Bella. I believe there are certain things to do now, such as finding out what is different between your thread and this thread. For one, the baby you hold is Harry James Potter."
Bella nearly drops the baby. So she was right! The baby is a 'he'. Belatedly, she realises that she no can longer refer to him as an 'it'.
"Sir, shouldn't we do something about Sirius over-reacting and acting impulsively? Assuming that he was not the Secret-Keeper in this universe."
"That can be easily arranged, Bella."
He sends out a Patronus, asking Sirius to Floo in as soon as possible. He then turns around to ask Bella, "Would you like a cup of tea?"
"You needn't call me Professor, Bella. In this thread, I shall be your mentor and guide, not your Headmaster."
"You'll always be a Professor to me, sir," she replies, smiling slightly. She stands up and starts pacing up and down, gently rocking the baby, Harry.
Harry turns in her arms and twists his hand further through her hair, and she grins at his angelic face, wondering how a small one year old could look so adorable.
The Floo burns green, and Sirius Black steps out. His hair is cut short and he's dressed impeccably. Bella feels her breath hitch. She feels the way that she felt a long time back. She tries to look away, but it's too late, because his blue-grey eyes lock gazes with her own.
"Lily? James? Lily and James?" he asks, confused. Bella turns to face Dumbledore, to find him staring at Sirius contemplatively. Bella decides to not answer.
"Is that Harry in your arms?" he asks, his mannerism changing all of a sudden. He takes a couple of intimidating steps towards her. Immediately, Bella has her pale white wand out, and points it at him. "Where is James? Lily? WHO ARE YOU?"
Harry wakes up in her arms, and she finds it hard to comfort the restless baby when she has her wand out.
"Sirius, stop scaring her. Yes, that is Harry. But I asked you to come here for a totally different reason. Were you the Potters' Secret-keeper?"
Sirius moves away, and he looks at Dumbledore warily. "Oh. Oh no. That bastard." He tries to step into the Floo, but Bella is faster. Sirius is pulled back into the room. She slams him against the chair and has black ropes tied around him in the blink of an eye.
Dumbledore's voice turns gentle. "Voldemort found Lily and James tonight. He murdered them, but couldn't kill Harry. The young lady here found Harry and brought him to me."
"No... NO! It can't be! Remus is the traitor, not Peter. Never Peter. How?" he howls, and Bella feels her heart break. Harry is now awake and squirming eagerly in her arms. He obviously wants to go to his Godfather.
But Bella isn't too quick to trust him. Even if the war feels like a distant memory, she doesn't know if she can trust the man in front of her. This Sirius could very well be a traitor here, just the way this world's Bella was a boy named Harry.
"Tell me, were you the Potters' Secret-Keeper?" Dumbledore asks again.
Sirius looks distraught, but answers. "No, I wasn't. We switched Keepers at the last minute, so that it would be foolproof."
Bella speaks for the first time since Sirius has entered the room. "Swear it on your magic." She flicks her wand and the ropes come loose.
Sirius takes out his wand from an invisible holster on his arm - Bella feels impressed - and holds it up.
"I, Sirius Black, swear on my magic that I never was the Secret-Keeper for Lily and James Potter, so mote it be."
A blue light shines from the end of the wand, and Bella exchanges a look with Dumbledore. He nods his head, and calls out to Fawkes. The bird flies to sit on his shoulder. He raises his hand and wandlessly ties Sirius up again. Sirius struggles, as his wand drops to the floor. Bella summons it to her and tucks it away inside her robe pocket. Sirius scowls at her.
"I have some important work to do now, such as apprehending Peter Pettigrew. Bella, I want you to stay here and keep an eye on Sirius and Harry. I've keyed the wards such that no one other than me can enter or exit the room for now."
Bella nods her head slowly. "Of course, Professor."
Sirius is not so polite. "I should avenge their murders. It is my job! It's my fault they're dead! I suggested the switch!" he yells, but Dumbledore is long gone.
Harry manages to wriggle out of her arms and totters over to Sirius. She sighs and pulls a chair closer to Sirius'.
"Who are you?" he asks almost rudely and all of a sudden, Bella just feels tired. She can feel a weariness in her bones.
"Fuck off," she says eloquently, before she passes out in her chair.
Bella springs up as she feels her wand grow hot against her arm. She's ready to Stupefy people wandlessly, when she realises what is going on. Harry is trying to take her wand, a look of absolute concentration on his face.
She looks up at Sirius, and he looks away.
"Did you just try to get Harry to steal my wand?" she asks him incredulously.
He mutters something under his breath, and she picks up Harry and coos at him. "You shouldn't be such a bad boy listening to Padfoot, Harry," she chastises him gently. He gurgles at her and wriggles in her arms.
She sets him on her lap and takes out her wand. She transfigures the armchair in the corner into a comfortable crib. She transfigures the paper weights from Dumbledore's desk into rattles and sends them flying into the crib. Harry laughs delightedly at the zooming objects.
She picks him up gently and places him inside the crib, where he immediately starts playing with a rattle.
She walks back to her seat and looks at Sirius. He glares at her mutinously. She rolls her eyes. Apparently, Siriuses of all universes are stubborn.
Bella decides that being polite is the best option.
"Mr. Black, is there something I could help you with?" she asks as politely as possible.
"You could let me out," he says, sneering at her.
Bella feels extremely grumpy, but she keeps herself calm. At least, she makes herself look calm externally. Internally, she wants to lock up this man in a different room and then go to sleep.
"I'm afraid I can't do that, Mr. Black. I believe you had some questions you wanted to ask me?" she says, channelising her inner Dumbledore.
"For starters, who the fuck are you?"
Bella bites back a groan. No wonder Snape hated him. This man was rude beyond measure! She decides to tell him the truth about herself, and see how he reacts.
After all, she wants to remain in Harry's life and protect him from everything. And if she wants Sirius to let her be in Harry's life, she will have to be nice to the idiot sitting in front of her.
"You won't believe me if I tell you."
He narrows his eyes, and barks out a bitter laugh. "Who do you think you are? Voldemort in a skirt?"
Bella loses any patience she has with the man in front of her and rolls her eyes. "Yes. I'm Voldemort in a short skirt. I like the colour pink and love diamond jewellery. I make all the Death Eaters proclaim me to be the most beautiful cross dresser they've ever seen." She keeps looking at him expressionlessly.
"Fine, I'm sorry. But you have to understand. My closest friends are dead, and I find you, a stranger, holding a child who is like my own son. I'm upset, and I deserve a break." He looks down at the carpet. His mood swing doesn't faze her in the least.
Bella feels her gaze softening. "It's not your fault, Padfoot," she says, sensing his guilt.
He freezes, before looking up so fast that she thinks he might get whiplash. His voice drops and he asks in a dangerous whisper, "What did you just call me?"
Bella pinches her nose and tries to push back that headache she can feel coming on.
"Ask me all the questions you want, and I'll answer them all honestly. Alright?" she asks, meeting his eyes fully. He blinks.
"Your eyes are like Lily's. But your features are that of James and Dorea's. Your hair is just like James' though. Who are you?"
"My name is Isobel Lily Potter."
Sirius takes in a sharp breath.
She continues, "And my parents were Lily and James Potter."
It doesn't surprise her that Sirius looks ready to pass out.
A.N: Reviews are love. Next update on November 30th, 2015.