A/N: Hello, I apologise for disappearing, life came along and decided I needed a good kicking, I've not abandoned my other stories (a few errors aside, Why are you in my house? Is finished) I've had loads of ideas for stories and new chapters but I'm struggling to get them from my brain to the page, this popped into my head a few weeks ago and I publish it now to see what people think and see if there's any interest in it.
Harry paused briefly to catch his breath, he pushed his glasses back up to the bridge of his nose. The crashing of shelves and tinkling of glass orbs rang through the hall, Death Eaters shouted and cursed, the acoustics made it difficult to pinpoint where they might be coming from.
He slipped into the shadows and searched around for any sign of his friends, lights strobed from other rooms making it difficult for his eyes to adjust to the dim light. A hand clamped over his mouth muffling his cry, as he started to mount a retaliation Hermione moved herself into view, she placed a finger over her lips and removed her hand from his mouth.
"I've lost track of Ginny, Luna, Ron and Neville, the Death Eaters doubled back, we need to go now!"
He nodded and took her arm, they crept to the nearest door. Peering inside there was no sign of anyone, light from an unknown source bathed the room in a soft yellow light, he recognised it as the time room. Carefully they crossed the threshold, there were two doors leading out, the brunette had closed her eyes in concentration trying to recall the layout, a bang sounded from their left and rattled the door, they stood still as stone but no one entered.
They made their way to the other door, they were in the middle of the room when the door ahead burst open, two black robed, masked figures entered. Harry and Hermione dived apart and began duelling, he managed to disarm and stun his assailant, he sent a spell towards the other and caught him off balance, Hermione's spell missed its target but hit a Death Eater coming to investigate the noise.
He pulled off his hood and mask, his hands reached for his throat as if he were choking, he staggered into a shelf and slumped to the floor, the large bell jar containing the life cycle of a song bird tumbled down, instead of shattering it enveloped the swarthy man's head. They both watched as his matted black hair receeded and his stubble too, his lined face smoothed and shrank, soon he had the head of a squalling infant, then the whole process reversed and began all over, it was both repulsive and captivating.
He regained conciousness and struggled to his feet, slowly he lurched towards them, Hermione reasoned that they couldn't hurt him as he was a baby more often than not, as they argued the other door opened, time seemed to slow as they wheeled around to face the newcomer, the stunning spell hit Harry in the chest and blasted him across the room. The cabinet of time turners exploded and splintered as his body hit it, the young witch cast her own spell and the black robe figure crumpled, she approached cautiously and kicked his wand away before she moved towards her fallen friend.
The sands of the time turners hung in the air like dust motes, Harry was covered in a glittering layer, as she approached, the particles shone like the sun and as the light faded and she recovered from temporary blindness, Harry was gone.
He woke with a start, pain radiated along every inch of his body, he gingerly felt his head, beneath a sticky clump of hair there was a lump, he tried to sit up and dry heaved as a wave of nausea washed over him. His mouth was parched and his tongue felt too big for his mouth. The room was pitch black, so dark that he couldn't make out anything, he crawled forward and cursed as he collided with a piece of furniture.
The effort of pulling himself up to his feet made his stomach roll, whatever he was propped up on ran a long way in either direction, now he was upright he could see a faint light shining under a door.
Slowly he limped towards the light source, his breath came ragged as fresh aches and pains made themselves known. He reached the door and fumbled for the handle, as the door swung open a deafening alarm blared, the lights came on mercilessly bright, he cried out and fell to his knees, jarring them on the hard floor before curling up into a ball and pressing his hands hard over his ears. Eventually the sound stopped but his ears still hurt from it, he heard voices approaching, friend or foe, he had no idea and wasn't in a position to do anything to defend himself. A gruff voice cut clear and he could make out that there were two men.
"It's probably just a false alarm Nobby, I didn't need to be dragged here at this hour"
"Minister Leach while we are conducting ministry business Cygnus"
"Bugger formality Nobby, I've known you long before you took office, now lets see what a huge waste of time this is and maybe I can go home"
The door opened and both men exclaimed, one set of footsteps swiftly crossed the room, a shadow passed over his face and firm hands carefully moved him onto his back.
"Who in Merlin's name is that?"
"No idea, this child couldn't have broken in here"
The silently cast spell hit him unaware and he couldn't hold in the shout of pain, he lay stiff as a board with his arms and legs pinned tightly together
"Let's throw him in a cell and deal with him later"
"Not yet, what's your name lad?"
No sound came, a dry tongue licked dry lips to no avail, a strong hand supported his head and the voice summoned a glass of water, he sucked greedily as the cool liquid entered his mouth, he drank too fast, he coughed and spluttered but managed to find his voice
"Well Harry, can you please tell the minister and myself how you came to be in my office in the dead of night?"
"Cygnus, there is a lot of magical residue here, it's setting my teeth on edge"
"There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with him, he's a little banged and bruised, he's bleeding a little, check it Nobby"
A warmth flowed across his body and then it passed
"He's a pure blood, maybe half blood, this isn't an accurate test, either way he tested positive"
The water returned to his mouth and this time he sipped cautiously, he felt better, the glare wasn't burning into his eyes anymore, he blinked several times and looked at the men, the one called Nobby was a tall man with an athletic build, age had softened him somewhat, he had a salt and pepper beard and a shock of mousey brown hair. Cygnus was also a tall man, jet black hair and a neatly styled goatee, he had strong chisled features, he was tall and stocky but well proportioned, he would probably be referred to as handsome.
"What year is this?"
"The lad must have hit his head pretty hard" Nobby chuckled, the sound hurt his head
"It's 1971, what is your last name?"
His mind reeled, he must have misheard, how could it even be possible? He recalled the conversation he'd had with Hermione and Dumbledore during his third year, and he was certain going so far back in time was just not possible, a course voice cut through his stupor
A question had been asked of him but he couldn't remember hearing it, too preoccupied after learning the year, with an air of impatience Cygnus repeated himself
"Your last name?"
"Um, it's P-Potter"
"There are a few notable Potters, but I don't think any of them have a son called Harry"
"Do you have any family here?"
"Don't forget there was a huge magical event in this room, apparation gone awry perhaps, the magical accident reversal squad have been called out to more than I can count, what shall we do with him?"
Harry tracked Cygnus with his eyes, the man stood and paced, he took out his wand and began muttering. After a few moments he stopped and looked him right in the eye.
"I'll take him home Nobby, the boy needs rest and we can worry about the rest later"
"If you're sure Cygnus, it'd definitely save on the paperwork" he chuckled to himself
The Minister drew himself up to his full height and bounced on the balls of his feet, he took out his wand and waved it in a complex pattern. Harry's own wand clattered to the ground as he was hoisted up onto his feet, he bent to retrieve it and swayed precariously once he was upright again, a firm hand on his shoulder steadied him. The men exchanged farewells and moments later he felt the uncomfortable squeeze of side along apparition. They landed on a perfectly manicured lawn, light spilled from a few windows, it gave only the slightest hint as to the size of the building before him.
Harry had a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach, he knew exactly where he was even though he'd never set foot here, as to why he'd been brought here, of that he had no clue.
"Sir, where are we and why have you brought me here?"
Cygnus was only a few steps ahead and striding purposely towards the doorway, he stopped and turned back to regard him.
"Would you rather I put you in a cell? Breaking into the Ministry of magic is a serious offense and Azkaban is no place for a youngster. Tell me how you came to be at the ministry, I know you know"
"I was trying to help a friend and there was an accident with the time-turners, I don't know anything more"
Harry couldn't quite meet the man's steely gaze but he merely nodded before he spoke
"There aren't any time-turners at the ministry, not yet, which can mean one thing, I made the right choice bringing you with me, you will not utter a word to anyone about where you came from, you are a distant relative of Charlus and Dorea Potter, do you understand?"
He just nodded, satisfied, Cygnus turned and strode towards the imposing building. Dawn was breaking behind the mountains in the distance, black faded to deep purple to blue and birds had taken up in a great chorus. The manor was a huge, as impressive as it was intimidating, it had towers, gothic in design, gargoyles squatted and cast their stony gaze in every direction. He jumped as a voice barked his name and the sound echoed, he walked towards the door at pace and jogged the last hundred metres.
A heavy hand grasped his shoulder and ushered him into the entrance hall, it was huge and opulent, all he could do was stand there and gape. A door closing somewhere on the upper levels broke the silence followed by footsteps growing louder by the second. A woman's voice hailed her husband, a tall woman, dressed tastefully in flowing black silk, stood at the top of the grand staircase, she had long black hair flecked with silver, she was beautiful and moved with a silky smooth elegance.
He shuffled awkwardly at their public display of affection and listened to Cygnus Black relay all that had happened that night, remembering not to look surprised at the news of his trips abroad and how Cygnus had been asked to care for him.
After a surprisingly warm welcome from Druella Black a house elf was summoned to escort him to his quarters, Cygnus patted him on the shoulder as he passed and assured him that his luggage would be delivered to his room once it had cleared customs, he thanked them both and followed the elf.
"One more thing Harry" an icy chill ran down his spine, he turned back to face Lady Black "breakfast will be in an hour, an elf will bring you, we'd love for you to join us, you must be hungry and the girls will be eager to meet you I'm sure"
"Of course, I will see you then"
He hoped that his answer didn't sound as unnatural to his hosts as it had to his own ears as he arranged his features into what he hoped was a smile and not a pained grimace. She smiled and walked away on her husband's arm, Harry's brain had finally caught up with events and his stomach made it quite clear that he was not in the mood for food of any kind. He was in Black manor and in an hour he'd be faced with the teenage versions of Andromeda, Narcissa and Bellatrix.
As he walked ponderously after the tiny elf he barely acknowledged his surroundings, he reached the top of the grand staircase. He turned his head to the right and looked at the pictures and portraits, a slight sound made him whip his head round and he found himself looking into a pair of ice blue eyes, he felt his mouth fall open and hastily shut it. The face was beautiful, perfect skin as pale as milk, a flowing cascade of platinum blonde hair, and red lips raised in a curious smile, she had retreated and shut the door long before his senses returned and he was acutely aware that his heart was beating out of his chest.
A gentle and persistant tugging at the hem of his shirt roused him from his stupor and in no time he was being ushered through a door. The room was huge, the elf squeaked out a brief description of the layout, the Dursley's house was tiny by comparison. He thanked the elf who bowed and vanished with a click of its long fingers, he wandered into the bedroom, a huge trunk at the end of the bed was open and full of clothes that looked about his size.
The bathroom was just as magnificent as the other rooms, he showered slowly, the aches and pains soothed slightly under the cascade of hot water. He checked himself in the mirror, all the cuts and scrapes were superficial, he padded back out into the bedroom and selected an outfit he thought appropriate.
A glance at the clock in the corner informed him that he had 20 minutes before breakfast and anxiety gnawed at him, he held his hands out and watched as they shook slightly, tiredness crashed down on him as his adrenaline ran out. He vigourously rubbed his eyes, he was worried about his friends back in the present, he had no idea if they'd made it out, a hollow feeling crept over him, he couldn't bring himself to contemplate any of his friends dying.
He made a conscious decision to focus on the problems he was about to face head on, taking each minute as it came, he'd laid eyes on Narcissa, it was difficult attributing who he'd seen with the woman he'd dealt with in his own time. He'd never met Andromeda and was in no rush to meet Bellatrix again in any capacity, the wanted posters had been bad enough, a silently screaming banshee of a woman, all skin and bone, sunken cheeks, dark hollow eyes and a shock of crazy, matted curls.
Her laughter had rang out around the shelves in the hall of prophecy, then the sing song voice, so very child like, and then she stepped out of the shadows and took her place next to her brother-in-law, after that Ginny had blasted the nearest shelf and they had made a desperate dash for safety.
The clock chimed the hour, the noise shockingly loud after so much quiet, he checked himself in the mirror, reminded himself that he was a Griffindor and called upon as much courage as he could muster. It was time to meet the family.