Disclaimer: I own nothing that has anything to do with anything that has anything to do with Harry Potter. In conclusion, Harry Potter rules.
Harry Potter and the Dream Come True
Chapter Forty-Nine: Tempore Stulto, Gemini Vincent
With the added weight of Peter's survival on Harry's mind, along with the myriad of secrets he was keeping, his attempts to train his classmates for battle, his never-ending quest to perfect his sword fighting, and still somehow making time for his friends, Harry was understandably stressed by the time March rolled around.
.:Imagine how much worse it would be if you were still worrying about the shield as well:. Decimare pointed out. .:Or Voldemort possessing you. Or the horcruxes, for that matter:.
Dumbledore had approached him several days after the initial unveiling and informed Harry that he had his top men in the Order of the Phoenix tracking down the horcruxes, and that Harry was therefore to concentrate on his schoolwork so that he could assist in the hunt once his education was through.
Harry wasn't entirely convinced that he wasn't needed, but Dumbledore actually looked him in the eye for almost a quarter of the conversation, so he decided to take the man at his word.
He had stashed the shield underneath his bed, along with his dirty socks and torn parchment. Harry figured that, in the grand scheme of things, Merlin would forgive him for providing such an inglorious hiding spot for his most prized possession.
Decimare was rather miffed about this. .:You should keep it with you at all times:. he insisted. .:What if someone attacks you in the middle of class? You'll be helpless!:.
'That's absurd, and you're insane,' Harry responded.
He did take the shield with him when he went down to the Chamber of Secrets, however. If he wanted to use the shield effectively against Voldemort, Harry figured that the first step was to figure out how to actually use a shield.
After the first training session with the shield against his shadow ally, Harry quickly discovered that he was back to square one.
.:The shield is an extension of your arm:. Decimare explained. .:It is also a very heavy extension, so you'd better have been building up arm strength like I told you, or you are going to find yourself in a lot pain:.
It took Harry's shadow creature about five seconds to send Harry crashing through the air into one of the huge carved marble columns. The green light of the Chamber glinted eerily off the polished floor as Harry scrambled to his feet.
"This thing is too heavy!" Harry complained. "How am I supposed to block anything if they slice me in half before I can even start lifting the damn thing?"
So he did. At first he was met with abject failure. Decimare spent most nights in perpetual sarcasm mode, criticizing and denigrating Harry's every move.
.:The point is to block the sword with the shield, Master, not your spleen:.
Even though Harry made sure to put his opponent on the easiest mode he could think of, the shadow still packed a punch, and Harry had to get painkillers from the hospital wing more than once. Thankfully Madam Pomfrey didn't ask questions, because Harry wouldn't have known what to say.
"Why, I got these bruises from my secret sojourns into the dreaded Chamber of Secrets, where I practice a mild form of necromancy in order to perfect my sword training with the sadistic brainchild of one of the evilest wizards in history."
Harry suspected that such an explanation wouldn't go over well.
On the plus side, he did gradually improve, although as Decimare was quick to point out, Harry was not a natural with the shield in any way, shape, or form. Ginny came down to practice a few times, and she improved as well, but she quickly discovered that it was fruitless, and painful, to try and hit Harry while he had the shield. The thing was diamond hard, and sent waves of pain up her arm every time she struck it.
Even without her help, Harry progressed as rapidly as he could, training nearly every night like he was. By the end of February he could keep the shield aloft throughout the entirety of a short fight, although he was still terrible at actually blocking with it.
March brought with it an almost endless deluge of rainstorms, which the students of Hogwarts found more than a little irritating. This was because the weather was finally turning warm, but due to the rain it was still unpleasant to be outside. Exams were also lurking in the near future, and most students wanted to enjoy themselves while they could.
O.W.L.s were also approaching, and Hermione had metamorphosed from cool, collected genius to manic, on-the-verge-of-a-mental-breakdown basket case. It was fascinating to watch her rocket around the library, pulling books from shelves at a lightning pace, cross-referencing like a demon, and yelling at anyone who got in her way.
This usually meant Ron, who took it in stride.
"She's my girlfriend now, so she's entitled to yell at me," he reasoned.
"Mate, she'd yell at you anyway," Harry snorted. "That's just how she is when exams are coming up."
"I'm going to go do my homework," Ron decided.
Harry gaped at his best mate. "What has she done to you?"
"When I finish my homework, she rewards me," he said evasively.
Harry choked on his laughter and mercifully didn't press any further.
Ginny found herself rather out of the loop, mostly because Harry, Ron, and Hermione were swept up in the fever that was O.W.L.s. Still, she and Harry managed to sneak enough alone time to keep them both in fairly high spirits.
Not all students were coping quite as well, unfortunately. Neville was seen trading a sprig of one of his prized plants for a large spatula from Tristan, who had apparently promised that it would bring the chubby boy good luck. Hannah Abbot ran through the halls screaming one day, but that was reportedly due to a bad breakup, not the impending exams.
One thing that Harry noticed was the distinct lack of Fred and George. Usually around this time they would be doing something outrageous, like starting a betting pool over which student would break down first, or which teacher would be hexed by an overwhelmed student. But they were almost always off the radar.
This was because Fred and George had tried to play with the space-time continuum, and had found themselves in a spot of trouble. Luckily, they had the perfect plan to get themselves out of their Mongol-induced panic.
"We just go forward in time, and ask our past selves how we got rid of them," Fred said as if it were obvious. "How could it possibly fail?"
"Well, for starters, we could change the future and accidentally destroy ourselves," George responded.
"That's not how it works at all," Fred dismissed. "You accidentally destroy yourself when you go in the past. Get it straight."
"If time travel were able to solve situations like ours, someone would have invented it years ago."
"They did. It's called the time turner."
"I mean being able to travel forward."
"We did. It's called the uber time turner."
"Which I still say is a terrible, terrible name," George sighed. "I'm not going to talk you out of this, am I?"
So on March 13th, which was coincidentally a Friday, Fred and George activated their mind-bogglingly complex (even to them) "uber" time turner, and shot forwards five years into the future.
The first thing that they noticed was that Hogwarts was rather different, if by different you meant completely populated by house elves.
"This is odd," Fred noted.
"Master Weasley!" a house elf cried. About a hundred house elves took up the cry.
"So much for going unnoticed," George glowered.
"We need to find ourselves," Fred told the house elves. "Where do we live?"
"We live in Hogwarts?" George blinked.
"You'se owns Hogwarts now," the elf explained.
A female elf bopped the other on its comically large head. "You stupid, they Headmasters, not owners."
"Wait, we're both Headmasters?"
"Yous mastered the space-time continuum, of course they puts yous in charge of Hogwarts."
Fred and George beamed at each other. "How about that! Headmasters!" Fred exclaimed.
"Bet the students hate us," George cackled. "The stuff we must do to them…"
Then something occurred to Fred. "Wait. Don't you notice anything strange about us? Like, chronologically speaking?"
A tall, bespectacled man with a massive beard entered the hallway, casting them a faintly amused expression.
"You two must be pre-Obliteration."
The twins exchanged a confused look. "What?" they chorused.
"The Obliteration of Voldemort and all the evil he stood for," the man elaborated. "Yes, you are definitely pre-O, or you would have known what it meant. You also would know that Fred and George are the greatest and only time travelers of our era, and that they play with the timeline as if it were a children's block set."
"Why block set?"
"Don't ask me, you said it," he shrugged. "Or will say it. I'm not quite sure how the whole thing works."
"So we're… some sort of heroes or something?" George wondered.
"Dude, we time travel whenever and wherever we want, according to this bloke," Fred scoffed. "No wonder we rule Hogwarts."
"After the Obliteration, in which Harry Potter and his armies decimated the Dark Lord, so to speak--" he seemed to find the word 'decimated' hilarious for some reason, "—it was revealed that you two could bend space and time at your leisure. Technological and cultural innovations rose at an astonishing rate, and historians were for the first time able to acquire an accurate account of history. All preconceptions about human thought and religion suffered an upheaval, and the wizarding world has since been able to enter an era of unparalleled peace and prosperity."
The twins gaped at the bearded man.
"Okay, we officially rock," Fred proclaimed.
"I'm surprised they didn't build a monument for us," George said.
"Oh, they did," the man assured them. "Hundreds. They have to, since you two keep popping up in random places looking completely different each time. I don't know how you keep track of yourselves."
"I'm sure we'll find out soon enough," Fred grinned.
"Can we meet ourselves now?" George asked. "Not that you aren't fascinating, but, you know, we'd like to talk with someone from the old days. Namely us."
"I guess I really have changed," the man laughed. "I suppose stabbing your parents' torturer through the heart will do that to a man. I'm Neville Longbottom."
There was simply no response to a revelation like that.
"Shouldn't you not be telling us about the past?" Fred wondered. "I mean, anything you tell us we can use to alter our own timeline."
"Lulu wrote a paper about that a few months ago," Neville said. "I don't understand it at all, but she says that history is set in stone, so whatever you do was going to have happened anyway, so you can't change anything even if you try. Except that things do seem to constantly be changing, so I'm not sure she knows what she's talking about."
"Lulu?" the twins chorused blankly.
Neville blushed. "Oh. Luna Lovegood-Longbottom. My wife. She's a famous metatheorist now."
"But…" Fred stuttered.
"We thought that she and Tristan were… you know…" George said awkwardly.
"Oh, they still are," Neville agreed.
"It's all a bit confusing," Neville admitted. "I don't understand it myself. I mean, they're together, but he's never around, except that he often is, and that's only when he's not somewhere else. Whenever Tristan is involved, things get rather… muddled. I thought that after he massacred the… well, let's not go into it, shall we?"
Fred and George mentally noted that they should give Tristan a wider berth from now on.
"Oh! I remembered something!" Neville suddenly exclaimed. "Fred and George – I mean, my Fred and George, not you two – told me that when I ran into you, I should take you to see them when you started asking about Tristan."
"Why, they don't think we can handle it?" Fred scowled.
"No, George said something about 'exploiting the planes of existence for their own diabolical purposes'. I think they were referring to you."
"I am going to hit me when I see him," George decided.
"Right behind you," Fred said darkly.
"I'll just take you to them, shall I?" Neville said, giving a nervous laugh.
The first thing they noticed about their future selves was that for some inexplicable and inexcusable reason, they had both decided to sport hideous purple goatees.
"Why?" Fred moaned.
"Because we think it looks dashing," future Fred said. "We went to Zargonia a few weeks ago, and all the royalty there have purple goatees. We decided to bring a bit of culture to this otherwise drab school."
"What's Zargonia?" George demanded.
"New Zealand in about six hundred years."
"Well then," Fred blinked.
"How was the trip?" future George asked. "And when are you two from again?"
"1995," George offered. "Pre-Obliteration, as Neville would say."
"Way to take away the thrill of victory, by the way," Fred scowled. "It's no fun when you know who wins."
"But now you get to drop cryptic hints at key moments purely for your own amusement," future Fred noted.
"He's got a point," George laughed.
"So why are we Headmaster?" Fred asked.
"Because, in terms of education, we are the leading experts," future Fred explained. "Seeing as we can prove or disprove any theory just by hopping in time. Which we've gotten exceedingly good at, by the way."
"What happens to Harry?" George wondered. "Last time we met ourselves, we told ourselves to keep him alive and on track at all costs."
"Oh, he does alright," future George said vaguely. "Suffice it to say that he is currently the richest, most widely respected man in the world. Ginny is considered the luckiest woman in the world, he lavishes attention and material wealth on her 24/7, not to mention that they're both the top Quidditch players in their leagues. Hermione is the Minister for Magic of Europe – she created the post, said we had to be united against inequality, or something – and Ron is the Minister of Defense, also created by Hermione. Dumbledore is dead – don't worry, it was old age, and we've gotten some pretty convincing evidence that he's happy and at peace. Let's see… Sirius and James started a fashion design company – didn't see that one coming – and they've both been voted 'Coolest Guy in Existence' at least twice. Mrs Potter is doing something really top secret, no one knows what's going on, but she's also raising Harry's two sisters – twins, awesomely enough – so it's all a bit confusing. Remus founded a colony for werewolves and other outcasts, it's doing really well… what else…"
His gargantuan speech finally trailed off.
"And all that is going to happen regardless of what we do?" Fred demanded.
"Who knows?" future George said easily. "Professor Lovegood swears that history doesn't change, but then she's got that weird thing going with the Abomination, so who can say."
"The Abomination?" George pressed.
"You know, Tristan."
Fred and George exchanged alarmed looks.
"And you call him that because?"
Future Fred clapped a hand over future George's mouth. Future George glowered at Fred and knocked him away.
"I wasn't going to say anything!" he bellowed.
"I know, but when we came forward to see us, future me did that, so I have to carry on the tradition."
Future George shrugged.
"Look…" Fred said slowly. "Are you saying that Tristan does something terrible?"
Their future selves burst out laughing.
"Which means?" George said.
"Sorry," future Fred sniggered, wiping tears from his eyes. "It's just… Tristan is so… and then we…" He dissolved in hysterical cackles again.
The twins sighed. "We're a bit idiotic," Fred observed.
"Been round the twist," George agreed. "Again."
Their future selves eventually recovered and were able to carry on semi-intelligent conversation once more.
"So you came to ask us something," future Fred announced. "We know what it is, of course, but it's more fun if you ask."
"It's all so nostalgic," future George said happily.
"We need to know what to do about the Mongols," Fred explained.
"And the Romans," George added. "And the French."
"They're somewhere in Hogwarts, and we need to find them so we can send them back," Fred concluded. "They suck as bodyguards, and Sirius and James will kill us if they find out we didn't return them."
"Oh yes, because no one knew about the uber time turner back then," future Fred remembered.
"I still think it's a stupid name," future George sighed.
"Tell me about it," George groaned.
"Listen, just leave them be," future Fred advised. "They're planning your grisly destruction at the moment--"
"—but by the time things really come to a head… trust me, you'll be glad you kept them."
The four redheads stared at each other.
"Oh!" future George exclaimed. "I just remembered!"
He reached into the Headmaster's desk and pulled out a rumpled sheet of paper.
"This," he said, "is a list."
"Not again," Fred moaned. "We just gave ourselves a list of things to do, we don't want another one!"
"It's not things to do," future George explained patiently, "it's a list of the horcruxes."
Silence blanketed the room.
"The what?" the twins chorused.
"You fail," future Fred snapped, seizing the list from his twin. "Listen, Voldemort uses the horcruxes to make himself immortal. So obviously someone needs to find them and destroy them. That's why you need to give this list to Sirius and James."
"They destroy Voldemort?" George asked, struggling to make sense of things.
"No, they give the list to Remus, who uses his mad intellect to collect the horcruxes with his friends' help, who then give the horcruxes to Harry, who obliterates them with his sword, hence the Obliteration."
"Well, it all makes sense now," Fred said sarcastically.
"Harry has a sword?"
"Focus," future George told his younger self. "Just give this list to Sirius or James, and this bright, glorious future is ours for the taking."
"Where did you get the list anyway?" George wondered.
"We gave it to ourselves, in this very office when we were your age and went forward in time," future Fred said as if it were self-evident. "Obviously."
"Yeah, but where did they get the list from?"
"This is the uber time turner all over again," Fred sighed. "Time turners can't go forward. Our future selves come back in time and give us the recipe to create one. Where did they get it? Their future selves gave it to them. Completely logical, and completely impossible. Just accept it and move on."
"So what do we do in the final battle?" George demanded. "Put events in motion, then sit back and watch them happen?"
"Of course not," future Fred snorted. "You two get the most important job of all."
"We don't have to kill Voldemort, do we?" Fred asked queasily. "I don't fancy murder, to be honest. Isn't that more Harry's forte, anyway?"
"You have to stop Tristan from destroying Hogwarts," future George concluded.
The twins were again stunned into silence. "I didn't even know that was a possibility," George admitted. "He seems so peaceful."
"Peaceful?" future Fred scoffed. "He's the--"
Future George clapped a hand over his mouth.
"Dammit, I wasn't going to say anything!" future Fred shouted.
"I know, but when we met our current selves…"
"Do shut up," future Fred scowled.
"And how do we do that?" Fred pressed.
"You'll find out when the time comes," future George promised.
"You're maddeningly unhelpful, you know that?"
"Oy!" George snapped.
"I was insulting future you, not actual you!"
The future twins carefully interposed themselves between the bickering redheads.
"It's time for you to go back," future Fred announced. He shoved the list into George's hands. "Give this to Sirius and James as soon as you can. Oh, but do it anonymously, or they'll start asking questions."
"And leave the Mongols be!" future George scolded. "The Romans and French too. Oh, but please make sure you smack Napoleon for me, the irritating git."
"Why?" George asked.
"You'll understand when the time comes," future George promised. "Now shoo!"
"And keep an eye on Tristan while you're at it," future Fred added. "The kid's a ticking time grenade."
"Bomb," Fred corrected.
"You'd think that, wouldn't you?" future George said with a long-suffering air. "Kid can't even be linked to a metaphor without screwing it up."
"We're going to go now," George declared, extracting the uber time turner. "I can only hope that Fred and I manage to retain our sanity, which you two have obviously failed spectacularly at."
"Cheers," Fred said, and grasped George's arm.
Future Fred and George exchanged an amused look.
"I almost wish we could have gone back with them," future Fred sighed. "The pre-O months were absolutely hysterical."
"Yeah, except for the…"
They lapsed into an uneasy silence.
James and Sirius approached them the next day, apparently attempting to be as inconspicuous as possible.
"Fred, George, we need to play chess with you. Now."
"Er… we're in the middle of Transfiguration class."
At the front of the room, McGonagall tapped her wand against her arm and cast them an annoyed look.
"So you are," James blinked.
"Sorry, Professor, but this is a really urgent… game of chess," Sirius said.
Unable to formulate a response to properly express the depths of her irritation, McGonagall simply glared and gestured at the door. They made a hasty exit.
"Not that we don't love cutting class short," Fred began, "but in all fairness, you know that we hate chess. It makes too much sense."
"We don't actually want to play chess," James said unnecessarily. "We need a favour."
And he suddenly had the twins' undivided attention.
"You somehow got your hands on a horde of fur-clad foreigners who look and act surprisingly like ancient Mongolians," he explained. "Now, I'm not one to question odd occurrences, but it occurs to me that perhaps you two are hiding certain… abilities that could come in incredibly handy."
"Perhaps," Fred said shiftily.
"Continue," George urged.
"We don't pretend to know what you two are capable of," Sirius obliged. "And of course we have a few tricks up our sleeve as well, so we know where you're coming from. However, we have recently taken on a rather… tedious assignment, and we were wondering if you had any items or information that might put us on the right track."
"What exactly is the assignment?"
"We can't say," James said regrettably. "But rest assured, it's important. To the fate of the world, actually."
"So…" Fred trailed off. "You want information and/or items to help you accomplish a goal that you can't divulge the nature of."
"Yes," Sirius agreed. "Interested?"
The twins exchanged an amused look.
"What do you know, we were right," George snorted. "Guess we aren't as cracked as we thought."
"I think this is what you want," Fred said, pulling a crumpled sheet from his pocket.
Sirius and James cast the paper an uncertain look.
"Either we were way too vague, or they know way more than they should," James mused. "What the hell, we'll take what we can get. What is it?"
"A list of the horcroes," George said.
"Horcruxes," Fred snapped, holding up the sheet for his twin to read. "There's an X, see?"
"Whatever," George dismissed. "It'll tell you exactly where they all are, and how they are being guarded. Good enough?"
James and Sirius were hovering somewhere between ecstasy and extreme disbelief.
"That should about do it, yeah," Sirius gaped. "Good work, mates."
"We'll take it," James decided, acquiring the parchment and holding it reverently, as if it were the words of Merlin himself. Then he gave the twins a serious look. "I know you aren't going to tell me, but… where did you get this?"
"Ask us no questions," they chorused with huge grins.
Sirius rubbed his temples tiredly. "We're getting old, Prongs."
"Nah, everyone else is just getting younger."
Apparently feeling that the insanity quota had been filled for the day, Sirius seized James' arm and dragged him off down the corridor.
Fred and George blinked.
"That was a lot easier than expected," Fred observed.
"One less thing to think about," George shrugged. "Come on, if we time our re-entry just right, we can walk in just as the bell rings. McGonagall's expression will be hilarious."
"We're free for the rest of the class, why go back?"
There was a pause.
"Want to go kidnap first years?" Fred asked.
"Why?" George demanded. "They're so small and helpless."
"And make amusing sounds when tossed in the lake," Fred reminded him. "Oooh, or when abandoned in rarely used dungeon corridors!"
"As long as we don't use Hufflepuffs, they're just depressing."
March 15th, the middle of the month, and called Ides by the Romans of old. A seemingly innocent day, yet one fraught with surprises for one Harry Potter.
This is because the Ides, for the ancient, and presently hiding in the Room of Requirements, Romans, had a rather special meaning.
"Today is the day on which Brutus brutally murdered our beloved sovereign, Julius Caesar!" Marc Antony bellowed from atop a stump. His legionnaires were arrayed before him in the clearing, in full battle regalia and looking eager for some good old-fashioned bloodshed.
"I, his confidante and right hand man, was thrust aside upon his death! Honourless, friendless, I wandered the world until I met my one salvation, the Queen Cleopatra. And then, just as I finally found peace, our love was ripped to pieces! Now we are stuck in this world of madmen and witchcraft, and it is the anniversary of our leader's death. I say we FIGHT!"
"Blood!" his troops roared.
Perched in a nearby tree, Napoleon and Genghis exchanged an aggrieved look.
"Ze fool will get 'imself killed," Napoleon groaned. "Zen where will we be?"
"He still has not mastered the concept of telling time," Genghis said in unconcerned tones. "It is only a few hours past midnight. He can charge around for hours, none of the witches will be up, and certainly not the red-haired demons."
"At least 'is idiocy works with us, for once," Napoleon sighed.
"To victory!" Antony bellowed, sprinting for the door. His troops took a second to organize themselves, then followed at a more sedate march. They were legionnaires, after all, marching was much more their style than frenzied charges.
About a hundred meters away, Harry was stumbling back from an intense training session in the Chamber. He didn't usually take the route past the Room of Requirements, but he was getting rather annoyed that the place was still out of commission, and so checked it every so often to see if it was working again.
Perhaps the smartest thing he'd ever done, for Merlin only knew what could have happened if Marc Antony was allowed loose on the halls of Hogwarts in his rage. Even in the middle of the night, students were prone to roaming, and Harry was the only one at all equipped to handle a bloodthirsty Roman general.
Having caught glimpses of various historical figures darting past doorways before, as had everyone else in Hogwarts attentive enough to notice, Harry wasn't as surprised as he should have been when Marc Antony leapt out of the Room of Requirements, roaring savagely.
"The room does work!" Harry exclaimed, then gaped. "You are not a student here, mate."
"Te necabo!" the man snarled, unsheathing a sword and leaping towards him.
.:Wake up!:. Decimare snapped.
Harry instantly called forth the sword, barely raising it in time to block the incoming blow.
.:Remember how I told you that you would be attacked one day, and wish you had the shield to protect yourself with?:. the snake spirit hissed smugly. .:That would be now:.
'Oh, shut up,' Harry snapped. He met the next stroke with a smooth counter-attack, then forced the strange man into a series of parries that carried him back down the hallway.
.:Keep him on his toes. Excellent. Try to find some stairs, so you can knock him down them:.
Harry was appalled. 'That's cheating!'
.:Heroes:. Decimare sighed. .:Always getting in the way of a good laugh:.
"Quit it!" Harry commanded the Roman, who was yelling something in Latin and furiously fighting for every inch of ground. Sweeping Decimare around, Harry attempted to knock the man from his feet, but unfortunately the Roman was very experienced, and easily dodged.
Finally Harry managed to back the crazed man into a corner, and, having proven himself the superior swordsman, proceeded to knock the man's sword flying. The Roman, predictably, continued to yell angrily, except now he was apparently attempting to defend himself with his bracers.
.:Repeat after me:. Decimare sighed.
.:Nunc fugere debes. Supero sed non necabis. Fugi!:.
Harry dutifully repeated the words.
The Roman looked absolutely livid, but he must have noticed at some point that he did not in fact possess a weapon, for he ducked past Harry and raced back into the Room of Requirements. The door slammed shut behind him and disappeared.
Harry scratched his head. "That was… odd."
A/N: Translations and what not:
Chapter Title: Time being foolish, the twins win.
Antony #1: You will die!
Antony #2: Caesar lives!
Decimare: Now you must flee. I win, but you will not die. Flee!