The Hands of Time
And welcome to my latest offering :)
For those of you that are returning readers, welcome back, and to those that are new, a welcome to you also.
This is my Harry/Minerva story, and for those that are familiar with how I operate, you can read ahead on my personal website. Simply click the link first link found on my profile, scroll down the homepage, and click the link to the discord server where you can find the password to my library.
Anyway, without further ado, enjoy.
He should have known better to believe that any amount of hot water could wash his worries away. Perhaps he was merely desperate for something to unburden him, even if only a little. He must have been to listen to something Aunt Petunia had once said.
The cascade of water beating off him did nothing to assuage his grief, nor relieve him of the guilt he felt.
Because of his own recklessness, Sirius was dead.
Learning about the prophecy, facing Voldemort, nor anything else he had endured this evening bothered him as much as what had happened to his godfather.
Harry had been standing next to him, and then he was gone. With a final sad smile as a farewell, he had passed through the ominous archway and vanished.
What happened next had been a blur.
Pulled from his shock by the cackling laughter of Bellatrix Lestrange, Harry had given chase, his intention to put an end to the woman, to cause her pain beyond pain before he would kill her.
Without thought, he had cast the one spell he knew that would achieve the former. He himself had felt the agony of the Cruciatus Curse rip through his body and there was nothing less the woman deserved for what she had done.
For but a second, he had been successful, had brought Lestrange to her knees before she had laughed at his efforts.
In that moment, having realised what he'd done, Harry had sobered.
It wasn't that he had cast a spell that could see him in Azkaban for the rest of his days that pulled him from his haze, but that he was going to do it again, that he wanted to do it again.
He didn't know where such callousness had come from, but even now as he pondered it, he would do it again given half the chance.
The incantation had been on the tip of his tongue and were it not for Voldemort arriving when he did, he would have uttered it once more, his intent no longer questionable by the deranged woman.
His hands that were working the shampoo through his hair became more frantic as what had followed came to the forefront of his mind.
Harry liked to think of himself as quite competent with his wand, the previous year having been spent preparing for, and competing in the tournament having seen him come on in leaps and bounds. Even with the DA this year, he had continued in that vein, but seeing Dumbledore and Voldemort duel one another had only showed him just how far below both men he was.
They wielded magic that he had never seen nor heard of, all without speaking a single word, and yet, the headmaster had informed him shortly after witnessing the fight that it would be Harry who would have to put an end to the Dark Lord.
The notion was laughable, though not even a humourless chuckle passed Harry's lips.
If Dumbledore believed there was a chance he would emerge victorious from a duel like that, he was as insane as Bellatrix.
Still, the man insisted that the prophecy was true.
'Neither can live while the other survives…'
The words were damning and filled him with a cold dread.
Harry was under no illusion that he would survive such an altercation, not now anyway.
If there was to be any hope of defeating Tom Riddle, he needed time, or a miracle.
With how far out of his depth he was, Harry suspected only the latter would suffice, but as his thoughts turned to the friends that had accompanied him, he felt the stirrings of determination within him, or was it stubbornness?
Regardless, he may be broken right now, but he was not done, and though it offered little comfort, there was still some fight left in the teen somewhere.
Harry had never been one to quit, and although what he faced was undoubtedly the most daunting thing he would be confronted by, he wouldn't now.
Not when there were those that had wronged him so that still breathed.
He frowned at that thought.
Where had that come from? Was it his grief and anger speaking?
In truth, it mattered not. They would pay for what they had done, whatever part of him having sprouted such thoughts of vengeance positively humming with excitement.
He released a deep breath as the enormity of what he faced burdened him once more, though he refused to allow it to bring him to his knees.
He may no longer have so much to fight for, but he had those that had fought for him when it mattered, those that had died for him.
He could never forget that.
"For Sirius," he muttered sadly, "for my parents."
Turning off the shower and stepping into the bathroom, he dried himself off with his wand and observed his appearance in the mirror.
His eyes were bloodshot, his skin pale and his ribs visible.
With the occlumency lessons from Snape, the lack of sleep and appetite, he was gaunt.
He would never stand a chance against Voldemort being as unhealthy as he was.
That would be something he would need to address, that and the undeniable fact that he was so far out of his depth to even hope to survive.
The Dark Lord's equal…
He snorted at the thought of being considered such.
Thus far, he had been lucky, nothing more. There was no great feat of magic that had saved him. Even during the graveyard it had been mere coincidence that his wand core matched that of Voldemort's, and that Priori Incantatem had come to his rescue.
Hadn't it? Or was there some other power at play here?
It mattered not.
Eventually, his luck would run dry and there would be no more coincidences to save him, no more strange acts of magic to come to his rescue.
He needed to be ready for that, but for now, he wished to only grieve for the closest thing to a father he'd had. Voldemort wasn't going anywhere, and if what Dumbledore said was true, he would be safe once more when he arrived at Privet Drive.
When he was there, he could turn his attention to the Dark Lord and just how he could hope to one day defeat him.
Swallowing deeply and shaking his head of the image of seeing Sirius pass through the veil again, he dressed in some fresh clothes before picking up his soiled and discarded robes.
He frowned as something metallic clanged to the floor, and when he picked it up, he stiffened, his eyes widening.
He knew what this was, had seen one at the end of his third year, but how did a time-turner end up in his robes?
There was a room full of them in the Department of Mysteries, maybe one fell in there whilst he, Luna and Neville had passed through?
Harry couldn't be certain.
All he was focused on now were the possibilities this little device presented.
He had used it once before to save Sirius, why couldn't he do it again?
"Awful things happen to wizards who meddle with time…"
Hermione's words did little to deter him. Sirius was dead, and his friends were hurt.
Awful things had already happened.
With his mind made up, he felt oddly calm as he entered the dormitory, though his mind was frantically planning just what he would do.
It was nearing eleven pm.
They had left the castle at close to three and it had taken them hours to reach London on the Thestrals, so long that it had been dark when they had arrived.
He breathed a sigh of relief.
He had time. To do what, he didn't know yet, but if he could arrive at the Ministry before himself and the others, he could prevent all that had befallen them.
But how? How could he reach London before them?
The Knight Bus.
Although he had vowed to never use the nausea-inducing vehicle again, it was his best hope. His firebolt was still locked up somewhere in the castle and he didn't have time to look for it.
No, the dreaded triple-decker was the only option.
He would need his cloak, and perhaps the map. Maybe the penknife Sirius had brought him for Christmas?
He took a deep breath to calm himself.
Not knowing what may come in useful, he threw all his belongings into his trunk before shrinking and pocketing it.
He felt unprepared for what he was going to do, but at the very least, he had his anything and everything he owned that could be needed.
With everything prepared, he turned his attention back to the time-turner, his stomach filling with butterflies.
What if he failed? What if something else went wrong that would not be fixable?
He shook his head of those thoughts. It would serve no purpose to dwell on what-ifs, and he would only be wasting time if he continued to ponder things much more.
Sirius needed him, his friends needed him.
The clock next to Ron's bed chimed in the coming of the hour.
It was eleven pm, and if he remembered correctly, the group had not arrived at the Ministry until almost seven.
An additional two hours of time should suffice, six turns of the device would do it. That would allow him time to overcome any unexpected occurrences he faced as he made his way to the Ministry, and if fortune favoured him, he would reach it long before the others.
"Six turns," he decided firmly, bracing himself.
It would be perfect. The rest of the castle would be in the Great Hall for dinner, leaving his path clear to make his exit.
Carefully, he took the device in his fingers and began turning it whilst whispering the number of revolutions to himself.
Nothing happened, and Harry felt his heart sink before a sudden, albeit delayed rush of energy dragged him into the void.
Try as he may, his eyes would not open, but the feeling of spinning felt as though it would never end.
That was until he felt himself slam hard into the ground.
Allowing himself a few moments for the sickness to pass, he groaned before pushing himself to his feet, relief washing over him as the late afternoon sun poured in through the window of the dormitory.
"It worked," he whispered.
His gaze shifted around the room. Where Dean and Seamus had been sleeping behind their drawn curtains only a moment ago, the beds were all empty.
Satisfied, he left the dormitory and headed down the spiral staircase, frowning as he heard music coming from the common room below.
That was odd. It was not often that music was played in the castle.
The muggleborns and half-bloods couldn't play it as their devices wouldn't work here, and the purebloods just didn't seem to have much interest in it. Only at the opening feast when the school song was played was there any semblance of the art at Hogwarts.
All thoughts of music, however, left his thoughts as he reached the bottom of the staircase. The soulful song continued from an old gramophone that had been placed on a table, but that was not what had grabbed his attention.
In the centre of the room where the tables and sofas had seemingly been swept aside from was a girl. Her back was to him, but long, black ringlets of hair spilled down her bare shoulders, the creamy skin of her torso on show as she waved her wand in intricate patterns, transfiguring several items that had been placed around her to the melody of the music silently.
Much to Harry's relief, the girl was at least dressed from the waist down, a long, grey skirt flowing down the lengths of her legs.
A white blouse and a jacket that matched the skirt had been thrown over the back of one of the chairs whilst the girl carried out her risky display.
Did she not realise that anyone in the house could walk in at any moment?
Harry had, and he cursed for finding himself in such an awkward situation, but before he could bid his retreat, she turned towards him, her large green eyes widening in horror at being found in such a position.
She didn't scream, likely from the shock she felt, but she did level her wand at Harry who returned the gesture.
He did not recognise her, though if truth be told, he didn't pay much attention to anyone in the house other than the boys he shared a room with and Hermione.
"What on earth are you doing here?" the girl demanded in a strong northern accent, her free arm coming up to cover her breasts, that were, thankfully, concealed for the most part by a brassiere.
"Me?" Harry squeaked. "What are you doing dressed like that in the common room?"
The girl's cheeks reddened.
"I thought everyone had gone," she huffed before frowning. "Who are you?"
Was she serious?
She genuinely didn't seem to know who he was, and though a part of Harry was glad for that, how could she not? He had spent the last five years being gawped at by almost everyone that passed through the school.
However, he did not recognise this girl either and she was someone he would remember, especially with such a strong, Scottish accent.
"Who are you?" he returned, feeling more apprehensive by the moment.
Before the girl could answer or the tense situation deteriorate any more, the two were distracted as the entrance to the common room opened and two men that Harry did not recognise entered with their wands drawn.
"This just gets better," the girl groaned, trying her best to preserve her modesty whilst keeping her wand trained on Harry.
"Who the bloody hell are you two?" Harry demanded, panic beginning to set in.
The younger of the two, a man with short brown hair and a cropped beard to match shot a look of amusement towards the girl whilst the older, a thick-set man with darker hair kept his questioning eyes fixed on Harry.
"You have some explaining to do, young man," the latter growled. "How did you get in here?"
Harry frowned confusedly.
"I'm a student here," he fired back, turning his wand towards the man.
He seemed to be the most volatile of the two and the most likely to attack.
"I think it would be best if we all calmed down," the younger urged. "We were alerted to a rather significant magical disturbance. Was that you?"
There was something very familiar about his demeanour and the way he spoke, though Harry could not place it.
He said nothing, and the standoff resumed for a moment before the younger man spoke again.
"My name is Albus Dumbledore, I am the Transfiguration Professor and Head of Gryffindor house here at Hogwarts," he introduced himself.
Harry's eyes widened, his chest tightening at the words.
No, it couldn't be possible. This must be a mistake, but as Harry slowly looked into the man's eyes, he could not deny it. The face was youthful and unfamiliar, but this was undoubtedly his own headmaster, only much younger.
"Professor Dumbledore?" Harry balked.
The man smiled somewhat reassuringly, though his expression was one of confusion.
"You are aware of who I am?" he asked.
Harry nodded as he lowered his wand and the tension eased somewhat.
Had he done something wrong with the time-turner? If so, what had happened? He must have travelled back several decades.
Dumbledore, seeing his state of turmoil lowered his own wand.
"Perhaps we should begin with how it is you find yourself here?" he suggested. "I know every student that attends the school, yet I do not know who you are. What is your name?"
His mouth was dry, and Harry could feel his heart thumping in his chest. This was not right, but if there was any chance that his mishap could be undone, Dumbledore was likely the best person that could help him.
"Harry Potter," he answered honestly.
Dumbledore frowned, and the other man's eyebrows all but disappeared into his hairline.
"As in the Potters?" he asked, "the pureblood family?"
"I suppose so. I don't know anything about them. I'm not a pureblood," he explained.
The older man looked at Dumbledore and shook his head, evidently not knowing what to say.
"Does the name William Potter mean anything to you?" Dumbledore asked.
Harry shook his head.
"What about Charlus?" the girl broke in, seemingly confused by everything that was happening around her.
"No," Harry answered. "I don't know any of them. I'm an orphan."
"Impossible," the older man declared. "If you were a Potter, William would be your father. He is the only possibility."
Before Harry could refute the man, Dumbledore spoke.
"Wait, Armando. I think there is much more to this," he said as he turned to Harry once more. "How did you find yourself here, Harry?"
How could he even begin to explain that?
He couldn't. What he had done should not have been possible. If he remembered correctly, the longest anyone had managed to go back in time was by around a week.
Just how far had he gone?
Without saying a word, he opened the hand that was clutching the time-turner and showed it to the men.
"Merlin, is that a…"
"It is," Dumbledore cut off his colleague severely. "May I?"
Harry nodded and the Professor carefully took the device.
Staring at it thoughtfully, he hummed and tapped it with his wand.
"Where did you come by this?" he asked/
"The Department of Mysteries."
Dumbledore's gaze snapped towards him.
"And how did you end up in such a place?"
He did not seem to be angry but curious how such an event had occurred.
"That is a long story," Harry sighed.
The other man, Armando seemed keen to hear it, but Dumbledore held up a hand to prevent any questions.
"This is unlike any other time-turner I have seen," he muttered as he continued to examine it. "Might I assume that it did not work as intended?"
"It didn't," Harry answered. "I only wanted to go back six hours."
"And yet, you have come back much further. What is the date?" Dumbledore asked.
"It's the eighteenth of June," Harry answered.
He knew it only because he had been counting down the days to his final OWL exam.
"And what year?" Dumbledore pressed.
Armando scoffed, his eyes almost bulging from their sockets as the girl gasped.
Dumbledore said nothing, his reaction calm, as he stared speculatively at Harry.
"Then something has certainly gone amiss," he sighed apologetically. "There is no other way of breaking this to you, Harry, but the time-turner brought you back six decades instead of six hours."
"Impossible," Armando whispered. "Albus, this is madness!"
Dumbledore nodded, his eyes not leaving Harry who was speechless.
"The study of time is an imprecise art," he mused aloud. "Given where this device came from, I would hazard a guess that this is an experimental piece and was certainly not intended for a young man to come across."
Albus watched the almost catatonic boy as the reality of what had happened set in.
"What year is it?" he croaked after a moment.
"It is June 28th, 1935," Dumbledore informed him. "I suspect this was designed to send you back six decades, but as I said, and though I am no expert in the field, it is very imperfect. It has sent you back an extra year. Quite the feat, I must say."
Harry could only rub his eyes.
This must be a bad dream. There was no other explanation for this.
"But… this can't be right," he denied. "Can't you send me back?"
Dumbledore offered him a sympathetic smile.
"Have you heard of a time-turner that can send your forward in time?" he asked.
Harry hadn't, and he remembered questioning Hermione about that. He couldn't remember her exact explanation, but she had been very clear that such a thing had not been achieved.
If it hadn't been done where he came from, then it certainly hadn't here.
He felt his world crumbling around him, and his thoughts turned to Sirius, to Ron, Hermione, and everyone else.
What had he done?
"I think perhaps a calming draught is in need," Dumbledore declared as he took Harry by the shoulders and began leading him from the room.
Harry did not even attempt to resist.
His mind was awash with the horror of what had happened, his thoughts frantic and unclear.
It wasn't until he was seated on a bed and a goblet was being placed in his hands that he was aware they had arrived in the Hospital Wing.
"Drink," Dumbledore urged. "It will help with the shock."
Mechanically, Harry did so, and though he became somewhat calmer, the worry was still there.
What was he going to do?
He could not even begin to consider that. He was so far out of his depth here that he did not know where to begin.
"Try not to worry, Harry," Dumbledore said comfortingly. "If something can be done, rest assured, it will be."
Although it was said with the best intentions, Harry felt little of the comfort Dumbledore attempted to instil within him. How could he when he found himself in such a situation?
"What am I going to do?" he asked.
Dumbledore shared a questioning look with his colleague.
"We will figure it out," Armando replied.
Dumbledore nodded his agreement.
"This is not something we have had to deal with before, but we will do what is best for you," he assured the teen, "but first, you seem to recognise me when I introduced myself. Have we met?"
Harry snorted and offered the man a nod.
"You were my headmaster here."
Dumbledore appeared to be taken aback by the revelation but did not press the issue.
"For now, I do not think it wise for you to divulge too much to us. What you are experiencing is unprecedented and we do not know what effect it could have. Without going into specific details, why did you use the time-turner?"
"Should we not be asking how he ended up with it in the first place?" Armando broke in.
Dumbledore shook his head.
"No, that could involve details we should not be privy to. Harry here was evidently trying to achieve something from using it, however. Is the use of time-turners less regulated where you're from?"
"They are," he sighed. "I was trying to save my godfather. He was killed at the min…"
Armando cut him off with a wave of his hand.
"No specifics, please," he reminded Harry. "Your godfather was killed recently?"
Harry swallowed and nodded.
"And you do not have any other family?"
"No, my parents were murdered when I was a baby. I live with my muggle relatives during the summer."
"Good grief," Armando gasped, "what on earth is going on in your life? No, don't answer that."
"Too many things," Harry mumbled cryptically.
"Well, for as long as you are here, I would suggest you take up residence in Gryffindor Tower. You are familiar with it, and we will figure out what can be done regarding your situation," Dumbledore assured him. "Any objections, Armando?"
The older man shook his head.
"Oh, this is the current headmaster of the school, Armando Dippet," Dumbledore explained.
"I've seen your portrait in the headmaster's office," Harry said to the man almost apologetically.
"I am already an old man. I do not expect to live for the next sixty years, Mr Potter," he finished with a frown. "Hmm, Potter? You're certain your father isn't either William or Charlus? You do look very much like them."
Harry shook his head.
"My father's name was James, and my mother was a muggleborn."
"Say no more," Dippet urged. "I think we can safely say that you are related to them somehow. Another thing for us to look in to, but I think getting you fed and then some rest will do you the world of good. Morgana?" he called.
An old lady with greying hair pulled back into a tight bun emerged from the office.
"Could you give this young man the once over? He has had a rather trying series of events this evening to say the least."
"Of course, Headmaster," the woman answered formally, drawing her wand as she approached.
"This is just a precautionary measure," Dippet explained. "We will give you your privacy. I think it best if you remain under Morgana's care for the night. Tomorrow, we will try to understand the situation a little more and see what can be done."
He too was trying to keep Harry calm, but the teen was feeling anything but.
In the space of only a few hours, he had lost Sirius, he had been possessed by Voldemort, and he had somehow travelled more than sixty years into the past. How could this get any worse.
Harry shook his head.
With his luck, things could always be worse.
Nonetheless, he nodded and Dippet gave him a smile of encouragement.
"Should you need anything, Morgana is well-equipped to help you. She is an excellent healer, and we are fortunate to have her."
With that, the two men left the Hospital Wing, Dumbledore offering him a final questioning look before he did so.
"Okay, young man, my name is Madame Morgana. Before we begin, do you have any allergies or any medical conditions I should be aware of?"
The woman was candid and to the point, very much like Madame Pomfrey. Perhaps it was the way of all healers?
"No," Harry answered uncertainly.
He didn't think he had any allergies or medical conditions, but he couldn't be sure. Pomfrey had never asked those questions.
"So, we will need to give you a more extensive check," the woman muttered as she scratched away with a quill. "Have you never been tested for allergies?"
"Not that I can remember."
The healer tutted disapprovingly, taking another note.
"Okay, first of all, I will need to take a little blood."
"Blood?" Harry asked warily.
Ever since Voldemort had used his blood at the end of the tournament, he had been rather reluctant to part with any of it.
"Your blood can tell me all I need to know. It contains your magic and will reveal anything I should be aware of before I run further tests. Just a small amount will do."
Reluctantly, Harry offered the woman his hand.
She took it in her own, and less than a minute later, she had extracted a small amount into a vial.
"Now, I just need to test it," the healer explained as she summoned several bottles and more vials, placing them onto the small bedside table. "First, the test for allergies."
She proceeded to fill one of the empty vessels with an unpleasant smelling brown liquid.
"This is a concoction of the most common, and some not so common allergens that effect witches and wizards. If it turns green, none will affect you. Any other colour, then they will. The colour will determine what it is you are allergic to."
Harry nodded his understanding.
"Just a single drop," the healer muttered, levitating the required amount of Harry's blood from the sample he had provided and placing it in the liquid.
For a moment, nothing happened, but then the liquid turned green before violently fizzing, the mixture vibrating until the vial exploded.
"Dear me!" the healer gasped.
"What is it?" Harry asked worriedly.
The woman shook her head.
"I have never seen that before."
"But it turned green."
The woman frowned confusedly before nodding.
"It did," she conceded, a look of disbelief and curiosity aimed his way. "Perhaps we determine if you are suffering with any ailments next."
She added another liquid to another vial and cautiously placed another drop of his blood into it.
Much to her relief, it turned blue, and there was no volatile reaction.
When she felt it was safe, she picked it up and placed her thumb over the top before shaking it. It remained the same shade of blue and she hummed thoughtfully.
"You are very undernourished," she explained. "Have you not been eating well?"
For much of his life he hadn't eaten well.
"Not really," he admitted.
"It is of no concern and can be easily fixed," the healer assured him. "Other than that, you are not suffering with anything else. Now, I need you to remove your shirt, if you will."
"Why?" Harry asked.
"I need to check you over physically for any magically induced injuries. The headmaster was insistent on a full check. It is better to be safe than sorry."
With a sigh, Harry did as he was asked.
"Do not be alarmed, I am just going to check you for any linger effects from curses or any other foreign magic," she explained.
Harry flinched as he felt the tip of her wand pressed against his chest, her whispers following her movements as she traced it across his torso and down the length of his left arm.
"This is a magical scar," she murmured, running her fingers over the puckered wound on his forearm. "Where did this come from?"
How did Harry explain that?
'Oh, I was bitten by a thousand-year-old snake,' sounded ridiculous even to him.
"A snake," he answered simply.
"A snake?" the healer questioned disbelievingly. "To leave a wound of this size, it would have had to have been enormous. To my knowledge, snakes do not grow that big. Even magical ones."
"Basilisks do," Harry sighed.
"A Basilisk?" the woman choked.
Harry merely nodded.
"The only know antidote to the venom is…"
"Phoenix tears," Harry cut in. "That's how I'm still alive."
The healer's eyebrows rose considerably, evidently surprised.
"Well, that would explain it."
Her voice had gone up an octave or two at his admission, but she shook her head.
"That does also explain the reaction to the allergy test. If you ever did have any, the venom would have eradicated them."
"Should it not be there anymore if the phoenix tears healed it?" Harry asked curiously.
The healer shrugged.
"Very little is known about the venom, young man, but given the reaction your blood had, I can confidently conclude that it is in there still. I can only assume that your body and magic have accepted it as part of itself."
"I don't understand," Harry huffed.
The healer offered him a reassuring smile.
"Think of it as your body making use of it. It has taken something foreign and is using it as a weapon of sorts, another form of defence, and a rather powerful one too."
"Is that not dangerous?"
"The fact that you are sitting in front of me breathing suggests otherwise. If the venom was going to kill you, it would have done so when you were bitten. I suppose it could be quite the boon for you in many ways. You're likely immune to most venoms, but I would not be in a rush to test that theory, and not that I would encourage such practices, but any blood-magic you were to perform would have that additional element. Anyway, as curious and unprecedented that this is, perhaps we should continue?"
Harry nodded and the woman continued with her work, shooting him the occasional look of curiosity as she did so.
"Another one," she muttered, indicating the scar on his upper right arm. "How did this come about?"
"Hungarian Horntail hit me with its tail," Harry shrugged.
"I will not even ask," she sighed, "but whomever healed this did an admirable job."
Madame Pomfrey was an excellent healer. For all the time he spent under her care, he had no reason to complain. She always managed to patch him up from whatever mishap he had found himself in
"This scar here, this is a curse scar of sorts," she announced, having moved his fringe aside and come upon the one he was famous for. "Merlin, how long have you had this?"
"Since I was one."
"And no one has ever thought to look at it?"
Harry shrugged once more.
"Not that I remember," he answered. "Maybe when it happened, but not since."
The woman tutted disapprovingly.
"Scars like this come from exposure to some very dark magic. Does it cause you pain?"
"Sometimes it feels as though it is burning, and it gives me headaches," he informed the woman. "I've just gotten used to it."
The healer shook her head.
"No, that will not do. Let me see what I can do about that."
Before Harry could protest, she had placed the tip of her wand on his scar and had begun murmuring an incantation of sorts.
Overwhelming pain was what he felt, his vision swimming as the scar reacted to the ministrations of the healer.
"Young man, young man!" the muffled voice of the healer sounded before darkness took him.
"What are we going to do, Albus?" Armando asked. "I have never heard of such a thing, and I find myself at a loss. If the Ministry were to catch wind of this…"
Dumbledore nodded his agreement.
"Despite everything, Armando, he is a student of the castle. As such, we have a duty of care to him," he said pointedly.
Armando frowned before his expression morphed into a look of realisation a moment later.
"We keep it to ourselves?"
"I believe that would be for the best," Dumbledore readily agreed. "If what young Harry has done was to be discovered…"
"They would take him," Armando finished with a shake of his head. "We cannot have that, but that brings us no closer to what should be done."
"It does not," Dumbledore acknowledged. "What he did was foolish, but he is not in his right frame of mind. He is grieving, Armando. You heard yourself that he has no parents and that his godfather was murdered. For all intents and purposes, he is alone in this world."
Armando deflated at thought.
The poor boy had evidently endured much in his short life.
"Is there any hope of him returning?"
Albus shook his head.
"I would not proclaim to be an expert in the field, but I do not think so and would be reluctant to consult with anyone else on the matter. They are one and the same with the Ministry, after all. The device is different to the one other time-turner I have encountered but does not have the faculties to travel forward. I believe Mr Potter is the victim of a most unfortunate series of events that led to him being here."
Armando released a deep breath.
"He mentioned the Department of Mysteries. What on earth was he doing there?"
"Your guess would be as good as mine," Dumbledore sighed. "I imagine it will come to light soon enough, but our priority is to ensure that he has suffered no ill-effects of his rather unexpected trip. I am also reluctant to delve too deeply into his life. As curious as I am about what the future holds, his presence already presents the danger that things could be irrevocably changed. Us having knowledge could mean that it changes for the better or worst. I do not believe it right for us to shoulder such a responsibility."
"We find ourselves in a rather unfavourable position," he sighed as a frown marred his features. "What if his intentions are not good, Albus? What if he orchestrated this intentionally?"
Albus shook his head.
"No, he did not," he said firmly. "Mr Potter was honest. Oddly, he has the beginnings of some rather impressive occlumency shields, but in his state, he exercised no control over them. His shock at being here was genuine and he told no lies."
Armando gave his colleague a disapproving look. He did not like that Albus possessed the ability to delve into the minds of others at a whim, especially where the students were a concern. This time, however, he chose not to comment on it. Knowing the boy was genuine set his mind at ease somewhat.
"So, we do what exactly?"
Albus released a deep breath.
"We care for him, Armando. He is a child and needs help. We allow him time to adjust and let him come to us. He will need to unburden himself of whatever is plaguing him eventually."
"The poor lad," Armando despaired, "but I agree. I will allow him to reside within the castle and he can have a place here come September. It will be quite the adjustment for the boy, but it is the best we can do for him given the circumstances. What a mess," he finished with a shake of his head.
"I think that is for the best. None who are not privy to what happened should be made aware. All it would take would be a whisper to reach the wrong ears and Harry would find himself in considerable peril."
"I will have a word," Albus assured the headmaster. "She is trustworthy."
Armando nodded, taking Dumbledore's word for it. He knew the girl better than any, after all.
"Come in, Morgana," he instructed as a knock sounded at the door.
The woman entered, her skin pale and her head shaking.
"How is he?" Armando asked.
"Fortunate to be alive," the healer sighed. "The trauma he has sustained is not negligible, headmaster."
The healer shook her head once more and released a deep breath.
"I do not know where to even begin. I did not ask for too many details, but the boy is but a walking miracle. From what I did glean of him, he has not had an easy life, not a pleasant one at all."
"What did you learn?" Albus pressed, frowning deeply.
"Well, somehow, he managed to encounter a Basilisk and survived being bitten."
"A Basilisk?" Armando gasped. "Unbelievable. How did he survive that?"
"Phoenix tears," Morgana answered simply. "I know no more than that, but I do not believe the boy to be fabricating the story, and the potion would not react as it did to just anything."
"To identify any allergies. It turned green and then exploded. I've never seen anything like it."
"Now that is a tale I would like to hear," Armando sighed. "What else?"
"He was wounded by a dragon, but that has healed well. There is no sign of lingering effects at least."
"What on earth happened to this boy?" Armando asked. "Dragons? Basilisks?"
"I dread to think," Albus answered sadly.
"As harrowing as those are, neither are concerning me as much as the last thing I discovered," Morgana sighed.
"And that is?" Armanda asked worriedly.
"He has a curse scar above his brow," she explained. "I do not know the origins of it, but Mr Potter explained he has had it since he was a babe. What is worrying is that it causes him considerable pain and suffering. Whatever magic is in there, is still active headmaster."
"What curse?" Dippet questioned.
The healer shrugged.
"I do not know, but the magic is still there. After almost fifteen years, it should have faded."
"Hmm, that is concerning," Dumbledore mused aloud. "I have not heard of a curse that would linger so long, unless…"
"Unless?" Armando questioned.
"I'm not sure. I will look into it for a more definitive answer."
For all his brilliance, Albus was a frustrating man and not so forthcoming with his thoughts until he was certain of them.
"So, the boy is fifteen?" he asked the healer.
"Around that age. He passed out whilst I was investigating the curse-scar. I do not know when he will wake, but he is stable. I believe he is tired more than anything else. The scar is a pressing concern, headmaster. It is beyond my own skill."
"Worry not," Albus interjected. "If my thoughts prove to be correct, it will not be a healer he needs."
Madame Morgana gave the Transfiguration Professor a look of frustration but did not question him. He would give no indication of what he alluded to, as was his way.
"Anything else?" Armando asked.
"His magic is exceedingly strong," the healer answered. "I tested his blood for trace amounts, and it is rather spectacular. I suspect the trauma he has endured has strengthened it considerably."
"How considerably are we talking?" Dumbledore broke in.
"It is mature, Albus, far beyond what it should be for someone his age. Again, I have seen nothing like it. I suspect he is already quite a powerful wizard and will only grow stronger the older he gets, should he be nurtured of course. Merlin only knows he's had little of that."
Dumbledore nodded thoughtfully.
"I could always assess him," he offered. "It would give us an idea of what his ability is and identify things he needs to work on. If he is going to be a student here, we will need to have an idea of how best to help him."
Armando nodded his agreement.
"Allow him some time first, Albus," he instructed. "Let him come to terms with what has happened before anything else. The boy needs to heal, and I would see him healthy first. Everything else can wait."
"Of course," Dumbledore replied.
"Is that everything?" Dippet asked the healer.
The woman nodded.
"He is sleeping, for the time being. I will keep watch over him and let you know when he wakes."
"Thank you, Morgana," Armando said gratefully. "If there is anything he needs, let me know."
The healer took her leave of the room to return to her patient and the headmaster turned his attention to Dumbledore.
"What a night," he muttered.
"I think you should…"
Dumbledore was already heading towards the door before Armando had finished.
"I will speak with her as a matter of urgency."
"Best make sure she is dressed first, Albus," Dippet advised.
The other man chuckled.
"We all have our ways to allow our creative side to flow," he replied as he exited the office.
Armando shook his head.
"I never needed to remove my shirt for that," he muttered, his thoughts returning once more to the boy in the Hospital Wing.
Harry awoke with a groan, his head throbbing an uncomfortable rhythm. It took him a few moments to realise when he was, and all that had befallen him before he had slept came to the forefront of his mind.
Any vestige of tiredness that remained vanished, and he sat up suddenly.
"Shh, it's alright, you're safe," the voice of the healer that was not Madame Pomfrey assured him. "How're you feeling?"
"Like I wished it had been a bad dream," Harry responded sincerely.
The healer offered him a sad smile.
"I would like to apologise for what happened to you under my care. I did not understand what I was dealing with and should not have attempted to investigate it further. I merely thought it was perhaps a simple curse that had not been healed."
Harry waved the woman off. She had only tried to help him, after all.
"It's alright," he replied. "At least you didn't try to pretend it doesn't exist."
That had been Dumbledore's attitude towards his scar unless Harry pushed him for information. The headmaster had skirted around the subject otherwise.
"Are you experiencing any discomfort?"
Harry shook his head at the question.
"My head is aching a little, but that's nothing new."
"Then I will get you a pain reliever," the woman declared, "and then send for the headmaster. He has been rather worried about you the past two days."
"I was out for two days?"
The woman nodded.
"You clearly needed the rest," she replied. "Think nothing of it. It would only have done you good. Are you hungry?"
Harry couldn't remember when he last ate, but he felt the need for it now.
"Then Professor Dippet can wait a little longer until you have eaten. I will have something brought for you."
Before Harry could respond, the woman was gone, but only a short while later, he was enjoying a plate of sandwiches with the throbbing in his head now absent.
"Better?" the healer asked amusedly as he polished off his fifth helping of food.
"Definitely," harry answered gratefully as he leaned back into his pillows, though his mind was still plagued with anguish.
"Then I will inform the headmaster that you are awake. He is rather keen to speak with you."
Harry could only nod and await the arrival of the man. When he did come a few moments after he had been sent for, his expression was one of relief as he took a seat next to the bed.
"A foolish question, I know, but how're you feeling?" he asked.
"Not so bad," Harry answered uncertainly.
Dippet nodded his understanding as he deflated.
"I fear I am to be the bearer of bad news," he sighed. "I would like to reassure you that we will continue to look into it, but there does not appear to be a way for us to send you back, not one that we are aware of at the very least. Albus has checked the e you used as extensively as he can, and there appears to be nothing to indicate further uses than the one yourself employed it for. I am sorry."
He meant it.
Harry could hear the sincerity in his voice, but it did not soften the blow. Although he had expected as much from the little he knew of time-turners, he had held onto the thread of hope that remained that he could return home.
"What am I going to do?" he asked.
Dippet offered him a look of sympathy.
"Worry not, young man. You will have a place here as long as you need it. I will ensure that you are cared for and need for nothing, and if any developments are made, you will be the first to know. That is the best I can do for now until we have a better understanding of what has happened. I do not wish to build your hopes too high, however. This is not something I have ever heard of let alone encountered."
Harry could only nod, a sense of numbness filling him.
"How old are you, Harry?" Dippet asked.
"I will be sixteen at the end of July."
"So, going into your sixth year in September," the headmaster mused aloud. "Well, you will have a place here, the rest, we have the summer to figure out. I think it best that you use this time to adjust but know that I am here for you as is Albus. The only thing that I ask is that you mention to no one else what has happened to you. Were the Ministry to discover it, you would find yourself in considerable trouble."
Dippet nodded severely.
"The use of time-turners is heavily regulated. For what you have done, you would likely find yourself in Azkaban for a very long time. I do not wish to see that happen. You are young and made a foolish mistake. I do not believe you should be punished so harshly for it."
Harry had not considered that but was relieved Dippet thought the way he did. It was a foolish thing to do, he could see that now, but he had been desperate.
"What do I do?" he asked.
He felt lost, so far out of his depth that he did not even know where to begin.
"Live your life, Harry," the headmaster suggested. "Take as much time as you need to let all of this sink in and then we can go from there. For now, we take it a day at a time."
Harry released a deep breath.
It sounded so simple, but it was not.
Although his life had been rather poor overall, there were things he would have continued to endure it for.
Ron, Hermione, the rest of his friends…
The sinking feeling of never seeing them again set in and it filled him with a sadness he would always carry. They had been there with him through it all, and now, they were gone.
Just like that, his life took yet another devastating blow.
"You make it sound so simple," he snorted, a watery chuckle escaping him.
"Things usually are much simpler than they sound," Dippet returned. "I wish there was more that I could do for you, Harry, I do, but I will not lie to you. The chances of you returning home a very slim."
And that was what it came down to.
Harry would admit that he had been reckless in the past, impulsive when he should have perhaps exercised caution, but none of it had led to anything as dire as this.
It was a harsh lesson that even things done with the best intent could backfire spectacularly when due consideration was not given.
It would be a lesson he would never forget.
"Would you like to remain here or return to the tower? You are a Gryffindor, are you not?"
Despite how different the healer here was, he would never relish any time spent in the Hospital Wing. It was a dismal place and would do nothing to improve his mood.
At least the tower was familiar and held good memories.
"I think I'd like to go to the tower."
"I'm sure Minerva would be grateful for the company."
"Minerva?" Harry asked with a frown.
"Ah, the er, young lady you met upon your arrival. She is quite embarrassed about the state you found her in, but she will get over it," Dippet assured him. "I'll wait for you outside whilst you dress."
The headmaster left the room and Harry began the process of readying himself, his thoughts wondering to the sudden turn his life had taken.
"1935," he muttered.
Sixty years he had gone back in time. Only something so horrendous could happen to him, though he knew he only had himself to blame. Using a time-turner that had come from the Department of Mysteries was indeed a foolish thing to do, and looking back on it, Harry chastised himself once more for his impulsiveness.
"Bloody hell," he grumbled as another thought came to the forefront of his mind, his stomach sinking in horror.
He could not have arrived at a worse time, the situation he found himself in even less favourable than it had seemingly been only a few moments prior.
He remembered his lessons from when he had attended his muggle primary school, and even more so the dreary ones under Professor Binns.
"Grindelwald," he whispered worriedly.
Not only was the infamous Dark Wizard about to rise to prominence, but Harry had also arrived at a time that most of the world was on the brink of war.
He could only shake his head in disbelief at just how unfortunate he was.
Suddenly, Voldemort seemed rather insignificant in comparison to what was on the horizon.