Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter belong to J K Rowling and the Powers That Be. Title derived from Bilbo's book in Lord of the Rings, which obviously isn't mine either!
Summary: After Harry gets a strange birthday gift he and his friends end up in the time of the Hogwarts founders. Stuck there for a year the friends decide to learn all they can that could ultimately be used to destroy Voldemort. Their next destination, Wartime Britain 1943 and the rise of Grindelwald. Next their adventures take them to a place much closer to what they remember, with some very familiar faces and the Dark Lord Voldemort at full power. What happens when the four friends finally make it home…
Harry Potter and the Amulet of Time
Book 4 – There and Back Again – A Witch's Tale by Virginia Weasley
Chapter One – Finally!
With a brilliant flash of purple light, Ron, Ginny, Hermione and Harry found themselves squashed on the floor of a train carriage. With their luggage under then, and their familiars next to them, they found the space between the seats rather cramped. After prising themselves apart, they stood and looked around the compartment.
" Are we back?" Hermione tentatively asked.
" I think so," Ron replied.
Harry confirmed it for them when he spotted a familiar figure caged in the corner.
The other three whirled around at his outburst and looked over to where their friend was pulling open a cage door and stroking the snowy owl inside. Harry was grinning madly, but Hedwig looked rather confused at seeing her master and his friends three years older than they were before that flash of light. To her, they had only been missing for a matter of seconds.
" It's alright, girl, it's me," Harry was cooing to his agitated bird, trying to calm her down. Eventually, she seemed to realise that he was, in fact, merely an older version of her master and settled down to enjoy the attention.
" I guess we really are home," Ron said in awe, " We can see our families again. I wonder what Mum'll think when she hears how many OWLs and NEWTs I got. I passed even more than Percy!"
" I know. The one I'm worried about is Dad," Ginny agreed, " He might not take the news very well."
" Well, what do you think I'm going to tell my parents," Hermione snorted, " I mean, how would you explain this to Muggles?"
" Good point, 'Mione. What about you, Harry?"
" Well, I think the Dursleys will put it down to my 'freakishness', but be glad they don't have to house me any more, as I am over eighteen. I don't know what Sirius'll say. Although we made up before we left, things were still a bit strained. I don't know what that'll do to our relationship now. The one I'm really worried about is Sev."
Ginny came over to her boyfriend and sat on his lap, wrapping her arms around his waist and giving him a squeeze.
" It'll be alright, Harry. After all, once they all see us again, they'll remember us."
" But, Harry, mate, you do know he'll be all evil now, right?"
" He's not evil, Ron."
" Yeah, but in this time, he's spent the last four years hating you. Do you really think a few childhood memories being restored would make that much of a difference?"
" I don't know, Ron, but I hope so. He was a good friend, and I know the real Sev has to be buried under all of the pain and bitterness this Snape has. He's carried that for a long time, so I don't know how long it'll take me to break through it. But I won't give up on him."
Hermione suddenly thought of something that made her eyes go wide. Ron, who was sitting next to her, squeezed her hand.
" What's wrong, love? You look like you've just remembered you didn't do your Charms essay."
" Don't be ridiculous, Ron," She said with a frown, " I'd never forget to do an essay. It just occurred to me that Bill was there."
" Bill was where?" her boyfriend asked in confusion. Hermione rolled her eyes at him before explaining.
" Bill was there in 1976. He was in his first year when we were there for our sixth year. When he sees us, he'll remember us."
" What about your Dad? I dread to think what he'll say when he realises Harry Potter sang at his big sister's funeral," Harry muttered.
" And what will he say when he realises we know about Persephone?" Ginny asked, " I mean, we aren't supposed to know. Even in the past, when it was revealed that we were time travellers to the Order, they didn't know our real names. Dad'll remember everything we did for the Order. The fights, the strategies, the Hollerith tests, everything!"
" Calm down, Ginny. At least it'll make it easier for him to understand. The same with the others that knew we were time travellers. They'll find it easier to accept, and help to explain it to those who didn't know," Harry pointed out.
" Don't worry. I think we need to work on damage control, now that we know we're back. Figure out who knows what, and what we have to tell people."
" Good idea, Harry," Hermione agreed, " But there's something that's been bugging me."
The three looked at her expectantly and waited for her to continue. Hermione took a deep breath before telling them what was bothering her.
" Don't you think it's odd that we have been jumping places on each trip."
The others looked at her, bewildered. It was Ron who recovered first.
" 'Mione, what are you on about? We've been using a time thingy; of course we've been jumping places. That was the point."
Hermione gave Ron and her other two confused companions scathing looks.
" I know that. What I meant was, jumping locations."
More blank looks.
" Merlin, you lot are slow. Jumping places. The amulet took us through time, we figured as much out ourselves. What I'm trying to say is that our location has differed. We went from the train to the Hogwarts grounds, from the Great Hall to the Great Hall, twice, and from the Great Hall to the train. Why are we jumping from place to place geographically, and not just temporally?"
Ron, Harry and Ginny looked at each other and shrugged.
" Don't care."
" Me either."
Hermione made a noise of frustration and crossed her arms, looking at her three friends in annoyance.
" Aren't you even a little bit curious?"
" Urgh!" Hermione said, scowling at them. As one, the other three burst out laughing at her antics. She eventually broke, and let out a light giggle. Once they had all calmed down, Harry took charge of the situation.
" Alright. Damage control. This is important. Who knows about us?"
" The Order."
" The teachers."
" Some of the Aurors."
" Some of the students' parents."
" Some of my family."
" Some of the Death Eaters."
" Anyone else?" Harry asked.
" Random students we went to school with, and the elves," Hermione added.
" Alright, we'll start with our enemies. Voldie and the Death Eaters will know who we were soon enough. I can't see Voldie being happy, though. I mean, what do you think he'll be like when he finds out Harry Potter and Harry Evans are the same person?"
The other three shuddered at the thought, and sent their friend anxious looks. Harry simply shrugged it off.
" Let him throw everything he has at us. The more he sends our way, the quicker we can deplete his forces. I mean, between the four of us, the elves, and the Order I think we can deal with him. Hey, I wonder what happened to Minh and Eustace…"
Harry gave this new thought some careful consideration. He knew that if his grandparents had still been around, they would have taken him in when his parents died. The fact that they hadn't meant they were either dead, or out of contact with the wizarding world. Sadness washed over Harry at the thought of the family he had grown to know being gone. He quickly pulled himself back together, though, and got his thoughts back on target.
" So, who else? The Order will be easy. We just explain what happened. The same with our families. Problems may arise if we meet any of the students from 1975 and 1976. There's also one thing that we haven't thought about. What will your families say when they hear you left on the train as fourteen and fifteen year olds and arrived at Hogwarts seventeen and eighteen? And what about the people on the train? They saw us at the station. What do we say when we get off? They'll be suspicious."
" We'll have to make sure they don't see us," Hermione decided, " We can't have any of our schoolmates running to the teachers as soon as we get there telling them that the four of us look different than we did a couple of hours ago. I mean, Dumbledore'll understand, but the other teachers won't. It could start a panic."
" So what do we do?" Ginny asked.
" We have to make sure we aren't seen when we get off the train. We just have to stay hidden in here for the next couple of hours until the train pulls up, then turn invisible to go up to the school."
" It won't work," Harry said decisively, " Any number of things could go wrong. We could have someone run into us, or sit on us in the carriages. I mean, when we got in a carriage, everyone else would think it was empty, and come inside. We need something more reliable. It would also be a good idea if we get there early, so we have time to speak to the teachers before the feast. Then Dumbledore will know what to say, and we won't have to miss it."
" Good point, mate," Ron agreed, " I think we should apparate up there."
" What about the anti-apparition wards," Hermione countered.
" We can break through them. We know from the knowledge the founders gave us how the wards were constructed, and how to get around them if necessary."
" Yes, but there's one thing you're forgetting, Ron," Hermione told him.
" If we punch through the Hogwarts wards, the security systems will go off. There's no way of getting around that. And as soon as the alarms go off, we'll have the whole faculty and about a hundred angry Aurors on our backs. Let alone any Order members Dumbledore has reassembled."
" Good point."
" I know," Harry interrupted.
" What?" Ginny asked him from her position on his lap.
" We can fly."
" Fly. We all have flying animagus forms. We can use them. It'll get us there early, and we can talk on the way. I would have said to use brooms, but I feel like stretching my wings."
Just as the others were nodding their heads in agreement, the compartment door was pulled sharply open…