Chapter One: A Visitor
On a small little street in Little Whinging, a small suburb of Surrey, an odd peace had finally broken out. Number 4 Privet Drive had been an strange house for several years, though no one was really sure why. Petunia and Vernan were two of the most outgoing people in the neighbourhood, making sure everyone knew how well off they always were. Vernan's Drill Company was a huge success, and everyone knew it.
Several years ago, though, the normal bustling and shouting that was heard from the inside of the house intensified. It would always grow during the summer months when their estranged nephew returned home from his boarding school, and it had almost gotten to the point where people decided to leave during the summer, just to avoid the noise.
This year was different, though. The odd, lanky teenaged child with wild black hair had stepped out of the large black car that the Dursley's drove, and walked into the house without a word. The Dursley's even carried in his things for him. Plans were cancelled right away, as people wanted to know what was going on.
Of course, inside, on the bed in the smallest bedroom of the house, the boy didn't really care what the neighbours thought. He closed his emerald green eyes slowly, again, and opened them again just as quickly as the rough face of his godfather flashed before his eyes. Everything had changed last year for Harry Potter.
A soft hooting caught his attention, and he looked over to his snowy white owl Hedwig. There was a stack of letters sitting beneath her, but not even one of them had been opened. He couldn't bring himself to hear about the pity from his friends from school. He had kept his word to write every three days to at least one person, and had done so to his old Professor Lupin. Two words in each letter was all it had taken, though. I'm fine.
Harry Potter was not a normal boy living in a normal house. He was also not a delinquent, despite what the neighbours thought. Nor was he fine. Harry Potter went to a very different school during the learning months, a school that most people could not see even if they looked upon it. Most people in the world are muggles. Harry Potter was no muggle.
Harry was even strange for a wizard. The lightning shaped scar on his forehead was a constant reminder to the tragedy that had happened just as he was starting life. A tragedy that he was only beginning to understand. A terrible burden had been placed upon him by one of the few people he thought he could trust more than anything, Professor Dumbledore, the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His school.
Fifth year was not a good year for you, was it?
Harry sat up for one of the first times in almost a month at the sound of the voice in the forefront of his mind. Unlike the voice that he sometimes heard - thanks to the terrible dark wizard Voldemort - this voice held no malice. That didn't mean it was welcome, though.
"Get out," he said softly and firmly. "Get out of my mind and out of my life." He looked around the room carefully, trying to pinpoint the exact location of the mystery speaker. "I don't need this right now."
You're right, the voice said almost at once. You don't need this. Lying in your bed rotting away will not help you. Harry caught a glimpse of green out of the corner of his eye, but when he looked in that direction, there was just his closet. I wish to speak with you, Mister Potter.
"Who are you?" he demanded. "How did you get in here?"
Harry's wand, which was clasped firmly in his hand, suddenly flew from it and landed on the ground. As he darted forward to grab at it again, he was forced to stop as he found himself staring into two great glowing grey eyes. He backed up at once, and found himself face to face with a massive blue and white wolf, who was sitting calmly looking back at him, one paw resting on his wand.
Very little can keep a time wolf out of where he wishes to be.
"Give me my wand!" Harry demanded in a louder voice, not caring anymore if his cousin or aunt and uncle heard him. "NOW!"
And just what would you do with it if you had it? The wolf took a step closer and dipped his head. I suspect you might try something you would later regret.
"I would try to get you out of here!"
Like I said.
Harry took a deep breath and closed his eyes. Instead of seeing Sirius dying all over again this time, instead he saw Hermione sitting by the fireplace telling Ron and him to think things through. He was sure it had been during one of their homework assignments that the two had put off too long, but the message was still clear. "Why would I regret getting rid of you?"
You would fail. And I might retaliate. But I do not wish you any harm, Mister Potter.
"The name's Harry."
Some call me Rozan.
"Fine," Harry said with a nod. "Can I have my wand back now?" The wolf took a step back and removed his paw from the wand. Harry couldn't help but think as he reached forward for it that it was only thanks to Hagrid, his half giant teacher with a dangerous love for dangerous animals, that he wasn't afraid of the large wolf. It obviously had a good deal of magic in it if it could speak through his mind.
I do, the wolf said, nodding. And, although I do not wish to read minds, when you project such strong thoughts, it can not be helped.
"Snape said that too..." Harry said bitterly.
There was a long pause at the two looked at each other, during which time Harry's stomach growled it's protest at not having been filled for more than a week. For the full summer thus far, he had slipped out of his room a couple of nights a week for a small snack, but that had been all. Before he could say anything, Rozan dipped his nose again and a sandwich appeared in Harry's hand. It should tide you over for now.
"Just why did you come here?" Harry asked through mouthfuls. "Not to feed or torment me, I'm sure."
Are you planning on reading any of your letters?
"Are you going to answer my question?"
Only if you answer mine.
"I wasn't planning on it. I don't need to hear pity or people telling me that it wasn't my fault right now, even though it bloody well was."
Sirius's death was a great loss, the wolf said sadly. But I will not tell you why I am here unless you read at least three letters, and two must be from different people.
"You didn't know him, so don't think you know me," he said coolly. He did get up from the bed, though. His curiousity would not be satisfied if he simply sat there, and he knew, without a doubt, that his curiousity was insatiable sometimes.
He pushed through the stack of letters, and settled on one from Hermione, one from Ron, and one from Luna. Just as he was about to open them, a rapping on his window caused him to look up. A falcon was hovering before the glass, a green letter clasped in its beak. He opened the window quickly, and the letter dropped into his hands as the falcon shot off again.
He opened the letter slowly, not sure what was going on. It was brief and to the point. "Please take good care of Rozan. He will be leaving you in a couple of days to come home." It was signed with a symbol at the bottom, but Harry wasn't sure what it stood for.
He looked to the wolf in confusion, and Rozan looked away from him. "Does this count as one, then?" he asked.
Letters from the Wanderer do not count as anything. It simply means that he knows who you are. The wolf's grey eyes sparkled as he spoke, and then he looked behind him to the door. Your cousin is going to be in for a surprise if he manages to open that door.
Without even asking how the wolf knew what was going to happen, he darted to the door and slammed his weight against it just as Dudley started to open it. There was a loud crash from outside, and then the pounding of feet as the plump lad ran off again.
After trying to ask Rozan a few more questions, he sighed and went back to his desk and pulled out three letters at random from the stacks he had made. He opened the one from Ron first.
Hope you're hanging out alright, and if the muggles give you any crap, just remind them about the eye. I still can't believe that Mad-Eye, saying things like that to your uncle. I wish I had my omnioculars , so I could see that again and again! Blimey!
Look, I can't force it any more. If you need anything, and I mean anything, ask, alright? You don't have to go through this alone. You've got friends. Ginny's been after me to owl you for days, even though I did just a couple of days ago. Not sure if any are getting through or not, as you haven't even replied to a single one, but still. We are at the same place as we were at the end of last summer, but it is horrible. Mum's makin us clean the full time, and we still aren't allowed to hear anything.
Keep in touch, mate!
Ps. Ginny says she's inviting Luna over soon. Any ideas of how to save me?"
Harry shook his head and sighed, tossing the letter aside. He knew Ron well enough to know that the cleaning wasn't happening, and that it was only said to try and cheer him up. He was at Grimmauld Place again. He wondered if Hermione was there, too, and so he took her letter next.
It's not your fault.
He frowned at that letter, and then looked back to the stack from her. There was more than twice the amount from Hermione as there was from Ron, and she didn't even have an owl. He tore open several more before he found one that said much of anything.
Look, I'm sorry about all the letters, but you don't seem to be answering any, so I thought I'd bombard you until you did. I'm really worried about you, Harry. Please take care of yourself. If there's anything I can do, send Hedwig right away. I'm staying with my folks this summer, so I can be a little closer to you in case you need me.
Of course, I'm writing this to the envelop, as I'm sure you won't even open it. But I had to write it anyway. You are too special to just let wallow in your own self-pity. Please remember that it isn't your fault.
I am here for you.
ps. You could call, too, if you don't feel like writing. I just need to know that you're alive still..." She had included her phone number.
Harry wrinkled his brow in concentration as he reread the letter. She wasn't saying something, but he wasn't sure what it was. As he caught movement out of the corner of his eye, he suddenly thought of something she could do for him.
He pulled out his quill quickly and dipped it in his inkpot, but then put it back, thinking better of himself. He turned to the blue white wolf and waited for him to acknowledge him again. "Would you mind if I called someone instead of reading more?"
You wish to ask Hermione what she knows about time wolves.
Harry's emerald eyes narrowed subconsciously as he realized that the creature before him could read his every thought. It would take a lot of work on his part with what little he knew of Occlumency to counter act it. "Yes."
I will not eavesdrop into the conversation.
Harry sighed as he opened the door to his room and stepped into the hall. He didn't really have need for a phone in his room before, not like he would have gotten one if he did, but there was a phone in the upstairs hall.
He picked it up and dialled the number quickly, but then he thought better of it and hung up the phone. He didn't need to hear pity or sympathy from her either. Looking back to the room, he knew he couldn't return and not have at least tried. Maybe she wasn't home. Again, he picked up the phone and dialled, this time holding the receiver to his ear to listen.
"Hello?" He breathed a sigh of relief that Hermione had picked up the phone, but then his voice went dry. There was so much he suddenly wanted to say... how sorry he was for the Department of Mysteries problem last term, how he should have listened to her, how... He didn't realize that he sighed into the phone until he heard Hermione's voice catch in her throat. "Harry?" she asked, her voice full of worry and hope.
"How... how did you know?" he croaked, forcing the words out. His memories were becoming unbidden as scenes from the terror flashed through his mind again.
"Oh thank goodness you're alive, Harry!" she said excitedly into the phone. "I was just about set to ignore Dumbledore's orders and have my parents drive me down there to make sure you were alright. I mean, really Harry, your letters to Lupin aren't true, are they?"
"Hermione..." he said softly, and she stopped talking at once. When he faltered again, he closed his eyes to his frustration, only to snap them open again as he saw her lying on the ground after Dolohov's curse had struck her down.
"I'm here, Harry," she said in an equally soft voice. "I'll always be here for you."
"Thanks," he whispered. As he was about to hang up the phone, he snapped it back. "Hermione?"
"Yes?" she asked in surprise, obviously having been close to hanging it up herself.
"Can... can I ask you something?"
"A... anything, Harry," she said. She sounded nervous suddenly.
"You are the smartest witch ever to grace Hogwarts, of that I'm sure," he said slowly. "And I need to tap your knowledge for a moment."
"What do you need to know?" she asked, her curiosity piqued, her nervous tone gone in an instant.
"What can you tell me about time wolves?"
"Time wolves?" she repeated. When he didn't say anything, she hmmed to herself, and he couldn't help but grin. He could picture her with her hand to her forehead, or looking through stacks of books on a bookshelf. "They're really rare, Harry. They were supposed to have been wiped out almost three hundred years ago. Few survived the onslaught, and only one has ever been seen to grace human presences ever since. They stick to the woods... deep in the woods where men do not dare to travel."
"Deeper than spiders?" Harry asked more of himself than of her.
"Never mind," he said. "Look, can you find out more about them?"
"I'm sure I have a book about legendary magical creatures somewhere. I remember that they are dangerous creatures with powerful magic, Harry. They can read and manipulate minds. Why are you asking about time wolves?"
Harry sighed as he looked back to the open door that lead to his cramped room. "Because there's one sitting on the floor of my room." He didn't stay on the phone long enough to hear her reaction before hanging up. Although it was good to hear her voice again, it only seemed to bring back a wave of guilt. Once he had hung up the phone, he looked at it on the receiver for a moment before whispering to it, as though hoping is words would reach her still. "Stay safe..."
As he stepped into his room again, he found Rozan staring at him. It's not your fault.
The two sat in silence for a time before the wolf yawned widely and settled down to rest his head on his paws again. You have done more than I thought you would, Harry.
"Will you tell me what you are doing here now?"
I am here for many reasons. First, I am here because I wish to be. Second, I think you need a bit of help right now, and I am here. I will not betray secrets or keep truths from you. And thirdly, I believe you are in need of some help with your mind control. You even thought it earlier, though I must warn you now that I know of only one person who can block the mind of a time wolf.
"How do you know me at all? What made you think I needed any help?"
A close friend of mine has recently accepted a role as a teacher at your school. Naturally, he heard about what happened last year, and told me about it.
"Is he the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher?"
You are indeed perceptive. They call him the Wanderer.
"The one who sent me that letter? Who call him the Wanderer? And why? Surely he has a name..."
One that I will not divulge at this time. Some secrets must be kept.
"I thought you said you weren't going to keep secrets from me," the young wizard accused the time wolf. "Because if that's how it's going to be, you can leave right now!" He barely realized that he had his wand levelled at the wolf again.
We will work on your temper, as well. Surely you do not enjoy trying to bite the heads off your friends...
"Answer my question."
He is unlike any Professor you have ever had, or will ever have again. He will only be here for one year, as that is all the time he can take. His granddaughter will be starting as a first-year this year, though few will put the connection together right away. The wolf paused, and looked up at Harry as the wand slowly lowered again. He is also not human.
The rest of the day was spent with Harry practically staring down the wolf who was watching him closely. Without even realizing what was happening exactly, he knew that his mind was strengthening. Some form of magic was happening in the room, some type of Occlumency or Legilimency, but he couldn't explain it. He caught glimpses of a tall being in green every once and a while, which Rozan told him was impressive, but he received no direct instructions. Still, he felt he was better off with the wolf than with Snape any day. He doubted that the wolf would bite as hard as Snape.
That night was the first dreamless night he had in a very long time.
He wasn't entirely sure when Hedwig had left, but she was tapping on the window in the morning, trying to get in again. She had with her a letter and a small package. The letter had Hermione's writing on it, and the package had the lofty script of Dumbledore.
It was so good to hear from you yesterday! Imagine my surprise when I found Hedwig sitting on my window sill last night, too! I sat down and wrote this letter right then and there, as you can probably guess.
Were you serious when you said there is a time wolf in your room? Harry... I think you should tell someone else, too. Someone like Dumbledore. I promise I won't - I couldn't go through anything like I did in third year ever again. That was the hardest time of my life, you know?
Well, almost hardest. This summer tops it. I'm just worried about you, Harry. Ron says he's having fun in Snuffle's house, but he's not talking much. I know he's fine, but Harry - are you really okay?"
He scanned down a few lines until she stopped asking him that, and started reading again. "I asked McGonagall about the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, because I looked at the book list and see that we aren't even getting a book this year! I mean, with NEWTs only a year away, we need all the help we can get, don't you think? Any idea about who they are appointing this year? I hope its not another bloody git like Umbridge." He smiled to himself as he saw the curse word. He didn't think she had it in her to swear about a teacher, but last year had proved a great deal of things wrong.
"My parents are away on vacation now... I decided to stay home because I hoped to hear from you again. Please don't feel guilty, though, if you don't call, I've got loads of reading to do for next year anyway. I just wish I had my OWL results by now. You could call again, you know? Or write... or something. Like I said before, I'm here.
She has an Outstanding in all her subjects except Astronomy, where she was awarded an Exceeds Expectations. Harry looked behind him to find Rozan looking at him again. She was distracted.
"And just how would you know that?"
I am a time wolf, Rozan replied, as though that explained everything.
"And just why would that make a difference?"
I can discern different things through time, Harry. Not large things, but small things that are nice to know sometimes.
"Alright, how did Ron and me do, then?"
Do you wish for me to spoil the surprise, or are you sure you can't wait four days?
Harry left his room again, well aware that the Dursley's had basically shut off the upstairs of the house to keep away from him this summer. He knew that Mad Eye's threat had scared them, but they were just claiming that it was too hot and they had to stay where it was cool. He didn't really care one way or the other. He picked up the phone again and dialled Hermione's number without really thinking about it.
It rang six times, but as he was hanging it up, he heard the click that said someone was there. "Hello?" Hermione's voice called, out of breath.
"What, did you run the marathon?" Harry asked in a bemused voice.
"Oh Harry..." she said softly. He could tell she was happier suddenly, and for whatever reason that helped him, too. "You got my letter, did you? What are you going to do?"
"What took you so long to answer the phone?" he asked in response, a small chuckle, one of the first in a long time, escaping his lips as he asked.
"I... I was in the shower, alright?" she said. She sounded embarrassed and Harry decided to drop it.
"I have a surprise for you," he offered after a moment of silence. "Do you want it now, or later?"
"What do you mean?" she asked, confused. "What could you give me now?"
"I could give you your OWL results now..." he offered, trailing off to listen for her reaction.
"What?" she demanded in a shocked tone. "How could you possibly know my results before me? Have you gotten my mail by mistake or something? Why would you open it, Harry? I mean, honestly..."
"I didn't!" Harry said quickly, trying to defend himself from the onslaught. "I didn't get any mail or anything!"
"Then how would you know my results?" She still sounded angry, so Harry decided to drop everything on the line.
"The time wolf I told you about," he explained. "His name is Rozan. He told me your results as I read your letter this morning. He also said that the owls carrying the mail with the results will come in four days."
"How did I do?" she asked after a moment. Before he could answer, she cut him off again. "No, wait, I don't want to know! Is it bad? Would I be happy? Would you be happy? I didn't fail anything, did I? How many OWLs did I get?"
"Hermione," Harry said gently, breaking her string of questions with a small gulp. "I could tell you that, or I could tell you what I know about our new teacher."
He could tell she was struggling with herself now. He started to feel really bad, but before he could offer just to tell her both, she spoke again. "Tell me about the professor," she said quickly. "I'll find out about the OWLs in a couple of days."
"Are you sure? I could just tell you both."
"Harry James Potter don't you dare tell me my OWL results," she said in as strict a voice as he had ever heard her use. "I'm too scared to know them..." she added in a whisper.
"Don't be," Harry offered. Before she could comment, he went on. "The new professor is a friend of Rozan's, and is called the Wanderer. I don't know his real name, but I do know that he isn't human."
"Not human?" Hermione asked. "Then what is he? Part giant like Hagrid? Another centaur? A vampire maybe?"
"I don't know," Harry admitted. "All I know about him aside from that is that he will only be teaching for a year, and his granddaughter is a first year this year. That, and he wears green."
"I just saw glimpses through Rozan's mind as he is trying to strengthen mine."
"You mean it, Harry?" Hermione sounded excited. "Is he teaching you Legilimency and Occlumency?"
"Uh..." Harry trailed off. Rozan had never told him exactly what he was doing. "Yes."
"Harry..." Harry cringed. He knew that tone of voice.
"Alright, he didn't tell me," he admitted. She knew him too well. Ron too. They both knew when he was lying. "But he did say that afterwards I would be able to block things out. I had a dreamless night last night."
"Harry that's wonderful!" Hermione exclaimed.
Harry turned suddenly as he heard movement downstairs. "Look, Hermione, I'll call you later, alright? Sounds like Dudley's coming upstairs."
"We could set up a time to always talk," Hermione suggested. "I... I mean... if you want to, anyway." She sounded embarrassed at her own suggestion.
"We'll see," he offered with a shrug, even though she couldn't see it.
"I'm sorry," Harry offered. "For more than I had ever thought possible." He hung up the phone again before she could reply and went back to his room. Although he did enjoy talking with her again, even if he couldn't see her, it kept bringing back the memory that his foolish actions had nearly gotten her killed at the end of last year.
The actions that had gotten his godfather killed.
When he returned to his room, he found that Rozan was sitting with his head resting in his paws again, looking relaxed. The package from Dumbledore was sitting right in front of him. Harry picked it up, examined the wrapping for a moment, and then tossed it onto his desk.
You are not going to open it?
"I don't really feel like seeing anything he has to offer me right now," Harry explained. "Surely you've seen enough of my mind by now to know why." His voice was laced with sarcasm, which he knew the wolf hated, but he wasn't about to stop.
It could be important.
"Or it could be a waste of time," Harry countered. "Just him trying to keep me happy. Completely in the dark, as usual, but happy."
You do not wish to be happy?
"The only thing that could make me happy right now would be knowing what was going on. I highly doubt he packaged the truth in there."
"Good," the tall being who was kneeling in the tree muttered to himself as he looked in the second story window. Inside, he could plainly see both the time wolf Rozan and the young wizard Harry Potter sitting, talking with one another. "Very good," he corrected himself as he stood up in the tree. "Rozan is helping him."
He leapt down silently, the dark green cloak he wore about his shoulders fluttering behind him. The hood remained up, keeping his facial features hidden, and he turned slowly, his senses alive. Someone was moving nearby.
He crouched to the grass beneath him and ran a hand through it gently, as though trying to take something unseen from its surface. After a moment he stood up and started moving again. Although he was walking through the small suburb in broad daylight, not a single person seemed to take any notice of him. This wasn't because he was forcing them to look away - although that sort of spell was not terribly difficult. It was more because of the pattern of his movements kept him hidden. It wasn't like he was hiding from them, either, but having trained for decades as a waywatcher, it was engrained into him, and even something as simple as walking was lost to him in favour of the stealth such training provided.
He sensed the spell before it actually formed. It was focused through a piece of wood of some kind... mahogany, unless he missed his guess. The spell had a great deal of power behind it, but seemed to have been cast almost lazily. He turned in an instant and found all the muggles in the street to have frozen in their place, and he found himself face to face with a tall wizard with white hair and a very long white beard. The wizard's sparkling blue eyes told him all he needed to know.
"Checking up on the boy, are you?" he asked the wizard calmly, keeping his hands folded before him. He was well aware of how shrouded his cloak made him, but he couldn't stand to wear the wizard robes that the Headmaster had suggested he try to get used to.
"I fear that he would rather not see me at this time, Wanderer."
"Of that, I have no doubt, Dumbledore. But I would have acted in a similar fashion as you did, I imagine. You were trying to protect him. One can never tell, though," the man replied. "Rozan is with him now. I suspect that there will be no need to further train his mind magics this coming year."
"You should be an interesting teacher for them all," Dumbledore said with a smile.
"I should imagine so. Their views on many things are twisted in my mind, though. I have already gone over the notes from previous teachers, and I must say that I am not impressed. True, they are casting some spells rather well, but there is a great deal of things that they still need to learn," he explained.
"Which is why you will be teaching them."
The man nodded, and closed his brown eyes, sealing off all that was showing beneath the hood of the cloak. "I suspect your Hagrid will be pleased this year, as well. I understand that Rozan intends to come with me."
"He will not mind all the humans around him? He told me that he did not enjoy being in my presence earlier... I, of course, did not take offense to it."
"He is adapting, as should be expected," the Wanderer replied. "My kind are growing fewer and fewer, and he will need the bond with humans for him to survive."
"Headmaster," the Wanderer called as the older wizard turned to leave. When the blue eyes turned back to him, the man continued. "You will ensure that the students know that house elves are in no way related to the elves, won't you?"
"There is a note going out at the same time as the OWL results, Talisien, so do not worry."
Until the sun sets upon a broken world...