Disclaimer: Characters in this story are the intellectual property of J.K.Rowling. I am making no money from this.
A Stitch in Time.
Harry Potter sighed gratefully, another hellish potions lesson was finally over. However, just as he had reached the classroom's threshold, remembering happily that he only had to endure a few more before he left school forever, a deep, menacing voice called
'Potter! Stay behind!'
Grimacing, he waved Ron and Hermione away as he turned on his heel and walked back into the room, his jaw set and his eyes blazing defiance.
'Potter', said the tall, pale-skinned man, noting his student's hostility. 'Hand me the object you have so ineptly concealed in your robes', his eyes flicked downwards disdainfully, 'or I shall summon ministry officials and inform them that you have been breaking the law. Yet again.'
At this, Harry stepped back slightly, weighing his options. There was no way that he could give the time-turner to Snape, it was the only way that he could revise for his NEWTs and train to defeat Voldemort (who had been oddly inactive lately) without killing himself through lack of sleep. Besides, what did the greasy git want with it anyway?
'I don't know what you're talking about sir', he said slowly, shifting his right hand so that it rested on his wand.
'Potter', intoned Snape, his voice even lower than before. 'This is your last chance'.
Harry said nothing, emerald eyes holding Snape's obsidian ones in a harsh glare. The potions master curled his upper lip slightly, then in an instant had drawn his wand from under his voluminous black robes.
Harry reacted just as quickly, throwing himself to one side and clutching the object to his chest while throwing a spell at the older man, who was watching him angrily from under his dark hair.
'Stupefy!' Harry cried.
'Protego', said Snape lazily. 'Your duelling performance has never been competent, Potter, but that was pathetic.'
Snape proceeded to hurl a string of curses at Harry, which forced him to duck under a desk. His heart racing, Harry reflected that Snape had never attacked in this method before, preferring to cast single curses and then watch Harry attempt to evade them.
- Since the beginning of his seventh year he and the potions professor had been taking their absolute hatred of each other out in a rather more creative way than just shouting. The first time they had duelled had been late at night in one of the charms corridors, where Snape had caught the boy-who-lived wandering after curfew. Having been thinking about Sirius, Harry had felt particularly angry, and before he realised what he was doing had removed his wand and hexed Snape. Seeing his teacher lying motionless on the ground, Harry was filled with the absolute conviction that he would be expelled, and he had walked over to Snape to discern how bad the damage was. He was completely shocked, therefore, when the man sprang up as soon as he was close and proceeded to spell Harry to fly into the wall. A battle of sorts ensued, which had only been stopped by the arrival of Mrs Norris, at which point Snape had brusquely deducted points from Gryffindor, told him to get back to bed and stormed off, moonlight illuminating his billowing robes as he strode down the corridor.
Intensely perplexed, Harry had wondered why Snape had not taken the opportunity to get rid of him once and for all, but after he had run into the man several more times on his nocturnal journeys to the library he reasoned that he probably derived far more pleasure from cursing Harry all the time than he would if he were expelled. This was another reason that the time-turner was so useful, he needed to do all the research he could to withstand Snape's onslaughts.
Unbeknownst to Harry, Snape had also questioned his motives for his actions. Since the incident in Harry's fifth year his animosity towards the brat had increased tenfold, and he had rationalised that this was an exceedingly therapeutic method of revenge. Knowing that Dumbledore would never let his golden boy be expelled, he though might as well teach the brat a lesson or two in his own way. If anyone found out, he could always explain that he was giving him extra duelling practice. Besides, the wizarding world had loathed him too long for him to care about damaging any good reputation he had left.
The barrage of spells ended, Harry leapt up, ready to retaliate. The problem was that Snape had disappeared. Spinning around the dark classroom slowly, Harry could make out no sign of the potions master, and it appeared that all he had for company were the slimy horrors in jars that decorated the walls. Harry was facing the blackboard when he heard a slight rustle to his right. Turning sharply, he gasped in shock when he felt two strong hands grasp the front of his robes and reach inside for the time-turner. Panicking, Harry shoved blindly at the invisible form in front of him and hit a solid chest. Winded, Snape staggered backwards, the turner still in his hand. Seeing it pulled away from him by an invisible force, Harry grabbed the chain and yanked it backwards. Strained by their combined force, a shallow crack appeared in the fragile glass, which soon streaked across the object like a stream freed by a dam. Finally, the glass gave way, and the two struggling men were enveloped in a cloud of golden sand.
Perplexed, professor and pupil stopped abruptly and looked at each other in horror. Before they had time to react, they experienced a strange spinning sensation as the world around them faded to black.
Harry was first to wake up, noting with disgust that he had managed to fall forwards onto Snape as the time-turner dust had taken effect. Bones aching slightly, he pushed himself upwards from his teacher's -disturbingly firm- chest, and stood up. Looking down, he watched the potions master sleeping, noting his serene expression with surprise. Harry was concluding that it was best not to wake him up (there would be hell to pay when he remembered what had happened), when he heard voices from Snape's office. Wondering when the turner had transported them to, Harry silently moved closer, hearing oddly familiar voices as he did so. Peering through a crack in the office-door, he saw that the interior was different to what he remembered from occasions that he had snuck in to pilfer potions ingredients. The part of the room that he could see contained a sumptuous sofa against the wall to his left, and there was an antique bookcase where in his own time had merely been a messy stack of parchment.
Harry could now clearly hear the voices, and gradually began to make sense of the conversation.
'What do you want to do this evening?' asked one of the masculine voices lightly.
'Can't we just have a peaceful night in? Your youthful exuberance is touching, but attempting to drill the rudiments of potions into those little brats has exhausted me.' This came from a far deeper, more melodious voice that Harry would have sworn came from Snape if it didn't sound- well- happy.
'I thought you had NEWT level students for all of today's lessons?' said the first voice playfully, and Harry's brain raced in the attempt to remember where he had heard it before.
'I did. They're all as incompetent as each other.' A hint of sarcasm crept into the velvety tones of the second man as he continued, 'although I seem to remember you surpassed them all in terms of ability…..and by that I mean lack thereof….'
'Well, professor, you should know by now that my talents lie elsewhere'.
'Really? ….' There had been a challenging tone to the voice, but all further reply had been cut off. Intrigued, Harry watched as half a figure stepped backwards into his line of vision. Black robes came into view, worn by a tall, thin man whose midnight hair fell down to his shoulders. 'Bloody hell, it is Snape!' Harry thought, 'but he's actually washed his hair. Maybe the time turner dust took us to some kind of alternate reality….'
Thoughts along this line ran through his head, as Snape stepped further backwards, revealing that he had the second man entwined in his arms and was kissing him passionately.
An icy chill ran through him as they staggered closer to the sofa and the second man could be seen plainly. The figure on the right was older than he was, but Harry could still make out his own facial features clearly enough, and the lightning-bolt shaped scar on his head served as terrible confirmation. He was kissing Snape! Feeling like he was going to be violently sick, Harry tried to step away from the crack in the door, but bumped into something solid behind him.
'Potter, watch where you're…….' Snape had begun speaking angrily, but his features had frozen in horror when he had caught sight of the two men beyond the office door.
Those inside, having heard the noise, flung open the door with their wands pointed at the opening. The warm light from the office illuminated the strange scene, the four men facing each other through the doorway, each with his wand drawn yet with a different facial expression.
In the tense silence, the future Harry lowered his wand and smiled disarmingly at the two intruders.
'Welcome', he said, 'we've been expecting you'.
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