Harry shivered and groaned in frustration as he looked past another corner. Still, none of the buildings seemed familiar, and his constant headache was doing little to help. His headache… That's what was responsible for all this.
It began the night he saved Sirius. Back then it had been just a slight headache that, at the time, he wrote off, thinking that it was just part of using the time turner, thinking he understood why Hermione was in such a mood during the year. As the days went by, it not only became worse but also started influencing his dreams. Unfortunately, by the time he admitted to himself that it was a problem, he was already at the Dursleys and Hermione was away with her parents on vacation. That was a week ago. Since then, the images became worse. They were more detailed and seemed so real that he could feel them. Unfortunately, these images were not always ones he wanted to feel — or even see at all.
Some nights his dreams would begin somewhat normally: being with his parents, being with his friends, or of playing Quidditch games that never happened. Other nights were different. He'd watch as people were tortured and killed; Sirius, Cedric from Hufflepuff, Dumbledore, Professor Lupin, Ron, Mr. Weasley, and many others he didn't recognize all died.
He tried to stop sleeping in order to prevent the images from attacking his mind, but it didn't help. The memories just started assailing him when he was still awake, even during the day. The Dursleys, who tried to forget the fact that he existed, noticed that something was wrong and locked him in his room, fearing that it was some sort of "freak" illness.
Finally, Harry was so exhausted that he stopped fighting the images and allowed them to just happen. Then he began to understand. They weren't images or dreams. They were memories—his memories—of things that hadn't happened yet. He began to pay attention and try to figure it all out, but he couldn't make much sense of them. There were just too many, and they changed too quickly for him.
He understood enough though. Voldemort wasn't stopped by killing Quirrel and having the stone destroyed or by defeating the Basilisk and demolishing the diary. He came back, and it was Harry's fault and his responsibility to stop him.
Soon after he started accepting the memories, things got better for Harry. He still felt tired and weak, but the headache lessened to a mere annoyance, and he found he could stay awake for most the day. But now that he was physically better, he had another problem: proving to himself that the memories were real and not just his imagination.
The answer came to him later that day when he started feeling weak and had to take a nap. He'd never been to a wizarding hospital, but one of the memories told him there was one in London. If he could find it, he'd prove that the memories were real. It didn't take much to convince his relatives to drop him off in London; all he had to do was threaten to write his godfather if he continued to feel sick.
Unfortunately, there was a problem with his brilliant plan. One of the memories came to him while he was trying to find the hospital. He slipped on the wet pavement and fell, breaking his glasses. Normally this wouldn't be a problem; his glasses broke often enough that he'd become quite proficient at repairing them with magic. This was summer though, and he wasn't allowed to use magic. Minister Fudge had been kind last year when he used accidental magic to blow up his aunt, but Harry didn't want to risk being expelled from Hogwarts just for fixing his glasses.
So there he was, completely soaked and wandering lost on the streets of London. It wasn't like he could just ask for directions to the Leaky Cauldron or St. Mungo's. At that point he didn't even care if he ever found St. Mungo's; he just wanted out of the cold rain. Even the Dursleys would have been better than this.
Harry gave up trying to find his own way and resigned himself to calling Uncle Vernon for help. He knew his uncle was going to give him a hard time and hold it over him for the rest of the summer, but he really had no other choice. He'd been lost for hours, and the chill of the rain was getting to him. He didn't have any Muggle money to pay for a phone call, and Uncle Vernon wouldn't accept the charge if he called Collect. Thankfully, finding an inn in London wasn't hard, and only a few minutes after his decision, he was waiting in line to talk to a clerk.
He barely paid attention to the argument the clerk was having with a customer about money until a small portion of his brain registered the man was wearing robes … wizarding robes! Harry couldn't help but think himself a fool. Instead of trying to find the Leaky Cauldron or St. Mungo's, he should've been looking for a witch or wizard. He knew there was a large population of them in London, and with their fashion sense, it was generally easy to tell them apart from Muggles— even when they weren't wearing robes.
"I read about Galleons during my school work," Harry said quickly, hoping to intervene before the local Bobbies were called. "It's just a weird foreign currency. I can't remember where from exactly My friend Hermione would know offhand though. All he needs to do is get it exchanged at the nearest bank."
"Come on," he said, as he pulled the bewildered wizard away from the angry clerk, "I'll take you to one."
The wizard, an older man with sallow skin and receding brown hair, introduced himself as Gabric Haudin. He thanked Harry for helping him, admitting that he'd nearly lost his patience with the Muggle.
"I had planned on staying at the Three Broomsticks or The Leaky Cauldron, but they're both full, and the barkeep sent me here. The owner is from a wizarding family, but he's off today, and that little Muggle wouldn't call him!" Gabric said indigently. "Now about exchanging the money, you know a place around here?"
"Gringotts in Diagon Alley."
"Goblins. I hate dealing with Goblins; no matter what you try, they always get the better deal in the end. But, if I must, I must."
Harry almost laughed to himself. He couldn't believe his luck. Not five minutes ago, he'd been willing to admit defeat and call his Uncle Vernon and beg to be picked up. Now he was on his way to the Leaky Cauldron. Gabric didn't know where St. Mungo's was, but at least he knew where The Leaky Cauldron was, since he'd just come that way a few minutes before.
Harry couldn't believe how busy the Leaky Cauldron was once they arrived. When he had stayed there last year, there were barely a dozen people in the bar at any one time. Today though, nearly all the tables were full, and even the stools at the counter were filling up. Taking another glance around the room, he was pretty sure Tom had added more chairs and tables since his stay last summer.
Harry was waiting near the back of the bar for Tom to finish helping the current customers when his teeth began to chatter. Now that the urgency was over, he was really starting to feel the effects of spending most the day wandering around London lost in the cold rain.
"Mercy, boy, come on back, and we'll get you dry! What have you been doing with yourself?"
Even after he heard someone speak, it took a moment to notice that Tom had been talking to him and was now leading him past the kitchen and into a small room with a fire burning. Tom moved a chair close to the fire and Harry sat down, his teeth still chattering.
"How did you get so wet, Mr. Potter? Soaked all the way to your bones you are."
Tom didn't wait for an answer, and Harry soon found himself wrapped in a warm blanket.
"Now you stay here and warm up. I'll be back in a minute."
He closed his eyes, enjoying the warmth of the fire soaking his body. He didn't think there had been another time in his life where he appreciated the warmth of a fire so much.
"Come now, Mr. Potter," Tom said, walking back into the room. "You can rest soon enough, but we need to get you out of those wet clothes first."
"But I don't have anything else to wear," said Harry, speaking for the first time since he arrived at the Leaky Cauldron.
"Don't you worry about that. Madam Malkin is on her way with a robe for you, and a Healer will be here soon. From the looks of things, you got yourself a fever at the least."
A moment later, Madam Malkin walked in and was instantly next to Harry trying to pull off his shirt. "You still haven't gotten him out those clothes! Come now, off with those, and we'll get you into a nice warm robe." Harry put his arms down, trying to stop her.
"Now's not the time for modesty, Mr. Potter! You should have considered that before you got yourself all wet and sick."
Harry felt his arms being pulled up, and soon his shirt was peeled off.
"Dear Merlin, child, what rags are you wearing?"
Looking down, he saw his cousin's mammoth pants being held up by an equally large belt. Normally he never cared about what he wore; Dudley's old hand-me-downs and his school robes were really the only clothes he had. But this time her question, and being exposed like that, left him feeling self-conscious and ashamed in a way he hadn't felt since before he went to Hogwarts.
"Not to worry, dear, I'll take care of those later. For now, let's get you out of these drenched things and into a nice, warm robe."
After Madam Malkin made a few quick magical adjustments to the robe Tom brought back another person, whom Harry guessed was the Healer Tom mentioned.
"Mr. Potter, glad to be able to meet you! I can say it's an honor to help you. Healer Pomfrey speaks quite highly of you and the amount of trouble you seem to find yourself in." A grin lit up the man's face as he added, "Anyone who can manage to keep that woman on her toes is a friend of mine. But where are my manners. I haven't even introduced myself yet. I'm Yersinis Pestia, Mediwizard extraordinaire from the greatest Healing family in all of Europe. More than twenty generations of Healers have come from my family, each and every one among the best of their time. Enough of such chit-chat, let's find out what's wrong with you."
Harry smiled at the Healer and decided he liked him. He didn't seem to be in awe of meeting the Boy-Who-Lived; not once had the man flicked his eyes towards Harry's scar. After only a short examination, Yersinis gave Harry a couple potions and told him to sit by the fire.
"Well, Mr. Potter, you are suffering from dehydration and a mild fever, nothing a few good meals and some rest can't fix. The potions I gave you will help reduce your fever and help you get a good night's rest. I'll leave another potion to reduce your fever with Tom here just in case you need it tomorrow."
The three adults watched Harry for a minute. Now that he was dry and safe, the adults seemed to want an explanation as to how he ended up like this. He was embarrassed by their worry, but he didn't have the energy to try and put up a fight. He began to feel a familiar calm settle in his body as the Calming Drought took effect.
Harry was thankful that he had taken the potion several times before and could at least keep some of his wits about him. He knew he couldn't tell them the truth about how he suspected the Time Turner was responsible for his new memories; that would only get him and his friends in trouble for helping Sirius escape and altering time.
Thankfully, the little fibs Harry often told his relatives and professors had given him enough practice that he was able to come up with a decent story. He spent the next twenty minutes telling the adults about his headaches and flashes, lightheadedness, how he passed out a few times, and even his meeting with Gabric at the inn. Harry left out the most important parts though: the Time Turner and his new memories.
The adults all seemed to accept the story after Tom said he sent Gabric to the inn but hadn't realized that the owner only worked during weekdays.
Harry could see the pity in their eyes. Oh, how he hated pity!
To his surprise though, the Healer didn't show any pity at all. Instead he looked, if anything, disappointed.
"I did not detect anything that would cause such symptoms," Healer Pestia said. "However, it would still be best if you were to stay at St. Mungo's overnight for observation. I will also examine your eyes tomorrow, since they were the cause of your situation this day. It should not be too difficult to repair them."
Harry was so thrilled to find out that he'd wouldn't need his glasses anymore that he didn't even notice the name of the hospital. It wasn't until later, when he was laying in bed waiting for another Healer to take a look at him that realization hit. He was in St. Mungo's, which meant the memories were real!