Chapter Eight: Now the Night Is Over, Full Circle (Part I)
The world spun. The Time-Turner revolved once. His stomach twisted with his swirling vision. Harry shut his eyes tightly, fighting against the urge to throw up.
The world spun. The powerful artifact refused to whirl around any faster. It was like winding up something that resisted his every push.
The world spun. He was falling backwards through time. It hurt. He felt bile at the back of his throat. His eyes watered. His head was dizzy with nausea.
The world spun. He threw up. He couldn't help it.
And spun. He wondered what would happen to the bile that he had just spewed. Perhaps it would suddenly appear in the middle of nowhere? He couldn't help but choke with laughter, and briefly felt disturbed when he couldn't hear himself laugh. It was as though he were in a vacuum. A bubble outside of reality. And in a way, he supposed he was—a bubble outside the regular stream of time.
Spun. How many times had he turned it already? He didn't remember…. He knew he was supposed to spin it seven times. Should he turn it once more? Harry sighed—and felt disturbed once again because he couldn't hear himself—and thought that it was just like him to forget to keep track. Making a decision, he spun the Time-Turner once more.
The falling sensation grew worse. Harry held in a moan of pain as his stomach attempted to heave once more, and cursed mentally at himself for sending himself back in time. What kind of stupid idea was it anyway? But the self-loathing lasted only for a split second, for the next moment another thought occupied his mind. It was a rather troublesome thought: how many times had he spun it already? Six? Seven? Perhaps less? Harry didn't know. And he only had a split second more to decide. Spin, or not? Spin? Or not?
He would spin it, he decided, and attempted to twist the Time-Turner once more—
And the world shattered.
The sensation of falling backwards, of being hurdled through time stopped instantly—the backlash made him want to spew out his insides once more. Blood rushed to his head, making him nearly faint from the pounding migraine that suddenly came with the blood.
Sharp pain stung his hands, and Harry—his eyes watery—glanced down and saw with horror that his hands were blistered and coloured an angry red.
And his hands were bloody.
Harry realised with horror that the Time-Turner had shattered. It had exploded, and now pieces of glass were embedded into his hands.
And it hurt.
Then sound returned to his deafened ears, and Harry gasped with pain as his ears grew accustomed to noise once again. He felt very disoriented and the next moment found himself on the ground, cradling his head as dizziness swamped him once more, his shaking legs unable to hold his weight.
Distantly he heard commotion and struggled to clear his mind of the dizziness, attempting to look up—but it was surprisingly difficult. In fact, he couldn't even react when he felt someone, or perhaps even more than one, grab him and lift him up. Harry groaned. Someone shouted in his ear, and it sounded suspiciously like a cry for help.
The next moment, he felt magic wash over him, and once more sound disappeared—and instead a feeling of being seized and forced down a tight tunnel enveloped him for a second.
Someone's Apparating me, Harry thought a moment before his exhaustion and pain and disorientation became too great to handle, and his consciousness fled blissfully into the unknown.
He was standing before a mansion. It was daytime. The house was magnificent, richly decorated, and very clean. It clearly housed someone of wealth.
Harry walked closer and stopped just by the fence, peering in closely, his ears listening attentively. But he saw nothing move within the house—for the windows showed only empty rooms, empty of people. He heard nothing but the breeze of the wind whispering as it combed through the carefully kept front lawn and the gardens with perfectly trimmed bushes and flowering beds.
Then he heard something; he heard someone approaching. He moved away as quickly as he dared, for fear of alerting anyone to his sudden movements.
From around the corner came out a middle-aged man, obviously the gardener by the look of him, who limped across the lawn. Harry paused. He had seen this man before. He was sure he had. But where?
Harry would have liked to stay and observe the gardener, but the man was scowling at him so suspiciously—and Harry didn't want to irritate the man enough for him to do something about it—that he quickly walked away, down the empty road, which seemed to lead nowhere. A stray thought entered his mind: filthy Muggle
Harry blinked, and jerked back in alarm. The sun had abruptly jumped position. It now hung low in the sky, at an angle that hurt his eyes. It was nearing night. He guessed it was about six in the evening, the time between full day and full night.
He shivered as a dark and foreboding feeling washed over him.
He moved forward, as though compelled, and frowned as he approached that same mansion. He was certain he had been moving in the opposite direction just moments ago. He shrugged, and moved forward.
The fence opened silently as he approached, and Harry's eyes narrowed suspiciously. He continued walking until he nearly reached the front door—but was distracted when he heard someone in the house speak, the voice sounding female. "Dinner is ready, sirs, madam."
"Excellent, excellent," spoke a man, his voice thick with arrogance. "Come, Tom, dinner is ready, didn't you hear?"
"Really, Father," replied another voice with slight irritation. "I am not deaf."
"Oh, Tommy," said a different woman. "No need to get upset. I shan't tolerate it."
Harry approached the nearest window curiously, glancing around once to make sure that the gardener wasn't around, and peered carefully over the windowsill. There were three inside: an older couple and a middle-aged man. Clearly, they were family.
Suddenly Harry felt rage like he had never felt before. It was a red-hot anger that burned inside of him, twisting his every nerve. It clouded over his eyes, and every thread of rational thought disappeared behind the fury of his emotions.
He swiftly turned towards the front door—which opened silently at a twitch of his will—and stepped inside quickly, barely acknowledging the fact that the door closed just as silently behind him.
He was angry
Harry stepped into the dining room, his face twisted with his rage. AVADA KEDAVRA.
Green light flashed. Harry hadn't even realised he had had his wand out before him. Oh well, thought Harry dismissively. The old woman died just as the light touched her. There was no scream, no jerk of pain or anything. The spell was death and had claimed her.
AVADA KEDAVRA. Another flash. Another death. The older man this time.
Harry spoke, hissing though his teeth in utter fury. "Hello, Father." Oh, how he had always dreamed of this moment! To meet his father. Sure, he had at first thought his father was a pureblooded wizard. Sure, it had disappointed him greatly to learn that his father was a filthy Muggle. But no, what made this moment so incredibly special was the fact that he could finally look at the man who had abandoned his mother, who had abandoned him, and tell him exactly what he thought of the man. "Don't you remember me, Father?"
His father was too stunned and frightened to speak.
"It's me, Tom Riddle, your wizard son. Mother named me after you."
The man still did not speak. All the better. Harry smiled, and relished the sight of his father's terrified face. He felt joy at the sight of his grandparents' dead bodies. Their frightened faces, frozen in their abrupt deaths. He felt the rush of exhilaration that came with casting such powerful Dark magic. He felt the tingling of his nerves as adrenaline pumped into his veins. He felt the vicious and savage happiness that washed over him. The feeling of pure power within his hands gave him the most pleasure.
He raised his wand. Death whispered as a rush of wind and light.
Harry woke up with a start. It took a second before he recognised where he was—a room in Leaky Cauldron—and slowly relaxed his grip on his wand. This was the third time he had had a nightmare like this; these dreams were completely different from the ones he had had before his time-travel. Those nightmares had been about the second war, the war he had lost. These nightmares were different—dreams of Voldemort's life.
Harry shakily drew off his bed covers and made his way over to the bathroom, splashing cold water onto his face. He leaned his forehead against the mirror hanging above the sink, and closed his eyes.
His future had been right on all counts. Ever since his soul had merged with that fragment from the Dark Lord, he had been having reoccurring dreams of the man's life. The dreams weren't at all chronological, however. Just the other night, he had been dreaming of Tom Riddle's murder of Hepzibah Smith. It was rather disturbing—especially as he had felt all of Riddle's emotions at the time of the murder. The relish of killing another. Harry was rather worried as to how much the merge would affect his personality, his psyche. After all, possessing Riddle's memories couldn't exactly be healthy, right?
It also wasn't easy to deal with, he was quickly realising. It jarred him every time he woke up from these dreams. It was as though he were a pendulum, his morals swinging from one direction to the other, from one side to its polar opposite.
One moment he was laughing at the deaths of others, the next he was horrified. His mind was a complete mess of conflicting emotions. It was… unpleasant.
Tempus, thought Harry, casting a non-verbal spell to find out the time.
5:56, responded the spell.
Good, Harry reflected, it's not too early to wake up completely, then. He had a full day ahead of him, he knew. He quickly stripped and set the temperature of the water before he eased himself into the shower—trying without success to dismiss the dreams from his thoughts.
Harry even had a theory as to why the merging with Voldemort was affecting him so much now, when it didn't when he was younger. After all, he had been made a Horcrux when he was a baby before, why hadn't it affected him then? Why didn't he have Voldemort's memories?
It was, he thought, because of his adult mind. When he had been a baby, he had probably been unable to handle the plethora of memories, and had most likely shoved it away in the corner of his mind—where it had probably remained the whole of his short life, locked away and forgotten. But this time Harry had been mentally eighteen, and thus the incoming memories had met a structured mind that could break down the flow and carefully integrate with the new memories.
At least, that was what Harry thought. And he had never been much of a theorist. He relied mostly on Hermione for those sorts of things.
Harry shut off the water and towelled himself dry before he exited the bathroom. He felt more fresh and awake now. He quickly dressed himself in the same robes he had worn since he had arrived, casting a few spells to transfigure them to look like something different. He would see if Tom was awake. If he was, then Harry would get his breakfast. He had already learned that in his current weakened state, a full breakfast was definitely needed to keep up his strength.
Two nights and a day had passed by since Harry had arrived back in time. He had jerked awake the first time in St. Mungo's Hospital, and had been forced to run away when a Healer had come asking for details and explanations for his injuries—severe damage to the hands, magical and physical exhaustion, and what seemed to be magical head trauma. The escape had been fairly difficult, as he had still been exhausted—but with all his injuries healed by Fawkes and by the Healers, all Harry had had to deal with had been the weariness. That, though, had been easily handled by a stolen Pepper-Up Potion.
His impromptu runaway had been pretty easy after that. Harry doubted many wizards had tried to run away from the hospital before, and so there had really been no trouble in slipping out unseen. If there was such a list as "The Least Expected Actions from Injured Patients," running away would probably have been at the top of the list, the most unexpected action anticipated from injured patients. He had at first been rather concerned that his facial features would be firmly in the minds of the Healers, and easy for inquiries to be made for him—but that had disappeared after his shock with the mirror in a Muggle public toilet an hour later.
He had just been walking into a Muggle restroom, when he had turned to glance at the mirror out of the corner of his eye, and had literally jumped up with a start when he had seen the face peering wide-eyed back at him.
It had been the face of Tom Riddle.
Harry had been able to deduce—once he had calmed down enough to think rationally—that his Metamorphmagus abilities must have kicked in during one of his vivid nightmare-memories, and had turned his features to that of the younger Riddle. Ever since that point, he had been wearing a face that was a mixed blend between his own and Riddle's.
It felt rather strange to be wearing Riddle's face—even if it was only half-mixed version of it—but the thought of how furious the Dark Lord would be if he ever found out was enough to convince Harry to keep it.
"Good heavens, you're awake early!" exclaimed Tom, the bartender. "Will you be wanting breakfast, then?"
"Please," said Harry, nodding. "Whatever your usual is."
"Of course," said Tom, giving his trademark toothless grin. "Will you be wanting a drink beforehand?"
"Just water, if you will," he replied absentmindedly.
"Certainly. Coming right up."
The man finally moved away, and Harry relaxed at a corner table. He had escaped from St. Mungo's to find that he had arrived from the future at around ten the night before, and had been recuperating unconsciously for nearly twenty hours. By the time he had escaped, it had already been nearing midnight, and Harry had taken refuge in Leaky Cauldron, asking Tom to put any and all costs on his tab. Of course, Harry didn't actually have any money on him to pay his tab—but he had been too tired to care.
And that would be his first order of business. To get his hands on some money. It wouldn't be too difficult, he hoped. The goblins were known for being tight-lipped, after all; even Sirius had managed to buy a Firebolt using money from his account without the Ministry ever finding out.
The next order would be to get his hands on another Time-Turner, to replace the one that had shattered. He wasn't exactly sure how he would do this. He had decided during some of his rare moments of clarity while escaping that he would at first try the underground market in Knockturn Alley—but if that didn't work, he just might have to raid the Department of Mysteries. It was not a prospect he enjoyed thinking about. He doubted if he could even pull it off. The only successful raid of the Department had been with Luna's help—and that had been with her guiding their every step.
"Breakfast, sir," Tom said, interrupting Harry's thoughts. "Shall I refill your cup of water?"
Harry nodded, and the man left after waving his wand to refill the cup. Well, he thought as he slowly began to eat, if it turns out I have to go into the Department of Mysteries, then I'll just have to deal with it. After all, he'd have to pass on the Time-Turner to his past self in six days.
He pushed the thought out of his mind and continued to plan out the rest of his day. The third on his list of things to do would be to find out how long the Devil's Herb lasted. His future self had implied that the Aging Potion lasted quite a long period of time—but exactly how long was something Harry really wanted to know. A week? Two weeks? Heaven forbid, a month?
The last would be to find a way to get the Weasleys involved with the Order of the Phoenix. This, Harry knew, would be the most difficult of all. How in the world would he be able to do it? He wasn't quite sure. And he had less than five days to do it—five, because the Weasleys had been at the Order meeting the night before Harry had time-travelled.
Well, thought Harry, no one said this would be easy. He quickly wolfed down the last few bites of his breakfast. I'll just have to adapt, like I always do.
"Put it on my tab, Tom," Harry called out as he stood swiftly. He had business to attend to, and his dawdling would not help at all.
Gringotts loomed ahead. Harry kept careful track of the people around him as he approached his target, his eyes darting to and fro from one early-morning shopper to another, and tried to keep memories of that terrible Halloween night from surfacing. It had taken place right where he was standing now, he knew. It was a disturbing thought.
The bank was nigh empty when he entered, and Harry mentally nodded with satisfaction. All the better. He swiftly approached one of the booths and nodded coolly to the banker before him.
"I find myself without a key to my vault—perhaps I lost it somewhere within the mess I call my home," lied Harry smoothly, adopting the persona of a rich fool, too arrogant by far, and beyond naïve and inexperienced. "May I request assistance in this matter? Who must I see to rectify this silly error?"
The goblin didn't seem to care much at all for Harry's words, and simply barked—without even turning his head, nearly making Harry wince as the goblin snapped directly in his direction—"Geral! Assist this man to the Office of Key Restoration."
A smaller goblin jumped to obey the other goblin's orders, and quickly ushered Harry down the main entrance hallways into a side outlet that seemed to lead to a corridor of doors, each labeled as a different bank office. The fourth on the right was the Office of Key Restoration, it seemed, and Geral roughly pushed Harry inside, before slamming the door shut—effectively locking Harry inside, and himself outside.
Harry found out a moment later why the goblin seemed so anxious to drop him off and leave. Before him sat the grumpiest looking goblin in the world—the creature had what seemed to be a perpetual scowl wrinkling his already ugly facial features, and hawk-like eyes that were tiny beads compared to the monstrous size of his head glaring burning holes into Harry.
"Yes?" growled the goblin. "What do you want? Speak!"
It took another moment before Harry could talk, and when he found his voice through his disgust, he spoke as lightly as he could, "I would like to restore my key as it seems I have lost—"
"That, sir, is quite obvious," snapped the goblin. Harry resisted the urge to retort back, Then why did you even bloody ask? The goblin continued derisively, "This is, after all, the Office of Key Restoration. I am Sperf, and I will be assisting you today."
"A pleasure," murmured Harry, his eyes staring at just below the goblin's nose, where it seemed an extraordinarily long nose-hair was just tickling the goblin's lower lip. It repulsed him. "I am—"
But Sperf barked, "I do not care for your name, sir, as it is very much possible that you are lying." In fact, it seemed like the goblin thought Harry was lying, and that it wasn't just a possibility. The goblin opened one of the drawers in his desk, and pulled out a heavily decorated chest. The goblin drew a long finger along the creases where the top half met the bottom, and purple light glimmered before the chest snapped open.
Inside, Harry could see rows of carefully placed elliptical lumps of gold. The goblin motioned impatiently for him to approached, and Harry carefully walked up to the goblin.
"Well? Take one!" snapped the goblin.
With a wary glance at Sperf, Harry carefully reached into the chest and gripped one lump—then tensed as he felt the golden lump begin to shift and twist and turn within his hand. He quickly tried to open his hand—but found that he couldn't. The lump of metal turned hot, and hotter and hotter as moments passed by. He nearly snarled with rage as the goblin watched him with obvious pleasure, but grit his teeth as the lump became ever hotter.
Then it was gone, and Harry's hand snapped open. A golden key flew out of it, and Harry quickly cast a cooling charm on his hand. "Bloody hell!" he cursed.
"Your key," spoke Sperf, and finally his tone changed from one of annoyance and irritation to one of enjoyment. The gobbling held it up to the light. "Your key has been restored."
No bloody thanks to you, snarled Harry silently, but he knew not to show his anger any further. It would only feed the goblin's amusement. Snatching the newly restored key, Harry quickly turned to leave, but the goblin spoke once more, forcing him to stop and turn to listen.
"You are lucky. If you had not had a vault here in this bank, you would have lost your hand. Good day, Mr. Potter."
Harry's eyes widened, but the goblin only looked on stoically.
"As per the terms of our contract and your Right of Family Usage, we shall be silent," said the goblin. "You need not worry. Now, go."
And Harry did, blinking blankly. Well, he thought to himself, that went… better and worse than I expected.
It took only a shorter amount of time to reach his family vault. The vault was tied not to a single person, but to the family, Harry knew. Thus, although James Potter controlled it, Harry—as a Potter—still had access to it. This was why the key had been stored.
He touched nothing but the gold in his vault, taking away from it a pouch full of galleons. He knew that if he touched any of his heirlooms, James might get suspicious the next time he arrived here. His father might be compelled to ask the goblins why his heirlooms had been moved around, and then they would have to disclose to him that another Potter had claimed the Right of Family Usage on the Potter vaults—which would not be a good thing.
As it was now, the goblins would keep silent and not inform the dominant Potter controller of Harry's key restoration. It was a part of his Right as a Potter. Harry was grateful for this. Very much so. It would certainly help in the future when he gathered materials to fight Lord Voldemort.
Grinning, Harry walked out of the bank with money in his pockets and turned, after a moment of consideration, to Knockturn Alley. He had business to conduct there; business with a certain owner of Borgin and Burkes.
Things were working out so far as planned.
"I represent a certain principal who finds it within his interest to look for a certain tool," spoke Harry coolly. He kept tight control of his voice, mediating his tone with great control. It would not do to give an unintentional, but revealing, sign to the other, especially in Knockturn Alley. "A certain tool that may be frowned upon if obtained through ordinary means. Perhaps you would know of a way to retrieve such a tool without such troublesome frowning, Mr. Borgin?"
"You mistake me, sir," rumbled the man in false humility, his hands spread out before him in clear innocence. "I am simply an innocent collector of items. I know nothing of obtaining frowned-upon materials nor of breaking laws—"
Harry nodded, interrupting smoothly, "Of course, dear sir. I would never dare to accuse you of knowing anything like that. You and my principal are but fellow comrades in this world of rules and regulations, speaking—without malice—of possibilities."
"Perhaps," replied the other man, his eyes intently staring into Harry's. Harry stared back. "And who, may I be so bold to ask, do you represent?"
This time, Harry only smiled. "Dear sir, you—of all people—should know not to ask."
The man's eyes widened. "O-of course." His eyes flickered nervously to the entrance of his store, his hand twitched nearer to his wand, and Harry's smile widened fractionally. The man was frightened. So he should be.
Harry had said, just now, that Mr. Borgin dare not ask who he represented—and Harry knew the man's mind would immediately jump to the only person who would dare this sort of threat against a man of Borgin's power, and expect to live. Yes, Mr. Borgin—Harry was certain—would immediately think Harry spoke on behalf of the Dark Lord Voldemort.
Pressing his advantage, Harry lazily pulled out his wand, and with a cool nod at the man, snapped his wand out—and the shutters, which already were half-closed, snapped completely shut; the entrance locked closed; the fire dancing on the hearth, connected to the Floo network, disappeared; green light sparked, and the Dark Mark appeared within the store in a flash of harsh light, power exploding out from it in bursts.
The man standing opposite Harry bowed low after a moment of jaw-slackened astonishment, and murmured with reverence, "And how may I serve Lord—?"
"No," snapped Harry, moving forward to tower over the man. A cloak hood hid the majority of his face from sight, and the robes of dark green that he wore flashed and transfigured into the thick, heavy black robes of Death Eaters. "My principal shall never be named within the hearing of anyone, nor shall this mission ever be uttered without my presence." He waved his wand, and the Dark Mark disappeared. "Do we understand each other, Mr. Borgin?"
"Perfectly, sir," recovered the owner. "And how may I serve you, Mr.—?"
"I shall remain nameless and unknown at this moment. Save for the fact that the power I hold is far greater than your own and that my principal has full knowledge of this mission and approves of it whole-heartedly, you shall know and ask of nothing."
"I understand, sir. And this certain tool you mentioned earlier?"
"Are we safe to speak freely, Mr. Borgin?" The man seemed to bristle with indignation, but Harry did not allow him to speak. "Excellent. Very well then, it is a Time-Turner."
The man's eyes bulged out in surprise. Harry glared stoically. "A T-time-Turner?"
Harry didn't answer, and the man trembled a moment, before drawing himself up once more with a sense of authority. Ah, thought Harry with amusement, he's deciding to show some backbone. "I shall look into it, dear sir—however, success may not occur. Time-Turners are controlled completely by the Department of Mysteries—"
"Have I ever," sneered Harry, "asked for excuses, Mr. Borgin? Do I appear to care at all?" He swung around, his robes splaying out beyond him impressively, and studied one of the many Dark artifacts littering the room. "Obtain a Time-Turner, and you shall receive payment."
At the last word, Mr. Borgin's eyes narrowed. This, obviously, he knew how to deal with. "I would expect a hefty price for obtaining such a valuable—"
"And you shall receive it," snarled Harry, keeping his Death Eater persona carefully honed. "Make no mistake, my principal delivers what he has promised."
"Of course, dear sir, I would not dare impugn the integrity of—"
"Excellent." Harry saw a flash of annoyance flit through the man's eyes, and nearly smirked. It was ever so easy to get a rise out of this man. But Harry clearly had the upper hand with Voldemort's support—so Mr. Borgin thought—and thus he knew the man would attempt no treachery. This thought did make Harry grin, so he turned quickly away from the man to hide it. "I shall return in forty-eight hours. I expect results, Mr. Borgin. Is this clear?"
"Two days, sir? Impossible!" babbled the man. "Why, the time it would take to even alert my searchers would take as long—"
"No," snapped Harry, swinging around to face the man again. "Excuses, Mr. Borgin, and I am ever uninterested in them. You shall find a Time-Turner, else you shall be expected to pay the price. You know what I speak of."
Mr. Borgin nodded reluctantly.
"Excellent, dear sir. Then, as a parting word, I shall explain to you the terms of your service. You shall speak of this mission to no one in any form—whether verbally spoken, written in any message, nor spelled into anyone's mind. If anyone were to find out—believe me, Mr. Borgin, you do not want to know the consequences." Harry calmly transfigured his robes back into the dark green that he had worn when he arrived. He drew his wand out before him, and the fire burst back to life in the hearth, the windows opened, and the entrance doors unlocked. "Ah, and as to the payment for your services. It shall be your life, Mr. Borgin. You shall be allowed to keep it."
Harry turned to study the man cowering before him again. It was a strange sight. He knew that Mr. Borgin would never have done this to anyone else, but Voldemort tended to make even the most powerful men cower in fear. Or, Harry thought, even just Voldemort's name. Harry had only to use that, and make the man fear him.
Before he left, Harry spoke once more. "I shall bid you a good day, then, Mr. Borgin." He left without looking back, and thought he could hear the man cursing his luck behind him.
Harry hid a grin within the shadow of his hood, and made his way through Knockturn Alley.
Lunch at Leaky Cauldron was excellent, and Harry finally managed to clear his tab and pay for the expenses of the next five days. He then bought a copy of the Daily Prophet and saw on the front page:
The Prewett Brothers Murdered!
You-Know-Who Strikes Again
No wonder, Harry thought. No wonder Mrs. Weasley was so emotional during that Order meeting when Minerva and I arrived in the past. Her brothers had just been killed. No wonder.
He quickly read through the article and felt a strong sense of anger. The brothers were among the greatest wizards within this century, he had heard before. And now they were dead. Sometimes he had to wonder how much things would have changed if so many had not died. What if, he wondered, Grindelwald's war had never happened? What if those thousands of wizards and witches had not died during his reign of terror? What if World War Two had never occurred? What if those hundreds of millions had lived? How much better would this world have been?
Harry finished his lunch with that depressing thought, and wondered for a brief moment what he would be doing the rest of the day. His account had been settled at the bank and also with Mr. Borgin. Hopefully the man would be able to keep his end of the bargain—but it was uncertain. Though Mr. Borgin was truly a powerful man in regards to his vast network, Harry wasn't sure if the man could match the power of the Unspeakables.
And if Mr. Borgin wasn't a match, then Harry would have to be.
But, Harry decided, he wouldn't worry needlessly about it. He knew he would have the Time-Turner by the end of his seven-day journey into the past. It was just a matter of time before an opportunity to obtain a Time-Turner came up. If not through Mr. Borgin, then through something else. Time was continuous, he knew now. It was a forward stream—entangled, yes—but a continuous flow nevertheless. He would get a Time-Turner sooner or later to give to his past self.
And so, pushing that thought out of his mind, Harry finally determined the course of the rest of his day since he had accomplished everything on his To-Do list that could today. He would go shopping for some necessities, first. Clothes, most definitely. It was the second day he was wearing the same ones, and he would appreciate some of the Muggle variety as well. It was rather uncomfortable not to be wearing anything under his robes.
Perhaps he would also visit the bookstore to find, if there was any, information on the Devil's Herb.
He rose and left, lost in his thoughts.
Hogwarts. So many times during Harry's years at this place had he tried to break out of the school—yet for the first time in his life, Harry was trying to break in.
It was just before dawn of the fourth day when Harry finally thought of a plan to include the Weasleys in the Order. It was risky, he knew—but ultimately worth it. Perhaps. He wasn't even sure if the process of initiation into the Order was the same as in the future. He had known it fairly intimately in the future, as Harry had been one of the chief recruiters for the Order then. But if the process was different now than it was in the future, he would be in trouble.
Nevertheless, Harry had weighted these concerns, the pros and the cons, and decided to go ahead with this reckless plan—yes, he admitted it freely. The plan was foolhardy and extremely tentative, but what else did he have to go on? He would adapt his plan accordingly if problems arose. He truly hoped none would.
Of course, it had stumped him for quite some time—how would he make his way into Hogwarts, unknown and undetected? The Hogwarts wards would alert the Headmaster of any intruder, able to look through most disillusionment charms and invisibility cloaks. Of course, there were ways to sneak in, Harry knew, and he could already think of a few. But the true trouble would be to sneak into Dumbledore's office—and knowing the old man, Harry knew the Headmaster would have his office nigh impossible to breach.
Almost impossible, Harry had figured out later. It wasn't completely impossible.
And so the first few rays of sunlight found Harry tracking as silently as he could through the Forbidden Forest, multitudes of concealment spells layered all over him to cover both his scent and sight from the animals circling him. He didn't relish the thought of his mission ending abruptly from the claws of a wild creature. No, he did not.
Of course, the concealment spells would be no match against the wards of Hogwarts, but it never even crossed his mind to set them against the wards.
He paused when he arrived at a small clearing and glanced around with searching eyes. Ah, yes, and there it was. The enormous tree that was shaped like the letter Y. And there on the uneven ground, the roots of the tree formed a web encircling a suspiciously empty patch on the forest floor. He had arrived at his destination.
The outer entrance into the Chamber of Secrets.
His eyes narrowed with concentration as he pointed his wand to that empty patch, when a sudden feeling of foreboding washed over him. He froze, knowing that these feelings that appeared in his gut were to be trusted most of the time. There was a certain piece of knowledge fluttering just outside his consciousness, a most important piece of knowledge he knew. But what was it?
Then it slammed home, and Harry nearly kicked himself for being so stupid.
The basilisk! The king of snakes! It was still alive at the moment!
Cursing, Harry frowned as he tried to think up a solution to the problem. Could he try to convince the snake not to attack? Or should he just get rid of it now, and save Voldemort the temptation to use it again?
Harry nodded a moment later. He had decided. He would destroy the snake.
A moment later, a solution came into his mind, and Harry nearly grinned. It would just be too easy.
He was wrong. He kept his wand steadily before him, just in case the basilisk decided to strike at him with what remained of his dying strength—and it was a good thing that he had. The snake's tail whipped around with a final strike, forcing Harry to duck and roll out of the way, before the basilisk finally shuddered to a stop. The creature was dead at last.
"Bloody snake," he cursed, brushing dust and dirt off his cloak. He waved his wand and banished the rooster he had conjured. He really should have remembered this in his second-year; it would have made this so much easier.
Now, it was time to test his theory about Dumbledore's office.
Focusing on a certain phoenix, he cried out, "Fawkes! I need you!"
To be continued….
Chapter Eight: Now the Night Is Over, Full Circle (Part II) will be updated soon.
Sorry for my rather long, extended absence. I have two very good excuses, though : 1) I've been working on another small ficlet, called "In Light of Silver Memories" and 2) I've been sick, overworked, worried over college apps, and a multitude of RL things that have kept me away from fanfiction.
Hmm. But a lot of that's done and over with, now, so I can work more on my fics again.
If you have time, please do check out In Light of Silver Memories—I've heard good reviews about it.
Here is a timeline between Dumbledore's death and the prologue of my fic.
-- Harry goes to Godric's Hollow
-- Voldemort steps up the pace, begins to take the Wizengamot apart, striking at its most prominent members
-- Ministry declares State of Emergency. All ex-Aurors are called back, and the Aurors begin taking in a larger number of young men and women into their program
-- Hogwarts will remain open, declaration
-- Kingsley and Moody decide Harry needs training
-- The Ministry "graciously" offers their best trainers to "prepare the Boy Who Lived." Harry accepts reluctantly.
-- The Prime Minister of Muggle Britain is assassinated. (Kingsley is murdered.) An attempt also on the life of Minister Scrimgeour. Panic spreads.
-- LV attacks Hogwarts Express. The train is destroyed. The railroad is obliterated. Children are safe, however, as they were Portkeyed en mass to Hogsmeade.
-- First Dementor attack on Diagon Alley. Muggle town torn apart by giants, werewolves and vampires.
-- Harry goes to Grimmauld Place and looks for locket, but does not find it.
-- anonymous letter warning that Hogsmeade will be raided during students' visit there. Harry's first battle.
-- the school locked up even more. McGonagall asks Harry to join Order. He accepts.
-- Halloween: a small Muggle town is spelled shut. Every male, female, adult, child is starved to death. They're cries for help can be heard, but no one can get through the magical wall enclosing the town. All the food is spoiled, and no water. Even after all is dead, the wall was still in place—can't be cleaned up. The stink of dead flesh surrounds the whole area. Thousands have died through this.
-- Harry's training continue, as does his search for Horcruxes. He decides he needs to kidnap Mungdungus, the Order thief.
-- with help of Twins, Harry manages to trap Order thief. Gets information, connections to the darker side of the law. Finally knows how to crack Knockturn Alley.
-- second Diagon Alley raid. This time there is one message LV wants out: "Hand over Potter, or you shall enjoy a very red Christmas." Redblood.
-- one of Harry's trainer's tries to kidnap Harry. Almost succeeds.
-- Harry goes to Hogwarts and enjoys some time with his friends.
-- Ministry on high alert throughout Christmas Day. Then they learn that a whole Muggle city had been poisoned—poisoned with a potion that is undetectable. Harry assumes Snape responsible. Potion forces blood to seep out of skin. Very red Christmas, indeed.
-- LV's spies in the Ministry itself begin to cause havoc. Important documents go missing, papers are filed to wrong places. A multitude of small errors here and there causing an overall messiness. Too hidden to be rooted out.
-- Second anonymous letter to Harry. Warns of the Floo network. LV's gonna try to bring it down.
-- Harry manages to track down the cup of Hufflepuff. It is located within the Department of Mysteries. Now he needs to find a way to get rid of it.
-- the Ministry War Council is formed, Harry is "cordially" invited to attend its first meeting by the Minister. Harry accepts.
1997, late Spring
-- The Floo network is destroyed. LV obliterated the core foundation of the network.
-- One of Ministry's spies located the Riddle Mansion. War Council appoints Auror Moody and a team of one hundred Aurors to raid said location. Harry goes as well. First offensive strike by the Light side—which is victorious. Harry kills Nagini.
-- LV retaliates the attack by setting Dementors loose in Hogsmeade—while simultaneously allowing Giants to ravage London.
-- Hermione and Ron are finally finished with Hogwarts. Their parents had forced them to attend. Hermione, however, suspiciously declines Harry's offer to join him on his quest for the Horcruxes. Says she has a very important Order project to work on with McGonagall.
-- Third anonymous letter. Points out that Pettigrew may know the location of the locket. Harry and Ron, and Ginny, plan a trap for the rat. What does it involve? Not too sure yet.
-- Neville joins Auror training program.
-- Luna does to work in the Department of Mysteries. It is she who researches the mysteriously locked door.
-- July 31, 1997: Lord Voldemort wishes Harry Potter a happy birthday by releasing a magical disease that is very contagious. Makes all Muggles impotent. Basically makes Muggles unable to bear any more children. No cure.
-- Harry manages to capture Wormtail. Milk him for information. Find out that every memory concerning the locket has been locked away by a powerful Legilimens. Harry can't break it. Obviously LV does not want information to be out.
-- using information Harry obtained from the rat, the Ministry War Council manages to snag the spies within the Ministry. But too much damage was done. The Ministry is in a complete chaotic mess. Wormtail escapes.
-- August 4: Minister Scrimgeour is assassinated. Panic and confusion ensues. The War Council takes leadership of the Ministry.
-- An Order meeting: decision is made. Hogwarts would open its doors as Sanctuary to all who wish safety from Lord Voldemort. Governors be damned.
-- Muggleborns especially are requested to accept sanctuary. Order members are sent in pairs to all registered families.
-- Harry deals with the War Council. Aurors will be sent to Hogsmeade and Hogwarts.
-- Lord Voldemort attacks Hogsmeade with vampires and werewolves as decoy, drawing Aurors to the village. However, he in truth ravages through Diagon Alley a third and final time. Nothing is left standing. Voldemort actually spells Gringotts to collapse in on itself. One message left: "Next is the Ministry, then is Hogwarts." Hagrid beaten to death by giants at Hogsmeade.
-- fourth anonymous letter. Vampires are disgruntled at being used as cannon fodder—use it to Harry's advantage.
-- Hogwarts is no longer a school. Traditional classes are no longer held. Instead, everyone is trained.
-- The War Council is taking Voldemort's warning seriously. The Ministry is being spelled into a magical fortress. Lord Voldemort will have a hard time cracking it.
-- But nothing is impossible for LV. Five hundred Muggle children under the Imperious march to the Ministry, and the Death Eaters use them as human shields. "Lower your wards, drop your shields, or these children will die slow and painful deaths." No choice. The War Council convenes quickly—nearly everyone wants to drop the shields: after all, can't let children die. Harry disagrees. Children would die anyway—LV would not let them go. And there is no way to save the children. With great reluctance it is decided. The wards protecting the Ministry would stand.
-- Harry, however, knows it is his fault. He decides to grant the children mercy killing. With Ron and Neville, and Ginny, Harry goes out at night to kill every single Muggle child as gently as possible. However, that is when Harry learns of a great betrayal. Aurthur Weasley was unwilling to allow children to die. The man had sent out an earlier message, asking if LV was really willing to let the children go if the wards were dropped. LV, of course, replied he would. Aurthur Weasley then bargained for the lives of everyone in the Ministry. LV agreed that not everyone would be killed. Not at all—after all, who would be left to be ruled if everyone was slaughtered? The man then lowered the wards.
-- Harry tried to stop LV's army, sounding the alarms. Big battle happens. Harry and LV fight great duel. LV manages to steal full Prophecy from his mind. Suddenly the Dark Lord retreats, unwilling to fight Harry. But that doesn't matter. The battle is already lost. Everyone who could has already retreated to Hogwarts. Ginny Weasley, however, did not. (she died)
-- fifth anonymous letter. Reprimands Harry for not contacting the vampires yet, nor the werewolves. Harry finally tries to contact them in desperation. Vampires give Harry the locket—found it in a Muggle pawnshop.
-- Harry and Ron and Neville leave to meet them. LV lays siege to Hogwarts
-- Halloween: the Shield of Scathach destroys Hogwarts wards. Seven days of fighting.
-- Harry arrives, and forces LV to retreat
-- the dead are given to Vampires
-- Hermione tells Order that project failed
-- what's left of the War Council merges with the leaders of the Order. The Executive Committee is formed. Warders and Cursebreakers join in effort to recreate wards of Hogwarts. However, Hogwarts herself is already starting to rebuild the wards. Just need a little help.
-- Harry reclaims head of DA, and trains younger students. Himself trains with Aurors.
-- Luna tells Harry that there are things inside the DoM that must not be left in LV's hands. The matter is brought before the Executive Committee. A special task force is formed to spearhead the operation.
-- This year, there will be no snow due to Dementors running free all across Great Britain.
--LV has Ministry as his base of operations. A magical fortress. Harry and co break in and retrieve several items. Neville Longbottom does not make it out.
--LV in revenge sets fire to Hogsmeade (empty of people now) and all the surrounding land. Though wards prevent fire from coming in, all the land for miles surrounding the castle is charred black.
-- Other countries are beginning to get involved. The fall of the British Ministry of Magic sets off several movements. The International Confederation of Magical Beings convenes and hopes to start an arms race. They have one goal: relieve Hogwarts. Easier said than done.
--LV's influence has grown. He uses same tactics to incapacitate various governments. Spies misplacing documents, small errors in writing that have disastrous effects. Purebloods joining together, connections made.
-- sixth anonymous letter. Muggle refugee camp will be raided. Harry organizes teams and squads. First major engagement with LV since Ministry has fallen. Christmas day. Harry manages to gain victory. Forces LV to retreat.
-- LV in retaliation tracks down Harry's relatives and tortures them to death. Sends their heads to Harry as gifts.
1998, New Year's/Winter
-- now Harry and the Executive Committee begin to plan a war. A series of small strikes here and there to mess up the Death Eaters. Try to undermine LV's influence in other nations. Teams are sent to various foreign governments to ask for aid.
-- LV moves out to France. Beauxbaton is quickly shut down, and a wave of terror is unleashed upon the nation. Hogwarts becomes even larger as more and more refugees come seeking sanctuary. The Executive Committee has long discussion on whether so many should even be allowed to remain there. McGonagall puts her foot down. No one will be refused Sanctuary—unless proven to be guilty.
-- seventh anonymous letter: LV is furious at Hogwarts's continued resistance. He is devising plans to destroy them.
-- Death Eaters are assassinated, one by one. Hogwarts continues to plan small strikes here and there. Nibbles at the great armies of LV—but so many nibbles hurts.
-- Hermione is killed by Wormtail on one of these raids. Stabs her in the back, when she wasn't looking.
-- Luna is captured on another. LV sends Harry visions of her being tortured. Harry leads a team that attempts to rescue her—leads them to a gigantic wizard-made lake in the middle of London. A huge pool of bodies, of inferi. Luna is one of them.
-- Ron is captured at another skirmish. Harry is enraged.
-- Eighth anonymous letter. Ron was rescued by the author of the letter, he is enclosed. Ron was transfigured into a toy weasel.
-- LV unleashes a Muggle disease that manages to slip through the wards of Hogwarts. At first no one notices. But soon everyone is infected, people are dying left and right. Magic seems to be of no use. Children especially are dying by dozens every day. There seems to be no hope left.
-- ninth anonymous letter. Tells Harry that there is a Muggle cure. Harry in desperation goes looking for the Muggle cure. There is one. But he cannot find enough. Painfully, he has to prioritize. Only the most capable Aurors, the Executive Committee are given the cures. Out of the thousands living at Hogwarts, less than a hundred live.
-- LV lays siege to Hogwarts once again. Daily destroy a little bit more of the wards. Not even survive to put up a good fight. LV knows this. In fact, he leaves the Inner Circle to control the siege, and focuses his attention to other nations.
-- July 31: the wards finally break. The survivors manage to hold first the entrance hall, then are pressed ever more back until nearly the whole castle is overtaken. Thirty or so are left alive, hidden in the deepest dungeons of Hogwarts.
-- Minerva tells Harry that they must fight. Hiding away like rats will only demoralize them. Harry agrees. They plan their final push against the enemy—to take down as many as they can before the end.
-- and so the story ends with Harry and Minerva racing through Hogwarts, the professor subtly directing them towards her office. She is reluctant to tell Harry the real truth, as she believes that no one must know of Project Overlord. Everyone else is killed along the way.
-- they go back in time.
Thanks! Happy reviewing!
Comments always welcome.