Set after HP AND THE DEATHLY HOLLOWS (if you forget about the epilogue). Harry and Ron can't accept tha fact that Fred, Lupin and Tonks are dead and decide to do something about it. I know that the tittle gives the story away, but read it anyway, okay? Please!!
Declaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. If I did, I would've never killed Fred!
The Last Time Turner
Based on situations originated by J.K. Rowling
Harry, Ron and Hermione left the headmaster's office feeling exhausted, but satisfied. They had done it; they had finally done it. Voldemort was dead. Harry looked down at his newly repaired wand and smiled: at least he had that back. He wished that he could bring back his friends as easily as he had brought back his wand.
"Shall we go to the common room or do you want to go back to the dinning room?" Hermione asked timidly.
"To the common room," Ron muttered.
Harry knew why he didn't want to be surrounded by people; same reason as him: they, along with Percy, had been with Fred when he died and Mrs. Weasley would want to hear again –though she had heard it at least five times- how her son had died. George would also be there, and that didn't make it any easier.
Hermione nodded and took Ron's hand in hers. He didn't say anything; he just let her lead the way.
"Eh… We don't know the password," Hermione told the Fat Lady when they had reached the portrait guarding the entrance to Gryffindor's common room.
"It's okay," the Fat Lady replied softly and she moved away so they could enter.
The common room was completely empty, just like Harry thought it would be. Ron headed directly to the door to his room and his friends followed him with their gaze.
"Do you want me to stay?" the girl asked Harry, her eyes fixed on Ron's back.
"No, I'll take care of him. You tell Molly we're here. If she realizes we're gone she'll freak out."
Hermione nodded and turned around.
Harry followed Ron upstairs. He found his friend already in bed, completely dressed, lying on his back. He didn't stir when the boy sat at the foot of his bed, nor when he placed his hand on his arm.
"Is there anything I can do for you? Do you want something to eat…?"
The boy shook his head but did not open his mouth. Harry didn't push him. He walked to his own bed and lay there, also contemplating the ceiling.
"Tell me if you change your mind," he told Ron before closing his curtains.
Even though Harry had lost a lot of people in his life –his parents, his godfather, Dumbledore…- he knew that Ron was suffering much more than he had ever suffered. Harry had been merely a baby when Voldemort had killed Lily and James, and he had only known Sirius for a less than two years. Ron had always had his brother. Fred had always been there for Ron, and now he was gone. He would never tease him again; he would never make him laugh…
Harry tried to remember all the things his friend had told him about the twins: how they had transformed their little brother's Teddy Bear into a spider, or how they had tried to trick him into pronouncing an Unbreakable Swear that could have lead into Ron's dead. He remembered the Weasley Wizarding Wheezes, the dragons that had caused a revolution at Hogwarts… Harry had always secretly admired Fred and George Weasley and he couldn't believe that one of them was gone.
And Fred wasn't the only one whose life had been cut short far too early. Tonks and Lupin had also died, leaving little Teddy an orphan, just like Harry himself. But at least Harry could remember his parents' voices; due to the scar in his forehead, he had heard them, he had relieved their last moments of life. It wasn't exactly a good feeling, but Teddy would never even know what exactly happened to his mother and father, which Death Eater had killed them.
And then the students: Collin Creevy, who had used to chase Harry around with his camera to take a picture of him; Hannah Abbott, whose mother had died just last year… So many families torn, so many lives spared… If only there was a way to turn back time.
Wait a minute, Harry thought sitting on the bed, they were wizards! What if there was a way to turn back time?
"You know what I was thinking?" Ron's voice shocked him. For a minute he had forgotten about his friend on the other bed. "We couldn't have broken them all, could we?"
Harry open his curtains and found his friend's face looking hopefully at him, as if he wanted to hear a certain answer. The boy didn't need to ask Ron what he was talking about because he had been thinking the very same thing.
"Besides," he continued, trying to convince both of them, "even if we had broken them all, that was two years ago; they probably made more. Right?"
"I… I suppose so. They are very important," Harry said after a very long pause.
He remembered how Hermione had been packed with things to do on their third year at Hogwarts. She had gotten the solution to her problems from the hand of Professor McGonagall. It had been so easy for her to go one hour back in time. And they could do the same thing now! All they had to do was find a Time Turner. Like Ron had said, they couldn't have possibly broken them all!
Ron smiled at him, silently thanking him for agreeing with him and said: "We could… borrow one and… and prevent Fred and… Lupin and… Tonks… Do you reckon we would get into trouble if we go back in time?"
"We couldn't possibly mess things up more than this, right? I wouldn't tell Hermione, though…"
The two boys shared a smile and then Harry jumped from his bed.
"Okay… we need a plan. If you worked at the Ministry, where would you keep the Time Turners?" he asked.
"At the Ministry. I suppose they need them close enough to use them in case of an emergency," Ron immediately replied.
"The Ministry. It should be pretty easy to enter, right? Everybody must be celebrating."
"Besides, if we get caught we can always say we're there to give our best to Kingsley."
"Right. So, the place is the Ministry, the time is now. I guess the only thing left to decide is how we're going to get to London."
"We can't Disapparate in or out of Hogwarts and we can't go flying either because I don't know if Snape or You-Know-Who cast some spell on the castle," Ron reasoned. "I guess the only thing left for us to do is Disapparate outside the grounds."
"Good," Harry agreed.
He dug in his pocket and took his three most precious possessions: his wand, his Invisibility Cloak and the Marauder's Map. He pointed his wand at the last and whispered a few well-chosen words. Immediately, dots and lines began to appear from where the wand had touched the paper.
"Almost everybody is at the Dinning Room," he informed examining the map. He noticed the dots representing Fred, Lupin, Tonks and Collin were awfully still and each of them had the inscription (R.I.P.) below the name. He looked at Ron, whose eyes were fixed on the dot with the inscription Fred Weasley. "If we do this right, he will be laughing around with Fred," he assured Ron.
"I know. We just have to do it right."
"We've done more difficult things, right?"
Ron smiled at him.
"We'll better take this," Harry said grabbing the Cloak. "Just in case we find anyone on our way."
The two boys threw the cloak over their heads and made their way to the grounds. They were so used to their night adventures that Harry had no problem walking and reading the map at the same time. Still, they got to the gate without running into anyone: everybody was probably too busy celebrating or mourning.
As soon as they had traversed the gates, they Disapparate. Seconds later, they were at the Ministry entrance.
"We forgot to bring the Tokens!" Harry said. "Hermione had some in her bag."
Ron shook his wand rather complicatedly and two sort of coins appeared out of nowhere.
"Blimly, Ron, how did you do that?" Harry asked incredulous.
"I have no idea. I just imitated what my mother does when she wants to make food appear," he replied handing his friend one of the Tokens.
A minute later, they were down at the Ministry of Magic. It was a good thing they still had the cloak on, because the Atrium was full of people. Harry and Ron stood frozen on the spot for a couple of seconds, fearing that someone had noticed them, but everybody seemed to have had a bit too much of Fire Wisky.
Harry spotted a door just across the Atrium and recognized it to be the door leading to the corridor where the Department of Mysteries was. He hit Ron at the ribs and pointed at the door; his friend nodded. Slowly, trying not to step on anyone, they made their way across the room. Harry pushed the door opened and closed it behind them. They waited, but heard no noise, so they assumed that no one had noticed them.
"This way," he told Ron as he guided him to the all too familiar door of the Department of Mysteries. "Ready? Let's go."
They stepped into a circular room, full of black doors. Before closing the door behind them, Ron drew a cross on the door they had just come through. It was a good idea, because the moment it was closed, the room began spinning around. When it had stopped again, the cross was still there, showing them the way out.
"We need a Time Turner," Harry said loudly.
The door in front of them opened and they crossed it. They were in the room in which centre was a big bell. Harry remembered the Death Eater who had fallen inside it and couldn't help the shiver. It hadn't been a nice sight.
"Harry, over here!"
Ron was standing in front of what looked like a cupboard. Two years ago, it had used to be full of Time Turners but now there was only one of them. There was a note attached to the back of the furniture. Ron read it out loud.
This Time Turner should only be used in case of a real emergency. It can go back 12 hours in time and it gives he who uses it the chance to reuse those twelve hours. Each turn equals one hour. However, it is very important that he remains far away from his past self. If the future self was to meet with the past self, the consequences can be terrible. Be ware!
"Twelve hours? That's more than we need, right?" Ron asked.
"It doesn't say more than we already knew, right? We have to be careful of not meeting our past selves."
"Which could be hard, considering that we were with Fred when…"
"We need to catch him before we meet him."
Ron opened the cupboard and took the Time Turner out. He was about to turn it when Harry stopped him.
"Wait! We don't know what was happening at the Ministry when we were fighting Voldemort. We'd better go back to Hogwarts and then go back time." He wisely said. Ron agreed.
"Do you reckon we can Disapparate from here?"
"We should go outside, just in case."
The cross was still on the exit door; Ron walked towards it, but Harry didn't.
"Are you coming?" his friend asked, his left hand on the doorknob and his right hand clutching the Time Turner.
Harry made a gesture for him to shut up.
"I think I heard someone. Over there," he said.
"Harry… Let's go… It was probably nothing," Ron told him nervously.
But Harry was sure he had heard someone in the other room and felt he needed to take a look. He turned his back to Ron and opened the door closest to him. He almost fell, for he was suddenly at the top row of seats.
The room was exactly like he remembered it to be: empty, with a huge Arc in the middle. Harry couldn't help it: before he knew it, before Ron could stop him, he was climbing down towards the Arc.
The old veil was still waving, as if hit by a warm breeze. The voices were still there too.
"Harry, let's go. We shouldn't be here," Ron urged, but Harry paid no attention to him.
Harry couldn't help it: in his mind he relived the night his godfather had died. He remembered it clearly: Sirius had fallen through that same veil. One moment he was there, fighting Bellatrix, and next he was gone.
"It wasn't your fault," a voice whispered softly.
He jumped. Whoever that voice belonged to seemed to be able to read his mind. It sounded as if the man was standing behind the veil. But there was no one there, Harry knew now.
"What?" he asked loudly.
"What? I didn't say anything. Harry, lets go!" Ron, who had followed him and was now standing next to him, replied.
"No, someone said 'it's not your fault', didn't you hear?"
"No, Harry, I didn't. Can we go please?"
"What's the matter, Ron? There are no spiders here!" asked a different voice, which also seemed to come from behind the Arc.
"I know there are no spiders, but it's creepy anyway!"
"You heard that?"
"Yeah! Weren't you the one who said…?" Harry shook his head. "I thought it didn't sound like you. It sounded more like…"
"You should have brought Hermione!" said the second voice, sounding rather exasperated.
Harry and Ron looked at each other. "Fred?" they asked at the same time.
"Bravo! It took you long enough!"
"You can hear us? You can talk to us?" Ron asked amazed.
"Apparently," Fred replied.
"I knew I had heard something! Two years ago, I knew there was someone behind the veil, but no one would let me get close enough," Harry said angrily.
"Well, excuse us, but with half a dozen Death Eaters chasing you around the Ministry, we thought that the priority was getting you out safely," a different voice said.
"Yeap! So, what brings you here? I thought you'd be celebrating."
"I thought I heard someone calling me. See Ron? Who of you said 'it's not your fault'?"
"That would be me," the first voice said. "I know you've been feeling guilty about what happened here two years ago and I wanted to make sure you understand you did nothing wrong."
"Good job, Harry," Sirius voiced told him. "And you too, Ron. Everyone deserves some credit… God, I whish I could have been there! Doesn't matter, though. I have the rest of eternity to get back on that dear cousin of mine. And that filthy rat of Peter is also here so… I guess I'll keep myself busy for a while."
"What I meant," Tonks added, paying to attention to her cousin's monologue, "is what brings you here to the Ministry? School trip?"
"No… We've come to fix some mess, you know…"
"I know that look, Harry. I've seen James wearing that same expression a thousand times. Are you up to something illegal?" Sirius asked, sounding strangely joyful.
"And that's why you didn't bring Hermione!" Fred added. "What is it? Something to do with Umbridge? Because I can tell you where I kept the fire crackers…"
"Nothing to do with Umbridge. You'll know soon enough," Ron assured them.
"Um, I don't like your look. I'll better call Dumbledore, or Remus… They'll know what this is about," Tonks commented.
"Leave them alone, Nymphadora! They're young, they're alive, they have defeated Voldemort… Let them have some fun!" Sirius held.
"Don't thank me yet, she's gone to get Dumbledore, so I'd go if I were you."
"Yeah… Yeah, we should be going now…"
"Listen Harry, I don't want to see you here again, okay? You have to move on; you can't be held back by anyone, especially a dead guy." Sirius added before they left.
"No, Harry. I want your word that you are not going to come back here, okay? Do I have your word?"
"Fine," Harry muttered.
"Good. Now go before Tonks gets back."
"Yeah, we should get going anyway. Bye Sirius. See you later, Fred," Ron said, dragging Harry out of the room.
"See you later? What's that supposed to mean?" Fred asked.
"Eh… Never mind," Ron quickly added.
"Don't do anything stupid!" came Lupin's voice.
"Relax, Moony! He wouldn't be my son if he didn't do anything stupid!" said a different voice. Harry turned, half expecting to find the man standing in the middle of the room, but Ron had reached the door and he was pulling him out.
"Why did you do that?" Harry asked angrily when they were back at the room with the black doors.
"That was my father! You dragged me out before I could talk to my father!"
He headed towards the door again, but the room began spinning again and the door got lost among the others.
"I'm sorry, Harry, but I think Sirius' right. We shouldn't come back here," his friend told him once the room had stopped.
Harry did not reply. He gave Ron an angry look and walked through the exit door. He practically ran to the Atrium, but before he had gotten to the door, Ron forced him to turn around.
"Look, I've lost my brother! I know what you feel."
"We're about to prevent Fred from dying! How do you suggest that we bring my family back?"
"We don't know for sure if we will be able to save Fred. Besides, even if we do, I'll always know that he died. Now, get a hold on yourself! I know it was a shock to hear them, but it's like Sirius said: we're alive! Are you honestly planning on camping down there for the rest of your life, just talking to them?"
"When you put it that way…"
"It sounds rather stupid, right?"
"Sorry I was such an idiot. I had never expect to talk to them again," Harry apologized.
"No problem, mate. Let's go now."
Five minutes later they were Disapparating into Hogsmade. They walked towards the Castle and found the gates wide open.
"Do you reckon this is a good spot or should we go inside?" Ron asked.
"We'd better go inside, that way we'd be halfway to Fred and Lupin and Tonks. I can go up to prevent Fred and…"
"What? I should be the one who prevents Fred; I'm his brother!"
"Exactly! When was the last time that he actually listened to anything you told him? Let me handle him."
Ron had to agree. Hidden under the Cloak, they walked into the castle. Once inside, they had to watch their step, because people kept going in and out from the dinning room. Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Ginny and George knelt by who could only be Fred.
"If we don't do this now, we'll get caught," he told his friend.
Ron nodded and threw the Time Turner's chain around both their heads.
"How long back do you reckon we should go?" he asked.
Harry looked at his watch: It was five in the morning. If he remembered correctly, it had been midnight when they appeared in Hogsmade. Fred must have died a couple of hours later.
Ron obeyed. The room began spinning around, as if they were watching a movie while it was being rewind. And then it stopped.
"You take the Map and the Cloak. Hide outside and try to protect Tonks, Lupin and whoever you find. Do not try to talk to them, because they'll only push you away, okay? I'll go up to the Room of Requirement and try to reach Fred before you, Hermione and I find him, okay? I'll meet you outside," Harry told his friend.
He took a deep breath and stepped out of the cloak. He climbed up the stairs without looking back. He had it all planned: if he met someone, he would tell them that there were Death Eaters on their way and to get ready. But he didn't need that, because he found no one.
At last he reached the corridor where the Room of Requirement always appeared. He hid behind armor, praying with all his might that it wasn't too late. He dared not to look at his watch. What if something had gone wrong and they had changed everything?
And then he saw it. Draco and his friends came rushing and speeded into the room, completely oblivious to Harry. He knew it was now or never: Fred and Percy had to be just around the corner.
He left his hiding place and walked in the direction where Fred and Percy had come from. He didn't want to call them, but if in five minutes they didn't appear, he would have to. However, only seconds later, he saw two red haired heads climbing up the stairs.
"That should teach him!" said Fred.
"Good job, Fred. I didn't know you could produce a Patromus," Percy told him.
"It's amazing how much one can learn when you are in an illegal organization that tries to get Umbridge fired!" Fred happily replied. "And speaking of the DA, look at this: Harry Potter, the man of the hour. What can we do for you?" he added noticing Harry rushing towards them.
"Death Eaters!" he said out of breath. "Death Eaters are coming."
"We know, they're here!" Percy told him.
"No, they are on their way up here. Thicknesse and another one. Be careful!"
"Blimly, Harry, you're starting to sound like our mother!" Fred told him.
"Fred, please, you have to trust me," there was a loud noise and Percy turned to look where it had come from; Harry seized his chance. "Two cloaked Death Eaters are on their way, you will fight them. Suddenly, on of them will lose his hood and you'll see he's Thicknesse. In that moment Percy will make a joke. You will laugh and… Don't get distracted, Fred, please."
The noise was getting louder and louder. Harry looked over Fred's shoulder and made out two shadows climbing the stairs. The eldest, however, did not stir.
"You say I'm going to die?"
"Be careful, Fred. Please!"
"Fred, come here, I need a hand!" Percy said.
"How do you know all this?" Fred asked.
"It's not important. Now go… You don't want Percy to die in your place right?" but he didn't wait for Fred to reply. He turned around, knowing that he had merely seconds to get out before his past self came out of the Requirement Room.
He ran as far away from that corridor as possible. He only stopped to send a Stunning Spell to a Death Eater or to cast a Shield Charm on one of his fellow classmates. Still, he couldn't afford to lose much time: he had to find Ron and make sure he was all right.
The grounds were the same mess as the inside of the castle. There were bodies laying everywhere he looked at. He spotted Tonks and Lupin, their backs together, surrounded by students, all of them looking amazed at the scene. And Harry knew just why: even though they seemed to be completely surrounded by a Shield Charm, the Death Eaters around them were receiving all kinds of jinxes. They were stunned, petrified, disarmed, hang by the ankles… It was quite amusing to see them, looking everywhere for the source of their attacks.
"Good job," he told Ron from behind a tree. At least, he thought he was talking to him, because he couldn't see him under the cloak.
"Thanks," his friend replied a little bit to his left. "Did you…?" he asked as he send the Petrifying Spell on one of the few Death Eaters who was still on his feet.
"Yeah, but I don't know if he listened to me. I mean," he quickly added, "he did hear me. I don't know if he followed my advice."
"If he didn't, I'll go to the Department of Mysteries and kick his ass," Ron firmly held as he stunned another Death Eater. "What do you reckon we should do now?"
But the answer to his question came before Harry could open his mouth.
"You have fought valiantly. Lord Voldemort knows how to value bravery. Yet you have sustained heavy losses. If you continue to resist me, you shall die, one by one…"
"I remember this," Harry said over Voldemort's voice. "We were at the Shrinking Shack. Snape's dead by now."
"One hour," said Voldemort's cold voice.
The Death Eaters that could still walk headed towards the Forbidden Forest. Harry climbed back under the Cloak and waited with Ron for the Death Eaters to be gone. Once they thought they were safe enough, they retried the Shield Charm.
"What was that all about?" Tonks asked, walking towards the first unconscious Death Eater. "It was as if someone was trying to protect us from them…"
"Yeah, but who? I thought everyone was supposed to be fighting!" her husband reasoned.
"Who cares? We need to go back to the castle and make sure everyone's fine," one student held.
"More importantly, we need to stop Harry from doing something stupid!"
"Do you reckon he'll do something stupid?" Tonks asked turning to Lupin.
"You are forgetting that Harry is James's son and Sirius' godson. I'd be extremely surprised if he wasn't on his way to fight Voldemort already," he replied with a bittersweet smile.
"I'm ready, let's get going," Tonks announced, standing up. She pointed her wand at the half a dozen of Death Eaters and they all rose about one foot above the ground. "I don't think we should be worried about Death Eaters, but you go first just in case. I've got my hands full."
Harry and Ron watched them march to the castle. At least they were all right, Harry thought.
"I repeat the question: now what?" Ron asked.
"Now we wait. I'm probably at the Headmaster's office, looking at Snape's memories. When I'm done, I'll come out here and face Voldemort. If everything goes as it went before, I'll bring him out here and together we will defeat him. We should keep our eyes open in case something goes wrong, though."
"What exactly happened at the Forest?" Ron wanted to know.
His friend filled him in. It was good to have something to do besides waiting.
"So you were the last Horocrux? Blimly, Harry, how come he never knew?"
"No idea. That was why I was so connected to him… he was me and I was him…"
"You're nothing like him. Do you reckon he would have turned back time to save his friend's brother? Because I don't," Ron assured him. "By the way, thanks. For everything you've done for my family."
"Oh, please, don't start with the tearful speech," Harry joked.
"Seriously, after everything that happened this year, I feel I'm obliged to tell you this: I'm really thankful that you decided to ask my mother how to get into Platform 9 ¾. I think I would have lost my entire family by now if I hadn't made friends with you."
"That's not true; on the contrary, you wouldn't have gotten dragged into this and you'd be at the Borrow now, quietly listening to the news on the radio."
"Yeah, right, like they would've let me. I would be here mourning my brother and god knows what other relative."
"Yeah… Probably. Your mother doesn't seem the type of woman who would just wait around for news."
"That's because she's not!"
"Anyway… I suppose that the past selves are all right; we wouldn't be here if they were dead, right?"
"I guess so. We should have brought Hermione, though. She'd know everything that it's to know."
"Do you honestly believe that Hermione would have approved this? She'd be like: 'No, Harry, we mustn't interfere!'" Harry said, imitating Hermione's voice.
"Yeah… She's way into rules!"
The two boys waited for what looked like hours. They had moved closer to the castle, but they decided that getting in would be too dangerous. Although they hadn't seen Harry –the past Harry- leave the castle because he had taken the Invisibility Cloak, Ron could swear he had felt him.
Finally, they noticed a light coming from the Forbidden Forest. Both boys took their wands, ready to fight if necessary.
"Harry Potter is dead. He was killed as he ran away, trying to save himself while you lay down your lives for him. We bring you his body as proof that your hero is gone," came Voldemort's voice.
"Do you reckon I'm dead?" Harry asked as Hagrid became visible carrying his motionless body.
"Like you said, you wouldn't be here if your past self was dead. Either way, I promise that if you're dead I'll go back in time to save you."
"That should be interesting: you, constantly wandering from the past to the present…"
"Well, let's hope you're not dead then."
Suddenly the doors to the castle flew open and a crowd of people came out. Harry could not see everybody, but he was pleased to realize that it was more people than before.
"NO!" somebody screamed.
"At least McGonagall's alive," Ron commented.
"So are you, Hermione and Ginny," Harry replied.
They watched the scene again. Everything went exactly like before: Voldemort cast a spell on the crowd to have silence, but it kept breaking and breaking; Neville took one step forward and stabbed Nagini; the centaurs appeared, forcing everybody back into the castle. For a second, Harry was sure that someone had noticed them, but after a minute they were the only ones left outside the castle: everybody had gone back to fighting inside.
They knew that the fight had lasted merely minutes, but it looked like hours to them. They stood froze on the spot, their ears practically glued to the door, hopping to hear something but failing.
"How are we supposed to know if the fight's over?"
"Dunno. Someone will come out and tell us?"
As stupid as Ron suggestion sounded, it turned out to be true. Five minutes later the doors flew open and Hagrid appeared, his face red, his arms bruised, but looking happy.
"VOLDEMORT'S DEAD!" he roared.
From the Forest came all kinds of sounds, celebrating the news.
"I take that Harry Potter is not dead?" Bane the centaur asked.
"No, no… False alarm. Sorry, Bane," Hagrid apologized.
"You better check next time, Hagrid."
"See? You're alive!" whispered Ron.
"Apparently, so are you!" Harry said, pointing Ron to the doors, which were still wide open.
Two figures had just appeared, though they were so close together that they looked like only one.
"Dud!" Harry commented, pretending to be sick. "Do you have to do that all the time? First Lavender now…"
"What can I say? Girls can't get enough of me," he replied watching as his past self and Hermione kissed with passion.
"Ron?" Hagrid asked walking back to the castle. "Hermione?"
"Hagrid! H… Hi!" Hermione said, trying to fix her hair, which had been completely messed up by Ron's hands.
"I had no idea that you were dating! When did it happen?"
"About… Five hours ago?" the past Ron answered looking at his watch.
"Five hours ago?" the past Ron whispered. "That means that we are about to leave."
"Wait a minute! This did not happen, did it? After the fight you came with me to talk to Dumbledore, you couldn't have come to the grounds to make out with Hermione."
"We didn't come," Ron conceded.
"Which means that we've changed the History! You and I have to reason to go back time and so we won't! Now we're stacked here; there are two Rons and two Harrys in the present and none in the future… I think… Or none in the past… Well, it's not important. The important thing right now is that we are stucked here."
"Couldn't we just ask someone what to do? Like Lupin or…"
"You know what they'll say: 'You shouldn't have done it, you shouldn't have come back…' They won't help us."
"What are we going to do?" Ron asked, panicking.
Just when Harry was on the verge of a panic attack, another thing happened that threaded his nerves even more. He was trying to think of a way of making the past Ron and the past Harry go back in time, when a scream broke the silence. He looked up and saw Hermione frozen on the spot, her eyes fixed on the place where the past Ron had been standing only seconds ago.
"What happened?" he asked to the Ron standing next to him.
"I disappeared! One moment I was standing there talking to Hermione and Hagrid and next… I was gone. Do you reckon that's bad?"
"It can't be good, can it?"
"Ron? Ron, where are you?" Hermione asked. Harry had never seen her so desperate before.
But then Hermione wasn't the only one looking desperate. The doors of the castle flew open yet again and Lupin appeared, followed by a bunch of people. Mrs. Weasley was in the first row and she seemed to be holding tears back. At her sight, Harry panicked.
"Did someone disappeared here?" Lupin asked.
"Yeah, Ron. We were just talking and then… CRACK; he was gone," Hagrid explained. "Why? Someone disappeared in there too?"
"Just Harry," Lupin replied.
"Harry?" Hermione and Hagrid both whispered.
"I was just commenting on how tired he looked and then he… he… he was gone!" Molly sobbed.
"Don't worry Molly; I'm sure they're around here. They must have accidentally Disapparated," Tonks assured her.
"No one can Apparate or Disapparate inside the grounds of Hogwarts!" Lupin held, causing Molly to sob louder.
"Good job, Remus. I was trying to calm her down," Tonks whispered angrily.
"Ron, I think that's our signal," Harry muttered.
"This must be the time we left for the Ministry!" he pulled the Cloak away and announced: "Don't worry, we're okay. We're here!"
Everybody turned to look at them, but they didn't seem so happy that they had safely appeared. Lupin, who was closest to them, raised his wand and pointed it directly to Harry's chest.
"When was the last time we two met before this night and what did we talk about?" he asked Harry.
"You came to see us early this year –shortly after Bill and Fleur's wedding- to number 12, Grimmauld Place and you offered to accompany us wherever we went. You told us that Tonks was pregnant and… Shall I really go on or is this enough?"
Glancing quickly at his wife, Lupin said that it was enough.
"Okay, so we've proved that you are the real Harry. Now, would you care to explain how you two ended up here, under the Cloak?" he added, still pointing his wand at them.
"You know… We thought it'd be fun to scare you. And it worked, right Harry? You look scared to dead!" Ron said with a nervous smile.
"This is not a joke, Ron! I want the truth and I will have it. Don't make me do something I might regret later."
"You want the truth? Okay, but don't blame me if you don't like it," Harry said, just as angrily as Lupin. "The truth is that Ron and I sneaked into the Ministry and borrowed a Time Turner so we could come back to… to make some emends."
"You… You what?" Lupin asked, halfway between amazed and angry. "WHAT YOU DID IS COMPLETELY ILEGAL! YOU CAN'T GO BACK TIME WHENEVER THINGS DON'T TURN OUT THE WAY YOU WANTED!" now he was just angry. "You better take that Time Turner and go back time again and don't you dare doing anything else, because if you do so, Harry, I swear…"
"I won't," Harry promised, "because I won't go back time. I like things better this way."
Lupin looked as if he was about to snapped him on the face, but he held back.
"Harry, we don't choose our destiny. Some things we like, some things we don't, but we can't play to be God. It's not good."
"I know that what we did was wrong, but we had to. I couldn't just sit around mourning my friends, because that's not me. And for what everyone's told me, neither would've my father."
"Still, Harry, the consequences can be disastrous!"
"I know; I've read the sign hanging in the Ministry. Besides, you wouldn't think the same if I told you who we saved," he added under his breath.
"It doesn't matter who you saved; it's still bad."
"Yes, it does! You don't remember what it was like: Voldemort killed hundreds of us. You wouldn't understand what I felt as I walked through the Dinning Room, passing by the corpses of my friends. I don't expect you do, but just… leave me alone, okay? You can go back time yourself and found out why I came back."
"I can't do it; it's you and Ron who have to go back."
"I won't relive Fr… I won't go back," Ron held.
"What did you just say?"
Fred and Mrs. Weasley stepped forward and looked at them.
"Whose death?" Fred asked.
At the beginning, Ron pretended he hadn't heard him, but when his mother repeated the question he had confessed.
"So you went back to save Fred?" Mrs. Weasley asked turning from Ron to Harry and back again.
"And I would do it again if I had to," the later assured.
"That's why you told me to be careful! It was exactly like you said it would be, Harry. Thicknesse came, Percy said something about resigning –which I found really funny, by the way. I ducked and a course hit just over my head. You saved me!" the twin said, looking much less cheerful than normally.
"They won't go back, Remus," Molly announced, turning to Lupin. "I refuse to lose my son just because you say so."
"But Molly… The consequences…"
"Did Voldemort die?" Harry asked; everyone nodded. "Were all the Horcruxes destroyed?" he added turning to Hermione, who nodded in response. "Then there are no consequences."
"What about those who died in the place of the ones you saved?"
They hadn't thought of that. They examined the crowd: the eight Weasleys were there; Hermione was there; Kingsley was there; Abe Dumbledore was there…
"It seems that nobody took the place of the once we save. You have to thank Ron for that," Harry announced after a while, patting his friend on the shoulder.
"Still, Harry, I'm afraid Remus is right. You have to go back and…"
"I would really shut up if I were you, Tonks. You, above all people, can't tell me…" Harry angrily snapped. He was starting to lose his patience.
"Do not talk to Tonks like that!" Lupin ordered.
"If she had stayed at her mother's as planned I probably wouldn't have gone back. Yes, Fred is like a brother to me, but it wasn't just for him that I decided to go back. So do not dare telling me that what I did was wrong."
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"I know what it is to be an orphan, okay? I know what it is to have no home to go back for the holidays, I know what it is to have to memory of your parents, I know a lot of things that most of you wouldn't understand. And I was not going to let my godson go through the same thing I went through, okay? You can think whatever you want, but you can't change my mind. Sorry."
Harry turned around and entered the castle. He knew that Ron would tell them everything and he wasn't really in the mood to face people. He walked into the Dinning Room and was surprised to find it much less crowded than it had been. He smiled, knowing that no mattered what Lupin said they had done the right thing. Besides, he was sure that James would have done the very same thing and that thought comforted him.
After a couple of minutes, he decided that he couldn't stand the presence of Death for much longer and decided to go to the Headmaster's office. He knew that Dumbledore would have something to say to cheer him up.
He whispered "Thank you" to the people lying on the floor and then he left. But he had only walked two steps when he was called by Lupin.
"Could I have a word with you?" he asked. He looked much more calmed than before, so Harry decided that it was safe to approach him.
"I know that I shouldn't have yelled at you at Tonks…" the boy started, but he was cut.
"When your parents died… I stole a Time Turner and went back," the man confessed.
"Sadly, I went back and tried to get Peter to tell him that Sirius had betrayed Lily and James, but he was already on his way to Voldemort. Then Sirius came and I fought him, so instead of preventing your parents' death, I ruined everything. If I had gone to Godric's Hollow, or if I had tried to get Sirius instead of Peter, maybe we could've saved them. I ruined everything."
"No you didn't… You didn't know that my parents had chosen Peter instead of Sirius…"
"Harry, you don't need to comfort me; I already know that what I did was wrong. From that day onwards, I despised Time Turners. I reached the point when I had practically forgotten about them. That's why it never occurred to me that you would use one to come back and save me. I had forgotten how useful they can be."
"So you're saying that I don't have to go back?"
"Tonks has made me promise her that I will not under any circumstance tell you to go back. And Fred said something about being tormented for all eternity too, so… Thanks Harry. You are just like James," he said, smiling like Harry had never seen him smiling before.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" the boy asked.
"In this particular case… It's a good thing."
The two smiled and shook hands.
"Are you coming? I'm sure Molly will want to spoil you for a while."
"I think I'd better take this back to the Ministry. In case someone else decides to follow our example."
"Yeah, you should. I'll tell everyone you were tired and that you went to bed early."
"Oh, and Harry?" the boy turned. "I'll make sure that Teddy knows that's only because of you that he has his mother and his father."
Just like he had done with Ron, Harry walked towards the entrance, only that this time he was alone. Since he was going to the Ministry, he had decided to make another stop and for that he ought to be alone.
The streets were deserted, like they had been before. He took the other Token that Ron had made appear and flushed himself into the Ministry. The Atrium was now deserted; everyone must have gone home to celebrate.
Harry crossed the room and went directly to the Department of Mysteries. When he was in the circular room with black doors, he waited for it to stop spinning and asked which of them lead to the room where they kept the Time Turners. A door opened to his left and soon he had returned the device to its place.
Harry went back to the hall, but instead of asking for the exit, he requested to see the room with the veil. The door in front of him flew open.
"Thanks!" he said before crossing it.
"Didn't anyone taught you not to break a promise?" a voice asked when he was halfway to the Arc.
"Sirius!" he said happily, descending even faster. "So you remember?"
"You can't turn back time up here, kiddo," his godfather said.
"I didn't know that. I won't come again, I promise,"
"You're forgiven this time, but only because Ron took you away so fast before."
"That's why I came, actually. When I was leaving I heard…"
"You heard me," said James voice. "Lily has already warned me that my… what did she say? Ah! Completely disregarding for rules, would bring you back here, which could bring unpredictable consequences…"
"Enough with the rules! Rules were made to be broken," Harry commented.
"Harry, I had never been so proud of you in my entire life!" Sirius said, acting as if he was about to cry.
"That was something a Marauder would say, son."
"It's like Lupin says: I'm your son and your godson."
"There are days when I wish I had married Severus instead of you, James…Look what Harry has learnt from you!"
"It's okay, mum. I'm not that bad."
"First of all, Harry, 'I'm not that bad'? Please: If it weren't for the Marauders, Hogwarts wouldn't be what it is. And second: Lily, Severus? Come on!"
"If you have a problem with me, Potter, I'd rather you told me in the face."
"I really miss Moony. He's the one who used to stop this fight. James, I was joking. It's about time you learn to distinguish between reality and a joke. And you, Severus, do you really have to pick up a fight every time? You haven't been dead for a whole day and I can't stand both of you already," Lily told them.
"I'll try to stay out of the way, if that's what you wish."
"Sounds like you're though when you get mad, mum."
"She is, son, but you have your own read-haired woman waiting to tell you that she sometimes wishes she had married someone else."
"Come on, James! Don't listen to him, Harry."
"Anyway, dad's right. I should probably get going. Ginny and the rest must be worried about me. It was nice talking to you."
"It really was. And don't forget to tell your aunt about this. But don't send her an owl –that would be just cruel."
"On the other hand, Lily, how is Harry to communicate with your dear sister if not by an owl?"
"Snape's right, Lil. Harry is a wizard; he should…"
"I can't believe it, James, Severus… for years all you did was fight. Now, suddenly, it turns out that you agree in everything! Harry, if you listen to any of them… "
"Not in everything. Only when it comes to your sister," Snape held.
"And that charming husband of hers," James added.
"Don't worry mum. I'll send her a muggle letter. Or even better: I'll call her. I wish I could see Uncle Vernon's face when he picks up and hears me!"
"Before you go, please promise me again that you won't come back here. You can't live in the past," Sirius asked.
"Fine, I won't come back. Happy? Anything else? Should I tell something to someone?"
"Yes. I've already told him, but he must have forgotten. Tell Moony that if he ever tries to give you the wrong idea about me again, I'll go down there and kick his ass. Will you? How did he dare to believe that I would have encorouge him when he wanted to leave the poor Tonks and their son?"
"It'll be my pleasure, dad. Now… Bye."
Harry turned and started to climb back to the door. When he had his hand on the doorknob, he was stopped by a voice.
"Yes, professor Snape?"
"I never thought I'd say this, but you didn't stink at Potions. I've had students that did worst than you. Much worst."
"Thank you," Harry said, knowing that was the closest to a compliment that he would ever get from Snape.
"If you tell anyone I said that, I'd take care that you and your descendents are hunted for all eternity. I'm serious, Potter. I will know."
"I will not, professor."
And then he left. Even though he had promised never to come back, it felt nice to have a place where he could talk to his parents. Now he knew that Lily and James were in a way alive, ready to advice him if needed.
He reached the street and looked up. The sun was already starting to show in the horizon.
Harry pictured Vernon Dursley, snoring peacefully in his bed. He imagined him jumping at the sound of the door; walking downstairs clutching to a baseball bate, Petunia and Dudley closely behind.
And with that picture in his head, Harry turned on the spot and Disapparated.
I couldn't resist: I had to have some Marauders in this FanFic.
Did you like it? Leave your review.
Did you hate it? Leave your review.
Did you read it? Leave your review.
You didn't read it? It's okay. Leave your review too (use your imagination -invent something!)