Summary: AU, Slash after OotP. During the summer after his 6th year, Harry is flung twenty years into the past and needs the help of both Marauders and a certain Slytherin to get back his memories and to return to his own time. HPRAB, HPSB?, HPSS?
Warnings: This story will be slash. I will warn again about particularly graphic scenes in the future, but this is an overall slashy story. The primary pairing at this time will be Harry/Regulus. Others will happen later. Probably. So anyway, you have been warned. There will also be angst, violence, bloodshed, and some more angst.
This opening chapter is fairly short, for which I apologize. Others will be longer.
Twelve Grimmauld Place was utterly silent, apart from the occasional sigh from its lone occupant. Curled up with his legs tucked underneath him, Harry Potter sat on the sofa in the drawing room and stared into the last remnants of the fire that Hermione had Floo'd to the Burrow through. They had -- the two of them -- recast the Fidelius Charm over the house, now that Dumbledore was gone. Hermione was the new Secret Keeper, and unlike his father's trust in Pettigrew, Harry knew he could trust his friend absolutely. She would never betray him to Voldemort.
Or to the Order, for that matter.
Closing his eyes, Harry sighed again. Hermione was, in fact, the only person he trusted completely anymore. Albus Dumbledore was dead, killed not three weeks ago by that bastard traitor Snape. Sirius was dead a year ago now, and Harry didn't really trust any of the other Order members with his life; too often had they failed him. And though he was one of Harry's best friends, Ron was entirely too emotional and volatile to trust for long, or with such a secret. And Ginny . . .
Well. Ginny was a whole 'nother issue. He knew she wanted to be with him, and sometimes he believed her. Hell, sometimes he thought he wanted to be with her, too. But most of the time . . . he knew was not cut out for a relationship of that kind. He could have friends, and with a lot of effort on his part, he could have friends like Hermione, whom he could trust more than any other living person. But he could trust no one with his heart, never mind a girl who had been obsessed with him since she was ten years old.
Besides, ever since fourth year, he had been having doubts about his sexuality. Unlike many of the boys who chatted up such things in the showers -- or even at night in the dorm, when Harry was trying to get in a good wank before getting a not-quite-good-enough night's sleep, thankyouverymuch -- he hadn't done any experimenting. But when he caught himself checking out Cedric's muscled torso after he'd gone up against the dragon, when Madam Pomfrey had been spreading burn salve on his arm . . . and then, when he started noticing things like Gred and Forge's lithe, athletic builds after their one and only Quidditch match fifth year, or the light dusting of dark hair on Seamus' chest that trailed down, down . . . and even when he'd started fantasizing about his once-beloved Half-Blood Prince, or noticing Snape's long fingered hands when he was stirring a potion . . . before he knew for certain that the man was a murdering bastard . . . . Well, he could hardly continue to deny he was attracted to men.
Not that it mattered anymore. He wasn't allowed to have a life like that. He had a duty to fulfill, horcruxes to find, a Dark Lord and at least one very special despicable minion to destroy. If he lived through that -- which he very much doubted, since he was fairly sure he was one of the horcruxes in question -- then maybe he could have a life of his own.
All right, he chastised himself, enough already. No more whinging. He had work to do. He had spent the last month searching this house for anything -- especially dark magic artifacts and books -- that might help him, researching, reading and practicing spells . . . but it wasn't enough. Not by a long shot.
Shoving himself out of the chair, Harry held in the next sigh that wanted to escape. No more whinging, he promised himself. Selflessness, courage and perseverance. That was all he had now. All he needed.
Taking several books with him, he made his way upstairs and collapsed on the bed in Regulus Black's old room. He had decided very soon after moving in that he did not want to sleep in Sirius' room, with all its Gryffindor brightness and cheeriness, and all those memories of Sirius himself. No. Regulus' room, done in green and silver and with a large image of the Black family crest above the head of his bed, was a more solemn reminder of his duty. And the bed was more comfortable, too. He managed to get through most of one of the books before succumbing to sleep.
The next morning, Harry was up early to start his routine. He showered in almost scalding water, then dressed in some of Regulus' old clothes. They were the closest to his size in the entire house, and he'd decided to use them, since they were legally his, now that Sirius had left him the house and all its contents in his will. Besides, he couldn't go shopping with Death Eaters out for his blood, and he refused to wear Dudley's mammoth castoffs anymore.
In the kitchen, he made some tea and toast, but since he brought both with him to the library, they grew quite cold before he ate or drank more than half. His afternoons were devoted to going through the house and categorizing various items he found, and looking for things the Order might have overlooked when they cleaned the place -- like the damned Slytherin locket that Dumbledore had given his life for, for one thing.
He had found the locket in amongst Kreacher's rags in the cubby hole the House Elf used in the pantry off the kitchen. He'd also found the music box that had nearly knocked everyone out with its sinister tune, as well as a box containing an Order of Merlin, First Class, given to Sirius' grandfather years and years ago. Obviously the unlikable Kreacher was trying to protect various family heirlooms. And given that Mundungus Fletcher used to have free rein here, Harry could guess from whom.
The locket was now safe, or as safe as he could keep it, hanging around Harry's neck. He just had to figure out a way to destroy it.
That afternoon, he found a small, hidden compartment in the wall toward the back of the drawing room. Harry spent almost two hours checking the compartment for curses, and breaking the ones he did find, before he opened it up, using a rather strong version of the Alohomora spell. Inside was a tall, but narrow shelf, upon which were several boxes. Most of them were small and flat, but one immediately caught his eye. This larger box, like for jewelry, was covered with gold filigree, inlaid with tiny gemstones. No matter what was inside, the box itself was worth a fortune!
Recalling some of the dark magic items from the other cabinets in the drawing room, Harry checked for curses on the jewelry box before touching it, and was glad he did. The curse upon the box would have turned his blood to air and any air in his body to blood. Blech. Very glad to have been working with Hermione since the end of term on curse breaking, Harry nullified the curse on this box, checked it again, to make sure there weren't any others, and then gently lifted the jewelry box out of the hidden cubbyhole.
The latch was another bit of filigree, and he deftly flicked it open with his thumb, though he faced the box away from him when he lifted the lid, figuring he couldn't be too careful. A puff of some kind of powder plumed into the air from within the box. Harry blew on it, to help it dissipate away from him. Rather than disperse with his breath, however, the cloud of particles grew more dense. At the same time, the cloud expanded, filling the corner of the drawing room. Harry waved his hand through the haze that had quickly surrounded him, then covered his mouth and nose and tried to duck out of it, backing away. Nothing worked. The fog of dust or powder moved with him, and he could not breathe! He choked on the particles, and they burned like fire in his lungs, smothering him.
Harry fell to his knees, gasping for breath, but unable to get any at all. In the last second before he lost consciousness, a bright light flared from inside the jewelry box, surrounding him and blinding him, even as he tried to shield his face.
And then he knew no more.
Something cold and wet hit his face with the force of a crashing wave, and he sat up, sputtering. "What the--?!" He swiped water and hair out of his face. "Where . . .?" Finally getting his eyes opened, he peered blearily up at the one who had woken him. "Who're you?"
Anger snapped in bright blue eyes which gazed back at him. The eyes were set in the face of a young man of about sixteen or seventeen. He had narrow lips, a straight nose and black, shiny hair that fell to his shoulders. He looked very familiar, but he couldn't put a name to the face. "A better question is, who are you? This is my house. How did you get in here? How did you get through all the protections?"
"That's three questions," said the boy on the floor. He coughed, feeling lightheaded and dizzy, and pressed a hand to his forehead where he felt the ridged flesh of an old scar. "I don't know where I am, so how can I know how I got here?"
"You don't know where . . ." The young man pushed a hand through his dark hair. "All right, then. Who are you? Surely you can answer that."
He shook his head, but that just made him feel like he was going to vomit. He gulped one breath, then another, and tried to quiet his stomach. Why couldn't he remember anything? "I . . . I don't know. I can't remember."
"Ridiculous," the young man said, and drew a wand from his pocket. Just before he aimed it at the boy on the floor, a screech sounded from the hallway behind him.
"Regulus!" a woman shrieked. "What are you doing? You've been called to dinner three times!"
Glancing over his shoulder, the black haired young man sighed and said, "Yes, Mother."
A low sofa hid the boy on the floor from Walburga Black's prying eyes, and there was something about him, something decidedly odd, but not necessarily . . . dangerous, that made Regulus want to keep him a secret from the overbearing woman. For now. "I'll be there in just one moment."
"Be sure you are, Regulus. Your father has some important news."
"Yes, Mother," Regulus repeated firmly, and waited till she'd gone before he turned back to the boy in front of him, with his wand now aimed at the boy's chest. The boy looked perhaps fifteen or so, with dark, messy hair, sharp green eyes, and square-framed glasses. He was rather thin, but his clothes looked very much like Regulus' own, just a couple sizes too big for his small frame. He wore no robe, but that wasn't unusual for students on their summer holidays. "Do you have a wand?" he asked.
The boy pressed a hand to his head again briefly, as if he were in pain, then felt at his trouser pocket and slid out a length of holly which looked well cared for, and well used.
"Can you cast a Disillusionment Charm?"
The boy nodded again, but his expression turned wary. "Why?"
"I have no wish for my dear mother to see you sneaking up to my room. Of course, if you want her to know you're here . . ."
A multitude of expressions crossed the boy's face, but he came to a decision quickly, all the same. "No. Thanks. Where's your room?"
"Fourth floor. There's a sign on the door with my name on it. I'm assuming you heard my dear mother screech my name?" At the boy's wry smile and tiny nod, he continued, "Make sure you don't mistake my room for the one across the hall." That would be all he'd need, for the boy to set off the wards on Sirius' old room. He hadn't seen Sirius, except from afar at school, for over a year, ever since he'd run away and gone to live with the Potters. Truth be told, he missed his brother. But his mother had placed all sorts of nasty curses on his room in a fit of pique, and this boy didn't need to deal with any of that.
"All right," the boy said. Arms and legs trembling, he pushed himself to his feet, then leaned heavily on the back of the sofa nearest them.
"Can you even walk?" Regulus asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I'll make it." As if to prove as much, he took an awkward step forward, and when he didn't collapse, Regulus stepped back.
"Oh. Right." The boy frowned, green eyes squinched up in concentration, and then tapped the top of his head with his hand, without saying a word, and faded from sight.
A wandless, wordless spell! This boy was powerful, to be sure, to be casting like that at his young age. Regulus was more sure than ever that he should not let his mother -- or father -- know of his presence. "I'll meet you upstairs in an hour," he told the boy. "Kreacher will bring you something to eat, meantime."
"Thanks," the boy whispered, from closer to the door, and Regulus called Kreacher, his favorite House Elf, and told him to help the boy get upstairs, if he required it, and to bring him some food from the kitchens once he was there. He waited till Kreacher had gone, wondering about the boy, and where he had come from, and wondering if he would be a good prospect for the Dark Lord he had joined a few months ago. He didn't think the boy was lying about not remembering where he was -- he had been too disoriented for that -- but not even knowing his own name? He had recalled where his wand was, though -- although many students kept wands in their pockets -- but he'd also known the Disillusionment spell. He just didn't know where he was, or what his name was? That was some serious amnesia. A powerful curse, he was sure. And Regulus would need a seriously powerful wizard to help him help the boy.
Now he just needed to set up a meeting.
To Be Continued . . .