Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by its respective owners, etc.

Pre-note: In my rush of writing these days, I thought I'd toss out another short chapter of this utterly stupid story.

Temporal Indigestion
Part Five:

"The Ol' Switcheroo"


Previous, Harry had finally gone too far:

Harry had tricked Susan and Cho into dating both of them and possibly more, before planting the "seeds", if you will, with Parvati and Lavender way back in Book 2. But this angered the fabric of space and time which, to be frank, needs to get laid. So time began to unravel as Harry jumped through time, each a more chaotic jump than the last. Until, of course, he found himself back where it all began the first last time, with good ol' Merlin. So let's take a calming sip of something we can spit it out in surprise as Harry says:


"Merlin Merlinson?" Harry asked in awe. "I've heard so much about you from my history books. They won't shut up about it!"

Merlin looked at the time traveling brat with a sour look. "Don't be a prat, Harry Potter. Despite what those books might imply, I am not my own father or even my own grandfather. And believe me, it almost happened several times. As almost happened with you if my Hat hadn't pulled you here in time."

"Wait just a minute!" Harry yelled loudly. "Are you saying that I was going to become my own father? With Mum? That's sick." He paled at a sudden horrific thought. "Or become my own mother with Dad? I don't know how that one's physically possible."

Merlin glanced over a shirt that was folded on the table. It jumped up and one of its arms slapped Harry hard across the face.

"Now, then," Merlin continued, as if Harry hadn't said something stupid. "Let's have a friendly conversation about time travel. You see, Harry, you are not the only one with a dangerous magical overexposure to the chaotic power of time magic."

Harry scratched his chin and glared at Merlin's shirt, before nodding thoughtfully. "Right, okay. I guess there are an awful lot of time travel stories about you. Living backwards through time was a popular one."

"Indeed," agreed Merlin. "Although that one came about because of how often I jumped throughout time - gave the impression I was moving backwards, but really it was all over the place. The reason I began shifting in time wasn't a Time Turner, but a Time Crystal - one which I constructed myself out of a regular Crystal."

"And then you put some Time in it?" Harry asked curiously.

Merlin laughed. "You sound like an idiot, Harry, but that's actually about right. You see, I adjusted the di-synchronous anti-compossibility post-determination scenario by merely manipulating the underlying ontological framework via a magical pre-relativistic superluminal tunnel. Simple, really."

"I... see," said Harry slowly. "So you put some Time in it."

"And unfortunately..." Merlin sighed deeply. "The Crystal began to absorb each paradox after each shift, building and building greatly, until I knew it would soon reach a point of horrific destruction. I ran into you in the future, and saw what happened there - you'll find out about that part in a little while, don't want to spoil it - and that is how I came up with my little plan."

"And the Hat?" Harry asked.

"That was part of the plan, of course," replied Merlin with a chuckle. "You see, I dissolved the Time Crystal into a liquid form, then had my clothing absorb that liquid, thereby containing the essence of the Time I put into it. Each item of clothing shunting itself randomly throughout time, leaving me a bit naked, but I soon figured out a way to get my clothing back: A null time space. This hut exists slightly outside of time, which allows my clothes to come back with all that extra time energy sluiced off.

"I was trying to ignore your nudity," Harry admitted. "But what about my problem with moving through time? It seems like the only thing this did was get you your things back."

"True," Merlin said, while slipping on his robes. He put the Hat back on his head and sighed. "Ah, King Arthur, it is good to hear your voice."

"What?" Harry started. "Did you just call the Sorting Hat King Arthur? After... the king?"

Merlin gave him a look. "Don't be an arse, Harry. King Arthur wasn't real. That was just a legend based on someone misunderstanding me talking about my hat." He laughed. "Obviously. Wizards are nutters, haven't you heard?"

"I have," said Harry with a frown. "I'm seeing it now, after all. And how are we even talking, anyway? Didn't they have a different language back then?"

"Again, Harry, stop being obtuse. Obviously it's a touch of Magic."

Harry nodded. That made sense. "Right, sorry. So... how do I fix my own problem? Can you just... magic the Time Turner out of me?"

Merlin shook his head sadly. "I am afraid not. You see, Time is now a part of you, forever and always. The magic has been absorbed by you, and the Time Turner has long since disappeared during one of your many jaunts. No, your only hope is to resolve the paradox. Or die, of course."

Harry frowned. "Now, how in the bloody hell can you resolve the paradox?"

Merlin chuckled. "I said the same thing myself when I was your age. But I had a far nicer beard."

"I don't happen to like beards on teenagers," riposted Harry, although this was decidedly untrue. He even liked them on girls. "But you resolved your own paradox by... putting time on your clothing. Can I do the same thing?"

"Of course not!" Merlin gasped in horror. "Such fine material! It would probably make a worse mess things than it already is. No, you merely need to learn how to control your shifts and stop making things unstable. Stop with the paradoxes and start with the anti-paradoxes. And it's not time, it's Time."

Harry smacked himself. "Sorry, you're right. That was foolish of me. Now... what's an anti-paradox?"

Merlin began to laugh uproariously. "What's an anti-paradox?" He began to shake with hilarity so hard that tears began to squirt from his eyes. "Highly amusing!" Merlin finally settled down and wiped his eyes. "I needed that amusement, Harry. Thank you. Now, off you go! I have a date with a tree!"

"A tree?" Harry asked, and then Merlin pushed him out of the hut with a magical shove. As Harry sped away from the hut, he saw what seemed like an infinite line of huts stretched in all directions, up and down, back and forward, sideways and throughout and throughin. In one glorious instant, Harry could see the entire timeline, and it made an eerie amount of sense.

"Oh, wait!" Harry said with a grin. "I get it!"


SHIFT

Harry sat inside his cupboard, writing furiously on some notes, a floating light bobbing near his shoulder. He had so many ideas, so very many perverted notions..

Point One: Something naked with Parvati and Lavender
Point Two: Something naked with Susan and Cho and whichever Slytherin they were talking about
Point Three: Maybe Fleur somehow?

Harry crossed that one out - he couldn't speak French. Unless...

Point Three (adjusted): Learn French, then Fleur.

Harry nodded and grinned. All right then! He had his three critical points of importance, now all he needed to do was figure them out without causing any paradoxes. Simple enough, right?


SHIFT

"Hermione, would you take a look at this plan?" Harry asked as they walked from Slughorn's party.

Hermione accepted the paper and immediately slapped him. "Harry, I'm not going to help you do something perverted with a bunch of girls! The French one, maybe."

Harry rubbed his cheek and frowned at his so-called friend. "A real genius friend would use her smarts to help me out."

"I'll slap you again!" Hermione told him. "You're being an arse. Why don't you ask Ron for help, I'm sure he'll be happy to assist in your little perversions."

"Are you two... together?" asked Harry hesitantly. "I mean, I don't actually know."

Hermione gave him an odd look. "Yes, of course. But that doesn't mean he's not a pervert." She giggled slightly. "Sometimes that works out alright when..."

"I get it!" Harry interrupted quickly, holding up his hands. "So you won't help with my time travel plan, fine. I guess I'll ask someone else. Although I don't really know Ravenclaws other than Cho..."

"What about Luna?" Hermione huffed in a disapproving manner. "She'll probably help you."

"Luna..." Harry said slowly, rubbing his chin. "And she is... who again?"

Hermione's eyes widened in shock. "Are you being serious?"

"I've been traveling through time," Harry said with a shrug of his shoulders. "I assumed you knew."

"I thought that was all settled," she replied worriedly. "What's the last thing you remember? I mean, what year was it?"

"Well, I've been all over the place," said Harry. "But originally it was right after the Tournament. Speaking of which," he grabbed the paper back from Hermione. "That reminds me. Try to keep Cedric from dying. Should be able to do that and still be with Cho, right?"

"So... hold a moment," Hermione tapped her chin thoughtfully. "You don't actually know about your current relationship situation, do you? This plan is to achieve what you want, isn't it?"

Harry grinned at her. "Precisely! So will you help me figure it out?"

Hermione sighed and then took the paper back from him. "Fine, you'll only screw things up if you try it yourself. But first, let's add few things to the list."

She jotted down a few things as Harry watched:

Hermione's Actually Relevant Notes

Defeat Voldemort

Don't Die

Don't Let Anyone Die that's on the good side of things (Weasleys, Gryffindors in general, Harry's empty headed tarts, Professors, Lupin, Snuffles)

Learn a few bloody spells for once

Befriend Luna and Neville

Cure Ron's Magical Mutated Halitosis by getting to it early

Hermione underlined this last one several times. "Make absolutely certain you do number six, even though it doesn't seem as important. All of our lives depend on it. Speak to Madame Pomfrey in our first year and she'll handle it."

"Right," said Harry, a bit worried at the manic look of his friend. "So those are good notes. Probably a good idea not to forget to defeat Voldemort. See you soon, then!" He grabbed back the paper and smiled widely.


SHIFT

"Say Ron," Harry whispered to his eating friend as they watched Quirrell collapse on the floor. "Do you know someone named Neville or Luna?"

"Neville's right over there," Ron pointed. "And I know a girl Ginny's age named Luna - she lives near us. Luna Lovegood, I think."

"Got it," said Harry, and absentmindedly set Quirrell's turban on fire.


Next time on Harvey Potsler and the Temporal Digestive Tract:

"I've got it!" Harry said with sudden, joyous realization. "A underground pornography ring! It's foolproof!"

Hermione slapped him.